Top 5 Adventure Time Episodes (Season 3)

Welcome back to another installment of my AT blogs! Today, I’m looking at Season 3, which as usual left me struggling to narrow down both my list and honorable mentions. I had debated putting “Holly Jolly Secrets Part II” on the list, but I felt the big discovery at the end of the episode didn’t make up for how kind of boring the rest of it and Part I were. Ultimately, my choices reflect my interest in these episodes, and people are more than welcome to disagree. That said, let’s get down to business.

5. What Was Missing

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I consider this episode as sort of a pseudo-musical one. The story kicks off with a door lord apparently stealing precious items from Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline and locks himself behind a door.. They decide to band together and become, well, a band when they discover the door responds to music. The songs are pretty good, and I liked the concept of singing as the way to open the door. I did like the hints of backstory involving PB and Marceline, and you can easily take the implications of their past as romantic or purely friendship. Plus, I really liked the camaraderie between the group. Overall, I felt it was a fun episode.

4. Thank You

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This was apparently a Thanksgiving Day special and is one of the very few Finn and Jake-lite episodes in the series. This by no means makes it a bad episode, as while they do appear briefly, their screentime is pretty hilarious as they battle Ice King over a sandwich. But the core of this episode is my favorite, as a Snow Golem finds himself taking care of a fire wolf pup. Obviously, with him being ice and the pup being fire, they don’t make the greatest match. But he doesn’t let that stop him from caring for the pup. I really liked the design and concept of the fire wolves, and the puppy was just adorable. The Snow Golem was a great silent character and had good humorous moments through his expressions and reactions. All in all, I loved this one for its simplicity and heartwarming ending.

3. Incendium

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This episode marked the end of Season 3, and while I can’t say it’s the best finale, it did move a lot of story aspects along. Finn learns to get over Princess Bubblegum thanks to Jake’s attempt to set him up with the Flame Princess, who he quickly gets a crush on. I consider Flame Princess to be my favorite of all of them, and it has nothing to do with her interactions with Finn. I find her character a bit fun and interesting. This episode also introduces the Fire Kingdom, which looked almost and had plenty of neat character designs, and the douchey Fire King as played by Keith David, who does an awesome job. I really liked Jake’s role as well, showing that he cares for Finn and wants him to get over PB for his own sake. I just really enjoyed Finn’s development in this and the expansion of Ooo with the kingdom’s appearance.

2. Memory of a Memory

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Yes, this is the first instance where a Marceline episode didn’t make the top spot, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t close. This episode dives more into Marceline’s past (and a tiny bit of Finn’s) by having Finn and Jake retrieve a memory from her brain for a mysterious man. We learn about an ex-boyfriend of hers named Ash, which is a character I rightfully grew to hate and was glad to see get his comeuppance. I’ve always been a fan of dream and memory-based episodes because of the creativity involved, and this revealed a few details involving Ash and also part of her childhood. I enjoyed how Finn resolves everything by the end, and his little baby song and dance was incredibly catchy and too cute. This episode would’ve easily been in the top spot had it not been for my instant love of my top pick.

1. Fionna and Cake

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Yes, I know people love and hate this episode, but from the moment it started I was instantly drawn into it. Even with the admittedly surprisingly twist at the end, I enjoy episodes that can take established characters and create alternate universes with them, in this case a genderbent one. I liked the little nuances used to separate the characters from their counterparts, like Fionna appearing older and slightly more wiser than Finn and Lord Monochromicorn speaking in Morse code versus Lady Rainicorn speaking Korean. Plot-wise, it’s a pretty standard and simplistic, with Fionna and Cake taking on the Ice Queen and Fionna being wooed by Prince Gumball. I liked this, though, as it kept the adventurous feel of a normal episode with a girl’s take on romance and ultimately self-worth. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Gumball was played by Neil Patrick Harris, who is an actor that can do pretty much no wrong in my eyes. His sequence where he sings to Fionna was great, mixing a lovey dovey song with a scene that throws in a bit of violence for fun. Overall, I hope this universe continues to be explored in some way, because I can’t get enough of these characters and their stories.

