Archive | February 2017

“Henchman” Review

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Original Airdate: August 23, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Luther McLaurin & Cole Sanchez

Aside from Heat Signature, another Marceline-centric episode, Henchman is an episode of Adventure Time I’ve most likely viewed the least amount of times. That’s not to say it’s bad either (nor is Heat Signature, for that matter) I’ve just happen to revisit it much less frequently than other episodes. However, upon watching it again, I’ve realized how important it is as a developmental episode for Marceline. Marceline’s relationship with Finn and Jake was left off ambiguously in Evicted!, and it was clear that more had to evolve before the three of them can be considered friends. Here, Jake doesn’t budge, but Finn and Marceline begin to develop a true friendship.

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I really miss episodes like this especially. Sometime after season three, Finn and Marceline’s friendship just sorta dies out. Of course, they still hang out from time to time, but really, the show has done its best to shift its focus off of their friendship and more so onto Marceline and Bubblegum’s relationship. Don’t get me wrong, PB and Marcy’s relationship has developed beautifully throughout the series, but I really miss Finn and Marceline just being able to hangout. They’re just two cool people having fun. Watching them onscreen together is always a delightfully good time, and that’s exactly what this episode does best.

One of the true highlights is that this is the first continuity heavy and developmental episode; Marceline’s return, Jake’s fear of vampires, Finn and Marceline bonding, Marceline drinking the color red, and the return of the Duke of Nuts and family. When I first saw it, it was nice for me to see that Adventure Time was a show that didn’t ditch it’s secondary characters. Of course, this is the last time we ever get to see the Duke of Nuts, and I do hope that he was able to get his life together through therapy and rehabilitation. That dude deserves it.

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Of course, the backgrounds and scenery are beautiful as always. There are some really rich nighttime colors (outside the Duke of Nuts castle) and some very colorful and bright contrasts (the strawberry patch). I really like how predictable and unpredictable the trials that Marceline put Finn through could be at times as well. You always know there’s a twist, but you’re never certain on how they’re going to be a twist. You’re half expecting Marceline to go through with her demented plans at times, but simultaneously reminded that somehow something is going to subvert it. Really good way of keeping things creative and investing in a somewhat predictable premise.

I’m not a big shipper, but I gotta say guys, I really love when Marceline and Finn hangout. Of course, I know it would never work because of the thousand year age difference, but their interactions between each other are just so cute and fun. They really bring out the most exciting and amusing sides of both characters, and watching them feed off of each other in this episode is just so delightful and charming. I really love the way this episode ends with both of them finding a newfound respect for each other. And of course, I feel as though Finn’s influence on Marceline helps her to become a better person. Or vampire. Or half-demon. Whatever. Also, I’ve always a big fan of Marceline’s wardrobe changes, and her outfit in this episode is one of my favorites. In most of my crude notebook doodles, you’ll usually find Marceline sporting this outfit.

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So while I’ve viewed this episode sparingly, it’s proved to be one of the most entertaining, as well as the most developmental episode of season one.

“Donny” Review

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Original Airdate: August 9, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Kent Osborne, Adam Muto & Niki Yang

Sort of interesting how this episode and the last one have both dealt with our protagonists coming to term with the fact that some jerks are just bound the be jerks (or in this case, have to be). Donny certainly isn’t nearly as interesting as Magic Man; MM is so apathetic and sadistic that it makes him stand out from almost every other character in the series, while Donny is borderline just your stereotypical jerk/bully character with not much that makes him standout. I feel like it could’ve been a good “you can’t force people to change who they are” episode, but what we got was just fine.

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I actually really do like the connection between Finn and Donny. Instead of simply chastising Donny for his behavior, Finn does his best to be positive and try to help correct Donny’s wrongdoings, even after Donny fucks up BMO. Also, this is BMO’s first speaking appearance in the series! After a couple episodes of being nothing but a lifeless game console with arms and legs, he finally speaks up. It’s probably worth noting that after this episode I never questioned the fact that Jake was naked after this episode. I always just generally thought every episode after this “he has pants woven from spider webs”.

As usual, the backgrounds in this one are beautiful. This show never does a nighttime shade wrong; the nice darker blue palette is really illuminating and blends extremely well with the characters. The concept of the why-wolves is also a delightfully bizarre and clever idea. The idea of “obnoxegen” was a bit worthy of an eye roll, though.

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In the end, despite the episode being fairly light and humorous throughout, things turn out a bit tragically for our anti-hero Donny. Although he happily returns to his life as a jerk in the end, it’s clear that he greatly appreciated and benefited from Finn’s company. Finn was the first person to believe that he could be more than just a bully, and if the end shows anything, it’s that Donny has learned something from spending time with Finn and has learned to care and empathize for others, even if the world calls for him to be a jerk. That’s true heroism right there. It’s a shame we never get to see Donny again. He really should’ve been the special guest host of Ooo’s battle of the bands.

“Freak City” Review

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Original Airdate: July 26, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Pendleton Ward & Tom Herpich

Magic Man is surely one of my favorite recurring characters, and one of my favorite villains in the series. There’s something about his apathetic nature and general disregard for anything and anyone that just gives him such a strong presence among mostly non-sadistic or cynical characters. I’m also a sucker for jerks with tragic backstories, and Magic Man fits the mold perfectly. Has anyone ever noted the similarities between MM and Ice King? They’re both Tom Kenny voiced wizards who tragically lost the ones they loved which drove them to near insanity and sadness. Parallels!

