If there is one thing I can thank this pandemic for, it’s that it made me catch up on ‘Adventure Time’. I just finished the original series last week and I can safely say that it’s one of my favourite shows of all time. Jumping right into ‘Adventure Time: Distant Lands’ proved to be a bit of a jarring experience. Not only was the running time four times longer but these specials center around a few central characters of the show. Of course, the original show had done this before but within a much more limited timeframe. While the ‘BMO’ special was fun and progressively got better, it wasn’t exactly what I imagined this miniseries to be. ‘Obsidian’ however gave me everything I wanted and more.
It is no secret that ‘Adventure Time’ has one of the best casts of characters in recent memory with instantly iconic characters we grew to love over the course of ten years. However despite having such an illustrious cast, there is still always a fan-favourite. Next to Finn and Simon, Marceline easily has the most intriguing backstory. Looking back on the show after this special, a large part of why Marceline is so beloved is because of her relationships. Her past with Simon is easily one of the original show’s biggest strengths giving us a heartbreaking duo that brought the best out of each other. Her romantic relationship with Bubblegum brought out a softer, sassier side we didn’t get to see much of in the original series. Even in the little time we see her and her father together, we get to see a different side of Marceline. Basically, Marceline’s character development was achieved through her relationships with other characters. However in ‘Obsidian’ we finally get to see Marcy herself acknowledge her past and present and develop as a character on her own.
Despite Bubblegum being in this special, this was very clearly focused on Marceline. We get to see the people who have impacted her the most and what it meant for her as a character. The last thing she hears from her mother is that “she doesn’t have time for her right now” which translated to her feeling like a burden. She tricks herself into thinking that if the people she loves leave her, it’s because she wants them to. This gave her the lone wolf (ironically) quality she’s carried in the original show. The reason why her relationship with Bonnie failed the first time was not only because of Bonnie’s harsh words but also it’s because she assumed that she just didn’t want her anymore. She never got closure with her mother so why should she stick with this relationship. Her song ‘Woke Up’ was such a jarring experience because on one hand I was bopping to music but then I would hear the lyrics and I would cringe at how aggresive they were, it’s really a breakup anthem. Last but not least, I wanted to adress Simon’s involvement in this special. Simon is a crucial part of Marceline’s story and it was so beautiful to see her befriending him all over again in the original series while he was Ice King. Seeing them interact as Simon and Marcy this time was truly heartwarming. It was also a bit *rude* for them to emotionally manipulate us by letting Simon recite ‘I Remember You’. That right there was an ice shard to the heart.
You know what wasn’t a cold blow though? Seeing Bubbline thrive in explicit manner for once! One of my favourite aspects of the later seasons of ‘Adventure Time’ is how it was made abundantly clear that Marcy and Bonnie were dating. There wasn’t anything explicit until the series finale but it wasn’t being hidden either. It felt natural. However in ‘Obsidian’ we finally get to see everything we wanted from this relationship. We got an angsty breakup, we get to see Marcy giving Bonnie the shirt she lost in ‘What Was Missing’. We get to see them being all sappy and cute, we get Marcy serenading Bonnie with a song, we get them saying ‘I love you’. We really got it all in this special and it means the world to me seeing this special and not having censorship get in the way. Of course Cartoon Network is easily the most progressive children’s station and it’s been done before but it never ceases to put a smile on my face. Their entire aesthetic is just so pleasing to me, I could literally watch an entire episode of them just building furniture and I’d be happy.
The only aspect I wasn’t totally in love with was the Glass Kingdom. I understand that a new series needs new characters but to be honest, I couldn’t care less about the new ‘BMO’ characters. The new characters in ‘Obsidian’ are slightly better but to be honest I just couldn’t care about them. I love the entire set-up for how Marceline enters the story but beyond that and the dragon creature, I felt like the Glass Kingdom was just another distant land. Glassboy and See-Thru Princess were fine but I could not stand that annoying trio whose only purpose was to complain only to get shattered by the end. Back to a more positive note though, the animation was stunning, I loved the fluidity it carried. The bigger budget they had really made a difference because I couldn’t stop gushing about how good everything looked. The new songs ‘Woke Up’ and ‘Monster’ are instant Marcy classics to add to her unfortunately non-existent album.
Overall, ‘Obsidian’ proved to be a much more investing episode than it’s predecessor. With one of the best characters at the forefront, ‘Obsidian’ delves deeper and explores what makes The Vampire Queen who she is. The teased romance between Marcy and Bonnie finally thrives in a special that feels like a true continuation of the beloved show. Bring on the next two adventures!