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- The montage of Jack slowly moving from country to country, learning not just the martial arts but also the different cultures and values of each land he visits and pretty much fully integrating himself into each civilization before moving on. Becomes even more heartwarming when you remember that Aku's existence literally threatens the world and Jack is being trained by teachers all over the world in preparation for him to defend it. Summed up well in this comment from YouTube.
"When you fight to save the world.... It's best if you know what it is you're fighting for."
- Better still, there's how his journey to each country helps Jack overcome the grief of losing his home, if not forget what's at stake.
- After years of traveling the world, who should Jack meet near the end of his training? His mother. The Empress and her son tearfully embrace for the first time in years. It's like a small shred of the home he lost, and what's awaiting Jack once he returns to his time and achieves his destiny.
- When Jack returns to Japan, he fights his way through a bunch of Aku's demonic minions, and (very briefly) gets to reunite with his father. While the Emperor has clearly been broken in body and spirit after being Aku's slave for too many years, he tears up at the sight of his son, grown to be the stuff heroes are made of.
- When the Emperor smacks the sword out of Jack's hand for saying that it, alone, will take vengeance on Aku, Jack drops to his knees and bows his head without a second thought, establishing right away that he doesn't have a shred of arrogance before the Emperor reminds him that he must fight for justice and honor, not revenge.
- Jack has destroyed every single Beetle Drone, thus saving the talking dog people. This marks his first successful act of heroism to protect the innocent against Aku's tyranny. The dogs thank him and give him some clues on how to travel back to the past...
- Likewise, Jack rescues the Woolies from decades of enslavement by the Chritchellites. The Woolies thank him and give him some more directions for his quest.
- Although it's Harsher in Hindsight almost to the point of being a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, Jack's developing camaraderie with "Ikra" is this. The last few episodes he's been very restrained, polite and expressionless (sans his Screaming Warrior mode), and this is the first episode where we see him opening up emotionally and genuinely bonding with someone as a true equal rather than a victim who needs to be rescued. He seemed genuinely happy to be making friends with another warrior he could relate to, and even started developing a romantic attraction to her. In any other situation this would have been the beginning of a beautiful Battle Couple, but unfortunately for poor Jack...
- The ending, when the Viking warrior finally gets his wish: to die at the hands of another great warrior (Jack), thus freeing him from his curse, and earning him passage into Valhalla.
- If not for Aku's narmy attempt at fairy tales, the children prove their faith in Jack as a hero is unyielding. At the end, after Aku stops his storytime and leaves in anger, the children begin telling their own collaborated story of how Jack will defeat Aku.
- Jack tries to rescue a fairy trapped in a magical orb, who will grant one wish in her lifetime. He doesn't realize that what enters the orb cannot leave it, and gets his hand stuck with the fairy (who's trying to give him advice). She explains that he needs the control orb from the gargoyle, and Jack, after much butt-kicking, gets it. Before it expires, the gargoyle looks at Jack's trapped hand and laughs. The fairy explains that the orb will only work with the control word, which only the recently-deceased gargoyle knew, and "Now we'll never be free." Cue pained look from Jack, a moment of despair, and then:
Jack: "I wish we were free."
- The Scotsman beckons Jack to help him rescue his wife. All throughout the adventure, the Scotsman does nothing but talk about his wife with fondness and joy, showing us how much he misses her. Even when it turns out she's a bit exaggerated, the Scotsman still sees her as the most beautiful creature on the planet.
- And by the end, in her own special way, the Scotsman's Wife proves she does care about her husband and is even boisterously happy once her anger is sated. She quickly proves that despite being rather ugly, her personality more than makes up for it and showers praise on both her husband and Jack for coming to save her, and even gives Jack a bearhug and promises to feed him once they're home safe.
Wife: *glare* You sweet-talkin' me?Scotsman: Aye!Wife: *smiling* Dont ever stop!
- In general, this episode is both Heartwarming and a Tear Jerker, as it deals with Jack's nostalgia for his bygone childhood.
- After getting his sword and gi back from the orphan girl who stole them while he was bathing, Jack returns to the swamp from the beginning of the episode to retrieve the very valuable tusks from the robot slug he defeated. He gives the little girl the tusks, and she says, "I'll never go hungry again."
- After a very rough day involving a robotic biker gang, Jack stumbles upon a Japanese family who welcome him in with their traditional style of hospitality. Jack gets to see that his perpetual struggle is paying off, that the people suffering under Aku's rule have learned to hope again because of him.
Jack and the Rave
- When Jack frees a bunch of teenagers from Aku's mind-controlling rave music, Olivia and her father reunite.
Olivia's Father: "Olivia?"
- After it unwittingly ate a time-travel artifact, Jack is so angry at the Creature that he promises first thing in the morning they are parting ways. Only, the Creature is truly sorry for upsetting Jack. As the night wears on, the Creature finally nods off to sleep after faithfully watching over its friend. But not before it smiles lovingly at the Samurai, certain Jack will forgive it in the morning.
- The chirping/dolphin noise the Creature makes when it calls out to an absent Jack the next morning. It's too cute!
- After seeing the Creature saved his life, Jack lets the Creature know he's okay, and that he's forgiven it for yesterday's mishap.
- The ending of this horrifying episode, when the little girl is finally reunited with her family thanks to Jack defeating the demon.
