Genndy Tartakovsky, the maker of Samurai Jack, keeps in mind that the fans are 13 years older since the last time Jack aired. The new season is brutal, dark beyond imagination and has a pinch of adult humor.
Who is Genndy Tartakovsky?
Genndy is a Russian-American animator, director, storyboard artist, producer, and screenwriter. He started his career in 1991 as an Assistant Animator on an episode of Tiny Toons. Tiny Toons was the first collaborative effort of Warner Bros. Animation and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.
In 1992, he was an in-between artist in Batman: The Animated Series as well. Clearly, he was skilled, to say the least. Finally, he worked full time at 2 Stupid Dogs as an animation director, storyboard artist, and art director.
If you tuned into Cartoon Network for cartoons you will fondly recall Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls, and Cow & Chicken. All these shows were well received by the audience across the world.
But why talk about these shows in this section? Yup, you guess it. Genndy Tartakovsky was the maker of those loved series. He wasn’t shy about trying new things and by the time he made Samurai Jack he had a solid understanding of the market.
“Jack must battle in a dystopian future ruled by the man who destroyed his father’s empire, the wizard Aku.” – Synopsis by Adult Swim.
Samurai Jack first aired in 2001. The pilot shows how Jack’s hometown was destroyed by Aku. Jack had to flee, stay on the run, meet people across the world & train mentally and physcally so that he can defeat evil. When he was old enough, he returned to his hometown, claimed his father’s sword given by the gods to defeat pure evil, Aku.
Just like his previous works this series was an instant hit. The show managed to balance humor and action just like it managed its unique design and strong scripting. While the kids enjoyed the fight sequences it was the ability to create a different universe using cliches which made the show truly memorable.
The viewers could see how much fun Genndy and his team had while working on the series. I remember looking forward to hearing closing soundtrack after each episode. It was sometime that fans would hate to miss, very much like Aku’s opening monologue.
In the second episode, Jack lands in the future & without wasting anytime he starts to find the portals which will take him back to the past or kill Aku. Soon he learns, Aku can see his every move. So theoretically, it’s simply impossible for Jack to get better of Aku. But Jack has to go back to his parents, his home and there is no stopping Jack.
Thus begins, the friendship between Samurai Jack & Aku. Just like Batman and Joker’s friendship.
Just like we love the incorruptible Samurai, we also love the childish evil monster. The series would go on episodes without Aku’s appearance. This only increased the longing for the adorable evil monster. Even the new season, which is going to bee last season, Aku’s appearance has been used very sparingly.
Both Jack & Aku know each very well. In one of the episodes, Aku suggests how about Jack fights without his sword so that they can’t end it from once and all. Jack refuses to do so and they start fighting. As a routine, Jack is about to give the final blow and poof Aku flees, laughing away in glory HA-HA-HA, until next time foolish samurai…
And then immediately he returns and says, “See what I mean Jack?” He finally convinces Jack to fight without his sword BUT on the condition that Aku does use any super power. They decide on a location. Aku graciously offers a lift. But the patient samurai says he prefers walking. Classic!
Here’s a scene from one of the last fights between Jack & Aku, it shows how well they have come to know each other now.
Why was Samurai Jack canceled?
In an interview with The Verge, Genndy says, ” … we made such a big deal about Jack’s origin, and all these people in his life that were left to suffer and die, basically. He had to come back at some point if he had a hope of finishing his quest, and I always wanted to finish it. But at the end of the fourth season, we were all burnt out. The network didn’t know what they wanted to do, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And then we were getting Star Wars handed to us. I realized, “I don’t want to rush out an ending.” I didn’t even know what the ending was back then. So we decided to just quietly finish the fourth season.”
I still remember many popular cartoon’s sequencing was messed about by Cartoon Network. It was the most frustrating thing ever! I still remember Dragon Ball Z restarted at least twice each time Goku vs Frieza was about to happen. Even Pokemon had the same fate.
