One Small Scene: X9 Playing the Saxophone to Lu Lu

“Lu Lu. Sweet thing.”

That beautiful saxophone riff is a little more at the forefront, and not an aesthetic affection while watching the processing lines and the sterile environment. The luddonarrative merges, and watching the skyline change, the misty green and cream tones change, as reds and purple increase with the whirls of the skycars.

Then with a plimp!; the dog is gone.

The music, the saxophone drops. The effect is so strong you realise the story, to the amusing cut to Aku holding a dog barking into the phone. X9 switches on the snap-lighting of his old armoury, something like Watchmen or John Wick but long before both appeared on film in this innovative ‘kids show’ Samurai Jack.

What draws me again and again, as much as the sweet riff of the saxophone, are the images of the art team and Genndy Tartakovsky’s direction. The robot in a white vest with his saxophone. The retiree. The individual who is not allowed for his world not to change. Evil creeps in from a lot of ways, and few are more commonly depicted than the cyberpunk dystopia, or the hellish metropolis. The idea that an absence of music is effective on its own. That an emotional tie, the bereavement of a loved one being gone has a powerful hold. But even the anthropomorphic robot, that even the mechanical minions of evil are abused by it shows as much as any story why Jack is righteous and his battle through time so important.

Time passes, the appearance of a thing dictates its fate, and in oppressive environments the world collides faster and faster. I won’t spoil the episode; but anyone familiar with Samurai Jack understands most of the scenes, most of the frames are all One Small Scene unto themselves. Every storyboard a television painting, every episode stories within stories and art melting into feeling.

Sadly, for many who are made and pushed into literally mechanical employment throughout the world; there is a danger seeing the world change outside the window. It makes me think a lot of things, but not particular judgments I’d want to share. A reminder, like Christmas stories, or moments of remembrance, where reflecting our feelings and what it is to serve or think of the bigger universe outside holds more poignancy than ever before.

I suppose, on a personal note; it helps that my family dog is called Lu Lu.

Sweet thing.


Samurai Jack. Season 4, Episode 11. ‘L: Tale of X9.’

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