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- Jack's first duel with Aku could count. After spending about a decade or so fleeing his home, the scared little boy has now returned as a brave man. And much to the almighty Aku's surprise, this mere mortal can kick his unholy ass. Unfortunately, the wounded Aku pulled out a cheap trick just before Jack could land the final killing blow on the demon.
- Jack and the sapient dogs preparing for Aku's incoming robot horde.
- The first half details said preparation, which is awesome in a subtle way: Jack, being from the distant past, has little knowledge of the machines around him and how they work, with even something like a psuedo-ballpoint pen confusing him at first. However, years of training means he's smart enough to understand their basic purposes, and given some thought he starts using everything around him in creative ways. Scraps get remade into armor (both for himself and his battle steed), certain parts give him makeshift spears and a bow-and-arrow, the natural crystals make for excellent spear/arrow points, and the various machines are capable of setting up traps.
- Followed by the second half, ten minutes of awesome action: bow-and-arrow, spears, himself and his battle steed working in unison, alone while setting off ambushes on the machines as he "retreats", before finally being surrounded by the last hundred beetle drones. For every 2-3 he slays, he suffers wounds in return, becoming increasingly gritty and bloody as they fight.
- Then Jack has single-handedly reduced this entire army to a scant handful, staring down the remaining forces while soaked entirely in oil. One of these battle robots, which probably aren't programmed to understand the concept of "retreat", hesitates... then takes a step backwards.
- The Three Blind Archers are the guardians of a well that grants a single wish to anyone who can defeat them in battle. Earlier in the episode, we saw these guys destroyed an entire army of robots with complete ease — yet while blinded and swiftly, Jack takes all three of them on by himself and wins.
- And at the end of the episode, when Jack learns what the well did to the three men who wished to become invincible, he's furious.
Jack: "Evil spirit of the well! You will not claim another innocent! I wish thee... DESTROYED!"
- The episode starts with Jack going into a Bad-Guy Bar, and as he sits down the bounty hunters bring up the price on Jack, and he promptly defeats them all in a split-second.
- Let's not forget Mad Jack himself, who, being Jack's equal and opposite, fought him so hard that the surrounding forest was set ablaze, and could only be defeated by Jack dissipating his own anger.
Jack: "I know you're watching, [Aku]. These tricks are starting to annoy me."
- Jack is attacked by a Norse warrior who was turned into the titular Lava Monster. At one moment, Jack decides that their fight is pointless and decides to leave, but the the monster pleads him to carry on, as to fall in fair combat is the only way for him to rid himself of the curse and ascend to Valhalla. Jack agrees.
Monster: (having smacked Jack into a wall) "Rise, warrior, rise! Honorably must I be defeated! I cannot let up!"Jack: (ominously) "Do not worry. I have only begun to fight!"
- The two fight on the bridge for rights of who gets to pass, but they're so evenly matched that it ends in a draw. To further drive the point home, they fought for at least three days straight, driving them both to the point of exhaustion.
- On this note, any battle featuring both Jack and the Scotsman is considered awesome, because it serves as a way to compare their different fighting styles.
- An understated one: the story behind Neptune's Jewel. The Goddess that made the jewel curb stomped Aku. While it might have been a shortened battle, it's clear whoever this gal is, Aku is no match at all for her, which is pretty impressive.
Jack Learns to Jump Good
- After spending the whole episode going through Training from Hell to learn how to jump really high, Jack removes his training weights and just... ascends.
- Jack's combat training for the Wild Man and his Tribe pays off as well. They use their new skills to finally get the better of the red gorillas, who had been tormenting them for god knows how long, beating the holy hell out of them with various nonlethal traps and fighting moves. Throughout the fight, Jack never shows himself, so the confidence and skills are all their own. The final kicker is when the Wild Man has the last few gorillas tied to a tree, ready to sling them away.
