“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.

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