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Samurai Jack has been on his quest for a long, long time when we catch up with him in the upcoming Season Five on Adult Swim. Apparently, since he was originally thrown forward through time by Aku, he has stopped aging. At the same time, he seems older. The years appear to have begun catching up to him. Fifty years of struggling to get back to the past, to be reunited with his clan and his family. Fifty years of loneliness, hopelessness, and endless battle. Fifty hard years appear to have finally begun to wear down Jack’s determination.
But let’s not jump ahead to that, yet. The new season isn’t upon us quite yet, so we shouldn’t try to predict too much of what kind of Jack we’ll meet when we get there. Instead, let’s talk about what we know drives him onward.
Jack’s main motivator, beginning with the tearful goodbye on the start of his journey, is love for his village, his friends, and his family. From childhood, he has trained to defend them from the foreseen return of the demon, Aku. The entire purpose of his life until now has been protecting them from harm. Even in the future, where he conceivably could have settled down in some way and lived a relatively peaceful life, he still spends every waking moment trying to find a way back to them.
Love can be a major positive force in one’s life. Personally, for me at least, love for my family, my friends, and you fine folks out there is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Doing awesome stuff is cool and all, but a lot of life isn’t always awesome. While you may not be endlessly battling a terrifying demon overlord, life still can be mundane, difficult, or even downright miserable sometimes. Having loved ones who support us, who need our support as well, can be the difference between despair and determination in these moments.
Honor was an incredibly integral part of the samurai identity. In Jack’s world, he operates by a pretty strict code of honor as well. He refuses to harm innocents, even when they may be obnoxiously annoying. He feels a duty to help those who cannot help themselves, even if he has no personal connection to them. He treats others with respect, and expects to be given the same. Even when operating (by necessity) with organized crime lords, he still finds ways to help people, defend those who cannot defend themselves, and fulfill his own word, in his own way, to those crime lords.
Living by a personal code is an incredibly powerful thing, provided it is a well examined and well intentioned code. If you have such a code of conduct to live by, you become a symbol of your own beliefs fulfilled in physical form. Of course, I can’t tell you what code to live by, but here’s a few good guidelines to live by (at least in my own humble opinion.) Incidentally, they’re pretty similar to Jack’s, as well.
- Respect others, and indicate that you expect the same respect from them in return.
- Be compassionate to those less fortunate than yourself.
- Defend those who cannot defend themselves.
- Strive to become a better version of yourself every day.
- Live boldly.
- Change the world.
- Be awesome.
(Wait how did those sneak in there?)
Throughout his journey in the future, Jack encounters people who have been wronged. Some have been wronged by Aku and his minions, others by those who just wish them harm. In all cases, Jack takes it upon himself to not only right these wrongs, but to mete out justice upon those who committed them. He’s not the type of person to go looking for a fight, but he understands that sometimes it is necessary to end such conflicts, definitively.
In life, we constantly encounter those who have been wronged in some way, shape, or form. We should strive to not only help those people (as I mentioned in the codes above about being compassionate to those less fortunate than us,) but also to solve the issues that wronged them in the first place. Now, life isn’t a badass action cartoon (unfortunately,) so it’s usually a bit more complicated than just striking down a bad guy and saving the day. Plus the authorities tend to frown upon people who run around swinging a sword and handing out vigilante justice.
Nonetheless, we need to recognize that solving situations that cause harm to others is both a necessary and complex issue. The solutions are very rarely simple, but they’re important to seek out, nonetheless. In dispensing justice on those around us, seek to solve problems in addition to just healing symptoms, and remember that every single person you meet is dealing with some kind of internal (or external) struggle.
In the end, Jack continues his quest. We don’t know yet how it will end, but I’m hoping the folks at Adult Swim give him an ending befitting one of the greatest samurai to ever be portrayed in media. I’ve really enjoyed our time with him, and it was fun to break out of the “video game character” mold a bit.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next week with a new post! Until then, as always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace