The king is back as if time stood still for Adult Swim’s original flagship title, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
ATHF Season 12 Episodes 1 & 2 (“Shaketopia”) and (“Quiet Shake”) level up the animation quality while reviving the golden one liners, surreal premises, and top tier voice acting that made the series an all encompassing hit.
This ATHF Season 12 review contains mild spoilers for Episodes 1 & 2.
The modern, dystopian setting of “Shaketopia” brings back memories of films like Bruce Willis’ Surrogates. A malnourished Master Shake is addicted to a virtual world found within the confines of a VR headset. Only in a land built by pixels is Master Shake able to finally live out his dreams as the crown jewel of a society.
Where as in ‘real life’ Shake constantly finds his high self image in odds with how he’s actually treated as a full time TV watching NEET. In “Shaketopia”, Master Shake is worshipped as a deity lord of sorts with a virtual population tending to his every need. Naturally, Shake does not want to take off the headset and exit the manmade fantasy.
Thus, Frylock is left to take care of Shake’s ailing body as it withers away from the abuse of virtual reality. The premise is dark yet lends itself to classic ATHF comedy quite well as Meatwad comes to intrude on Shake’s perfect world… While Carl gives an old 1.0 version of the VR headset to Frylock which has him looking like a Mooninite.
What’s most noticeable about Shaketopia is the heightened production value of the animation itself, particularly in the Shake/Meatwad roman coliseum style fight scene.
Meanwhile, Episode 2 “Quiet Shake” is a direct parody of hit horror film “A Quiet Place” and acts as a great plot setup. Master Shake is the first to dispute Frylock’s assertion that they’ll be attacked if they make any noise. Great Carl moments in Episode 2.
Without giving too much away, the reasoning of the aliens wanting a noiseless earth is quite clever.
Just like seasons past, there’s no fluff. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Season 12 demands viewers attention in its 11 minute running time per episode. Perfect for a TikTok world with shortened attention spans to begin with, ATHF was always ahead of the curve in terms of format. The voice acting and comedic timing remains as pristine as the series’ launch over 20 years ago.
Aqua Teen Forever Plantasm was just the beginning of the series’ much anticipated revival. Hopefully, we have Master Shake, Frylock, Meatwad, and Carl on our TVs again for many years going forward.
– Be sure to watch our exclusive interview with ATHF creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro!
– Aqua Teen Hunger Force Season 12 premieres tonight, November 26, on Adult Swim / Cartoon Network at 11:30 pm ET with both Episodes 1 & 2.
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