Real Name: Unknown
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: The Scotsman
Enemies: Aku, Gordo, the Aqualizer, Sumato, Demongo, Ezekial Clench, Shinobi
Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased in the future time period)
Aliases: Brent Worthington
Base of Operations: Earth, an unspecified time in the future when
it is ruled by Aku;
formerly feudal Japan
First Appearance: Samurai Jack #1 The Beginning (Cartoon Network, 10th August 2001)
Powers/Abilities: Jack is an astoundingly skilled martial artist and swordsman. He wields a magical sword which can slice through virtually anything; it is magically empowered so that when used by an evil person it cannot harm innocents or those of pure heart.
History: Aku was a primordial evil, the last surviving remnant of a creature of pure malice which was destroyed by the combined forces of the gods Odin, Ra and Rama. The splinter of this foul beast which became Aku fell to Earth during the final battle, where it festered and grew; for millennia it was a blight on all life on the planet, starting when it destroyed the dinosaurs.
In ancient Japan the Emperor learned of this shapeless evil, and took his armies to confront it; though his forces were annihilated, the Emperor managed to fire an arrow dipped in a magical elixir into the dark force. Rather than killing it as had been intended, this merely served to set it free; taking on form and dubbing itself Aku (Japanese for evil / demon) it imprisoned the Emperor and began to prey on his country. However the three gods who had opposed Aku's forebear saw to the Emperor's release, and gifted him with a magical sword they had forged, capable of destroying the monster. After a long fight, the Emperor managed to banish Aku, but remained all too aware he might one day return.
Sure enough, many years later, Aku reappeared to menace Japan once more. Witnessing the destruction of his village, a young boy set out to learn how to defeat him. He travelled the world, learning a variety of fighting styles (English archery, Greek wrestling, Russian axe throwing, martial arts from Shaolin Monks, etc) and other skills from any willing to teach him. Returning home a Samurai, he obtained the sword which legends said could vanquish Aku; he managed to free Japan from the villain's domination, and tried to finish his foe once and for all. However, at the end of a pitched battle and just before he could destroy the sorcerer, the young Samurai was sent hurtling in to the far future by Aku. He arrived in a strange new world, one ruled by Aku and peopled by robots and aliens as well as mankind. The first locals he met were hip types, who constantly referred to the stranger as "Jack" (as in "What's happening Jack?"); so when he was later asked for his name, he replied simply "They call me Jack".
Now Jack wanders this world, seeking to find a portal to the past which will allow him to return home and defeat Aku before the demon can take over the planet, battling Aku's minion, and leaving a growing legend in his wake.
Comments: Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, voiced by Phil LaMarr.
52 episodes of the Samurai Jack cartoon were made before the series went on hiatus in 2004, while the creator worked on other projects including the Clone Wars series. Supposedly Genndy Tartovsky has at least another season in the works for Samurai Jack. Thanks to Dana Laing for this last piece of information.
Informing me of the two time-travelling samurai predecessors to Jack (see clarifications), Kelvin Green notes "The computer game is probably a bit obscure to be an influence on Samurai Jack (although the Commodore 64 was the world's most popular computer at the time, and First Samurai was a high-profile game, so perhaps...), and was probably based in part on Ronin itself. The creators of Samurai Jack have acknowledged Ronin as an influence, but have downplayed its importance."
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Samurai, Canadian character
Samuree, Continuity Comics heroine
the unnamed time-travelling samurai brought to a dystopian future to fight a demon king from Frank Miller's Ronin.
the unnamed time-travelling samurai brought to a dystopian future to fight a demon king from Vivid Image's 1991 Commodore 64/Amiga game First Samurai.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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