Conan The Adventurer
Season Two: Part 1
Conan continues on his journey to find a cure for the ‘spell of living stone,’ a journey that takes him to evil wizards, mischievous rock-people, and alien monkeys. All the while, Conan and his random assortment of friends must battle the cruel wizard Wrath-Amon, and his army of serpent men.
In season two, Conan The Adventurer has essentially the same story structure as Hercules the Legendary Journeys. Each episode features Conan, along with one or two of his friends, as they encounter some evil, and then best it. Granted, Conan has a larger and more diverse cast, and more expansive and varied world to explore.
Each of the ‘states’ in Conan’s world are based on some iconic culture of the past (except for the wizard city). While it doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, like why some people live like stone-age barbarians when others live in thriving bronze age metropolises, it is, none-the-less, perpetually interesting. There’s just something magical about it. One day you’re in Arabia of old, and the next you’re fighting pirates.
The stories this time around don’t seem as connected. In season one, there was some level of continuity (though it dissipated over the course of the season) which is now entirely absent. At the end of these thirteen episodes, nothing has actually changed for Conan. Of course, this is a children’s cartoon that’s meant to be played endlessly and out-of-order so kids can watch it whenever it happens to be on, so this episodic format is to be expected.
There are a couple episodes that expand the plot though, one returns to the story of Wingfang and his cursed past; and the other is a time-traveling story about Wrath-Amon’s rise to power. They’re good episodes, and satisfying for those that care about back stories, but neither has any impact on the larger story.
Beyond that, each episode is a simple adventure story. The majority focusing on Conan’s quest for a cure, or for more star metal, the meteoric substance that both Kryptonite to the serpent men and their means of freeing their snake-god Set from the abyss. Wrath-Amon has a big plan to use the star metal make seven discs on top of seven pyramids, but we don’t get any updates on how that’s going.
Owing to the fantastical setting, there’s a fair bit of variety in Conan’s adventures; though this set of episodes was a little heavy on the evil wizards. They captures that pulp-adventure vibe that the source material had, though toned considerably down for it’s younger audience.
Conan The Adventurer continues to be a fun and entertaining adventure series that holds up well for people that remember watching it as a child. Sure, you can nitpick about the lack of a larger story arc, but that’s like complaining about rice cakes being bland. This is a kid’s show, but it’s a good one.
The thirteen episodes come on two discs from Shout Factory. Video and audio are fine, but not revelatory; it probably looks about as good as it did on cable television. There are no extras included.