Though some of you on RetroJunk may not be true fans of Samurai Jack yourselves, in the wake of IDW Publishing's most recent series of Samurai Jack comic books that began in October 2013, for my fourth RetroJunk article after Memories of More Dinosaurs, Timbox's Top Ten Favorite TV Show Episodes and of course, Samurai Jack Revisited, I wanted to uncover the lost childhood past and training around the world of Genndy Tartakovsky's cult cartoon character, Samurai Jack.
Meet Young Jack, the kid version of the Genndy Tartakovsky cartoon character Samurai Jack. Well, maybe it is because the Samurai Jack cartoon show itself is mostly a visual-heavy show that is almost free of spoken dialogue, and unlike the adult Jack, Young Jack doesn't speak a single line of dialogue (except for in the beginning of the episode Jack in Egypt). But I think the chaotic world that is the future that is Aku (Jack's demonic nemesis on the show) is absolutely nothing to me compared to the childhood past of Samurai Jack before Aku got his jailbreak from a solar eclipse!
We all know that Samurai Jack witnessed his society coming under attack from the monstrous godlike demon that is Aku and so got sent 'round the world to train his body and mind among all kinds of warriors and heroes, each from a different culture (and a touch of anachronism stew, too!, before returning home a man in the hopes of freeing his enslaved people and vanquishing Aku once and for all, but that was before Aku gives Jack the boot from the distant past all the way to the chaotic future that is Aku!
As for me, I know a Tumblr user who goes by the name of Deya, and that person used to run this role-playing tumblr devoted to Samurai Jack's childhood past before Aku's jailbreak: Ask Young Jack (which goes by the URL askyoungjack.tumblr.com, if you really want to visit it) to be exact.
Anyway, this is not the epic story of Samurai Jack's childhood past and/or training 'round the world in its fullest and most intricate details, for I may consider planning or working on a big, epic-length, complex and/or Lord of the Rings-sized written novel on Samurai Jack's childhood past and training around the world that may eventually see the light of day, but the account contained herein in the form of this RetroJunk article is the condensed version of what you all need to know about Young Jack and his boyhood past and training.
And the best place to start would be to explain Young Samurai Jack himself. He is the son of the Japanese Emperor and Empress (aka his father and mother) who runs the Japanese Empire (though in real life, it was actually the Shogun and his Bakufu government who runs it between 1192 and 1867 while the Emperor runs a ceremonial post).
As for Samurai Jack's father, he is credited with bringing about Aku's jail-time by locking up Aku's remains deep underground with the magic sword forged for him and his future son by three Great Powers That Be (consisting of Odin (also known as Wotan in Richard Wagner’s epic cycle of operas/music dramas known in German as Der Ring Des Nibelungen, but better known in English as Wagner’s Ring Cycle), the Supreme God of Norse Mythology and ruler of Asgard; Rama, the hero of the Ancient Sanskrit epic poem The Ramayana (there is also The Mahabharata, which tops a combination of both Homer’s epic tales of the Trojan War, The Iliad and The Odyssey, as one of the longest epic poems in the world), as well as the seventh avatar of Vishnu, a supreme god of Hindu Mythology; and Ra, aka Horus, the Sun God of Egyptian Mythology)-- so that Aku's tree-like jailhouse could stick out in the midst of all the damage that Aku has wrought upon the Young Emperor's land; Japan that is.
Anyway, Young Jack is also well known and respected in the world that he once knew (before Aku's freedom to say the least). And whatever how well known and respected Young Jack was in the world that he once know about, the fact that we always see Young Jack as presumably some toddler is what caused those who are fans of the Samurai Jack cartoon show itself to call Young Jack an awesome, adorable cutie (Deya, a Tumblr user that I befriend, sometimes calls Young Jack something like "Baby Cakes" or so).
Anyway, let us really start with the birth of Samurai Jack himself.
Samurai Jack was born on the day Aku attacks his village as recounted in the two part 2003 Emmy Award Winning episode The Birth of Evil Part I and Part II.
After Jack's father brought about Aku's jail-time, he was being shown his newborn son by his wife.
Shortly after Samurai Jack was born, his dad and mom gathered together the leaders of all the world's peoples, and in a great United Nations (or U.N.)-like council meeting, they devise a plan that will prepare the Japanese Emperor's son for the ultimate battle against the ultimate evil that is Aku, if in case Aku was ever freed from his jailhouse.
Anyhow, many years has passed as the Japanese Empire flourished. Young Jack, being the prince of Japan and all, was well known and respected along with his father and mother the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Awww. Isn't that adorable and all?
