Samurai Jack: The Birth of Evil Part Two Revisited
My review/examination on Part Two of Genndy Tartakovsky's Birth of Evil episodes from Samurai Jack.
Now that I'm done pulling my focus on the first part of The Birth of Evil (also known as Samurai Jack Episode 37), let me pull my focus this time on the second and final part of The Birth of Evil (which will be Samurai Jack episode 38), beginning with Aku’s first rampage on the Japanese Village before the gods sends Odin’s eight legged horse Slepnir to the Emperor’s aid.
Aku’s first rampage
Following a brief twenty second recap of the first part of Birth of Evil, Part two begins with the ringing of a temple bell and the sound of a big explosion. One of the Emperor’s military lords saw a black shape sliding through the village street outside.
So he called up an army of spearmen and archers to deal with the monster.
But the monster, it transpires, has godlike powers not of our world and beyond our humane understanding; he zaps at the spearman and the archers, and in a Godzilla-like rampage through the Japanese village, smashes roofs off the feudal Japanese buildings with its bare hands and sending off big loud explosions that dealt the Japanese village a fatal blow.
Not even the Japanese Calvary can save the village from this cackling, godlike giant monster.
The Japanese Emperor and the Eight Legged Horse
The Japanese Emperor, meanwhile, was utterly helpless against Aku’s godlike evil powers. But just then, a ray of light appears from the clouds while Aku is leveling down the Emperor’s village.
The light rays produced a sea clouds that penetrates through the forest...
...until a horse-like cloud shape took form. And when it puts each of its eight hooves on the ground, lush vegetation grow out of the ground, encircling its eight hooves like those encircling the feet of the Great Forest God in Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 masterpiece Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime, in Japan).
When Slepnir’s horse like head stares at the Emperor, he was startled to see such a magnificent eight legged horse which in Norse Mythology was Odin’s steed.
One magic snort from Slepnir’s nostrils began to destroy the giant tree that the Emperor was pinned to. Not only was that, but the Pit of Hate finally drained as a result of that magic snort from Slepnir’s nostrils.
When the tree was destroyed and the pit of hate sucked dry by Slepnir’s snort, a whinnying Slepnir puts its head down after pawing the ground with its hoof.
Its blue eyes stared at the Japanese Emperor as it neighs for him to ride its neck to the highest mountain peak somewhere. And so The Japanese Emperor took Slepnir by its mane and the journey to the high mountain begins.
They rode west of the Eurasian Steppes and other environments before they climb up the mountain range with the intention being to climb its highest peak which is obscured by clouds.
When they reach the mountain cave leading up the gods’ statues, Slepnir snorts and neighs for the Emperor to climb up the steps and go inside, so he does, just as it sank into the clouds.
The Forging of the Magic Sword
The Emperor walk through a dark hallway illuminated only by moonlight when he stumbled upon three giant statues of three gods, but they not of Japanese origins, but rather the same gods that we saw in Part One (Samurai Jack Episode 37), Odin (Norse), Rama (Hindu), and Ra (Egyptian).
The Japanese Emperor continues on his way when suddenly he stumbled upon three Buddhist Monks who were all gifted with mystical powers.
Boy, don’t you believe it?
And when the three monks opened their weird eyes, before long, the Japanese Emperor found himself on the cosmos with the three gods Odin, Rama and Ra.
Their mouths didn’t move when they speak…they only speak to the Emperor rather telepathically.
Odin: You…have been chosen. A force of ultimate evil has resurrected itself on thy world.
Ra: This evil must be destroyed.
Rama: Only through the strength and power of the human spirit, and through the virtue of human righteousness shall this evil be vanquished.
Then they zapped their blue lasers from their eyes in order to extract what Rama described “the strength and power of the Human Spirit” from the Japanese Emperor’s blackened body.
Then the monks readied their hammers...
And when the gods gave them the signal, they hammered the strength and power of the human spirit (represent by bright white ball of shining light) with their hammers to forge the Emperor some enchanted Japanese katana sword with great magic.
As they hammered through the human spirit, something shaped like a Japanese katana or samurai sword appears beneath the service.
And after the monks give it one final blow from their hammers...
The sword shines brightly through the darkness before it floats towards the Japanese Emperor.