Honorable Mentions:  Holly Jolly Secrets Part II, Jake vs. Me-Mow, Marceline’s Closet, Ghost Princess, The Creeps, From Bad to Worse, Beautopia

And that’s my list for Season 3. As always, feel free to comment whether you agree, disagree, or have episodes you enjoy that I didn’t mention. I’ll see you all back here on Sunday for Season 4!

Top 5 Adventure Time Episodes (Season 2)

Welcome back to my AT week of blogs! Today, I’m going to list some of my fave episodes from Season 2. The choices are already getting tougher to narrow down, and I even had to cut the list just for the honorable mentions alone! With that said, let’s not waste time and get to it.

5. Guardians of Sunshine

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As I’ve said multiple times, I’m an avid gamer. So when this episode popped up, I knew I was gonna love it from the start. Not only do we reach the point of gaming bot BMO becoming a character, but we also have a change-up in the show’s style when Finn and Jake are transported into the game Guardians of Sunshine. I liked the 8-bit feel of it and seeing them struggle with foes that are normally easy to beat when they’re controlling the game. I also enjoyed the ending, not just for seeing these creatures in the “real” world, but also the abrupt ending signaling BMO about to get sweet revenge on the two heroes. It’s a fun little episode, and while I liked “Video Makers” for similar reasons (albeit making and editing videos instead of playing games), this one just appealed to me much more.

4. The Real You

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I’ll admit, I’m not an overly huge fan of Princess Bubblegum. I do appreciate that she’s got an interest in science and isn’t always a damsel, but I never thought she was overly interesting (and later seasons haven’t helped her image for me). However, I was really surprised by “The Real You.” I always liked the idea of a character getting smarter, and Finn was the perfect choice given his tendency to go over the top with stuff. I liked the PB basically helped save the day by making him realize how far he’d gone, and the little touch with how he loses his sword (which happens throughout the series with others) was good for continuity purposes. I also caught and enjoyed the extra hints to where the Land of Ooo is and how it became what it is.

3. Go With Me

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Make no mistake, you’re going to see at least one Marceline episode in each list. I just find her episodes to be interesting, and “Go With Me” was no exception. We get a little hint into her and Bubblegum’s animosity, and this episode also gives pretty good indications about why neither of these girls would be suitable for Finn. It does show us just how different they both are as well. I also liked that Finn and Jake have basically drive-in movie nights and the ending was pretty funny. Honestly, I had a lot of fun with this one, and the fact that it didn’t try to force romance made the jokes and story that much better.

2. Mortal Folly/Mortal Recoil

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I’m lumping these together as they’re a two-parter and the true season finale of Season 2. These episodes give us a new reoccurring villain besides the Ice King, a creepy demonic-like creature known as the Lich. I really liked the dark, dramatic tone here, with “Mortal Folly” being a “end of the world” scenario and “Mortal Recoil” being very much like “The Exorcist.” The Lich is seemingly destroyed, only to possess Bubblegum and remain that way through most of the second half. The slightly cliffhanger ending was well done and the pretty blatantly disturbing imagery through both halves was kinda surprising for such a cheery-looking show. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite season finale, but it definitely left its mark.

1. It Came from the Nightosphere

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I know, it must seem like some kind of blasphemy to put yet another Marceline episode over the Lich’s first appearance, but this one had just too much good going for it. In it, we finally learn a little of Marceline’s backstory, most notably about her not-so-good relationship with her father. He runs the Nightosphere, which is basically Hell or at least a dimension like it. This episode had great character designs for whenever Marceline and her dad would freak out, and her dad is played off as a (literal) soul-sucker who just doesn’t pay enough attention to his daughter’s needs. We also have great interaction between Finn and Marceline, capitalizing off their bond that started in “Henchman.” This was also the point for me where the jokes started becoming a bit less random and more…clever, in a sense. Even as the first episode of Season 2, it left a lasting impression on me throughout.

