|Samurai Jack (season 5)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Original network||Adult Swim|
|Original release||March 11 –|
May 20, 2017
The fifth season of Samurai Jack is the final season of the animated series. This season follows Jack on a journey that concludes his story. It premiered on the Toonami programming block of Adult Swim on March 11, 2017, and concluded its run on May 20, 2017. The announcement of the season came in December 2015, eleven years since the series was originally concluded on Cartoon Network. Genndy Tartakovsky, the series' creator, returned as a director, writer, and storyboarder for this season. The season received universal acclaim from both critics and fans, praising it for its visuals as well as its more dark, intense, and mature tone.
Fifty years have passed, but I do not age. Time has lost its effect on me. Yet the suffering continues. Aku's grasp chokes the past, present, and future. Hope is lost. Got to get back – back to the past. Samurai Jack.— Jack, in the opening sequence
The story takes place fifty years after Aku cast Jack into the future, although Jack himself hasn't aged at all as a side effect of time travel. Aku has destroyed all time portals, but he is deeply distressed over the prospect of battling Jack forever and has stopped pursuing him directly. Jack's actions have inspired many to oppose Aku's tyranny, among them the elderly Scotsman, who unsuccessfully leads three armies in a battle against Aku. Unknown to Aku, Jack has lost his sword, and he is troubled by hallucinations of his deceased family, his former self, and the victims of Aku, almost to the point of suicide. A set of fraternal septuplet girls, the "Daughters of Aku", are born into a cult of female Aku worshipers and raised as assassins with the sole purpose of killing Jack. They find and overwhelm Jack, but he manages to kill all the Daughters but one, the eldest Ashi, who he eventually spares and even saves her from various dangers as the two attempt to escape the bowels of a gigantic monster that swallowed them whole.
Accompanying Jack on his journey, Ashi comes to see Aku as true evil, and helps Jack through his emotional and spiritual journey, talking him out of committing suicide and helping him reclaim his lost sword. The two eventually become romantically involved. Aku is eventually informed that Jack lost his sword and confronts him, not knowing Jack has recovered it in the interim. Before leaving, Aku senses that Ashi has part of him inside her, and possesses her body to attack Jack. Jack refuses to kill Ashi and lays down his sword in defeat. Aku takes Jack prisoner and prepares to kill him, but the people Jack helped all over the planet rally to his defense. When Jack tells Ashi that he loves her, she regains control of herself. She returns the sword to Jack and uses the demonic powers she gained from Aku to open a time portal to return Jack and herself to the moment Aku sent Jack to the future, whereupon Jack immediately destroys the weakened Aku. With peace restored, Ashi and Jack prepare to marry, but on her way to the altar, she suddenly collapses. Jack rushes to her side, and as she fades away from existence, she tells Jack that "without Aku, I would have never existed". The series ends with a scene of a depressed Jack later smiling when a ladybug lands on his hand, and watches it fly free in a sunlit grove with a sakura tree in bloom.
Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, Samurai Jack originally aired on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004, comprising four seasons. The series follows a young samurai (voiced by Phil LaMarr) who is cast into the future by the evil shape-shifting demon Aku (voiced originally by Mako) mere moments before defeating the demon. He adopts the name Jack and continues his fight in the dystopian future ruled by Aku. Jack seeks to find a portal back to his time but is constantly thwarted by the demon's forces. The series was left open-ended after the conclusion of the fourth season. Tartakovsky previously expressed interest in a film adaptation of the series to provide a genuine conclusion, but the project never materialized.(2:50)
instead of hamsters like the old days."
Craig Kellman, character designer, Behind the Scenes featurette
Starting in 2014, reruns of Samurai Jack were aired on Toonami, an action-oriented programming block on Adult Swim. Within two weeks of Tartakovsky's first communication with executive Mike Lazzo, a deal was reached for 10 more episodes of the series. The network released a short teaser in December 2015 after it green-lit the return of the series with Genndy Tartakovsky as executive producer and Cartoon Network Studios as the season's production company. Artwork used in the teaser derived from the cover of an issue from IDW Publishing's comic book adaptation of the series. The new season received further mention ahead of the network's 2016 upfront press release. The fifth season was announced for the 2016–17 television season. Work-in-progress excerpts were shared at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. According to Tartakovsky, having a small production team allowed for a smaller budget, faster schedule, and greater creative freedom for the team, and executive producer Mike Lazzo gave the team a free hand, with minimal intervention in the production. Changes in television animation storytelling since the cartoon's original series allowed the show to shift from episodic storytelling, where each episode is more or less independent from the others, to one cohesive serialized story that will conclude Jack's journey. The serialized format allows every episode to have a "reveal" that takes the show in a different direction.(4:01) The final episode was storyboarded on October 2016, and Tartakovsky expressed hope it would have a very emotional impact on the audience. All the original Samurai Jack episodes are designated by Roman numerals, and the original series ended with episode "LII" (52). Season five opens with episode "XCII" (92); the jump in numbering signifies the elapsed time from the last episode of season four.
