Tripping out in the land of Ooo

Last updated 10:22 18/10/2012

Adventure timeAfter the apocalypse - whenever that may be - the world will be populated entirely by monsters made from metaphors, candy flesh people and escapees from 80s video games. 

That's according to the makers of Adventure Time, the latest cartoon craze to make the leap from 'kids only' to hipster 'must see'.

If you have contact with any one under the age of 12, it's possible you've already heard all about this show - in which a 14-year-old boy and his pug dog side-kick go adventuring around a mythical land full of bizarre creatures and arcane magic.

You've probably written it off as childish flim-flam.  But like the evil Ice King, you'd be wrong, foolish human!

Drawn with candy bright colours and presided over by two of the most charming heroes ever to committed to a cartoon cell, Finn and Jake's adventures are pretty compelling even if you're a grown up.

It's an impulse-control-free romp through a jumble of different lands, each populated by a 50c grab bag of species, each more bizarre and wonderful than that last.  With this backdrop a sweet hearted kind of moral storytelling unfolds, where friendship is always best - or "Math!" as Finn would say - good always triumphs over evil and it's always worth it to Try

Along on Finn's escapades are Snow Golems and an Evil Ice King, bubble people, talking animals, people made from peppermints, and his magical best friend and adoptive brother, Jake - a shape-shifting mentor pug with the heart of bodhisattva.  Altogether that would be enough to charm a couple of hours out of me. But it gets wonderfully weirder... 

Jake's girlfriend is a Korean-speaking half unicorn/half rainbow called Lady Rainicorn.  Finn's true love is a Princess made from Bubble Gum. The guys live in a tree house next door to Marcelene, the bass playing Vampire Queen.

I have no idea what Pendalton Ward was smoking or drinking when he concocted the show while studying animation at CalArts, but it worked.

Jake, with only the most tentative grasp on either reality or morality, is possibly the worst mentor a teenage boy chould have, but he is Finn's bro and their loyalty to one another is the stuff of legend. Finn, as pure-hearted as any young Skywalker (except Anakin), is likewise devoted to Jake, Princesses and adventuring - a kind of wishfulfilling every-kid, the last of his kind, doing the tattered remains of humanity proud at the end of the world.

I wax lyrical about this show, but the entirely grow-up references, emotional maturity and disquieting setting - there are often piles of skulls by the side of the road along with the burnt out left overs of our Apocalypsed society - make for rich and beguiling detailing. Intriguing tidbits about the world that was and what happened to it are crafted into each 20 minute show.  It's world building on a level that I've never seen in a kids' cartoon before, and that was more than enough to hook me in.
So, to paraphrase the show's theme tune: Adventure Time! Come on grab your friends, we'll go to very distant lands...this weekend, in fact, since Event Cinemas in Lower Hutt is playing some of the shows on the big screen on Saturday and Sunday. Wouldn't you like a trip to Ooo?

- Kapi-Mana News


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