Quick! You’re all caught up on Adventure Time and you’ve already re-watched the first five seasons and read all the comics, what do you do?
Easy peasy, Lemongrab squeezy, Pendleton Ward has your buns covered.
It’s time for Bravest Warriors! The show’s five minute episodes are produced by Frederator Studios for the Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel. Set in the future, this time it’s a science fiction slant as four teenagers fight their way through the universe to rescue their parents from the See-Through Zone. Oh yeah, there’s other dimensions. And kind of magic weapons. And an Emotion Lord. OK, it’s basically Adventure Time with teenagers in space.
So, minus points for originality. Even the main character, Chris Kirkman, is a heroic kid with wild blonde hair and a super device/magic pet bee that can become a sweet sword. He’s bumbling (Get it? Like, a bee!) his way through leading the group and dealing with his feeling for Beth Tezuka and her sexy friend, Plum. It’s the Finn-Princess Bubblegum-Flame Princess triangle all over again. In the original pilot for Adventure Time, Finn’s character was named Pen, so clearly these male lead characters are an extension of Ward.
The “romance” in the show is probably the least interesting part to me. It’s predictable and feels lazy. Beth is much more exciting when she’s tracking her dad through the See-Through-Zone. She’s the only character really dealing with the consequences of her abandonment and all the emotional parental biz. It might be because the episodes are only five minutes long, or because it’s only in its second season, but Bravest Warriors doesn’t have the depth that Adventure Time does. We need more world building.
What Bravest Warriors might be lacking is a running antagonist. The Ice King, and later The Lich, are fascinating, fun villains. In season two, the Aeon Worm appears and solves some of this problem for me, but I find the Emotion Lord and Concierge plots wander around without really making any compelling progress.
Also, even though the show is acknowledging the “one girl in the group” problem and laughing at it, it still irks my brain buns. If you know it’s lame, FIX IT.
When Gamora showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy, I was quoting Bravest Warriors in my head:
Chris: “I get it! So, you’re the cool one. You’re the funny one. And you’re the…”
That’s from Bravest Warriors Season 1 Episode 4 “Memory Donk” where the gang loses their memory and Jelly Kid steals the show.
Bravest Warriors also suffers a bit from Adventure Time‘s success with crazy narrative structures and randomness. It’s kind of like the writers know we love it when things get weird, and so they let their imaginations RUN WILD. Sometimes it feels like I’m doing drugs. Like I put on an episode of Bravest Warriors and suddenly I’m Hunter S. Thompson on a psychedelic escapade with some geeky teens. That’s not always a bad thing but it can sure make it feel like you’ve lost the last five minutes of your life to an opiate-induced black out after dancing with unicorns and that droll nebula you’ve always wanted to ask out but were too afraid to refrigerator.
Too much of anything is sometimes just too much. But when it’s just right, it’s Catbug.
I am losing my shit over this character. Catbug. I can’t control myself. It’s just all Catbug all the time. My brain is investing a huge amount of neuron power into convincing people that I’m not thinking about Catbug constantly. Play it cool, man, play it cool! Sh, sh, he’s the cutest. I know. Wearing his little oven mitts, right? SQUEE!!!
Anyways, check out Bravest Warriors. It’s not Adventure Time but it’ll give you your fix for the crazy world of Pendleton Ward. And Catbug.