This week, the most joyous of news was announced: Samurai Jack is returning to our TV screens in 2017. The original series, which aired on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004, told the tale of a warrior who battles the evil Aku with a magical sword. Sounds simple enough, but it is so much more complicated than that. Let Aku himself explain:
"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!"
Since the announcement, fans have been rejoicing at the decision to bring Jack back for another season. A trailer has just been released, and doesn't it look great!?
He's back, better and bloodier than before. This return has been long awaited, and fans are also simply relieved that the show will continue. As a fan myself, allow me to explain why Adult Swim's continuation of Samurai Jack in 2017 is so important to us all:
1. We Never Got A Conclusive Ending
It truly was an excellent show, coming from Genndy Tartakovsky, the same mind behind Dexter's Laboratory (which was also excellent). I remember being totally in awe of the first episode; straight away I was hooked and I knew that I had to see more. This added to my sadness when the series was eventually canceled without a conclusion.
Though there was a follow-up comic book, I really wanted to see Jack finally get home, and so did every other fan. There is plenty of scope left to finish the story.
2. Samurai Jack Has A Unique Animation Style
The show was (and still is) vastly different to any other cartoon series in a number of ways. The art style was unique, as the characters had no outlines and the backgrounds were very distinctive.
This distinctive art is demonstrated in the vastly contrasting environments Jack finds himself in: the dystopian future shows both industrial and natural environments, and there is a stark contrast between the two. The cities are often very technological, whereas the countryside is very beautiful.
There is obvious inspiration from Japanese artwork, and it most certainly works for the show — it fits the overall tone well. We can't wait to see what mind-blowing stuff the artists come up with for the revival.
3. The Episodes Have Interesting Fables
The series is heavily inspired by martial arts films, and will often use split-screens as the characters are about to do battle. It was not unusual for an episode to be entirely without dialogue, so the pictures would tell the story.
One of my favorite episodes is "Jack and the Three Blind Archers," which features Jack attempting to get to a magical well — but in order to do so, he must pass the archers guarding it. As the episode goes on, Jack realizes that the archers are so accurate because they do not rely on their sight to know where he is; they have almost superhuman hearing. He realizes that in order to reach the well, he must also learn this technique. Eventually, Jack reaches the well and defeats the archers, but just as he is about to wish to return home, one of the archers tells him that, although the well will grant his wish, it will do so at a cost.
Television has gotten much more cerebral in general since 2004. Samurai Jack was ahead of the curve, but now it'll have even more room for creative experimentation.
4. Jack's Story Is Demanding (In A Good Way)
The stories were very mature for what could be considered a kids show, and I very much hope that the new series continues in this vain. The original fans are grown up now, but the creators will surely want to bring us along for the ride (in addition to a new generation), so expect the storytelling to remain multilayered.
I, for one, would be thrilled to see Jack finally do battle with Aku and ultimately return home. Perhaps we could even learn Jack's name finally; he adopts the name "Jack" after first arriving in the future when a gang refers to him as such. Whatever happens, there are plenty of mysteries left to be solved, and many more stories to tell.
What do you hope to see from the new Samurai Jack episodes? Tell us in the comments below!