Honorable Mentions:  Video Makers, Storytelling, Susan Strong, Mystery Train, To Cut a Woman’s Hair, Death in Bloom, Heat Signature

So, that was Season 2. Plenty of good stuff, especially writing wise, and it was leagues better than the majority of Season 1. Feel free to agree, disagree, or give your own favorites in the comments. See you all on Friday for Season 3!

Top 5 Adventure Time Episodes (Season 1)

Welcome to my first AT list! I’ve decided to tackle this week by doing a blog every other day. Also, since I’m not sure how often I’ll get to or feel like blogging when I start my job, these lists will act as coverage for that. I’ll still try to blog when I have the time, but we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, today’s list will focus on my top picks from Season 1. I can safely say that this season was my least favorite, though I understand that the show was trying to find its stride at the time. Despite that, there are still a few gems to be found here. I’ll also include some honorable mentions of episodes I enjoyed but found didn’t quite make the list. Let’s get started!

5. “Tree Trunks”

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While I enjoyed “Prisoners of Love,” I can’t help but point to “Tree Trunks” as the episode that started getting me into the show. Tree Trunks is far from my favorite character, but there’s something about her kind, old lady voice and sometimes sassy attitude that I like. I enjoyed Finn and Jake tackling monsters while she naively tried the same in the least effective ways possible, and the ending was a shock that both left me surprised by the abruptness of it and made me laugh a little as well. Who knew an apple pie-baking elephant would get me invested in this show?

4. “City of Thieves”

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I liked this episode for the fact that it plays on Finn’s morality as a hero. The city tempts people to steal and it was nice to see this temptation play out through Jake. I liked how innocent Penny was, though I didn’t trust her from the start, and how she basically played to Finn’s heroics by having him inadvertently steal something. I thought the city had fluid animations of various people stealing from others in succession and looked appropriately seedy and grimy. For a show (especially in this season) that focused on bright, cheerful colors in its locations, this was a nice break away from that to show that the Land of Ooo has its dark sides.

3. “Dungeon”

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I’m not a huge fan of dungeon crawlers, but this episode puts the “Adventure” in “Adventure Time” to me. It’s nice to see Finn and Jake try to tackle a quest without relying on each other, even if they figure out that it’s better they stick together in the end. I loved the dark atmosphere of the dungeon and the creative creatures inside it, especially the demon cat and evil angel. This was also the first time I got into Princess Bubblegum’s character outside of her love for science, as she ends up saving the two and is not pleased about it. I just really liked the laidback feel to this one and how it flowed from beginning to end.

2. “Evicted”

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Okay, I’m going to admit right here and now that throughout this show, Marceline the Vampire Queen has been my favorite character. Granted, a lot of that is my love for cool vampire characters, but her tragic backstory is also a huge factor. This episode introduces her, and I loved her from the moment she showed up. I enjoyed the music montage of Finn and Jake trying to find non-Marceline marked homes, and their battle with her huge bat form was pretty fun. The only thing that kept this episode from being the top was the bizarre ending involving some worms and the hypnotic King Worm, which wasn’t capitalized on (sorta) until a later season. Other than that bit of randomness, it was an all-around fun episode and introduction.

1. “Henchman”

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One thing I’ve noticed with the majority of Marceline appearances is you learn something new about her as a character. This episode mainly revolves around her tricking Finn into serving as her henchman and him forming a friendship with her. You get to see her trollish, slightly evil side as was shown in “Evicted,” but this episode also dives into her vampiric qualities and that she does things that seem bad for the sake of good. I like that she’s very much a tomboyish, rock star girl, and the explanation for what she eats (the color red, not particularly blood) was pretty funny and creative. If “Evicted” got me to love her character, “Henchman” got me wanting to learn more about her AS a character. It’s easily my favorite episode of the season, and it won’t be the last time she makes it onto a list.

