Not so Retro Review: Don't forget your yak bladder
Let's continue looking at the episodes that were a part of the "Time Shift" event earlier this year.
"Tri-Stone Area" is a story with some really unconventional storytelling. Not only is pretty much everything done in "cave talk", but Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh take direct part in the episode, showing the real way episodes are made. Forget storyboards and story pitches. Shatter the fourth wall and just explain things as you go.
As much fun as it was to see them, the story would have worked even if they weren't there to ensure we knew what was going on. The Big Ideas, the "Too Young" line, Gunka-lunk's backstory, his frustration at how much better his brother's life is, and Can-tok's quest to bust her brothers. All the classic elements, all there. Even a callback to the first episode by mentioning the "satelakka".
There were a couple of nice touches in this episode. It took me a few minutes to figure out why the mirror would be dripping water. If you're going to have the characters change their dialogue, it makes sense to have a grunting version of the Quirky Worky Song. And don't forget about Conk's cameo.
I think the cast have discussed a little bit already about the recording sessions for this episode. I would love to see those, especially when Dan's recording his lines.
"Doof Dynasty" transports us from 27,000 B.C. to China in 1542. Princess Isabella is traveling through the land, accompanied by Regent Monogram. When she's kidnapped, Phineas, Ferb, Buford and Baljeet set out to find Master Perry, the only one capable of defeating Doofus Khan.
The artwork for this episode is really beautiful and detailed. It definitely captures the feel of ancient China. The training montage also featured a scene where the camera pans across and it's focused on the characters in the back row, leaving the ones in front out of focus. There's not many cartoons that would employ that kind of technique, but as we all know, this isn't an ordinary cartoon.
Accompanying the visual detail is the detail paid to some of the events going on in the episode: pointing out how things are named, Baljeet taking exception to what is bugging Buford, the fighting techniques that will be commonplace in later martial arts movies, and the flashbacks that no one else has pointed out that they can't see what's being remembered. Even the jingle singers get into the spirit of things.
Though the "Time Shift" event has passed, I wouldn't mind seeing a few more episodes where the characters are featured in different settings or times. It definitely makes sure that things don't get dull.
If you're traveling about the galaxy, don't forget your towel. But if you're traveling back to ancient China, don't forget your yak bladder. It's a must-have item for avoiding overly-complicated traps.