Wild Man: "Hungry? Here food!" (stuffs fruit in the gorillas' mouths) "Still hungry?! HERE MORE!! TAKE IT!!" (stuffs in more) "Never. Come. Again." (signals to the Tribe to cut the rope, sending the gorillas flying far across the treeline)
- The beginning has Aku in a field taunting Jack by playing keep-away with a time portal. The ending sees Jack returning, only now having gained the ability to jump very very good.
Aku: "Samurai fool! Your efforts are in vain again. This gateway to the past is once more beyond your rea—"
(Jack lunges 50 feet in the air at Aku)
Aku: "—WHA?! YOU CAN FLY?!"
Jack: (with a badass smirk) "No. Jump Good."
(Cut to credits)
- With these five words, Jack gives up a chance of getting home, freeing the fairy who's trapped in her prison (which his hand is inside too).
Jack: "I wish we were free."
- Jack is caught off guard, captured and enslaved for a gladiator sport known as the Dome of Doom, where captured slaves are effortlessly slaughtered by experienced challengers. Jack proceeds to spend the entire episode mopping the floor with every last one, swordless, before the arena boss sends the last seven champions to attack him in unison... but Jack decides he's had enough playing around, and dodges all their attacks and makes for the weapons wall where the organizers put up various weapons for the challengers to use (including Jack's). This allows Jack to get his sword back, effortlessly curb stomp all seven champions and force the arena boss to free the slaves, killing one of the robotic slavers (who went out of his way to abuse the captives the whole episode) on the way out. Badass does not begin to describe it, particularly when he defeats a 700-ton alien sumo wrestler by tickling him.
Jack: (to the audience) "I will no longer do battle for your amusement. You will have to get your entertainment elsewhere!"
- Jack's reputation going from a hated Dirty Coward note to fan favorite over the course of the episode. When he fells the final champion, the cheering crowd is solely behind him.
- Jack, who of course disdains the idea of being forced to fight, announces this at the climax:
- When Jack visits the Scotsman's village and watches a traditional competition where men test their strength by throwing heavy stones, he is forced to face their champion Hamish, a hulking brute easily twice the size of even the Scotsman. Jack is unable to so much as lift even one stone. He then turns to his opponent and politely asks "How many stone do you weigh?", with his competitor answering "Twenty stone". Jack declares that this man is "a mighty fellow" and shakes his hand... then promptly uses a judo throw to hurl Hamish head-first onto his own flung stone. Jack doesn't have the raw strength his opponent has, so he uses a simple martial arts technique that turns an opponent's weight against them, allowing him to toss the huge mook.
- Even better, the Clan briefly pauses before cheering wildly. They don't mind that Jack won in an unorthodox way; they still found it awesome. They now see what the Scotsman sees in the diminutive stranger and accept him as one of their own.
- The Scotsman's Wife punches an elder Celtic Demon in the crotch and headbutts him, then follows up by ripping the entire demon army to shreds with her bare hands, and in a couple of cases with her teeth. She doesn't hesitate or pause in her rampage once... well, except for a funny moment where she rips off a robot's face, revealing an organic brain and goggling eyes, and she just gives a "WTH" look before continuing the devastation.
- The climax of the fight: Jack doesn't retreat when his powered gauntlet runs out of juice, the last robot approaching and raising his sword, but kneels and prays to the gods that made his sword. The true power of Jack's legendary sword is unleashed by the gods' response of divine intervention, and Jack cuts the robot in two in a single blow.
Ultra-Robot: "Unbelievable." (starts to glow, then explodes)
- There's a cameo appearance by none other than Ogami Ittō and his son Daigorō from Lone Wolf and Cub. Ogami handily defeats four men on a bridge, and it's implied that watching this fight made a young Jack fascinated with swordsmanship; meaning that whenever Jack's fighting seems straight out of Lone Wolf and Cub, it's not just a meta-homage, but could very well have an in-universe justification.
- The mountain monks of Fatoom appear just when Jack was despairing at his 'impossible' quest. They present Jack with another 'impossible' task, and when he is about to despair again, they appear to him in a vision: "Do you give up? Will you abandon their hope? Can you not feel their desperation? Will evil forever rule the world? Have you forgotten?!" Jack thought he was at the end of his strength; but his parents, his people, his whole world rely on him. He goes on, conquers the mountain, and renews his vow.
