Samurai Jack

Season 4 Episode 11

L: Tale Of X9

0
Aired Saturday 12:30 AM Sep 25, 2004 on Cartoon Network
9.3
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The first three-fourths of the story is a monologue: a Terminator-like killer robot with human emotions tells us the story of his life. He formerly worked for Aku, but stopped because of his emotions and because he felt in love with a little dog. But Aku kidnapped his dog and forces him to fight against Jack if he wants to see it again. He is tracking Jack and he is finally destroyed by the samurai His last words are for his puppy and Jack looks sadly at him. Then there is a close-up of his car and the last image of the episode is a photo of the dog.moreless
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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A noir masterpiece

    10
    One of Jack's very best episodes. This episode, like Jack and the princess, explores Jack's impact on others as a world weary, outdated robot assassin is forced out of retirement by Aku to kill Jack in order to save his precious dog. What sets this episode apart is its wonderful style, evoking the dark, noir thrillers of the 40s and 50s. The evocative jazz score is used to sublime effect. The final sequence is suspenseful and moody and ends on a quietly tragic note. A flawless, inspired episode.moreless
  • A very atmospheric and beautiful episode, telling the rather tragic story of an assassin robot with all too human emotions who develops a bond with a little dog, Lulu, and decides to stop killing. He is forced out of retirement by Aku, and sent after Jackmoreless

    10
    This is possibly the finest and most poetic animated episode I have ever seen. The mood is very melancholic and noir all the way through until the end, where it develops into a very suspense sneaking duel between both X9 and Jack. The scenes with the little dog (Lulu... sweet thing...) are beautiful, and the robot turns out to be more human than any of us. The music soundtrack is reminiscent of Miles Davis Kind of Blue, which was an absolute master stroke, and blends into the rainy, forgotten feel of the episode perfectly. We end up feeling great sorrow for X9 once he is killed by Jack, whose last dying words request of Jack to take care of the only thing he ever loved in the world, Lulu. I felt this episode also deepened the character of Aku, who is portrayed as a more calculating, psychological villain than a mere cackling demon, as it is he who exploited X9's emotion chip and emotionally blackmailed him to go after Jack by kidnapping Lulu, knowing he was sending the robot to his doom. Jack says nothing throughout the episode, and though he kills the robot as cold heartedly as he would any other, his expression shows profound regret when he hears him talk for the last time.

    Profoundly touching and brilliant episode.moreless
  • An assassin robot with an experimental emotion chip implanted decides to leave the violent business of killing for Aku and to live a quieter life...until Aku kidnaps the thing he loves most to force him out of hiding and hunt for Samurai Jack.moreless

    10
    This episode is beautiful and haunting, almost completely perfect. From the gray, rainy opening to the quiet, spare ending, it was amazing. One of the reasons it worked so well for me was X-9's character and the atmosphere. X-9's voice actor was pitch-perfect, with a seductive, slightly sad, voice fit for noir, imbuing X-9 with a cool mien. His story was intriguing and melancholy. X-9 accepted his fate and did what he had to, but he went through it all fatalistically. To match the plot, the music was a mix of slow blues and aggressive jazz. The ending, with Jack's regretful expression and last close-up of Lulu is utterly depressing, rounding out this wonderful, noir-ish episode. The animation was perfect - the scene where the cars slowly appear through his apartment windows as he's playing the trumpet is art unlike any I've seen in many other animated works. The sepia overtone of the past he's narrating also add a 1920s kind of feel to the episode. I felt that the factory scenes were slightly overlong, but not enough to detract from this stunning episode. Definitely in my top 5 list of Samurai Jack episodes. It leaves you with a quietly sad feeling in the end.moreless
  • This has got to be the only time you'll feel sorry Jack won a battle.

    10
    This is indeed a very special episode, an episode in which Jack appears for only a couple of minutes and has absolutely no lines, and the star of the episode is a former killer, a robot now retired who was capable of emotions.



    The story is told through the eyes of this robot, X-9, a former killer, one of the first robots created for Aku by various mad scientists. One of this scientists, "the funny one", implants an experimental emotion chip into X-9. With time, X-9 develops feelings, starts to think before he acts (unlike the other robots who because of this are easily destroyed in battles), until he feels he has done to much evil and, after he meets a dog he calls Lulu, he decides to retire. His life changes, and now he is for the first time ever happy.



    However Aku learns that this robot is capable of emotions so he kidnaps Lulu, in order to blackmail X-9 into coming back to work for him once more, his first mission being the destruction of Samurai Jack. X-9 reluctantly accepts, and tracks Jack to an abandoned robot construction factory. There, after a chase, Jack manages to defeat the robot, not knowing his truly impressive back story. With his last words, X-9 says "Please take care of Lulu. Sweet thing."



    The episode ends with raindrops falling on a picture of Lulu. An exciting and very special episode of Samurai Jack, which mustn't be missed for anything in the world.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (2)

    • Genndy Tartakovsky was nominated for the 2005 Annie Award for "Directing in an Animated Television Production" for this episode.

    • Samurai Jack has no dialogue at all in this episode. Kind of fitting, since this episode had relatively nothing to do with him.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • X9
      Referencing XJ9 (Jenny Wakeman) from the Nickelodeon hit series My Life as a Teenage Robot.

    • Scientists:
      Among Aku's evil scientists are passable copies of Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog (one in the lineup; he has hair on his head and is a little short, but otherwise looks like Ivo), Dr. Wily from the Megaman series (he was wearing a welding mask, but the trademark Wily moustache and hair were visible), and Dr. Forrester from Mystery Science Theater (the one who gave X9 the emotion chip)

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