Reviews: Conan The Adventurer

Flawed, but enjoyable

Conan The Adventurer sounds like one of the dumbest ideas in history. Conan The Barbarian, a very R-Rated series, getting a kids cartoon? Surely, they jest. Well, it happened. It was decayed to a shriveled ball, there was no gore to speak of, and it just didn't feel like Conan at all. At the same time, though, it was...well, good.

There are two things that really stood out to me about this series. The first is the (for the time) decent action. This is seemingly one of the few 90s cartoons that let the characters actually hit people. X-Men? Throw guys around. Spider-Man? Shoot webs. Conan? Charge at the snake guys, punch their fucking lights out, throw shurikens in their face, etc. Even if they were only "sent to another mention" via Applied Phlebotinum, it was still heads and shoulders above a good chunk of the competition. This was helped by the animation which, while not up to B:TAS standards, worked very well for the subject matter (and in a few cases, was actually awesome.)

The other thing is the show's passive-aggressive defiance of Status Quo Is God. Stuff actually got done for once. Conan and co. would find magic trinkets, and those that survived to the end of the episode would almost always be used again. While no great study in Character Development, the cast was several steps above cardboard cutouts. This only ramped up in the last ten episodes. Whole plot threads were brought to a close. Long standing villains were defeated once and for all. And this might be one of the first pieces of Western Animation to have a full, proper, epic Grand Finale. With one glaring exception, everything was wrapped up quite nicely.

Not to say it was all good. The show hit every ugly stick of 80s-90s animation. There were plenty of Anvilicious moments, although a few actually managed to work themselves quite well into the narrative. There were Small Annoying Creatures galore, although one ended up quite dead. Several episodes were simply Filler, and a few plot points didn't really add up to much.

That being said, So Bad Its Good? Probably. So Okay Its Average? Also possible. Your Mileage May Vary, but I personally enjoyed it.

Oh, and the intro was pure manliness deep-fried inside of purer manliness.