The three gods then gave the Emperor advice on using the magic katana sword against Aku.
Odin: This blade was forged from the righteous energy within thee.
Ra: It possesses the power to destroy this evil force.
Rama: But be warned. This evil is not of the human world. It has magic beyond your understanding. Trust not what you see, but what you feel.
And so the Emperor reaches for the hilt…
And his loincloth gave way to new shining Japanese samurai armor and horned helmet!
And after trying out several slashing techniques...
The Japanese emperor find himself back on the nighttime clouds.
But something lifts him up into the night sky—it is the same mode of transportation that Sun Wukong uses in the popular Chinese literary masterpiece Journey to the West: a floating flying cloud, of course!
So the Japanese emperor thrust his sword forward and began his journey back to his leveled village to deal with Aku and his demon forces.
The Battle between the Emperor and Aku
While the Japanese Emperor was riding a cloud back home, he has these visions of explosions, soldiers dealing with Aku, Aku laughing and a female villager screaming for her life...
Which is when the Emperor snaps out of it and began flying towards Aku...
And when he slashes at the demon, a hole in Aku’s chest irises in and out when the Emperor passes through.
Aku sneers at the insect sized warrior, “What is this? What form of insect is this? BWHA-HA! It is you.”
At that, the Japanese emperor replied, “Yes, Aku. Your evil cannot abolish the powers of righteousness! Your evil grasp on my land and its people ends now!”
Then Aku said...
“Have you learned NOTHING?! Your mortal blade cannot harm me—“
You see, The Emperor swings his magic sword and slashes at Aku’s underside, causing him to scream and then look at the damage the Emperor wrought on his underside.
Then Aku said to the Emperor:
“How can this be?”
“This sword was forged from the strength and power of the human spirit," explained the Emperor.
"It represents all that is good. Its purpose is to destroy you.”
Again, Aku balked at the strength and power of the human spirit.
So he snarls at the Emperor.
And he began to shoot lasers from his eyes at him. But the Emperor wards off the lasers with his sword, and he is still flying in his cloud transportation like Sun Wukong from Journey to the West and dodges explosions.
Then he flies towards Aku and slashes through its underside again, causing Aku to scream and heal his injury before turning himself into his first transformation: that of a winged limbless wyvern flying creature.
Aku the Wyvern chases the Japanese emperor all through the village, smashing through buildings along the way, before the Emperor beheads the wyvern Aku, causing him to scream for the third time, before his headless wyvern body crashes into the street, before taking shape into a giant spider.
Not only does it destroys The Emperor’s flying cloud, but it began chasing him all around the flaming village, until The Emperor jump onto a horse’s saddle and rode away with the Spider Aku in hot pursuit.
It tried to jump on the horse and rider (the Emperor), but when it got up, the Emperor hold him back with the sword, slashing at its spidery legs.
When, one spidery leg push the Emperor off the horse and sends him crashing into a building, again, he hold it back with the magic sword.
The Battle against the Mini-Akus
The Emperor then charges at the spider Aku, but then it leaps high enough to split itself into a huge number of black goo that spreads to the armors and weapons of the Emperor’s slain soldiers. Aku has turn himself into hundreds of faceless samurai warriors.
And out of the mini-Aku samurai warriors’ faceless bodies, which numbers in the hundreds, Aku’s face plasters itself on every head of the faceless samurai army!
Oh, the horror! The horror!
And you know what they do to the Japanese Emperor, do you?
Well, they laughed at the Emperor for twenty five or so seconds, and boy!
And boy! They were laughing at him for that long!
But after those aforementioned twenty five plus seconds, they stopped laughing and turned their faces into a serious frown.
Meanwhile, the Japanese emperor was sweating up a storm while holding his magic sword, and when one such drop of sweaty water streams down his dark hair before falling down before it hits the ground with a plop!
You know what happens next, do you?
Well, The mini Akus charged at the Emperor, that’s what!
A great titanic battle ensues between the Emperor and the mini-Akus ensues, and oh boy! What a violent type of spectacle it is!
Emperor uses his sword to slash through several Mini-Akus, taking them out one small group at a time, all the while screaming his head off like a wild man in the heat of battle!
To the beating of Japanese taikos on the soundtrack, the Emperor takes out several more Mini-Akus with his sword...
