Worth the Watch? Samurai Jack: Season 5 Episode 2

When I turned off the NCAA tournament to watch the latest episode of Samurai Jack, I honestly thought I might regret it. After watching it however, I can safely say that I made the best decision of that entire day.

While the premiere and therefore first episode of season five was great for introducing us to the world and giving us a glimpse at what Jack has gone through over the last 50 years, nothing could have prepared me for what the follow up was.

It might seem like I am exaggerating this episode a little bit, and to be fair I might be. But in my opinion, this is the single best episode of Samurai Jack to date.

Take into account when I say this however that I have not rewatched the original four season in upwards of two years so I am going off of memory and it is still a close call between this and a few other classics. But I stand by what I said.

If you are not caught up or for some reason have either not been watching the newest season or seen the original, then stop reading now and go do so, because this next portion will delve into spoiler territory. You have been warned.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

In the last episode, the writers slowly got us used to the new voice of Aku by making use of the villain of the episode calling him on a cell phone like device.

Many people took this to mean we would not actually see Aku for many more episodes until the buildup was over and there was a grand reveal, probably in some sort of menacing or evil fashion. What we got, in my opinion, was a much truer to style reintroduction.

How do we meet the conqueror of the world and lord of all evil? Well by seeing him wake up, don his iconic flaming eyebrows and go through a morning routine of stretches of course.

This introduction to Aku makes things perfectly clear that despite the much darker and meaningful tone of the final season, things have not changed so drastically as to make our favorite demon lord lose his comedic side.

We see him stretch and talk with a few groups wishing to pay him tribute, which while cool, defeats part of the significance for the back story of the Daughters of Aku from episode one. Part of the reason they are born and trained so thoroughly is due to their mother and apparent matriarch of their cult wanting Aku to come back to the world.

Hopefully we get a little more details about where exactly Aku is located and maybe some information about why he is there.

The second group of people who visit Aku are three scientists who show him a giant version of the beetledrones from the previous episode. They state it will finally rid Aku of the Samurai.

To my surprise, Aku talks about how he does not care for the defeat of Jack anymore and that he actually finds it amusing to see him run around with all of the issues going on in his head. This was a route I was not thinking we would see.

At this point it is still assumed that Aku knows not of Jack’s sword being lost, which I am hoping we see more about soon, so that makes this train of thought come as even more of a surprise. He tells them to keep trying anyways and slinks back down to his domain.

I took him seriously until he started talking in a slightly higher tone, and the next scene when he is talking to himself as a shrink made me laugh. It also gave us some insight into the events that led to the current timeline.

Aku said he destroyed all of the time gates in hopes that by doing so Jack would just die of old age over time. Instead he found out Jack does not age and he is distraught over that fact, but refuses to do anything about it.

Thus, ends our time with the main villain and we enter a scene with a single white wolf. I immediately thought we would see Jack hunting the beast, but soon found it was instead a simultaneous use of imagery for the fate about to befall our hero.

After the wolf runs into the shadowed tiger and its companions we see Jack riding his motorcycle and choosing paths on a fork in the road. He stops suddenly in a clearing and is attacked by the giant drone we saw previously.

We get a brief flash over to the Wolf before Jack uses his trusty spear to one-shot the large mechanical beast. As he is riding off again however his bike is destroyed by what appears to have been a steel trip wire and he is assaulted by unknown assailants.

A brief assault shows how helpless Jack is against these attackers and he is soon left in but a shell of his armor and trying to mow them down with a gun. It doesn’t work and he is forced to hide.

This scene where he confronts what appears to be the Jack of long ago is deep and very well written. It shows how truly at war he is with himself and touches on the idea of Jack walking to his own death with honor.

He manages to ignore his inner musings and makes a break for a temple, which is shown through a sequence that is amazingly done. His assailants are revealed to be the Daughters of Aku and we now truly see how much trouble Jack is in.

We see Jack outwit the sisters before he himself is outwitted and pushed to the brink. With one last ditch effort, he hides in a coffin with only a nearly broken sword as protection.

His position gets compromised and he begins to fight in what appears to be a hopeless battle against seven enemies. He once more manages to escape and faces down one of the sisters alone.

At this point I realized that no words had been said since the conclusion of the inner dialogue and I was speechless. Through nothing but music, sound effects and animation this episode hooked me more than I have been for an episode of anything in years.

