Samurai Jack

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Samurai Jack
Samurai Jack.jpg
Gotta get back, back to the past.
Genre: Action-adventure
Science fantasy
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: August 10, 2001 - September 25, 2004 (Cartoon Network Run, Seasons 1-4)
March 11 - May 20, 2017 (Adult Swim Run, Season 5)
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 Delisle Griffin
John DiMaggio
Tara Strong (Season 5)
Mako (Seasons 1-4)
Greg Baldwin (Season 5)
Tom Kenny
Jeff Bennett
Jennifer Hale
Seasons: 5
Episodes: 62

Samurai Jack is an adult animated action fantasy-drama television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky.

The series follows Jack, a time-displaced samurai, in his singular quest to travel back in time to the past and defeat the tyrannical Aku. The series premiered on August 10, 2001, with a TV movie called The Premiere Movie. The series originally ended on September 25, 2004, without concluding the story. Samurai Jack has since garnered high critical acclaim. It won 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, 6 Annie Awards and 1 OIAF Award, as well as eight additional nominations. All four seasons have been released on DVD by Warner Home Video.

After 13 years, the show aired its fifth and final season starting March 11, 2017 on Adult Swim's Toonami programming block, with Tartakovsky returning as executive producer. The fifth season has a darker and more gritty tone to conclude Jack's journey. The series officially ended on May 20, 2017.


Long ago, a primordial evil entity known as "Aku" pillaged ancient Japan. Jack, a 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.

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

Why It Goes Back To The Past

  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. This has become a standard for the following Genndy Tartakovsky shows.
    • 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 storytelling method.
  2. The story, while simple and episodic, is compelling and has a satisfying conclusion, Jack finally returned to the past.
  3. Great balance between slow silence and bombastic action, making good use of slow pace build-up to make the action more intense.
  4. The graphical designs of this show are visually colorful, comparable to a painting.
  5. The theme song singed by is very catchy.
  6. Beautiful art style that makes clever use of simplistic yet fluid animation and often blends in different art styles specifically for certain episodes, courtesy of Rough Draft Studios (seasons 1-4 and episode "XCVIII") and Digital eMation (season 5, except for the episode "XCVIII" which was animated by Rough Draft Studios).
    • Some highlights demonstrating special art styles include Jack vs. the Ninja and Jack and the Haunted House.
  7. Jack is a solid and memorable 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 by exploring the long-term PTSD that his time in the future caused.
  8. Amazing voice acting by: Phil LaMarr (Judge Blackman from Family Guy), Kevin Michael Richardson, Grey Delisle Griffin (Kitty Katswell from T.U.F.F Puppy), John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama), Tara Strong (Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony series), Mako (Seasons 1-4), Greg Baldwin (Season 5) and Tom Kenny (The titular character of Spongebob Squarepants).
  9. It spawned two great tie-in video games, the first being in 2004 titled "Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku" and the second being in 2020 titled: Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time.
  10. Aku is an entertaining and threatening antagonist who also has comedic moments.
  11. The setting is very beautiful and nice.
  12. Countless supporting characters that while most don't reappear beside the Scotsman, still manage to be memorable.
    • Season 5 had many of those characters return in cameo appearances.
  13. Many episodes make homages to other stories and graphic novels such as 300 or Mad Max.
  14. 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.
  15. Season 5 also introduces Ashi who is a very cute character and Jack's true long-time companion who would later become his tragic love interest.
  16. The final scene of the series is very touching and pure heartwarming.
  17. The series finale is very satisfying, where Jack finally returned to the past (thanks to Ashi's powers), and killed Aku.
  18. 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.
  19. "EXTRA THICC!".

Bad Qualities

  1. The slow pacing can sometimes make some scenes boring for some.
  2. The series finale goes on way too quickly when it could've been split into a multi-parter.
    • Speaking of the ending, fans of mecha anime can find the wedding scene to be too similar to the ending of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (The main protagonist marries the daughter of the main villain, but only to have them vanish and disappear).
  3. It was originally gonna have a theatrical movie. But it was scrapped due to The Powerpuff Girls Movie failed in Box office.
  4. Prior to season 5, the show was not allowed to show any direct violence due to airing on 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.



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