What time is it? Time to do an unnecessary headache-inducing analysis of this children's cartoon! (Expect spoilers.)
The concept of the showThe show is mainly about two buds hanging out in any way possible note , but since this is an analysis page... The show relies heavily on use of fantastic elements (swords, monsters, princesses) in a fantastic setting (divided into kingdoms of fire, ice, candy, etc.), and many tropes consistent with the genre of High Fantasy. It does this in an offbeat way. Many of the characters are twists on stock characters. Instead of a knight in shining armor, the show features a "twelve year old boy with strong morals". Instead of a steed saving a princess, Finn is escorted by his best friend, a magical dog. Instead of battling an evil wizard, the Ice King comes off as crazy in sympathetic ways rather than malicious ones. They save many princesses and the blatant over-abundance of princesses is perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this show, the minor princesses often providing small amounts of romantic comedy. So what we have here is a sort of "parody" of the fantasy genre, with more humor and in a laid-back and simplistic style, but the fantasy is still there, and the show's love for adventure prevalent in many episodes. There is more to be explored, however. Although on the surface the show would seem completely fantasy element-based, there are many real-world deconstructions; the show takes fantasy and injects reality. For example, the show completely ignores Amusing Injuries, even though the simplistic style of the show implies that it would be a show that has entirely cartoon-y physics. This is not the case; injuries are treated very seriously, and often even last throughout the episode. Fun and rather dangerous adventures often turn into "Hey! Get serious! We could actually die!". There are lots of Cerebus Retcons which show up as a result of Cerebus Syndrome; rather amusing things are revealed to have more serious meaning, like Marceline's Fry Song. Characters often have stereotypical fictional personalities, that contain another characterization underneath the surface:
The timeline of Adventure Time
One interesting thing I can say is that there is indeed a mapped-out timeline for Ooo's creation and any flashback hints you've seen so far match up with the timeline.Well, let's see how much of it we can get right. For further insight on this, visit the Adventure Time Wiki.
—Ian Jones-Quartey, storyboard supervisor
On the relationship between Princess Bubblegum and MarcelineEver since the episode "What Was Missing" was aired, the relationship between Adventure Time's two major characters, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline has been shrouded in controversy. The fanbase recently has gone to war on whether or not their relationship is platonic or if the relationship has a more romantic implication. The main issue here is subtext, but what we do know about their relationship is that Princess Bubblegum and Marceline were once friends, but had some sort of falling out before the series began, which explains the contempt they had for each other during the episode (and the attitude that Bubblegum had towards Marceline during the episode "Go With Me"). What we also know is that throughout "What Was Missing", Marceline made it very clear she wants to reconcile with the Princess and heal their relationship. Which is where we start the Flame Wars and arguments between the two camps. Here is where we start to analyze the subtext from the episode and the different explanations between each side. First, the song. It of course repeatedly hints at a past relationship, but it can be interpreted as a romantic one or platonic one. Notice how the word "friend" is never actually used:
Marceline: I'm gonna drink the red from your pretty pink face... * I'm gonna...Later in the episode Marceline says, "Ha! Guess you're not as perfect as you thought! Guess you can't judge me anymore", to which PB responds, "I never said you had to be perfect!" further complicating things. Let's just assume PB and Marceline were just talking about the present, save for the line "Guess you're not as perfect as you thought" which hints at PB's high opinion of herself which strained their relationship. Finally, the shirt scene. One piece of evidence which favors the romantic side is when Marceline blushes saying, "You... kept the shirt I gave you?" although it could just be general embarrassment. The romantic side, of course, assumes Marceline is thinking, "She really does love me!" or something similar. The platonic side assumes Marceline was just embarrased that her sensitive side was let out in the open like that, because the shirt obviously has sentimental value. Of course, this begs the question, what the hell does the shirt mean?! PB claims that she wears the shirt as pajamas all the time. Cue the two sides of the fandom arguing, "FRIENDS/ROMANTIC PARTNERS DO THAT ALL THE TIME!" So... yeah. It all really depends on the viewer and how they pick up on the "evidence" of their backstory. The creators are keeping their mouths shut on this.
