Note: This article contains spoilers for the season finale of Samurai Jack Season 5.
#SamuraiJack just concluded with its final episode and boy, did go out with a bang. The animation once again was superb and the characters extremely well written. With this final season, creator Genndy Tartakovsky brought the franchise back to its former glory. The finale was a bittersweet but satisfying conclusion for a series that was always surprising in its emotion.
Samurai Jack’s Friends Come To His Aide
After 50+ years into the future, Jack is given another chance to stop Aku from his evil reign. But Jack can’t do it alone. #SamuraiJackSeason5 reintroduced characters from previous seasons, ones saved by Jack from Aku's tyranny. These characters included the Monkey Man, Robo-Samurai, the Woolies, the once blind archers, and, of course, the hilarious Scotsman (in ghost form). In Episode 6, Ashi comes across some of these characters whom Jack has saved and finds they've even crafted a statue as a remembrance of the Samurai warrior.
The final battle is epic in every way possible. The other characters come to Jack’s aide, who then has one last chance to strike down Aku with his legendary sword. Jack’s chances aren’t wasted as he slices and dices his way through Aku (literally); the entire time period is then reset before Aku’s dominion around the world can take place. However, what Jack hadn't realized was that killing Aku also meant wiping away Ashi’s existence.
Why This Ending Works To Conclude Jack’s Tale
The twist proves heartbreaking for both Jack and we viewers. In the end, love triumphs over evil. With Jack having expressed his love to Ashi, she was able to fight the darkness inside of her and send Jack back to the very moment before Aku's defeat. Without Ashi, Jack would never have prevailed. However, just as Jack is getting ready to marry Ashi, she realizes that without Aku she would never have existed in the first place. Once he is defeated, Ashi collapses and fades away from existence, leaving Jack all alone once again.
This ending is utterly depressing but makes the most sense. Ashi would never have been around if Aku had been killed and her death was inevitable. Ashi’s ultimate sacrifice was absolutely essential and needed to happen for Aku’s reign to come to an end. The story is wrapped up beautifully. Though it ends on a downer, it’s told in a fitting way.
The Final Scene Gives Jack A Beacon of Hope
This scene is very poetic in every sense of the word, reminiscent of an earlier episode when Ashi realizes there’s life outside of the confinement in which she’s been living when a lady bug lands on her hand. Understanding that there was more to life than who she had been raised to become was one of the greatest turning points of her life.
Once again in the finale, the ladybug symbolizes that feeling of hope and innocence as the final shot moves from a dark shadowy abyss in the mountains to a ray of sunshine. Jack smiles as a ladybug flies off his hand; slowly the colors of the cherry blossoms and the hills begin to show.
It’s a beautiful sendoff to a legendary #CartoonNetwork television show that took everyone completely by surprise. Genndy Tartakovsky’s unique storytelling and artful animation gave this show a special touch and is certainly worth a second viewing. It’s satisfying to know that they have finally finished this series after a more than ten year hiatus, and it was done perfectly.