“What the funky fresh, honey?”
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen all of Season Four yet so keep that in mind when I discuss things which have come before.
Adventure Time takes the viewer to the Land of Ooo, a post-apocalyptic world where the lack of rules and cohesion can best be compared to a video game in which each level has its own goals and patterns of behavior required to successfully navigate the realm. And like in a video game we have heroes who act as an audience surrogate, guiding us through Ooo along the way. In this instance it’s Finn the human (Jeremy Shada) and Jake the dog (John DiMaggio) and Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season brings us all 52 of the duo’s adventures. The brothers and brothers-in-arms spend the season navigating the treacherous waters, pits, grassy plains and slime of Ooo and its assorted dimensions while trying to respect the new additions to their lives. In Finn’s case its girlfriend Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco) while in Jake’s case he’s welcomed five puppies with his significant other Lady Rainicorn (Niki Yang).
Adventure Time has always been a show which balances the absurd with the deliberate and this fifth season is no different but there is a definite leaning more toward the deliberate this time around. Season Five feels the most cohesive of any season released in its entirety thus far. We not only have storylines which run more than one episode long we also have more callbacks to previous episodes in this and other seasons than ever before. One of the selling points of Adventure Time is that you can jump in to any episode and get a feel for whether or not you want to keep watching. The writers do a very good job of referencing past facts viewers may need to be reminded of without making it necessary to have seen the episode or scene in question. However this season felt to me as if you were rewarded for being a long-time viewer more than before. Yes, the bits of data are recapped for a new (or merely forgetful) viewer but I feel as though a new viewer is missing out for not having seen all the previous episodes more than I have felt before.
Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season makes sure to include all of the fans’ favorites including Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), Marceline (Olivia Olson), Beemo (Niki Yang) and of course Ice King (Tom Kenny). But there are always new characters to embrace and this season my faves are Root Beer Guy (Jack Pendarvis) and Rattleballs (Rainn Wilson).
Technical specs are a bit of a mixed bag this go around. The visuals are stunning, with almost day-glo levels at times and once again the show plays around with various visual forms, giving the transfer a nice set of parameters to juggle. The video is a 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.78:1 transfer and aside from deliberate messing around with the imagery there are no complaints here. At least not from the visual side of things because once again the audio is a disappointing Dolby 2.0. At this point that’s par for the course, though, so my wish for the soundscape to be more filled and rich will likely continue to go unfulfilled.
Light on the special features this go around. There’s a featurette about the history of Adventure Time, UltraViolet copies of the episodes and animatics serving as our choices.
That math-magical uber set I prophesied hasn’t come to pass yet and thus these full season releases are the way to go, especially in Blu-ray.
What the what? You say Fionna and Cake make an appearance? Totally scores a math verdict!