The surreal fantasy world of Pen Ward’s Adventure Time has been going strong for four seasons, and it shows no signs of stopping. A brand new DVD collection, the third such budget sampler and the first since this summer’s epic full season one release, has just become available. It’s likely the best yet as it truly mines the show’s strange and elaborate fiction to great effect.
Adventure Time: Jake vs. Me-Mow contains 16 episodes from across the breadth of the series hand-picked by the show’s loyal fans. There’s the titular season three episode featuring that adorable assassin cat Me-Mow, season one’s hilariously terrifying “Ocean of Fear” and even the three-part suite (cribbed from the second and third seasons) “Mortal Folly”/”Mortal Recoil”/”Too Young” that sees Princess Bubblegum seemingly killed, possessed, de-aged and then returned to normal. It’s a grab-bag of goodness that includes all your favorites from recurring characters like Susan Strong and NEPTR to one-offs like Jiggler, but the strongest showings are – as is always the case with Adventure Time – the weirdest.
In this case that’s high points like the loosely related Emo Philips-hosted vignettes in “Five Short Graybles” and the dysfunctional family drama of “Dad’s Dungeon.” But even these pale in comparison to series oddball “Thank You,” an episode that limits the exploits of Finn and Jake to a mere subplot in favor of focusing on the unlikely friendship between a Snow Golem and a lost Fire Wolf Pup. With limited dialog and an exaggerated slapstick slant ,”Thank You” hearkens back to the cartoon roots of classics like Tom and Jerry, and it really helps make this collection something special.
It’s aided, of course, by 15 other fun-filled shorts that satisfy even though the DVD extras – yet another set of static character bios – fall a bit flat. The real bonus, however, is the DVD pack-in: an official Finn the Human character hat! Though not quite as plush or sturdily constructed as the stand-alone product, this licensed headgear really adds some value to the package. (Plus you can pair it with a green backpack, some blue shorts and a light blue tee for a quickie Halloween costume.)
On its own merits Jake vs. Me-Mow is an easy recommendation, but with the free hat it’s a must-buy. The DVD combines a great cross-section of Adventure Time offerings and a cool collectible in one tidy package. Right now Amazon has the price to beat at around $17, but even at MSRP it’s an item that begs to be purchased.
Review materials provided by: Cartoon Network