The fight concludes with Jack slashing the sister’s throat and realizing that his attackers are actually human. There is blood on the blade when he drops it and looks at what he has done.

He does not have time to dwell on that as he has been stabbed by a dagger in the torso and the others are gaining on him. He grabs the vibrating sword he took from his opponent in the last episode and uses it to escape.

The last two things we see before the credits are a bloodied Jack floating down the river in a pool of his own blood, and an equally bloodied white wolf lying dead in the clearing from earlier around the dead bodies of the tigers.

Once more I am left with a hole in my heart where the next episode is bound to fit and waiting with baited breath for it. This series is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorites.

Does Samurai Jack Season 5 live up to its hype?

Samurai Jack Season 5 aired on March 11, 2017. Cale breaks down whether it lives up to the hype or not.

Thanks to Adult Swim having the foresight that this would be a big night for them, I watched the premiere of Samurai Jack Season 5 online along with upwards of 30,000 other people.

As I said in my previous article on the subject, the fourth season of Samurai Jack finished airing on September 25, 2004 before being cancelled. This left fans distraught and worried that they would never truly see the Samurai from the past accomplish his goals.

After series creator Genndy Tartakovsky announced the fifth and final season would air on Adult Swim in 2016, pushed back into 2017 after production slowed, fans rejoiced and began hyping the series up.

Many people looked at the outcry of joy, support and hope with a critical eye and said that even with many of the same people working on it, 13-years of hiatus will deteriorate the product.

Well I am here to say that the revival of Samurai Jack blew my expectations away. Other than the budget getting a boost, which shows in how beautiful the episode looked, and the show now airing on an adult network, so the creators no longer need to censor violence, the show is as strong as ever.

I watched the episode two times, back to back, and time seemed to fly because I was so enamored with it. It took me back to when I was a little kid, staying up late to watch it with my little brother and dad.

The art style looks more polished and less constricted by both the technology at the time and the vision of the creator. 13-years has given some of the characters a reimagining, but the feel of the show as a whole is identical to previous seasons.

The signature backgrounds and stylized characters are back and look better than ever. The cuts during action still draw you in and odd framing choices point you to areas that might have gone unnoticed to the average eyes.

On the note of drawing attention to something, Jack is seriously messed up after those 50-years have passed. I won’t delve into spoilers since this is an experience I want everyone to have for themselves, but let’s just say there is a large case of PTSD in store for the near future.

There are things shown, talked about and foreshadowed that I cannot wait to see more of in the future. As soon as I turned off the stream I was already anxious for the second episode.

The blood is minimal, but shows that coupled with the already darker tone, this season might get really personal for our favorite time-traveler.

Starting with next week’s episode I will break down each new one, but for the first week I hope you go and enjoy the final chapter of a cartoon classic.

Samurai Jack is back!

On March 11th, 2017 the final season of Samurai Jack will air 13-years after Season 4 ended.

After years of leaving fans in suspense, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim finally gave creator Genndy Tartakovsky the green light to bring back his most successful series, Samurai Jack, after it has been off the air for 13-years.

Saturday, March, 11th will see the release of Samurai Jack Season 5, episode 1 on Adult Swim at 11 p.m. EST (10 p.m. CST) and start the 10-episode conclusion to the cult classic.

The last episode of Samurai Jack before this new season was season 4, episode 13 “Jack and the Baby”, which aired Saturday, September 25, 2004. Now over a decade late, myself and many other fans are anxiously waiting for more of the time traveling samurai’s adventures.

In the trailer that was released earlier this year, it was revealed that Jack’s original voice actor, Phil LaMarr, would be reprising his famous role and Greg Baldwin will continue his long line of roles that were originally held by deceased Japanese voice actor Makoto “Mako” Iwamatsu. Baldwin has voiced Aku multiple times for other projects since Mako’s passing.

The visuals for the final season of the fan favorite cartoon received a huge upgrade and look stunning in nearly every facet. While it is true that the show has been upgraded, it is still clear as day that the same style and expertise used in the original that we all remember so fondly.

Speaking of the familiar style, one major difference that can be gleamed form the small amount of the show we have been given is the much darker tone this iteration seems to be leaning towards. Now the original seasons were never completely lighthearted, season 5 seems to be heading for a dark conclusion that might take fans by surprise.

