Jack is Back

Fifth Season of Samurai Jack brings the show back to form with a mature new tone and a spice of nostalgia

Jack is Back

Marley Bauer

Gotta get back. Back to the past. Samurai Jack.

This mantra was essential to the cartoon that premiered in 2001, a cartoon that detailed the adventures of a the titular samurai, who had been thrown into a far distant future after a battle with his mortal enemy, Aku – a demon of darkness.

However, the series apparently ended after four seasons, with no conclusion to Jack’s quest to return to the past. Viewers were left dissatisfied, as their hero wasn’t given a chance to complete his goal and slay the demon. However, 14 years later, the creator of the series, Genndy Tartakovsky, announced a revival of the beloved children’s’ show, but with enough of an adult flavor to be aired on Adult Swim.

The final season of “Samurai Jack” began airing on March 11 and concluded its run on May 20th. The series began as promised, with a much more mature tone than during the show’s original run. The first three episodes possessed a grim tone, with some spectacular fight sequences. However, season 5 wasn’t all death and gloom. Beginning with episode 4, the show’s trademark humor became much more prevalent.

From this point on, the season is equal parts old Samurai Jack – with humor and fight sequences and striking visuals – and new Samurai Jack, with the titular character being haunted by PTSD and visions of his past. For the first time in his quest, Jack also finds a companion – a former cultist who tried to murder him. Her name is Ashi, and she joins him mid-season on his travels.

Does Jack attempt to be too much? At times, yes. Later in the season, it can feel as though there is too much going on for a twenty-minute episode. Specifically, some character development between Jack and Ashi, while nicely paced at first, feels very speedy near the end of the season.

That being said, some rushed plot doesn’t ruin the season by any means. I found the conclusion to Jack’s story fulfilling, although it was admittedly bittersweet. It was a conclusion that worked for the series it was written for, and one that brought a conclusion to all parties involved.

I would recommend season 5 of Samurai Jack to both old fans and newer viewers, such as myself. I tuned in out of curiosity and ended up loving the season, going back to watch older episodes as well. I guess you could say I got back – back to the past.