“Fool, this is life! Get a hot dog if you can’t take the bun.”
It’s a well-documented fact that I do not typically endorse sets which only contain partial releases from a show’s season. That being said I will be breaking from that trend as I recommend Adventure Time: Stakes!. This release centers around everyone’s favorite vampire queen Marceline (Olivia Olson, Phineas and Ferb). The miniseries is a fairly self-contained story which helps me recommend this disc. Consisting of eight episodes, the plot revolves around Marceline’s origin story which then takes a turn to become a sort of Kill Bill-esque type of thing. If you’re a fan of Adventure Time then this is definitely a disc worth considering.
The only aspect I’m not sure about in terms of a recommendation is whether or not this disc can be used to introduce someone to Adventure Time. On the one hand you have a lot of the elements of the show presented such as Finn (Jeremy Shada, Incredible Crew), and Jake (John Dimaggio, The Penguins of Madagascar), the Land of Ooo, and the same animation style, not to mention Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch, Teen Titans Go!) and Marceline, who are both recurring characters. I’m just not sure that a new viewer would appreciate the subtle differences between this set and a typical Adventure Time release. One example of a subtle difference is changing the theme song so that in this case it’s sung by Marceline with a few words changed to fit her situation. That said I tend to fall more on the side of believing someone can appreciate those differences more if they’re already a fan of the series.
Here are the episodes included:
* “Marceline the Vampire Queen” — Marceline’s backstory part one.
* “Everything Stays” — Marceline’s backstory part two.
* “Vamps About” — Marceline versus The Fool (Ron Funches, Undateable).
* “The Empress Eyes” — Marceline versus The Empress (Rebecca Romijn, The Librarians).
* “May I Come In” — Marceline versus The Hierophant (Paul Williams, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement)
* “Take Her Back”…Marceline versus The Moon (Beau Billingslea, Naruto: Shippuden).
* “Checkmate” — Marceline versus The Vampire King (Billy Brown, How to Get Away with Murder).
* “The Dark Cloud” — The epic finale.
Even though it’s not released as a Blu-ray, there are no issues with either technical component. The 1.78:1 video transfer may tend to be a little bit darker than the normal almost-psychedelic palette featured in regular episodes of Adventure Time however the video itself is very well saturated and lovely to look at. The slight deviations which occur in this disc don’t involve deviating from the very specific animation style Adventure Time is so well known for. There is definitely more music within these eight episodes than is the norm but the Dolby Digital 2.0 track definitely embraces that music and never betrays any kind of hollowness or any other issues. Considering how simple the music tends to be the sound space definitely would highlight issues. Overall no issues with either audio or video to speak of.
Special features include some animatics, some song demos, as well as an art gallery.
In breaking with the norm, I’m recommending Adventure Time: Stakes! as a stand-alone disc. It’s a self-contained story with enough elements fans will appreciate. If you’re new to the series, I recommend watching the season-length releases, otherwise you may not appreciate the differences this one highlights.