it’s pretty bullshit/bad character writing that Ashi already has one transformation/awakening due to Jack halfway through the season and then in the season finale the only way she’s able to overcome Aku is because Jack tells her “I love you”
The reason this is bullshit is because almost directly after that the writers kill her off. If the reason Ashi disappears is bc “without Aku, I never existed” then there’s absolutely no logical reason to delay her disappearance until she’s in the middle of a wedding scene. If that’s the logic, she should disappear when Jack kills Aku. Since that is NOT the case, I’m left feeling like the writers killed her specifically just for a cheap feeling of sadness/melancholia at the end – and for emotional development for Jack. Cool….
So what I’m saying is, the writers introduced a very strong female character in this last season of Samurai Jack, but then fumbled actually having her be a fully realized “person.” All her revelations and growth occur because of and surrounding Jack and never occur because of something she realizes about herself. (When Ashi finally breaks Aku’s control at the end, the writers had a perfect opportunity to construct the sort of deeply personal realization that could have made Ashi’s later death less infuriating and cheap… instead it’s Jack saying he loves her that breaks Aku’s control, which detracts from her agency as a character.)
I see what they were going for thematically, but ultimately, it’s just another amazing female character shunted to the side for the purposes of eliciting cheap sadness in a male character’s storyline – instead of doing the female character justice.
But, y’know, it’s cool the writers have time to make Scotsman gags in the finale but not enough time to actually give Ashi a satisfying character resolution that isn’t centered on a man. what a massive disappointment after nine episodes of enjoyment.