Tag Archive | Ako Castuera

“Web Weirdos” Review

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Original Airdate: April 16, 2012

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Jesse Moynihan

It’s pretty clear that season four has somewhat of a running theme of dealing with relationships. We’ve already seen Finn’s first encounter with Flame Princess and the development of his romantic feelings, and now in this episode, we focus more on the circumstances of a long-term partnership. It’s very fitting that Finn is beginning to observe relationships around him considering he’s now involved in one, and it’s made even more important by showcasing that relationships by nature aren’t always fun and games.

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The plot revolves around spider love interests Ed and Barb (voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait and Susie Essman respectively) and they’re alright I suppose, though the episode is filled with Finn and Jake moments that really round it out and make it much more enjoyable to sit through. I love the beginning with Jake performing some totally gnarly stunts, while Finn pulls off some pretty lame parkour. It’s a thoroughly charming and endearing entrance, followed by some hilarious bits, such as the interestingly utilized cutaway gag of Finn’s uncut fingernails and the introduction of the bug and fly who also got caught in the spiderweb. I really friggin’ love those guys, and they’re pretty great with relationship advice as well.

Speaking of relationship advice, it’s really interesting to watch Finn share a bit of wisdom with Ed regarding his connection with his wife. Obviously, it’s likely that Finn is just humoring Ed to buy him and Jake some time to escape, but it still feels very genuine and telling, and that Finn legitimately wants to help the guy out. Finn’s obviously inexperienced, but I think his bit of advice comes more from conscientious place of being righteous in any kind of relationship. And in the last few minutes, he chooses the heroic path by deciding to stay and help Ed out, even if it means he can’t escape and that he could possibly even die. Always gotta go with Glob!

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As for Ed and Barb, as I said, they’re alright. I think Ed’s pretty interesting in his own right; he wants to do things properly, but his egocentric behavior and combination of self-loathing make it impossible for him to fully commit and love his wife like he arguably did in the past. Barb just kinda seems like a bitch from what we’ve seen. The one part of the episode I really disliked was the bit where Barb was mercilessly punching Ed. This is pretty blatant domestic abuse, and it’s somewhat uncomfortable to me. It’s not even like Ed’s able to protect himself, he looks like he’s in legitimate pain (imagine if this was the other way around). It’s not a huge problem, but we’re supposed to kind of be rooting for these guys to work out there differences, and that scene just made me want Ed to get as far away from Barb as possible. Though the ending was an interesting conclusion, as many couples do stick with the concept that having children can usher in a new beginning for their marriage. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. For Ed and Barb, it doesn’t look like it can get any worse, so hopefully having hundreds of babies ended up working out for them.

I like a good chunk of this one. There’s plenty of great Finn and Jake moments like the ones I listed above, and then there’s other great visual gags, such as Finn spitting out the bug, only for him to land directly back onto the spider web or Finn’s spitting down the bird (a lot of these involve spit, as you may have noticed) and the longshot of the many birds who suffered at the hands of this tactic. The Ed and Barb parts can lead to some pretty unlikable sequences, but I do think their dysfunctional marriage is a pretty interesting relationship that the series hasn’t really covered up until this point. Very frankly, it’s the type of relationship that most animated series typically don’t cover. Glad we could count on AT to tackle it head on with humor and potency.

Also, I don’t think I’ll ever be more grossed out by anything in the series than the way Ed produces string. That dripping was fucking vile.

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Favorite line: “It’s hard to step outside of yourself when you’re enmeshed with another being!”

“Ghost Princess” Review

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Original Airdate: January 30, 2012

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Ako Castuera

Ghost Princess has appeared once or twice before this episode, but this is her first big step to mainstage and her last as well. An episode about spirits and the 50th Dead World is right up my alley, so I was especially hyped when this one first came out. Unfortunately, I don’t think its direction was as interesting as it could’ve been, and I think some executive meddling restrained this one from being as dark or serious as it wanted to be.

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Love little moments like this where Finn and Jake are just casually spending time with each other.

The great bits come mostly from Finn and Jake, who engage in a good cop-bad cop routine, and it’s really a delightful scenario to watch. We’re used to seeing the little guy play good cop in most situations, whereas Jake is usually the more skeptical one, so it’s a nice role reversal that allows us to see different sides of the boys. There’s plenty of great lines among the two, specifically Finn’s “time to sing, ya canary!” As for Jake, I love the bit of him subtly looting throughout the entirety of the episode. It continues the streak of criminality shown by him in episodes like City of Thieves and Apple Thief, and it humorously depicts Jake’s general reaction every time he does something wrong: he simply acknowledges that he didn’t know it was wrong. I’m willing to believe that was his reaction the minute he realized his criminal gang was immoral; he probably just shrugged and realized he shouldn’t have been involved and then just left. It’s actually an interesting concept that I’m just noticing as I write this, but could Jake’s inability to realize that crime and looting are wrong come from his father’s past history of stealing from demons? I’m getting ahead of myself, but I didn’t wanna lose this thought. More to chat about with the next review, Joshua!

The backgrounds in this one are great, mostly designed by ghostshrimp. I really love the vast depth of the cemetery, and just how many little details there are within it. It’s clear that the graveyard has signs of being post-apocalyptic, but I do enjoy settings that are just generally creepy and atmospheric without those added Easter eggs. Easter eggs are great, but sometimes ya just need a handful of tombstones to really set that chilling feeling into full gear.

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As for the main story, the romance between Clarence and Ghost Princess just isn’t that interesting to me. It’s a pretty bland love story, with little chemistry outside of the backstory revealed toward the end. I wish the character of Clarence was a lot more quirky and awkward. Adventure Time is usually so good at creating delightfully off-color side characters, and even with the talented voicework of Sam Marin, Clarence is just kind of lame. He basically just recites really corny and poetic love lines that are played completely straight. Though, to be fair, he did take GP to the Spirit Waves performance, which is totally dope. I don’t know if they had a guest animator for this sequence or if it was just given a lot of attention in studio, but it’s so funny to watch these blank figures move around so fluidly and choreographed. The ghostdates.com website mentioned is actually a real website, by the way. A really neat test of the Spirit Waves performers doing their thing!

The twist is something I think most people see coming, but it is cleverly tied together. As for the actual backstory sequence, it feels a bit awkward to me. A lot of the episode was altered by Cartoon Network to switch around the utterance of the word “murder” with its substitutes “moider” and “murdle-urdle”, and I’m willing to assume they wanted the memory sequence to be a little lighter and less intense as well. Therefore, you have Clarence crying really over-the-top and his tears falling in WP’s mouth, followed by him committing suicide via squeezy cheese overdose. It just feels a little forced to me; it’s like they spent the whole episode working to make the dynamic between Clarence and GP really serious and straightforward, and then tried to add humor to the actual scenes that should be the most heavy (though I do enjoy the fact that it essentially traumatized Jake). Adventure Time’s handled death awkwardly on a couple of separate occasions, and I think this one is a decent example. I know it’s a kid’s show, but Adventure Time has proved time and time again that it’s able to handle weighty situations with grace and proper care. Not to say I wanted Ghost Princess of all episodes to be a completely serious and intense tale, but I think it still could’ve been handled a little more delicately. I’m also a bit confused by the timeline of the flashback: it feels like something that happened hundreds of years ago, yet Clarence apparently only died a mere couple of weeks prior. Are there just random wars going on in Ooo that we don’t even know about? Probably overthinking it. 

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This one was kickstarted by an idea Jesse Moynihan had, in an attempt to explore the 50th Dead World, and one that even called for Magic Man to appear in it. Not sure what the entire concept behind that premise was, but I think it would’ve been really cool to explore more of that idea. Pure, uncut Moynihan has given us some of the most trippy and existential episodes in the entire series, and this episode poses a story that calls for some really surreal and heady bits. I’m guessing his desire for more of the experimental side of the plot is what restricted Ghost Princess from getting too out-of-hand, and kept it a mostly grounded story.

As is, it’s okay. I think the chunk of the episode centered around Finn and Jake is a lot of fun, but the main love story between GP and Clarence falls flat for me. I think it could’ve taken a much more interesting direction with the various Dead Worlds, including the backstory as well. If there was a bit extra time dedicated to making the GP and Clarence relationship more charming or endearing, it might’ve been able to hold a little more water. But with that said, it was sweet to watch the two ascend to Dead World together. And with two episodes left, season three shall soon ascend to its own Dead World in my archives. Ya donkus.

