|“||Hope lives! It is everywhere! I've seen it. Everyone you have touched. The people you have helped. You saved them! (...) Jack, don't listen! You're being misguided! I've seen it! You've saved COUNTLESS innocents-but most of all. (...) You showed me the truth! You made me see that there's so much more to me than I know existed! You made me way more than what I was! (...) The hope you gave me SAVED MY LIFE!||„|
|~ Ashi to Jack, giving him back his hope and fighting spirit.|
Ashi was the deuteragonist of the fifth season of Samurai Jack on Adult Swim. She started out as one of the Daughters of Aku who were trained to slay Samurai Jack. But later, after being rescued by Jack and seeing the truth about Aku, she decides to tag along on Jack's quest. She later becomes Jack's love interest and later fiancee. She is voiced by Tara Strong, who has voiced several other animated female characters.
Ashi seemed to possess a curiosity about the outside world, especially when she was younger, and developed into a cunning strategist. She was clever enough to go after the archers first in her final test, making the task much easier. Like the rest of her sisters, she possess little to no knowledge of the outside world in which she doesn't know what a deer is and assumes a male deer is Aku's minion due to its antlers. When she begins to question if Jack is truly evil, she demands he teach her and becomes impatient when he tells her to wait until the next morning. She also asks him questions like where the stars come from, further implying her love for nature and her abundant curiosity. A hallucination of her mother once referred to her as weak because she was often distracted and unfocused.
She also doesn't comprehend the sense of decency, as when her clothing was eaten by Lazarus 92 leaving her naked once more, she doesn't mind and was confused by Jack's embarrassment seeing her in such condition. She also find Jack's reminder that male and female private parts are personal does not make sense. Jack presumably taught her several concepts and terms during their relationship afterwards, as she understand the concept of marriage and living her role as Jack's wife.
Furthermore, she initially does not understand the concept of love and compassion, initially seeing the loving bond between a deer couple as madness due to the fact that she (like her sisters) assumed the stag will devour the doe. This was also seen when she and her sisters did not mourn the first of their sisters to die by Jack's hand, reciting their mother's words "death is failure". In addition, like Jack, she tends to suffer from her conscience haunting her (in the form of her mother), reminding her to kill the samurai. This part of her conscience seems to stem from the abuse she received from her mother along with being indoctrinated since birth to kill the samurai.
Still, she has an emotional breakdown after witnessing all of her sisters die before her and failing to kill Jack. This is likely due to her being raised to kill Jack under the extreme and violent tutelage of her mother, who raised them to think of failure as the pinnacle of disgrace and something that was an impossible occurrence. Her breakdown also likely stemmed from her shock at being defeated by Jack, someone she was raised to see herself and her sisters as inherently superior to (implying she is prideful and a little arrogant, which could have partially led to her downfall). Also, in Episode XCVI, when the Dominator taunts how easy it is to manipulate children and turn them into weapons, she reacts angrily, implying she has unresolved feelings towards the abuse she endured from her mother along with her sisters' deaths.
She remained fervent in attempting to kill Jack, proving a determined single-mindedness as a result of her upbringing. She is very stubborn and initially firm in her beliefs, spending long hours yelling and cursing Jack while stating Aku would punish him while they traveled inside a giant beast. She is capable of holding grudges and noticeably has a short temper, getting frustrated easily. Along with this is an indomitable will, undeterred by failure and capable of withstanding the most gruesome of torture, as evidenced by her many attempts to kill Jack despite her numerous failures along with being able to overcome torture in Episode XCVI. While she grew up believing Aku to be creator of all things and a God with Jack being a parasite that tormented the land, upon seeing Jack's humble and honest appreciation of life (letting a ladybug go), she questions her beliefs. This demonstrates that while stubborn, she is capable of change and that deep down she is a compassionate person who loves the beauty of the world along with nature. She is horrified to see the truth of Aku and his evil, but slowly accepts it. She is even horrified to hear that children were being taken to a factory to be tortured and used, proving further that she is a kind soul who wishes to protect the innocent. Overall, she seems to have been a misguided woman who thought she had been doing the right thing and protecting people by serving Aku and killing Jack, but eventually sees the error of her ways.
After learning the truth from Jack, she has renounced her mother, put her past behind (especially as she removes her "bodysuit" and leaves her past behind) and is now set on stopping Aku. She believes in defending the good and protecting nature. She also managed to learn more about Jack while searching for him, thanking everyone for telling her their stories and allowing her to see Jack as the true savior of the people. He managed to teach her (both directly and indirectly) about the world and about herself, and allowed her to mature and grow as an individual. She was even able to let go of her serious persona for a second to dance to a rave dedicated to Jack's memory and bask in the beauty of nature. Furthermore, she is more balanced and rational than before. In the seppuku scene, she repeatedly reasons with the troubled Jack by pointing out various people he has just saved and the hope he instilled in their hearts.
Despite becoming a kind person and learning the truth, she still retains a brutal ruthless nature towards her enemies; mercilessly killing the Dominator, an entire Orc Army, and her own mother.
She cares about Jack so much that she was willing to search for him and help him get get his confidence back, as well as save him from the Omen. She has also become protective of him (most likely because he is her savior and because of his at times fragile sanity), defending him from a whole army of orcs and even her own mother while he leaves to get his sword. She even comes to his aid when he visits the Guardian's time portal, saying that she will stay by his side and that no matter what, something brought them together. Eventually, she was willing to put others' lives above her own, using her new powers to make the ultimate sacrifice to send Jack back to his own time to defeat Aku, saving many lives, but at the cost of her own.
Powers and Abilities
According to The High Priestess, Ashi is strongest of all the Daughter of Aku members.
- Skilled Archer: Ashi has shown to have excellent skills in archery. She is capable of taking down multiple opponents with the bow while climbing.
- Enhanced Agility: Ashi's training throughout her entire life has honed her skills as being very fast and have amazing jumping and parkour skills which can arguably be seen as on par with, or even better than Jack's.
- Skilled Melee Fighter: Ashi and her sisters have become more skilled at close-quarter combat than their trainers.
- Intelligence: Through her training, Ashi developed a talent for strategy. During the final test, she incapacitated the Cult archers at the top of the cliff face, swinging the fight in her and her sisters' favor.
- Peak Human Conditioning: Like Jack, who spent the majority of his life preparing to face Aku, Ashi has spent the majority of her life preparing to fight Jack and has honed her body to the absolute limit of human potential.
- Peak Human Resilience: Ashi has been beaten endlessly throughout her training, hardening her as a warrior. She and her sister also durable enough to endure harsh weather condition since they can fight Jack without the elements hindering their combat capabilities despite being unclothed all the time.
- Peak Human Senses: Ashi and her sisters were trained to be able to react to dangers, such as archer fire, by instinct. Her reflexes, endurance, stamina and agility are drastically enhanced to superhuman levels.
- Peak Human Speed: Ashi is shown to be swift. She is capable dodging arrows while climbing a cliff and grabbing one of the fired arrows out of thin air. She and her sisters are capable of dodging machine gun fire.
- Peak Human Strength: She and her sisters have deceptive raw strength for their lean frame. They are able to destroy Jack's armor merely through punches. They are also able to easily smash through stone and concrete. She was strong enough to lift a large man in a metal suit and throw him through glass. During her battle against the army that comes to kill Jack, she is shown to be strong enough to push hundreds of soldiers larger than her off the mountain cliff without difficulty, as well as breaking their spears, armor, shields or pulling the arm of a muscular man out of its socket with her bare hands. Afterwards, she picks up a large stone slab to protect Jack and herself from a hail of arrows, lifting it above her head before destroying it.
- Indomitable Willpower: Ashi seems to possess a strong will to correct her mistakes and help her persevere through hardships. This made her into a powerful and cold assassin. As described by her mother towards her and her sisters, "Aku's fire stirs through all of you."
- Pain Resistance: She is strong enough to resist the 10,000 volts of electrical torture from the Dominator, which would normally kill a regular human. She survived a high fall that was damaging enough to leave her bleeding without any apparent pain. She also survived being thrown into hot coals as a child.
- Enhanced Stamina: In order to protect Jack, Ashi fought and defeated an entire army and her own mother before finally collapsing from exhaustion.
- Hammerspace: Ashi's original outfit allowed her to store her weapon of choice when not in use. The ability was seemingly lost when she removed her old uniform. In Episode XCVII we see Ashi using this ability as she had a spare kusarigama she used when jumping out of the blimp.
- Tailoring Skill: After cleansing herself of the darkness from her skin, Ashi tailors her new clothing from local flora, literally leaving her past in the dust.
- Animal Taming: She may, to some extent, be good at taming animals. In Episode XCVIII, the large bird she and Jack rode took a particular liking to her and even came back to help her when she called for it. It is very likely Jack taught her this skill.
- Weapon proficiency: Ashi is shown to be proficient with most weapons she comes across. Initially wielding a kusarigama (sickle and chain), she later demonstrates skill with a swordstaff and shield in Episode XCIX. She is also good at improvising, using a ram's horn as a makeshift dagger in XCVIII, then later throwing shards of glass as makeshift shuriken in XCIX. Unlike Jack, however, Ashi has little to no experience with firearms, shown when she accidentally misfired a laser rifle in the prison ship's armory.
- Corrupted form: During her unwilling fight against Jack in Episode C, Aku corrupts her into his likeness with several supernatural powers. It is shown that she inherits almost all of Aku's powers.
- Enhanced Strength: The suit increases her physical strength, making her strong enough to penetrate metallic objects with a sword and shatter the ground with one kick.
- Elasticity: In her corrupted form, Ashi can stretch and expand her limbs in any direction. Her limbs can also act like a whip that can easily rip through metal.
- Pyrokinesis/Infusion: Her bodysuit has flaming eyebrows similar to her father. She can also infuse weaponry with fire, such as a sword.
- 360-Degree Neck Rotation: She can rotate her head without snapping her neck.
- Shapeshifting/Weapon Creation: She can turn her forearms into blades.
- Eye beams: She can fire energy beams from her eyes.
- Time Portal Creation: Much like her father, Ashi has the ability to create time portals using her vocal chords. Ashi used this ability to send herself and Jack back in time to defeat Aku once and for all.
- Ashi has a similar hairstyle to Princess Ilana from the cancelled, unfinished animated series, Sym-Bionic Titan, another show created by Genndy Tartakovsky. The notable exception is that she has one bang instead of three. Genndy Tartakovsky himself said that this similarity was unintentional.
- Ashi's death somewhat mirrors Burai's death from the 16th Super Sentai season, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger where Ashi's body disappearing permanently is very similar to Burai's body disappearing permanently after the green candle has finally melted away.
- Likewise, her fated death taking place in her wedding with Jack brings to mind Nia Tepplin of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Both Ashi and Nia are related to the main antagonists and are responsible for keeping them alive.