animation

Wacha! ‘Samurai Jack’ is back and it’s more brutal and beautiful than ever

The cult animated series returns for a fifth season with an expanded storyline and the same visual brilliance.

After a long and arduous wait of over 12 years, the cult animated series Samurai Jack is back. The cartoon series that ran from 2001 to 2004 tells the story of a samurai who has been flung into a dystopian future by Aku, the shape-shifting dark lord. Aided by his trusty magic sword, which is the only weapon that can put an end to his arch-enemy, the samurai (voiced by Phil LaMarr) spent four seasons roaming post-apocalyptic lands, fighting evil, and looking for a way back home to kill Aku (voiced originally by Mako Iwamatsu and now, Greg Baldwin) before the time portal was opened.

Even when it was first aired, the four-time Emmy winner was like nothing on television. Created by master animator Genndy Tartakovsky, who is also behind Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Hotel Transylvania franchise, Samurai Jack was known for its captivating artistry, intense and intricate action, intelligent comedy, unhurried narrative, and minimal dialogue. Low angle shots, long silences, close-ups, slow motion – the show was a visual masterpiece and years ahead of its sugar rush-happy contemporaries.

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Samurai Jack: 3 showdowns with Aku.

Tartakovsky has acknowledged Akira Kurosawa’s movies and Frank Miller’s comics as inspirations. While Samurai Jack was never really aimed at a young audience, it had to keep the blood, gore, brutality to a minimum since it was on Cartoon Network. All of this has changed after the show’s return on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s night-time programming block for grown-ups.

At the beginning of season five, 50 years have passed since we last saw Jack. As a side-effect of time travel, he has stopped aging. Aku, the Shogun of Sorrow, is still alive and still rules the world.

Samurai Jack has evolved from one man’s journey back in time to a more complicated and troubled study of Jack’s psyche. He can’t kill Aku and can’t return home either – the years of searching for a way to defeat Aku have come to nothing, and this realisation is taking a toll on him. Stuck in this purgatory, he is no longer the stone faced do-gooder. He is conflicted, tired and haunted by the souls and ghosts of his ancestors. His trusty sword has been replaced with bigger and meaner guns. He has visions of the past and apparitions that berate him for forgetting his purpose.

Aku too has changed. The shape-shifting master of darkness was always a bit of a comic relief. His evil machinations were carried out by robot drones and mechanical bugs and beetles. Now, he has a cult of assassins, the seven daughters of Aku who have been bred to defeat the samurai. Clearly, the show has earned its place in the more grown-up space of Adult Swim.

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Samurai Jack season five trailer.

Jack’s purpose was always to find a time portal – Will.I.Am’s opening track for the show Gotta get back, back to the past, Samurai Jack, is still catchy. But episodes from the initial run were self-contained and ended with Jack helping the victims of Aku’s evil reign survive another day. The new season is more connected in terms of storyline, and has opened itself up to a more intricate and detailed flow of characters and themes.

Samurai Jack was intended to end with a movie, but when that didn’t seem to be working out, Tartakovsky reached out to Cartoon Network for a limited series to bring an end to Jack’s story. While the new storyline has become more mature, this is still Samurai Jack. The show is still a tour de force. The sequences in the new episodes are breathtaking, be a high-speed action fight sequence or a slow chase inside an ancient temple in the woods. Through the darkness, the show retains a measure of its comedic genius too, thanks to Aku.

With newer technology, the process of filmmaking was amped up, but the show remains calmer than anything else out there. Samurai Jack is still a stylised 2D animated show that takes it slow and makes a long-lasting impact.

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Samurai Jack season five sneak peek.
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These GIFs show you what it means to miss breakfast

That monstrous roar is your empty stomach.

Let’s take a glance at your every day morning routine. You crawl out of bed, go for a quick shower, pull out and wear your neatly ironed clothes at the speed of light and then rush out of the house, making sure you have your keys and wallet in place.

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You walk into office, relieved because you have made it to work on time. Stifling yawns and checking emails, you wonder how your colleagues are charged up and buzzing with energy. “What is wrong with these people” you mumble to yourself.

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Slowly, you start to change. You start snapping at colleagues and start arguing with your computer. You take out your frustration on anything or anyone in sight.

To add to the aggressive behaviour, you’ve completely lost your focus. After some time, you simply forget what you were doing.

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Unable to bear the hunger pangs, you go for a mid-morning snack. It is only when a colleague asks you for a bite do you realize that you have developed into a fully formed, hunger fueled, monster. Try not to look at yourself in the mirror.

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If only you had spared not even twenty or ten but just 5 minutes in the morning and not skipped breakfast, your story would look completely different - as you will see in this video.

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The fast dip in your mood and lack of focus is because your body has missed its most important meal of the day – breakfast. Research has shown that skipping a meal, especially in the morning, worsens the mood because there is a drop in the blood sugar. This in turn affects the levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals produced in the brain that control our moods and feelings. In simpler English, not having breakfast is going to make you really cranky and confused!

Morning is also when the body needs maximum nutrition to function efficiently through the day as you’ve just woken up from a full 7 hours of no food (and if you’re sleeping less than that, that’s a whole other article).

So in short, having a breakfast could make you go from looking like the earlier GIFs to this:

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But with changing lifestyles and most people hard pressed for time, a healthy breakfast is taking the backseat. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. MTR has come up with a range of widely loved Indian delicacies like Poha, Upma and Halwa which can be made in (hold you breath) just 3 minutes! All you have to do is add hot water and wait for 3 minutes to get a delicious and filling breakfast.

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These amazing and delicious breakfasts can be made in a jiffy and consumed with the least hassle, even in the midst of your frenetic morning routine. So grab your #MTRbreakfastin3 to start the day on an awesome note.

Click here to make breakfast a part of your morning routine.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of MTR and not by the Scroll editorial team.