|Cartoon Network (Toonami)|
|Sep. 29, 2003 - Oct. 17, 2003|
|52 (List of Episodes)|
|Cartoon Network (Toonami)|
|Mar. 29, 2008 - Sep. 20, 2008|
|Adult Swim (Toonami)|
|Feb. 1, 2014 - Jan. 24, 2015|
|Adult Swim (Toonami)|
|Mar. 11, 2017 - Jun. 24, 2017|
|10 (List of Episodes)|
Samurai Jack is an American animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network. The series follows time-displaced samurai warrior "Jack" (voiced by Phil LaMarr) in his singular quest to find a method of traveling back in time and defeating the tyrannical demon wizard Aku (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu in seasons 1-4; Greg Baldwin in season 5).
Samurai Jack premiered on August 10, 2001, on Cartoon Network and has since garnered high critical acclaim. It won four Primetime Emmy Awards, six Annie Awards, an OIAF Award, and received eight additional nominations. Cultural influences on the series range from the 1970s TV series Kung Fu to the works of director Akira Kurosawa. The series initially ran for four seasons, totaling 52 episodes, and the initial final episode aired on September 25, 2004.
Samurai Jack first appeared on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in a marathon on December 28, 2002. In 2003, Samurai Jack made its first non-marathon run on Toonami, from September 29, 2003 to October 17, 2003. On September 25, 2004 the series appeared again on Toonami in another marathon, airing the "Birth of Evil" and the final four episodes of the series. In 2008, Samurai Jack made its second non-marathon run on Toonami, beginning on March 29, 2008. The series stayed on the block until its demise on September 20, 2008.
Samurai Jack began airing on Adult Swim's Toonami block on February 1, 2014, replacing FLCL. The series is rated TV-Y7-FV in both the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim runs. The series was removed from Toonami after the January 24, 2015 broadcast. The two episodes left unaired, were made available on adultswim.com.
On December 2, 2015, Adult Swim announced that a fifth and final season of Samurai Jack was in development at Cartoon Network Studios, and would premiere on Toonami on March 11, 2017. The 52 original episodes began airing on Adult Swim each Saturday at 8:30 PM, starting on January 14, 2017, leading up to the premiere of the new season. The new season lasted 10 episodes, and the final episode aired on May 20, 2017. The following week, Toonami aired a marathon of the entire final season of Samurai Jack on May 27, 2017. Afterward, reruns of the fifth season continued to air on Toonami. After the June 24, 2017 broadcast, the series was removed from the Toonami lineup, along with the 11:00-11:30 PM time slot.
Samurai Jack tells the story of a young prince (Jack) from Feudal Japan whose father's empire is destroyed by the shape shifting demon Aku. As a child, the prince escapes destruction and travels the world training his mind and his body for years until he reaches adulthood, becoming a legendary samurai. After taking his father's magic katana, he challenges Aku to a duel and defeats the demon. However, before the prince can deal the killing blow, Aku creates a time portal and sends his opponent into the distant future, anticipating that he would be able to amass sufficient power to deal with the samurai later. The protagonist arrives in a dystopian, futuristic Earth ruled by Aku and filled with his robot minions and a large number of alien immigrant races of various species and appearances. The first people he encounters in the future call him "Jack" as a form of slang, which he adopts as his name (his true given name is never mentioned in the series)
Standard episodes follow Jack's search for a way to travel back to his own time, where he hopes to stop Aku before these events come to pass. The cartoon depicts Jack's quest to find a time portal, while constantly facing obstacles set by Aku in a classic battle of Good versus Evil. Typically each time Jack believes he has reached the end of his quest, something causes him to dramatically miss his chance. In one attempt Jack locates a stable portal to the past, but the guardian of the portal defeats him after a long but noticeably mismatched battle. The guardian is about to crush Jack when the portal starts to flicker and glow, seemingly giving the guardian a message; the guardian then has a giant pterodactyl take the unconscious Jack away. After Jack leaves, the guardian states that it is not yet time for him to return to the past, and an image of what is implied to be an older Jack is then seen in the portal; indicating that Jack is predestined to succeed, but it will take years for him to do so.