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It still surprises me just how delightfully vicious MM’s actions in the episode are. My blood still runs cold from the sight of that bird’s skin turn inside out, and turning Finn into a giant foot was hilariously wicked. Still, it’s a bit upsetting to me that he ends up disappearing for the majority of the episode. A good chunk of the remainder of the episode is mostly just Finn adjusting to living life as a foot, and a couple of the other poor souls who were transformed into limbs. I would’ve preferred bit more of Finn and Magic Man working off each other, but what we got with the multiple discarded body parts was perfectly passable. Anytime we get to hear Finn’s auto-tuned voice with trippy backgrounds is certainly a highlight. I also find it odd that these limb people never returned later in the show. They’re all pretty funny in their own right and have their own definitive characteristics. Also, their designs! They’re so unique looking and so well detailed that I can’t believe that were never featured in the show again. I really hope they all come back together for the show’s endgame.

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The most noteworthy thing about this episode, however, is that Jake totally has a foot fetish, you guys. He has some odd obsession with wanting to be a foot that he notes that Finn won’t understand till he’s older. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it just kinda seems like something they stuck with overtime. He likes getting his feet kissed by clowns, and I remember him continuously talking to his foot in Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? (pretty solid game, by the way). Maybe Tier 15 involves turning into a giant foot or something? I dunno.

I continuously mention that season one is riddled with great life lessons for Finn, and this one is subtle, yet important. Some people are just giant dicks in life for no reason, and there’s not really anything you can do about it besides accept it. You can try your best to change them, but it usually won’t work to your avail. I’m not sure if that’s what Finn gets out of it in the end, but I’m pretty positive that’s what Magic was trying to teach. And it’s taught in a humorous Magic Man-y way, considering that’s mostly how MM attempts to hammer in life lessons.

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This is also the first episode storyboarded by Tom Herpich, who is honestly one of my favorite storyboard artists on Adventure Time. He’s written for such classics as LemonhopeEscape From the CitadelEvergreen, and The Hall of Egress. This episode isn’t necessarily up to his best work, and I can’t even really figure out which part of the episode he worked on (the storyboard oddly claims that Luther McLaurin and Armen Mirzaian worked on this epsiode) but it’s a decent introduction to a character he was surely much fond of, Magic Man. And of course, Pen Ward’s quirkiness and charming influence on his characters helps boost this to be a genuinely very likable episode.

“The Duke” Review

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Original Airdate: July 19, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Elizabeth Ito & Adam Muto

If you ask me, I think Princess Bubblegum is certainly one of the most fleshed out and developed characters on Adventure Time. While every character has their spotlight of hidden depth and character development, Bonnie Bubblegum has grown the most beyond her original stereotype of “the pretty princess”. Though the show has pandered to her by making her character seem so one-dimensional, this is the first time we get to take a gander at her darker side. And booooy, is it fun.

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Like a lot of the first season episodes, The Duke offers a somewhat generic premise, but it goes in a somewhat interesting and delightful direction that I don’t really mind it as much. After Finn and Jake mess around with some bottles, they accidentally turn Peebles green and bald. So begins her descent in psychosis. I think the most interesting thing about her freakout is that it was never built up upon in past episodes. She’s just completely batshit whilst she was mild-mannered and friendly the past 5 or 6 episodes she was in. Again, it sort of adds to her character while also acknowledging that this is most likely a pre-existing side of her personality.

Aside from that though, the backgrounds and designs in this episode are terrific. First of all, the Palace of Nuts is awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever given Ghostshrimp proper credit on this blog before, but his background work for the first season (and every following season he’s worked on) is outstanding. The details of the castle and landscape are terrifically mapped out and the colors of the sky and kingdom are beautifully vibrant and poppy.

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What I like most about this episode is the introduction of two characters who really deserve more screen time than they’ve ever received: The Duke of Nuts and the Duchess of Nuts. The Duke of Nuts is an enjoyably polite character, and I especially enjoy anytime Steve Little does a voice for the show. The Duke’s voice inflections would later be transferred to Turtle Princess and Nurse Pound Cake, but I especially feel like the voice fits this character. I dunno… something about Steve Little voicing an anthropomorphic nut just seems so right. In addition to PB’s psychosis, the Duchess of Nuts is another “nutty” (I’m really sorry for that one guys) character whose personality and presence is so strong that I’m only wishing we could’ve seen more of her. Also, that squirrel who is unhealthily obsessed with Jake debuts in this episode, and boy is he a riot. I wasn’t really crazy about his subsequent appearances, but just the ambiguity of his character in this episode cracks me. Why won’t Jake answer his fan mail? Since when does Jake have a holographic advice column? Also, I need a full length rip of his background score.

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Most importantly though, this episode offers an important life lesson for Finn, given by the Duke himself: “Making mistakes is part of growing up, and you never really stop growing,” which basically translates to “you’re gonna fuck up a lot in life, but hey, that’s just life.” Even if you do consume barrels of pudding and turn your crush green and bald, you still have opportunities to redeem yourself. Which is exactly what happens in the end when Finn and Jake step in for Bubblegum at the Grand Meeting of Ooo Royalty, only to get. It’s a shame we don’t get to see more of the Duke, I really hope that he got that pudding deficiency regulated. I know how much of a struggle that can be.