Sunday, 23 December 2012

Adventure Time (But only Season One)

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake (But only Season One)

The Premise

Adventure Time is a western cartoon series created by a guy named Pendleton Ward, about a young human boy named Finn the Human and his best friend Jake the Dog, as the opening theme tune exposits. Like My Little Pony, Adventure Time is another cartoon aimed at a younger audience that captured the hearts and minds of the internet's collective mental age and went viral. Lots of people I've seen on the internet have become hugely infatuated with its characters, plots and general themes. Citing excellent character development, dark and mature themes and surreal character designs etc.

But what did I think of it? I thought it was ok, sometimes good, sometimes adequate, and the reason behind not liking it much much more, I suspect, is because most of the things people like about this series only come about during the very later seasons, I've read that the stories take a dark and dramatic turn in later seasons, with complex and realistic character motivations, but I'm not there yet, I'm still watching the earlier episodes where everything is a relatively straightforward children's cartoon besides a few mature jokes that slipped past the censors, which, considering most modern cartoons, would've been edgier to not put those jokes in.

The series seems ok at the moment, but honestly the only reason I've watched as far as the end of the first season is this upcoming dramatic turn I've heard so much about, it's cute, kind of unique and ultimately harmless but it's just not drawing me in. And what's more, the eventual dramatic turn and dynamic characters shouldn't take so long to kick in, because when I was like 5 years old, I watched Toy Story, and ever since then, and indeed countless years before then, stories that contain greatly written characters and mix lighthearted adventures with dramatic and even dark turns have always been the RULE rather than the exception in a good animated product. And I don't think that should be this series' only selling point, because I think that would be selling it short, it's not some bold new innovation, it's a fine example of how cartoons have always been evolving.

Like I said earlier, the series is ok, not bad by any stretch, which is why I'm going to say what DOES work. One of the things that struck me earliest is the fact that this, admittedly, is one of the only cartoons in ages has an actual child actor to voice somebody who's meant to be 12 years old (Finn the Human), this is what makes me look forward to the series' eventual dramatic turn, because I skipped ahead into a series 4 episode and the kid (Jeremy Shada I think his name is.) had a noticeably deeper voice that suits his growth in character and makes him a lot more believable, something I can't remember liking since I ploughed through Dragon Ball and took note of Goku's slowly deepening voice. The rest of the voices are ok. John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender in Futurama, voices Jake the Dog, which I noticed without having to look at the credits, he's the more distinctive of the voices besides Finn because he can be recognised quite easily in whatever he's in.

The Art

I also like some, but not all of the character designs. I think Finn the Human's design in particular is very inspired, especially with his iconic hat/balaclava/skinned bear thing. I also like the jointless limbs in all of the characters, it makes the Animation seem more free flowing and malleble and removes unnecessary complications. I think the best artistic choice though is the faces, Finn in particular has a very expressive face considering it's just two dots and a line, the lip syncing and the expressions he shows are also very unique and expressive, the exaggerations of certain emotions brings to mind Spongebob Squarepants or Arin 'Egoraptor' Hanson's 'Awesome Series' on Youtube. And as mentioned earlier, his voice actor really helps make him more believable, I think everything about his design is just top notch.

The other character designs however seem less interesting to me. All of the other characters are none-human, and generally just anthropomorphised inanimate objects, still with the same kind of face as Finn, but without a voice matching the face that sells it. Though this only applies to some characters, there ARE several characters who have designs that match their voices, such as the Lumpy Space Princess.

One last thing on the art that also pleases me is the fact that they reintroduced the Looney Tunes styled painted Title Cards to introduce the episodes, I always think those are a nice touch and it's a shame more cartoons didn't follow suit besides this one and Batman: TAS.

I do have one irk about the art however, and it's the fact that the lineart is all thin, this is almost certainly just a personal gripe but I've gotten very used to cartoons in recent days that have varying outline thicknesses depending of the various masses of the characters body parts. I dunno, it makes it seem like the characters have more depth to me.


Run of the mill but harmless plots, settings and characters, enjoyable art and Animation. I don't think that it will light anybody's world on fire over the age of the target audience and hasn't gotten ahold of the hype. If you're like me, overage and paying close attention to the hype, well I'm just waiting for it to surprise me.

I'll return to this series at a later date and see if there is some truth to the hype that I haven't encountered yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment