Harry Situation Reviews: Samurai Jack Season 5
Back to the past. Back to the past, Samurai Jack. Whatcha!
Jack is back in the final complete season of one of Cartoon Network's greatest animated series of all time, Samurai Jack. For those unfamiliar, Samurai Jack is an animated series that ran on Cartoon Network from 2001-2004, and was created by Gennedy Tartakovsky, who has done other works such as Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls, and directed the Hotel Transylvania movies. The story is about how an ancient evil named Aku has risen once again to conquer the world. A young samurai goes out to put an end to this evil with the aid of a magic sword that is capable of harming the demonic entity. But during their first confrontation he is transported into the future (it happens). There, going by the name of "Jack", he sets out on a quest that will hopefully take him back to the past to vanish Aku's grasp once and for all. And throughout the series it is just pure action and awesome.
The best thing about the series is that most of the episodes don't have a lot of dialogue yet it makes up with it with amazing animation and outstanding action that help tell the episode's story. It was so amazing that it was a shame that the series never had a proper conclusion. Now Season 5 is that conclusion that we fans have waited so long for. It's been fifty years since Jack has been transported to the future, and a side effect to this is that he does not age. All the time portals have been destroyed and Jack still does his best to protect the innocence, even though he lost his iconic, magic sword, which I don't completely understand how that was possible. Did he not look for it? This is the part where Billy Madison would say you got a sword, you have a responsibility. If your sword is lost you don't look for an hour and call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that fucking sword! Any who, at the same time he must also face assassins from an Aku-worshiping cult dubbed the Daughters of Aku, who have spent their entire lives sheltered and trained to kill the samurai.
Oh my fuck, this is the season fans and I have waited for so long to see. It is absolutely beautiful.
The animation this season looks the same as it was before and it still looks amazing. It looks as though they brought the whole crew back.
The voice talent is great as well. Voice actor Phil LaMarr reprises his iconic role as Jack, and he still sounds just as fantastic as he did before. If you need an idea who Phil LaMarr is, here's a list of your favorite characters that he's voiced for the past two decades.
1. Static - Static Shock
2. Hermes - Futurama
3. Kit Fisto - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
4. Aquaman - Young Justice, Injustice
5. Wilt - Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
6. Vulgrim - Darksiders series
7. Ratbag - Shadow of Mordor
8. Green Lantern/John Stewart - Justice League, Justice League Unlimited
9. Ollie Williams - Family Guy
Need I say more?
And who is voicing one of the Daughters of Aku? None other than my soulmate Tara Strong. To list her greatest roles I would have to make a whole new post. She voices the assassin named Ashi, who seems to be the individual of the group. And Tara does a great job portraying this character. Actually I really like Ashi. She's a great addition to this series. At first she started off as this assassin whose sole purpose was to kill Jack but the more she is with him she learns that the world is not what she's been taught. She has been taught that Aku is god and the samurai is evil. Then she learns the truth and she actually tries to do some good. I like that aspect.
Now let's talk about Aku because this one is a pretty big deal. In the first 4 seasons he was voiced by legendary Japanese actor Mako Iwamatsu, whom some may recognize as the voice of Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender. A hero is only as great as his villain, and Aku was definitely one of my all time favorite villains, mostly in part by Mako's amazing voice-over work. Sadly Mako died in 2006 due to cancer so to replace him they hired voice actor Greg Baldwin. To be fair he does a really good impression of the late Mako. When he was voicing Iroh in Avatar, you could hardly tell the difference. But when he's voicing Aku, there's a big difference in tone and vocals. Buy hey, at least the guy is giving his best effort. Yet it makes me miss Mako even more.
Just a heads up, I know I don't normally dive into spoiler territory but there is some stuff I really want to talk about throughout this season. So a spoiler warning is in effect. You can skip this or not. Doesn't matter because there's a lot of shit I want to discuss because it's worth talking about.
So let's get the biggie out of the way: Jack killed some people this season. And I do mean people, as in human beings. The violence has been turned up a dial in this season. Most of the violent content back then was toned down with Jack slaying robots. But this time he was forced to kill the Daughters of Aku that were trying to kill him. There's no explosions or oil splatter, there is blood in this season. How does he take this? He's devastated. This was the first time he's ever killed a person and it haunts him. That's another thing I liked about this whole season, Jack is mentally unstable. He gets into arguments with a younger version of his conscience, and he's being followed by this mysterious rider through half the season.
As much as I love seeing Jack in this state, at the same time it's very depressing. Jack has officially given up all hope. Yeah, he won't stop protecting the innocent and aiding the weak but his nature has pretty much become so nihilistic. It's sad to see him just give up. Hell, he's even considered committing suicide until Ashi snapped him back to reality.