The final season takes place 50 years after Jack has been cast into the future, though he has not aged as a side effect of his time travel. Jack is in despair from the many years of fighting Aku and from Aku's destruction of all the remaining time portals; he is haunted by warped visions of himself, his family and an enigmatic warrior on horseback. Jack lost his father's magic sword; Aku is unaware of this fact, and has started to give up hope of ever defeating Jack, especially since Jack has stopped aging. Ashi and her sisters are raised by an Aku-worshiping cult to be assassins whose purpose is to kill Jack. They attack Jack and gravely injure him, but at their next encounter he kills them all except Ashi. Jack persuades Ashi that Aku is evil, and she joins Jack and helps him reclaim his sword. The two become romantically involved as they journey to defeat Aku. Aku is informed that Jack lost his sword and confronts him, not knowing Jack has recovered it in the interim. Aku senses that Ashi has part of him inside her, and possesses her body to attack Jack. Jack refuses to kill Ashi, and lays down his sword in defeat. Aku takes Jack prisoner and prepares to kill him, but the people Jack helped all over the planet rally to his defense. When Jack tells Ashi that he loves her, she regains control of her mind. Ashi finds that she has the same powers as Aku and uses them to return the sword to Jack, and open a time portal to send Jack and herself to the past, where Jack destroys Aku once and for all. With peace restored and the future of Aku's rule undone, Jack prepares to marry Ashi, but she fades away as she says "without Aku, I would have never existed." The series closes with Jack secluded in a sun-lit grove of flowering trees, watching a ladybug fly free.
Samurai Jack takes place in a world where the evil Aku has taken over the entire galaxy. Science and technology have developed far beyond what is available in the present day, and in some ways resembles magic. However, despite scientific advances, the future is decidedly dystopian—for example, in one episode the mafia profits greatly from the sale of simple water. Aliens, bounty hunters, and robots are plentiful, and always ready for a fight.
While the setting is distinctly futuristic and technological, instances of mythology and supernatural events do occur. Mythologies, like Valhalla, and even supernatural forces, such as demonic enemies, make regular appearances, yet do not seem to stand out amongst the technologically advanced inhabitants. Aku himself is supernatural, as is Jack's sword.
Stories take place in a variety of locations. Ranging from beautiful wilderness to futuristic or even dystopian cities, there is often a stark contrast made between the industrial world and the natural world.
Samurai Jack — The son of the Japanese Emperor who ruled the area where Aku originally appeared on Earth, and is banished to the future by Aku during their first battle, where he is left in every episode to search for a way home. He was born on the day that his father defeated Aku and he seems to be the only mortal (aside from his father) to be a match to Aku.
As a boy, after his father was captured by Aku, Jack traveled around the world to prepare both physically and mentally for his confrontation with Aku. He studied under various scholars, such as Egyptian thinkers, and mastered each art of combat from the cultures he met, training with African Zulu warriors, Viking sailors, Robin Hood, Mongolian warriors, Shaolin monks, Greek Olympic contestants, Spartans, Russian Cossacks, and others.
Later, after being sent into the future, he is taught the ability to jump hundreds of feet into the air by a species of blue gorilla and a jungle man, thus allowing him to reach vast areas he previously could not reach while also giving the impression that he can fly. Jack's magic katana was forged by the gods Odin, Ra, and Rama through three mortal avatars. The sword was forged from the righteous energy within Jack's father; it is able to cut through all but the most magically-protected targets and strongest materials. On the other hand, it is unable to harm beings that are pure of heart, as seen in Episode XXX where Aku steals the sword and attempts to kill Jack with it, but fails even to cut him.
Jack strongly exhibits the characteristics of a stoic hero. He is unfailingly polite and humble despite the completely alien nature of the futuristic world and never scoffs at or disparages the customs of the people he encounters (as unpleasant as they seem to him at times). Despite his almost hopeless situation, he does not bewail his destiny, instead exhibiting a strong amor fati. Jack consistently shows an uncommon moral strength of character by helping the poor and defenseless along the way, in one instance even helping talking dogs that worked for Aku, in another, releasing the souls of a family in a haunted mansion. Occasionally, he faces great physical pain, or has to forget his own goals in order to help someone in need.
His real name has never been revealed, in the second episode however, he began using the name Jack when three teenage aliens, after witnessing Jack survive a huge fall by jumping onto cars, referred to him as Jack while praising him when he landed — in this case, more of a generic term, i.e. "dude" or "guy." Later, when asked to identify himself, he replied "They call me Jack."
Aku — Samurai Jack's arch-nemesis. His name means "evil" in Japanese. He is similar to Akuma, the evil demon with burning eyes from Japanese mythology. He is an extremely powerful demon wizard whose primary ability is shape-shifting, though he does possess other powers. He requires no food, water, or air and is capable of interstellar travel. He also has the ability to spy on Jack and others from a large sphere he can summon at will in his tower. A significant aspect of the series is that Aku is immortal, and Jack's samurai sword is the only weapon capable of harming and finally defeating him; even the slightest physical contact with the sword's blade causes Aku severe pain, and wounds inflicted by it burn his body and cut away his power. Because of this threat, Aku does not like to fight Jack himself, and only does so when Jack is incapacitated or without the sword. Aku much prefers to let his minions and bounty hunters do it for him. Aku is also vulnerable to varying degrees of other forms of magical or divine attacks such as the powers and artifacts of gods.
Aku constantly antagonizes Jack, often attacking him while he is weak, and other times defending himself from Jack's own gambits. The two seem doomed never to defeat each other, for though Jack has bested Aku on numerous occasions, Aku merely transforms into a small creature and escapes, usually calling out a taunt over his shoulder as he flees, a fact that he himself is aware of and even makes a reference to in one episode.
The episode "The Birth of Evil" reveals Aku's origin. Long ago in the vastness of space, a great formless evil appeared. Before the darkness could do harm to the universe, it was set upon by the kings of three religions: the one-eyed king of Asgard Odin, the Norse Gods Ra, the sun god and king of the Gods of Egypt and the seventh avatar of Vishnu Rama, the supreme being in Hindu mythology. So fierce was their attack on the shadow, that it was completely destroyed, save for a small fragment that was flung aside in the heat of battle. For ages, the fragment drifted through the cosmos and eventually fell to Earth, and caused the impact event that wiped out the dinosaurs when it landed. The land around its impact site eventually formed into the islands of Japan, where the evil fragment slowly grew like a forest and spread like poison over the course of eons, creating an ever-expanding mass of black spikes and toxic tar that devoured and poisoned any who entered. Eventually, the forest grew so large that the Emperor of the land decided to kill the evil at its source. Armed with a magic oil given to him by Buddhist monks, the Lord and his cavalry rode into the heart of the forest, the Lord himself the only one to survive. Once at the black lake at the forest's center, the Samurai Lord doused an arrow into the oil he was given, lit it with a green flame, and shot it into the lake. Instead of destroying the evil, however, the magic arrow gave it both a will and consciousness, and the demon wizard Aku was born. Aku went on a rampage of destruction, burning and killing. He proved to be unstoppable, so with the help of the three gods, Jack's father forged a sword capable of harming him. With it, he was able to defeat Aku and turned the demon back into a black tree. This imprisonment was only temporary, as years later, a solar eclipse releases Aku upon the world once more.
While he is usually presented as a serious and threatening foe, Aku is also a source of comedy due to his outrageous design and sometimes wise-guy behavior, supported by Mako's over-the-top voice acting. Aku's shifts in personality between serious and chaotic suggest that his mind changes form just as his body does. In addition, Aku has a tendency to refer to himself in the third person.
| Samurai Jack, Mad Jack, Aqualizer (Cyborg Suit), King’s Captain, Vendor,|
Holy Monk, Robot 478-A97, Robot Biker 3, Salesman, Host
|Samurai Jack (Young)||Jonathan Osser|
|Aku|| Mako Iwamatsu (Seasons 1-4)|
Greg Baldwin (Season 5)
|The Scotsman, Ezekiel Clench||John DiMaggio|
|Emperor (Older)||Sab Shimono|
|Emperor (Younger)||Keone Young|
|Jack's Mother, Kuni, Yamiko||Lauren Tom|
|Scottsman's Wife||Ruth Williamson|
| Dreyfuss, Frederick, Sergei, McDuffy, Aqualizer (Real Appearance),|
Ring Master, Connery, The Creature, Gargoyle, Aku’s Scientist, Monkey Boy
|X-49, Barber, The Captain, Chartman, Ra, Rama, Spartok, Gentleman, Max||Daran Norris|
|Odin, Slave Driver, Lava Warrior/Viking Warrior||Richard McGonagle|
| African Chief, Boris, I and Am, Jo Junga the Aboriginal, Knuckles, Mr. Shine,|
Woolie, Gordo, Sumoto, Ganeesh, Demongo, Guardian, DJ Salvatore,
Tango Beast, Imakandi, Magic Well, Sheriff, Robot Biker 1
|Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Princess Mira, Fire Creature, Josephine Clench, Spring, Lula Lillywhite, High Priestess, Flora||Grey DeLisle|
|Da Samurai|| David Alan Grier (Season 4)|
Keegan-Michael Key (Season 5)
|Mr. Pibbles||Larry Cedar|
| Analyst, Idealist, Chritchellite Leader, Chritchellite, Chitron 6, King of Chrystalis,|
Master Ning, Monkar, Og, Scaramouch
|Grand Master Tan Zang||Peter Renaday|
|Farting Dragon||Clancy Brown|
|Prince Astor||Matt Levin|
|Princess Verbina, Queen of Chrystalis, Siren 1, Ashi||Tara Strong|
|The Thief||Rino Romano|
|Siren 3||Janine LaManna|
|Ancient Mariner, Baby, Fall Scientist||Dee Bradley Baker|
|Baby's Mother||Rachael MacFarlane|
|African Prince||Adrian Diamond|
|Technician, Fairy, Siren 2||Jennifer Hale|
|Olivia|| Kath Soucie (Season 3)|
Gray DeLisle (Season 5)
|Olivia’s Father, Robot Biker 2||Michael Bell|
|Witch Hag||B. J. Ward|
|Kuni’s Father||Clyde Kusatsu|
|Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey||Greg Burson|
|Color||Season||Episodes||Season Premiere||Season Finale|
|1||13||August 10, 2001||December 3, 2001|
|2||13||March 1, 2002||October 11, 2002|
|3||13||October 18, 2002||August 26, 2003|
|4||13||June 14, 2003||September 25, 2004|
|5||10||March 11, 2017||May 20, 2017|
The Cartoon Network era episode plots range from dark and epic to lighthearted and comic, but often contain little dialogue. Stories instead rely on the series' highly detailed, outline-free, masking-based animation, as well as its cinematic style and pacing. Many battle scenes in the series are reminiscent of samurai films, and since Jack's robot enemies bleed out oil or electricity and his monster and alien foes bleed out slime or goo, the action can be exhibited while avoiding censorship for blood and violence.
The 2017 Adult Swim season is darker and geared toward the more adult audience of the network. However, series creator Genndy Tartakovsky explained in the behind the scenes video shown at Anime Expo, "I didn't want to go full on heads getting chopped off and blood spurting everywhere, but at the same time I also wanted it to be newer and exciting and take advantage of some of those things."
The first four seasons of Samurai Jack have been released on DVD in North America by Warner Home Video. The first three episodes were also released as a stand-alone movie, titled Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie, on March 19, 2002.
Samurai Jack premiered in the United States on Cartoon Network from August 10, 2001 to October 29, 2004.
- United States (Cartoon Network) — August 10, 2001 - 2008
- United States (Boomerang) — 2009 - 2014
- United States (Adult Swim) — February 1, 2014 - January 24, 2015; January 14, 2017 - June 24, 2017
- India (Cartoon Network) — February 2, 2002 - 2005
- Canada (YTV) — September 2, 2002 - 2006
- United Kingdom (Cartoon Network/CNX) — 2002 - 2006
- United Kingdom (Toonami) - September 8, 2003 - 2005
- Latin America (Cartoon Network) — 2002 - 2006
- Japan (Cartoon Network) — 2002 - 2006
- Australia (Cartoon Network) — 2004 - 2006
Toonami Broadcast History
Samurai Jack appeared sporadically on Cartoon Network's Toonami block, first appearing in a marathon on December 28, 2002 and last appearing as part of the final broadcast on September 20, 2008. In 2014, the series also aired on Adult Swim's Toonami block. On March 11, 2017, the new 5th season began airing on Toonami. The series also appeared on Toonami's online streaming site, Toonami Jetstream.
- Toonami: Super Saturday — December 28, 2002
- Toonami (United States) — September 29, 2003 - October 17, 2003; September 25, 2004; March 29, 2008 - September 20, 2008; February 1, 2014 - January 24, 2015; March 11, 2017 - June 24, 2017
- Toonami (United Kingdom) — September 8, 2003 - 2005
- Toonami (Japan) — February 2004 - July 2004; December 2004 - 2005
The Samurai Jack comic is a monthly American comic book ongoing series chronicling the travels of Samurai Jack. The comic book series follows up Season 4 of Samurai Jack of a time-displaced samurai warrior "Jack" in his singular quest to find a method of travelling back in time and defeating the tyrannical demonic wizard Aku. The comic is written by Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Street Fighter) with art by Andy Suriano (Character Designer on the original Samurai Jack TV series).