Anyhow, we all know the part in Episode XXVI Jack's Sandals where Young Jack watches his mama as she makes a hat...
Well, in the Samurai Jack Cartoon Network Action Pack comic book story, "Like Father", Young Jack was walking out of school when he snatches a single apple that grows out of a sacred tree called The Tree of Wisdom, and boy! He was in trouble!
But at least his daddy, The Emperor of Japan taught him a friendly lesson: Never Forget.
Anyway, Young Jack was playing in the fields with the crickets...
When he stumbles upon some girl from the other side:
Young Jack and the girl was playing in the fields with the crickets, until Young Jack gives her a cricket origami and she kisses him in return:
Awww. Isn't that sweet?
Young Jack was later feeding the little koi fishes, when he encounters none other than Lone Wolf and Cub themselves and their baby cart. Lone Wolf defends Cub from a band of four bandits or 'basket-heads', if you will, before Lone Wolf gives Young Jack something called sakai, or samurai spirit.
Striking, isn't it?
Anyhow, there are times when Young Jack plays with a ball.
Yeah. He's playing with a ball alright. Anyway, Young Jack was running with the ball one day, when he got tripped over by one of three bullies:
The bullies steals Young Jack's ball, causing Young Jack to rush to his dad, The Emperor of Japan.
Which lead us to the following life lesson from Papa:
Well, what Jack's father is trying to say is this blurb:
"It is not one's outward brawn, but rather one's inner strength that makes him mighty."
Anyway, Young Jack was feeding the pigeons...
...when he sneezes like this:
Well anyway, Young Jack has an idea...
Distract the bullies by making the pigeons fly with his 'Spongebob whistle'.
And that's what Young Jack did to get his ball back!
Uh, Young Jack...
I'm not taking too long talking about your boyhood, am I?
Well, a few more things, ladies and gentlemen...
First off, you know what drove Young Jack 'round the world and away from Japan, don't ya?
Why, a certain monstrous creature who goes by the name of Aku, of course!
Anyway, the day before Aku's jailbreak, The Emperor of Japan was talking to Aku's jailhouse, before leaving the wasteland behind.
Then Aku vows to evoke a solar eclipse to give the demon his jailbreak.
And we cut to Young Jack fast asleep:
Boy, Aku was talking scary stuff, doesn't he?
Anyway, the day after...
Aku's jailbreak arrives at last.
Aku was finally free so he can "smite the world as I had in days long past."
Anyway, The Emperor was showing his son the origins of Aku and his magic sword:
"When the evil shape-shifting wizard Aku arose from the bowels of the Pit of Hate to ravage my homeland, I was a young Emperor at the time and was helpless against his powers.
But I remember our grandfather’s great grandfather’s story of three monks who were gifted with mystical powers.
I rode to the highest peak of the mountainside, where the monks agreed to forge me an enchanted sword with great magic.
Armed with the sword and the hope of my people, I plunged it into battle against Aku. His evil was no match for the powers of righteousness, and with the sword’s magic, Aku’s demon forces were implanted into the earth—forever petrifying him into the wasteland that he created."
He then show Young Jack his entire kingdom, before leaving his son behind to play with his wooden sword.
Suddenly, without warning, Aku goes on a rampage!
All the Emperor's men fought bravely but cannot defeat Aku's strange powers.
The demon also grabs the Emperor before he could reach his magic samurai sword.
His wife knows what to do.
She and Young Jack fled Japan and she left Young Jack on a Japanese Junk before saying goodbye to her son.
Well, Samurai Jack's mom has a point: Have Sword, Will Travel.
And basically, She has the sword, but will rather travel to Tibet or something with a secret sect of monks.
And so that's the story of Samurai Jack's peaceful childhood as it stands now at least.
There are many more side plots, whether it is Young Jack's time in Africa...
Or perhaps Young Jack's time in Ancient Egypt.
Did I just insert a dinosaur in Young Jack and the Egyptian Boys' very path?
We all know that no human being have ever saw a living dinosaur ever. Well...
This is what happens when worlds collide!
Gee, talk about anachronism stew! HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Anyway, I know this is a very long article, and you don't have to read all of it if you want, but even though the Samurai Jack cartoon show didn't have enough material for Jack's childhood past and training because it is mostly a rather simple, visual-heavy show, if you want to hear more about the details that fleshes out Samurai Jack's childhood past and training 'round the world, stay tuned for a potential written book on all that in the near but not too distant future.
And in the meantime, visit askyoungjack.tumblr.com for more stuff on Young Jack, the kid version of Samurai Jack.