Adventure Time: “Hug Wolf”
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Adventure Time: “Hug Wolf”

In “Hug Wolf,” Adventure Time tackles a serious problem for young people all over the world: non-consensual hugging.  Yup, this show is doing a rape episode, approaching the topic by turning Finn into a hug wolf, “a subset of wolfmen which roam the countryside with a fervent huglust.” While searching for the deadly Blight Tree, Finn and Jake are ambushed by an alpha hug wolf that gets its heart-shaped paws around Finn. He’s suddenly filled with affection, and he can’t stop hugging people, beginning with poor, defenseless BMO.

After his initial hug, Finn laments that the hug wolf “didn’t even tell me it’s name,” signaling the increased affection that comes as a side effect of his transformation. As that affection grows, Finn becomes obsessed with hugging others. He’s a serial huggist, violating others to fulfill his personal need for intimacy. There’s probably a much simpler “obey personal boundaries” lesson at play here, but the disgusted reactions to Finn’s hugging help give the episode that sexual assault. While picking up candy litter, Finn is confronted by Cinnamon Bun for the aggressive hugs he gave the night before, but he has no recollection of the events. He doesn’t believe it happened, but Jake points out that Finn was huggy the night before, and takes him to the library where they look up some information on hug wolves.

Finn became a hug wolf after being hugged by an alpha on a full moon, and Jake tries to purge the craving out of his best friend’s system. Weighed down with bags of frozen peaches, Finn still can’t resist the force of nature that is the hug wolf, and he undergoes the full transformation into a lovable lupine. Of course the Adventure Time twist on the classic werewolf concept would fall somewhere between adorable and disturbing, and while this episode is essentially one joke stretched over ten minutes, it’s a funny one. The entire Finn-wolf sequence is hilarious, beginning with his “hugs for buddies!” howl, then the attack on Mr. Cupcake, and the final scene where Finn sneaks into a gum drop’s room but is fought off by her father who tries to kill Finn with a candy cane shotgun.

Jakes discovers Finn literally in a gutter the next morning, and he reveals to Finn that in his hug lust, he hugged everyone in the Candy Kingdom. Disgusted at his behavior, Finn demands to be locked in the candy dungeon, but the rest of the candy people foolishly leave Cinnamon Bun as the prison guard. After getting a taste of Finn’s hugs, Cinnamon Bun wants more. C.B.’s already damaged mind can’t handle the trauma of Finn’s hugual assault, and he’s formed an unhealthy bond with his attacker, releasing Finn so he can feel his touch once more.

As Finn sends Cinnamon Bun spinning down a sugary spiral of depravity and despair, Jake is tracking down the alpha hug wolf to put an end to its reign of gentle terror. As the hug wolf prepares to attack, Finn leaps into the fray and the two hug it out, shooting little heart sparks as they battle-cuddle. Then they cause a nuclear heart-splosion, and they both transform back to their regular selves, no longer craving hugs. Jake suddenly wants a hug from the pretty lady that the alpha wolf turns into, but then she transforms into the Blight Tree and attacks him, coming full circle for the end of the story. There’s no significant world building or a talking snail cliff hanger, but “Hug Wolf” is a bizarre, clever episode with some great one-liners and visual gags. It’s not as madcap as some episodes, but it mines its central concept for all it can, squeezing out as much humor as possible from a hug-rape story.

Stray observations:

  • How stoked is everyone for the Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?! videogame for the 3DS? Pendleton Ward is working with the developers on the story and quests, and I can’t wait to see what the gameplay actually looks like. Imagine a Super Mario 64-style Adventure Time game…*drool*
  • Jake’s licorice-punch is a pretty awesome fight move.
  • “What the? Is this an extra butt?”
  • Jake: “Is he crushing you, man?” Finn: “No, he’s just—hugging me gently.”
  • “When you see the wicker devil in tree afterlife, tell him Jakes says ‘hello.’”
  • “I am terrified of Finn.” “Well that plant’s not gonna protect you.”
  • Baby: “Why is Finn in a cage, mama? Isn’t hugs nice?” Mama: “Oh, baby.”

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