samurai saturday


Samurai Jack - XCIV (Promo)

Promo for next week’s Samurai Jack! 

It airs Saturday, March 25th at 11PM EST on Adult Swim!!


Samurai Jack - S5E7 XCVIII (Preview)

Preview for S05E07 of Samurai Jack! Airs Saturday the 29th at 11 on Adult Swim.

THUNDER THURSDAY #45: When to Break the Rules

Hey folks, Paul here for THUNDER THURSDAY! I was inspired to write about this week’s topic by the latest episode of Samurai Jack (”XCIV,” aired Saturday, March 25).

  • Side note 1: If you appreciate visual storytelling, and you’re not yet watching Samurai Jack, GET ON IT. (If you–like me–don’t have cable, be aware both Amazon and iTunes offer a Season Pass for $19.99. That lets you download each new episode after it airs; it’s money well spent!)

  • Side note 2: The first four seasons of Samurai Jack (aired 2001-2004) are kid-friendly. The new season is intended for mature audiences.

Now, when my students make fully rendered imagery (digital, traditional, or any mix thereof), I often advise them…

“Rule”: Avoid large areas of flat white.

One might think “brighter highlights = more contrast = more visual interest,” but consider Thundercluck here:

Note that when the highlights retain some color and texture, the image feels more natural and cohesive. When the highlights are pushed to flat white, they draw unwanted attention to themselves and reduce believability.

Whether you call this a “rule,” a “guideline,” a “principle,” or any term you like, there are three important things to keep in mind:

  • The “rule” can be broken, but first…
  • Understand why it exists, and then…
  • Only break it to serve a deliberate intention.

For an example, check out this still from last weekend’s Jack:

It’s tempting to post tons of images with a thorough analysis, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it. Just trust:

  • This scene breaks the “rule” above, but…
  • It serves both visual interest and narrative intent, and…
  • The storytelling result is stunning.

(For fans of Jack, this scene echoes the Shinobi fight in Season 4, but the latest episode is on a whole ‘nother level.)

If you’re watching Season 5, you know what I mean… and if you’re not, then again, GET ON IT. Thanks for reading!


Samurai Jack was created by Genndy Tartakovsky.
New episodes air 11pm EST Saturdays on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.