Remember Adventure Time? The series where we watched Finn and Jake grow and have fantastical experiences in the land of Ooo? Then you may know about how it ended in September of 2018 with the finale, Come Along With Me.
A year later, it was officially announced that four specials of Adventure Time: Distant Lands would air beginning in 2020 on HBO Max. The first special, BMO, aired in late June and displayed a glimpse of how high in quality the Adventure Time: Distant Lands specials would be. The colors are more vibrant, and the amount of detail and effort put into the backgrounds are noticeable.
On November 19, the long-awaited second special called Obsidian was released, and just like the first, it did not disappoint.
The main characters in Obsidian are Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, along with story driving characters Glassboy and See-thru princess. The main protagonists have to save the perfect and grand Glass Kingdom from a catastrophe.
*Mild spoilers for the episode ahead*
After the kiss in the finale confirming Bubblegum and Marceline’s relationship, many fans including myself, waited patiently and excitedly for the second special, and the heartwarming package that we received had me falling in love with the characters all over again.
Many critics agreed and called it fan service, and while I share a similar sentiment, I can say that it is fan service done exceptionally well. Obsidian fleshes out the couple’s backstory and gives anticipated answers to questions about who they are. It does this while still giving the audience an enjoyable timely adventure.
Obsidian has layers, and each of them stacked up against the other adds up perfectly to make the story feel whole. A large portion is backstories, but it’s never too much. It is what we need to see to understand. Adventure time episodes are always a unique experience for me. It’s like gently riding on a boat in the dark but once in a while it gets a little bit brighter, and the closer you get to the destination, the more you see and hope the ride never stops.
First off, I will talk about the main couple’s relationship. Not only is it exhilarating that the show creators no longer have to be cautious when it comes to displaying how they feel about each other, but it’s also a breath of fresh air to see how domestic they were. There are no subtle inklings or messages that can fly over viewers’ heads. Bubblegum and Marceline are dating, it is as clear as day, and they express their love for each other constantly and unapologetically.
After watching, I could see why many called it fanservice but it was the sweet kind to say the least. It shows the satisfying growth in both characters and their partnership. In the final season of Adventure time, we learned what pushed them to break up, then in Obsidian, not only do they show us the actual break up, but they show us who they are after they have learnt from their mistakes, and accepted each other again.
There is conflict, but it is not between them. It is an inner conflict Marceline has within herself. She has to go back to her past to get the inspiration she needs to resolve it and the main issue at hand in the Glass Kingdom. The whole topic is handled very well.
Delving deeper into the backstories, I found it nice to experience watching young Marceline again, especially with her mother. I always admired how they presented the world after the Great Mushroom War. In a real sense, it is extremely dark and tragic, but they always find a way to make it lighthearted and make you laugh once or twice in the midst of all the calamity.
The short flashbacks to the Bubblegum and Marceline breakup were short but easy to understand. It was also very moving because one can directly see how the two have changed in over a hundred years. It felt like a compare and contrast moment.
It would not be a Marceline episode if it did not have songs, and of course they have the signature Adventure Time feel to them. Most of the songs put a smile on my face and hit me with a familiar feeling that suddenly made me nostalgic. The musical bits were incredible, some fun and some packing emotion.
As usual, Adventure Time creators did not stray away from their usual habits of putting little messages and details in the backgrounds of their series. It took me a few watches to catch some, and the simplicity of most of them felt admirable to me. We also see Finn in the episode, but you will have to watch to see what he does. Without spoiling much, I will say that what he does will put a grin on your face.
Every inch of Obsidian was beautiful. From the dialogue to the colors and the way the characters expressed themselves, the special was a surreal experience I do not wish to forget. Now, I am even more eager to see the last two episodes for Adventure Time: Distant Lands.