A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Jack's motivation is getting home, and he'll do anything to make it happen. He doesn't enjoy fighting or seek out conflict, but when it finds him, he does what he has to protect himself and the innocents around him. While he's a force of justice, his adversary revels in killing and controlling those who work for him.
Positive Role Models
Jack's not violent by nature even though that's how he's forced to solve problems. He does what he does by necessity, whereas Aku is cruel by choice. Instead Jack fights for peace and justice.
Violence & Scariness
Jack is a sword-wielding samurai, but he mostly battles robots and other machines, so what looks like blood is actually gushing oil and other fluids. Some scenes show more human suffering, as when Jack imagines seeing his father burning alive on a cross. Much cartoon violence and weapons like knives and handguns. Stabbings, hand-to-hand combat. Kids are trained to fight for a villain.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Samurai Jack has a lot of animated violence – especially in newer episodes that air during Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming – but it's a stylish cartoon that has a big following among teens and adults. As a hero, Jack does ultimately wield his sword to fight evil, but he's forced to do what he does to protect innocent figures. Most of the violence involves robots of various sizes and shapes, so there's no blood but plenty of oily fluids made to look like it. Expect to see gun use, stabbing, punching, and sword fights, as well as some slicing and dicing of bodies, mostly without gore.
Is It Any Good?
This beautifully drawn, animated, and edited cartoon is a cut above most, but the brooding hero and mature themes – especially evident in newer episodes – mean it's not for most kids. Older episodes involve some absurdity and lightheated content, but season five is decidedly more intense and violent, casting Jack as an increasingly tortured soul haunted by his extended inability to get back to his family. As such, the show is better suited to older teens and adults than it is to kids.
Violence is the biggest concern in Samurai Jack's content mostly because of how the show's minimal dialogue accentuates these exchanges. Even though most involve Jack facing off against robots, it's evident the experiences weigh on him; in those moments when his adversary is human, he's bothered long after the deed of self-preservation is done. This translates to a highly sympathetic, understated hero who maintains his own humanity despite forces that seek to undo it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.