A Darker Samurai Returns For a New Season
By Soun Oeng Staff Writer
Our beloved modern day samurai is back for its fifth season — not that it needed one.
In the previous series, we remember Jack as a level-headed samurai with a strong moral code — someone with a purpose. However, in this season, Jack is depicted as vulnerable, lost, distressed and unstable. Jack has a caveman’s beard and his eyes look burdened with darkness despite the fact that he hasn’t aged due to the unknown effects from being stuck in the future.
Episode “XCII” of “Samurai Jack” picks up from where the show left off, given that each is labeled by a roman numeral. Although Jack is trapped in this dystopian future for fifty years, the series feels as if it’s more of a continuation than a reboot. Something newcomers can appreciate if they haven’t seen the show, since it gives a background of who Jack was. The episode introduces a new obstacle for Jack to overcome: he has lost his sword.
“XCII” begins by thrusting its audiences into a desolate land that is interrupted by an explosion. Beetle-like robots scurry into our perspective as we see a mother and her children try to escape the army of bug killing machines. Hope seems to be as lost as the demolished city in the background, but Jack intervenes and rescues them with the help of heavy artillery and a badass motorcycle with tires that sprout out horns.
We discover later that Jack is tortured by hallucinations of his parents and people. He is even visited during his time of torment by a mysterious, ghostly samurai on horseback. Meanwhile, a secret community of breed female assassins are trained to become daughters of Aku, their sole existence being to kill Jack. Jack’s first real threat is Scaramouch, the Pied Piper assassin, who decimated a village in order to grab his attention.
“Samurai Jack” is a show to look out for because of its dark driven plot, which is a different shift from the children’s animation. The show respects its past animated artwork and fans can continue to enjoy the digitally hand drawn animation. The use of silhouettes and diverse colors help create the show’s atmospheric setting of a dystopian world.
I also love the rugged Jack because there’s a freedom to push Jack to his limits, an aspect I look forward to see explored throughout the season. Although there has been an embrace of a darker undertone, the show is still able to carry its weight on its shoulders.
New Jack is broken, but carries remnants of a character we love. I’m glad Jack didn’t have a complete makeover, and is still the entertaining samurai I waited to watch on Cartoon Network.