- Shortly before he sets off to fight the evil swamp monster, the Emperor wordlessly comforts the crying Empress. It's his way of telling her that though he's doing this because "his subjects are also family", he'll always love her most of all. He puts a gentle hand upon her pregnant belly, wishing he could stay for the birth of their unborn son. She reciprocates the gesture by putting her hand on his.
- The ending. As (formerly) pictured above, the image of the young Emperor holding newborn Jack after everything he went through is as powerful as it is beautiful.
- The lead-up to the image: as Aku is imprisoned in the tree, the sun comes out, and all goes quiet. Suddenly, a baby's crying is heard, and the Emperor follows the sound to find his frazzled and exhausted but otherwise unharmed wife and their newborn, crying son. As the Emperor approaches, the baby immediately stops crying and smiles up at him, as if recognizing that this man is his daddy.
Samurai vs. Samurai
- Just when they start to fight, Jack clearly did not see Da Samurai as a real opponent. However Jack still humors him, and between the beatings gives Da Samurai life advice, telling him to first understand his own strengths and weaknesses, to not hide behind this built-up facade of a personality, and to let his true self shine through.
- We have Jack telling Da Samurai that he has taken the first step towards becoming a true samurai after the man, up to this point an obnoxious blowhard until Jack deflated him, pushed Jack out of the way and took an energy blast for him.
- Then at the end of the episode, he runs off after Jack, calling him "sensei" and practically begging him to give him more advice and training. It just goes to show how much he took his lesson at heart and is motivated to become a better person and a true samurai. The look of sheer shame on his face shortly before that only drives the point home further.
- Jack's mother and father coming to him in his hour of need, during his internal fight to regain control of his body from the Aku infection. When Jack felt that he's losing to the evil inside him, the spirits of his parents reminded him of the goodness in him, and how it has been strengthened by those he helped since his coming to the future. In the end, he exorcised the demonic corruption and freed himself. This not only counts as an epic heartwarmer, but a joyful tearjerker as well.
- When they show the panorama of dozens of minor characters whom Jack had saved or helped. You know that every single one of them would wish for Jack to prevail.
- Everything that the Scotsman went through to help an amnesiac Jack. It must have taken days, maybe even weeks to find the source of the problem, but that didn't matter to the Scotsman. All that mattered to him was that a friend of his was in trouble.
- Add to this was how amnesiac Jack is vastly different in personality and ability to how he was before, ending with the Scotsman doing what he can to keep him from harm's way. The clincher? He always tries to make an excuse as to why amnesiac Jack is messing up. Remember when they first met? He was almost always finding ways to humiliate or insult Jack. Now? He's thinking of any excuse he can to defend and preserve Jack's honor.
- He spends the entire adventure becoming more and more frustrated that he can't find out exactly what happened to Jack, but follows up whatever information he can without even hinting at giving. When he finally encounters what he quickly figures out to be how Jack "lost his brain," he looks at his brain-addled friend with a genuine smile - not a goofy grin like he usually does, but a very heartwarming "we've got 'em now" smile. Then comes the "bring it on" smirk.
- Then, when he finally finds the Sirens who enchanted Jack in the first place, he demands an explanation for what they did to his friend and the sirens smugly confirm they were the ones who wiped Jack's memories and even show him Jack's kimono and sword which they kept as a trophy, cue the Scotsman going utterly ballistic.
- Also both Heartwarming and Awesome is fact that the Scotsman is actually capable of resisting the Sirens' spell. Because there's only one woman's voice that can beguile him.
- During the fight itself, when the sirens sic their brainwashed slaves on him (including Jack), he refuses to hurt them and instead plays a loud song with his bagpipes to break the spell; unfortunately he needs both hands to do this leaving him defenseless when the Sirens merge together into a three headed serpent and tries to crush him to death. Even then he refuses to stop playing in order to keep everyone free, which leads to Jack coming back to his senses and saving him in return.
- When the adventure is done, they spend what is implied to be a very long time just laughing and reminiscing together; the kind of thing Jack barely gets to do while trapped in the future. So much time, in fact, that they miss the boats off the island they're trapped on.
- At the end, when he gave up a opportunity to slay Aku to help the kids get to their ship (so that they help their people save their home from enemy invaders), he told them how he knew what they're going through and couldn't allow them to fail. At the end they won their war and built a statue to honor and remember Jack.
- When the alien Prince and Princess find out that Jack is also a prince, they bow to him just before they leave and call him "Your Majesty", acknowledging his royal heritage as a form of respect.
- Jack clearly relates to them and sees his story in their mission. After they refuse to take the chance to escape when he's surrounded by enemies and help him fight - just as he's done before himself, and which almost never happens otherwise - he opens up a little to the flying children, and they reassure him. In the last scene he seems genuinely happy.
- Spring, speaking in comforting tones, telling Jack that he is a selfless servant, a hero, who has fought for far too long, and needs to rest and be at peace. The whole scene has an unusual amount of bloom, and the music is very emotional. Seeing Jack get a moment's reprieve in a woman's arms is very refreshing, even considering her true nature.
- Generally, X9's affection towards Lulu. Out of context, one would think it was just another romance about a guy who softens up when a girl comes into his life. And a girl did come into his life, but in the form of an adorable little Pug dog. It's refreshing to see how love comes in many forms.
- X9's trumpet playing. It's so nostalgic and haunting.