I am sure the ending will be satisfying to no end, but I can’t help the feeling that our favorite swordsman might not get the happy ending people think he deserves.

With updated visuals and a large portion of the cast and creative team from the original project having worked tirelessly to get this done for countless years, the hype will finally be put to the test when Toonami starts up on Saturday.

RWBY Review

In all honesty, I had a much better time with Rooster Teeth’s RWBY than I thought I would. While the animation up to the newest volume, Volume 4, was jarring and bugged me to an extent, I got over it to have a good weekend of binging it.

Previously, I had tried watching the first episode of the series multiple times and failed to get over the weird animation, despite loving the music and the voice acting being up to standard. It wasn’t until I made a deal with a friend of mine that I would finish the job.

Over the past week, mainly the weekend, I was dragged through all four volumes of the pseudo-anime and after the first pair of episodes the things that stopped me from finishing them seemed to fade away. I started enjoying some of the quirky animation.

Now for the record, I will by no means call the animation of Volumes 1-3 good, Volume 4 is another story entirely and is another post in and of itself. The CG style does give the characters a certain charm in the way their movements aren’t perfect or sometimes go off model, but in comparison to what I think it could have been in a traditional 2D animated style, it holds back the story and characters.

The biggest compliment I can give this show is that when it works it works as well as any show I have binged. I am sure if I was watching it on a one episode per week basis the story and characters would have had a much bigger impact on me. As it stands I will keep up with the fifth volume when that does come out, but I am in no rush to watch the show from the start again.

The two other things I enjoyed the most about the show are the characters and the soundtrack. Each character in the show is unique, from the titular Ruby Rose to the lovable klutz Jaune Arc, they all have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to personality. The voice actors, in most cases, are great picks for their roles despite most of them having done no professional work before this project.

Soundtrack wise, composer Jeff Williams did a wonderful job making an atmospheric and emotional OST that I enjoy listening to when I need to unwind or am reading. There are a few tracks that feel a little out of place at times, but for the most part it was spot on and at its best moments I had goosebumps from how well it worked.

My main complaints have already been aired out a little, namely the animation and how it affected my intake of the early portion of the story. Once you get past that however, the show becomes a very enjoyable experience.

My time watching RWBY was a pleasant surprise and I am happy to give the Rooster Teeth product a solid 7/10. I highly recommend giving it a watch, especially with how accessible it is.

The Destiny of the Boston Bruins

With how the season is turning out for the Boston Bruins it won’t shock most fans to find out that they hold their chances to get into the playoffs in their own hands. They currently sit one point back of the Philadelphia Flyers in the standings and with three games left on their schedule, all at home against quality teams, they have every opportunity to get over that barrier.

 

The last game the Bruins played ended in a disappointing loss at the hands of the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks despite a very strong late game push. They have been playing great during the latter half of games but it has been proving to be insufficient seeing as they have lost more of them then won.

 

After the loss in Chicago the media mainly focused on the Boston veterans who were in a similar position to this last year when 96 points was not enough to get them into the postseason. They all had a similar one game at a time mentality.

 

“We are focusing on the game against the Hurricanes. That’s the biggest focus right now,” said Boston defensemen Zdeno Chara. “We don’t look at as a three game sequence, you know? Right now we look at it like the Carolina game is the biggest game for us.

 

If they win out against all three of their upcoming opponents they will guarantee themselves a place in the playoffs.

 

Switching Up Lines to Attempt Improvement

With the scratching of Ryan Spooner for the Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are being forced to switch up their lineups with hopes to gain some more consistent production from their lackluster late lines.

The main move is right wing Loui Eriksson moving from his natural position to the center. He will be suiting up in a new way next to teammates Jimmy Hayes and Frank Vatrano and will try to give the third line rotation something to contribute.

He has played a bit of center earlier this season, most recently against the Maple Leafs following Spooner leaving the game in the third with an undisclosed injury and while Eriksson might not have the physical aspects to match Spooner’s game, his high IQ when it comes to the game and better two-way game could prove to be an advantage.

“I did try it in Dallas. I had a few games in Dallas at center. It’s a little different. I kind of liked the work you have to put in as a centerman, and I’ll try to do my best.” said Eriksson.

The forward from Sweden is on the upswing offensively with three assists and 11 shots in the last trio of games. That is great for the team as they are looking for offense wherever they can find it going into this stretch of must win games.

