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Deconstructed Character Archetype / Samurai Jack

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Samurai Jack:

  • Jack himself offers several deconstructions.
    • Jack is a deconstruction of the Determinator. Ever since he was flung into the far future by Aku, Jack has made it his sworn mission to return to the past and undo Aku's tyranny before it ever began. Season 5, however, brutally demonstrates what happens when someone attempts the same goal for 50 years with zero success. With the loss of his sword and the destruction of all known time portals, Jack had fallen into a deep depression, reducing him to a shell simply going through the motions while being plagued by nightmares and hallucinations about his guilt. Also, as Inner Jack shows, he has contemplated suicide at some points. This all comes to a head in "Episode XCVI", where Jack believes he had caused some children to be killed. This finally pushes Jack over the edge and he follows The Omen to a place to commit seppuku. However, it is reconstructed in the next episode when Ashi reminds him of all the good he had done during his quest. Knowing his actions inspired hope, and most importantly, that the children he attempted to save in the previous episode were still alive, ultimately gives Jack the strength to fight back against the Omen and regain his Heroic Resolve.
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    • Jack also deconstructs Chronic Hero Syndrome and Honor Before Reason. While Jack's desire to do good is admirable, part of the reason he hasn't been able to succeed in his quest to return to the past is because he always puts the needs of others before his own, even when it's not pragmatic. Also, because he's so well known for his heroic acts, the villains have managed to turn his desire to save others against him. The Ultra Robots went on a killing spree, slaughtering village after village knowing it would lure Jack to them. Scaramouche decimated a village to draw Jack to him, and the Dominator kidnapped a village full of children and used special microchips to sic them on Jack, knowing he would Never Hurt an Innocent. His hallucinations even call him out on this when Jack constantly insists on rescuing Ashi (pre Heel–Face Turn), even though Ashi hates Jack and only wants to kill him.
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    • Jack also deconstructs The Berserker and Unstoppable Rage. While he normally has a handle on his temper, there are instances where he is prone to losing himself to his rage only for it to backfire spectacularly. In "Jack Vs Mad Jack", after a rough day of relentless attacks by bounty hunters, Jack's anger becomes more than he can contain and Aku takes advantage of this by creating Mad Jack, a manifestation of all of Jack's negative emotions. After a long battle, Jack manages to defeat Mad Jack by simply calming down. Season 5, however, shows that just because you overcome your anger once doesn't mean you won't succumb to it again next time something deeply upsets you. Aku destroying the final time portal in front of him was more than enough for Jack to lose himself to his rage once again, causing him to slay three innocent goats corrupted by Aku's magic. Because Jack lost control of his anger and tainted the blade with innocent blood, Jack rendered himself spiritually unworthy to wield the sword, causing it to abandon him and leave the mortal plane. It takes Jack realizing this and overcoming his anger again before he can reclaim his sword.
  • Aku offers several deconstructions of his own.
    • Aku is a deconstruction on what it means to be Made of Evil and a Card-Carrying Villain. As part of a malevolent monster that just wanted to destroy the universe, Aku has relatively simple desires, and is very well-known as a back-stabber. This has shown to actually hurt his chances at killing Jack in the long run, as he simply can't stop being evil because it's in his very nature to be evil. This is partially the reason why his attempt to win over children through fairy tales failed as the children are fully aware of his reputation as an evil tyrant and know someone like him can never be a hero (not helped by the fact that his grasp on the concept of morality is limited at best). One time he actually did try living up to his end of the bargain, and even then, he subconsciously back-stabbed the one he was dealing with, thus showing the folly of being only evil.
    • Aku also deconstructs the Arch-Enemy trope. After sending Jack to the future in a last-ditch effort to save himself, Aku has spent most of the series trying various schemes to destroy him to no avail and realized that it was quickly turning into a stalemate between the two. To that end, Aku decided to simply destroy all the time portals and let old age do the rest. However, an unforeseen side effect of the time magic caused Jack's aging process to stop, making him biologically immortal - meaning that Aku has essentially trapped himself in an eternal stalemate with Jack, much to his dismay. Too bad he didn't know Jack lost his sword shortly after, as Aku not only spent decades in a completely avoidable depression when he could have killed the unarmed Jack easily, but Jack's already regained the sword by the time Aku finds out it was even gone.
    • Episode XCVI of Season 5 deconstructs Aku's Invincible Villain status. The main reason why Aku was so successful in dominating the world was the fact that he can't be harmed by anything that isn't Jack's sword. When an army led by the Scotsman launches an attack on his lair, Aku uses the attack as a means to break himself out of his depression... and defeats them all so easily that he can't enjoy it.
  • The Daughters of Aku are a deconstruction of the Laser Guided Tyke Bomb and The Social Darwinist trope. Much like Jack was trained from childhood for the sole purpose of slaying Aku, the Daughters have been trained from birth with the sole purpose of killing Jack. However, the third episode shows the flaws in such training. Jack trained by touring the world, allowing him to learn different cultures and lifestyles as well as learn different fighting styles, allowing him to be the World's Best Warrior while still being a grounded and stable individual. By contrast, the Daughters were kept isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, thus they know nothing of the outside world or anything that isn't related to killing Jack. Also, being raised to be Social Darwinists and being discouraged from aiding one another ultimately becomes their undoing as Jack is able to easily whittle their numbers down.