- This episode is all about a retired robot assassin being forced to come out of retirement and fight Jack when his pet dog is abducted and used as a bargaining chip by Aku. After Jack inevitably slays X9, his last words are to tell him to take care of his pet, and it is clear that Jack wasn't ignoring this statement, as can be seen by the sympathetic look he gives afterwards.
- The African Chief welcomes young Jack with open arms, informing him that he looks just like his father.
- The Chief's son is initially very disrespectful towards Jack, but it isn't long until he accepts him as his temporary surrogate brother and starts bonding with him.
- After Jack saves the African tribe from the men sent by Aku to capture him, the Chief decides that Jack has completed his training and tells him he's ready to continue his long journey to prepare to defeat Aku.
- Pretty much the entirety of this episode, which proves that Jack would be a great dad if he ever got the chance to settle down.
- There's a very cute moment when Jack entertains the Baby by retelling the story of Momotaro, which he learned from his mom as a little boy.
- The blue alien "Emoji Family" whom Jack saves at the beginning are all very cute and lovable, especially when the daughter thanks Jack for saving them.
- The entire opening fight shows that even though Jack may have fallen into disgrace and despair, there's still a part of the friendly, loyal, all-caring samurai warrior we all know and love inside of him.
- Similar to the above, when Jack ultimately heads back to the smoking village he initially ran away from. The guy's been taking a psychological beatdown for 50 years at this point. He's more cynical, more violent, more pessimistic. And yet, despite him trying to avoid it, despite how broken he's become, he still doesn't have it in him to just let an innocent village burn.
- The High Priestess calling Ashi "my sweet Ashi." It's by far the closest thing to affection that she has ever displayed to her children.
- A minor one during the Daughters of Aku's training, when one sister tries to help Ashi up after she falls off and hangs from a platform. It's a small sign that there is some inherent compassion and familial bond in them, even though the rest of the cult is doing everything they can to stomp it out of them, as evidenced when their mother stops her to use the situation as an opportunity to teach them never to help the weak.
- Jack's childhood flashback. While traveling with his mom and dad, their carriage is ambushed by several assassins. The Emperor comes to his family's defense and kills all the thugs. Jack is shocked by the carnage, so his father has to explain his actions with some martial wisdom while gently cleaning the blood from his son's face.
- The Emperor's awkwardness and look of guilt as he's cleaning up his son, showing that even though he wants to use this as an opportunity to teach Jack an important lesson, he doesn't want his son to be any more frightened than he already is.
- It's also a small comfort to the audience that the battered, shell-shocked beardo we've been with for the last few episodes is, indeed, still the hero we know and love.
- The White Wolf taking care of a wounded Jack. All of it. Especially when he sleeps next to him, keeping him warm and functioning as a pillow.
- While they turn in for the night, Ashi volunteers to keep watch over them. She does so because the night sky has caught her attention. So from a tree branch, she admires the night sky of the very world she's fighting to protect (even if she isn't fighting on the right side).
- Although it's a sad indication of how little they know about the world, the Daughters of Aku get one when they spot a deer for the first time. In a way, it's like seeing an Adorkable side to them like never before. Then, we have a stag come along, mistaken by the sisters as an agent of Aku. They believe that he's going to destroy "the weaker one". But in a small act of love triumphing over evil, the stag proves them wrong and lovingly nuzzles his mate instead.
- Jack, despite having lost most of his idealism, actually tries to convince the Daughters of Aku to leave peacefully, and live out the rest of their lives. He does so using the exact same words his father once used to attempt to diffuse a hostile situation with some bandits. But it's too bad that Jack still has to dispose of his attackers by any means necessary.
- Although Jack has forsaken the idea of never taking a human life, he immediately realizes that Ashi is merely a brainwashed pawn of Aku. Believing she can be redeemed, Jack repeatedly saves her life while they're inside the monster; despite her constant rejection of his heroism, and she repeatedly tries to kill him, and he gets called out on his unnecessary mercy by his hallucinations.
- While traversing through the giant creature that has swallowed the two, Jack and Ashi end up finding themselves in a large cavernous part of the beast, where many smaller luminescent creatures are floating above them. The sight is not only beautiful to the audience, but it is one of the few times that Ashi is awed by the sight, and Jack delivers a line that is likely what she has going through in her own mind.
Jack: "Even in the bowels of the darkest creatures, there is beautiful light."
- The source of the Daughters of Aku's ruthlessness comes from their strict and cruel mother, who was quick to punish them for even the most innocent of missteps. Due to this, they have never known anyone who ever treated them with kindness, are confused by the concept of being kind to others, and appear to not have matured emotionally. When Ashi, the last surviving Daughter, attempts to strike Jack down when his back is turned, she gets distracted by a ladybug and is shocked to see Jack let it go without harming it. This is in stark contrast to the childhood memory of her mother, who had coldly killed another ladybug, stating that it has no business in Aku's order. She is moved by his random act of kindness, and is unable to bring herself to kill him.
- The Scotsman buying his daughters time to escape, even if it means losing his life. And he does it by literally taunting Aku until he gets bored and kills him.
- While the Scotsman rants at Aku, he reaffirms his hope that Jack will eventually save the world. Jack may have given up all faith in himself, but his old friend still believes in him.
