Jason DeMarco was right, NO ONE saw this coming. After nearly 12 very long years, Samurai Jack is returning to Toonami. It was announced on Dec. 2nd by Toonami’s tumblr page, that the iconic show will be returning with a new season and episodes. Fans have to be ecstatic after one of the most popular shows ever to air on Cartoon Network, is brought back to (hopefully) finish a story that left people hanging. Now fans will get to see how the series was suppose to play out with it’s 2016 revival. Let the nostalgia commence!
Welcome back, Jack – “Adult Swim is excited to announce that JACK IS BACK. Creator and executive producer… https://t.co/TKF3Ye9cHa
— Toonami (@SwimToonami) December 2, 2015
Not much is known about the revival of the american cartoon classic. Just that it’s returning (where it belongs) on Toonami in 2016, and that the original creator is back. That’s right, Genndy Tartakovsky will be in charge to produce the new episodes of Samurai Jack. Other than that (and that it’s CURRENTLY in development), fans are left in the dark as to what will be happening with the franchise. No one knows which of the voice actors can return. As well as none is sure about how many episodes will be made for this new season. I’d be surprised if Phil LaMarr wouldn’t be ready to rejoin as America’s favorite samurai. However, there will have to be some new cast members since the original voice of Aku passed away in 2006. In any case, fans will just have to wait on those kind of announcements as December rolls on.
The best thing about Samurai Jack returning television (with new episodes), is that old Toonami fans will be coming back IN DROVES. Nostalgia is “in” when it comes to “new content” for entertainment, and Samurai Jack is no exception. Look at how much hype Digimon Tri received in Nov. when it premiered. Especially since it is a continuation after season two. Marvel and DC movies have been bringing superheroes back to life that were insanely popular in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Not to mention all the nostalgic movie franchises like James Bond, Star Wars, and Fast & Furious. Heck, you can even look at anime series giving fans some nostalgia with Hunter x Hunter getting a reboot that started in 2011 (you could even throw in Ruroni Kenshin’s New Kyoto Arc if you want, I won’t judge). Nostalgia, when done right, is one of the better feelings to get fans excited for something returning. Especially if it was well received.
Plus, for those who enjoy American action cartoons over anime (like the founder of Toonami Faithful stated here), are now given a show that they’d enjoy more than anime. These fans now have a show that they can look forward to every week on the action block. So adding another fanbase to continually watch Toonami makes this announcement even better (and a strong indication at how much Toonami is growing it’s influence since being revived).
— io9 (@io9) December 2, 2015
It’s almost seems silly to do (considering how popular the show was back when it first premiered on Cartoon Network), but for those of you who didn’t see Samurai Jack, missed out on something truly amazing in the cartoon industry. Jack is a samurai prince in the past who challenges the dark shape-shifting master Aku. Jack nearly defeats him thanks to his magical sword he received from his father. Aku realizing he was about to die, uses his trump card by sending Jack to the distant future. There Aku’s influence has infected the entire world, and Jack travels around the this depraved world to find a way back to his time period. That way, Aku cannot corrupt and take over the world like he did on this timeline. Thus we follow Jack on his adventure as he destroy’s robots and make friends along the way to stop evil. So if that doesn’t sound interesting to you, just watch the shows opening (which might make you into a fan).
But there’s much more to this show than what I have explained in that little synopsis. The story which seemed longer than it was only had 52 episodes. The series ended up lasting from 2001-04, giving fans four seasons. Some would then wonder how a show can be so popular after not being on the air for so long with only 52 episodes. Thankfully, it has reran on stations like Boomerang, Adult Swim, and Toonami during this 12 year gap. It has proved to have staying power, and was one of the better shows to ever air on Cartoon Network. Believe it or not, Samurai Jack is critically acclaimed, as it was a winner of four Primetime Emmy Awards, three Annie Awards, and one OIAF Award (as well as being nominated for an award eight other times). This series was no joke with many fans having found memories of this series (this writer included).
I remember back when this show was getting teased by Cartoon Network before it became a staple for the network. While, darker than most cartoon shows, there was something special about this series (that many other fans noticed as well). Plus when I saw darker, I mean more along the lines of the sad story of Jack being forced into a time period where he knows nothing about it (more than just the violence of the show itself). Just think, any normal person would go mad from just the shear amount of changes in a future world you were just teleported to. Plus he’s all alone in the future when the story begins. No money, no friends, nothing, and yet he has to find a way to save the world by returning to his time period (probably a goal that helped keep him sane). I remember being very sad during the series when Jack’s plan to return home failed. It made me hope that he would not give up, especially if his new plan of attack ended up working to have his rematch with Aku. Of course the series would have been much shorter if he succeeded to get back home. So I understood back then why he had to fail finding a way back home so many times (still didn’t make it easy to swallow). Overall, it may be a simple story when you boil it down, but it was SO EFFECTIVE that it stayed popular even after all these years.
Probably what made this show more endearing to fans was the artwork of Samurai Jack. I feel like it found a special place in many hearts. It’s not basic by any stretch of the imagination, as you could see the time put in to make this series work on an animation level. During fights, you’d see Jack hack-and-slash many opponents where the screen would turn into a televised comic book. One third of the screen was taken up with Jack killing a robot, then another, and another. The process would go on and on, but it was the first (and possibly only) cartoon show to do something like that (that I can remember). It was different, and you could clearly see the influence that other classical epics had on the series that made Samurai Jack what it is.
I’m not only happy, but very intrigued to see how this show will be animated for the future. By just this six second clip, not much can be speculated, but it does give the smallest of small hints (it looked somewhat different but that could just be for this promo). While I do hope they use the same tools that were used before to keep everything looking like how it did before, I know how much animation tools has progressed. Will the animation change? It looked somewhat different in this clip, but I won’t be rash and make a definitely statement about anything about that aspect yet. As long as the series continues to have it’s awesome action and story telling devices, then it will be well-received by fans (no matter how it looks). I mean if something trends worldwide like this show has, that shows how popular a series is. Just look at the outpouring of support this announcement gained from the fans alone.
How can anyone complain about this announcement for Toonami? One of the more BELOVED cartoons is returning with all new episodes. It’s definitely one of my favorite shows growing up, and hope that it stays true to it’s form for the future. It would be great for the most of the original voices to come back too, but I’m fine with taking things a step at a time with this show. While it won’t be a Michiko and Hatchan replacement (as stated by Jason DeMarco on Twitter), I have a feeling it might be placed at 11:30 p.m. or 3 a.m early next year. That could potentially make Toonami the strongest it’s been on Adult Swim, due to how popular this show is. That’s a discussion for another day as fans will have to wait for developments as we get closer to 2016. This just proves, that those who wait get rewarded handsomely. Toonami Faithful, you are being rewarded for your superb support and faithfulness to the action block. This has to be one of the happier announcements made by Toonami. Welcome back, Jack!
(By the way this is my favorite clip of the entire series)
C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He wants to know who else wants some!!! Feel free to reminisce about Samurai Jack with him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris