Details: Aired on Cartoon Network. Ten episodes this season at about thirty minutes per episode, including commercials.
After at least ten years, Samurai Jack has finally ended. With shows that have been around this long, there are a lot of memories associated with this series as well as nostalgia. Ultimately, I think they did the ending right, though it did feel a little rushed.
Samurai Jack is an animated show with a distinct style. The style is likely dictated by its limited budget, but I like the style nonetheless. I believe the old intro summarizes the premise well. The following is told from the perspective of Aku:
“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!”
The intro to Season 5, the final season, properly summarizes this concluding season. The following is told from the perspective of Samurai Jack:
“Fifty years have passed, but I do not age. Time has lost its effect on me. And yet, the suffering continues. Aku’s grasp chokes the past, present, and future. All hope is lost. Gotta get back. Back to the past. Samurai Jack.”
There is a clear distinction in the quality and my enjoyment of this season’s episodes. I thought episodes one through seven were magnificent. The action, the animation, the plot, and the pacing were all spectacular. Episodes eight through ten however, felt slower, and had worse art in my opinion. The pacing of the final episode was way too rushed, though the plot points were fine to me. I don’t know if it was a budgeting issue or something got screwed up in the creative process, but that distinction is there. If only the quality of the first seven episodes matched that of the final three.
Regardless of that, I really enjoyed this final season and appreciate the closure it gave. There was a lot of great action and beautiful imagery. I think most importantly to me, it closed a chapter to a small part of my younger days that was left unfinished. I thoroughly recommend anyone with a passing interest to watch the prior four seasons and this final season as well. I don’t know of any other shows that are quite like Samurai Jack.