|Genre|| Action/Adventure |
Sword and Sorcery
|Created by||Genndy Tartakovsky|
|Starring|| Phil LaMarr|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of Episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cartoon Network Studios|
|Original channel||Cartoon Network|
|Original run||August 10, 2001– September 25, 2004|
Cartoon Network (2001-2004)
Adult Swim (Toonami) (February 2014-Present)
Samurai Jack tells the story of a young prince (Jack) from Feudal Japan whose father's empire is destroyed by the shape shifting demon Aku. As a child, the prince escapes destruction and travels the world training his mind and his body for years until he reaches adulthood, becoming a legendary samurai. After taking his father's magic katana, he challenges Aku to a duel and defeats the demon. However, before the prince can deal the killing blow, Aku creates a time portal and sends his opponent into the distant future, anticipating that he would be able to amass sufficient power to deal with the samurai later. He arrives in a dystopian, futuristic Earth ruled by Aku and filled with his robot minions and a large number of alien immigrant races of various appearances. The first people he encounters in the future call him "Jack" as a form of slang, which he adopts as his name (his true given name is never mentioned in the series).
Standard episodes follow Jack's search for a way to travel back to his own time, where he hopes to stop Aku before these events come to pass. The cartoon depicts Jack's quest to find a time portal, while constantly facing obstacles set by Aku in a classic battle of Good versus Evil. Typically each time Jack believes he has reached the end of his quest, something causes him to dramatically miss his chance. In one attempt Jack locates a stable portal to the past, but the guardian of the portal (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) defeats him after a long but noticeably mismatched battle. The guardian is about to crush Jack when the portal starts to flicker and glow, seemingly giving the guardian a message; the guardian has a giant pterodactyl take the unconscious Jack away. After Jack leaves, the guardian states that it is not yet time for him to return to the past, and an image of what is implied to be an older Jack is then seen in the portal; indicating that Jack is predestined to succeed, but it will take years for him to do so.
Samurai Jack takes place in a world where science and technology have developed far beyond what is available in the present day, and in some ways resembles magic on its own. However, despite scientific advances, the future is decidedly dystopian—for example, in one episode the mafia profits greatly from the sale of simple water. Aliens, bounty hunters, and robots are plentiful, and always ready for a fight. The leader of this world is Aku. While the setting is distinctly futuristic and technological, instances of mythology and supernatural events do occur. Mythologies, like Valhalla, and even supernatural forces, such as demonic enemies, make regular appearances, yet do not seem to stand out amongst the technologically advanced inhabitants. Aku himself is supernatural, as is Jack's sword. Stories take place in a variety of locations. Ranging from beautiful wilderness to futuristic or even dystopian cities, there is often a stark contrast made between the industrial world and the natural world.
There had been plans for Samurai Jack: The 3D Movie in 2002, but this project was cancelled after the lackluster performance of The Powerpuff Girls Movie. In an interview, Tartakovsky confirmed that "Jack will come back" and that "we will finish the story, and there will be an animated film." In 2007, the then newly formed production company Frederator Films announced in Variety that one of their first projects will be a feature film adaptation of Samurai Jack, written and directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. As of September 2009, the film was said to be in the writing stage of pre-production, co-produced by Cartoon Network Movies and J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions alongside Fred Seibert of Frederator Films and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.  The movie is still being planned. In September 2012, Genndy Tartakovsky announced in an interview with IGN that a Samurai Jack movie is in pre-production. He said: "I've been trying so hard every year, and the one amazing thing about Jack is that I did it in 2001, you know, and it still survived. There's something about it that's connected with people. And I want it, it's number 1 on my list, and now Bob Osher, the President (of Digital Production at Sony Pictures Entertainment), is like 'Hey, let's talk about Jack. Let's see what we can do.' And I go, 'You're going to do a 2D feature animated movie?' and he's like, 'Yeah. Maybe. Let's do some research and let's see.' So it's not dead for sure by any means, and it's still on the top of my list, and I'm trying as hard as I can." It is going to be the conclusion for the series. The film, which is budgeted at $20 million, will combine traditional 2D animation with stereoscopic 3D. Tartakovsky said the loss of Mako Iwamatsu (Aku's voice actor) would also need to be addressed.