Aku is a shape-shifting demon who serves as the archenemy of Samurai Jack. He is the main villain of the Samurai Jack series. He was voiced by the late Mako Iwamatsu.
Long ago deep within the vastness outer space, a giant mass of evil was slayed by three gods of Aesir, Egyptian, and Hindu legends. A fragment of the mass broke free and later crashed on Earth. It developed into an ominous forest full of lethal spikes over several eons. The forest could kill anyone who dared to enter in the first place. The Emperor (Jack's father) attempted to kill the evil within this source. Unfortunately, his magic oil ended up giving the forest some sentience and dark magic, and thus, the evil wizard Aku was born.
The Emperor used a powerful sword created by the Deities to initially defeat Aku. Aku swore vengeance before being completely sealed away in a tree.
A decade later, however, a solar eclipse completely dissolved the tree, releasing Aku in the process. He proceeded to devastate the Emperor's home land, enslaving him in the process. The Emperor predicted Aku's return in advance, as shown when he ordered his wife to flee along with his son Jack, to ensure he would one day be trained both physically and mentally to confront Aku.
Jack returned home many years later, only to find it completely ravage and found his father suffering. Fuelled by righteous rage, Jack destroyed Aku's minions and confronted Aku himself at his palace. Jack was able to overpower Aku, and was about to unleash the final blow with his mighty sword. However, Aku formed a portal that sucked Jack right into the distant future, where Aku was certain that his evil is spread worldwide in the meantime.
As many centuries went by, Aku had successfully taken over the world by plunging the world for it's resources. When Jack did arrive into the future, Aku regularly keeps an eye on him and his progress throughout the world. The two would take every opportunity to try and destroy each other in a never-ending struggle.
Aku has received critical acclaim from both fans and critics of Samurai Jack. He is so far reputable for being among a select number of villains who were never truly defeated before their story ended.
Fans have praised Mako Iwamatsu's performance for making Aku an enjoyable, yet terrifying villain at the same time, even his most cruelest moments of the show.
Counterparts (Samurai Jack Version) (Villain Version)
- Cell, King Piccolo or Garlick Jr (Dragon Ball)
- Darth Maul (Star Wars)
- Scar (The Lion King)
- Dracula (Castlevania)
- Mephiles the Dark or Dark Oak (Sonic the Hedgehog)
- Him (Powerpuff Girls)
- Grandfather (Kids Next Door)
- Starscream (Transformers)
- The Red Guy (Cow and Chicken)
- Soto (Ice Age)
- Mal (Total Drama)
- Mr. Burns (The Simpsons)
- Madara, Zabuza or Tobi (Naruto)
- Professor Pericles (Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated)
- Tai Lung (Kung Fu Panda)
- Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls)
- The Dark Star (Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story)
- M Bison (Street Fighter)
- Ogre or Jinpachi Mishima (Tekken)
- Diesel 10, Alfred the Loaned B12, or Steam Engine (Thomas and Friends)
- Johnny Cuba, Smelter, Smelter X, or Dark Tug (TUGS)
- Cabot or Yami (Theodore Tugboat)
- Overlord Mandark (Dexter's Laboratory)
- Barney (The Jihad to Destroy Barney/Day of the Barney)
- Emperor of the Night (Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night)
- King Candy as a Cybug (Wreck-It Ralph)
- Evil Emperor Zurg or Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Toy Story)
Counterparts (Female Version)
- Elizabeth, Daisy, or Judge Judy the Diesel (Thomas and Friends)
- Ikra or The High Priestess (Samurai Jack)
- Queen Slug-for-a-Butt (Earthworm Jim)
- Po Kong (Jackie Chan Adventures)
- Ragyo Kiryuin (Kill La KIll)
- Kurumi Tokisaki (Date a live)
- BlackArachnia (Transformers Animated)
- Gnorga, Queen of Trolls (A Troll in Central Park)
- Tempestra (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- White Diamond (Steven Universe)