Favorite line: “TIME TO SING, YA CANARY!” (already mentioned it, but I just enjoy it too much)

 

“Marceline’s Closet” Review

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Original Airdate: December 12, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Ako Castuera

Marceline’s Closet isn’t as strong of a character exploration as other Marcy-centric episodes are. For an episode revolving around Finn and Jake accidentally spying on their vampire friend, I think it would’ve been a lot more interesting to see Marceline at her most vulnerable or even look into her deepest darkest secrets, but it’s mostly focused on the dilemma Finn and Jake face in front of them. However, there are a couple of gags and amusing moments the two boys share that do make for a relatively funny episode.

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The beginning starts out really strong with Finn conducting some balloon music. It’s a great musical moment that’s up there with some of the funnier songs in the series. In addition to that, there’s a brief moment of apocalyptic lore that’s so easy to miss. The duo engage in a game of hide-and-seek, or “Cloud Hunt” as they call it, and Finn’s recites this nursery rhyme while counting:

Over the mountain, the ominous cloud

Coming to cover the land in a shroud,

Hide in a bushel, a basement, a cave,

But when cloud comes a-huntin’,

No one’s a save… no, safe!

It’s a lovely little bit of tragedy, similar to Ring Around the Rosey, that just reminds me of why I love this show. Every bit of past history is so hidden in the background and non-expository, and it just feels so natural that way.

Of course, once Finn and Jake enter inside Marceline’s closet is when the true conflict starts. I always do love the classic synopsis of characters hiding inside of another person’s house and trying to avoid getting caught. The stakes don’t feel particularly high in this one, as I don’t really think there’s much to anticipate with Marceline being the culprit. Though, it interestingly enough does bring back a scenario that feels exclusive to earlier seasons, which is Finn and Jake’s general fear of Marceline. We all know Jake’s fear of vampires is still mildly persistent, but Finn has treated Marceline as an equal since the beginning of season two, and it’s fun to see the old dynamic of the two boys being so easily startled by their mostly laid back, yet intimidating friend. And I really wonder if Marceline actually did use blood to write on that note at the beginning. You’re above that lifestyle, gurl!

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There’s a couple of great moments with Finn and Jake in the closet (no pun intended), including Finn’s completely ludicrous plan to fly an egg-making paper plane to get Marcy’s attention. What did making the eggs actually accomplish? I don’t know! I also love Finn’s brief encounter with a bare-bodied Marcy. It’s hilariously awkward to see the little guy so traumatized by seeing not only his friend in the nude, but presumably his first naked woman ever. There’s also some great sight gags, such as Finn and Jake’s terrified expressions and Jake’s silent tantrum of pain as he’s so violently bit by a spider.

So there are a good amount of laughs in this one, I just wish the stuff with Marceline was little more interesting. We don’t really get to see into her life all that much or any interesting tidbits of unknown characteristics. The strongest example we get is a is a song based on one of her diary entries, with the word “Gunter” written on the cover (FORESHADOWING). It’s not a particularly great song, which was written by Jesse Moynihan, and one that he admits wasn’t that great either. I’m not going to be one of “those people” who believes that Rebecca Sugar is the only one who can write for Marceline on the show, because that’s completely invalid. However, I will admit that the musical aspect of the series does suffer a bit without her talents (unless is for comedic purposes, as shown earlier), and that’s something that carries over heavily once she departs from the series. In addition, the lyrics aren’t really that strong either. Coming off the heels of one of Sugar’s most powerful songs in the series I’m Just Your Problem, Dear Diary just feels kind of lacking and out of place. I’m not sure if Marcy sang this song because she knew Finn and Jake were secretly watching her (we never really find out how long she was in on it), but it doesn’t really make sense from a developmental standpoint. Wasn’t the purpose of What Was Missing that Marceline began to embrace the friendships she’s made and even patch up some of her old ones? Why on earth would she believe she didn’t have any friends? You could argue this diary entry could’ve been written at any point, as she mentions it’s based on the past 500 years, but still, it does feel a bit out of place given all that Marcy has been through the past couple seasons.

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The end resolution is a bit of an abrupt and unsatisfying one, though it does completely make sense that Marceline wouldn’t be mad at Finn and Jake in the first place. Her whole game is fucking with people and showing up uninvited. That’s who Marcy is! So yeah, I think this episode is decent. It’s a generally enjoyable premise with a good amount of funny character moments, but it does suffer from being a bit thin when it comes to a story that does potentially call for an interesting character study. Also, the conflict does feel a bit light, as I think it’s pretty obvious that Marcy’s not actually going to react as badly as our two main characters believe. If it was a character like Magic Man or even Marceline’s father, Hunson Abadeer, it could’ve made for a more interesting conflict. But as is, it did an okay job of showcasing Marceline out of the closet (pun intended).

Favorite line: “Well, now we’re both quietly screaming.”

“No One Can Hear You” Review

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Original Airdate: November 14, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Jesse Moynihan & Ako Castuera

I always tend to forget how relatively humorless No One Can Hear You is. It’s practically a psychological thriller, and one that’s very creepy, atmospheric, and genuinely unsettling. That being said, it’s one of my all-time favorites. It takes the series and its characters in an incredibly dark and unpleasant direction, yet is still able to be completely enjoyable and engaging.

It begins in a very fast-moving and brief fashion, not wasting any time setting up the plot as quickly as it can. It always amazes me just how much Adventure Time can pack into an 11 minute time-slot, and still leave a lot of room for the characters to breathe and relax. A lot of the great moments from this episode are just Finn lurking around the empty Candy Kingdom and drawing conclusions about his whereabouts. It’s not very exposition heavy, in the sense that we don’t get to know exactly what Finn is feeling or what’s going through his head throughout the episode. He’s pretty much there as an observer, and his thoughts are practically ours as we’re able to empathize with him in the way that any psychological thriller or horror movie allows us to put ourselves in the main character’s shoes.

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There’s a real underlying tragedy to Jake’s character in this episode as well. Clearly he’s completely insane, but his motivations aren’t so out of control or psychotic that it makes him genuinely unlikable. All he wants is to be surprised for his birthday party, and will go to great lengths just to fulfill this desire. It’s the perfect balance of terror and sympathy, as we’re both rooting against Jake and hoping he’s able to regain his health. There’s just something straight painful about watching him so far gone too; the moment when Finn ponders, “face it, Finn. Your best friend is gone,” is a very, very sad moment. To watch a character we all know and care for so much be completely deviated into a complete lunatic is somewhat heartbreaking, and to see even his best friend and brother give up on him is even more tragic. It’s a pretty crucial moment for Finn’s character, as he acknowledges that he may have to leave his brother behind for the greater good of society, and doesn’t hesitate to look back once.

While that’s an understandably solicitous moment for Finn, even worse is Jake realizing that his best friend and brother lied and betrayed him twice. As I mentioned, Jake’s really lost his marbles, but he’s relatively harmless on the other hand, and to watch his aching moment of hardship as Finn runs away from his birthday party is just really heartwrenching. It’s an episode that pits the two best friends against each other in the very best way possible, making each side empathetic and the entire situation really tough to watch.

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As I mentioned there’s very few laughs in this episode, which really works to it’s advantage. Besides a few goofy lines from Finn as he’s roaming around and some funny gags towards the end, it spends most of it’s time focusing on the creepy and uncomfortable elements. There’s moments that really raise the question of, “was that funny or unsettling?” such as the bugs crawling on Jake and Jake’s general demeanor throughout the episode. There’s not a single moment in the entire show where I’m more conflicted to laugh or sit there uncomfortably than when Jake has a birthday party composed of sock puppets and milk cartons. It really excuses the fact that the episode is unfunny when it sticks to a specific mood and atmosphere and goes above and beyond with it. I think I actually would’ve actually liked this episode less if there were more jokes phoned in, as it would take away from the general tension of the overall plot.

And then there’s the reveal of the true villain in this episode. I’m not shitting you, you guys, that deer is in my fucking nightmares. Nothing creeps me out more in this episode than when he takes off his hooves and wiggles his fingers around. And the way he licks people and sticks them to the wall is out of a full-fledged motherfucking horror movie. Goddamn, that stag scares me! I think it’s a pretty brilliant out-of-nowhere reveal that the deer was the true antagonist the entire time, and his frequent appearances throughout the episode build up to a very satisfying and well-planned payoff that I think is pretty unpredictable for any first time viewers. Also, the idea that he wanted PB’s sugar and that she wouldn’t give it to him triggers more unsettling visuals in that regard. Yeesh. So Finn, Jake, and all ten of the rescued Candy People that make up the entire kingdom (yeah, something I’m noticing while rewatching these episodes is that the artists really hate to draw a good handful of characters. I mean, obviously they couldn’t draw the entire kingdom, but c’mon! Lady isn’t even there) float off into the night sky.

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This is one I really adore. From the intense and creepy atmosphere to the relationship between Finn and Jake, it’s an especially tough one to get through, and I mean that in the best way possible. Another one of my favorite parts of the episode is the subtle way they leave it up for debate as to how long Finn was actually asleep for. Was the six months conclusion a product of Jake’s damaged brain? Did he mean six months in magical dog years? Or was Finn legitimately in a coma for six whole months? I always tend to gto with the middle option, but I think it’s really arguable and I’d be willing to settle with any conclusion in that regard. It’s also worth noting that it’s the first time Glob is mentioned as a legitimate religious figure: something that would become a staple with Moynihan’s episodes later on. As is, I have little to no issues or complaints about this one. It’s a trip through psychological terror that I truly never get sick of watching, and one that I hold with very high regards in a season of already high ranked episodes.

Favorite line: “(just had his legs broken) … Whatever.”

“The Creeps” Review

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Original Airdate: October 17, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Jesse Moynihan

From the premise alone, you’d think The Creeps was a cheap imitation of the season two episode Mystery Train. However, The Creeps cleverly acknowledges its recycling and even pays homage to Mystery Train, in an execution that makes this episode stand out on top in my book. It’s much more diverse in its cast of characters, and even leaves us wanting a bit more by the end.

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The atmosphere in general in this one is much more desolate. Whereas Mystery Train was pretty much straightforward comedy, The Creeps adds a bit of a horror element to it, increasing the tension behind the murder mystery and the gang’s surroundings. There’s generally a lot of nightmare fuel within this episode as well, with PB melting, BMO’s face being ripped off, Cinnamon Bun’s eye drooping into BMO’s body… it’s all pretty nasty. It makes me really wonder why Jake goes through great lengths to potentially traumatize his younger brother. But hey, he’s thirteen. The kid can handle it.

I also like how the culprit of this episode isn’t really clear. The conductor of the mystery train was pretty obviously Jake to me, but here, I was kinda second guessing myself a lot. It bounces back from Finn, to Jake, to Finn, to some sort of outside force. It’s a twist that I really didn’t see coming, and the fast, thrilling pace of the episode leave little time for you to even have time to think about it. Jake puts on a damn good front as well. His blatant acknowledgement of the fact that they had already done a murder mystery before, his ability to get everyone else in on it, and even small details, like the fact that he was disappointed with his nickname “Randy Butternubs”. He was totally the one who picked out those names!

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In addition, I really love the cast of characters they chose for this episode. It’s an interesting choice of people, but they all work off of each other really well. Some great exchanges in this one, from CB trying to flirt with Lumpy Space Princess, LSP’s melodramatic monologue regarding her ex-boyfriend Brad, Finn’s infatuation for PB allowing him to remember something as insignificant as what he wrote on her birthday card two years prior, and the constant distrust Jake shares towards Finn a majority of the episode. It’s rare we ever get to see a group of characters like these interact with each other, and I really think that adds to the episode tremendously. This could’ve been a completely self-contained murder mystery, but the way each character attributes their own unique presence makes the entire experience much more enjoyable. There’s also one of my favorite BMO lines:

When bad things happen, I know you want to believe they are a joke. But sometimes, life is scary, and dark. That is why we must find the light.

The fun part about it is that it isn’t even supposed to be taken completely seriously based on the circumstances, as BMO was just looking around for a light switch. It works entirely as a beautifully out-of-nowhere bit of poignancy that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a mostly comedic episode. I do have one gripe with this scene in general though: isn’t BMO in on Jake’s plan? Why would the two of them be talking about something scary and dangerous happening if they know exactly what’s going on? Perhaps BMO wasn’t in on the plan till later on? I dunno, it’s pretty much just an afterthought.

This episode also introduces the ghost from the mansion, which will later have a much bigger role later on. For now, she’s simply locked in Finn’s vault, where he hides all of the traumatizing material he experiences. Maybe it makes sense that Finn’s so unaffected by his friends dying grotesquely around him. He can just simply lock it away anytime he wishes. I do really love the way they carry out the ghost scene by treating it as one little glimpse of information to chew on while the conclusion sets in. Finn’s experience of almost dying via train the last time Jake pulled this stunt was a scary thought, but even scarier for Finn is something he can’t entirely understand or even believe before his own eyes.

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A very minor thing, but I also really love the attention to detail with the outfits in this episode. Ako designed a majority of the masks and costumes, and it treats the characters like visual candy (as I frequently say on this blog, no pun intended) by diverting from the standard models. It’s rare we ever get to see Jake, LSP, or Cinnamon Bun fully clothes, and even more interesting is the fact that when Jake stretches, his clothes stretch with him. Not sure if I should consider that an error or a fun visual gag. It can be two things.

Overall, I like this one a lot. It really does a lot with the murder mystery story and uses it to its greatest advantage, something it’s predecessor, Mystery Train, did not. It’s jam packed full of fun jokes, including the false personas of each character (Duchess Gummybuns and Guy Farting being two of my favorites) and its creepy atmosphere keeps me coming back for more. This is certainly one that isn’t getting locked up in the vault anytime soon.

Favorite line: “난 제이크랑 항상 한 몸이 되는데. (Jake and I merge our bodies all the time.)”

“Wizard Battle” Review

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Original Airdate: August 29, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Ako Castuera & Jesse Moynihan

Wizard Battle is a bit of a missed opportunity in my book. Instead of taking the time to actually show us some really cool wizard battles (this really could’ve simply been a standalone Ice King episode of himself participating in the battle) it’s mostly shaped down to a pretty simplistic, yet mildly effective Finn-PB romance plot.

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In general, pretty much all the wizards are there. Huntress Wizard, Laser Wizard, Bufo, Grand Master Wizard, and so on. Even Science Whyzard is there, who is actually just Doctor Princess in disguise. What a bizarrely interesting cameo that makes for as well. What prompted the writers to have Doctor Princess pretend to be a wizard? Considering her character’s entire life is a giant facade, it actually does make sense with her identity that she’d make up an entirely new false persona.

It’s a considerably weaker Ice King episode, since he really doesn’t have any strong characterization or motives besides simply wanting to kiss Princess Bubblegum. And c’mon, where are his ice nunchucks from Chamber of Frozen Blades?? That could’ve easily solved the barely addressed conflict of the IK cheating right there. Though he doesn’t take a large amount of focus, because this is the debut episode for Abracadaniel. Abracadaniel’s a humorous dork; he’s definitely not one of my favorite side characters, and in terms of awkward nerdlings, I think I’d choose Banana Man over him. He still gets a decent amount of good lines, and I still really love that Steve Little delivery. The animation and timing for how much he struggles to use his wand is really terrific and only strengthens the experience of Abracadaniel’s incredibly weakness as as wizard.

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Love the total of five people in the audience. I hope that gator had a good birthday.

It’s also a bit odd to see Princess Bubblegum at a pro-wizards event, considering how strongly she feels about magic versus science. Even weirder is her subjecting herself to being seen as a prize to anyone who participates in wizard battle. As Jesse Moynihan gracefully stated:

“She’s a diplomat, her number one priority is to keep the peace.”

And from Kent Osborne:

“It’s like the president participating in an Easter egg hunt.”

I still think it’s a bit of a stretch that she’d attend an event like this, but it seems like she isn’t completely taking it seriously to begin with. The only one who’s really taking it seriously is Finn, who arrives at a breaking point when it comes to his feelings for Bubblegum. The real meat of the episode is when he blows up at Jake, simply because it’s taken Finn this long to be completely honest with his feelings about PB. Though at the same time, it’s somewhat odd. Wasn’t Finn pretty upfront with Jake about wanting to go out with the Princess back in Too Young? It seems like this scene could’ve fit a bit more gracefully back in season two, but nevertheless, it’s a very well performed moment of turmoil that doesn’t take itself too seriously or dramatically.

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Besides that one scene though, I think the rest of the episode is pretty disposable. I love a lot of the designs of the wizards, including Finn and Jake’s cosplay outfit, and I really would’ve enjoyed seeing some of the many interactions between them. There’s plenty of quirky gags and funny lines to get me through, but Finn’s infatuation with PB just isn’t enough to keep me invested in the plot, and I think this was a point when these types of stories were becoming stale. We pretty much know for certain that, as of Too Young, PB totally isn’t going to slide for Finn romantically. That’s not to say his infatuation can’t go in an interesting direction, like it does later in this season. But Wizard Battle takes it in a direction that just feels repetitive. I’m glad that Finn got his one kiss from PB (his very last in the series, as well) but I’m also glad this is the last episode that deals with his love for Finn in such a competitive way. 

At least Ice King looks crazy see-yik in those glasses though.

