“It’s also all about battles! And mystery!! And Monsters!!! And nicknames, like “Randy Butternubs”!!!!”
Now entering its sixth season, Adventure Time has more than proven it has staying power. Just in time to herald the sixth season’s arrival is the release of Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray). At the end of Season Two’s cliffhanger, Finn (Jeremy Shada) was equal parts terrified and excited to learn Princess Bubblegum had regressed to a 13 year old girl. And Season Three does in fact return to resolve the cliffhanger though it’s not immediately. We were also left to wonder if the subject of puberty would be a recurring theme as Finn was shown turning thirteen. And it is dealt with though not in over-the-top ways but rather through a more philosophical approach which I like. Finn deals with questions that only start occurring to kids as they are on the precipice of outgrowing childhood. There are issues of death, of the expectations of one’s parents, and the heartbreak of first love. Though the topics may be weighty their treatment is not, with the writers taking a deft hand to ensure the fun of the show is never mired by the real issues the target audience may be contemplating.
The animation doesn’t demonstrate the wide range of styles seen in Season Two but it still maintains the high quality of that season. One of my favorite episodes this season is “Fionna and Cake” which plays with the characters by transforming their genders. The most appealing aspect of the episode for me is the writer’s ability to keep the personality of the characters so intact as to make them easily recognizable. The rest of Season Three boasts plenty of what makes Adventure Time such a beloved show. There are lots of silly songs, dances, battles, physical humor and puns a-plenty.
Season Three is a return to form in terms of quality, blending the randomness of season one with the more concentrated through-lines of Season Two. However for it to become a show with strictly straightforward story mythology building would be a mistake. One of the biggest joys of Adventure Time is the show’s ability to perfectly capture the wonder and freedom inherent in being young. Too much of a focus on building the show’s mythology would take away the very thing which makes it so special.
* “Conquest of Cuteness”
King Snuggadoodle and the Huggaboopies want to conquer Finn and Jake (John DiMaggio) but they aren’t skilled warriors.
* “Morituri te Salutamus”
The Fight King traps Finn and Jake in his arena where they are forced to fight gladiator ghosts.
* “Memory of a Memory”
Marceline is trapped in a sleep spell and the only way to get her out is to retrieve one of her memories from inside her mind.
Ice King (Tom Kenny) hires a hitman, not realizing the nature of his request.
* “Too Young”
Earl of Lemongrab takes over Princess Bubblegum’s throne when she is deemed too young to rule.
* “The Monster”
Lumpy Space Princess is missing and her parents ask Finn and Jake to find her.
Ice King freezes Finn and Jake from the neck down and forces them to hang out with him.
* “Wizard Battle”
To win a kiss from Princess Bubblegum Finn must pretend to be a wizard.
* “Adventure Time with Fiona and Cake”
Ice King tells the story of an alternative universe.
* “What Was Missing”
A Door Lord appears in Ooo and Finn and Jake must track down the possessions he has stolen.
* “Apple Thief”
When Finn convinces Jake to go to Tree Trunks’ house they are devastated to learn all of her apples have been stolen, meaning no more pies until they retrieve them.
* “The Creeps”
Finn and Jake go a masquerade hosted by Count Creepystein.
* “From Bad to Worse”
A sugar zombie horde is taking over and it’s up to Finn, Jake, Lumpy Space Princess and Rainicorn to recreate the reversal formula.
Susan Strong returns with another adventure for Finn and Jake to accompany her on.
* “No One Can Hear You”
Finn wakes up after spending six months in a coma.
* “Jake vs. Me-Mow”
A very small cat assassin poisons Jake and forces him to go after Wildberry Princess.
* “Thank You”
A snow golem finds a lost fire wolf puppy.
* “The New Frontier”
Jake has a “croak dream” and it freaks Finn out, especially when it appears to be coming true.
* “Holly Jolly Secrets”
During this special two-part episode Finn and Jake discover a case of the Ice King’s old VHS tapes and decide they must uncover any secrets contained within their contents.
* “Marceline’s Closet”
Jake and Finn go into Marceline’s house uninvited and are forced into hiding in her closet to avoid detection.
* “Another Way”
Finn wants to go find a cyclops to help him mend his broken toes while Jake is just fine with the creepy clown nurses he hired.
* “Paper Pete”
Jake and Finn go to the library where Jake throws himself into learning about rainicorns while Finn goes on a quest to aid in a war raging within the library’s shelves.
* “Ghost Princess”
Ghost Princess gives the boys a mystery to solve…how she died.
* “Dad’s Dungeon”
Dad appears in a hologram to let the boys know he built a dungeon for them but he has an ulterior motive.
Jake wants to help Finn get over Bubblegum Princess so he sets out to find Finn a new love interest.
Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) is a visual feast. The 1.78:1/1080p HD widescreen transfer sports incredibly saturated colors and though the show favors a more simple animation style it is consistently clean. The Dolby 2.0 audio track remains a bit of a disappointment. With the inclusion of not only so many musical elements, the show really deserves an upgrade.
Bonus features include the always appreciated audio commentaries, an alternate opening title sequence, and two featurettes — “The Complete Third Season” as well as “How An Idea Becomes Adventure Time.” One thing which may not be a special feature per se but one I appreciate is the case design. Care is taken in making the packaging’s appearance into a character from the show. We’ve had Ice King, Finn, and now Beemo. A neat touch.
Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season wins me over. The episodes are quick, but they make use of their runtime, packing each story with jokes, fun, and the requisite adventure, grabbing the attention of kid and adult audiences alike. A rare feat. The show’s mythology continues to build, but has yet to reach the point where you need to watch these episodes in order. You can still pick up the show at any point and easily become a fan. Each episode hearkens back to an imaginative childhood I could only dream of having. The mathematical glob-tacular show earns a recommendation to purchase.
Not guilty. Righteous!