When you were twelve years old, did you long to escape the mundane reality of school, homework and family obligations to explore a fantastical world, performing heroic acts alongside a magical, talking dog? Sounds like a lot more fun than living in the real world, right? Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time allows you to belatedly fulfill those dreams one 11-minute episode at a time as you join human boy Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his dog sidekick, Jake (voiced by John “Bender from Futurama” DiMaggio) as they get into various shenanigans throughout the Land of Ooo, a charmingly bizarre place populated with characters that include rapping bears, ghost flies, adorable dimple plants, sentient video game consoles and--my personal favorite--Root Beer Guy, a walking root beer float who works as a lousy telemarketer by day and an aspiring mystery novelist by night, and is married to Cherry Cream Soda Girl.
Named for the hero’s handbook prominently featured in the show, Adventure Time - The Enchiridion is a DVD compilation of 16 episodes from across the show’s six seasons (season seven debuted on November 2, 2015). If, like me, you’re totally unfamiliar with Adventure Time, a DVD like this can be both a great way to get a sampling of the show’s singular style and a slightly confusing way to get thrown into its wide, weird world. There’s just so much going on across the various different kingdoms that make up the Land of Ooo--hence why Finn and Jake are constantly embarking on heroic quests to save various people throughout it. Both the eccentric hand-drawn animation and the zany, Dungeons & Dragons-inspired storytelling make each episode feel like something scribbled into a notebook by a hyper-smart and imaginative kid sitting alone under a tree at recess. The little girl in me, who frequently attempted writing such stories herself, couldn’t help but love Princess Bubblegum of the Candy Kingdom (voiced by Hynden Walch); with her flying rainbow unicorn steed and giant pet cat, Princess Bubblegum is like something straight off a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper, if that Trapper Keeper was also a bit regal and stubborn. If that sounds too sweet to be palatable, trust me when I say that the show avoids falling into a sinkhole of cuteness by also being terribly clever. (That being said, it is also very cute. After all, it is at its heart a children's program.)
The only thing about Adventure Time that didn’t immediately endear it to me was the uber-twee theme music; even for a show that prominently features the aforementioned Candy Kingdom, the folksy ukulele strumming and crooning by show creator Pendleton Ward is a bit too sugary to swallow every eleven minutes if you’re binge-watching. Otherwise, Adventure Time - The Enchiridion is a remarkably fun and fresh bit of escapism that will make you want to go out and save the day.
DVD Bonus Features
There are no DVD special features.
"Adventure Time - The Enchiridion" is on sale October 6, 2015 and is rated tv-pg. Adventure, Animation. Starring Hynden Walch, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny.