After being off of the air for 13 years, Cartoon Network cult classic Samurai Jack is finally returning for its fifth and final season this Saturday. The TV landscape has changed in a big way since Jack left the air: streaming, binge-watching, and niche fandoms carving out even more space on the constantly growing internet. But most importantly of all, anime/action block Toonami was cancelled in 2008 due to low ratings, only to return in 2012 as a part of an elaborate April Fools prank.
It's fitting that Jack will be getting a proper sendoff on Toonami given the even darker nature of this new season, but it's been a long time since Jack and Aku's war was left on a cliffhanger. What story are Genndy Tartakovsky and company trying to tell here? Here's what we know so far.
Since Aku has destroyed every single time portal in the future, Jack has been wandering through the future for 50 years and stopped aging (a side-effect of time travel?).
Being trapped in the future, Jack is starting to feel survivor's remorse for his very much dead family. They begin to haunt him through some pretty morbid visions, including one of his father burning in a wall of fire. Not exactly the happiest of terms.
You may have noticed that Jack's been using new weapons like a trident, a motorcycle with spikey wheels, and various different guns(!!), and that's because he lost his magic sword in a scuffle. It's healthy to guess that the sword will make an appearance near the end of the series, but watching Jack experiment with a weaponized tuning fork is amazing.
The evil sorcerer Aku stil has a firm grip on the future, and now he's even got a devoted cult of ninjas set to do his will. An ancient society of ninjas literally born into combat, seven new trainees head out into the world to hunt down Jack for what I can assume will be the rest of the season.
An added benefit of the move to Toonami is a bump in adult content, which for most of us translates to "more blood this time around." One of Jack's most novel traits intially was keeping the more graphic violence to robots, bugs, and humanoids that don't "bleed" but leak oil, circuits, and slime. The new season does introduce blood, but in as tasteful a way as possible. This isn't a grindhouse movie, after all.
One thing that Jack has always been known for is unique villains, and Scarmoos The Merciless is no exception. Armed with a magic flute and a weaponized tuning fork (really), Jack has his work cut out for him and the action doesn't disappoint.
Speaking of iconic villains, The Scotsman is the first that comes to mind for many (or at least for me). You can rest assured that the hulking warrior (voiced by John DiMaggio) will be back for this season. He's sporting a gatling gun leg, an eyepatch, and some grey hair in a season 5 trailer, so color me interested in whatever he's got going on.
You would think that destroying all the time portals and stranding Jack in the future would have aku in high spirits. But the fact that Jack doesn't age has Aku feeling stressed enough to open up to a psychiatrist who looks just like him. It's a sobering look at a previously uncomplicated character that adds humor and heart without detracting from the fact that this is a villain we're talking about.