|Index||4 reviews in total|
A bittersweet episode of Samurai Jack, this is told from the viewpoint
of an emotional robot who, against his better instincts, must go up
against Jack to save his beloved dog Lulu...sweet thing.
The inspirations for this one are pretty obvious, from the rain-soaked narration (Bladerunner) and the shoot-out at the robot factory (The Terminator). But, though the ending is necessary, it's still sad. It's probably the only time in the series when we, as viewers, wanted to see the inevitable...less inevitable. No, no, we didn't want Aku to succeed, of course not, we just wanted...something more.
The final ending, with Jack's sad expression, is left to viewers, but I hope I am not alone in hoping that somehow, off screen, Jack made sure that Lulu...sweet thing...was duly rescued.
Many times, it's surprising how simple cartoons can affect us.
One of the few cartoons that actually made me teary-eyed, a true masterpiece, Music, Story, Image all of them flawless I've seen a lot of "black" movies but this one so simple yet so complex, forces so much meditation form a mature viewer... an emotional robot sacrifices his "life" for a living creature, a dog as a symbol for his desire to be "living". I have seen no movie as powerful as these 20 minutes of a cartoon network cartoon in my life. An episode about existence, and what it means for all of us, in this case sacrifice for a dream and a desire, to be flesh and blood. A great view for all ages, but i'm guessing mature people will appreciate it more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So what happens when you look at a story from the viewpoint of a robot that Jack casually destroys, in striking cinematic noir style, and completely in narration? You get one of the most different and downbeat episodes of this series. It stars X9, an assassin robot that was built with a personality chip because his inventor was.."funny that way." All the other robots of his model were destroyed because they were unfeeling and didn't have a true will to live, whereas his unique emotions gave him a distinct advantage in battle. He gets to retire and adopts a cute puppy named Lulu, "sweet thing." One day Aku kidnaps Lulu in order to force X9 to try to kill Jack, and over half the episode is a framing story, the remainder being a very dramatic and atmospheric face-off he has against Jack as the tone changes with the music stopping and all you hear is the bullets flying and the whirr of X9's gears as he stealthily hunts for the samurai. And it's a very strangely-toned match because the end result is a forgone conclusion: Jack is the hero, X9 is not and you know he can't win, but in this rare case we don't want Jack to win either because X9 isn't evil and is far from a mindless automaton, but Jack doesn't know that, and as X9 falls and implores with his dying 'breath' for Jack to save Lulu Jack just looks puzzled and regretful that he may have made a mistake... And that's what's really sad about the story, that Jack never knows the truth, and I love how you don't want him to win or lose and how it blurs the line between hero and villain. It's not completely without touches of humour, but it is a tragic story for poor X9 the tin man with a heart who dared to take on the might of Samurai Jack to save his beloved puppy and it's one of the most sombrely emotional episodes they ever made. And I also love the great jazz soundtrack and moody animation style that gives this one such a strong atmosphere and unique spot in the show, I mean it's the noir episode! This series tried out so many different themes and ideas and it really could do just about anything it wanted with them, no two episodes were a hundred percent alike, and this creates a strong image and personality of a character we never saw before and never did again, and it ends on such a sad bittersweet note, but it's so phenomenally well- constructed that it's definitely a fantastic and memorable tale, and I love it. Best to watch it on a rainy day...
This animated tale does an outstanding job of telling a touching grown-up story! As is the case with many things that touch your heart, the Tale of X9 is simple story of the robot with the emotion chip who has found meaning in his life thanks to little Lulu and he will do whatever it takes to keep Lulu safe and maintain their blissful existence. The animation of Samurai Jack was always very good. When they took it a step further to give it the feel of a 1940's Noir Film with the robot's clothing, the dark look and the jazzy score, I was hooked! This is one of the series' best and is less about Jack and more about providing a moral tale to the viewer. A must see for animation fans.
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