- Just when the Scotsman's poor daughters are grieving him, he suddenly rises from his ashes as a ghost, much to their joy. The Scotsman himself doesn't look worried at all that he's become a blue spirit, and then he tells his kids a new plan for resisting Aku:
Scotsman: "We regroup and plan to fight another day! We'll amass a BIGGER army! We'll find Jack, and finally defeat that BIG BABY!"
- Also heartwarming on a meta-level, as many predicted that not only would Season 5 kill off a beloved character, but that said character would be the Scotsman. They were right, but the Scotsman returned as a ghost, so he's still not completely gone from the show.
- Jack tells Ashi of the story his mother told him as a child, about the origin of the stars. The smile on her face makes it clear that she's finally experiencing some of the childhood that she was denied for so long.
- Jack thanking the sea monster that brought him and Ashi to the mainland.
- The hope that appears on the villager's face when he realizes who he's talking to. Jack might have lost faith in himself, but he'll always be a hero to others.
Villager: You've come back at last. Samurai Jack, you've come.
- Ashi happening upon the alien children and finding out they're alive. This is probably the first time in her life that she's genuinely proud of something she's done.
Ashi: "SAMURAI JACK!!"
- Although the victory is short-lived, it's also sweet when Ashi grows worried at Jack's absence, showing how quickly she turned from hating to loving him. For once, she calls him by his full name:
- The whole episode overall. Ashi, now firmly on the side of good, travels through the world in search of Samurai Jack. Along the way she encounters many old allies (and a few enemies) whom Jack had met many years before, and Jack's friends are forever grateful for how he saved them from the forces of evil. Despite the past few decades of non-stop fighting being pure hell for Jack, this episode made clear that his actions were not completely in vain, and that he has still brought some amount of hope and joy to Aku's dystopian world.
- In the beginning, Ashi bumps into two of the Woolies. The two Woolies have apparently heard about Ashi, and they believe that she still wants to kill Jack for Aku, and they prepare for a fight. Ashi clears up the confusion, so the Woolies tell of their past with Jack.
Woolie: "We will not let you hurt the Samurai!"
- In the first flashback, when we see Jack saving the Woolies from the Chritchellites' slavery, the audience is treated to a slow pan-up shot of Jack in his prime. For the first time in Season 5, we get to see Jack as he's supposed to be, a noble defender of the innocent. When contrasted with how we had only seen him in his old garb was whenever his inner demon was taunting him, it's a very heartwarming sight.
- Next, Ashi meets the Three (no longer Blind) Archers. The Archers have been protecting their hometown from a swarm of Beetle Drones, and when they confirm that they and Ashi have a common friend, they show her a statue built in Jack's honor, recalling how he had saved them from the curse of the Well of King Ozric.
Archer: "A friend of Samurai Jack, is a friend of ours."
- The most poignant scene is when Ashi wanders into a dance party — in the same setting from "Jack and the Rave". The DJ is Olivia, now a Cool Old Lady in her 60s, and she organized the rave for the grandchildren of her old friends. Being told that Ashi is looking for Jack and he needs help, the ravers have a special musical number in Jack's honor.
- Ashi's Good Costume Switch from her suit of dark magic, to a pretty dress made from leaves and foliage.
- In contrast to her horrific childhood of being forcibly dropped into a pit of burning magic, Ashi makes the symbolic choice of willingly diving into a pristine pool. It shows she's ready to wash away her past as "the Daughter of Aku" and start anew. Although the feat of scrubbing off her symbiotic-type suit takes all night, she succeeds.
- Genius Bonus when you remember the ancient Japanese used to worship and honor nature; Ashi now embodies that culture to its fullest. Also, Ashi was inspired to fight for Aku because she thought he created nature; but now, she wears nature because she knows Samurai Jack is trying to protect it.
- One more: Ashi's new hairstyle resembles that of the first of her sisters who died. It could hint that she's trying to honor her late sister's memory by taking on a likeness of her, as opposed to unceremoniously calling her death a "failure".
- One of the last places Ashi finds is a (retired) Bad-Guy Bar run by Da Samurai, now a cranky old bartender. When she asks where to find Jack, everyone assumes she wants to fight him and they laugh, thinking she's asking for a beating. These guys were former bounty-hunters who were pretty badly maimed and defeated by Jack, and thus they have no love lost for Jack, but they give credit where it's due, admitting that Jack was the toughest, most badass SOB ever.
- Da Samurai recalls how in his youth he was quite arrogant and considered himself to be awesome, until Jack stepped in and proved him otherwise. Da Samurai begrudgingly learned humility for himself the hard way, but also found a lot of genuine respect for Jack, so he gave up his sword and stopped trying to be a wannabe-badass.
- Ashi meets a mysterious female stranger who gives her the directions she needs to find Jack. The woman's identity is not apparent, but she was definitely helped by him in the past.
- When the Woolies asked if Ashi was a friend of Jack, she hesitated. When the stranger asks Ashi if she's Jack's friend, this is Ashi's answer, short and simple: "Yes."
- When Ashi finally finds Jack, he's about to attempt seppuku (a very painful form of ritual suicide), with the Omen preparing to finish him off. Ashi fights the Omen and tries to convince Jack that all of his heroic efforts weren't in vain, and that she's finally seen all the good that he's done for the world. She has changed greatly from being a brainwashed fanatic who use to want to murder Jack.