Jack (calling out to the sky from the summit): "Aku! I will find a way back to the past! And I will destroy you!"
- The Imakandi, a group of four lion-like hunters that Jack feels he's no match for. Yet when faced with the prospect of being turned helplessly over to Aku, Jack leads the Imakandi on a mighty chase from the depths of a futuristic city to its highest towers. When they finally take him alive, the Imakandi refuse to hand their prey over to Aku: out of respect for their Worthy Opponent, they teleport Jack to safety before returning to their distant world.
- Jack is pitted against the titular Demongo, a sort-of necromancer who enslaves the 'essence' of every warrior he's ever defeated, and can call up these bound souls to fight to the death over and over again. Faced with a demonic wizard armed with an endless army of highly skilled warriors. Jack travels into Demongo's soul-prison realm by seizing one of the defeated, and uses his holy sword to shatter the bonds of all Demongo's captured souls, restoring them to life and demolishing Demongo's power. It ends with the resumption of the musical "walking the land" motif, with Jack striding on as if the whole deadly struggle had been no more than an interruption in his day.
- The Spartans shoot missiles from their spears, facing off against robotic minotaurs that could repair themselves endlessly. The final battle of said episode had Jack throw his sword to the Spartan leader, and shows that even the Spartan leader could use a katana pretty well. In return, the King then gives Jack a second shield and they group up, with Jack blocking off the monster's attacks while the King takes arms off - the scene is so fluid, you'll likely do nothing but gawk at how awesome it is. It ends with Jack "sacrificing" his life to save the Spartan Leader.
- Also, there is a scene with the Spartan King stabbing one of the robots in the back, pulls off its arm, and then bludgeons it into a wreck with the severed arm. And just after that? He punches a robot, in the face, bare-knuckled. And seeing as the robot is still embedded around his fist, he lifts it and shakes it off into a bunch of incoming robots, blowing them all up.
The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful
- The entire train sequence, as Jack is being chased by two bounty hunters on top of a moving train is amazing, and one of the times we see Jack fighting two very competent and very different opponents for a long time. They actually manage to capture him too, but it takes a LOT of fight.
- Jack battles and destroys virtually an entire graveyard full of zombies all by himself.
- Aku himself had been dominating that episode by really showing off his might: he provides quite a bit of awe. And on the opposite scale, the sheer tenacity with which Jack fends off Aku's attempts to kill him.
- Then the dramatic shift in power when Aku nearly kills Jack with his own sword. After the reveal that Jack's sword won't hurt the innocent, and is unable to kill him, Jack gives a Badass Boast.
Aku: "How?! HOW?!"Jack: "Even I had forgotten that the sword was forged in purity and strength. It can only be used for good. In the hands of evil it could never harm an innocent! And so, Aku, it cannot harm me... but it can harm you!"
- Not only was Jack's boast awesome, the following curbstomp of Aku comes very close (possibly the closest Jack ever came in the original run) to actually killing Aku, to the point Aku can't even muster up his normal flying form to escape and has to turn into a tiny mouse to scamper away.
- This episode takes Jack on a mystical journey that ends at a very well-guarded time gate. The clash with the mighty Guardian becomes five minutes of epic battle.
Guardian: "Only one man has been prophesied to defeat me. And you my man, ain't that man."
- The Guardian pulls out a gun and begins shooting. Jack tries to throw attention off of him by throwing some ninja stars left over from a previous fight at him. The guardian's response? Pull out another gun and shoot the stars out of the air, a bullet apiece, all while keeping the other gun pointed at Jack.
- The ending, where the Guardian is set to crush the unconscious Samurai Jack with a rock, but the time portal communicates with him... and then he gets Jack out of there, looking back at the portal...
Guardian: "You can't use it yet, Samurai Jack." (Vision shows a much older Jack, as a leader in the fight against Aku) "Not yet... not yet."
