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Samurai Jack

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Samurai Jack
Samurai jack.jpg
Gotta get back
back to the past
Samurai Jack
Genre: Action-adventure
Science fantasy
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: August 10, 2001 - September 25, 2004 (Cartoon Network run)
March 11 - May 20, 2017 (Adult Swim run)
Network(s): Cartoon Network (2001-2004)
Adult Swim (2017)
Created by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Starring: Phil LaMarr
Kevin Michael Richardson
Grey Griffin
John DiMaggio
Tara Strong
Mako (Seasons 1-4)
Greg Baldwin (Season 5)
Tom Kenny
Seasons: 5
Episodes: 62

Samurai Jack is an animated action cartoon created by Genndy Tartakovsky.


Long ago, a primordial evil entity known as "Aku" pillaged ancient Japan. The son of a Japanese Emperor was trained by the best warriors in the world to become a powerful Samurai and wield a magical sword blessed by the gods which is the only weapon capable of hurting Aku. Before the Samurai could kill Aku however, Aku opened a time portal that sent the Samurai to the distant future, where Aku now rules the world.

The Samurai took the name "Jack" and made it his mission to find a way back to the past and undo the dystopian future that Aku created.

Why It Rocks

  1. The show is a great example of the concept of "Show don't tell", being able to tell stories and explore characters through visual means rather than constant dialogue like many other series.
    • Many times characters go long periods of time without speaking yet the viewer is able to understand and relate to them because of the visual story telling method.
  2. The story, while simple and episodic, is compelling and has a satisfying conclusion.
  3. Great balance between slow silence and bombastic action, making good use of slow pace build up to make the action more intense.
  4. Beautiful art style that makes clever use of simplistic yet fluid animation and often blends in different art styles specifically for certain episodes.
    • Some highlights demonstrating special art styles include Jack vs the Ninja and Jack and the Haunted House.
  5. Jack is a solid protagonist, being a very selfless person who always puts others over himself and always keeps a calm composure, but when angered becomes a serious menace. Season 5 in particular greatly develops his character exploring the long term PTSD that his time in the future caused.
  6. Aku, despite often being depicted as a generic "evil because evil" villain, is still an entertaining antagonist and can also have comedic moments.
  7. Countless supporting characters that while most don't reappear besides the Scotsman, still manage to be memorable.
    • Season 5 had many of those characters return in cameo appearances.
  8. Many episodes make homages to other stories and graphic novels such as 300 or Mad Max.
  9. Season 5 due to airing in Adult Swim, was able to show more graphic violence and gore, even having Jack kill humans instead of just robots. At the same time however, the season didn't go overboard with violence to where it would feel forced.
    • Due to Mako passing away years before the 5th season's airing, Greg Baldwin replaces him and his voice is just as great as Mako
  10. Season 5 also introduces Ashi as Jack's true long-time companion who would later become his tragic love interest.
  11. The episode Tale of X-49 is an emotional episode that shows that not all of the people that Jack fights are evil and sometimes they have no choice
  12. "EXTRA THICC!"

Bad Qualities

  1. The slow pacing can sometimes make some scenes boring for some.
  2. In the fifth episode of season 5, Jack acts like a complete delusional moron when he thought the children from one of the Aku's factories are dead because of him (despite Jack didn't kill them).
  3. The series finale, depending on your view, goes on way too quickly when it could've been split into a multi-parter. This is because the showrunners wanted 13 episodes of season 5, but Cartoon Network only gave them 10.
  4. Prior to season 5, the show was not allowed to show any direct violence due to airing in Cartoon Network and having younger kids as the target audience, as such it would always have Jack fighting robots and ancient creatures, but not humans. (Depending on the vic
    • However, it might have been allowed that kind of violence in the first place if the series was originally on Adult Swim.
    • This made the show having a hard time sometimes whether it's for adults or for children sometimes.
    • Much like Ren and Stimpy Show: Adult Cartoon, making children's shows to adult's shows is a bad idea.
  5. Episode XCIX is seen as the worst episode of the show due to the fact that it focuses to much on the romance of Ashi and Jack but ends up being more of a filler.
  6. This episode, while great but it was way to dark and scary even for adults, especially since it was when Cartoon Network owned the show.


  • Genndy Tartakovsky, the show's creator, previously worked on Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Aku's "Extra THICC" line from "Jack vs. Aku" became a meme.


Samurai Jack is generally regarded as one of Cartoon Network's best shows, with critics praising its varied artistic methods, the strong blend between slow moments and fast paced action, and memorable characters.