- The thing that finally snaps Jack out of his self-destructive despair? Ashi revealing that all the children from the previous episode have survived, meaning that Jack hadn't failed to save them after all.
- And the thing that gets him back on his feet? The Omen lunging at Ashi to strike her down. Cue Jack leaping to his feet and using the sword that was meant to take his own life, to save Ashi's instead.
- After defeating the Omen, Jack compliments Ashi's new dress and hairstyle, and the quiet smile she gives him is rather adorable.
- The very end of the episode. Jack has finally snapped out of his severe depression that's been haunting him for the whole season, and he's ready to go find his lost sword.
- The three little mountain rams who followed Jack were very adorable. They follow him like ducklings.
- The giant bird coos and snuggles Ashi's chest after she and Jack thank it separately.
- Ashi beats down an entire army with her bare hands in order to protect Jack while he's meditating. Which is soon followed by Ashi fighting her wicked mother to defend Jack again.
- Ashi's mother lays the deaths of her daughters at Jack's feet, but Ashi instead lays that blame back at her mother, making it clear that whatever role Jack had in her sisters' deaths, she accepts without question that it wasn't his fault. Plus, she knows that Jack was really only acting in self-defense.
- By accepting responsibility for dooming themselves, Ashi is relieving Jack of responsibility for having killed her sisters. She recognizes that he's a peaceful man at heart, and the last thing he needs is to feel any more guilt and shame over the blood on his hands.
- Several episodes ago, Ashi didn't care about the fate of her sisters, even coldly stating "death is failure" while dragging out one of their corpses. Here not only is she acknowledging that they did not deserve their fates, but that they wouldn't have died in the first place if their mother hadn't filled their heads with hateful lies about Samurai Jack, and then sending her and the rest of the Daughters of Aku out on a what basically amounted to a suicide mission.
- Ashi's mother lays the deaths of her daughters at Jack's feet, but Ashi instead lays that blame back at her mother, making it clear that whatever role Jack had in her sisters' deaths, she accepts without question that it wasn't his fault. Plus, she knows that Jack was really only acting in self-defense.
- Jack completes his spiritual journey, and the gods reward him with his familiar sword, kimono and topknot. After many years, both in- and out-of-universe, the Jack we know and love is finally back.
- In an added touch, They clearly mention that they still remember when they first gave the sword to Jack's father, and declare Jack to be just as worthy as he was.
- When he wakes up, Jack cares for Ashi after she was knocked unconscious. This is also the first time that Jack calls Ashi by her name, even though she has not told him her name onscreen.
- Ashi noting that Jack has got his sword back, and a change in haircut, robe, and appearance; which is a Call-Back to what Jack told her in the previous episode.
- Ashi's words to Jack at the end of the episode. That tone and expression are darling.
- Jack's happier demeanor overall. He spends a lot of the first half of the episode smiling, which is a far cry from the sad state he was in for most of the season.
- To top it off, he's walking again, as opposed to the first episode of Season 5 where he was riding a motorcycle. The Samurai Jack we knew preferred walking over modern transportation, and it seems he's resumed his past-time mode of transportation.
- While wandering through the desert, Jack and Ashi stop at an oasis. Jack is seen making himself a straw hat from red leaves. After putting it on and showing Ashi, he reveals that he made one for her too. They then gaze at each other for several seconds.
- The hat becomes even more heartwarming when you realize that it might be the first gift that Ashi has ever received from anyone.
- After narrowly surviving their fight with a man-eating alien monster, Jack and Ashi blow off the stress with a Big Damn Kiss. It's all the more heartwarming considering that around a month ago, they couldn't stand each other at all.
- For Ashi especially, her whole life she grew up in a setting full of hate, and love was but a foreign concept. For the first time in her life, she knows the joy and pleasure of falling in love.
- The song that plays during that scene ("Everybody Loves Somebody") is actually quite adorable, especially from Jack's point of view.
- Jack's and Ashi's adorably awkward interactions after they kissed.
- Jack reminiscing on his childhood to Ashi when she asks if he thinks about home, to which he replies all the time. Ashi also asks if there was a girl, and Jack thinks she means as in friends or acquaintances; but then he realizes she means girlfriend and corrects himself, saying there wasn't one.
- Aku actually restoring Scaramouche's body. It seems like Scaramouche wasn't lying when he said that Aku of all people would reward him. Both of them then break out into celebratory dancing together, and you'd think even for a second that they were best friends.
- But it's too bad that Aku, true to his actual character, later executes Scaramouche after realizing that he was misled with inaccurate information.
- Second time you watch it, Aku finding Ashi's scent familiar and (initially) not knowing why is comparable to a father dog meeting its puppies for the first time and not understanding why they smell and look just like him.
- Jack finally coming clean and admitting he's fallen in love with Ashi. But it's too bad that some dark secrets will conspire to keep them apart...
- Even after learning she's a literal Daughter of Aku and born from the same evil Aku is made of, Jack refuses to attack Ashi, still fully trusting the good in her and encouraging her to break Aku's hold over her. Jack has been betrayed and backstabbed countless times throughout his journey, but he still fully believes in Ashi's goodness.
- Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome. It's the series' Darkest Hour: Jack is captured by Aku with Ashi fully under his control, and he's chained to a wall in Aku's fortress to be executed. All hope is indeed lost. As Ashi is about to deal the killing blow to Jack, a loud explosion is heard and the roof at Aku's fortress gets blown up. Aku looks out and what does he see? Every single person Jack has helped over the years shows up in an attempt to save him!
- What makes the moment sweeter is Jack smiling upon seeing all those he helped coming to save him. You can tell from this facial expression alone how touched he is by their rescue.
- An added level? Aku announcing to the world the original opening as part of his attempting execution of Jack meant all of the people who came to Jack's aid knew if Jack succeeded, they would cease to exist. Even without that, all of them came willing to die to help Jack end Aku once and for all.
- One more level? For all intents and purposes, the people fighting Aku knew that they were fighting a Hopeless Boss Fight against an Eldritch Abomination. They had seen all previous resistance to Aku crushed under his feet. And yet, they continued fighting and putting their lives on the line, just to give Jack a chance to get his sword back and finally defeat Aku on his own.
- Look at Flora during the battle. She's using her father's broken sword now that he can't anymore.
- The rave kids are arguably the best of all—aside from Olivia, most (if not all) of those current ravers are probably either the children or even the grandchildren of those original ravers that Jack saved, so they (presumably) never met Jack in person. His impact on that town was generational.
- Aww, just look at the sweet smile on the Scotsman's face when Jack says he met someone! Always encouraging his best bro! At least until he sees the Eldritch Abomination Ashi's been turned into, but that just turns the scene from heartwarming to hilarious.
- Heck, just Jack and Scotsman in general. Not only do they talk like no time has passed (despite 50 years having done so, as well as Scotsman being dead, a thing Jack did take note of), but Scotsman outright tells Jack to take his pick of any of Scotsman's daughters, and he'd be mighty proud—meaning Scotsman was not only okay with, but outright encouraging of, his best friend marrying into his family.
- In fact when they reunite, the Scotsman takes his time to name ALL his daughters and happily tell Jack that they're his pride and joy.
- The very fact that, upon reuniting after so long, the first thing they do is give each other a Man Hug (only stopped by the Scotsman being a ghost). After which, they proceed to have a Seinfeldian Conversation that involves the Scotsman offering the hand of one of his daughters, and Jack denying because he has a girlfriend. Then the Scotsman quickly changing his tune from being angered that Jack is rejecting his girls to being eager to meet his friend's new lover.
- As a Freeze-Frame Bonus, right before the failed hug, Jack's expression goes from total confusion to absolute joy.
- Jack and Ashi holding hands as they dive down the time portal Ashi created on behalf of Ashi's inherited powers. What really sells it is Jack's face. After 50+ years of non-stop torment and despair, he realizes he has finally succeeded in his goal to return to the past.
- Ashi managing to break free of Aku's control at Jack's prompting before she can kill the man she loves.
- Jack has finally caught a break in managing to finally return to the past, defeat Aku, re-unite with his family and friends, and is about to marry Ashi. Then Ashi falls victim to No Ontological Inertia and fades away in his arms on their Wedding Day. Distraught, Jack rides away and crouches under a tree before a ladybug lands on his hand, giving him hope for the future again.
- Also, notice anything about the tree Jack was standing next to in the final shot? It's the same tree Jack showed Ashi in Episode XCVI.
- Ashi comforting Jack by putting her palm to his face before fading into nonexistence. Given everything she went through, she at the very least got to experience love and pass/fade away peacefully in the arms of someone who truly cared for her. She was born in an age of death, despair, hate, madness, war, chaos, and sorrow but died in an era of peace, joy, serenity, hope, love, life, and happiness.
- Given that Ashi quickly understood what was happening to her when she faded away, it's implied that, like everyone else, she understood the consequences of what was going to happen once Aku was defeated and yet still chose to sacrifice ''her very existence'' for Jack.
- Speaking of Jack's wedding, it's sweet to see that everybody he learned from before facing Aku was invited. After how much their teachings helped him, him making sure to remember them and share his happiness with them is the least he could do to repay them.
- Believe what you want, but Jack changing the past means that all the suffering Aku and other villains did in the future was completely erased from existence. Also, it is quite possible that the people Jack helped could still exist in the alternate timeline, since Jack vanquishing Aku in the past would likely give them a better existence. Think about it:
- The Viking never became the Lava Monster and therefore continues his happy life with his family and their village.
- Jack's village will continue to thrive instead of becoming forgotten ruins like we saw in "Jack Remembers the Past".
- The Blind Archers never make a wish to the well, ensuring Aku's influence doesn't change them.
- The Monkey Man's tribe is never enslaved by Aku's forces and thus he is never abandoned in the woods. This also means that there is no deforestation to fuel Aku's society, and thus, Tribe and the Red Gorillas never come into conflict over food and territory
- There is no DJ Salvatore to enslave Olivia and the other teenagers. As such, the peaceful city is never disturbed
- With no Aku, the Chrichelites never came to Earth, and the Woolies are never enslaved
- There never was a Mad Machine, and without it, the Spartans kingdom, and their neighbors, never came under threat, and the sacrifice of the 300 And 1 never comes to pass
- Non-Half-Human Hybrid versions of the Daughters of Aku (including Ashi) are born via non-Sociopathic High Priestess and a different father, and into a much better, happier upbringing this time.
- The Guardian and his time portal won't be destroyed by Aku. If Jack's feeling like meeting an old friend again...