Honorable Mentions:  Prisoners of Love, The Enchiridion, My Two Favorite People

So, there you have it, my top choices and honorable choices of episodes for Season 1. I know opinions will vary, and it’ll only get more difficult from here with many episodes have plot elements and even more solid writing. Join me here on Wednesday for my top picks of Season 2!

A Late Update

Well, it’s official. In the span of a day, I was interviewed and received a job as a cook for Dairy Queen. Yes, the fast food streak has continued to my chagrin, but I still plan to keep looking elsewhere. I’ll lose my freedom on June 5th, but until then I have some blogs planned for the week.

Having just caught up with Season 6 of “Adventure Time,” I’ve decided to dedicate next week to looking at my top 5 (or possibly more) episodes from each season. While the show had a rough start for me, I’ve grown to love plenty of things about it. My episode picks will span ones that made me laugh, ones that carried an interesting, dramatic edge, and a few with both.

I had also considered looking at my least favorite episodes, but to be honest, I’m not really in the mood to focus on negativity. I want these blogs to feel fun to me, just like the show has. Maybe I’ll even turn people onto checking it out or at least give good recommendations to those who have. Either way, I look forward to my last long week of free time and this little blog project. See you all soon!

Kirby: Triple Deluxe Review

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I’m a huge Kirby fan. Everything about the series from its cute designs to fun and simple gameplay has appealed to me since the day I played “Kirby’s Adventure” on the NES. There was no doubt in my mind when this game was announced for 3DS that I had to have it, and like many of the 3DS games I’ve bought, it was a worthwhile purchase. Let’s not waste time and break down why I enjoyed this adventure.

Story:

Kirby wakes up one day to find his house and King Dedede’s castle high in the clouds atop a huge beanstalk called the Dreamstalk. When Kirby goes to check in on Dedede, a strange spider-like creature kidnaps the king and forces Kirby to give chase. Kirby must travel to various lands collecting Sun Stones in order to discover who wants Dedede and why.

Like most Kirby games, the story’s simplistic but has a tiny bit of darkness to it once the villain shows up. Not only is the villain’s plot revealed but also the origin of the Dreamstalk itself, which was a nice touch. While the mastermind still isn’t my favorite Kirby villain, I did like its design and the motivation was pretty good. Also, the fact that you’re trying to catch up to Dedede to save him makes going through the six worlds seem more…plausible, if that makes sense. Overall, it’s pretty standard for a Kirby game, but I liked it.

Graphics:

I’ll admit, I don’t hardly play using 3D due to an eye stigma not allowing it to be seen properly, but despite that, Kirby: TD’s graphics look amazing on the 3DS. I liked the attention to detail in both the foregrounds and backgrounds, especially considering that you travel between both. Both the new and old enemies look as clean if not better than those found in “Kirby: Return to Dreamland,” which this game borrows elements from. The power-ups look great as well, especially the new rainbow-esque Hypernova one which allows you to suck up anything from trees to mini-bosses. Honestly, it felt like I was holding Return to Dreamland in the palm of my hand and has definitely set the bar for future portable Kirby games.

Sound:

To match the great graphics, the sound is incredibly well done as well. The new tracks made for the game suit the levels they’re presented in, and it incorporates plenty of remixes of nostalgic tracks for diehard fans. The sound effects invoke nostalgia as well with everything from grabbing extra lives to playing the cannon bonus game at the end of each level. As with most recent Kirby titles, Kirby has a few minor soundbites that, thankfully, are reduced to “Hiii!” and a few pained grunts when attacked to keep them from getting annoying. I feel the music complimented the gameplay pretty much perfectly.

