Adventure Time is such a mainstay of Cartoon Network at this point, it’s hard to believe it will be coming to an end in two years. It started out as a quirky little short from Random! Cartoons that went viral. Who knew from there it would become one of the most popular cartoons currently airing? This tale of an plucky boy named Finn, his talking shapeshifting dog, Jake, and their adventures in a kingdom full of strange beings really captured people’s attention.
Throughout the six completed seasons and the currently airing seventh season, Adventure Time has never lost its quirky charm, but the mythology of the show and the characters have gotten far more complex. We learned that the fantastical world Finn inhabits is actually a mutated wasteland that is the result of a nuclear apocalypse. We learned about several characters' complicated and morally ambiguous histories. We learned there was way more beneath the surface of this show than we ever thought possible.
Season six is no exception to this trend, as we learn more about the history of Oo and face the complicated issues of estranged family, growing up and the suffering that comes with being human.
Adventure Time: The Complete Sixth Season
The Adventure Time: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray contains 43 11-minute episodes on two disks. There are features included, but they’re minimal. We get a good look at some concept art, including character sheets, backgrounds and drafts. If you’re interested in art production, it’s a great bonus feature to have. Other than that, we have several song demos and animatics. The only featurette is the “Food Chain” one, which is basically a montage of clips from the eponymous episode and shots of the animators working on it. There’s no commentary included. So this is definitely a set you shouldn’t buy if you’re solely interested in the features.
However, you’re likely not going to get this set for the features, you’re going to get it for the episodes. And the sixth season of Adventure Time is definitely worth a watch. In explaining the pros and cons of this season, I’m going to go a little into spoiler territory, but I’ll attempt to be vague.
The main arc that runs through the season is Finn struggling with the fact the father he always dreamed of meeting is a callous man who willingly abandoned him. Generally in these kinds of shows, the father who abandoned their children gets redeemed in some way and there’s a reconnection of sorts. Adventure Time is unique in that this…doesn’t really happen. We get hints of a possible sympathetic backstory or traits here and there for Finn's dad, but nothing that ever really comes close to redemption. It’s unorthodox, but probably an important message for kids (and even adults) to see. There are genuinely bad parents out there that will never make a miraculous transformation or reveal a deep reason behind their bad actions. And if you have that kind of parent, it’s healthier to accept it and move on from them.
Finn and his dad in Adventure Time
The theme of family is huge in this season, as we also learn a bit more about Jake and Finn’s dog-parents and have Finn and Jake try to reconnect with their brother. We see other people attempt to make connections too- there’s an episode that examines the tulmultuous relationship between Princess Bubblegum and Flame Princess that results in some real character growth for both of them. Characters are really tested throughout this season, with Finn especially being put through the emotional wringer. There are serious upheavals to the status quo leaving Finn, Jake and Princess Bubblegum in disarray. It makes for a compelling narrative.
But these “upheavals” also lead us to the major flaw of this season, which is that while the series isn’t afraid to upset the status quo of its character temporarily, it always eventually reverts to essentially how things were before. This was especially egregrious with the case of Finn losing his arm. A character having to deal with this kind of loss is a fascinating storyline and if the show had truly committed to it, it had the potential to majorly transform his character. Finn having to accept this loss is permanent and getting a prosthetic or something would have gone well with the theme of growing up and accepting reality that dominated the season. What’s more, the show had been building to Finn losing his arm for a while, as he was shown to have lost it many of the alternate realities he visited.
But instead, the arm loss issue was very abruptly wrapped up in a very baffling episode that ends with Finn’s arm regrowing. The show wasted the opportunity for a perfectly good story with this deus ex machina and directly contradicted the themes of the season in doing so. To be fair, Finn’s new arm has some strange new properties that could very well lead to more story, but in the context of this season it was a disappointing end to an interesting plot. The same could be said for the storyline with the penguin Gunter, who underwent a major change that had been foreshadowed throughout the series, only for it to come to a rather anticlimactic conclusion.
Finn in Adventure Time
Of course, in addition to all the plot episodes, Adventure Time included some episodes that simply reveled in utter absurdity and surrealism. Standalone episodes like “Food Chain” and “Sad Face” are completely bizarre in their storyline, but also both visually and artistically appealing. Adventure Time can really shine when it comes to being weird and thinking outside the box, giving viewers some truly psychadelic sights.
So despite some drawbacks, this season is another great installment of a funny and creative cartoon that has enough depth that it appeals to both children and adults. The features may not be extensive for this Blu-ray set, but if you love Adventure Time, you’ll want to add this to your collection.