Samurai Jack

Season 1 Episode 1

I: The Beginning (I)

Aired Saturday 12:30 AM Aug 10, 2001 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
77 votes

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Episode Summary

When the wizard Aku attacks his land, an unnamed samurai travels the world training to battle him.

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  • Excellent beginning

    I haven't seen that much of Samurai Jack so I suppose I have some catching-up to do. And that pilot episode gets me really interested. The animation is... well, maybe little outdated, but still nice. The whole plot is also a strong point and is established with little amount of dialogue. The music is catchy and it fits the action scenes, which deliver too. I: The Beginning is a really great way to start the series. It gets EXCELLENT 6 from BAD 1 to EXCELLENT 6.moreless
  • Long ago in a distant land...

    A great evil awakens and a young samurai is born. Transcending the status of a "kids show" just seconds into the episode with the entrancing opening sequence, this show broke so many boundaries in just this installment. Already present were its trademark use of ambiance, silence, and little dialog, to focus on the artistic and acoustic aspects.

    While those under the age of 13 may find the beginning a bit dull, as the symbolism of it all is probably lost on them, the show quickly picks up speed as Aku comes to life and a young Jack must abandon his parents to escape Aku's grasp. Jack travels great distances, trains with many mentors, and soon grows to be a young man. Jack then reunites with his mother and obtains the iconic sword and battles Aku and his minions, only to be thrown into a portal in time flinging him into the future where Aku's "evil is law." And thus begins Jack's long journey.

    For the first 5-6 episodes the show's art and overall style was very much still in development. The voice actors had trouble matching the characters well and Jack's own voice actor had a little trouble getting the accent believable. This episode was the bold first step.moreless
  • The Start of a classic show

    Not many episode reviews for this show, I do not understand why... Anyways this is the introduction to a young samurai warrior, called Samurai Jack. The first episode basically shows his training of him learning all kinds of techniques, Their is basically NO talking in this episode, I mean theirs not a whole lot of talking in Samurai Jack to begin with, but this episode just barely has any at all, but their wasn't much need of a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo in this episode. It got straight to the point and explained some of Samurai Jack's past. The ending of this episode explains how he got thrown into the past. But this a very good episode especially for a first ep.moreless
  • This is a very good episode.

    Utter whiteness is interrupted by a massive blazing sun. Atop a scorched hill is an ominous-looking tree. Suddenly the sun is eclipsed by the moon! As soon is it is fully covered, arcs of orange light shoot out from all sides and engulf the tree. Its visible roots are sucked into the ground and the tree extends impossibly high into the air. The moon moves away from the sun once again. Now where the tree once stood is a black figure whose ‘feet’ billow in the wind. He turns around to reveal flaming eyebrows, a green face, pointed teeth and an orange beard. Attached on either side of his head are three chevron-like shapes. He states that he has awakened and can once again wreak terror upon this world.

    A young boy is told a story by his father, the Emperor, about an evil being that ravaged their land in the past. And how, by the forging of a magic sword, he was able to defeat the evil and force it to petrify in the very wasteland it created. Out on the balcony the father shows his son how the land has healed since that dark time and how he hopes they never should have to face an evil such as Aku again.moreless
  • The training of a Samurai...the beginning of an Epic tale.

    This pilot episode well prepares the watcher for what the show is all about, as all pilot episodes should. It opens with the introduction of a dark menace known as Aku that simply reeks of evil before he even opens his mouth to reveal who he is and why he has risen. You immediately notice that the voice of Japanese actor Mako is more than perfect for such a role.

    Before you can find out too much about this spawn of pure evil, you are introduced to a very young child, the son of an emperor who has seen this hellspawn in battle. This rapid change moves the story along at a more than excellent pace. When Aku attacks the Child's otherwise peaceful village, a plan is enacted, entering a highly artistic musical interlude sequence, showing the training of this young boy to this complete force to be reckoned with. This dialogue-less sequence is one of the best in the entire series, and far from the only one.

    The ending of this episode introduces the final twist to the beginning of the saga, with Aku throwing our hero into the future just moments before being struck down. This feeling of suspense leaves the watcher hyped up to see exactly what will happen to their hero.

    Overall, I give this episode a 9.3, for excellent character introductions, a great artistic interlude with slammin music to boot, and an overall great intro to a great show.moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • When the minion brings the whip down, for one frame it disappears and the minion is only holding the handle.

    • Over the time period of Jack training from a kid to a young adult, the era Jack seems to live in varies wildly. He is trained in the periods of ancient Egypt and the colliseum of ancient Rome, but then, he's training with Robin Hood (or someone of the same period-dress), who lived in the Medieval Ages, which wouldn't occur for another 600 years. He is also training with the Russian man in what appears to be the medieval period. And after that, he goes back to what appears to be the ancient times of India.

    • Throughout the entire series there are moments when Jack--who is supposed to be an expert samurai--holds his sword wrong. Samurai are trained to be right-handed through strict discipline. The way you properly hold a sword is with your left hand above your right (your right hand should be toward the bottom with the left closer to the top.) The animators have drawn Jack with his right hand over his left, which is incorrect.

    • When the minion of Aku brings his whip down on the emperor, the whip is already fully extended. But when Jack catches it, it is still behind the minion's head.

    • When Aku first transforms, he slashes Jack across the back. When this happens, Jack is not holding his sword. But in the next frame, there it is!

  • QUOTES (3)

  • NOTES (3)


    • Samurai Jack: General
      Jack has some similarities to the titular hero of Frank Miller's Ronin...
      1) They both have a shape-changing demon for an enemy
      2) They both travel far and wide training to defeat said enemy
      3) They both possess a magical sword that can defeat this enemy
      4) Both are moments away from defeating their enemy when they are tricked and end up in the future (or the case of the Ronin, laid dormant until the future)

    • Aku: Name, appearance, abilities and weakness
      The character of Aku bears some interesting similarities to Agat, the villain in Frank Miller's Ronin...
      1) Their names both start with the letter 'A' and have the same number of syllables
      2) They both have chevron-like angles protruding from their heads (Although, they point differing directions)
      3) They're both shape-changing demons
      4) They both can only be defeated by a magical sword