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).

Our story begins long ago, as the young prince of Japan witnesses the demon Aku emerge into the world and lay waste to his home. The boy escapes with the help of his mother, and spends his life training rigorously with warriors from around the world. Once he comes of age, he returns to his homeland as a full-fledged samurai warrior to defeat Aku, armed with the only weapon that can harm the demon - a magic sword passed down to him by his father. But, as the opening monologue states, Aku flings him into the distant future, where Aku has conquered the entire world and beyond.

Inspired by some jive-talking locals, the displaced samurai adopts the alias of "Jack" 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. Unfortunately, while Jack has the means to defeat Aku in more or less any one-on-one fight, the world has changed radically under its new overlord, becoming overrun with criminals, refugees, and hostile wildlife from across the universe. Thus, Jack has 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 re-release 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 never-ending journey. The final season aired on March 11th, 2017 and concluded on May 20th, 2017.

Has its own Best Episode Crowner.

Gotta get back, back to the tropes, Samurai Jack:

Watch out!