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REVIEW: ‘Adventure Time - The Complete Fifth Season’

Cartoon Network’s ‘Adventure Time - The Complete Fifth Season’ offers a window looking back onto the 1,000-year history of the Land of Ooo and expanding our understanding of Ice King, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline and other members of the AT multiverse.

Adventure Time is back on Blu-ray and DVD with The Complete Fifth Season, featuring all 52 episodes from Season 5 of Cartoon Network’s number-one series. Adding to the collectible custom die-cut slipcases from the previous season releases, The Complete Fifth Season comes packaged in a nifty custom slipcase featuring everyone's favorite magical dog, Jake.

Created by Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time chronicles the heroic, kind, silly, obnoxious, playful, sweet and gentle activities of central characters Finn the Human and his adoptive brother and companion, Jake the Dog, in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. I can say unhesitatingly that Season 5 of Adventure Time is the best season yet. Until, that is, I pause to consider Season 6, which just finished airing on Cartoon Network. (As of this point in time the series is set to run on CN through Season 8.) That's just how it is with the Emmy-winning series: it started off great and it gets consistently better with each season.

Having the entire collection of season five on Blue Ray or DVD is a special treat; the content looks stunning. If you’re a fan who is used to watching this show via broadcast television you owe it to yourself and your close Adventure Time fanatics to watch it in solid, brilliant and beautiful high-def. It will leave you speechless.

Speaking of stunning, also consider that Season 5 offers no less than 52 episodes of Finn and Jake greatness! Even more important, however, is the fact that Season 5 offers deep stories and windows into the layers upon layers of stories...looking back into the 1,000 years of milestones resulting in contemporary Ooo. The information provided by these stories deepens and expands our views of Ice King, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, as well as Finn and many other citizens of the Adventure Time multiverse. Many episodes refer back to information in previous seasons, strengthening the sense of continuity and completeness that Season 5 provides.

The only downside to this set is the seemingly lacking commentary... The Adventure Time featurette is mostly fluff and does not offer any insights or context into the workings of the season. The animatic clips are nice enough but not particularly satisfying either.

Every Adventure Time fan has their favorite episodes but here are a few to we consider noteworthy:

  • “Finn The Human”/”Jake The Dog” -- In a truly amazing episode, the two-part season opener that follows the outcome of a hasty wish from Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) to make the Lich (voiced by Ron Perlman) never exist. It takes Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio) and Prismo (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) a little time to get things all worked out.
  • “All the Little People” -- Magic Man (voiced by Tom Kenny) leaves a little surprise for Finn that ends up teaching him an important lesson, but first he manages to make a mess of things.
  • “All Your Fault” -- Having made all their candy seeds into living creatures, the Earls of Lemongrab (voiced by Justin Roiland) have run out of candy food. Finn and Jake help Princess Bubblegum (voiced by Hynden Walch) restore order.
  • “Simon & Marcy” -- Marceline (voiced by Olivia Olson) tells Finn and Jake about the time when she met the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny), 996 years ago right after the “Mushroom War.” Marceline and Simon (who, as it turns out, was a scientist before he found the cursed crown of the Ice King) wander a post-apocalyptic city in search of chicken soup for a young Marceline's cold. Through this adventure we see Simon transform into Ice King -- and lose his mind -- as they fight off hostile, mutant creatures.
  • “A Glitch Is a Glitch” -- In a series first, guest director David OReilly brings his distinctive animation style to an episode of Adventure Time. Ice King deploys a destructive virus that deletes everything except him and Princess Bubblegum. Finn and Jake scramble to save the universe in a virtual battle with the virus, and in the end Ice King is defeated and the day is saved.
  • “Puhoy” -- Finn wonders about his relationship with Flame Princess (voiced by Jessica DiCicco) and goes deep into a pillow fortress. This no ordinary fortress, and as Finn travels deep within he seems to fall asleep dreaming of traveling to a pillow world. This pillow world is friendly and Finn stays and eventually marries a pillow woman named Roselinen. They have two children but all the while Finn considers his home with Jake. By the end Finn gets home and makes a plan to hang out with Flame Princess.
  • “Be More” -- For apparently no reason at all, BMO (voiced by Niki Yang) deletes a core system file, creating the need for BMO, Finn and Jake to go to BMO's home factory for repairs. Finn and Jake disguise themselves as MOs so they can get into the MO factory and fix BMO, eventually finding Moseph “Moe” Giovanni, the elderly, wise and brilliant creator of the MOs. As an added treat, Moe tells BMO's backstory.
  • “Sky Witch” -- Marceline misleads Princess Bubblegum into helping her find Maja the Sky Witch (voiced by Jill Talley). Marceline's ex-boyfriend Ash sold Marceline's beloved stuffed animal Hambo to Maja and Marceline wants it back. Princess Bubblegum secretly trades her prized rock shirt -- given to her by Marceline -- so Marceline and Hambo can be together again. Hambo ends up serving an important function later in the season in in “Betty.”
  • “Time Sandwich” -- Magic Man steals Jake's awesome sandwich and uses a slow motion bubble to slow time down. BMO, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline each try and fail to get the sandwich back to Jake. Jake finally realizes the key to navigating the bubble is to be sad. Jake and his sadness beat Magic Man and his time manipulation and ultimately Jake gets to have his sandwich. Day saved.
  • “Blade of Grass” -- Finn has been in denial about his broken sword, but finally settles on a new sword made of grass purchased from a mysterious grass wizard (voiced by Jeff Bennett). It soon becomes clear that the new sword is cursed. Finn confronts the wizard but at the same time works it out with the cursed sword so he keeps his new awesome tool.
  • “Betty” -- A few wizards perform some bad magic which conjures up an unstoppable Bella Noche. Ice King loses his power and becomes an elderly and frail Simon. Finn, Jake and Marceline help Simon go back in time so he can make amends with Betty (voiced by Lena Dunham), his former fiancée. Betty jumps through time and kicks Bella Noche's butt...and then runs off to fix the Ice King’s curse.
  • “Lemonhope” (Part 1 & Part 2) -- Lemonhope (voiced by Justin Roiland) isn't so into the burden of being the Lemon savior. Sick of Princess Bubblegum's demands and reminders of his role in the Lemon Kingdom, Lemonhope ditches Candy Kingdom seeking a place in the world on his own terms. Lemonhope quickly finds there is no escape as his journey leads him to a hostile environment that he cannot survive. Part 2 continues as Lemonhope is saved by monster hunter Phlannel Boxingday (voiced by Creed Bratton). They form an alliance and Lemonhope eventually comes to terms with his abandoned place in the world. Lemonhope defeats Lemongrab but rejects any other involvement in the Lemon Kingdom. Lemonhope lives out his life and we see him return after 1,000 years to live his final moments in his lemon home.
  • “Billy's Bucket List” -- Finn discovers that Billy (voiced by Lou Ferrigno) left behind a bucket list. In honor of the fallen hero, Finn and Billy's ex-girlfriend Canyon (voiced by Ako Castuera) vow to complete the unfinished items on Billy's list. The pair complete most of the tasks including one last motorcycle ride with Canyon. Motivated to successfully conquer his fear of the ocean, Finn sees an apparition of Billy, which tells him that his biological father is still alive. How’s that for a cliffhanger?

These are just a few standouts in an amazing collection of 52 great episodes of the complete Season Five collection of Adventure Time. Enjoy!

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.