FIVE REASONS I LOVE SAMURAI JACK:
THE INTRO: It’s been in my head for a while now. I think it’s funny that its by will.i.am, about a year or so before the Black Eyed Peas exploded, aka about a year and one day before the Black Eyed Peas exploded and everyone got sick of them.
NO OUTLINE ANIMATION: If creator Genndy Tartakovsky had gone with a more traditional Saturday morning style, I bet Samurai Jack doesn’t gain half the accolades it garnered during its four season run. Sometimes, the refreshing look felt like a modern spin on the simple style used in the old Rocky & Bullwinkle toons. Something about thinking, Hey, I could totally animate this myself, made the series more endearing.
BRILLIANT SETTING, BRILLIANT CAST: The questing samurai trope is put through the ringer. In this opening salvo of 13 episodes, Jack meets talking dogs, a Norse warrior turn lava man, a blowhard Irishman, aliens, warthog bounty hunters with heavy indecipherable Cajun accents, robots, frogmen, and gangsters. By flinging Jack into the distant future of Earth, the opportunity to play with familiar mythology is coupled with the chance to GO CRAZY with the sci-fi. No holds barred.
QUIET TIME: For long stretches of several episodes, there is little dialogue. The animation does all the heavy lifting, and the result is pretty much enthralling.
MAKO: I remember him fondly as The Wizard in Conan the Destroyer, but the distinct voice that also portrayed Splinter in 2007’s TMNT (his last feature role) was born to play the fiery-browed demon, Aku.
I sense some homage Samurai Jack paintings in my future.