Adult Swim’s Samurai Jack may have ended but luckily for fans, they can still relive the series thanks to DVD releases. The boxset of the complete series and the complete fifth season have recently hit retailers. Today I’m going to review Samurai Jack: The Complete Fifth Season release.
I have never watched Samurai Jack before the release of the fifth season but I have always heard about it. All I knew is that it was about a samurai and his name happened to be Jack. Another thing I knew was that the series had a huge fanbase. Now I know it’s not ideal to start a series with its last season and I wouldn’t recommend it but this fifth season brings you to speed with the opening title.
Fifty years have passed and Jack does not age. The age part is not exactly explained in the intro but it is explained in the special features but I’ll talk more about the special features later. So in this final season Samurai Jack is being hunted down by Aku and a group of villains.
What I really liked about the season is that it plays out almost as a movie. Each episode ends in a cliffhanger and is continued in the next episode. You don’t see a continuing story arch in a lot of animated shows but I love this idea.
The episodes are quite dark (which is also talked about in the special features) with just a couple of comedy filled episodes. The comedy doesn’t pick up until around episode 4 and that is also were the dialogue picks up. For the first few episodes there is minimal dialogue and I don’t mind this at all if you are still able to tell a compelling story with little words. That’s no easy task but the writers get it done in this season. On the downside, the way that the season has a much darker tone and then squeezes in a couple of comedic episodes can kind of throw you off a bit. I found the darker toned episodes were a lot more interesting.
I also really like the style of the animation. It’s simple with not an overload of detail and it works really well. Even the more violent scenes look beautiful. This also transfers over to the box art. The box art is dark, simple and looks awesome. (You can view the box art in the image to the right.)
When it comes to the quality of the DVD, picture wise it was as good as can be especially for a DVD. It was really clear, not a lot of pixilation going on and I was pretty impressed. On the other side of things I had an issue with the audio. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 but during the episodes I had to turn the volume up pretty high to hear. These audio issues find their way into the special features.
Now on to the special features! What every DVD and Blu-ray collector loves most. There are special features included and that’s awesome. The special features included are :The Making of Samurai Jack” and some movie pitches. I really enjoyed the “making of” feature. It gave me all the info I needed to know and answered all the questions I had about the series and season. The feature has commentary by creator Genndy Tartakovsky and Phil Lamar who voices Samurai Jack. The movie pitches are pretty much animated storyboards with sound effects and voicing from Tartakovsky. These movie pitches are where the audio issues also lay. The audio is far too loud and I had to turn down the volume a couple of times.
The packaging is also pretty simple. It has the good looking art as I mentioned before, it comes with a cardboard protective slip and contains the 2 discs with the 10 episodes. There is also a sheet with an episode menu included which I felt was kind of unnecessary being that the episode are just titled in roman numerals.
The pricing of the DVD is $24.98 which is kind of pricey. To put it into perspective, I just bought the first season of Stranger Things on blu-ray for the same price which included the really cool VHS packaging.
All in all I really enjoyed this season and it made me want to go back to watch the series from the beginning. Aside from the tone of the series changing up a bit throughout the final season, the audio was really the only issue I had with this DVD release.
I give the Samurai Jack: The Complete Fifth Season DVD 3.5 out 5.
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