Fifty years have passed. But I do not age… (Spoilers riding your way)
And with those words, we once again go back to the future with Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack. Except this is not the subtle, idealistic hero who’d rather avoid violence. This is a bat-out-of-hell motorcycle-riding-bent-on-destruction and armed to the teeth death machine. And yet you can sense Jack beneath the armour and the guns, still fighting but hardly caring anymore.
Jack’s purpose seems to have been lost during the years, along with his sword (the only thing that can kill Aku, remember?) and his spirit. He has hallucinations of his father, his grandmother, his village, coming back to haunt him and asking him painfully why he never came back. Why he has forsaken them. His guilt has driven him into Mad Max territory, without a direction or a goal.
What’s worse is he’s not alone. Aku still sends assassins to kill him. One of those, Scaramouch, a skeleton droid that can animate stones with a flute and enchant flying blades by just singing, has destroyed a whole village to call his attention. In a strange samurai vs singing robot duel that vaguely draws parallels to a confrontation between Batman and The Joker, the question is not who wins but how much humanity has Jack lost. Even as he manages to fight back, you can see he’s losing ground. The madness is creeping in.
In another place, seven new borns are pledged to Aku. They are trained to become expert assassins, they are the Daughters of Aku. And now that they’ve completed their rigorous training, they’ve left any perceived shadow of compassion or mercy behind. They’re on the hunt for the Samurai.
- Jack. He’s still there. He thinks he’s not aged, but this future Aku time has still ravaged his mind. He’s still dripping with agency, although now he’s lost his way. His own inner demons are chasing him. Like someone afflicted by addiction, he seems doomed to hit rock bottom before he can regain his purpose and his soul again. Yes, Jack is still there but the Samurai is a distant memory.
- The sword that can vanquish Aku is not around. He remembers a scene we’ve never seen, a location in which the sword falls off a tall cliff. Jack must recover it, and in that quest, find himself again.
- Scaramouch was a hard villain to beat, but I missed the reference to Sammy Davis Jr. Would the old school Samurai Jack have done a better job or was this only a job for Post Apocalypse Jack?
- I half expected Scaramouch to be a figment of Jack’s imagination.
- Another touch of brilliance. We don’t get to see Aku yet. We see his effigy with the Daughters. We hear his irritating voice when Scaramouch calls him on his cell. No Aku. Not yet.
- I can understand to a point the mask of the Daughters of Aku having red lipstick lips, but the Daughters themselves? And eyelashes? Unnecessary. I’m not trying to scrap the series on this detail, but if we can do better let’s do better. Still, you can see the almost Sith-like determination of the Daughters of Aku as they graduate to full Darksider-like status and start their hunt.
- Amazing start, I want to see more, definitely leaps and bounds a more grown up series. Highly recommended.
That will do for now.