Phil LaMarr reprises his role as Jack, and John DiMaggio reprises his role as the Scotsman, a fan-favorite ally of Jack's. Due to the death of Mako, who originally voiced Aku, Tartakovsky at first considered using a completely different voice for the character. However, considering how Mako's voice was an important element of the character, voice actor Greg Baldwin was brought in to mimic the original voice. Tara Strong and Tom Kenny, who guest starred in the previous seasons, respectively voice the season's reoccurring characters Ashi and Scaramouch.
The season explores the hero's journey and the identity of the hero when their journey stagnates. Choice and lack of choice are explored: in Jack's introspections and actions; in the actions of Jack's enemies; in the contrast between humans who choose their actions and machines which are programmed; and in destiny and fate which offer no choice. Of the distinction and parallel between robots and humans, Tartakovsky said: "I wanted to show the human side that's been treated like a machine. Aku builds robots and all these robots are singularly programmed to kill Jack. What if it's humans? What if the one purpose in your whole life is to kill this one person and you're raised from birth that way?" Angelica Jade Bastién of New York magazine writes that there is a "distinctive undercurrent of loneliness stretching through the series from start to finish." Jack is often alone, dwarfed by the "grand solemnity of nature." He has lost his home and his relationship with his family, and in the final episode he loses his relationship with the woman he is about to marry.
- Phil LaMarr – Samurai Jack, Host, Frog
- Greg Baldwin – Aku, additional voices
- Tara Strong – Ashi, Avi, Vision
- Grey Griffin – High Priestess, Flora, Olivia
- Sab Shimono – The Emperor
- Lauren Tom – Mother
- Tom Kenny – Scaramouche, Chritchellite
- Kari Wahlgren – Ami, Aki
- Chris Parnell – Mud Alien, Scientist
- Keone Young – Bandit, Monk
- Corey Burton – Crow
- John DiMaggio – Scotsman
- Aaron LaPlante – Dominator, The Omen
- Kevin Michael Richardson – Woolie #1, Demongo
- Keegan-Michael Key – Da' Samurai
- Daran Norris – additional voices
- Billy West – additional voices
- Rob Paulsen – Sir Rothchild (credited as a Dog)
- Jeff Glen Bennett – additional voices
- Mako – Past Aku (via archived recording)
|Title||Directed by||Written and storyboarded by||Story by||Original air date||US viewers|
|53||1||"XCII"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|March 11, 2017||1.55|
|Fifty years have passed since Jack arrived in the future, but he has not aged as a side effect of time travel. His sword is lost, he has given up hope of returning to his time, and he is tormented by hallucinations of his deceased parents, his kingdom, and a mysterious armored figure on horseback. Jack, now using futuristic weapons and armor, rescues a mother and her two children from several beetle drones, and wanders the land on a motorcycle. Scaramouche—a fast-talking musical assassin robot styled after Sammy Davis Jr.—has destroyed a village and killed all of its people to get Jack's attention. Jack delays in arriving to the village, but eventually defeats Scaramouche. Meanwhile, seven young girls are raised and trained from birth by an Aku-worshiping cult led by an unnamed High Priestess to become the Daughters of Aku, a team of assassins with the sole purpose of killing Jack.|
|54||2||"XCIII"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|March 18, 2017||1.30|
|Unaware that Jack has lost his sword, Aku has grown tired of pursuing him and is starting to give up hope of ever defeating Jack, especially since he has stopped aging. Elsewhere, the Daughters of Aku overwhelm and disarm Jack; while hiding from them, he hallucinates an argument with his younger self about the point of keeping on living and fighting. He flees to a nearby temple ruin, pursued by the Daughters. One of them stabs him in the side as he kills her, and he discovers the Daughters are human, not robots as he assumed. Jack uses Scaramouche's tuning fork-like dagger to make the temple walls explode, and escapes into a river flowing past it. The episode's climax is an homage to the musical composition "The Ecstasy of Gold".|
|55||3||"XCIV"||Genndy Tartakovsky||David Krentz and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|March 25, 2017||1.35|
|Jack floats downriver and takes shelter in a cave, while the six surviving Daughters of Aku track him. He hallucinates an argument with himself over whether he can bring himself to kill all the Daughters if necessary as he had never before killed a human. A wounded wolf joins Jack in the cave, and they both recuperate from their injuries. Jack recalls an incident from his childhood when his family was accosted by assassins, where his father gave the assassins a choice: leave, or "face your destiny". They attacked, and were killed by Jack's father. As the Daughters of Aku close in on Jack, he gives them the same choice, echoing his father's words. When they stay, he quickly kills three and lures the others onto a branch hanging over an abyss. One by one Jack drops them into the abyss, but before he can return to solid ground, the branch breaks and he too falls into the abyss.|
