Episode Review: Star vs The Forces of Evil (Season 1, Episode 6 ) – Mewberty / Pixtopia
After a month-long hiatus, Star Butterfly’ is back on Disney XD! Of course, the trials and tribulations of the Princess of Mewni lived on in reruns on the channel during that time. Since then, I’ve seen the fanbase slowly grow. Tumblr accounts, numerous tweets, and…fanart and fan-shipping out the wazoo!
But enough talk about the minor nitpicks…let’s dig into our latest episode!
When Marco notices a purple heart on Star’s forehead, she begins to freak out, when she realizes she is starting to go through: Mewberty!
Puberty has often been equated to some form of metamorphosis that can be considered disgusting by many (and healthcare brands make billions on our fragile teen egos). Of course, with this concept placed on an otherworldly teenager, it becomes both entertaining, yet horrifying. I think that’s largely where my enjoyment of the episode comes from: a place of fascination, and repulsion.
Eden Sher’s vocals sound a little weird and stilted as the episode gets started. However, once Mewberty begins to take hold of Star, her voice (and the music of the episode), quickly makes one feel a little uneasy.
Much like I hoped for with some of the earlier episodes, we get to see a little more of Echo Creek Academy, with callbacks to several members of the school, and the expansion of some side-characters (including their names!).
Speaking of side-characters, one who I wondered about from his first minor appearances in a few earlier episodes, has finally come to light: the miniature, blue-skinned Glossaryck of Terms (voiced by Jeffrey Tambor). He apparently is a component of Star’s wand-instruction manual, though plays like a fast-and-loose support extension of it. If you want any sort of help from him, one has to be prepared to pay…the price.
Learning a little more about Star Butterfly and certain information about her dimension, is always a welcome thing for me, along with seeing a little more about her adapting to her new home. The episode’s opening and closing minutes seem a little haphazard, but once the story gets to its main intent, it works pretty well (we even get a brief Spanish lesson at no extra charge).
I’m also sure the episode has given plenty of Star and Marco “fan-shippers” more fuel for their fan-crazed fires as well.
*Note: a fun little hint of Star’s teenage metamorphosis, was seen in the episode Quest Buy. In the final scene, one can see a book on the floor titled, Mewberty and You.
Final Segment Grade: B
Marco, Ferguson, and Alfonzo make some prank calls on Star’s magic mirror, only to use up all her minutes. This results in them traveling to Pixtopia to pay off the bill. While Star, Marco, and Alfonzo end up working in the shard mines, Ferguson catches the eye of a Pixie Empress (voiced by Anna Camp).
The majority of the jokes fall a little flat in this episode, including a hidden meaning joke I’ve heard several times before, to the point that I already had a hint on where it was going. One joke that is played throughout the episode, has Star claiming Marco ‘messed up’ by causing her mirror’s services to be suspended. Claiming he ‘Star’d up,’ she declares them ‘mess-up twins,’ and keeps trying to rub his nose in what happened. What I find rather interesting, is that Star treats this mirror issue like it wasn’t a big deal (I figured she’d be very upset, given that there is the looming threat that her parents could call her at any time on it, and find the services blocked…possibly leading to big trouble).
The episode plays fast-and-loose with its storyline taking the characters to another dimension, though it is nice to see Alfonzo and Ferguson as part of the group for the first time, since the episode School Spirit. Though they were last seen in Monster Arm, they didn’t contribute that much to the overall plot.
The world of Pixtopia is seen briefly, but doesn’t really give us much information to go on. It seems little more than a location for a quick peek, and then we’re back to Earth.
Overall, a rather flimsy episode, that feels like it needed some punching up with the jokes in order to make it a little more passable.
Final Segment Grade: B-
Though not an excellent Star vs The Force of Evil episode, I do like how like episode 3, they took a break from using Ludo and his minions, and focused moreso on the interactions and adventures of the teenage cast. And, I finally got to know just who Glossaryck was…though the big question now is, does Star know he is part of her instruction manual, or not? I guess where one door closes in this series, another opens.
While awaiting the latest episode of Star vs The Forces of Evil, I was surprised to come across an interesting response string on Youtube. Some had noticed a slight change in the imagery for episode 6 from commercials, and a person who worked on the first few episodes confirmed this.
The first 5 episodes had their animation done by Mercury Filmworks in Canada. However, Mercury found themselves overloaded with work, and as such, Star was one of their assignments that they decided to let go of.
After the production of episode 5, the animation was moved to Toon City, a studio in the Philippines. There’s been no confirmation just how many episodes Toon City has done, but I’m of the assumption they have taken over duties for the rest of Season 1 (and most likely, the upcoming Season 2).
Though Filmworks did assist in transitioning the art style and techniques over to Toon City, one can definitely sense a change. Some of the line work is much thinner in places, and a lot of the cartoony squash-and-stretch smoothness seems to have vanished. I can’t help but feel that the Mewberty segment suffered a little from being the first Toon City episode out the gate. There are some areas that feel a little too ‘stiff’ in places.
I’m hoping as the series goes on I’ll be able to adapt to the new studio’s animation style, but I will definitely miss the artistry brought on by Mercury Filmworks. Guys and Gals up at the studio, if you read this, thank you for your services, and good luck in your future endeavors.
*Coming up in Episode 7, Star and Marco try to help one of Ludo’s minions reform himself, and Star develops a habit of sleep-walking, and using her wand at the same time! What wonders/craziness will unfold? We’ll find out soon enough.*