Gameplay:

Speaking of, the meat of the game’s story mode is your typical Kirby fare. There are roughly five levels in each world with extra ones that get unlocked if you collect all of the world’s Sun Stones. In each level, Kirby runs, jumps, and fights through enemies and mini-bosses to collect these stones as well as special keychains. The keychains are more for show/nostalgia and are sprite representations of creatures and items from practically every main Kirby game. Needless to say, it was a fun challenge collecting all 256 of them in conjuction with the 100 Sun Stones found in the game.

Like with several Kirby games, new power-ups are available for Kirby to suck up and utilize besides the aforementioned Hypernova. These new ones are Archer, Circus, Beetle and Bell. Of the four, Beetle is my favorite for sheer attack power, though the others have their merits. Many classic mini-bosses return as well, such as Bonkers and Mr. Frosty. And once you’ve collected a certain number of Sun Stones, you will unlock that world’s boss. Many of these are new takes on old favorites, such as Whispy Woods as the new Flowery Woods, and have at least two stages of attacks. They’re not overly difficult once you get the pattern and can be fun to test out different power-ups on.

I also mentioned Return to Dreamland, and aside from the graphical style, this game does take elements from it. These include the key doors and portable cannons. Also, Hypernova sort of acts as a replacement to the “Super Kirby” segments of RtD, appearing in certain levels during scripted segments. I found that while it was used a little too often at times, it was much more fun as it incorporated minor puzzle-solving along with the path-clearing aspect.

Aside from the main story and collectibles, there are also a few special modes to play with two being available from the start and two others unlocked once the story’s been beat. The first two are Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash. Kirby Fighters pits one to four players against each other in small stages from the games, such as Dedede’s boxing ring. You can only use power-ups and item boxes will appear to give you healing items or attack items. It plays a lot like “Super Smash Bros.” and will probably tide me over until the next installment of that series. Dedede’s Drum Dash is a rhythm-based challenge where you must collect music notes as you bounce on drums in time with the music. It’s a bit difficult if you’re going for a gold rank, but it’s a decently fun distraction nonetheless.

The second two are the classic Arena mode and Dedede Tour!, which acts as the game’s time trial mode. Arena is a boss rush that pits you against several mini-bosses and bosses with limited healing items. Once you beat Dedede’s Tour!, you can unlock the True Arena, which features tougher bosses and even fewer healing items. Dedede’s Tour! puts you in the shoes of Dedede himself, and you must travel through all six worlds in the attempt to beat them as fast as you can. To help with this, levels involving the Hypernova segments are either shortened or removed entirely, and shortcut portals can be found hidden in each level. Both of these modes are a lot of fun and challenging. You can also unlock the Movie Theater and Jukebox, which allow you to view the game’s cutscenes and listen to every track.

Overall, “Kirby: Triple Deluxe” is an awesome Kirby game full of nostalgia that any veteran Kirby fan will enjoy. It’s easy enough for newcomers to dive into and get a little bit of Kirby “history” while they do. I honestly feel like this game could have easily commemorated Kirby’s 25th anniversary just as well as “Kirby’s Dream Collection” did. While I did feel Hypernova was a teeny tiny bit overused and the game was pretty easy for me, I had a blast playing it. If you’re looking to give Kirby a try, or you’re a huge fan of the pink puffball, you need to play this game. You’re sure to not regret it.

I give “Kirby: Triple Deluxe” a solid 9.5/10.

My Current Obsession: Adventure Time

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As the summer season is about to rear its head, a few shows I’ve been watching will come to an end for now, most notable Agents of Shield. To start filling the gaps, I’ve been looking into shows that have caught my attention or been recommended to me. Having seen my standard three episodes of “Adventure Time,” I can safely say I’ve found an…interesting show to watch in my spare time.

For those not in the know, “Adventure Time” is a surreal show aimed at kids and teens (though it seems more teen friendly to me). The show basically follows Finn the human boy and his magic dog Jake as they have, well, adventures in a strange land filled with mythical monsters, magic users and candy people. I’ve heard more coherent plotlines happen later in the show, but Season 1 is a spectacle of random humor and pretty much self-contained stories (again, only three episodes in). It’s set up in the two-part structure of “Spongebob Squarepants” with two short 11 minute episodes back to back. 

