Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Samurai Jack season 5 episode 3 review

Just finished watching Samurai Jack season 5 episode 3 which took place after Jack fell into the river and drifted away from the daughters of Aku. This episode was far more darker than the last one as i explain in my review. Once again, spoilers included.

This episode begins with Jack drifting away in the river. Jack probably knows that since he's been stabbed and losing blood, he would not have much of a chance to survive if he tried running on foot. He probably would've lost more blood, fainted or tripped, and left footprints which would make him easier to track. Traveling through a river allows him to cover more distance, escape faster, and remain undetected. Jack hallucinates and sees a frog on the log who abruptly says in a human voice "they are coming!" He swims faster only to get demoralized and allow the river to carry him away. Once again we see a vision of the mysterious samurai in the woods.

What i loved about this episode is that it deals with the physical but also psychological injuries resulting from Jack's last battle. Many shows neglect that and portray the hero as invincible. Jack has to remove the blade correctly to avoid injuring himself further, stitch the wound up, and conserve his energy. As i predicted in my last review, he has to deal with an internal conflict on what he had to do to survive the fight. He begins to argue with the more sinister persona in his conscience on what he did. The voice begins reminding him that he's dealt with worse things before but that killing a human being was what was bothering him. He reminds Jack that he's being hunted by the daughters of Aku and that maybe he enjoyed killing another human being. Jack denies it all and passes out.

He has a flashback of his parents inside a carriage as a child when suddenly we hear swords clashing and Jack's father walks out to face his assassins who killed his guards. He tells them "the decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are.." as he allows them a choice. Jack watches his father kill them all and gets blood on his face. When Jack's father is cleaning the blood off of Jack's face, Jack seems to have the impression that his father is a murderer. His father explains "the decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you cannot hide from yourself..."

Later on, Jack hides in the shadows drenched in bloods and finds the white wolf bloodied from the last episode. They both realized they are wounded warriors and nurture each other back to health. From Jack's memories and his relationship with the wolf, he learns that killing one of the daughter's of Aku did not make him a murderer. Jack only killed in self defense and fought for the greater good.

The daughters of Aku look over the waterfall while carrying their dead sister and laying her on the ground. From what it seems like, they are stricken with grief and gave her an improper burial. They continue to chase Jack until they come across a pair of deer in the woods showing affection to each other. They have an argument over what these animals are and whether or not they are Aku's minions. From the dialogue, it is evident that they are heavily brainwashed and misguided to think that Jack is the enemy. This will play a huge role in the story as we shall discover later on.

Jack then speaks the same words that his father spoke ages ago to the daughters of Aku in hiding. Now the roles have switched. Jack turns from being the hunted to the hunter, no longer confined to his past weaknesses. He gives them a choice to flee. Unlike past robots, the daughters of Aku had free will and they choose to fight Jack. He uses the snowy environment to conceal himself until he attacks and kills some of the daughters of Aku without hesitation. He disarms a few and uses their own weapon against them until finally, he retreats to a tree.

I was surprised to see Jack drop his weapon until i realized his true plan. Jack knows that he'll put himself at high risk if he tried going one on one with the daughters of Aku. His mobility and balance would also be compromised. They were highly skilled mainly because they were well coordinated as a team. Jack's strategy was to disarm them and throw them off the tree one by one until Ashi was the last one standing.

Ashi goes into a fit of rage and begins cursing Jack until he lets go although reluctantly. Suddenly the tree branch breaks off and he falls down the grand height as the episode concludes.          

What's my prediction for the next episode? Logically, we know that Jack will survive the fall. As for the daughters of Aku, one of them (Ashi at least) if not some of them will survive the fall. They will team up briefly to fight against another evil. We will get some backstory of the daughters of Aku and quite possibly, Jack may help them realize that the true enemy is indeed Aku himself. Jack will probably have to find his sword sometime in the future or he will perish. Let me know what you think about episode 3 in the comments below.         

Monday, March 20, 2017

Samurai Jack season 5 episode 2 review

For this week's episode of Samurai Jack, i was incredibly mind blown and found it difficult to breathe. The action, the revelations, everything had me on the edge of my seat. That being said, i continue to give my review and analysis of episode 2. Once again, keep in mind there are spoilers.

The show opens up with Aku's minions coming up with ways to destroy Jack but Aku is completely careless. From what we can see, Aku has clearly given up on trying to kill Jack as nothing has ever worked. Aku has become so depressed after 50 years so he has gone into hiding hoping that Jack would die of old age. He then realizes that Jack has not aged due to the effects of the initial time travel. As for the new voice actor who plays him, i think he did a phenomenal job. He captured the essence of the character perfectly much like the original voice actor for Aku.

Samurai Jack rides his bike until he comes across the beetle drone in the beginning of the episode. He destroys it, unaware of an even bigger threat lying in wait. He gets ambushed by the daughters of Aku who tear him apart and strip him of almost all of his defenses. This is one of the few times where Jack had to flee and go into hiding as he hallucinates once more. This time, he is faced with himself who encourages him to kill himself and give up fighting. What we know from the last episode is that Jack lost in the sword in a fight but it was not with Aku. After all, Aku does not know that Jack has lost his sword which puts Jack in a very vulnerable position. Jack once again sees a vision of the mysterious samurai in the mist. This gives me more reason to suspect this mysterious samurai is Jack himself as this vision occurred shortly after his hallucination discouraged him from fighting. Somehow Jack musters up the will to survive and chooses to rush inside ancient ruins. What Jack did was very smart as splits up the daughters of Aku to make them more vulnerable to attack. Surprisingly, the daughters of Aku realize what he's trying to do and go into hiding. Jack is unaware of their position but slowly crawls out of hiding in an attempt to escape. Suddenly he is attacked out of the dark and comes close to getting struck. The sparks from the blows help illuminate the catacombs just slightly before he runs away. As the episode progresses, Jack becomes increasingly scared and unaware of how to handle the daughters of Aku. What made this episode so intense, bloody, brutal was the fact that Jack has never encountered an enemy that was too unpredictable and too agile to be robots. That's because they aren't robots - they are
human beings trained to destroy him since birth. Eventually Jack reaches his opportunity to strike and when he does, he strikes down one of his adversaries believing it to be a drone until sees blood. Too late does he realize that he just killed another human being and is overcome with guilt. Jack doesn't hesitate to use his sword taken from his previous battle to create a blockade after getting a knife stuck to his side and falls right into the river. He is taken upstream in an unconscious state.    

At first i did not understand the purpose behind having the white wolf in the story until i realized it's purpose. The white wolf was meant to symbolize Jack himself fighting against more powerful and formidable enemies. After the fight is over, we see the wolf in critical condition as the episode concludes. I predict that in the next episode, Jack will have some sort of internal conflict within himself after killing a human life and whether or not he should continue surviving. Nonetheless, i am looking forward to how Jack will make his comeback. Let me know your thoughts and comments below.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Samurai Jack season 5 episode 1 review

Just watched the season 5 premiere of Samurai Jack episode 1. I absolutely loved how the show had a solid start for it's return on adult swim and had to share my thoughts. I would like to warn you as there are spoilers in this post.

The story is set 50 years in the future when Jack finds himself unaffected by time as Aku's evil continues to spread. The episode opens with Jack rescuing a mother and daughter from several bug robots. Jack returns but not the Jack that we remembered from previous seasons. He now has technologically advanced armor and a bike. He fights using modern weapons such as a gun and staff. Why he's changed so much and how he managed to get all of that equipment is currently unknown.

We are then introduced to a new character who appears to be apart of an Aku-worshiping cult. Seven babies are born and placed before a statue of Aku. Immediately, i began to feel uneasy as it felt as if they were about to be sacrificed. I soon learned that they were used for a much sinister purpose. Aku has corrupted the land but corrupting the innocent minds of children takes it to a whole different level. The "daughters of Aku" as they were named were put through abusive and torturous training to become assassins as they learn Aku's evil ways.

As Jack approaches a calm river presumably to drink from, he suddenly sees disturbing hallucinations of his parents and people from his homeland. He then sees a vision of an army and the shape of a mysterious samurai in the dark mist. His father continually wails "you have forgotten your ancestors! You have forgotten your purpose! Why son?!? Why did you abandon us?!?" Jack is stricken with fear and driven to the brink of insanity then flees. Later, he tries to justify himself by saying Aku destroyed all the time portals. This is interesting because it gives more insights into who Jack has become. From my perspective, Jack has been searching for a portal back in time until Aku has destroyed each one over and over again. Jack has become demoralized seeing no hope of ever returning to the past. To him, his only last choice is to run away from his quest to save his homeland and live in the future.

Who is the mysterious samurai that disturbs Jack so much? I interpret it to be himself and whom he is destined to become. If you recall from "the birth of evil", Jack's father took on the responsibility to defend his homeland from Aku and prepare for battle. His entire purpose is to defend his people and vanquish Aku. Jack is afraid because he knows this is ultimately whom he has to become but lacks confidence. He's afraid and not ready to accept his role.

As the story progresses, Jack finds a destroyed village and a robotic musical assassin named Scaramouch. He interrogates Jack on why he doesn't have his sword and we are shown a flashback to where Jack briefly loses it. Now we understand more on Jack's character and why he is more technologically advanced. When he lost his sword for whatever reason, he lost his identity. Now he must fight with more ferocity and skill than he ever did before as his sword was his primary means of protection. Scaramouch uses sound to manipulate objects in an attempt to kill Jack but gets outsmarted not before Jack suffers a hallucination. Scaramouch proves to be a formidable adversary especially when he throws weapon after weapon until the end. Jack retrieves his fallen adversary's blade realizing he will need it later and walks off into the sunset.

The episode concludes with the daughters of Aku being sent out with one purpose - to kill the Samurai. This is where the premiere ends and the story unfolds with them being some of the main villains Jack will face in season 5. Overall, Samurai Jack season 5 episode 1 stayed true to the original series but with a much darker and mature theme. The computer animation grew more advanced while at the same time, not completely neglecting the original series' handwritten artwork. We can expect to see blood, shocking revelations, and much more as the series goes on.