I'm also running out of ways to complain about the fact that Cartoon Network continues to release the show in random episode collections rather than put it out in season sets (preferably on DVD and Blu-Ray; so far, we only have The Complete First Season, and only on DVD), so I'll keep it to a minimum (although, I admit that the announcement that CN shows, including "Adventure Time," start streaming on Netflix at the end of March goes a long way toward addressing that complaint. This collection contains 16 episodes, beginning with the title episode, "Fionna and Cake."
Part of the genius of "Adventure Time" is its boundless creativity, and "Fionna and Cake" fits right in with that. "Adventure Time" crew member Natasha Allegri doodled gender-swapped versions of Finn and Jake for fun, but Ward and company deemed it worthy of its own episode. Fionna (Madeleine Martin), like Finn, is an adventurer in the Land of Ooo, accompanied by her magical, shape-shifting cat, Cake (Roz Ryan). In the episode, she faces off against the evil Ice Queen (Gray DeLisle) for the affections of Prince Bubblegum (Neil Patrick Harris), who Fionna has a crush on. Like all of the best "Adventure Time" episodes, it's funny, it's got a wonderful little song (which Bubblegum sings to Fionna while flying on the back of Lady Monichromicorn), and it even has a nice little message in there for young girls, both about crushes and being a hero.The collection continues with a selection of episodes from Seasons Two, Three, and Four (as with the last collection, I've got a handy guide noting which seasons the episodes came from. At least one or two of the Season Two episodes are kinda mediocre ("Still," in which the Ice King freezes Finn and Jake and tries to befriend them, is the weakest episode in the set), but the set has a number of episodes focusing on girls, perhaps as an attempt to tie in with "Fionna and Cake." "Incendium," for example, introduces the fiery Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco), whose age is more befitting Finn's affections than the older Princess Bubblegum. The animation of Jake, who can transform into basically anything, is always a series highlight, and this episode is one of the best, culminating in a sequence where Jake forms Finn out of his body and voices him.
Other highlights include "What Was Missing," which finds the gang chasing after a Door Lord and forming a band to unlock his barricade. Marceline's song "I'm Just Your Problem" is a fan favorite, and personally significant as the moment I decided I was a fan (this was the first episode I saw). "Card Wars" has Finn agreeing to play Jake's favorite card game, only to discover Jake is a more passionate opponent than he realized. As the show often feels like a big riff on Dungeons and Dragons, this spoof of tabletop gaming is full of absurd yet deeply familiar moments: the endless rule-reading, the surprise triumphs, and the seething rage. "Ghost Princess" involves the two pals trying to solve the mystery of a ghost princess' demise in order to free her from the mortal plane, building perfectly to two flashbacks (one sweet, and one unreasonably funny). "Death in Bloom" sends Finn and Jake to the Land of Death looking for a flower's soul, and features a hilarious performance by Miguel Ferrer as Death, who challenges the heroes to a duel. Last, but not least, "You Made Me" brings back the obnoxiously entertaining Earl of Lemongrab (Justin Holland), a loud-mouthed, bitter Princess Bubblegum creation who demands some citizens to lord over.
The episodes on this disc are as follows: "Fionna and Cake," "Storytelling," "The Other Tarts," "The Silent King," "Death in Bloom," "Still," "Wizard Battle," "What Went Wrong," "From Bad to Worse," "Marceline's Closet," "Ghost Princess," "Incendium," "Card Wars," "Princess Cookie," "Lady and Peebles," and "You Made Me." (The last two episodes are listed on the packaging out of order, but both are included.)
The Video and Audio