In February 2013, IDW Publishing announced a partnership with Cartoon Network to produce comics based on its properties. Samurai Jack was one of the titles announced to be published. It was further announced at WonderCon 2013 that the first issue of Samurai Jack would debut in October 2013. The series began with a five-issue storyline called "Rope of Eons". The first comic in the series was released October 23, 2013.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Toonami Schedule Change ". toonamiarsenal.com. September 28, 2003. http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/news/arc8-2003.html. Retrieved on January 5, 2016.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "New Lineup Announcement Starting 2-1-14 ". toonami.tumblr.com. January 16, 2014. http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/73518518428/new-line-up-announcement-starting-2-1-14. Retrieved on September 28, 2014.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "LINE UP CHANGES - EFFECTIVE TOMORROW ". toonami.tumblr.com. January 23, 2015. http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/108934242548/line-up-changes-effective-tomorrow. Retrieved on January 23, 2015.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Adult Swim is Excited to Announce that JACK IS BACK ". toonami.tumblr.com. December 2, 2015. http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/134405148218/adult-swim-is-excited-to-announce-that-jack-is. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Narcisse, Evan (January 23, 2017). "Samurai Jack Is Back on March 11 ". gizmodo.com. http://io9.gizmodo.com/samurai-jack-is-back-on-march-11-1791509896. Retrieved on January 23, 2017.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "Toonami Episode Guide for the Week of December 23rd ". Toonami Infolink. December 22, 2002. http://www.toonamiinfolink.com/modules88e2.html?name=News&file=article&sid=66. Retrieved on May 5, 2014.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 "Samurai Jack' Says 'Sayonara' with Final Four Episodes During Special Toonami Presentation on Saturday, SepT. 25 ". thefutoncritic.com. August 24, 2004. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2004/08/24/samurai-jack-says-sayonara-with-final-four-episodes-during-special-toonami-presentation-on-saturday-sept-25-16779/20040824cartoon01/. Retrieved on January 5, 2016.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "Adult Swim to air 'Samurai Jack' reruns beginning Jan. 14, leading up to premiere of fifth, and final, season ". cleveland.com. January 9, 2017. http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2017/01/adult_swim_to_air_samurai_jack.html. Retrieved on January 14, 2017.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Tucker, Ken (August 14, 2001). "Samurai Jack isn't just for kids ". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/article/2001/08/14/samurai-jack-isnt-just-kids. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- ↑ "Samurai Jack ". cartoonnetworkindia.com. June 2, 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20020602042414/http://www.cartoonnetworkindia.com/asp/jack/jack_main.asp. Retrieved on July 29, 2016.
- ↑ "Samurai Jack ". jam.canoe.com. August 31, 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20160719172545/http://jam.canoe.com/Television/TV_Shows/S/Samurai_Jack/2002/08/31/pf-733196.html. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Ball, Ryan (July 7, 2003). "CNX to Become Toonami ". animationmagazine.net. http://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/cnx-to-become-toonami/. Retrieved on October 4, 2015.
- ↑ "Samurai Jack ". cartoonnetworkla.com. August 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20020806071537/http://www.cartoonnetworkla.com/spanish/samurai_jack/index.html. Retrieved on July 25, 2016.
- ↑ "CN Schedule ". Cartoonnetwork.co.au. February 3, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040203125104/http://www.cartoonnetwork.com.au/asp/tv/schedule.asp. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- ↑ "Cartoon Network and VIZ Media Announce Broadband Joint Venture, Toonami Jetstream ". animenewsnetwork.com. April 25, 2006. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2006-04-25/cartoon-network-and-viz-media-announce-broadband-joint-venture-toonami-jetstream. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- ↑ "Toonami Lineup ". cartoonnetwork.co.jp. February 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040217200333/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.jp/toonami/lineup.asp. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- ↑ "Toonami Lineup ". cartoonnetwork.co.jp. December 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20041205052141/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.jp/toonami/lineup.asp. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.