|56||4||"XCV"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|April 8, 2017||1.33|
|Jack awakens and finds one of the Daughters of Aku lying bloodied in the snow. He is attacked by the Daughter, Ashi, but he quickly subdues her and binds her with the chain from her own chain-sickle. They are both suddenly swallowed by an enormous creature. As they fall, Ashi again attacks Jack, but he saves her from the deadly fall into the creature. Jack hallucinates an argument with himself over saving Ashi or leaving her to die. He protects her and carries her with him as he makes his way out, despite her barrage of threats and ongoing attempts to kill him. They eventually make it out of the creature and into a body of water, where Jack saves Ashi from drowning and carries her to a small island. She prepares to attack him again, but relents and drops her sickle upon seeing, in contrast to the High Priestess, who had crushed a ladybug for not being "a part of Aku's order", Jack gently release a ladybug that landed on his hand.|
|57||5||"XCVI"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|April 15, 2017||1.29|
|Jack's longtime friend the Scotsman, now elderly and wheelchair-bound, leads an attack on Aku's tower. Aku easily obliterates two of the three assembled armies. The Scotsman stalls Aku to allow his army of daughters to retreat. Aku kills him, but the Celtic magic-imbued necromancy runes on his claymore allow him to return as a specter in his youthful prime. He then instructs his daughters to regroup, find Jack, and destroy Aku. Elsewhere, Ashi has a troubling vision of the High Priestess, who is disgusted and disappointed at Ashi's insubordination. Ashi asks Jack to prove his claims of Aku's evil nature. They journey to several places destroyed by Aku, and eventually come upon a razed village whose children are forced to attack them through a mind-control device. As Ashi destroys the mind-control device, Jack is horrified to see the children collapse, believing them to be dead. The mysterious figure on horseback appears, and Jack willingly follows the figure into the fog. Ashi arrives as the children start coming to, and finds that Jack is gone.|
|58||6||"XCVII"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|April 22, 2017||1.33|
|As Ashi searches for Jack, she comes across many grateful people that Jack had helped in the past. Ashi finds Jack in a graveyard surrounded by the spirits of great warriors. The horseman that has been haunting Jack, the Omen, announces that Jack must face the consequences of his failure or be dishonored. Jack prepares to commit seppuku, while the Omen attacks Ashi to keep her from interfering. She pleads to Jack not to lose hope and tells him of all the lives he saved, including her own and even the children from the previous episode. Jack confronts and defeats the specter, then tells Ashi it's time to find his sword. Meanwhile, Scaramouche, who was reduced to a talking head after his defeat by Jack, sets out to inform Aku that Jack lost his sword.|
|59||7||"XCVIII"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|April 29, 2017||1.30|
|Jack recounts to Ashi the circumstances surrounding the loss of his sword. He fought Aku atop a mountain at the last time portal in existence when Aku destroyed the portal. Angrily, Jack fought and killed three innocent goats transformed into monsters by Aku. Traumatized after killing living creatures, Jack dropped his mystical sword which fell into a deep pit. In the present, Jack and Ashi return to the mountain, but they cannot find the sword. Jack realizes that the sword abandoned him because of his consuming anger. As Jack meditates to determine its whereabouts, Ashi keeps watch over him. She slaughters an army of soldiers trying to kill him, and foils a sneak attack by the High Priestess, killing her with an arrow. Jack's meditations take him on an astral journey to an old monk, who tells him after a tea ceremony that he has lost his sense of spiritual balance. Relinquishing his anger, which takes the form of Mad Jack, Jack regains that balance and is transported to a heavenly realm where the gods Ra, Rama and Odin give him his sword and samurai kimono and he shaves his beard, restoring his appearance from the last four seasons. After Jack returns to the material world, he and Ashi set out to confront Aku.|
|60||8||"XCIX"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|May 6, 2017||1.36|
|A spaceship is knocked off course by an asteroid and crashes on Earth. Elsewhere, Jack and Ashi travel together and board a giant beast that carries passengers across the desert. The other passengers attack them, so the two escape and continue traveling on foot. They get caught in a sandstorm and find shelter in the crashed spaceship. They encounter thousands of leech-like creatures that band together as a creature named Lazarus and attack them. They escape, and come upon a weapon designed specifically to counter the creature, however they do not know how to operate it. Jack and Ashi fight the creatures and try to activate the weapon, without success; as they are almost completely engulfed by the creatures Jack manages to activate the device and it electrocutes the creatures. After Jack and Ashi recuperate, there is a smash cut of the two passionately kissing as Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody" starts playing. The song continues to play over the end credits.|
|61||9||"C"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|May 13, 2017||1.33|
|Ashi bonds with Jack as he tells her of his life before Aku. During the night, Jack ventures off alone, and by day happens upon the location where he unsuccessfully fought the Guardian of a time portal Jack was prophesied to use. He finds the portal destroyed, as well as the Guardian's broken red glasses. Ashi catches up to Jack, who explains he left her behind out of fear of losing her to Aku as he did many others of his loved ones. Ashi reassures Jack that together, they will defeat Aku. At that moment Aku appears with Scaramouche, who has finally informed Aku about Jack losing his sword. Upon seeing Jack does have his sword, Aku swiftly destroys Scaramouche. As Aku starts to leave, he senses his own self inside of Ashi. Aku recalls visiting the Daughters of Aku and leaving part of him in a goblet for them, and assumes the High Priestess must have drank it and given birth to her seven children, making Ashi "a true daughter of Aku". Aku possesses and transforms Ashi, and forces her to fight Jack. Jack tells her to resist, but she is unable to do so. When Jack wounds Ashi, she briefly comes back to her senses and desperately begs Jack to kill her. Unwilling to do so, Jack drops to his knees and lays down his sword in defeat, which Aku then holds up triumphantly.|
|62||10||"CI"||Genndy Tartakovsky||Bryan Andrews and Genndy Tartakovsky||Darrick Bachman, Bryan Andrews,|
and Genndy Tartakovsky
|May 20, 2017||1.46|
|This episode starts with everyone in the world gathering around their TVs for a live broadcast from Aku’s fortress. Aku announces to the world that he has captured Jack and isolated his sword, and decides that Ashi should kill him. As Ashi is about to stab the Samurai, many of Jack’s allies rally to Jack's defense, assaulting Aku and his fortress. After they free Jack, Aku overpowers them and Ashi prevents him from recovering his sword. While dodging Ashi's attacks, Jack frees her from Aku's possession by telling her that he loves her. Ashi then discovers that she possesses Aku's powers, and uses them to send herself and Jack back to the past to moment when Aku first flung Jack into the future. Jack finally kills Aku, freeing his family and creating a brighter future. Jack and Ashi prepare to get married, but as Ashi walks the aisle, she suddenly collapses and disappears, informing Jack with her last breath that Aku's demise invalidates her existence. Jack temporarily grieves before smiling as he watches a ladybug flying free in a sunlit grove with cherry blossom trees in bloom.|
On January 24, 2017, Adult Swim announced in an interstitial bumper that the show would debut on March 11, 2017. The original four seasons are rated TV-Y7-FV, while most episodes in the fifth season are rated TV-14-V, with episodes XCVI and XCIX being rated TV-PG-V. The first three episodes of the season were screened at the Ace Hotel Los Angeles two days before the season's television premiere. An unannounced change in schedule on April Fools' Day supplanted a new Samurai Jack episode with the premiere of the third season of Rick and Morty, which aired repeatedly from 8 PM to midnight.
Full season release
|Samurai Jack: The Complete Fifth Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|DVD release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|October 17, 2017||N/A||Unknown 2018|
|BluRay release dates|
|Region A||Region B|
|October 17, 2017||N/A|
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the season holds an approval rating of 100% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 9.08/10, with the critics' consensus reading: "An increasing intensity and maturity are evident in Samurai Jack's beautifully animated, action-packed and overall compelling fifth season". On Metacritic the season has an average score of 94 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Joshua Yehl of IGN called it a "double-edged season" referring to the contrast between the presentation and the story. He calls the presentation, artistry, animation and sound design masterful, in contrast to the story that didn't always deliver satisfying answers to the questions introduced early in the season, despite being more mature and sophisticated than the original show.
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