And when the Emperor gave the camera an angry glance…
We were treated to four freeze frames like these:
When the mini-Aku archers fire their arrows at the Emperor…
The Emperor was so enraged, that he once again screams his head off far and shrill like a wild man going bonkers in the heat of battle (i.e. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan roaring the challenge of the ‘bull ape’)
Just then, lightning flashes and thunder roars, and a heavy downpour came at last to extinguish the fires encircling the Emperor’s village, while the Emperor takes out some more mini-Akus.
Aku goes to ‘Jail’
The last surviving Mini-Aku strayed from its small group when he saw the Emperor pausing for see who’s been strayed.
Then, he turned around and angrily stares at the mini-Aku like this:
The mini-Aku can’t believe that the Emperor was angrily staring at him like that!
So he screams and runs away!
But the Emperor stopped him by yelling this:
“YOU WILL NOT ESCAPE!”
He then throws the magic sword at the last surviving mini-Aku and it lands straight on his back!
Ouch! When the mini-Aku hit the ground, the sword absorbs his remain up to the hilt.
When the Emperor pulls out the sword with the soon-to-be imprisoned Aku, he vowed, “Now, let the sword forever banished this evil abomination!”
And then the Japanese Emperor brought about Aku’s “jail time” by plunging the magic sword containing his demon forces into the ground soil.
And so Aku’s remains sank into the soil while Aku screamed “I WILL RETURN!!!!”
After a short pause, a huge tree-shape began jotting out of the soil much to the Emperor’s surprise!
The Birth of the Emperor’s Son
And when the sun finally came out and shines on Aku’s tree-like jailhouse, a baby is heard crying.
And the Emperor can hear it! So he rushes to the ruins of the village to see his wife bearing her newly-born son, who is also the Emperor’s son!
Oh boy! What a miracle it is! Hallelujah! Anyway, the Emperor approaches his wife and their newborn son...
The Emperor picks up the child and gave it a father’s embrace.
And the mom approves!
Anyway, by the two-part episode’s end, the Emperor and his wife and son approaches the ruins of their palace.
and then the Emperor made the following vow which is also the last line of dialogue from the Birth of Evil two-parter:
“We must learn from this day. We must be prepared should this evil ever return. We must have a plan.”
The very last shot of the Birth of Evil two-parter is a slow zoom out from the ruined palace of the Japanese emperor to reveal Aku’s jailhouse tree when the sun sets on Japan.
Anyway, I have this idea popping around in my head and here it goes:
Imagine yourselves gazing your eyes upon Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 Emmy Award Winning Birth of Evil episodes from Samurai Jack (Episodes XXXVII (The Birth of Evil part one) and and XXXVIII (The Birth of Evil part two) if shown together on, say, an enormous multi-story-tall 70MM IMAX movie screen.
And if you ever gaze your eyes upon Samurai Jack: The Birth of Evil Parts One and Two if shown together on a humongous 70MM IMAX movie theater screen, whether you’re a fan of Samurai Jack or not, it’ll be like the biggest highly stylized cartoon mural on Earth, but it’s moving!
But I am just kidding!
Anyway, I concurred with everyone who is a fan of Samurai Jack by Genndy Tartakovsky that the Birth of Evil two-parter (which in total ran one hour long in length) is and always will be some of the best television animation examples that you will ever see in the history of television, especially prior to Adventure Time or Steven Universe or even before HBO picked up Game of Thrones as a TV series.
And plus, it features everything that makes the 15-year-old Samurai Jack show such a great one: you know, like, spectacular animation, excellent direction, and plenty of references to various world mythologies and cultures—and in other words, one of the most mind-blowing shows of the entire original run of Samurai Jack.
So that’s pretty much about it for my focus on the two Birth of Evil episodes from Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack. If you want to know more about Samurai Jack’s Birth of Evil episodes in the meantime, and if you somehow get your hands on a DVD player still, even if you still own all four seasons of Samurai Jack on DVD, you can check out the creators’ commentary on Samurai Jack’s great Birth of Evil two parter on disc two of the Samurai Jack Season Three DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Cartoon Network.
And by the way, what is your favorite part of Samurai Jack: The Birth of Evil Part Two?
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