Samurai Jack was one the greatest cartoons ever created. It had action, comedy, memorable characters, and, most importantly, a pro-active villain who was funny and terrifying, sometimes at the same time. Fans were devastated when the show was cancelled in 2004, especially since it ended without so much as a cliffhanger. However, when the show was brought back in 2017, audiences were excited to see Jack in action again, but they were also anxious due to the underwhelming reboots of other classic cartoons, such as Powerpuff Girls and Teen Titans. So, how do I think Samurai Jack’s final season fared? Now that it’s over, I can finally voice my opinion.
In Seasons One through Four, Samurai Jack was an episodic show. In one episode Jack could be running from alien hunters; in another episode he would team up with Spartan warriors to defeat robo-minotaurs. Then, another episode would follow Aku as he told stories to children. This episodic nature let audiences watch the show out of order and still know everything they need to know about the plot and the characters. Season Five actually introduced a narrative arc to Samurai Jack. This season takes place fifty years after Season Four, after Jack has lost his sword, his patience, and any means of traveling to the past. Audiences now need to watch episodes in order, but that’s because Jack is on a quest to reclaim his sword, and each episode builds on the previous one. However, this story has one or two plot holes, namely that Aku doesn’t realize Jack lost his sword. This plot thread flies in the face of previous seasons that established Aku’s ability to magically spy on Jack. Granted, during the fifty year gap, Aku realized the best way to kill Jack was to let old age do him in, but during that time Aku would still have to spy on Jack from time to time to know if he was dead. In doing so, Aku would then realize the sword was gone and Jack was essentially powerless. This plot hole doesn’t ruin the entirety of Season Five, but it makes me question Aku’s analytical skills.
They might be a little more difficult to judge since, unlike previous seasons where Jack and Aku were the main characters, Season Five introduces two new characters, specifically the musical robot assassin Scaramouche and Ashi the actual daughter of Aku. Here are my thoughts on all four of them:
Jack barely resembles his old self in Season Five. The once stoic and collected samurai is now constantly tortured by hallucinations of his inner demons. In the past, Jack could keep them under control, but since he’s been trapped in the future for fifty years with no way to defeat Aku or travel to the past, it makes perfect sense his demons would be stronger than ever, taunting him with the sweet release of death through seppuku. This hopeless state makes Jack someone the audience wants to root for even more — not just to defeat Aku but also to overcome his psychological problems.
Aku retains his ability to be both comedic and menacing within the span of one sentence, but in this season he also serves as a narrative parallel to Jack. After Aku destroyed the final time portal, he hoped to just wait out Jack’s life and let him die of old age, but when that doesn’t happen, Aku fears he will never be rid of Jack; this fear affects Aku, and he retreats from the rest of the world, so he won’t be reminded that Jack is still alive. Of course, once he realizes Jack doesn’t have the magic sword, Aku returns to being the Shogun of Sorrow that longtime fans remember and loved from Seasons One through Four. Furthermore, this little bout of depression gives Aku a small character arc rarely seen in cartoon villains.
This robot assassin is ding-dong-diddly fantastic, baby! Samurai Jack is known for its huge cast of eccentric and memorable one-off characters, and not only does Scaramouche fit the bill, but he is a returning character, a position only accredited to Jack, Aku, and The Scotsman prior to Season Five. Also, his tuning fork dagger is downright iconic. The only problem I have with Scaramouche is he dies in an anti-climactic fashion, but it is meant to demonstrate that Aku is his old self again, so I can’t complain too much.
Ashi is arguably the worst realized character in the show. Initially, she is a member of the Daughters of Aku, a team of women who were raised to kill Jack. For the first several episodes that’s all she is: a powerful new enemy for Jack to overcome. However, after Jack defeats Ashi, she quickly becomes an ally-turned love interest for Jack, and she is also instrumental in the final fight with Aku. While Ashi’s presence mixes up the narrative by providing Jack a permanent companion, Ashi’s story of redemption and love feels rushed and forced. Maybe their relationship would have been more believable and natural if Jack and Ashi were given more episodes together, but that could just be me.
Aside from Ashi, every character in Samurai Jack is in top form, especially returning characters like The Scotsman and Da Samurai. I might be ragging on a bit about Ashi, but she feels out of place. Even The Scotsman’s mountain of a daughter Flora is a better realized character, but that’s probably because she is the daughter of two established characters while Ashi isn’t. Curse my nostalgia goggles.
Samurai Jack does not disappoint on action, which remains fast, fluid, and flashy. Despite Season Five airing on Adult Swim, the show is, for the most part, no more violent than previous seasons. Sure, plenty of blood is spilled, but the violence accompanying the blood isn’t too different from Seasons One through Four. Even particularly violent battles, such as Jack’s fight with the Daughters of Aku, Ashi’s skirmish with the orc army, and the combat between the wolf and the strange green creatures, would have been mostly unchanged (minus the lack of blood) had they aired on Cartoon Network and been made for younger audiences. The action in Season Five is the kind of action audiences have come to expect from Samurai Jack, just with blood.
Samurai Jack expertly combines comedy and action. Instead of relying on quips, one liners, and jokes, the show prefers the “show, don’t tell” school of comedy. For example, one episode (not a Season Five episode) opened with Aku placing an order for delivery via phone. Merely picturing Aku speaking on a rotary telephone to order an assassin to kill Samurai Jack is funny enough, but his conversation plays out as if he were ordering a pizza, which makes the scene even funnier. This comedy, while not gut-splitting, returns in the fifth season unscathed. Season Five uses this kind of humor to create hilarious scenes, including The Scotsman charging into battle on a wheelchair pushed by Flora and Aku seeing a psychotherapist who is merely himself in a tweed jacket and glasses. In fact, the funniest scene in Season Five is in the final episode, when Aku begins a special announcement by playing the original show’s opening. While Season Five has some funny lines, they accentuate an already funny scene rather than make a scene funny.
Unlike modern reboots, Samurai Jack is a continuation of previous seasons and thus heavily relies on nostalgia; audiences need to remember the original show fondly to get the most out of the fifth season. After all, fifty years have passed in the world of Samurai Jack; most returning characters have grown old and changed, and viewers need to know who they used to be to appreciate these changes. This reliance on nostalgia works for the most part, but it is also a double-edged sword because of the inescapable fact that Aku’s original voice actor, Mako Iwamatsu, died in 2006. His replacement, Greg Baldwin, has a lot of trouble mimicking Mako’s performance, which is a shame since Baldwin was a decent stand-in for Mako when he took over for the role of Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender. While Season Five can be appreciated as its own show, it takes on a whole new (and better) meaning when viewers understand the self-references.
Samurai Jack Season Five is exactly what longtime fans want. The comedy and action are up to the standards of the previous seasons; it has a decent story, and the characters are, for the most part, memorable and likable. The biggest problem with the season is that it’s the last one. I would have loved to see a sixth season, even if it only only existed to answer several nagging questions, such as how The Scotsman lost his eye or where Jack trained to use guns. After all, the origins of Aku and Jack’s magic sword weren’t revealed until near the end of Season Three, so this wouldn’t be the first time the show told events out of order. Regardless, Samurai Jack fans can rest easy knowing Jack finally made good on his promise to return to the past and undo the future that was, and now never shall be, Aku.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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