Review: Bravest Warriors – S2:E1 – Aeon Worm

Cartoon Hangover, a YouTube channel operated by Frederator Studios, has been producing some of the best free webcontent available, empowering artists to release professional grade animated shows that don't have the generic appeal to survive the bleak commercial wasteland of television. Instead, web audiences have been blessed with a wide variety of free vibrant animated programming, from 'Rocket Dog' to their recent cult hit 'Bee and Puppycat'. However, their longest running achievement is 'Bravest Warriors', imagined by 'Adventure Time' creator Pendalton Ward, a show whose popularity has leapt from YouTube to the convention floor. On October 17th, 'Bravest Warriors' made their triumphant return for Season Two, immediately picking up after the surprisingly foreboding finale in the new episode “Aeon Worm”. Beth Tezuka is mysteriously drawn to enter the grotesque worm door that leads to the See-Through Zone, accompanied by her pet, Paralyzed Horse. While warned of the danger, Beth presses onward, determined to find her father, lost in the alternate dimension.

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Despite its tendency for non-sequitur, 'Bravest Warriors' has shown interest in telling actual ongoing stories in their mostly randomly generated universe, last season most apparent in Chris's interactions with his future self. While seeming to set up an enormous amount in the strange and mysterious ending to Season One, 'Aeon Worm' actually wraps up nearly all of the dangling questions in a tidy 6 ½ minutes. Most of the time this kind of storytelling is attempted it can end up feeling rushed or unsatisfying, but amazingly 'Aeon Worm' actually delivers and doing so with the most epic storytelling they've attempted so far. The obvious benefit for the creative staff is it frees them up to return to their self-contained storytelling that Season One largely consisted of, but with added twist involvement of a new character that could end up having a long-term impact on the arc.

Since the episodes are less than ten minutes long it's hard to review without getting spoilery, but suffice to say the animation and design on this episode was particularly stellar. The voice acting was also of its usual wonderful quality, with the added benefit of Victor Caroli's guest performance as Paralyzed Horse. A nod should also be given to the great composing on the episode, in places as being vaguely reminiscent of the score for Liquid Television's 'Aeon Flux'.

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“Bravest Warriors” Season Two more than meets expectations with the premiere, one of their best episodes ever, and sets things up nicely for adventures to come. With fans embracing Cartoon Hangover productions and the added buzz from the 'Bee and Puppycat' Kickstarter, it's been a good year for Frederator Studios and hopefully a sign of the audience base expanding as 2014 draws near.

Score: 4/5

Creator: Pendalton Ward Writers: Breehn Burns, Jason Johnson Director: Breehn Burns Available on Cartoon Hangover’s YouTube channel