Home Entertainment Adventure Time releases new heartbreaking spin-off

Adventure Time releases new heartbreaking spin-off

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Art By Miya Vuksic.

Against the vast history of popular shows airing spin-offs, this one certainly takes the cake.   

Fionna and Cake is a new spin-off show based on the hit cartoon show Adventure Time,  as it presents a wild and emotional story about love, loss, and a truckload of self-reflection, all packaged in a nicely wrapped multiverse-crossing story. 

Back in 2021, the creators of Adventure Time had announced a new show based off the popular animated TV series, titled Fionna and Cake, which was set to air on Aug. 31st of this year.   

The first thing viewers can expect from watching the show is its new-age demographic. While Adventure Time is aimed primarily at children, Fionna and Cake surprisingly is mainly for young adults, with the appearance of blood, mild gore, and dark humor repeated throughout the episodes. 

As the show gets older and older, so do its fans. The creator of Fionna and Cake, Adam Muto, who was also a key animator in the original show, sought to create a show that was now more relatable to long-time fans of the show. 

The unique take on the show Fionna and Cake focuses on characters from an alternate reality with an aged-up and gender bent version of Adventure Time’s original characters, Jake the Dog and Finn the Human and, given new names, Fionna and Cake, like the title suggests. However, they come from a “normal” universe with no magic involved until Cake the Cat jumps into a portal created by another being in another universe. Together, they travel across multiple alternate realities, in an attempt to save her own world.  

The show’s main characters, Fionna, Cake, and Simon, who many will recognize as the human reformed version of the show’s previous antagonist, Ice King. Throughout the beginnings of Episode 1, titled Fionna Campbell, we see Fionna and Cake bored and unmotivated in their current “normal” lives, while Simon feels out of place in a world dominated by magic.

Throughout their adventures into an array of multiverses, while running away from what seems to be the equivalent to the multiverse police, each character battles their own will to exist in a world other than their own. Themes of self-worth, self-validation, are all prevalent in the episodes, as opposed to the stereotypical go-lucky protagonist right at the start of the show. Instead, we get a realistic development of Fionna’s adaptation into the different magical universes she is exploring, in which she has the powers she’s always wanted, and some universes where she can barely defend herself. 

Fionna and Cake also show a stage of guilt and depression that Fionna faces after she does murder an entire kingdom of candy that she believed were the “bad guys”, but later revealed to be under some sort of spell. She continues to battle a sense of uselessness as she feels though as she keeps messing up their quest, making decisions that set the team backwards more than forwards. Her actions aren’t immediately justified as righteous because she believed it to be at the time, instead she has to deal with the realization of how much responsibility and pressure it takes to decide who gets to live and die. 

Meanwhile, Simon deals with the depression that comes with being stuck in the past while everyone else around him is moving forward. As he feels that he had no place or purpose in his world, Simon gradually learns that  the other universes all turn to ruin without him and the actions he took. 

We learn early on in the second episode about his love interest, Betty, who sacrificed herself to save his sanity. However, Simon cannot bring himself to move on, and is constantly reminiscing about her and even tries multiple methods to bring her back, to no avail. The show deals with what seems to be the aftermath of a big finale- after all the pain and sacrifice, something that is usually glossed over or just given a resolved ending, like in most cartoons. 

Instead, Fionna and Cake details a journey of young adults struggling to find some sort of meaning or purpose to a world that was not made for them. Over and over, they look for meaning or a task that they think will “fix” them, or suddenly make them feel better about themselves. The journey is messy and sometimes anticlimactic, and the characters are often upset at many parts of the journey that they do not understand. 

It is not until Fionna and Cake are teleported back to their own world with the promise of it “becoming magic” that they see everyone has their own lives to attend to, and that it should not be their decision to suddenly introduce magic in a non-magical world.  

Similarly, it isn’t until Simon faces an interdimensional time deity about Betty that he realizes why there were so few options to save her, and how one-sided their relationship really ended up being. He accepts that Betty saved him on her terms, and that he should move on and live the life that she gave to him. 

Fionna and Cake is an excellent example of what growing up and moving on really feels like- it does not happen overnight, and it takes effort and realization to deal with whatever the situation is at hand.  

It truly goes to show how well the production team knew their audience, enough to make a wild, unique story have such profound meaning. Even with the prominent dimension hopping, the audience can still see a part of themselves and how they may feel about life in any one of the characters on the screen, and they get to experience all of it with them and hopefully, take that advice home with them.

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