After 10 years, my favorite fictional hero of all time has returned to save us all from the clutches of Aku, Samurai Jack. The action-packed children’s anime, Samurai Jack, from the extremely talented Genndy Tartakovsky, (remember Dexter’s Labaratory and The PowerPuff Girls? Yeah — that guy), is in my humble opinion, the greatest show of all time.
When the show was released in 2001 on Cartoon Network, it featured Jack, a young samurai with a vendetta against Aku, a demonic shape-shifter, hell-bent on ruling the world. After his village is destroyed as a boy in a surprise attack from Aku, Jack trains throughout his childhood to one day return and vanquish him.
Upon Jack’s return home many years later, a battle of epic proportions ensues. With the help of the mystic sword bestowed upon him by his ancestors, it appears that the samurai has won, but Aku had one last trick up his sleeve. Aku cast a portal into the future, sending Jack through time, where Aku’s power could grow more powerful. Over 4 seasons, Jack combats aliens, demonic minions, and even himself, in hopes of finding a way back to the past and free the world from Aku’s grip.
From 2001-2004, all 7 members of the Norwood family crowded around the TV religiously to see what sort of mess Jack was in and how he slashed his way out of it. However, upon season 5’s release on Cartoon Network’s late night channel, Adult Swim, it is apparent that this is not the same Jack of a decade ago.
Switching to a more fitting adult program, Samurai Jack has transformed into the darker, more intense show that it always was destined to become. Robots and minions have been replaced with real flesh and blood. Although time travel has blessed — or more fittingly cursed — Jack, stealing away his body’s ability to age, he no longer is invincible. He’s depleted, facing almost certain death week after week. He has lost his sword, his hope, and his mind over the past 15 years trapped in the future and there’s no telling if he’ll get any of them back before his adversaries succeed in taking his life.
Obviously I am deeply, deeply biased. I grew up with Jack. I feel like I know him personally, and maybe I really do. That is the type of character Tartakovsky has created, an admirable man of great honor and I will be right by his side during the most trying times of his fictional life.
Hopefully you’ll bare with all my oohing and ahhing every time Jack disposes of an enemy (it will be slightly obnoxious) and watch Samurai Jack take on the world with me.
Catch Samurai Jack every Saturday night at 11 p.m. ET on Adult Swim and recap seasons 1-4 on Hulu.
Main Image Credit: Adult Swim
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