This show has already appealed to me for several reasons, and it has almost nothing to do with the absurd humor (which has gotten a few chuckles out of me so far). I like the characters they’ve established and the mix of fantasy/modern dialogue for them. I’m really interested in the setting and the different locations in the show, as well as the supporting cast within it. It allows for a lot of creativity. I also like the simplicity of the visual style and how the setting has a nice combination of gloomy and cheery visuals. But my biggest reason for enjoying it so far is the storytelling style. Yes, there isn’t an overarching plot yet, but details have been slowly (VERY slowly) revealed about the characters the more they’re shown and done so by casual dialogue rather than exposition. 

I see a lot of potential in how the characters could evolve and what sort of stories could happen. It’s a show where the creators seem to let their imaginations run wild, and you’re either going to be on board or not. It’s definitely easy to see why people both love and hate this show. While the humor isn’t always my cup of tea and hasn’t made me laugh all that much, I’m going to keep watching this show with an open mind and see where it goes. 

First Season Highs and Lows

As a lot of shows are nearing their season’s (or series) end and some shows have just gotten started for the summer, I can’t help but reflect on two shows I’m currently watching: “Marvel’s Agents of Shield” and “Orphan Black” (which I’ve talked about before). AoS is soon to end its first season and OB is three episodes into its second season. While that second season is great so far, I’m going to be focusing on the first season alongside AoS’s.

I said it before, but OB got me interested from the very first episode and kept my attention despite minor nitpicks through its short season. The characters are fun, the dialogue is mostly well-written, and the overarching plot throws in twists, questions and answers. I consider the mysteries it builds as being better than a lot of those in “Alias,” and I loved Alias for the most part. If I had to pinpoint a show that OB equals for me in terms of catching and keeping my attention from basically the start, it’d have to be “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” That brings me to AoS, the newest Whedon-run show.

For me, part of what makes a show good is how that first season plays out. If the concept and characters don’t interest me within a few episodes, it makes it hard to stick with and enjoy. While the pilot for AoS started off promising with the miraculous return of Agent Coulson and making cute references to the Marvel Universe, the series quickly became hard for me to care about. The plots often felt dull, the characters didn’t seem to experience much growth, and the mysteries it tried to build got less intriguing as my interest in the show dwindled. I even considered dropping it several times, but I stuck with it to give it the benefit of the doubt. Thankfully, after the events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the show has picked up a bit and the characters have gotten more personality. I’ve planned to see it to the end, though it remains to be seen if I’ll jump into a second possible season.

My problem with a show like AoS (even as a Whedon show) is that it started out lackluster and has only recently begun to hit its stride. You may think this is a good thing rather than a problem, but let’s look at OB again for a moment. OB, while not perfect (because what show is), tried to bring in its audience with an intriguing concept and a morally ambiguous main character. You knew she would have to grow as a character, and the show did its best to get you invested in her story and those around her. On the flipside, the main characters of Shield, while having questionable backgrounds, always felt like generic action-hero types to me. As time went on, I grew attached to some characters, but it was a struggle for me to reach that point. Even from the start, AoS seemed to bank more on its audience being into the Marvel movies to draw them in than trying to tell overly interesting stories or fleshing out their characters.

You could argue that this is because AoS has had a standard 20+ episode run and need time to build up their characters and mysteries. I argue that AoS should have had a more solid season all around, and that’s partly because it IS a Whedon-run show. Even in the pilot, I found myself caring only for Coulson. There was even a time early on that I said to my fiance that OB felt more like a show written by Whedon and his writers (including his family) than AoS did.

Ultimately, I just prefer a show that can make me care about it throughout the season, not just near the end. And viewing these two shows recently helped me realize that. I can only hope that OB continues to impress me, and if AoS does get a second season, I hope it will strive for better.