Set in the Land of Ooo more than thousand years after the Great Mushroom War, the animated fantasy TV series Adventure Time presents the imaginative adventures of a 13-year-old human boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his best friend Jake (John DiMaggio), a dog with the ability to shapeshift. Among their pals are their Tree Fort roommate BMO (Niki Yang), a living game console; Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), who is made out of bubblegum and rules over the Candy Kingdom; and Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson). Created by Pendleton Ward, the series airs on the Cartoon Network, where it is currently in the middle of its sixth season.
Following Jake the Dad, The Suitor is the sixth volume of 16 randomly collected Adventure Time cartoons. There are nine episodes from Season Five, three from Season Four, one from Season Three, two from Season Two, and lastly, one from Season One. The first three seasons have already been released in complete sets, so I know that at least those episodes have been released before. Obviously these small sets are a popular option, but for a completist/obsessive-compulsive like myself, it’s tough not knowing which episodes are in what volume, particularly when the narrative about the the characters and their relationships evolves.
Not sure why they chose it as the DVD title, but “The Suitor” is an interesting story about love and obsession as a suitor named Braco tries to woo Princess Bubblegum, who has no interest in him or any suitor. The episode also shows Peppermint Butler practicing black magic and calling forth demons, which seems rather dark for a kids’ cartoon.
Yet the makers do seem to want to challenge its viewers. In ‘Wizards Only, Fools,” Princess Bubblegum is very adamant in her belief of science over magic no matter the cost, which could easily translate to reason over faith in the real world, in a subtle subversive way. In “Another Five More Short Graybles,” the third of this type of episode, the overarching theme tying the grayables together is the five stages of grief, rather heady stuff compared to the Roadrunner cartoons I grew up with and the toy commercials passing as cartoons that dominated the ’80s.
Some of my favorite in this collection are the very funny “Shh!” where Jake and Finn decide to not talk for the day; “Be More”, which provdes some history about BMO; Marceline and Princess Bubblegum going on an adventure in “Sky Witch”; and “King Worm”, a dream episode filled with past and future shows references.
The remaining episodes are “James Baxter the Horse”, “Red Starved”, “The Vault”, “Hug Wolf”, “Beyond This Earthly Realm”, “Morituri Te Salutamus”, “Heat Signature”, “Blood Under the Skin”, “Henchmen.” Guest voices in this collection include Emo Phillips, Aziz Ansari, Paul F. Tompkins, Chuck McCann. The sole bonus feature is “Little Did You Know,” a text gallery offering info about five characters that appear in the collection.