And for you fans of the series, Scotsman makes a return! The Scotsman (voiced by the ever-so amazing John DiMaggio) was such a great recurring character in the series that it pleases me to see him return, only to die in the beginning of episode 5. But hey, he died as he lived, spewing insults. Can't think of a better way to ax someone off than that. What I liked about that episode as well was Jack showing Ashi the real world and how Aku has actually ruined it, despite what she was taught at an early age.
Episode 6, holy shit, it was absolute fan service. Ashi is out in the world looking for Jack where she comes across lots of familiar faces from previous episodes such as the Woolies, the blind archers, and Da Sam-Moo-Rai. Oh god it was just eye-candy for fans and I loved it all. Episode was like you fucking remember this shit? You fucking remember that shit? Fuck yeah I remember. I fucking loved that shit! I fucking loved this episode! Probably my favorite this whole season.
But then we got to learn something disturbing in that same episode. That suit that Ashi and her sisters were wearing the entire time, it's not a suit. Turns out that in a flashback that the High Priestess stripped her and her sisters (yeah there was some uncomfortable child nudity in this one) into this pit full of like tar or something, and I guess that stuff fused to her skin. Pretty disturbing upon first viewing. But Ashi decided to change that, scrubbed off the tar, and outfitted herself a dress of leaves, which actually looked good on her not gonna lie. I like how symbolically Ashi is cleansing herself of her past and becoming reborn as a better person to follow in Jack's footsteps. And I also liked the part where she's skinny dipping in that pool of water too. Tee-hee! X)
Episode 7 came and holy crap that was an epic episode. Jack found his inner peace and regained his sword and signature look, while Ashi wrecked an entire army by herself. I officially love Ashi now.
Episode 8 is, honestly, really strange. It tried establishing a romance with Jack and Ashi, which I really didn't buy at all. Yet the two end up kissing in the end with a Dean Martin song playing over the credits. It wasn't necessary a bad episode, but it just felt out of place compared to the rest of the season's episodes and was pretty underwhelming. Also the odd number of sex jokes thrown in there really made it uncomfortable.
Episode 9, god damn! Aku and Jack finally have their confrontation, and it is here it was revealed that Ashi is in fact the biological daughter of Aku. And with that he is able to control her against her will. I love Aku, but man this was the dickest move he's ever done; and he's done a lot of dick moves throughout the series. Using the woman he loves to fight him is absolute cock. But that's not the jaw dropping moment of the whole episode, little lone the whole series. Jack surrendered to Aku. DAAAAMMMNN!
Now we've come to the series finale. God damn was this epic. All of Jack's friends and allies come to battle Aku and free Jack, and then Jack helps Ashi break free of Aku's control, and then Ashi learns that she being his daughter she has his powers too. So ultimately they use that power to travel back to the past, just as Jack had set out to do from the beginning. Then finally, after all these years, Jack kills Aku, and it was glorious.
Unfortunately without Aku, Ashi can no longer exist so she fades away, which was really sad. God damn! Why play with my emotions? Oh well it was a very fitting conclusion to an already epic series.
This season has been fantastic. It fills my heart with joy now that one of my all time favorite series was given a proper conclusion. Fans have waited so long for one and now we got one. The list of positives are too many to count but I did it anyway. If you haven't seen this series yet, then obviously go watch it. Right now!
Out of all the television revival shows being broadcast over the decade, this was one that deserved it. This was a love letter to the dedicated fans of the series and I am definitely satisfied with what was given. Who knows, maybe a revival of this series can give hope to Tartakovsky's other show, Sym-Bionic Titan, being revived too. Or Butch Hartman can revive Danny Phantom. Who knows what the future will hold, but it certainly makes this fan hopeful. Back to the grading, back to the grading, Harry Situation!
-Cast and crew back! -I miss Mako :'(
-Animation still great -Episode 8
-Jack & Ashi working together
-Amazing story throughout
-Upped the violence
-Mature for fans
-Jack's unstable psyche
-Callbacks to previous episodes
-Love letter to the fans
Whatcha! Final Grade: A+
My childhood has finally been completed. Thank you so much Gennedy Tartakovsky for creating such an epic animated series that we'll watch for generations; and thank you Phil LaMarr for voicing one of the greatest animated heroes of all time.
So there's my review of the final season of Samurai Jack. Have you seen the series? What were your thoughts? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check back again for more Harry Situation Reviews here on Prose.com! Whatcha!
Ashi: "Hope lives! It is everywhere! I've seen it. Everyone you have touched. The people you have helped. You saved them!"