Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Superhero Media: Samurai Jack - Season 1

So a friend loaned me Samurai Jack, insisting that I add the character to my Ultimate Alliance collection whilst citing his love for the programme. I watched it, believing that 13, 20-minute episodes wasn't a bad investment of time, as usual, doing something else at the time, and I came away with mixed feelings. Aku, a shape-shifting evil sorcerer, awakens from his imprisonment in Feudal Japan to wreak his vengeance upon the people who imprisoned him. When his father is killed, a young boy is smuggled out of the country and begins a global journey of years, training with the greatest warrior cultures in the world. When the boy is a man, he reclaims the magical sword that can defeat Aku and confronts the monster now ruling his homeland, almost winning the duel until Aku flings him into the future; a dark future where Aku rules. Christened "Jack" by the locals, the Samurai begins to search for a way back in time, to stop Aku's evil before it begins. 

The animation style of Samurai Jack is pretty unique and beautifully handled, which I think is a large part of the programme's appeal, the crew and cast is very small, often just Mako and Phil LaMarr will be the only credited actors. The stories range from clever and quirky, to just plain weird, with very little consistency to the setting between adventures, even in a world where magic and science fiction coexist. Despite having a linked narrative, Samurai Jack is primarily episodic, and whilst I can see how it has something of a cult following, I personally was not charmed. 

There is, however, some inspiration I drew from Samurai Jack, as it belongs to a sub-genre of Superheroes that I am growing increasingly fond of, which I have dubbed "Villain Apocalypse". Sort of a blend of Superheroes and Post-Apocalypse, but rather than the world being ravaged by nuclear war or plague, it was Supervillains that ended traditional society. Old Man Logan, Dragonball Z - The History of Trunks, Neon Genesis: Evangelion and even Adventure Time all feed into this idea of Villain Apocalypse and I defiantly intend to do something with it at some stage, stay tuned...

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