Posts Tagged ‘Adventure Time’

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Steven Universe is the first Cartoon Network series created by a woman. That’s not the only reason you should watch it though. Rebecca Sugar is the writer, composer and story board artist for Steven Universe but she got her start on Adventure Time.  She won two prime time emmy’s for two of the shows most popular episodes, ” Fiona and Cake” and “Simon and Marcy”. If you don’t love “Simon and Marcy” you have no heart. There is a black hole where your heart should be!

Why should you really watch this show? It’s amazing. The show reminds me of 1970’s anime with a more robust story. They have songs randomly through out the series that have heart and emotion. The songs are also ear worms! (NOT THE BORE WORMS!) I can’t get the theme song out of my head sometimes for days. Aside from that, the show is fantastic. 🙂 The writing is insightful, heart warming and good for kids and adults.

The premise of the show is that Rose Quartz gave up her physical body to give birth to Steven. He’s being raised by the other Crystal Gems that protect the Earth. Garnet, Amythyst and Pearl live with Steven at the temple and his good hearted Father lives in a van by a car wash. His Dad is a bit of a hippy. He doesn’t really care much about conventional life and is happy to run the car wash and live in his cool van. Steven is slowly learning about his powers, his friends, his gem and his Mother.

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The show has lots of good hearted romping around in Beach City. You see the places Steven loves like the donut shop and the arcade. He tries to teach the Crystal Gems about being human as much as they try to teach him about being a Crystal Gem. Things don’t always go perfectly, but in the end they always find a new way to deal with each other. Even the Gems don’t always get a long.

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Pearl and Amethyst are like oil and water. They often butt heads because Pearl is a little uptight, Amethyst is a little too free spirited and Garnet is more into power over finess. Sometimes they have to fuse together and if they aren’t getting along or in agreement they can’t form an Gem fusion. It’s going to be interesting once Steven learns how to fuse. All of them have their strengths. Pearl is more about planning. Amethyst is more about quick decisive action. Garnet, as I’ve said is about might and power. She has these weapons that remind me of Hellboy’s red right hand. Steven is still learning, he tends to come up with unconventional solutions to problems but his biggest strength is uniting the Gems.

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We don’t know much about his Mother, Rose Quartz. In each episode we get little hints and glimpses of his Mother. The first episode has the most information about her. She was more powerful than the rest of the group, she loved music, she had a light cannon and her actual gem weapon was a shield. Later we learn that she often saw the beauty in everything, even in things others find gross.

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This show is really important and I hope it runs for a long time. I think it’s going to be influential on other animators out there because the stories aren’t your usual smash and grab. Much like Adventure Time, there is action but they also explore the emotional needs and back grounds of the different characters. In every story you can see some element of your life reflected back at you. It helps you to stop in the midst of the noise in the world and think, do I do that? Maybe it will help us relate to kids growing up in this weird place? There are so many times they try to shut Steven down because he’s a child only to find out that he has the solution, or that they need his help. Sometimes we’re so busy trying to do EVERYTHING that we don’t realize we’re shutting down the fun in our lives or how to ask for a hand. That maybe we need to get over our own embaressment for the sake of doing what someone else loves?

Maybe I’m reading to much into the cartoon and I should go find a cookie cat?

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P.S. Love how the music sounds like old school video game music! Here is a youtube link to songs from the show!

Cartoon Network puts most of their episodes up. Here is a link to available episodes of STEVEN UNIVERSE!

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“Myth is a powerful force in my life dude.” – Shelby

Adventure Time, Come on bring your friends. We’ll go to very distant lands. They weren’t kidding. In Little Brother, the eleventh episode of season six, the writers dig deep to create an artistic story sprinkled with mythological refrences.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD, like this poster. You know what I mean. Don’t go any further.