Princess Bubblegum: Marceline, that's too distasteful.
Marceline: Oh... you don't like that? ...Or do you just not like ME?! *
Sorry I donít treat you like a goddess,
Is that what you want me to do? *
Sorry I donít treat you like youíre perfect,
Like all your little loyal subjects do, *
Sorry Iím not made of sugar,
Am I not sweet enough for you? *
Is that why you always avoid me? *
That must be such an inconvenience to you well,
Iím just your problem,
Iím just your problem, *
It's like I'm not, even a person, am I? *
Iím just your problem
Well, I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to justify what I do *
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to prove anything to you
Iím sorry that I exist
I forget what landed me on your blacklist, *
But I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to be the one that makes up with you, so *
Why do I want to? Why do I want to...**
Finn's crush on Princess Bubblegum vs. his crush on Flame PrincessA lot of people have questioned Finn's sudden shift in crushing on PB to crushing on FP (though it's unknown if he no longer has a crush on PB). There's also a prevalent Ship-to-Ship Combat. Let's examine Finn's love for them. First of all, when Finn is around PB he is mostly able to coordinate himself. He's able to hang out with her as friends, and he only acts weird when PB kisses him. He'll usually want to casually do something to impress her, but it's mostly due to Bodyguard Crush. Even when she was thirteen, Finn was willing to return her to her normal age to save the candy kingdom, sacrificing their relationship in the process. He was willing to throw away their relationship in the name of heroism.
Princess Bubblegum: If I go back to my real age, I'll be able to take back the throne.
Finn: What?! No!—Uh, I mean... You can do that?
Princess Bubblegum: My people need me, and that comes first.With Flame Princess, Finn claims that his brain "goes stupid" whenever he's around her. He even went on to claim that he's never felt this way before. As soon as he saw her, he developed a crush. This can probably be chalked up to Love at First Sight. Other options are that he'll fall for any humanoid girl his age, since there probably aren't a lot of them around; or that he just fell for her purely because of her appearance. These options are probably a little less likely, though. When Flame Princess begins to head towards the goblin kingdom, Jake asks Finn what's more important: his love for FP or being a hero. When the options are spelled out for him, he's cerebrally able to make the right choice that coincides with who he's supposed to be: a hero. However, in the heat of things, when FP is burning the kingdom down, he's only able to think with his emotions. He isn't willing to hurt her. He was willing to sacrifice heroism to save their possible relationship. So, the situation is completely reversed from his situation with PB, and it provides evidence that his love for FP is stronger than his love for PB (sorry, Fubblegum shippers). He's never able to do it, either. Finn's heroic conflict only makes him break down and cry, which makes Flame Princess put away the flames herself, and you know the rest. Jake is the one who gets everyone out in time, so this is likely a recurring conflict for Finn. One could argue Finn is able to sacrifice his relationship with PB in the name of his character as a hero, but not his relationship with FP. Therefore Finn's love for FP could be stronger. It's hard to directly compare, since there's no instances where Finn's heroism would physically harm/pain PB. Willfully harming the 13 year old FP could hardly be seen as heroic, and leads to his break down in the face of no good option.
Finn: (begrudgingly) Yeeeeeeaaaaaah....
Is Flame Princess "evil"?FP is not a killer. How do you burn down a city without hurting a single inhabitant? An evil and destructive princess indeed. It's assumed that FP has lived in the Fire Kingdom her entire life and has no idea that others cannot live with fire in the way she can. She stated she wanted to make the Goblin Kingdom "her Fire Kingdom." She wasn't being intentionally destructive and vicious. FP's also in a strange, new land with very little fire and probably a long way from home, considering she rushed out of the Fire Kingdom to track down Jake. And to top it all off, she's being followed by Finn, who (from her POV) has done nothing but hurt her. She's a lost and frightened, sheltered 13-year-old princess with little sense of right and wrong and a fiery personality, not evil or vicious.
