Alright friends, it’s only a day and some hours until the new Samurai Jack season comes back on [adult swim]! If you’re like me, then you’d know that Samurai Jack is one of the best fighting ‘kids’ cartoons with great animation and storyline, and nothing can stop the hype train from coming!
Let’s face it though, the series has been on hiatus since 2004 with reruns being played over and over again on Cartoon Network and it’s really hard to remember all the details. We’ve gone through four seasons of travelling and robot-smashing, but the series got canceled and we never got enough of Samurai Jack. Now, the proper geeky thing to do is to binge-watch all the episodes leading up to the much-awaited fifth season here but let’s say that you can’t.
It’s a great thing then that you, dear friend and geek-brethren, are here and I have the time and space to TAKE YOU BACK TO THE PAST! SAMURAI JACK!
I asked the miserable pile of nerd rage we call the the What’s A Geek team what the must-watch episodes are, and we sorta reached a consensus about the top five that we really need to watch.
Let’s start it off with these! Spoiler warning, though this series is pretty old.
Episode X: Jack and the Lava Monster
In this episode, Jack is wandering the countryside and he hears a voice calling him, challenging him to fight. Jack notices that the surroundings have been ravaged by a familiar evil, and runs to the voice challenging him. In the heart of the mountain, atop lava and bodies of fallen warriors, Jack sees who is challenging him: The Lava Monster. The monster attacks Jack until it is revealed that the monster is injured; Jack refuses to fight but then the Lava Monster reveals a secret. He is cursed by Aku to live until he is bested by a warrior strong enough to kill him. The Lava Monster pleads Jack for a warrior’s death and the two return to the duel. Jack defeats the Lava Monster and breaks the curse and the man inside the Lava Monster gets carried up to Valhalla.
This episode is a great one because this is where we see Jack as an honorable warrior and really makes him focus on the fight against Aku. The compassion, respect, and honor the two swordsmen had for each other really embodies how the Warrior’s Code was meant to be. Plus, lots and lots of sword fighting.
Episode XXV: Jack and the Spartans
Seriously, this Samurai Jack episode is when Jack meets the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae. But of course this is in the magical future world. Jack arrives and sees the 300 fight mechanical minotaurs and rushes in the battle to help save the prince. It’s revealed that the Spartans have been holding off the robot army for generations, always ending in a stalemate. Ephialtes – I mean Jack then reveals a passageway in the mountains that would lead straight to the enemy camp.
As expected, they arrive at the enemy camp and beat the robot-stuffing out of them. The war then escalates – and the King of the Spartans partners up with Jack to fight the Monster. The Monster dies in an explosion seemingly taking Jack with it; we flash a little forward into the future and see the King regaling the war times and consoling everyone with the belief that Jack is not dead.
If you wanted armies fighting armies, with awesome one-on-one scenes, this episode is great! Less abs than 300 though but way more explosions.
Episode XI: Jack and the Scotsman
Classic trope of the Fire-Forged Friends!
Jack and the Scotsman starts of with Jack crossing a bridge and then hearing bagpipes in the distance. He catches up with the Scotsman on the bridge and asks to step aside so that he may pass. Well, the Scotsman misunderstood what Jack was saying and started to verbally fight back. Jack tries to diffuse the tension by stating he’d cross by holding on to the planks from under the Scotsman. Wearing a kilt, the Scotsman thinks Jack is trying to peek at his Scottish Jewels; this prompts them to go at each other with their blades and getting Jack’s hat and the Scotsman’s bagpipes destroyed.
Their duel continues the next day when suddenly bounty hunters swarm the bridge and attacks them both, binding them in shackles while they argue over who was the target. The warrior-pair tried to escape by attacking the bounty hunters but found it difficult to do so since they were, y’know, in shackles. Nevertheless, they realize that only ~ teamwork and friendship ~ will work to defeat their enemies. Samurai Jack and The Scotsman escape form the bounty hunters and start a life-long friendship and rivalry.
The Scotsman is a really great character and is important enough that he has an episode every season, even this new one! The teasers have him age too so we can see how long Jack has been away from his time. Check him out!
Episode XLVII: Jack versus Aku
Aku and Jack finally fight each other but what we think is going to be the final battle turns out to be one of the funniest episodes in the series.
First, check out Jack “getting ready” for Aku.
Yep. I’ll give you a few more seconds.
So, this episode is simple enough. Aku calls up a bounty hunter like he would call for a pizza. Aku’s bounty hunters and army of robots go to try to attack Jack but all hilariously fail and destroy each other.
Aku, visibly upset, goes to Jack and challenges him to a one-on-one fight on the grounds that all they do is fight– and Aku just shapeshifts and leaves. Funny lampshading of how the whole series is really with the endless dueling they do. Jack agrees on the following conditions: no shapeshifting, Aku fights in human form without the superhuman powers and no minions. What follows is a hilarious conversation about how to get to the place with the awkward air of setting up a blind date.
The two fight an epic hand-to-hand fight and when it seems that Jack finally beats Aku, Aku cheats. Jack and Aku throw meta quips at each other while Jack looks for his sword. The minions also help out their master and try to give Jack’s sword to Aku. Jack, learning to be sly and anticipating the cheating, hid replica swords all over to confuse Aku while he brings out his sword and stabs the evil monster.
At the final moment, Aku shapeshifts and screams villain lines while escaping.
Jack, being all cool and looking at the distance, replies that he will be waiting for as long as it takes.
Some fans of the series, consider this to be the true ending of the show in that there will never really be an end. Jack and Aku fight, Jack wins, Aku escapes. That’s all the show ever is but it’s always a delight to watch.
Episode I – III: The Beginning, The Samurai Called Jack, The First Fight
I know. We’re cheating by putting in three episodes BUT these were meant to be watched together! They originally came out as Samurai Jack: The Premiere Movie; and this is one of the episodes which has a ton of reruns. These three episodes are the ultimate reason why Samurai Jack deserves ALL THE HYPE.
I don’ think I can accurately put into words how awesome these episodes are, so go on and watch it! It’ll be worth it I promise. Just know that this is where it all begins and why Jack is awesome.
There’s a lot more that I wanted to put in here like: Jack vs Demongo, The Good The Bad and the Beautiful, The Three Blind Archers, and Samurai vs Ninja. So, if you liked the ones listed above, you’ll love these too!
Did we miss any of your favorite episodes? Did Aku shapeshift near you and is now causing trouble? Wanna spazz about Samurai Jack even more? Tell us down in the comments! Tweet us here too, if that’s your thing!