Bruins Bow Late to the Kings

Yesterdays’ Boston Bruins game was one of the rare times when the winner was the team who didn’t play better during the game. After a taxing road trip the Bruins started off very lethargic against the Los Angeles Kings and that led to a quick boost for the home team. The Kings ended the first period up 1-0 on the visiting Bruins and they held that lead through the first and added to the score in the second leading by two heading into the third. This is when Boston came to life. Even during the second the Bruins played great despite giving up another goal.

 

Heading into the third the Bruins were looking for a turnaround and many fans watching were confused how they didn’t pull out a win. After the Kings scored their second goal the B’s started playing as if their season was on the line leading to fourth-liner Tyler Randell to score making it a 2-1 game. Randell’s goal was the first the Bruins had scored on their three game road trip through California. The main difference maker for the Kings was their goalie Jonathan Quick who saved 27 out of 28 shot attempts continuing with yet another successful season. The Bruins are looking to wash this bad taste out of their mouths Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

Bruins Win Big In OT

The Boston Bruins have put together a very rough patch over the last 10 games, but seeing the season they are having overall puts a better taste in fan’s mouths. The most recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the only team that was above Boston in the Atlantic Division going into the game, was a defensive showing that held all the way to the final buzzer. The Bruins are known for their stifling 1-on-1 defenders and stellar goal-keeping that shined through as they dragged the Lightning into overtime. Their leader on defense was goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who tallied 42 saves and allowing no points to be scored by the opponents. Over the season, he has a 91.6 percent save percentage, which is the highest of his career. After a very disappointing season for the Detroit Redwings last year, the fans in Boston are glad he has bounced back.

 

Offense was a scarce sight in this contest, but the Bruins didn’t let that stop them as within the first 10 seconds of overtime, the game was decided. After a solid pass from Patrice Bergeron during a 2-on-1 rush, Brad Marchand was able to put in a shot on Ben Bishop, one of the best goalies in the league, for an amazing stick side shot. Now the Bruins and Lightning are tied atop the Atlantic Division and are fighting for playoff positioning. This game might end up being very factor later on.

The Rising Salary Cap Will Change Everything. What Do People Think?

  • Over the next two seasons the NBA’s salary cap is expanding by upwards of 20 million dollars.
  • Only people who pay pretty close attention to the league’s inner workings would know about the changes.
  • There are many mixed opinions on the salary players in professional sports are paid to play competitively for a living.

 

NBA teams are getting an enormous boost to their spending salary this upcoming season due to ESPN and TNT extending the TV game deals. The students of Oklahoma Christian University are not impacted directly by this event, but it does impact the college landscape and its players. After speaking with Seth Copple, who is speaking from an outside perspective, that even without following the game, he still had strong opinions about the budget increase.

 

Benefiting Others

 

“They should use some of that money to benefit other parts of the communities,” said Copple. “They deserved to be paid a large amount, but some of that money should go to veterans or other worthy causes.”

 

NBA teams are expected to gain $ 20 million in salary cap space in the upcoming 2016 – 2017 season. The average player’s potential max contract would jump from around $ 26–35 million per athlete. That brings the normal max contract for players up to a bit less then what Michael Jordan was making on his biggest contract. Putting that into perspective is like saying that some players who are the best on their team but not a top-five talent in the league will be making money similar to the amount Jordan made. Speaking with David Young brought about a new way to approach the subject.

 

Deserving of Pay

 

“I think it is a good thing for both the teams and the players in multiple ways,” said Young. “They put so much effort into what they do and devote themselves to it fully, and that deserves to be compensated for.”

 

With every professional sport there is speculation and criticism about how much players are payed. It always degrades into arguments over how much they should earn. This dispute changes drastically depending on multiple facets such as experience with the sport, whether they actually enjoy the game or if they even have an opinion on it. When asked about the topic, Cody Gill, a student from OC, had some varying views about the budget increase.

 

“I agree with the salary cap getting an increase because the NBA is bringing in more money to sustain a larger budget,” said Gill when asked about the money coming in. “It is a great thing for the players who really need the extra money, but for the more well-known players, the money is reaching insane heights.”

 

 

Safe Changes

 

Though Gill points out the positive effects of the change, he also remarks that new rules need to be set in place to make these changes work.

 

“If a player makes more than a certain amount of money each season, then they should have a larger amount of contractual obligation toward their teams,” Gill said. “Players that make under that set amount each season should be immune to the same restrictions that someone with a LeBron James-sized contract during events such as a lockout.”