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Little Brother focuses on a new character spawned from Shelby’s tail. Shelby is throwing a party in Jake’s violin. The party turns into dancing and Shelby is jealous of Dancing Bug.  Shelby does some parcour to impress a girl. Losing his grip, he falls and cut’s off his own butt. Being a worm, the butt comes to life. Shelby is shocked because he has a little brother and names him Kent. His little brother is annoying and so he asks Jake for advice on dealing with a little brother. Jake tells Shelby to give him a sword and go on adventures. What Jake meant was to build the same kind of relationship he has with Finn, where they go out and adventure. Those adventures build on their friendships. Shelby wants quiet time though, so he gives Kent a sword and sends him out into the world. Due to his youth, Kent doesn’t know fear and he runs into the tree to find adventure. Once inside the tree he encounters an evil white rat gnawing at the roots of the tree. The Rat kicks his butt and he wakes up in the leafy village amongst the roots of the tree. Waking up, Leaf Beard, tells him he had the stuffing knocked out of him by the Rat King. Kent drinks dew offered him and then embarks on a quest to build a sword to vanquish the Rat King. First, he is tempted in the hall of singing crystals with infinate wealth. With no use for wealth he passes the test and gets Mystic Ore. Second, he is tempted by love and offered one of three wives. He has no need for love or the responsibility of family and passes the test. He receives the Mystic Earth. Thirdly he is offered the chance to drink from a magic sprind and receice Life Eternal. He’s just born and has no concept of his own mortality so he has no need for eternal life. Passing the final test he receives the sacred flame. Bringing them back to the Blacksmith, they make a sword called PUNCH PARTY!  Facing the Rat King, he senses Kent’s power and offers him the chance to become a God. Kent refuses. Using the sword Kent takes the teeth of the rat king but lets him live. Shelby sees what Jake and Finn have and realizes how much he misses his brother. Returning home Kent recites his tale and Shelby writes down the story told him. Shelby is forelorn because he has to say good by to his little brother. Since he took the dew of the underworld he has to return there, by their law. That Spring, the tree bloomed for the first time.

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Little Brother is  a classic mythological story that is influenced by the Persephone tale and the tale of three temptations of the Buddha. If you aren’t familiar with Persephone she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. This is Persephone light, so you get the idea. Persephone was sought after by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld. He abducted her and as long as Persephone didn’t eat or drink anything she could return to the surface and her Mother, Demeter. Persephone ate 6 pomegranate seeds while she was there but the Gods struck a deal. Persephone had to spend six months in the Underworld and then she could spend 6 months on Earth. In protest Demeter decrees that while her daughter is in the Underworld, nothing shall grow and the Earth shall grow cold. This is why we have the seasons. The basis of Kent’s story shares many of the elements in the Persephone story and results in his need to return to the roots of the tree. In the episode it was the dew of the Underworld instead of the food of the Underworld, but same concept. Hopefully that also means he will return every spring.

The Buddha, when he reached enlightenment he sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Mara, the Demon, sent three temptations to try and keep him from his path. The first were his three daughters, the temptation of the flesh. The two stories vary here, one version says that they threw the elements at him to scary him. Another says they lead soldiers to war with him and he won with his virtue. Lastly, Mara whispered how proud he was to instill pride. The temptations that Kent face are very similiar, the daughters, the wealth and eternal life. Kent was offered three temptations while traveling with in the tree. He was so new to life that nothing but what his brother asked him to do mattered.

There are many comparison’s visually to the Nutcracker and to Lord of the Rings in the episode as well. Here are a few little galleries.

The Evil Rat King looks like the Rat King in the Nutcracker. Look at his cute little crown.

The broken sword reminds me of Aragon’s sword from the Lord of the Rings.

The writing of the book is like in the Hobbit.

Why is this important?

Lots of little kids have little brothers, so they relate to the daily annoyance of having a younger sibling. They also relate later in life not having a great relationship with their siblings, pushing them away and never spending quality time together. We go out into the world and slay our dragons. Those days in the sun can never be recaptured. That person we become can never be affected in the same way by that relationship.

The episode also has an environmental message about the roots of the tree of life. The roots are the basis, reaching deep into the earth and carrying nutrients to the highest point. Chewing at the roots keeps the rest of the tree from florishing.

