In celebration of the return of Samurai Jack to television it’s time to look back at to the previous seasons of the acclaimed show. Each week leading up to the premiere on March 11th, Monkeys Fighting Robots will drop a season by season review. First up the season which started it all and introduced us to the legendary samurai warrior and his eternal nemesis known as Aku.
The series was originally aired with the first three episodes combined into one mini movie. It showcases Jack’s long road from being a boy who peacefully lived when it was stolen away by the reappearance of the shape-shifting warrior known as a coup. Having plans in place for such an event those who are loyal to Jack’s family and begin a long process of training him to become the warrior who will be able to defeat Aku. When is finally ready and proceeded to face off at the end of the very first episode things unfortunately did not go the way of the Samurai.
Instead Aku sends Jack into the future one where a Aku has become the law of the entire world and even opened the Earth up to aliens and all manner of different technology and magical beings. On top of helping to get to introduce the character, his goals and objects, the audience is also treated to some very memorable episodes in the first season. It’s a bit too much to go by the every episode individually instead we will look at the three best to come out of each season.
The best three in the first season could easily go to mini movie which introduces the plot. Still there are three others who also deserve a bit of praise. The first is Jack and The Three Blind Archers which starts with a bang, shows the depths of Jack’s strategic mind, and finishes off with some nail biting action as Jack takes down three mystically empowered archers. Next up, Jack and the Scotsman, which introduces one of the few other recurring characters in the series, the machine gun legged Scotsman. Watching these two interact is nothing short of hilarity. Finally, Jack and The Lava Monster, where Jack finds himself facing off against an unstoppable monster but soon finds there is more to the creature than meets the eye.
Despite being over 15 years old, the show’s animation has aged very well. A testament to the hand drawn animation style and the detail work which went into it. The style finds a way to convey intense action and violence without padding the impact. This is achieved by having the majority of Jacks enemies be robots which are perfectly acceptable for him to destroy without upsetting the censors.
The music for this series is still memorable to this day. The main theme was created by Will Adams (who most people will know more as Will.i.am) and his fellow Black Eyed Peas member George Pajo Jr. Despite the repetition of the opening song and closing song you never get tired of hearing it.
Meanwhile the background music was created by James L. Viable, known for creating music for a lot of Cartoon Network series such Powerpuff girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. He finds different ways to put in very moving and emotional instrumental themes through the different episodes. The music helps to compliment the scenes and helps to elevate the rush of action.
Creator Genndy Tartakovsky crafted a series brimming with action and a few bits of references to pop culture here and there which is still praised by fans today. This series is fantastic and stands up the test of time. At least for the first season. Tune in next week and see if the second season was just as good.
What are some of your favorite memories from Samurai Jack season one? Leave a comment below and let us know.