Samurai Jack

Season 4 Episode 4

XLIII: The Aku Infection

Aired Saturday 11:00 PM Nov 05, 2003 on Cartoon Network

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
38 votes
  • While fighting Aku, Jack becomes tainted by some of his evil...

    This is probably my favorite episode in the who show. It was interesting watching Jack struggle with the darkness growing inside of him, until he was almost swallowed by it, becoming a hideous almagam of human and demon.
    Towards the end, however, the spirits of everyone he helped in his previous adventures appeared to help him out and conquer the darkness.
    This is definetly an episode worth watching over and over again.
  • Very interesting episode, showing Jack losing control of himself and succombing to the viscious evil that is Aku. He has unwittingly breathed in a tiny piece of Akus essency... it could happen to anybody.

    A very well written storyline, and the consistent stunning animation makes this a very fine episode of the Samurai Jack series. After a brief encounter with Aku at the beginning, it is evident that Aku is sick (he seems to have the flu, though what virus can affect Aku I have no idea). Being no different to a human in this state, he is coughing and wheezing, and spews out tiny bits of himself, which, though sick, are still as evil as ever. Jack has the misfortune of inhaling a tiny bit of Akus essence, and the infection slowly starts to take over his mind and body.
    His right hand is the first to turn black, developing an evil mind of its own, and steals a bag of priceless gems from two good miners who save Jack from the blizzard. Next it is clear that Jacks mind is slowly being poisoned, and he schitzophrenically toys with a climbers life (who sounds Austrian).
    His only salvation is to go to the nearest town and find the temple of frog-like monks, which are the only ones who can help him, though he knows he will be bringing Aku to them.
    What follows is an utterly viscious attempted massacre by the possessed Jack, who has by now become almost completely transformed into Aku. He (now Aku) shouts evil obscenities at the monks, and lashes out mercilessly at them with Jacks sword. Thankfully, Aku cannot kill the monks (though he can and does hurt them), as he wields a sword that can only do good and never evil. He does, however, destroy their time portal, which is as important a task to Aku as killing Jack himself.
    The monks finally overpower Jack, tie him up and confiscate his sword. They then begin to try and heal Jack but the only way it can be done is if Jack himself defeats Aku in his spirit. Jack has visions which muster his strength of mind, and he finally does defeat the demon inside, freeing himself from the Aku infection.
    What makes this episode excellent is the quite significant depth of character that Aku is given. Most cartoon villains are boringly predictable, pompous and arrogant. So arrogant, in fact, that it makes them stupid and their 'evil' mediocre. Their 'evil' makes room for pompous talk about 'you will die, defeat is inevitable' blah blah blah (otherwise known as 'monologing') and there is little really evil action. Note that the comparison is made to, amongst others, the disgustingly rubbish cartoon 'Transformers'.
    Aku is shown to be utterly evil and merciless, he toys with the lives of actual living creatures, and destroys them mercilessly when given half a chance. He is calculating and clever, untrustworthy and cruel, and evil on so many levels. His persona is as well developed as it is possible to do in a relatively short cartoon, and he is one of my favourite villains of all time.