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Watch: Samurai Jack creator on how 'Battle Through Time' game brings back Tara Strong's Ashi
Three years ago, Samurai Jack, the seemingly forever traveling hero of the eponymously named Cartoon Network series, finally found his ending. For some, it was extremely bittersweet because Jack (Phil LaMarr) finally found the love of his life, Ashi (Tara Strong), only to lose her due to the results of a time paradox. Romantics hated it, but those well-versed in the inherent tragedy of samurai tales appreciated creator Genndy Tartakovsky’s fealty to the ancient tropes of the genre.
But the upcoming release of Adult Swim Game’s canon video game, Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, is giving fans the chance to not only play Jack revisiting his adventures through time, but also to reunite with beloved characters, like Ashi. The game's narrative is a brand-new story from the minds of Tartakovsky and his Jack co-writer, Darrick Bachman.
In particular, the game stages a reunion (of sorts) for Ashi and Jack that is entirely in keeping with their relationship in the fifth season of the series. In case you need a referesher, Ashi was one of the seven Daughters of Aku. All were raised with one purpose: to eliminate Jack no matter what. Ashi was the last assassin standing, and Jack spared her. It was only on their forced travels together, that the enemies turned into lovers.
SYFY WIRE now has an exclusive featurette from the game with voiceover artist, Tara Strong, explaining how Ashi fits into this videogame adventure, and how her character continues to spur Jack to his ultimate destiny in the mythology of the world.
As part of a bigger SYFY WIRE interview coming to the site closer to the release of Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time on August 21, 2020, we spoke to Tartakovsky and Bachman exclusively about one of their favorite outcomes of writing the game: it allowed them the opportunity to tell one more story that included Ashi.
In creating the concept of time pockets in the portal taking Ashi and Jack to Aku in episode “CI,” the game essentially provides the pair a self-contained space to explore Jack’s history before the ending of the series.
“It’s so nice when you introduce a character and they take off so quickly,” Tartakovsky reflects about Ashi’s popularity with the series audience. “Usually, it takes a while to really establish a character and have people love them. Ashi took off right away, and so it was great. And even the hard-core [emotional] reaction at the end of the [fifth] season to her, it feels like it works. And so, bringing her into the video game felt like, ‘If we're doing something else and it feels right, why not do it so we can of extend her life a little bit more?’”
As the featurette alludes to, Bachman confirms that Ashi is a non-playable character in the game, but she’s integral to guiding Jack back to clarity and remembering his overall goal of stopping Aku.
“She’s basically the goal that he has to get back to,” Bachman reveals. “But then we also get to experience her in the game as she originally was when Jack first met her, which also provides a different aspect because now Jack can see her from a different perspective.”
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time will be available for download on August 21, 2020 on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PC, PS4 and as a physical edition from Limited Run Games.