The series began in 2001 on Cartoon Network, created by Genndy Tartakovsky, and originally ran for four seasons. The story told of a young prince (Voiced by Phil LaMarr) from feudal Japan, who fought the evil Aku (originally voiced by the late Mako). Aku was nearly defeated, but before the prince could deal the fatal blow, Aku created a time portal and sent the prince to Aku’s time, a dystopian future. The first people he met after arriving called him “Jack”, which he adopted as his name. The series told of Jack’s quest to find a portal to return home, dealing with Aku along the way, in the classic battle of good vs evil. As is usual for the series, as soon as Jack thinks he’s found a way home, something happens and he misses his chance to leave Aku’s time.
During it’s run on Cartoon Network, “Samurai Jack” won 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, 6 Annie Awards, and 1 OIAF (Ottawa International Film Festival) Award, in addition to eight other nominations.
In one episode of the third season, Jack finds a stable time portal guarded by an unbeatable warrior. The guardian defeats Jack. Before crushing him, he receives a message from the portal, then sends Jack away. It is revealed that Jack will return home, but that it will take him years to achieve that goal.
Perhaps it was an unintentional coincidence, but – several years later – Samurai Jack is returning to television as part of Adult Swim’s Toonami block. Genndy Tartakovsky is returning as executive producer of the series, with Phil LaMarr returning as the voice of Jack. No word on plot details, but information that was given was that the fifth season will be one cohesive story, many years have passed, Jack is a bit lost to despair having spent so long searching for a way home. This fifth season will be the series’ last, so perhaps Jack will finally return home. The series will also have more mature elements.
At any rate, it’s great to see this classic series return, and give’s the hero a chance to return home. We hope. Check out the behind the scenes look to season five, and be sure to tune in March 11 on Toonami for the return of your favorite time displaced samurai prince for one final epic adventure.