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Watching the Episode Jack and the Ultra-Robots

I first watched the season 2 episode Jack and the Ultra-Robots either on or very soon after its premiere on 29 March 2002. It stuck out to me more than most other episodes the first time I saw it, and, even today, it remains for me one of the most memorable episodes of Samurai Jack, and is one of my favorites of the entire series.

The focus of the episode, of course, is the eight robotic assassins, each of whom has a unique (and also quite cool) weapon and fighting style, and all of whom are immune to damage from normal strikes of Jack's sword. Although the episode's introduction, in which the nature and abilities of the robots are gradually made clear through both the recollections of their victims and the brief scenes showing them being readied in the factory/laboratory, is excellently done, it is definitely the robots' initial invulnerability to Jack's sword—which not even Aku has—that stuck out to me the most. It was one of the few times when Jack, almost unbelievably to me back then, decisively lost a battle and was forced to run away; because of this, I found the robots to be very cool and badass, and I even recall, as a kid, devoting the time and effort to carefully drawing all eight of them after I had finished watching the episode.

Of course, after Jack obtains the cybernetic synaptically linked dyno-dextric isometric polyduratanium power gauntlet, which boosts his strength enough so that he can cut through the robots, the episode proceeds much like the rest of the series: Jack fights outnumbered, but still manages handily to dispatch his enemies. My only criticism of the episode, I would say, is during the final part of the battle, when the gauntlet runs out of power with only one robot assassin remaining, and (at the 19:22 mark of the video) Jack prays to his ancestors, whereupon his sword is charged with divine power; even as a kid at the time, I found this to be a bit of a stretch.

Interestingly, it should be noted that Jack quickly lost to the robots the first time he battled them, the core reason being, of course, that his sword couldn't damage them; recall, however, that not even Aku is impervious to the sword, and in the first episode of the show, he lost to Jack, who used no other weapon or equipment but the sword. Could it therefore be concluded that the eight robot assassins are, in a way, even more powerful than Aku, as they were able to deliver a defeat to Jack when Aku could not? (I do not doubt that, in a hypothetical battle between the two, Aku could very readily be imagined to be capable of destroying the robots with ease, but I still believe it to be noteworthy that, in this episode, they were able to accomplish something that Aku couldn't.)

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This page last modified on 29 March 2021.