Thursday, April 23, 2015

Samurai Jack

Samurai Jack, my all time favorite childhood program, is an American made cartoon that ran for four seasons on Cartoon Network. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, who also created cartoons such as Dexter's Laboratory and Star Wars: Clone Wars, this show received 4 Primetime Emmy Awards and 6 Annie Awards. Sadly, upon entering the fourth season ratings rapidly declined and the show was not renewed for another season.

In creating Samurai Jack, Tartakovsky intended to create a show that "is cinematic in scope and incorporates action, humor and intricate artistry," due to the fact that he had conflicting feelings on typical action based cartoons. Influenced heavily by Seven Samurai director Akira Kurosawa his character and concept were both born. The plot of the show is that a samurai prince, who goes by the name Jack(voiced by Phil LaMarr), is thrown into the future by the shape shifting demon Aku (Mako Iwamatsu). Jack ends up in a time when Aku is the ruler of the world, we follow Jack as he attempts to return to the past in order to defeat Aku before he takes over the planet.

The aspect of this show that makes it so attractive is that it is unlike most all other children's shows. Samurai Jack does not rely mainly upon character interaction and dialogue to tell the story; however, it relies upon the stylization and visualization to develop the plot. One of the most impressive aspects is that every episodes stylization has a different influence. For example, there are episodes based off of My Neighbor Totoro, the Battle of Thermopyle, and Frank Miller's comic book series Ronin. The show uses multiple angles and split screens to build tension while showing different angles of action. Many episodes have little to no dialogue; it is this kind of minimalism that Taratakovsky uses that gives the show such a specific style.

This show has amazing design and plot. I would recommend that everyone check it out.

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