Samurai Jack: Episode XCII (5.1) – Review

Samurai Jack: Episode XCII (5.1) 

Almost 13 years from it’s debut in 2001, Samurai Jack has finally returned to our screens. During the show’s initial run the series was met with critical acclaim and won several awards including 4 Primetime Emmy and 6 Annie Awards. After a successful run the show eventually ended after a 52 episode run in 2004 as creator Genndy Tartakovsky moved on to new projects, including stepping up to being a feature director at Sony Pictures Animation on all three of the Hotel Transylvania features which left fans wondering if they’d ever see more of the time-displaced samurai. After years and years of tidbits from the media, Samurai Jack was renewed for an all new season on Adult Swim. Bringing back most of the original creative team and voice actors with him, Tartakovsky set out to make a grittier conclusion to the show – and that’s exactly what we’ve been given.

Season 5 of Samurai Jack picks up 50 years after the end of Season 4 where Aku is in power and, as the opening scene explains, Jack cannot age which causes some serious deep, internal struggles for the samurai. When we first see Jack this season he is practically unrecognisable. Cloaked in full body armour and sporting a wild woodsman’s beard, Jack’s trademark sword has been replaced by a gun and he has acquired a motorcycle as his mode of transport which clearly shows that he has had to adapt to the change in time over the years.

While Episode XCII shows us the usual robot antagonists, we are also introduced to a group of seven human sisters from a cult dedicated to Aku calling themselves “The Daughters of Aku” who are trained solely to kill Jack. The scenes introducing us to the seven sisters are dark, unsettling and like nothing we’ve seen before in the show’s past which is both an intriguing set up and interesting way to introduce the seasons apparent main antagonists.

Being a long time fan of the show since childhood I was so used to Jack only fighting robots that I assumed the sisters would be robots too. How wrong I was. There is a lot of violence and blood in this season now that the show-runners no longer have to be concerned about censorship – something I’m sure long term (now adult) fans will appreciate as it is both beautifully done and in no short amount.

The return of Samurai Jack is both immersive and gorgeous to look at, plus if the first episode is anything to go by the show has retained it’s great sense of humour that I’ve grown to love all these years. It’s not very often I get to say this about a show from the first episode but I have no idea where it’s taking us. All I know is it’s looking incredible and I’m very excited to find what’s about to unfold in the coming episodes.

Samurai Jack airs Thursdays at 12am on FOX.

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About Courtney Speirs

Animation Editor. English Literature student and dog enthusiast. Favourite directors are Spike Jonze, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, and Paul Thomas Anderson.

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