Samurai Jack may be a great warrior, but he has a set of strengths and weaknesses, like all good characters, that give him depth.
Jack was the Samurai Jack narrative’s title villain, a warrior from the past hellbent on undoing the future that Aku had planned since his absence. The hero has demonstrated a range of admirable characteristics despite the many hardships he has faced to admire him.
Like any strong character, though, he is not without faults, and by the final season, his weaknesses are increasingly apparent. We will assess how evil powers could have overcome him and the aspects in which he was unbeatable all along by juxtaposing Jack’s most vital abilities with his most debilitating vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability To Disease
While to many, it might come as a surprise, Jack’s immortal body and godlike abilities do not give him disease immunity. He is as susceptible to it as anyone else, proven by a memorable encounter with Aku in which the disease of the crazy demon inadvertently became his own by ingesting a sliver of his flesh.
As a result, until the Samurai and his sworn enemy became almost one and the same, he slowly became more uncomfortable. It would have revealed the end of Jack’s journey if it were not for a group of kind and reverent monks.
The abysmal foresight skills of Samurai Jack are among his most significant flaws and have arguably cost him the most. A profound instance comes from trying to escape a world and enter a time portal he might use to return to the past, along with a group of scientists.
He abandoned his allies instead of capitalizing on this chance to ensure that every one of them came out of the mission alive. This was even though Aku’s acts and their eventual destruction thousands of years later would never come to pass if he actually used the gateway.
Samurai Jack’s (understandable) hopelessness was his greatest weakness, an incredibly prevalent theme in the last season. He hallucinated himself, pleading for his own death, plagued by the things he had seen and the length of his search.
It was a sobering reminder that decades of conflict and suffering are bound to erode one’s mind, irrespective of how tenacious one might be. Fortunately, after finding someone with whom Samurai Jack had seen a real reason to live, he did not give in to despair. Ironically, while Ashi was created to kill Jack, she would have saved him in more ways than one.
Jack’s baffling gullibility is a significant detriment and one that has cost him gravely on numerous occasions. The most vivid (and humorous) instance comes from when a “magic” dragon consensually swallowed him, one that could “return him to the past.” Once he was inside the beast’s belly, he was crestfallen to discover that there was simply no magic.
A second mistake can be seen from how quickly Aku’s female disguise fooled him. Using it, (s)he managed to destroy a protector of the time portal, removing the hero’s fastest path to return home.
While Ashi had given Jack invaluable support in the last arc, his appreciation and dependency on her resulted directly in his capture. Jack couldn’t bring himself to beat her down when Aku invoked her demonic essence and transformed her into a beast. He had arisen to love her with all his heart in the short time that he had met her.
It resulted in a one-sided war, a battle that would eventually be forfeited by the Samurai. As a result, Aku would still have his greatest victory, setting the stage for an execution which he would insist on observing in the universe.
Skilled In All Forms Of Weaponry
With his famous demon-slaying sword, Jack may be seen most often, but he is familiar with all types of weapons. This is because of the versatile training that he obtained as a boy, learning a range of abilities from the greatest masters of the old world.
He was also able to adjust to the new arsenal of the timeline, seen at the beginning of season five through his experience with weapons and fight against the Daughters of Aku. Therefore, his revised arsenal enables him to remain relevant to the increasingly severe threats of his opponents.
The bravery of Samurai Jack has steered him against the most fearsome threats in the galaxy. Maybe he was the only mortal able to beat Aku, even with the sacred blade bestowed by the gods upon his father. Besides, in a fight, he has never shown real fear. His only reticence emerges from when his comrades may be imperilled. This gives him the stoicism required to fight his fights, eventually battling his way back to the age he belonged to.
Jack’s resilience is beyond reason, illustrated in the series on hundreds of occasions. The most unforgettable example comes from his first encounter with the Scotsman, where the two fought at a dizzying pace for the whole day, only showing fatigue the next morning. They nevertheless gathered enough strength to overpower the small army of bounty hunters who were deployed to apprehend them, even after their arduous fight against each other. It shows the outstanding resilience of Jack, an attribute he will need to withstand the coming rigors.
A necessary respite from the rigors of his life is Samurai Jack’s meditative capacity. It gives him clarity and the many (figurative) demons that ail him to be banished.
It also has a more practical function, besides cleansing the soul. Ultimately, his association with life itself was responsible for returning his sword to him and rejoining the fight to bring Aku down for good. Without it, even though he were to get back to the past, he would not have been able to fight an ancient evil.
It is almost challenging to provoke Jack, retaining a consistent and calm temperament that helps him think on his feet and prevent needless confrontation. This was primarily seen by his fight with the “Samurai,” a man who had genuinely believed that he was just as much a swordsman as Jack was.
Eventually, while the hero would agree to fight him, he would only do so on condition that bamboo sticks were used because he did not want to destroy his rival (as Jack fancies not to if it can be helped). Impatient to agree to a match, the Samurai obliged, resulting in a nearly immediate defeat, but it could manifest.