The mapThe events of the series seem to be based on the black and white map, of which a small part is shown in a slightly modified form in The Other Tarts. There appears to be days, nights and seasons not too different from what Earth currently has and if the sun rises in the east and sets in the west then the map has up being north. The general features of the map are consistent with a northern hemisphere placement of the Ooo continent with colder regions and conifer trees towards the north side, deciduous trees along the middle latitudes and palm trees in the south. The opening sequence seems to be a sweep through western Ooo. The atom bomb looks to be in The Unknown Lands, the Ice King is south of there in the Ice Kingdom, then it's southwest to the Candy Kingdom and further south to the Mountain Kingdom (with Marceline) then north east through the grasslands (with the Ice Kingdom in the distance) to the treehouse and inside that for Finn and Jake's fist bump.
HumanityHumanity is clearly rare, as seen in Her Parents and Susan Strong. Given PB's comments in SS, we can conclude that she does not know of any human relatives of herself, and so the previous comments that she was half-human must now be considered to be non-canonical.
The EnchiridionA tome of power, the Enchiridion (Latin: enchiridion: "manual" Greek: ἐγχειριδιον: "dagger") is "the hero's handbook". Everything you want to know about becoming a hero is in there, from saving the day to kissing the princess. Revealed in the Season 1 episode "The Enchiridion!". Though it appears throughout the series, it only plays a few episodes. The second episode it appeared in was "In His Footsteps" in which Finn gives the book to a bear who wishes to imitate him. This turns out to be a ruse by The Lich, who now controls the book. In "I Remember You", a quick look at the newspaper clipping reveals Simon Petrikov, pre-crown effects, was the man who discovered the book. Season 4's finale, "The Lich", finally told the real reason of the Enchiridion. Soon after "In His Footsteps", The Lich attacked and possessed the one man who could beat him, Billy. Haunting the nightmares of Finn, he made sure Finn and Jake hunted down the gems of power. In a moment of quiet, The Enchiridion reveals it's power through a hologram spouting an Info Dump. In short, when combined with the gems of all the crowns of Ooo, it can create portals to the Multiverse, a space where all universes exist. At the end, Finn destroys the book so The Lich cannot use it only to create the portal. The portal sucks Finn, Jake, and The Lich in, depositing them into the Multiverse.
EcologyThe grasslands around the tree house are cut short, like a lawn rather than a wilderness. These same grasslands are also home to giant snails, which presumably act as grazers. The northern forests might be too cold for the snails, the deserts too dry and the Candy Kingdom keeps the snails away from their fruit trees.
KingsMost male royalty with presumably humanoid origins have had a magical artifact of some kind. While the Ice King's (formerly Simon Petrikov) crown is the most well-known, it was also given to him by a person in a sterotypicaly cold area. However, note that such mind-bending items have been in existence for quite some time, if the words of Hunson Abadeer are true (notably, the necklace he has might be an indication that such magical items have their own wills and goals, and use their hosts as a sort of interface to interact with the universe). Also of note are the Fight and Thief Kings, one of which was immortal and had a magical sword, while the other was capible of some sort of magic but died a mortal death. The exact status of the Flame King is unknown, but if his daughter is any indication, humanoid traits coming from lines created by former humans might not be a chance occurance. Presumably, the former Candy/Cloud/Water/Etc. kingdom rulers were also bearers of an elemental artifact. The Lich (King) is a interesting occurance because there is no direct evidence that he has a magical artifact of any sort (with his crown being of little importance, and no visable magical rings or such taking up any space on his body). That, combined with his sheer size and body shape (resembling the Ice King's bulky look with his robe on) makes some speculate that he was never bonded to a artifact at all, or he is the result of a artifact completely merging with its wielder.
The LichThe Lich appears to have abilities that allow him to destroy almost anything in his path. In fact, when he crosses over Ice Berg Lake the water near him turns black and oily and Jake complains of a smell, implying that the fish in the water have died. This along with the fact that he gets his power from a toxic substance (composed of bleach, ammonia, and lighter fluid) makes it seem that the Lich is a nuke personified, which was confirmed in "Jake the Dog". He also raises the dead in his lair and it requires an extreme amount of damage (Finn blasting one at point blank range with Billy's Gauntlet) to defeat him. The Lich is capable of possessing bodies as well, bodysurfing into the Snail following his defeat. He did not appear in Season 3 but returned in Season 4, as the Snail and as Billy in "The Lich". He tricks Finn into using The Enchiridion's power (see The Enichridion) and as of Season 5 is in the Multiverse with Finn and Jake. The season 5 premiere gives the origin story. He is the embodiment of a nuke that exploded during the war.
Alternate TimelineEpisode: "Finn the Human" Earth was once a quieter place than the brightly florescent Ooo. As explored in Season 5's premiere, there is an alternate universe existing as another Earth. In this world, Finn appears as the mirror Finn from "King Worm", Jake is a normal bulldog, and Finn's mother and father are alive, along with a sibling of indeterminate gender (and not named in the episode). They appear to live in an economically depressed, low-tech rural area (low-tech that is, except for alternate Finn's robot arm, which is never explained). Finn is the son of a farmer being tortured by the Destiny Gang who are looking for protection money. Finn's mother asks Finn to sell the family mule Bartran (or Bar-bar) in exchange for the money. Before he reaches town, he meets an older Marceline and the skeleton of Simon Petrikov. She tells Finn how Simon prevented the Mushroom War by sacrificing his life. The crown then froze the earth for 400 years. Finn doesn't believe her and takes the crown. In town, Barbar and the crown are stolen by the gang's leader, Big Destiny and Finn must save them by using a blade, given to him by Choose Bruce (alternate timeline Choose Goose). Before Finn can deliver the final blow to Big Destiny, the town and Finn's home are set on fire. Finn uses the crown, becoming the Ice King in the process. Episode: "Jake the Dog" Finn extinguishes the flames only to set off the nuke Simon originally prevented. In his manic state, Finn saves his family and viciously attacks the Destiny Gang. Alternate timeline Jake is caught in the radioactive slime and turns into the Lich. At this point, magic dog Jake uses his wish to alter the Lich's wish, made in the beginning of "Finn the Human". This should in turn theoretically eliminate the possibility of the alternate timeline, though it doesn't explain the appearance of Alternate Finn in "King Worm". Episode: "Puhoy" Around the end of "Puhoy", Elderly Finn has a pillow version of the mechanical arm that Alternate Finn had. This could lead to two possible consequences. One is that Finn will have to accept the burden of a mechanical arm at some point during any reality of his existence. The second is when Finn disrupts the flow of time after jumping through several universes, he triggers the mechanical arm to exist in every reality (see Steins;Gate regarding "world lines").
The Ice King as a metaphor for dementia.Extremely relevant spoilers ahead. Be warned. Dementia, meaning "without mind", historically was synonimous with madness, but nowadays it is considered to be a specific type of severe mental disorder, characterised by losing much of the coognitive capacity (on other words, losing the ability to think rationally). Dementia is distinguished from other types of insanity by this; dementia is basically the anihilation of sapience. Alzheimer's is the most common variety of dementia. Common symptoms of dementia include:
The Fionna and Cake episodes can be analyzed to understand the opinions of the storyteller.In the Fionna and Cake stories, how the alternate gender characters behave and live is reflective of the way the storyteller sees them. The characters in the Fionna and Cake universe do not seem to be exact copies of their Ooo counterparts. Now consider the first Fionna and Cake episode, where the story was told by Ice King: