DVD Review: Conan The Adventurer (Season Two: Part 1)

Skeptics weren’t sure if the R-rated Conan could become a legitimate hit as a cartoon aimed at kids. The Barbarian character was violent, fierce and sexy in both Robert E. Howard’s original stories and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies were adult in nature. The producers sensed that a slight tinkering with the character and backstory could make it work. They lightened up the violence, lowered Conan’s libido and gave him a constant enemy to battle. Imagine He-Man without the secret identity issue. Everyone knows Conan is Conan especially the Snake cult. The first season did well enough as a Saturday morning cartoon that it was turned into an afternoon series. Kids could rush home from school to get their loin cloth action. Conan The Adventurer: Season Two: Part 1 presents the first 13 of the 52 episodes.

The new batch of episodes continue with Conan’s mission to free his family from a living stone spell zapped by Wrath-Amon. This conceit allowed him to hunt for a cure and fight off the Serpent Men. “Tribal Warfare” pits Conan against one of his allies. Both sides swear they’re being backstabbed, but it turns out the Snake Men have a powerful new trick. “Curse of Ahx’ oon” ties up a bond between warring tribes when Conan delivers a mask. It could be bad juju. “The Master Thief of Shadizar” brings a second storyman into Conan’s crew. They break into a tower and finds out they know the real occupant. “The Vengeance of Jhebbal Sag” conjures the Master of the Beasts. Can this creature put an end to the Barbarian? “The Red Brotherhood” brings a female pirate into the trouble. A blacksmith duplicated the weapons made by Conan’s dad appears in “Thunder and Lightning.” The Crevasse of Winds” contains the book with a spell that might free Conan’s parents. “Hanuman the Ape God” might just be a beast in a cage. Conan and the Snakes battle over the “Isle of the Naiads.” The place supposedly has magical powers. A perfect reason to wage war on real estate. Youth gets stolen by an evil wizard during “In Days of Old.” “Birth of Wrath-Amon”sends Conan back in time to stop his family from the stone curse. Except he might have gone too far back in time. “Earthbound” breaks off a henchman from Wrath-Amons. How dare evil people think they can go solo. Conan attempts to become king of province in “The Treachery of Emperors.” If he can save a princess, the crown should be his. But people do seem to lie a lot in this show.

Conan The Adventurer: Season Two: Part 1 has a good Dungeons and Dragons campaign element. While this isn’t the historic Conan, the animated Barbarian doesn’t turn into a watered down and boring personality. He does have a goofy talking animal. But the producers keep the beast’s time to an annoying minimum. Conan The Adventurer is the perfect series to watch after He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

The Episodes
“Tribal Warfare,” “Curse of Ahx’ oon,” “The Master Thief of Shadizar,” “The Vengeance of Jhebbal Sag,” “The Red Brotherhood,” “Thunder and Lightning,” “The Crevasse of Winds,” “Hanuman the Ape God,” “Isle of the Naiads,” “In Days of Old,” “Birth of Wrath-Amon,” “Earthbound” and “The Treachery of Emperors”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer looks fine for early ‘90s animation. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. The levels work good between Conan’s booming voice and the action music.

No bonus features.

Conan The Adventurer: Season Two: Part 1 keeps up the rush of the original Barbarian racing around an alternate world. The show doesn’t settle into a plot rut of Conan chasing the Snake Men. Fans of the show will be delighted to know the bumpers before and after commercial breaks are contained on the episodes.

Shout! Factory presents Conan The Adventurer: Season Two: Part 1 Starring: Michael Donovan, Scott McNeil, Janyse Jaud and Gary Chalk. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: November 22, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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