Samurai Jack returns after 13 year hiatus
BY TYLER CHOI
Adult Swim recently released a full-length trailer of Samurai Jack, following teasers and years of anticipation. The show ran on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004, and was widely acclaimed for its minimalistic dialogue, cinematic feel, and a mature tone that never dumbed down the audience, but could also have fun. Taking the viewer across a dystopia of sci-fi cities populated with aliens, fantasy ancient Egypt and Greece, and even to a rave, Samurai Jack always had a unique setting for each episode and could be seen out of sequence, yet fully enjoyed. Sadly, the show came to an unceremonious end in its fourth season, with no finale. Plans to create a movie to conclude the story failed to materialize. It took 13 years, but Samurai Jack is back.
The trailer featured Jack, 50 years in his quest to defeat the villainous demon Aku, but now a changed man. Sporting a beard, donning armour instead of his robes, and growing weary of his quest, Jack faces troubled times. Gone is his sword in favour of guns and explosives, as show creator Gennedy Tartakovsky explained at a Samurai Jack panel hosted by Adult Swim in Comic Con 2016, “…He’s lost… He’s using guns and weapons… he’s almost become Aku in a way.” For reasons not yet known, Jack is spurred back into action, with the added tension of being attacked by seven ninja-like females, with no other option except to fight back. The trailer has 3.7 million views in over a week, and has rightfully resurrected interest in the show.
The revival of Samurai Jack has resonated with the art and animation background of the Sheridan community, with Art Fundamentals student Giacomo Logiacco counting himself as one of its fans.
“I like the art style and how it’s almost a silent show. It’s almost all action, and low on wacky banter common to children’s shows. It broke the mould for what a children’s cartoon could be.”
Though not a diehard fan of the show, Logiacco says, “…when I heard it was returning to Adult Swim, I was glad because they can get away with more. I’m excited to see what they can do with next to no boundaries.” One of these boundaries is the depiction of blood, a harsh red that contrasts deeply against the backgrounds and characters, and was a rare sight in the past four seasons. Expect another barrier to be broken, as Tartakovsky teased at a Comic Con 2016 interview with IGN.
“So we’ve amped it up, and there’s definitely a bit more violence, but in a way that is true to the show. If you can imagine killing machines all your life, and all of a sudden, you kill your first human. We don’t just bypass it. We really have Jack think about it, and have him react to it, and I think that makes it real and more acceptable, and it still feels like the show. We’re not just doing it, just to do it,” Tartakovsky said.
Logiacco is ready for more Samurai Jack, but slightly apprehensive given the treatment of past Cartoon Network resurrections in the past. The rebirth of Powerpuff Girls in 2016 was not in the good books of Logiacco, something he hopes does not happen to Samurai Jack. “I’m afraid the show when resurrected, could be a battle of cash versus the fans. But I think it was appropriate to bring back Samurai Jack because it ended on a cliffhanger.”
Hopes and fears pushed aside, Logiacco’s favourite episodes are the ones where Jack encounters the Scotsman for the first time, and when Jack fights a lava monster with a tragic past. He hopes the fifth season will have plenty more moments like those.
Samurai Jack’s fifth season will air March 11 on Toonami, and will be comprised of 10 episodes, slightly shorter than the typical 13 episodes per season. Expect surprises, and the long-awaited conclusion to the series. If there was a time to begin your Samurai Jack binge, it’s now.