8.3.10

Bring Back Jack!

If you've never heard of the Cartoon Network masterpiece series Samurai Jack (voiced by actor Phil LaMarr), then you need to travel to a deep, dark cave and sit in solitary confinement for a few weeks to rethink your existence.

Samurai Jack (YouTube link) was the beautifully stylized animated series from Genndy Tartakovsky, which chronicled the life of a Samurai warrior from the past who is thrust into the future to fight his nemesis, a demon named Aku (voiced by brilliant performer Mako) and his robot minions. Jack's main focus aside from his battles with Aku is, fittingly, to find a way back to his own time. The series ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network, and abruptly ceased production but was never officially "canceled." As a fan of bold and colorfully artistic animation, this series pulled me in and still refuses to let go.

So, what am I rambling about? Well, quite simply, I'd like to see the series revisited. I want to be able to watch Jack's continued adventures throughout a vast, sweeping and gorgeous landscape. With the proliferation of various animated characters, action figures, card games and even tabletop strategy gems available today, it's easy for a series like Samurai Jack to get lost in the pile. Rich story plots and talented voice actors were used generously throughout the four year run of Samurai Jack, and it was often the lack of dialogue that kept the pace going each episode. Jack's humble, soft-spoken nature drove the series and showcased the "good guy with a heart" theme wonderfully.

The artwork of the Samurai Jack series was something to behold. Bold and colorful, each episode played out while overlaid on a backdrop reminiscent of traditional Japanese paintings. Flowing landscapes with stark, contrasty colors and beautifully-crafted buildings and creatures caught the eye and would draw you into the story. Haunting audio was placed at just the right spots to accent action or forebode events to come. The dialogue, although not a central vehicle in a series where visuals ruled, was very succinct and relevant in all the right places. One thing that all of these elements had in common was that you could virtually taste the artistic ability needed to make this show a reality.

Creator Genndy Tartakovsky had grand plans for Jack, and it's sketchy as to why the series was canceled, save for the possibility of falling ratings (which happens with nearly every series after a period of time). Genndy, who also helped to create Dexter's Laboratory and Star Wars: Clone Wars, stated at one point that there would be a Samurai Jack feature film, but those details are also scant. The fact remains, however, that there are a lot of people clamoring for a return of Jack.





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