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Review of Samurai Jack Season 1 By Cartoon Network

June 04, 2013 By: John Taber Category: Anime Reviews, Media Interests

Samurai Jack Season 1

-== What is it? ==-

Samurai Jack Season 1 is an animated TV show about a powerful samurai who gets sent to the future by an evil Chinese devil known as Aku. Season 1 originally aired from August 2001 to November 2001. It was produced by Genndy Tartakovsky.

There is no nudity in the series and no sexual references. Combat involves the destruction of robots and strange beasts only. Fight scenes in Samurai Jack are very violent but they are done in a light cinematic fashion. I would rate the series at 10 years and up.

I purchased the standard edition version of the DVD boxed set. There are XIII episodes that are roughly 22 minutes length. The DVD entry on Amazon says that there is 299 minutes of material in the boxed set.

-== What I Like ==-

Samurai Jack is an iconic cartoon series and one of the things that helped catapult Genndy Tartakovsky into the spotlight of animation greatness. Each episode of the series is presented as a small movie with sweeping cinematic images and fantastic storytelling. Season 1 of Samurai Jack lays the groundwork for the rest of the series.

The individual episodes in season 1 are not as strong as those in season 2 but there are still some standouts that deserve mention. Here are the episodes that I would rank at 8 out of 10 paws or higher.

  • I – 10 out of 10 paws – The main story of Aku and Jack. The training scenes with young Jack are breathtakingly done and capture the attention of the viewer. The artwork style is clean yet fluid. The music is sweeping in scope and really sets the tone for the epic nature of the series.
  • III – 8 out of 10 paws – A very A-Team like episode. The extended fight scene in this ep ebbs and flows through its course.
  • V – 8 out of 10 paws – Astronauts trying to return home. Jack allows them to escape but traps himself in the future.
  • VI – 10 out of 10 paws – A fantastic yarn where Jack meets a strange woman in black who has a prophecy about a gem that can return Jack to the past. The pair travel across the land facing dangers. Wonderful ending. Iconic Jack ep.
  • VII – 10 out of 10 paws – This might be my favorite ep of the first season. It involves a legend of a pool that can grant wishes and three blind kangaroo archers of superior skill. The casual opening is just fantastic. It is a calm before the storm. The way music and sound are used and taken away in this episode is off the charts beautiful. Listen to and watch one of the greatest Jack stories of the entire run.
  • IX – 9 out of 10 paws – In this story Jack visits an underwater city. Fantastic fish creatures and ships. Wonderful plot twist.
  • XI – 9 out of 10 paws – This ep is Jack’s first meeting with the Scotsman. The scene on the bridge is fantastic and wonderfully done. The Scotsman is by far my favorite recurring Samurai Jack character.
  • XII – 9 out of 10 paws – Mobsters who befriend Jack for their own gain. This ep shows the vast range that the design crew was willing to take with the series. From the Scotsman to dog mobsters. Don’t get much better.
  • XIII – 8 out of 10 paws – Nice story of some kids telling fairy takes about Jack and Aku. The ep gets really funny when Aku tells his version of the stories where he is the hero. Classic ep.

There are not a lot of extras with the Season 1 boxed set. The only extra worth commenting about is a “making of” piece. It is nicely done but I would have liked to see a bit more. There are also episode commentaries which vary in relevance.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

There are a couple of episodes in the first season that are not that strong. I am not fond of ep II where Jack gets his name or ep VIII that really has no plot besides a bunch of bounty hunters trying to kill Jack. Both lack the heart of other episodes in Season 1.

-== Summary ==-

Samurai Jack is one of my favorite animated TV shows of all time. The only animated series that even comes close is Batman: The Animated Series from Bruce Timm. Season 1 of the series is a GREAT collection and is highly recommended. The price point from Amazon is also quite good.

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.

You can get copies of the DVD on Amazon for $15.49 at this URL.

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