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
- 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.
- The story, while simple and episodic, is compelling and has a satisfying conclusion.
- Great balance between slow silence and bombastic action, making good use of slow pace build up to make the action more intense.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aku, despite often being depicted as a generic "evil because evil" villain, is still an entertaining antagonist and can also have comedic moments.
- 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.
- Many episodes make homages to other stories and graphic novels such as 300 or Mad Max.
- 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.
- Season 5 also introduces Ashi as Jack's true long-time companion who would later become his tragic love interest.
- That scene from Jack vs. aku.
- The slow pacing can sometimes make some scenes boring for some.
- In the fifth episode of season 5, Jack acts like a complete moron when he thought the children from one of the Aku's factories are dead (despite he didn't kill them).
- The series finale, depending on your view, goes on way too quickly when it could've been split into a multi-parter.
- 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.
- However, it might have been allowed that kind of violence in the first place if the series was originally on Adult Swim.
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.