Once upon a time, in the dark ages of the early ’00’s, there was a moment of brilliant television called Samurai Jack. It told of an epic quest of revenge, redemption and time travel. For four seasons, we travelled with Jack on his quest to return home and defeat Aku. And then it ended with Jack winning a battle with Aku, but not the war as Aku transforms into a bat and gets away. Not going to lie. It was a bit disappointing as far as series finales go, but it wasn’t the worst.
Fast forward to present day and the time of the show revival for every show ever from the 90s and early 00s, including Samurai Jack. So how does season 5 Samurai Jack stack up against original Samurai Jack?Especially from Cartoon Network which has alienated a lot of fans with Teen Titans Go and Power Puff Girls? I’m happy to report that, as of the first episode, the answer is pretty damn fantastically.
In terms of story, it’s been 50 years since we last saw Jack. He doesn’t age and he’s haunted by the past and the people he’s let down. He’s still wandering, but the door to the past he believes is closed. His fighting skills are still sharply honed as we see in a show down with Scaramouch, an android assassin. Meanwhile Aku is training seven girls to become ruthless assassins in their own right with the sole purpose of killing Jack once and for all.
Artistically and animation wise they’ve modernized without losing any of the striking visual style that set Samurai Jack apart from so many other shows. Greg Baldwin does an excellent job of stepping in as Aku for Mako Iwamatsu, who sadly passed away in 2006. It’s a solid first episode that should bring fans back for more and perhaps even garner a few new ones.