There are a lot of people who will remember Samurai Jack. After all, it was one of the most memorable cartoon series of the early 2000s, meaning that for people whose childhoods encompass that particular period of time, there is a decent chance that they caught an episode of it or two. Regardless, for those who are unfamiliar with the series, it was centered on a young Japanese prince with a magic sword who came very close to defeating a shape-shifting demon named Aku, who managed to hurl him into a retro-futuristic Earth under the belief that Aku would have become strong enough to win by then. There, the young Japanese prince begins using the name Jack upon being called it by one of the locals while searching for a way to defeat Aku as well as a way to return home.
The initial series received a total of four seasons. However, the fourth season provided no conclusion to the series as a whole because the people behind it were unsure whether they would get the chance to continue or not, particularly since they were occupied with Clone Wars at the time. Eventually, it turned out that they would indeed get the chance to finish Samurai Jack, though it wouldn’t happen until Season 5 came out in 2017.
What Happened in Season 5 of Samurai Jack?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Season 5 saw some significant changes from its predecessors, which makes sense because neither the people behind the series nor the people likeliest to watch the series are the same people that they were more than a decade ago.
For starters, it is revealed that 50 years have passed in the Samurai Jack setting since Aku hurled the titular character through time. Jack hasn’t aged at all because of the consequences of time travel, though that doesn’t mean that he has remained the same on the inside, as shown by his very visible trauma in the season. Meanwhile, Aku has stopped pursuing Jack in person, while Jack’s actions against Aku have inspired a lot of other people to resist, though without much success.
The events of the season are kicked off by a set of septuplets called the Daughters of Aku, who are children born to a Aku-worshiping cult that have been trained for the purpose of killing Jack and nothing else. When they meet in battle, six of the Daughters are killed, while the last survivor named Ashi is spared by Jack. Circumstances cause the two to travel together for a time, with the result that Ashi becomes convinced that Aku is the one who is wrong. Eventually, this enables Ashi to win out over Aku’s control in the climax, thus enabling her to return both Jack and her to the moment when Aku hurled Jack into the future. There, Jack manages to kill Aku, but when he and Ashi are about to get married, Ashi fades from existence because she never would’ve existed without Aku.
Why Is Season 5 the Best Season?
On the whole, there can be no real doubt about the fact that Season 5 is the best season of Samurai Jack. After such a long interruption, it would’ve been completely unsurprising if the season had fallen flat on its face. However, it didn’t just surpass its predecessors, it also did so by going its own way instead of clinging to what was.
In part, Season 5 worked because it handled more mature topics, which made it better-suited for its more matured audience. For example, there is the exploration of loss, which is something that continues into the ending of the series. Likewise, there is the examination of choice as well as the lack of choice, as shown by how a Daughter of Aku was eventually able to make her choices in the end in spite of what one might call an almost robotic upbringing.
With that said, Season 5 is also exceptional because it gave the series a clear end to its narrative, which is rather remarkable considering the more episodic nature of the preceding seasons. The fact that it was able to tie up everything in a neat manner while both introducing new elements and recalling past characters was nothing short of amazing, speaking of truly great plotting that is much rarer than it should be.