The first original Cartoon Network hardcore superhero-like character was Samurai Jack. He wasn’t a hero in the sense that he had some magical powers; quite the opposite, he was mastering skills. Samurai Jack had one of the best animations of the time as well. The only show that got a sequel after The Powerpuff Girls was Samurai, and unlike Powerpuff Girls, it didn’t disappoint at all. Overall, the whole timeline was perfect when you think about it. All the characters that we saw were well-developed and memorable, which makes up 99% of the job for a good show. If the story is well-written with great Cartoon Network characters, that’s the whole formula of the entertainment industry. Now let’s analyze and break down the whole Samurai Jack show and why the sequel didn’t disappoint at all.
Analysis and breakdown of Samurai Jack show [2001–2017]
This show was the first “superhero” show that I watched as a kid, and I felt lonely but still enjoyed every single episode. Samurai Jack isn’t like other funny or goofy characters from Cartoon Network, as he is totally alone. Everything that Jack loves is destroyed and remains in the past and his only goal is to find a portal into the past and defeat Aku. On the other hand, Aku is a really funny, scary, and disgusting character. In the past, Samurai’s father defeated the evil Aku by gaining a magical sword, which was forged by monks. When Aku returned and burned the city, little Samurai Jack went on a journey to travel the world and become the strongest warrior to kill Aku. He mastered astrology with his Japanese mentor, stick fighting in Africa, horse riding in the Middle East, deciphering hieroglyphs in Egypt, and wrestling in Greece. Jack was taught archery by none other than Robin Hood himself, and along the way, he mastered throwing axes, spears, and sailing.
After 17 years, and after he was taught Kung Fu by Shaolin Monks, he came back to fight Aku. What happens is that Aku opens a portal in time and sends Jack into the distant future. That’s where all the fun starts as he battles through Aku’s armies and even Aku a couple of times before he finds a portal. One of the most memorable battles that stuck with me was “Jack vs. the Five Hunters”; in which Jack had to fight against five skilled lion-human hybrids. Another one was “Jack and the Scarab” where Jack must fight against three immortal servants of Seth in Egypt; this is the first episode where we see the use of the deus ex machine. “Jack and the Traveling Creatures” was probably the saddest, as it’s the first episode where the Samurai was truly beaten down by the Guardian.
Memorable characters from Samurai Jack
Good Guys: Scotsman, Scotman’s Daughers, Spartans, Scotsman’s Wife, Woolies, Space Scientists, The Dragon, Monkey Man, Sir Rothchild
Bad Guys: Aku, Ashi, Sirens, Spring, Scaramouche, X-49, Demongo, The Princess, The Bounty Hunters, Mondo-Bot, The Guardian, Ultra-Robots, Minions Of Set, Imakandi, Chritchellites, Three Blind Archers
Does Samurai Jack need a reboot, a sequel, or none?
This is the one that actually got a sequel, so there’s no need for a reboot. Back in 2017, Samurai Jack returned for the 5th and last season with 10 final episodes. It’s been 13 years since we’ve seen the last of our Samurai, and the story didn’t end, but once it did, it was perfect. The storytelling, animation, and a lot of things have changed, but our hero didn’t. It was nice to see that he grew a beard and how that affected his character, but also it showed that he was also tired and depressed. Jack was still wandering about Earth, looking for the portal, but since the devil never sleeps, neither does Aku. Meanwhile, a female cult leader who worships Aku drinks some liquid given by Aku himself to impregnate her. What she gets is seven human-demon babies, a.k.a. The Daughters of Aku. They were training and had only one quest, and that was to kill the Samurai once and for all.
Jack kills a human for the first time so it makes season five more serious. To make it even worse, it’s a woman one of The Daughters of Aku. Things take a dark turn as Jack kills six and captures the seventh sister called Ashi, with whom eventually Jack falls in love, and so does Ashi. Jack was taken away eventually as Aku possessed Ashi. In return, Jack’s friends all together attacked Aku’s lair to kill him, but the attack wasn’t going as planned. It was a Scotsman with his daughters who arrived and turned the tide of the battle. Finally, Ashi is freed from Aku’s curse, as she understands that she possesses the powers of Aku (because she was made from his blood). Ashi realized that she could simply open a portal and send her and Jack back through time. They go back to the moment when Samurai Jack is transported to the future, and Jack easily defeats Aku. During the wedding ceremony, the saddest moment happens as Ashi simply disappears due to time travel side effects. As there was never Aku in the future, there never was Ashi. During the last couple of scenes of the episode, we see the greatest hero among all characters from Cartoon Network finally finding peace.
Image Credits: Cartoon Network Studios