Over all, this is my favorite episode in the series. I had goosebumps at the end when Shelby said it was the first time the tree had bloomed. Adventure time is definately maturing as the series goes on. They are still doing silly episodes but this one was fun and serious at the same time. The writing showed depth, playing on the themes of regret and finding your way in the world. They cover life, death and rebirth. I hope they continue to write episodes that show this much depth and intelligence. It’s worth watching and then rewatching a few times to get all the references and subtext.

Good job guys and gals. Keep up the good work.

Kane and I get a monthly subscription box called Loot Crate so we started looking around to see what else is available. We found another company based out of Canada called The Nerd Block. I was initially very excited because the month I chose to try out the Nerd Block had Adventure Time merch included. Nerd Block has corporate partners including Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Nintendo and Adventure Time. Not sure how this partnership works on their end though.

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The subscription is $19.99 a month plus shipping. Every month includes a t-shirt. If you need a plus size T-Shirt they charge extra. With everything together, I wound up paying $31.00 US.

The shipping took longer than I expected. To the US it’s usually 4-6 days but mine took more like 10-14 days. They also ruined the surprise by having to post the contents on the outside of the package. There was a huge customs label that said exactly what was included in the package. The packaging was pretty spiffy though. They had the box inside a really sturdy brown cardboard box. It protected the actual box amazingly well, which was flimsy light weight card stock.

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Once I opened the external packaging, I was eager to see what the described contents looked like.

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The T-Shirt was an Adventure Time shirt. I love Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors, so this was a win.

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They included a Funco Edward Scissorhands plushy. I love him. I will whisper to him sweetly at night and let him know it’s ok. Just don’t cut me and everything will be alright. They also included Funco brand paper models. These were Iron Man models. I gave them to Kane. He loves paper minis. I think it’s rather humorous they include Funco since they are a local company.

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A Mario star was in the box. It turned out to be a squishy, foam, stress ball type thing. I actually like this little novelty more and more each day. I may have to bring it to work.

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They also included a generic looking, chibi Batman key chain and some sticky wall crawler aliens.

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I expected a little more from my subscription box because I had paid so much. I realize that things are different in Canada, but I don’t feel like I really got my money’s worth from the box. Also, I can’t explain it really but it didn’t have much soul to it. They felt like things in a box. I didn’t get super excited about anything they had included.

Looking at other people’s reviews of the Nerd Block, they don’t really change much from Month to month. There is always a T-Shirt which is cool but then they throw in some figures. Bam… that’s what they do.

The internet had lots of reviews of the box, but I don’t really see a community either. If you can point me to one, please let me know.

Just a little disappointed. It’s a decent product though.

My cats liked it though. They’ve claimed the box in the name of catdom!

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Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time, has a new bi-weekly cartoon Bravest Warriors. bravest_warriors_gif_by_emi_hellaven-d5xjbfk  

This is a humorous take on the next gen hero team made up of the children. Remember the comic Gen 13? It’s the same basic concept.

You start off with the parents being called for help but the kids pick up and explain their parents are missing. That is when you are introduced to the Bravest Warriors. Each episode is a series of seemingly unrelated events, just like in Adventure Time. There are threads running through each episode though that are building up to season two, so pay attention.

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I love Pendleton Ward. I have watched all of Adventure Time and last night watched season one of Bravest Warriors in one sitting. The episodes are only five minutes long but somehow tell a good story in each one. Most of the voice actors from Adventure Time are back. He’s added some interesting support characters like paralyzed Horse, Cat Bug and Wankershims. Paralyzed Horse is paralyzed because he realized the meaning of the universe. Wankershims is a holographic elf that moves out of the Holo John and into the real world. Then everything becomes one with Wankershims. Cat Bug is an adorable, child like side kick that can move between our realm and the shadow zone. These odd side kicks help our heroes escape improbable situations.

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There is a romance story line of course. Beth and Chris are best friends and can’t come to grips with their attraction for each other. Classic Pendleton Ward romantic tension. 

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It’s a very solid show. Check it out on YouTube.

If anyone figures out the easter egg in each episode, don’t tell me. In Adventure time there was a tiny snail in every episode.

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