Tag Archive | Adam Muto

“Chamber of Frozen Blades” Review

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Original Airdate: January 17, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Rebecca Sugar & Adam Muto

Gunther the penguin is arguably one of Adventure Time’s strangest secondary characters. He’s either shown as a nonchalant penguin or some sort of deity and bastardization of creation. He balances between the two in this episode and it’s a hilarious introduction to the love/hate relationship he shares with Ice King.

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The episode struggles a bit to find a focus; there’s a long sequence of Finn and Jake discussing plans to ambush the Ice King as the hideout in his castle, followed by some cool scenes of the duo practicing ice-ninja moves, but also Ice King taking Gunther to the hospital, and finally, Ice King capturing doctor princess and having a brief battle with the boys. All of these smaller stories seem like they’d work perfectly fine as their own plot, so it’s rather disappointing that none of them could find enough focus.

Despite the ninja subplot sort of feeling like a “hey, what do kids like these days? Ninjas! We’ll have Finn and Jake be ninjas!” kind of plot, it succeeds in having Finn and Jake discover some pretty creative ice powers, and it’s one of the first times we see someone use ice powers that isn’t related to the power of the crown. I’m sure it has something to do with the elemental power of ice, and I really wish this was brought back and harped on later, but sadly it isn’t.

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This episode continues developing the ever-changing relationship between Finn, Jake and the Ice King, and while he’s still by definition considered an antagonist in the series, it’s rewarding to see an scenario where Finn and Jake betray the Ice King’s trust. We already had a bit of this in What Have You Done? And it’s done just as well here.

Two of my favorite tertiary characters are introduced in this episode: Doctor Princess and Flambo. Flambo is a character that never seems to get enough attention from the actual show, but I can’t get enough of him and his odd Brooklyn accent. Also, I’d love to see an entire backstory dedicated to Doctor Princess. Her entire life is a lie.

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If anything, I would have really enjoyed if this episode focused mostly on the subplot with Ice King and Gunther at the hospital. The promos for this episode way back in 2011 suggested that it was what the entire episode would be about, and I was really looking forward to that. Not that the ninja stuff wasn’t relatively cool, but Ice King trying to act cool and pick up ladies at the hospital while Gunther tries to get medical attention just seems so much more rewarding.
Also, I’m holding out for the endgame villain of Adventure Time to be Gunther’s unusual baby.

Favorite line: “It turns out Gunther here, was preggers!”

“Her Parents” Review

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Original Airdate: January 24, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Tom Herpich

Oddly enough, this is the third episode in a row that Finn undergoes some type of suffering while Jake isn’t able to protect or help him. It’s unusual that this has become such a consistent recurring theme, but interesting that it’s been done in a completely different perspective each time. In Power Animal, Jake couldn’t focus on saving Finn, in Crystals Have Power, Jake didn’t want to use brute force to save Finn, and in this episode, Jake has two choose between the two people he cares about most: his best friend and his girlfriend.

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An interesting bit of lore is added to the world of AT in this episode with the 1,000 year Rainicorn-Dog Wars. It’s one of those little bits of information that was most likely included as a throwaway joke, but has since then been used in future episodes to be expanded upon. A Rainicorn-Dog War is silly enough, but almost seems to make no sense that it lasted 1,000 years until you realize it’s most likely cleverly from a “dog years” perspective (or even a Rainicorn years perspective; we know how quickly they age). Also, Rainicorns ate humans! It’s another interesting bit of apocalyptic world building that is honestly kind of dark when you think about our species dying off due to many of these colorful rainbow creatures.

I’m actually not a big fan of the premise of this episode; the idea of having the nervous boyfriend scared of meeting his girlfriend’s parents and having to pull off a giant facade just seems very 90’s sitcom to me. Of course, Adventure Time adds that extra punch of absurdity to make this stray from becoming too generic. Like the past few episodes, I really feel bad for Finn, but I can’t help but laugh at the horrible pain Bob and Ethel put him through in this episode. It sounds so sadistic of me, but I get a kick out of every time I see Finn get launched into those glass bottles.

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Bob and Ethel are actually really great as the quirky parents too. Of course, they try to eat our main protagonist at one point, but hey, different cultures, man. I also like how, even though this is literally the third time in a row Jake has indirectly allowed his friend to be in certain danger, he still doesn’t come off as unlikable. It’s all for his girlfriend who he cares about so deeply, but isn’t afraid to put his foot down when her parents take it too far with his best friend.

There’s also some really nice imagery in this episode. The colors are so vibrant and nice, even more so than usual. There’s a scene at the beginning of the episode with Finn, Jake, and BMO eating breakfast, and it just look gorgeous! Nick Jennings helped with a lot of the artwork in the episode, and added some great touches, such as the dust particles in the window and the shadows on Jake.

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I recently picked up Adventure Time: The Official Cookbook and there’s a recipe for Soy Human in it. I’m going to feel very dirty if I do, but I may have to try it myself… Details to follow…

Favorite line: “JJ flip! What the zip?”

 

“Power Animal” Review

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Original Airdate: November 22, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Adam Muto & Rebecca Sugar

I mentioned in my review of Blood Under the Skin that Finn’s heroic attributes come not from his physical strength, but his willingness to throw himself directly into danger’s path. Jake the Dog is different; he could literally become gigantic within seconds and crush anything in sight, but typically chooses not too. That’s because Jake simply isn’t about crushing people or having tremendous strength, Jake’s all about kicking back and having a good time. That being said, Power Animal highlights one of Jake’s main character flaws: his inability to focus on crucial situations. This, of course, results in hilarity.

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It’s refreshing to see one of Jake’s character flaws highlighted, as we’ve spent several episodes focusing on Finn’s and only a few focusing on Jake’s. What works best is that Jake never comes off as unlikable or does it seem as though he’s abandoning his best friend, it just feels appropriate given that Jake is so easily wrapped up in the environments around him. This episode could have easily made Jake seem like an asshole for letting his friend suffer, but it does a great job of showcasing Jake’s turmoil for not being able to focus, yet still having a ton of fun with his distractions.

The distractions themselves are all really inventive and humorous on their own. BMO’s singing, the dancing bug and the unfunny mermaids are honestly some of my all time funniest scenes from the show. They all come off as so odd and so out of nowhere that I can’t help but crack up on every watch.

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By God, do I feel sorry for Finn in this episode. I strongly feel the pain of his suffering in this episode, yet also can’t help but enjoy it by just how sadistic the Gnome Leader (voiced by Paul Reubens) is. There’s a bit of fringe horror when you realize that half of this episode involves a twelve-year-old experiencing heinous torture, but as Adventure Time does best, it still makes for some very fun and vibrant moments. Finn’s dream sequence is another walk through bizarre enthusiasm, and I almost wish that we got to spend more time in Finn’s buff fantasy land.

It’s another one of those episodes that’s packed with hilarious side characters, including the Gnome Leader, Party God, and the unfunny mermaids. Aside from the humor, this is actually an extremely well paced episode. I really love how the first few minutes start off being extremely slow and mellow, before launching us into upbeat insanity. There’s an entire minute devoted to Finn and Jake cleaning up the Treehouse and getting ready for bed. I really enjoy moments to just allow the characters to breathe and live life, and it’s nice to have one sprinkled into a very energetic episode.

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What I love most about this episode is that it doesn’t end with Jake conquering his character flaw, but instead he’s somewhat rewarded for it. It’s not necessarily a flaw that is hurting anyone, but can end in certain disaster for others as we see through Finn’s perspective. Through not being focused, Jake uses those moments to enjoy life, hangout, and invest himself in his relationships with other people. The reason Jake gets rewarded in the end is because he’s a fun, energetic, lovable guy. Although he can’t always remember what he’s supposed be doing, he uses every aspect of his time benefiting himself as well as benefiting others, and that’s what makes Jake the Dog so enjoyable.

Favorite line: “No more games, no more PAJAMAS!”