Another summer movie sends studios into their vaults to dust off any related
shows that they can find and rerelease. The new movie/old series in question
this time around is Conan, which you may or may not remember was a Saturday
morning cartoon series in the early 90s. You're probably surprised that Conan
can be considered kiddie fare, but the Conan in the series has been transformed
and made significantly less bloodlusty and oversexed. His family hasn't been
killed, just turned to stone. The serpent-men that serve the evil wizard
responsible for the transgression are never killed, instead a swipe of Conan's
Star Metal sword sends them back to their home dimension. And Conan is
accompanied by a bumbling Phoenix named Needle who serves as poor comic relief
and an easy out for the writers whenever they paint Conan into a corner ' you'd
think that they people who make animated series for kids would eventually figure
out that kids actually hate characters like Needle.
Conan the Adventurer is typical for an animated series of this type in that
the animation is strictly low budget. Barebones backgrounds, stiff movements,
looped animation, you get it all in this series. The series does depart a bit
from the norm in that the stories are actually a bit better than you'd expect.
Don't get me wrong; the stories often struggle to fill out their twenty minute
running times designed to save twenty minutes out of each hour for selling kids
cereal and action figures. However, there is a running continuity throughout the
season which makes the series play out more like a serial, with the first
several episodes serving to introduce how Conan assembles the team of companions
that accompany him on his adventures for the remainder of the season. Overall,
though, Conan the Adventurer is best left to boys in the eight to ten range.
They'll enjoy the swords and sorcery without turning too critical an eye at the
whole thing. Well, except for their contempt for Needle.
Conan the Adventurer Season 1 includes thirteen episodes on two discs,
without any additional special features. This gives you roughly four hours of
runtime, but that includes the opening and closing credits as well as the
bumpers that were inserted to sandwich the ads when the show was originally
broadcast, so in reality you're probably looking at closer to three.