- There's still time before that demon hunts down Kuni's family. Jack can prevent that insane nightmare from ever hurting the family!
- Alternatively, much like Demongo, it's debatable how much its existence was tied to Aku in the first place, so it might have been completely erased from existence as well.
- Scaramouche never slaughtered that town filled with men, women and children.
- Given that Aku's rule has been completely erased from existence, it is likely that sadistic monsters such as the Dominator and the exiled extraterrestrial bandits were arrested (or possibly never existed in the first place).
- So yeah, the children in episode "XCVI" were never enslaved or brainwashed. Even better! their town could never have been massacred by this maniac.
- None of the archaeologist dogs got crucified.
- That four-eyed beast on the Imakandi's home world does not get burnt up because Aku wasn't there to make a meteoric impact on top of it...although that still means the Imakandi are going to bag their prey... but at least it has better prospects of survival now, as the Imakandi let their prey run free if they manage to put up a good fight (though the tranquilizer may have already sealed its fate). More to the point, Aku never visits them, and thus will never seek retribution against them.
- If X9 somehow got created under different circumstances, he will probably run into Lulu and enjoy a happy life with his "sweet thing".
- The Scotsman won't die to Aku, and he and his wife could end up having even more children...oh no, bad mental image coming back...
- Princess Mira's kingdom will go free and she won't have to resort to bounty hunting.
- Demongo will never be summoned from the Pit of Hate to wreak havoc on the mortal world and steal essences for his collection. That is, unless he can somehow pass between realms at will. But at least he can be defeated much more quickly if one knows his weakness.
- Remember that kid from "Aku Fairytales" whose hairstyle resembled Aku's horns? Hopefully, he won't be made fun of. As a matter-of-fact, his hairstyle may not even exist to begin with. Either way, he won't be bullied by the other children.
- The robots won't have to build Mondo-bot to protect themselves from Aku, and thus won't be forced underground (and ultimatley destroyed in the final battle against Aku).
- If Scaramouche somehow got created under different circumstances, he doesn't die a villain in the new future, and instead comes back as an anti-hero in the same league as, say, Deadpool. Or he's just a performer with no violent impulses.
- Prince Astor and Princess Verbina will receive help for their people the next time they come to Earth.
- The three little goats whom Jack accidentally killed in a rage will not meet their fates anymore, remaining as guides of the last remaining Time Gate should it ever be needed
- Generally, none of Jack's allies who fought in this last episode were ever corrupted by Aku during the battle.
- On the flipside of the above, returning and killing Aku has changed the future for Jack's loved ones in the past.
- Jack's parents shall not face devastation of learning Aku sent their son to the future. Jack returned before anyone knew he was missing.
- All of Jack's people, who were enslaved by Aku then, don't have to go back to work tomorrow!
- Everybody who ever trained Jack from boyhood and beyond, their efforts were not in vain!
- That girl that gave Jack his first kiss in "Jack Remembers the Past" is probably still around (more on that below)—after all, Jack had told Ashi that there were lots of girls in his time period, so chances are very good he'll eventually find a new love (Ashi would probably want Jack to eventually move on). And this time, Aku won't be there to stand in the way of it or pretend to be a love interest in a female disguise.
- The implication that Jack has a bright future ahead of him. Bittersweet Ending or not, he's finally home, with his family after what feels like a lifetime. As future emperor, it's a new beginning for him, a new chapter. Earn Your Happy Ending indeed.
- In the end, Jack regains hope for the future in the same way Ashi did; by finding inspiration in the beauty of the world around them.
- How the ending generally averts Stranger in a Familiar Land. Instead of being unfamiliar with his home or his people or their customs, he takes to it like a fish to water. For all his ability to adapt to the future, the past-Japan is Samurai Jack's home.
- Aku, one of the most iconic villains in recent memory, goes out with a literal bang, so much so that nothing short of a massive crater is left behind. A fitting sendoff to the character.
- During the preparation of Jack and Ashi's wedding, we see the Emperor. Last time we saw him, he was this poor emaciated, sickly man enslaved alongside his people. One would think he would only live long enough to see his son liberate him and his people. And yet, after recovering for some time, he's returned to a healthy state. He's even alive to see his son get married.
- Some fans hope that, even though he lost Ashi, the girl Jack met in "Jack Remembers the Past" will be the one to fill the hole in his heart. After all, she was the first person shippers really went after long before Ashi was even introduced to the story.
- The final shot of the episode. Jack, having regained hope from the appearance of a ladybug, gazes outward as the grim and fogged area slowly transforms into a beautiful landscape of infinite and vibrantly colored hills. And as Jack looks at the land around him, we see that the tree he was under was the very one that he showed Ashi back in XCVI. A perfect image to close out the series.
- The end credits. Instead of the hip-hop theme song, we're treated to classic Japanese music. It's as though it's the theme song of Jack being in the past where he belongs.
- The final issue of the IDW Publishing comic series. An aged and experienced Jack leads a hidden resistance army composed of all the people he's met and helped throughout the years. At his side stands an equally older Scotsman, and it's revealed that they've uncovered the secret to Aku's teleporting fortress, and are about to unleash the deciding battle. The story ends on a hopeful note as the assault finally begins. Here, Jack realizes that the answer is not in travelling back to the past, and comes to terms with the fact that his kingdom's and family's time is over, and ultimately decides to fight for the future of the world and those in it.
