Jack's Back...With A Beard
The trailer for Samurai Jack dropped this week. If you didn't grow up watching the stoic samurai Jack calmly dispatch robots and aliens in his attempt to travel back in time after being hurled into a dystopian futureverse by an evil shape shifter, well, you can get caught up right now . If, on the other hand, you're already a fan of creator Genndy Tartakovsky's haiku of a masterpiece, then mark your calendars because this new trailer will definitely get you psyched for Season 5 on March 11th.
Why I'm Excited
The new trailer shows Jack fifty years after Season 4. With the exception of some new muscles (and follicles), Jack appears unchanged by time. After spending 4 seasons trying to get back to his chronological home, Jack is still stuck in the future, and seemingly feeling a bit down about that.
Tartakovsky says that the show will have a darker, grittier, tone than past seasons. The creative team includes many of the original cast and crew, including Phil LaMarr as the voice of Jack. Much of Jack's signature style is sure to be in place while the added freedom allowed by Adult Swim (as opposed to Cartoon Network) creates a compelling opportunity for a fresh take on the solitary samurai.
Why I'm Concerned
I have reservations about something that should be an overwhelming positive. Enhanced technology. All previous seasons of Samurai Jack have been hand crafted. This creates obvious limitations but I often find that those technical limitations foster more creative products and that the ability to do more for cheaper doesn't always result in the best art (films such as the Star Wars prequels or Peter Jackson's The Hobbit don't ease my anxiety on this point). However, Tarakovsky states that the animation team is working hard to make the new season feel hand crafter even though they're using digital technology. Only time will tell.
The loss of voice actor Mako Iwamatsu as Aku is also a legitimate concern. Mako's death leaves a void that's impossible to fill, yet it is always possible this obstacle could prove a creative opportunity. Once again, this will all be much clearer come March.
Regardless Of These Concerns...
The first four seasons of Samurai Jack introduced us to a world that was equal parts artistically adventurous, poetically beautiful, and just straight up badass. It's time to get excited, count down the days, and catch up if you haven't already.
If you're desperate for more news on the new season, check out the behind the scenes video below with some great insight from the creators and actors involved in Season 5 of Samurai Jack.