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General Thoughts on Samurai Jack

This show is, in my opinion, Genndy Tartakovsky's masterpiece. Its visuals, pacing, fight scenes, soundtrack, excellent and memorable premiere movie, and general style make it a classic of Cartoon Network, the equal of any of the programming that aired on Toonami back in the 2000s.

I followed Samurai Jack throughout its entire original run, from 2001 to 2004, and even back then I considered it a thrilling action-adventure series that was one of the better shows on the channel, though in those days I was still too young, I think, to truly appreciate it. The last time during the 2000s that I can clearly remember watching it on television was 2008, when Toonami decided to air reruns of it shortly before that block ended in September 2008; I recall at the time being quite happy that this show, which by then I had not seen for a few years, was being broadcast again, and I remember with some fogginess that I had already begun to accord it more respect than before. However, it was only many years later, as I grew older, that I gradually came to recognize the fine quality of this series, and to feel—at least before it received a revival and formal conclusion in 2017 (which I watched, of course)—that it was one of the great, groundbreaking shows which aired during the golden age of Cartoon Network, and which ended before its time.

Although I have not watched Cartoon Network since 2010 (with the exception of the revived Toonami and occasionally Adult Swim) and hence know almost nothing of its children's programming after that year, I nevertheless feel confident when I say that—besides the material shown on Toonami and Adult Swim—nothing Cartoon Network has aired since 2010 has ever come close to matching the quality of Samurai Jack (and, yes, this includes that heavily overrated Adventure Time thing—problem?); it is simply that good. It is not a comedy series, so there are, of course, many other cartoons that have it beat in that regard, and there are many anime series I've seen that are as good or better, but in terms of Western action-adventure children's animation, I know of nothing else that can match it. (When considering action-adventure quality, its closest competitor on Cartoon Network was probably Star Wars: Clone Wars, which is also a Genndy Tartakovsky animated series from the 2000s.)

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This page last modified on 29 March 2021.