- Remember when the Guardian of the time portal said it's not yet time, and revealed an aged Jack with a crown of sorts on his head? This is the time he was referring to, when Jack finally confronts Aku. Hopefully, his decision to fight for the future would allow him to save the past as well.
- What is more: among other things, Jack had been lamenting (albeit not explicitly) the fact that he was done out of his legacy and lost his honor as a prince when he failed to defeat Aku. At the end, we see him as a king, leading his own people. After a long, hard struggle, he finally stepped in his father's footsteps and became a true leader.
- We also see snippets of the lives of those that Jack has touched; Da Samurai who took up the fight for justice, the Baby he once rescued and learned from him, the Three Blind Archers he saved, the mer-people who's kingdom he's liberated, and so forth. Each of them now appears in the camp and each has a story to tell, but the one thing they all had in common was that Jack, through his simple deeds, had brought them all together to fight for what is right.
- On a meta-level, the story's central character is a scribe named Mako after Aku's deceased voice actor. He also gets well acquainted with a man named LaMarr, a man Jack once saved who is obviously based on Jack's voice actor Phil LaMarr.
- On another meta-level, the comic could be looked at as a sort of alternate for some of the bittersweetness of season 5's ending. At the very least, Jack's friends aren't possibly Ret Gone from existence.
- The announcement and premiere of Season 5 gave fans so much hope that the series would finally have a solid conclusion. It may have been Darker and Edgier, yet true fans still came together to see the story to its conclusion.
- From Episode CI. When announcing that he has captured Jack, Aku broadcasts a message to the world: the original Samurai Jack opening, voiced by the late Mako. After it had been gone the whole season, seeing it again was a great tribute, even if it was used for a Darkest Hour situation.
- Not to mention the fact that they did acknowledge Mako in the credits. Even years after his death, he still was a big part of this show after all...
- This artist's story of how they healed from Ashi's death.
- This particular fanmade crossover comic between Rick and Morty shows a what-if ... of Rick teleporting in (referring to the April Fool's prank) and bringing an Ashi from an alternate timeline who lost her Jack in the battle against Aku. Some fans are even considering it fanon.
- And then someone added on additional more comedic page with Jack giving Rick a small reward....that's arguably heartwarming in its own right.
- InYuJi's "Samurai Dad" AU sketches, in which Jack finds the Cult of Aku and saves Ashi and her sisters while they still very young—he even takes it upon himself to raise them as his own daughters and also starts training them to eventually help him defeat Aku: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
- Part 1 — Jack first meets the daughters, saving them from their mom and the rest of the Cult of Aku, assuring them afterwards that the cult will never hurt them again. It also shows Jack giving them some clothes to help keep them warm and some training/bonding moments between Jack and the daughters.
- Part 2 — Jack's reunited with Scotsman and his wife, and introduces Ashi and her sisters to them. The Scotsman initially assumes that the girls are Jack's biological daughters, but Jack explains how he came to meet/rescue the daughters—Jack's also shown confessing to the Scotsman that he feels guilty about killing the Cult of Aku, even if they deserved it. Other stuff includes:
- Ashi and her sisters meet the Scotsman's wife, who they're initially scared of, because she reminds them of the Giant Woman from the Cult of Aku—however, they quickly learn that she won't hurt them and that she loves children. She also gives Ashi and her sisters some winter clothes that used to belong to her own children—it's too many layers and the daughters can barely move in them, but it's the thought that counts.
- The daughters meet the children of the Scotsman and his wife, and start helping around their home with things like chores, and they even end up trying some haggis (which they end up liking).
- Ashi and her sisters (with some help from the Scotsman, apparently) decide to play a prank on Jack by braiding his beard, after hearing a story from one of the Scotsman's children on how his beard got braided.
- Part 3 — Ashi explains to Jack how she and her sisters came by their black "bodysuits," and Jack takes it upon himself to get the stuff off of the girls and give them new clothes (all the sisters are shown in outfits inspired by Ashi's plant dress). The daughters are shown as they get older, in new outfits and hairstyles—they also apparently end up making him shave off his beard.
- Part 4 — The daughters get hunted down by some wolf creature, who Jack ends up defeating by killing him. This gets him a visit from (Mad) Inner Jack, who tries making Jack think that he's a monster for having to take another creature's life (even if the wolf deserved it). The girls, knowing at this point what's going on with Jack, help him feel better about what happened.
- Here is an alternate ending to the series where the gods decide to smile on Jack for all the good he's done and grant him a happy ending after all. Followed by an adorable gif of newlywed Jack and Ashi riding on his restored bike.
- It also features a nod to the future that shows Jack has not forgotten the impact it had on him and sees a reflection of it in his own time.
- So many fans have complained about the way it ended, mainly that poor Jack never got a chance to be truly happy! So much so that many of them have drawn or written alternate endings and posted them on youtube. At least two people have drawn up petitions and posted them online begging Genndy to create an alternate ending to the show, and one has already gotten over 1,400 signatures! After all these years, the fans love Jack so much they want to see him finally happy after all he's been through!
- A couple of fans are even forming a Go Find Me page asking for help in getting their own alternate ending animated by professionals and they even Tweeted Tara Strong and Phil LaMarr and asked them if they would voice Jack and Ashi again for it. The fans want Jack to have a happy ending so much they're willing to create a professional one for him themselves!