Created By: Genndy Tartakovsky
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky, Randy Myers, Robert Alvarez, Rob Renzetti, Chris Savino
Produced By: Cartoon Network Studios, Williams Street
Format: DVD, Blu-Ray
Episode Count: 62 (Seasons 1-5)
Distributed By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: Available Now
This is the perfect way to start off this review, now sit back and let the nostalgia take you away.
“Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape-shifting 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!”
With thanks to Manga Entertainment UK, we can all enjoy the tale of Samurai Jack in this complete collection, with all five seasons! This iconic Cartoon Network show debuted back in 2001 and still has a loyal fan base to this day, whose support and outstanding dedication from its creator Genndy Tartakovsky paved the path for the fifth and final season of the show. That debuted over 12 years from when Season 4 ended. This show is among so many that defined a generations childhood, and has aged well with close to 20 years under its belt.
Samurai Jack follows the life of a young boy, who at the tender age of 8 is shipped away to new lands for several years, to train in all forms of combat in order to save the World from the evil that is Aku. At such a young age, he is forced to carry the World’s hope and survival on his shoulders. Following his first battle with Aku, the young warrior comes so close to ending Aku’s tierany but is instead pushed into a portal and ends up in the far distant future, where Aku’s reign of terror is law. Thus Jacks’ lengthy journey begins, battling against Aku, his minions, those that share his ideals and also trying to save the innocents that get caught up in the crossfire. This Samurai is in a new, highly technologically advanced age, a far cry from his beginnings in feudal era Japan. With his enchanted sword at his side, a blade blessed by the Gods, it remains the only weapon with the power to destroy Aku. The World, in fact the Galaxys’ hope, all lies on the success of this lone Samurai.
We have a shape shifting, all powerful demon in our villain Aku, as well as the countless ruthless aliens, bounty hunters and killer robots that carry out his orders. We follow our Samurai as he must navigate the new age that he has been forced to travel to. With a price on his head, he is met with bounty hunters wherever he goes. Instead of believing the worst in everyone he meets in this new reality, Jack still manages to find those that deserve and truly need his help. In doing so, he gains the support of many groups, including a society of talking dogs, a clan of scotsman, a Monkey Man, creatures that resemble wooly mammoths called Woolies and more. There are many different kinds of creatures and people that Jack both fights and works alongside throughout this series. Each character and species design held its own, with almost zero resemblance between them all. They were all unique and some were downright weird – but that is one of the aspects that made this show so special.
This show was created by none other than Genndy Tartakovsky, the same man who created Dexters’ Laboratory! Another show that is still highly memorable from my own childhood. In more recent years, he has also directed all three of the Hotel Transylvania films starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg. Now back on over to Samurai Jack, where seasons 1 to 4 of the show was produced by Cartoon Network Studios, this was all happening around the same time that the studio was also producing Johnny Bravo and The (Original) Powerpuff Girls.
After years of Tartakovskys’ dedication to giving the show and the fans a proper finale to Samurai Jack, Season 5 was released in 2017. With the production now being handled by Williams’ Street studios and now airing on adult swim, the show was able to handle a more complex storyline for Jack. With more mature elements involved, with both depression and suicidal thoughts being explored as Jack, his body left unchanged due to the side effects of time travel, has spent the next 50 years still trying to defeat Aku. With a twelve year gap between seasons, the show was allowed to mature just like its audience has over the past decade. This season was for the original fans more than anything, to give them the ending we all wished for. Although it was only 10 episodes long, we saw how Jack fought against his inner demons, his self doubt, the anger that manifested itself into another consciousness. There were numerous heart aching moments not just in this season, but throughout the entire show.
Bonus Features Include:
- The Evolution of Jack!
- Pitch Movies
- The Making of Samurai Jack
- Genndy’s Scrapbook
- The Pitch
- The Martial Arts of Samurai Jack
- Lost Artwork Gallery
You can purchase this collection now either on Blu-Ray or DVD from Manga Entertainment UK. Support the distributors and buy direct from their website if you can, as its’ because of companies like this that we are able to get access to collections such as these.
Samurai Jack is a show that is still standing the test of time, both in its storytelling, animation and imaginative character designs. With boundless action sequences, the story never had time to go stale. It deserves to be recognised as one of the greats, and is sure to be one of those shows you would happily introduce to your children in time.