Gotta get back, back to the past
I love the look of this show! It seems to be heavily stylized yet based around ancient japanese artworks and then he gets thrown foreward into the future and the character designs for everyone else are so diverse he stands out! A man out of his time.
So many elements of this show are fantastic. I held off watching it even as a child until now when it is complete. This is my prefered way to watch anything.
He keeps going, defeating evil and trying to get to Aku and back to his time.
Sci-fi meets Samurai, and whatever happens to be in-between going back. It allows him to be in any situation and fight anything.
He was sent away by his family when Aku first attacked to train and to save his people. He traveled the world to learn many things. This gives him a basic and quick understanding of many things in his new enviroments the story throws at him.
What is there to say? A design style inspired by cartoons of old and the second project he would front with this look. It is not the only show to do this, but it is the most well-known from this time.
Sharp would be the key word I would use when describing the look, and I'm using that word literally in this case. Everything is very angular or goes to sharp points.
Most objects in the background appear to only have two major colors. Which I think is really apparent in the image below.
I believe that this is very important. Contrast with the background and characters makes focusing on the action that plays out simple for the viewer or even easy to track.
But what little detail actually exists in the background elements is the part I find so interesting. It still succeeds in feeling like a place and ultimately not entirely devoid of life.
Some elements of the background are closer and farther, they parallax in an interesting way; Almost as if it is artwork brought to life.
Take into account what I said, I suggest watching a few clips of the show and watching just the background elements. Especially non-combat or calmer segments where the camera moves.
One of my favorite episodes of the first season is Episode 7. It's the first episode where you see him reflect and he applies his prior training to problem solve.
I find it has some of the most interesting enemies to that point. Most of my favorite shots of the first season are also in this episode. Many changes to the aspect ratio here and a really neat use of sound. Jack even shows some restraint in one of his actions that I think can have neat implications for his character later on.
Some of these shots used, remind me of many key points in other stories that I find interesting.
Another point to many of these episodes is they aren't heavily connected. They are usually small stories, with only a main centeral goal. Stopping those who are evil and taking down Aku.
The type of evil and ways he approaches it change by the episode, it feels almost like a monster of the week show. But because the type of thing he faces is always changing and not always a physical thing. It stops the format from ever feeling stale.
I do not want to go into full detail on examples here as it will spoil the show. Some episodes and locations tribute other works.
I am more of a visual and story person, I can't bring myself to talk about the sound design of the series; I don't think I have the background for that. I love the look of this show so much, the creator of this show has done many other amazing works but I am in love with the feeling this one gives me. He's even done a Starwars series but that suprisingly doesn't hit the same as this.
The Starwars Clone Wars project he did, it feels limited in what could happen because all the characters are established. When working with characters established futures, I have to want to care about the period you picked to tell the story or their interactions with those outside the main story.
"I know where we are going, I just don't know how we'll get there". The "How we get there" part needs to be interesting enough for me to get engaged and that one just doesn't capture it.
Samurai Jack doesn't have this problem anywhere. Which is usually bound to happen when Time Travel is involved.