- The Creature is a Totoro-looking teddy bear with intelligence inversely proportional to its size. It follows Jack around, accidentally destroying the time-travel-artifact of the week, and still follows an ever-more exasperated Jack. Then when a bunch of robot bounty hunters incapacitate Jack, the Creature goes completely apeshit, transforming into a giant raging murder beast the Hulk would be jealous of, and slaughtering all the terrified robots.
- The episode appears to be going in the same direction as "Jack and the Warrior Woman", with Jack oblivious to Aku's Paper-Thin Disguise and going along with whatever scheme Aku has up his sleeve. But Jack then goes on to sabotage Aku's plot at the crucial moment, revealing that he knew all along and was just waiting to strike, and a Curb-Stomp Battle ensues before Aku eventually flees. And surprisingly enough, the episode ends with Jack still in possession of the still-functional MacGuffin of the week.
Jack: "Run, you cowardly shadow! For you know your destruction is at hand. It is just a matter of time."
- The entirety of the episode; kung-fu at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. Extra credit goes to the creators from using an incredible number of martial arts styles in this episode, from Tai-Chi and Wing Chun, to Eagle Claw and Southern Fist. Hell, they even included Water Beetle!
Shaolin Monks: "Brother!"
- Jack's father, the late Emperor, gets quite a few awesome achievements:
"And on that day, all the minions of evil cried out in despair, for though he was not yet even one day old, they knew that their greatest nemesis had entered the world."
- In the first part, he tried to fight Aku with normal weapons, and was crushed. For the rematch, he shows up with magic armor (that he created himself), a flying cloud, and what would become Jack's sword... and wins.
- The magic sword? It was forged from the strength of the Human Spirit and Human Righteousness... both taken from him. That's right: the one thing that can hurt and destroy Aku was forged from his soul.
- He has defeated Aku, and has no apparent reason to think Aku will return, or that he won't be able to take him on again if it happens. He still immediately starts setting up Jack's training, just in case.
- In a way, Jack being born right after the Emperor defeats Aku could count as this. Even though the episode was called "The Birth of Evil", it ended with the birth of the one who just might grow up to destroy Aku once and for all. One commenter on YouTube put it best:
Samurai vs. Ninja
- The ninja hides perfectly in darkness... so with the angle of the sun temporarily turning everything into either pitch-dark or blinding white light, Jack refashions his kimono into pure white ninja garb and proceeds to fight fire-with-fire. Problem is, the sun is setting, leaving increasingly little light for Jack to use, and more shadow for the Ninja. Jack wins in the last few moments of twilight when the Ninja gets too confident and attempts to attack Jack from behind, accidentally making a slight creaking noise on a wooden beam. Jack hears it, blinds the Ninja by reflecting the sunlight on his sword, and in those few fractions of a second, throws the blade right into the Ninja's chest.
- Jack's inner fight with the darkness infecting his soul at the climax. When all seems lost and Jack is slowly being swallowed by the evil, the voices of his mother and father remind him of his accomplishments against Aku, as well as the friends he's made in the future, building his will until he becomes a master samurai of light within his heart, vanquishing the evil of Aku from within. It is all just pure brilliance and a heartwarming tearjerker.
- Six of the world's greatest bounty hunters end up in the same place to try and take down Jack. Ultimately they combine their individual plans into a master one, making sure it has no flaws Jack could exploit, seeming like it might actually work. They all ambush him at the same time... yet Jack utterly defeats them all in the time it takes a drop of water to fall from an icicle and hit the ground, with no more effort than if they'd attacked him individually. One bounty hunter (the Princess) is still alive/conscious and draws her back-up weapon, a small knife. Jack stands motionless with his back to her; realizing the futility of attacking Jack, she drops the knife and then drops to her knees. Jack walks on down the road, not having said a word or shown his face in person during the entire episode.
- Pretty much the whole fight, easily topped by how Jack manages to drive Aku into having a panic attack with his genius gambit. Let's repeat: Jack manages to drive Aku into sheer panic. The smug look on Jack's face and his swagger as Aku's panicking is the icing on the cake. He may not have vanquished Aku in that episode, but he most overwhelmingly won that day for certain.
- The "Fall" segment, where Jack pretends to drink from the poisoned well, and when the Mad Scientist who made the poison sneaks up to check on his victim, Jack turns around, and spits the poisoned water into the villain's mouth. Said villain promptly withers into dead leaves and is blown apart by the wind.
- The "Winter" segment depicts the epic forging of a Cool Sword. Crystals, lava, icebergs, dragonfire, lightning, runes, trial by combat... you name it. Sure, it's all the buildup to a Shaggy Dog Story, but it was mighty impressive while it lasted.
- In this flashback episode with little Jack, Jack's mentor and his village are captured by evil men wielding better weapons than their Simple Staffs, with only Jack escaping. Jack is miserable for a while, until you see him train with the enemy weapon, giving you a glimpse of the man he will become. He ultimately goes to the evil men's village and frees his mentor/people, who all use the sticks that made up their cage as weapons, defeating the evil men in their own homes.
- Special mention to Jack's mentor who curb-stomps the evil men's leader (a giant brute who dual-wields his weapons) who tore through Jack's own commandeered weapon like it was paper.
- Not to mention how Jack ends up adapting the evil tribe's weapon, a kind of club/sword/flail fusion presumably made from ceramic as few African tribes utilized metallurgy. Jack, being a mere child at this point, isn't strong enough to lift the weapon properly, so instead he invents a kind of spin move, using the weapon's weight as an advantage to take down the slavers.
- Fifty years of ennui and futility hasn't dulled Jack's skills one bit, even without his sword.
- For the entirety of the series, we've seen Jack walking everywhere he goes. When he appears at the start of the new season to rescue a family under attack from Aku's robots, he shows up on a badass motorcycle with spiked wheels. Not only that, but he's wearing some slick armor, and wielding new weapons, including guns and a staff with a claw on one end and an electrical prod on the other. Even a samurai needs to adapt to the times, apparently.
- Also can be seen when he decimates a rock golem and Scaramouche with slim to no effort before stealing Scaramouche's tuning fork sword for himself. Even better, that last detail indicates that all those other weapons listed above that he now wields were likely taken from previous assassins.
- And how does Jack land the final blow? With a bit of cunning on his part. Scaramouch's tuning fork sword causes whatever it strikes to explode like a grenade, so when Scaramouche strikes Jack's dagger, Jack just waits... and then throws his dagger grenade.
- When he's not being hilarious, Scaramouche is pretty impressive in combat. His main abilities include a "magic" flute that lets him manipulate objects into projectiles and massive golems. Even without the flute, he can still use these powers simply by scatting. Probably his best weapon is his sword, which opens up like a tuning fork, upon which any object he strikes with it vibrates at such high intensity that it promptly explodes. It's such a Cool Sword that after Jack defeats him, he keeps it.
- Evil Laser Guided Tykebombs though they may be, the Daughters of Aku are scarily competent and utterly badass in their mannerisms and skills. How badass? They murdered every other member of their cult save for their actual mother as their graduation test!
- Their mother is rather badass herself, especially considering how quickly she was back on her feet after giving birth to seven children!
- After everything that's changed and all the time that's passed, both in-universe and out, what do we get at the very end of the episode?
- A gigantic one for Jack? He made Aku just give up on trying to kill him. Aku tried to destroy any time portals that Jack could use to get home, and then just let old age kill Jack for him, but finds out his displacement of Jack through time travel (which turned him biologically immortal) made that plan impossible. Aku hasn't appeared to Jack personally in years because he's given up on actually killing him.
- Jack casually destroying the latest model of the Beetle Drone in a couple seconds.
- We could narrow the list down by saying "The ENTIRE first battle with the Daughters of Aku", but in it's honor we'll present a list of highlights.
- Starting off with an explosive tripwire, and then following up with a Speed Blitz so brutal even Jack can't see the daughters move at first. Yes, Jack, the most badass samurai in TWO generations, can't get a bead on them.
- One of the daughters bursting out of a tree to smite Jack. The best part, Jack actually jumping from the tree seconds before the Daughter can stab him.
- After detonating an entire grenade belt in order to Smoke Out the assassins, Jack eventually hides inside a ruined temple. The daughters chase after him, hunting for him in a tension-filled scene... before revealing that Jack hid himself in a crack in the ceiling to avoid them.
- A brief sequence where the only lighting is the sisters' Sword Sparks.
- The mausoleum scene. One would assume that a crypt would be bleak and depressing, but the lighting, music, and animation all complement each other perfectly, delivering a beautiful scene in the midst of a truly dire situation.
- Jack hides in a coffin, awaiting the sisters... and just when they surrounded him, he bursts free from an attack by all seven of them. Mind you there was no indication before the scene that they know which coffin he was hiding in. Turns out all of them accurately predicted which one and attacked it at once. And what does Jack do? Similar to the tree scene mentioned above, he jumped out with an acute sense of timing before getting hit by each and every one of them. It's really amazing how all of the daughters manage to get the right coffin and Jack manage to still escape right before they hit the coffin.
- To cap it off, while it's sad due to the tragic nature of the Daughters, Jack managing to kill one of them during the drastic situation he's in is also very impressive.
- Jack's final escape: after reclaiming Scaramouch's dagger, he scrapes it against the temple's walls, detonating it and allowing him to dive into the river to escape... all while slowly bleeding out.
- The fact that for 90% of the fight, the sisters had Jack on the run; the only other enemies to do that since the Minions of Set and the Imakandi. All while being normal humans.
- The lone white wolf shown in the episode's subplot. It encounters a pack of alien tigers... and manages to kill all four of them! Too bad that the wolf died trying... or so we thought; see the spoilers from the next episode.
- Remember the Wolf from the previous episode, and his apparent Dying Moment of Awesome? It turns out that he survived! Much like Jack, the Wolf could withstand near-fatal, massive blood loss.
- The flashback to Jack's childhood, where his father confronts a band of assassins who murdered his bodyguards and tried to do the same to him and his family. We see that the Emperor was still as lethal with a blade as he was when he fought Aku.
- Jack vs. the Daughters of Aku, Round 2. Unlike their previous battle, where they greatly overwhelmed him and forced him to flee for his life, Jack manages to regain his fighting spirit and turn the tables on his adversaries.
- Jack announces his presence and warns them not to fight him. Jack intentionally invokes the words of his father from his past fight.
Jack: "I will give you a new choice. Leave here now, and live. Or stay, and face your destiny."Jack: "Very well."
- After the threat above, Jack immediately springs out of the snow and slays three more Daughters, by impaling them with a spear and sword. It all happens in the span of a few minutes and is over with just as fast, instantly showcasing that Jack's stopped messing around.
- This is followed by Jack luring the last three Daughters to a high tree branch in order to force them to come at him one at a time. He manages to throw one off without much fanfare, and another was immediately taken out with a strong hook to the face that snapped her neck and caused her to spin out off the tree branch.
- The last Daughter, Ashi, is left hanging by her chain from the branch. When she blows off into a typical evil rant, Jack shows little patience for her meltdown and just drops her mid-sentence.
- Jack announces his presence and warns them not to fight him. Jack intentionally invokes the words of his father from his past fight.
- When Jack's sword breaks, he is brought before Odin, Ra, and Vishnu to prove that he is worthy of wielding it in the first place. He goes through hell and back to pass the gods' tests, ready to give his life if necessary, but still wakes up empty-handed, convinced that he had failed. In this moment, Aku catches up with him, but instead of fleeing, Jack steels himself and attacks him no matter what... and that's when he gets the sword back, good as new, this time reforged from his own power instead of his father's.
"Yes, Aku. I am the weapon."