Warning: Spoilers ahead.
“Fifty years have passed, but I do not age. Time has lost its effect on me.”
The first words of the legendary Samurai Jack, voiced again by Phil LaMarr, speak volumes about the nature of the show and its classic aesthetic. Jack’s back, but it feels like he never left.
In the season five premiere of Samurai Jack, which aired March 11, the world has changed. Cities have been ravaged by the remaining minions of Aku, a shape-shifting demon and Jack’s arch nemesis.
Jack has turned into a merciless Ronin, seeking out the evil machines that plague the Earth and prey on its various lifeforms. His only sanctuary is the solitude of the wilderness. Throughout the episode he is tormented by grotesque visions of his dead parents and the hundreds of other beings he was helpless to save.
A new faction has emerged, the Daughters of Aku, comprised of seven human women who were bred by their mother, the High Priestess. They have one purpose: destroy Samurai Jack. The cult-like group devoutly follows Aku, and they have all been taught to think that Aku is the all-powerful leader of Earth, which Jack seeks to destroy.
Though the show’s animated art style seems like that of a kid’s show, audiences should not be misled — this show is intended for mature audiences. Dark cults, horrific images of the dead and heavy topics are all intertwined, creating a dark world filled with nihilism and dread.
Fans of the original series will be delighted to know that the show retains the same style that made it so appealing. Action sequences are long and intense, filled with wide shots that zoom in on characters’ eyes and particular motions. In addition, backdrops are constructed through beautiful artwork that brings life to Jack’s world.
The first adversary Jack faces is also reminiscent of previous episodes; he is similar to X9, an iconic villain from the original series. However, “Aku’s most favorite assassin” not only serves as an epic reintroduction to his robotic servants, but also adds much-needed sarcastic humor to the oppressively dark atmosphere.
The next episode will premiere this Saturday evening on Adult Swim and it’s sure to be another thrill ride. With the Daughters of Aku out to get Jack and the world being ravaged by Aku’s minions, the stakes are high. The big question remains: will the evil Aku make a grand appearance?