While the initial title cards for the show might have you believe it would always be "Adventure Time With Finn & Jake," as time went on, the "With Finn & Jake" part became less intrinsically tied to the premise of the show. Plenty of characters managed to share that spotlight, and the recent Adventure Time: Distant Lands specials make it clear that Adventure Time is still, well, Adventure Time without Finn and Jake. And yet, the return of the dynamic duo for Adventure Time: Distant Lands - Together Again does feel a bit like coming home.
Without spoiling anything, the description of the Together Again special stating that this would be "the adventure of their lifetimes" is almost an understatement. The important part, however, is the emphasis in that sentence -- anyone reading it could put the emphasis just about anywhere, but it really should be on "the" at the beginning.
The special starts off simply enough with Finn and Jake once again up to their old shenanigans, attempting to make off with some ice cream before encountering various classic obstacles like the Ice King and his latest terrible, poorly executed princess-kidnapping plot. If you followed along with the plot of the series, that doesn't exactly mesh with the current status quo, even by Adventure Time standards, and there's a good reason for that which will become readily apparent early into the special.
What follows is a whirlwind tour through fantastical worlds with Finn in search of Jake in order to be -- as the title states -- together again. It's basically everything you could want out of a special focusing on Finn and Jake specifically: powerful, world-shaking foes, goofy jokes, fan-favorite characters and callbacks, and at the center of it, brotherly love. After so much time without the dynamic of Finn and Jake at the forefront of Adventure Time, it is truly nice to spend the length of several normal episodes with the two of them once more. There's just something about John DiMaggio's Jake and Jeremy Shada's Finn that exudes warmth, regardless of the ridiculous situations or specific dialogue they find themselves in or say.
Every twist and turn, every single piece of plot development, serves to reinforce the fact that these two have a special bond that goes beyond what most other folks have. Families are weird in Adventure Time, and families are already weird regardless, but who we have in our lives (plural, in the case of Adventure Time) and who we can rely upon, no matter what, is the deciding factor in so many things. Adventure Time: Distant Lands - Together Again simply ups the ante to the fate of the world as the characters know it.
It is all but impossible to compare the various Adventure Time: Distant Lands specials, but if they were to be put in tiers ranked by "How Much Will This Emotionally Punch Your Guts," Together Again would be right below Obsidian with BMO ranking somewhere below both. Given that Obsidian focused on the relationship between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, it should not come as a surprise that another special specifically about the relationship between two characters -- this time familial rather than romantic -- is an emotional roller coaster.
Rating: 4 out of 5