|Image source: ComingSoon.net|
When it was announced that a new season of Samurai Jack with Genndy Tartakovsky's involvement was coming to Adult Swim, I wasn't as excited as others were. I was happy for Genndy and those that wanted it, but at the time, I wasn't really into Samurai Jack. I tried it once before and didn't think it was bad, but it couldn't really hold my attention. Then this past January, Adult Swim started airing reruns, so I tried it again and this time, I got into it. I've still only seen a handful of episodes from the first 4 seasons, but now I was definitely looking forward to season 5.
50 years have passed, but Jack hasn't aged. Aku still rules. Jack still has to get back to the past and stop Aku from ruling in the future.
I'll start by talking about what I can without going into spoilers. The art looks just like it did in the first 4 seasons. The animation is also as good as it was before. As this season is targeted at adults, it's more mature than the first 4 seasons. It got to do stuff it couldn't do on daytime Cartoon Network (not even in this day and age when they have TV-PG shows), and I feel it took advantage of that pretty well.
They also had to recast Aku. His original VA, Mako, died in 2006. He was voiced by Greg Baldwin this season. I wasn't really sold on Baldwin's take in Aku's first appearance of the season (didn't think it was bad though), but I liked it better in every other episode he was in. Either he just got off to a rough start or I got used to it as the season went on. I might have to rewatch some episodes to be sure.
You also don't need to see all of the first 4 seasons to enjoy this season. As I said, I've only seen a handful of episodes from the first 4 seasons and I still enjoyed it. There were some callbacks that I didn't notice until I saw people pointing them out (whether you would or not depends on what episodes you've seen), and it would also probably help to know the story behind Samurai Jack (the seasons 1-4 intro should explain it fine), but I still enjoyed it just fine.
I know I normally score things at the end of these reviews, but sine I'm about to go into spoilers, I'm going to score it now instead.
Final score: 3.8/5
Now I'm about to go into spoilers. If you're not looking to have the season spoiled, I recommend leaving now. If not, then keep reading.
In this season, Aku has daughters. And they all die after falling over a cliff. The only one to somehow survive is Ashi. Instead of killing her, Jack tries to help her. He's able to show her how bad Aku is, and she's an ally for the remainder of the season. I wasn't too bothered by this. I was more bothered when the two became a couple. It's not that I hated the idea of them being a couple. I'm sure it could've worked better with more time. It was more that I didn't like how fast it came on.
This season promised to bring the series to a conclusion, and it delivered on that. I thought the final battle was great. People Jack had encountered over the years came to his help, which I enjoyed seeing, and Ashi got the same powers as Aku, allowing her to take them back to the past, where Jack stopped Aku. The ending was bittersweet though. Because Jack defeated Aku in the past, Ashi never existed. I know what I said about them being a couple, but I still couldn't help but feel for Jack.
Overall, while this season had its weak points, I thought it was a good season and it's nice to have Samurai Jack concluded (even though I wasn't waiting as long for a conclusion as others).