Well, the viewers are the only one who faces this problem, even directors had to be prepared if Cartoon Network aired episodes out of order. This was one of the main reason why the first four seasons were not episodic.
So what’s up with Jack after all these years
The first teaser about the fifth season of Samurai Jack surfaced as early as December 2015.
I just texted my wife about the new @adultswim Samurai Jack announcement & realized it’s our first text in 3 months that’s not child related
— Nahaz (@NahazDota) December 2, 2015
Fans across the world excited and thankful to Adult Swim and Genndy for FINALLY after 13 years they’ll know what happens with Jack. Does get back to the past?
Bummed to see Genndy Tartakovsky’s long-gestating Popeye collapse, but more Samurai Jack is aces. https://t.co/tbtCT8rv3P
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) December 2, 2015
Of course, the expectations were high! But over the years the artist’s skill had also improved. They were better filmmakers now. Genndy claims he stuck to the old school form of animation. There was almost no computer graphics. He used paper to make storyboard then now it was on a computer that was the only difference. Genndy stated in the same interview with The Verge, “We would’ve made the same show 10 years ago.”
And it shows, the Samurai Jack universe remains the same. The opening of the first episode after 13 years reminded the viewers that nothing has changed. Samurai was back again, still fighting drones and bounty hunters. Still battling to get back.
Samurai Jack been off the air for 12 years. It’s been back for 30 seconds and it’s already awesome.
— Matt Scalici (@MattScalici) March 12, 2017
— Abby West (@AbbyWestNYC) March 12, 2017
This time it’s Jack opens with the monologue. And just as the old series opening, it lays the foundation of Jack’s struggle.
We find Jack is in an armor and he is using guns instead of this magical sword. Jack has lost his sword or so it seems to Jack. All these years, alone. Jack’s health is not at it’s best, to say the least.
The absence of the sword represents the lack of belief to destroy evil. Time has no effect on him, all portals are destroyed by Aku, and now even Aku has stopped bothering Jack. He has no reason live.
Aku is still the funniest character. In his first appearance, we see him wearing his eyelashes, which is basically flames. Soon he walks in a chamber when he can be seen taking therapy.
Aku so so upset who the whole situation his counselor suggest not to take Samurai’s name in his safe place. He is so unconcerned about Jack he doesn’t know Jack has lost his sword.
The memories of past which once drove him to battle in the future now haunt him. The new series truly captures what Jack is going thru. For the first time in the series, fans actually fear he might die or worse kill himself.
Jack’s conflict increases when he realized that the latest bounty hunters are humans and he has to kill them before they kill him. All these complex emotions are so well scripted I’m sure literature students, somewhere are “critically analyzing” the new season.
The latest bounty hunters are Aku’s septuplets daughters. They have been raised in darkness. Their sole purpose is to kill Jack. All of them meet their fate when taking on Jack except one. Ashi survives. Jack sees that he is a brainwashed by Aku and refuses to kill her.
She is the latest addition the show. As the show proceeds, she grows fond of the man who saved her from Aku. In the last episode, we see Jack kiss for the first time.
Me: there is no way samurai jack can be any more Hentai bait than the last few episodes
Samurai Jack S5E8: Hold my clothes pic.twitter.com/ejtrGbc6PX
— Zerodomai Kitsune (@Zerodomaikit) May 7, 2017
— T-Med (@Christollo) May 7, 2017
@rnarchhare Yeah like I love samurai jack but that was just so off putting and I am just gonna pretend this episode does not exist
— 💖orcabody💖 (@BodyOrca) May 7, 2017
While the internet seems split about how romance was cooked out of “nowhere.” Especially when only two more episodes remain. To be honest, the moment Ashi survived… it was almost certain Jack and Ashi were going to be a thing. That being said, the build up to one of the greatest kiss in the cartoon was adorable.
In two weeks time, we’ll know how Genndy planned to end the series. Until then, watch out!