Western Animation / Samurai Jack


"Long ago, in a distant land, I, Aku, the shapeshifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil! But a foolish samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me. Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time and flung him into the future, where my evil is law! Now, the fool seeks to return to the past, and undo the future that is Aku..."

So begins the Title Sequence to Samurai Jack, an animated series created by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory).

As a young boy, the titular samurai watches as the demon Aku emerges into the world and lays waste to the boy's entire kingdom. The samurai escapes with the help of his mother, then spends years training with warriors from around the world. As an adult, the samurai returns to his kingdom so he can defeat Aku, but as the opening monologue states, Aku flings the samurai many years into the future. Thanks to the absence of the samurai, Aku has gained control over the entire world (and possibly others). The displaced samurai adopts an alias of Jack inspired by jive-talking locals and travels the world once more, this time searching for a way back to his own time so he can defeat Aku for good and prevent this future from ever happening. The problem is that while Jack has the means to defeat Aku in more or less any one-on-one fight, the evil space demon has turned Earth into a clearinghouse for dangerous people from elsewhere in the universe, and the planet is crawling with hostile aliens, as well as refugees from those aliens, whom Aku is extorting. Jack is literally surrounded by too many enemies to fight directly, and too many helpless victims to aid while still searching for a way home.

Fans of Samurai Jack hold the show in high regard for its outline-free art style, impressive action sequences, and long stretches of animation without dialogue. The show took numerous stylistic risks: most episodes had minimal dialogue, mature themes were often addressed for the sake of drama or laughs, and drastic art shifts were used to mark dreams, hauntings, and visits to alternate dimensions.

Cartoon Network ended the show after four seasons and fifty-two episodes, with Jack still trying to find his way back to the past. However, Toonami aired reruns during the block's third, fourth and final CN-era incarnations, and [adult swim]'s version of the block starting in February 2014. A DVD rerelease of the series began in the same year. Further, creator IDW had a 20 issue Comic-Book Adaptation that ran from October 2013 to May 2015, with a last issue that had its own Bolivian Army Ending / Distant Finale to the series.note 

Due to the series popularity, [adult swim] eventually revived the show, with Tartakovsky returning as executive producer for season 5. Set 50 years after Jack was flung into the future, this season serves as the Grand Finale for Jack's tale, while also deconstructing some of the Darker and Edgier aspects of Jack's neverending journey. The final season began airing on March 11th, 2017.

Has its own Best Episode Crowner.

"Gotta trope back, back to the past, Samurai Jack":

Watch out!