An Existential 'Adventure Time' Sampler (In No Particular Order)
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An Existential 'Adventure Time' Sampler (In No Particular Order)

A smattering of examples of "Adventure Time's" wide existential range.

An Existential 'Adventure Time' Sampler (In No Particular Order)

Season 6 of "Adventure Time" marked a different direction from the previous five. Though the show had dabbled in weighty subject matter before, "Adventure Time" went unashamedly forward with expansive, season-long existential themes and experiments. This was the most serialized arc the show has ever attempted (made even more exciting by the daily new episodes of the Finnale promotional week). Many fans have declared "Adventure Time" officially full of itself, but I personally dug these excursions/adventures into weightier themes. I think that, though the show did navel-gaze and experiment a bit much, Season 6 is up there with Seasons 3 and 4 in terms of quality. Pendleton Ward did promise fans that there would be more pure "adventure" in Season 7, but I could honestly care less about that. People just have a very specific idea of what "adventure" means with this show. I say experiment more and push the show's limits when its comes to storytelling. Here's a sampler of Season 6 episodes that succeeded most of all at hitting the "Adventure Time" existentialism/ adventure sweet spot.

"Food Chain"

Japanese anime and television director Masaaki Yuasa made the most out of this guest-board episode. Simultaneously centering the plot of this special episode around the elementary concept of the food chain while uniquely bending the format of "Adventure Time's" typical style, this episode is successful in entertaining and informing the show's younger fan-base on the universal law of animal existence.

Also, points to Masaaki Yuasa for blatantly breaking one of Pendleton Ward's rules for animating Finn. His subversion of the basic rules of "Adventure Time's" existence combined with the educational food-chain acid trip solidifies this episode as the best of the guest episodes so far.

"Jake the Brick"

This plot description is a primo example of "Adventure Time" playing with format: Jake uses his shape-shifting abilities to be a brick in a wall just as it crumbles. He soon becomes bored and finds himself narrating a story about nature and the hardships and eventual self-actualization of a bunny over a radio left behind by Finn. The episode blends a nice character study for Jake, one which showcases his laid-back love of nature with an eloquent, sensationalist broadcast sent out to the many citizens of Ooo over the radio. Jake and his boredom, which ends up turning into interest, could be seen as a surrogate for some fans' disdain concerning "Adventure Time's" experimental streak. This episode succeeds in finding the fantastic in the mundaneness of existence in post-apocalyptic Ooo.

Also this:

"Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe"

A personal, breezy favorite of mine, this episode leads the viewer to believe this will be a light, hangout episode with some tertiary wizard characters (which it is mostly). The titular wrinkled old man, Giuseppe, is along for the ride, however, and once he is accidentally left behind, Ice King reads some of his heartbreaking poetry to the other wizards. This four line tragedy is a little jarring and reminds us that it is never simply all road trips and crabapples living after the apocalypse with any character on this show.

Other wonderful poetry from this episode:

~ "Take this light with your great might/ free hearts that are gated/ seeing truth in things exaggerated."

~ "Days don't have shades, directions with no ways/ adjusting minimum, scholarly curriculum/ to enrich empty minds, it takes refracted sunshines."

This poetry is what really gives the episode its breezy tone.

"Everything's Jake"

Magic Man injects Jake with a literal dose of introspection while he is asleep.This sends a miniature version of himself on a journey through himself meeting citizens made from... himself. The exact point of this episode is a mystery until the very end, when The Mayor of Jakeville's older looking son leaves the safety of Jake on an expedition to view the face of his people's creator and find answers for the recent tremors in "their" world. He discovers Finn the Human eating pasta, a dead ringer for the absurd, religious parody of the God/Glob known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This hilarious moment, contrasted with the disturbing image of the mayor's son crying and melting, posits the idea that there is no meaning to life--that it is, in fact, all a cruel joke.

"Something Big"

This episode proves that "Adventure Time" is never afraid to revisit any story thread and follow it into unexpected places. After an action-packed battle with Maja the Sky Witch, villain of the series classic "Sky Witch," Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant experiences an existential crisis, and this episode takes a turn for the cryptic. This story brings forth questions of destiny and the eventual end of the universe. I'll be honest, after Ancient picked up the comatose Maja and made off with her to God knows where, I shut my brain off and tried to not think about where this story could possibly be going.

"The Mountain"

This episode is the first episode to feature The Earl of Lemongrab (a favorite character) after his destruction and subsequent reformation in "Lemonhope." Though he appears to be calmer in mood now, a crack in some hieroglyphics above his bed keeps him awake and feeling anxious, disturbed, and isolated. To quell his angst, he sets out on what ends up being the loopiest of vision questions to gain an audience with the questionable deity Matthew. The quest itself is abstract and seemingly incoherent, but this is necessary to depict how broken and aimless Lemongrab feels without a mother or a true home. It also helps that this episode is written by Jesse Moynihan, the go-to guy for these kinds of "Adventure Time" episode. He hopes to merge into oneness with Matthew and possibly experience the ecstasy of "ego death" and not have to feel lost, alone, or misunderstood. The fact that he decides to reject what is essentially a religious cult and live on as an individual is heartening. It makes me look forward to seeing where "Adventure Time" can take this previously misunderstood character.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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