When Samurai Jack burst onto the small screen in 2001, it introduced a boldly imaginative visual style to the often dreary realm of television animation. Other series have tried to imitate the flattened, angular graphics pioneered by the UPA studio during early ’50s. Samurai Jack succeeds in recapturing the essence of the UPA shorts because creator Genndy Tartakovsky and his artists understand that these highly stylized visuals require equally stylized movements.
The ongoing battle between heroic Jack and the evil shape-shifter Aku simultaneously evokes and spoofs the conventions of anime and Western live-action film. Long ago, Jack nearly destroyed Aku in a duel; in desperation, the wizard hurled the samurai far into the future, where Aku’s word is law. Jack fights robots, monsters, bounty hunters, etc. as he seeks to return to his own time, so he can prevent Aku’s rise to supremacy.
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Samurai Jack Painting Demos: