When trying to find a totally geeky fantasy toy to write about, I asked myself, “What’s the hottest thing going in the world of fantasy these days?” The obvious answer is Game of Thrones. However, if any Nerdy readers allow their young kids to watch HBO’s grisly saga of medieval daring-do, someone needs to call the Department of Children’s Services.
Then I thought,”What’s the kid-friendly equivalent of Game of Thrones? I need a show with swords, sorcery and epic battles against the forces of darkness, and it’s got to be edgy, but not the kind of edgy where people sleep with their siblings and cut each other in half. I need the kind of edgy where characters occasionally use words like ‘butt’ and ‘fart’ and ‘sucks.’ Y’know – edgy, but safe for wee little ones.”
What fits that specific list of criteria?
Adventure Time, which chronicles the heroic exploits of 14-year-old monster hunter Finn along with Jake the magic, shape-shifting dog. Imagine Calvin and Hobbes, if Calvin’s parents never showed up to drag him back to stupid reality. Also, if Hobbes could grow to the size of a building and had a voice quite like a friendlier version of Bender, the rascally robot of Futurama fame. (Prolific voice actor John DiMaggio provides vocals for both.)
In the now-classic premier episode, Princess Bubblegum invites the entire Candy Kingdom to a slumber party. However, Bubblegum has an ulterior motive: Distracting her subjects from a legion of sugar-craving zombies she inadvertently created with an experiment in necromancy gone awry. Meanwhile, Finn learns an important lesson about keeping secrets, and Jake spends seven minutes in heaven with Lady Rainicorn.
Over the course of five seasons, word of mouth introduced an ample adult(ish) audience to Adventure Time’s absurdist animated universe. One of my favorite episodes explores prejudice and interracial relationships. Due to historical animosity between dogs and rainicorns, Jake pretends to be a rainbow/unicorn hybrid creature in hopes of gaining the approval of his girlfriend’s parents. When Lady Rainicorn’s mom and dad — Ethel and Bob Rainicorn — attempt to eat Finn, Jake abandons the ruse. Luckily, niceness ensues once everyone learns that Bob (voiced by Henry Rollins) owes his life to a dog who rescued him during the horrific Dog/Rainicorn wars, and harbors no bigotry towards Jake. Cartoon Network’s second favorite dynamic duo have also sorted out issues with vampires, half-witted businessmen, squishy beings from a dimension known as Lumpy Space and the sinister Ice King (portrayed by SpongeBob SquarePants himself, Tom Kenny).
As one may expect, a whole blithering truckload of Adventure Time toys and swag can be purchased for the entertainment or fashion needs of all. They’ve got DVDs and plenty of dolls and action figures, but we’re going to point readers at this two-foot-long replica of Finn’s sword and a polyester facsimile of his signature beanie, which could be combined for simulated swashbuckling.
The sword is perfect for backyard play and engaging in Adventure Time adventures. Kids love this kind of crap, and what better way to say, “I love you,” than giving a child a weapon? (At least it’s a safe weapon.)
The Finn Pilot hat, the beanie, is damn cute, perfect for an Adventure Time fan in the making. I’m still not sure if those are supposed to be cat ears or bear ears or what on the hat, but a warm head is a warm head, right?
Oh, one more thing. These awesome-as-all-getout walkie-talkies. Complete the whole backyard Adventure Time adventure series with these super -cool gadgets. You, yes you, oh parent, can get into the action, too. Grab a walkie-talkie and learn to speak their language. You might find yourself having a great time.