 

The difference this monetary increase makes will be seen immediately once free agency hits and the players on the market start setting new  records for salary for their roles. The same could be said when it gets even bigger in 2017, because contracts will be breaking all previous records by the beginning of that year’s season.

danny-ainge

[Danny Ainge, General Manager of the Boston Celtics, talking to the media about upcoming events during a press conference at TD Garden Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.]

More From this Writer:

https://boosterblogs.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/nba-season-preview-2015-16/

https://boosterblogs.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/top-five-surprising-starts/

 

Similar Articles:

http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2015/7/10/8920347/nba-salary-cap-figures-2015-2016

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/17/8447839/nba-salary-cap-projection-free-agency-2016-2017

 

Top Five Surprising Starts

Top Five Surprising Starts

By: Cale S Michael (@BoosterGreen)

In my last article I talked about my predictions for what the NBA season would shape up to look like, but as we all know no one can predict everything and man did I mess up on some stuff. This one will be all about the five things that surprised me the most out of the first few weeks of this season. They will be in no particular order but these are just a couple of thoughts about the most surprising starts for a team, player, etc.

 

  1. The Warriors Big Start

In my predictions article I said that the reigning champs would take a small step back from last year and I will be the first to admit that I was completely wrong. The Dubs are back and better than ever. Steph Curry is playing out of his mind at a level that an MVP should play at. If he played like this last year he would have been much more accepted as the MVP. The entire team, minus the new additions from this offseason, are playing with a chip on their shoulder for being underestimated even after all they did last year. They are in my opinion the most dangerous team in the league for multiple reasons but there is one main reason. Anyone on this team could have an amazing game. Sure you have to worry about Curry and Thompson, but that doesn’t mean you can sleep on Barnes, Green, Iguodala, or even Bogut to have a big night. This team is proving that they are ready to repeat and I think they might just be able to pull it off.

 

  1. Timberwolves Uprising

True they may not be as good as some of the other teams in the league at the moment and sure they might look a bit out of sync with each other at times, but they have come out this season with a fiery spirit that is fit for a team willing to fight to the last man in the last minute of a close game. Rubio is healthy and firing on all cylinders and looking great while doing it. Watching the T-Wolves play you can feel the impact Rubio has and although he isn’t a great 3-point shooter he is still an amazing all-around player. Wiggins looks like he is ready to improve on his already great rookie season. Towns is looking like a pro already and making a huge impact already while learning from the great KG. I am really looking forward to the remaining season for this squad.

 

  1. Detroit Basketball Returns

The last few years have been a disappointment for the Pistons except for two bright spots. One of those bright spots now plays for Milwaukee and the other is dropping 20-20 games left and right. I still think they should have traded Monroe knowing that he had a high chance to walk away but if the compensation for that mistake is the Drummond-Jackson combo that we have been seeing to start this year off, I think it was worth it. Illyasova is fitting in great with the scheme and all of the pieces are falling into place for Detroit to make the playoffs. I would like to see them trade for some other shooters to help space the floor better but the upside is looking very high this season.

 

  1. Rajon Resurgence

Most Celtics fans will tell you that Rondo was the best pure point guard in the league. Most Mavs fans are now in tears seeing as the Celtics fans were right and now that Rondo is in the mess that is called the Kings organization and setting the court on fire with his triple-doubles. And most Kings fans are also crying because despite Boogie’s great year so far and Rondo playing great, their team is still a huge mess that has little hope of a turn around this year. The entire league is waiting to see the coming implosion and where that leaves the three main players, Gay included, of that team. Most of the teams in the league are salivating at the prospect and getting the phones ready for that day.

 

  1. Raptors Pull It Together

The Raptors were not favored by me in the previous list and I want to apologize here for that. This team is complete now after they added Carroll in the offseason. They have depth, scoring, defense, and the toughness needed to take them over that hump they have been stopped at for the past few seasons. With Lowry and Jonas playing superbly along with the other pieces they have, this team will be one to watch for the remaining season.

 

I hope that some of my points are valid and put some of the basics of this year into perspective. The season has just started and many more surprises are waiting to happen in the near future. I will probably make more lists similar to this over the course of the year. As always thanks for reading.

 

  • Cale S Michael (11-15-2015)