I have said this many times, “Cartoons nowadays are not as good as they used to be” but perhaps I’ve finally found a solid exception to this. The show “Adventure Time” is on it’s second season on Cartoon Network, and I have been following it the whole way. I feel like a complete dork tuning in on Monday nights to watch a cartoon about a magical dog and a boy with an awesome hat, but I can’t help it. This show is something amazing and new all together; from the character designs to the story lines this show is filled to the brim with imagination and wit.
“Adventure Time” is about a 12 year old human boy named Finn and his magical stretchy dog named Jake. Together they seek adventure and punish evil in the land of “Ooo”, which is a mixed up land of infinite possibilities. In the past year this show has gained popularity among children and adults alike for its imaginative story lines and relate-able humor. The show actually had a cult following before it had even premiered on Cartoon Network on April 5 of last year. The creator, Pendalton Ward originally created the show as a short animation for Nickelodeon. It was one of many featured in the “Random Cartoon” showcase. However, “Adventure Time” went viral on the Internet and received such good feedback that it was picked up by Cartoon Network for a series.
Ward says that in the creation of “Adventure Time” he, was influenced by things like Dungeons & Dragons, and the Hayo Miyazaki film “My Nieghbor Totoro” which make sense when analyzing the way Finn and Jake are constantly taking part in a quest, or interacting with strange magical creatures. In stereotypical fantasy fashion, they make a habit of rescuing princesses and thwarting evil foes, but this show isn’t as innocently magical as you might think. Behind its colorful and silly exterior lie dark and surreal messages. In many instances the things characters say in this show betray their appearance. Adult dialogue is rampant throughout the show, but not in the raunchy or offensive way that “adult dialogue” would imply. No, this adult dialogue is the kind that comes from experience, wisdom, and life experiences. Sometimes when Finn talks I find myself laughing because the things he says would never be spoken by a twelve year old boy. Observations about relationships, philosophy, morality, and other complex topics are introduced through quick character interaction.
In one instance Finn decides to create an infinite-pie-throwing-robot (NEPTR) in order to prank Jake, but when it becomes self aware it realizes the flaws in its own design and briefly questions the value of its own existence.
Most shows for kids would have the characters be completely black and white, we know who is evil and we know who is good. Adventure time is not so cut and dry; we see characters who appear evil but, when examined, are actually just lonely or confused. Even the good characters have times when they question their own morality, or are tempted to do evil acts.
Along with the appealing visual animation, sophisticated themes, and complex characters, “Adventure Time” boasts a great cast of voice actors. A few exceptionally note-worthy voice actors are John DiMaggio who voices Jake the dog in the series. He is also known for his work as Bender on the show “Futurama” as well as the voice of Marcus Fenix in the “Gears of War” video games. Hynden Walch voices Princess Bubblegum in the series, and is best known for her role as Starfire on “The Teen Titans.”
Perhaps the biggest name in voice acting on the show is Tom Kenny who voices the evil Ice King in the series. He is famous for his role as Spongebob Squarepants in the show of the same name.
This show is the perfect storm of humor and creativity, it passes every possible test I could possibly conceive for an animated series, and it pulls me into cartoons the way I used to be as a child. Without hesitation I give this show a five out of five stars.
“Adventure Time” airs Mondays at 8pm on Cartoon network. If you have children, or enjoy some good animation then I would highly suggest tuning in. It’s worth mentioning that there are plenty of websites where you can view the show in it’s entirety for free. For those of you who do not watch television, this makes it incredibly easy to keep up with this amazing show. I am sure the creators don’t mind people watching their show online, they owe the shows success to its online followers.