Favorite line: “Well, I’m going back to my cave to wait for someone to kill me. Goodbye.”

“Memory of a Memory” Review

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Original Airdate: July 25, 2011

Written & Storyboarded by: Tom Herpich & Ako Castuera

I incorrectly stated that Conquest of Cuteness was the last Tom-Ako board in my episode review. This is actually the last episode written and storyboarded by the pair, and it’s certainly a good episode to go out on. It’s a very interesting look at Marceline’s past history that I’d actually even like to see this as a half hour special. Just Finn and Jake exploring the memories of Marceline’s past and exploring a new understanding of herself along the way. They did fine with the time they were given, but I can’t help but feel like this one was a bit rushed.

The reason for that is that there’s a lot of exposition at the beginning. It’s all for a purpose, as it is a convoluted inception-type story, which requires a good bit of explanation for the audience. However, it does make the exploration through Marceline’s memories feel all the more shorter, while I feel as though there were points in history I’d like to see more. But of course, this is still early in the series. There are many, many more episodes where we delve deeper in Marceline’s history, so really, I’m just nitpicking.

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The memories Finn and Jake do end up exploring are really interesting. I really love the background details of the scene with young Marcy. Some burning building, tanks, and broken debris continue to entertain the story of the apocalypse, and Marcy’s experiences through it. In addition, I just think young Marcy is too cute. The actress Ava Acres (who actually plays Young PB as well) is really terrific when capturing the innocence of a younger Marceline, while also adding charm and flair to her line deliveries. This episode also introduces Hambo, which will have a much bigger role in the series later on. It is noteworthy that Marcy states “Hambo is my only friend,” which makes me wonder when this flashback is supposed to take place. Simon must have still been around then, as Marceline still appears to be very young. Perhaps it was a point where he was beginning to lose himself more, distancing Marcy. Whatever the reason, it still lines up pretty solidly with everything we’ve learned about Marceline up to now.

Transitioning into a memory with an older Marceline is the hilarious addition of the scene with Hunson literally eating Marcy’s fries, much to her dismay. A bit of fun trivia is that in the Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook, this scene is included as a point to emphasize the breaking point of Marceline and Hunson’s relationship with each other (as implied in the song) and the fact that food was fairly scarce during this time, leaving a plate of fries being the only thing Marceline had to eat. Here, it’s just used as a nice little humorous gap following up one of AT’s most popular songs.

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Other great memories explored are the time Marceline lived in the treehouse, her time with her ex-boyfriend Ash, and the final jump to the memory core. The memory core looks really dope. Once the boys enter in, it’s an artistically fluid trip that displays some of the most ambition artwork the show has covered yet. It really feels like something out of a trippy 70’s animated movie, and it’s disappointing it only last for a short bit of time. The reveal that Ash was behind all of it is a relatively good twist. I actually really like the character of Ash. He’s a giant douche, but they manage to give him a lot of funny lines and avoid turning him into the typical snobby jerk you see in most cartoons. He’s just kind of a dumb loser, with zero moral empathy for those around him. Also, the idea of a wizard dating a vampire is pretty rad! Hooray for diversity!

The resolution for the conflict is actually something I think is really clever as well. I think it somewhat comes out of nowhere, as when was there ever a point where Finn actually mentioned this plan before he just went ahead and did it? Besides that, it’s a pretty inventive solution to the issue by entering Finn’s memories. However, it really only makes me want an episode that explores Finn’s memories. The premise for this episode is such a good concept that I wouldn’t mind if every character’s past history was explored this way at some point. All we get from Finn’s past is the now viral Buff Baby song, which is admittedly a lot of fun. Also, it takes place in Joshua and Margaret’s house! That’s three direct mentions of Finn and Jake being adoptive brothers in a row. It feels like the writers were really trying to stress that this season. The episode ends on the best way possible: some delightfully painful abuse towards Ash, courtesy by Finn, Marceline, and Jake’s giant foot. One way to know that Ako is boarding an episode is that she loves drawing Jake with toes.

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In the end, I do enjoy this one, I just wish it had a little more time to breathe. There are just so many great ideas and interesting character explorations that I wish the show could go one step further with it. As I mentioned though, there’s plenty more of Marceline’s past to be explored in the future, so I’m okay with this brief and fun journey through her life experiences.

Favorite line: “Ash gets hungies at eight o’ clock, you need to get back in the kitchen and make me dinner.”