|“||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 tertiary antagonist turned 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.
BiographyAshi and her six younger sisters were birthed from the High Priestess, leader of an all-female cult of Aku, and raised as assassins by them to do what no other fighter could do: Kill Samurai Jack. The High Priestess named them the Daughters of Aku and raised them with the most brutal of training throughout all of their childhood and youth, attempting to sculpt them into the ultimate warriors. During her training as a child, Ashi found a hole in the wall to gaze upon the outside world. The High Priestess told her that the world was a creation of their master, Aku, and that it was under threat so long as Jack lived to oppose Aku's rule. She was then thrown back into training and received punishment. When their training was complete years later, they donned the masks and head coverings, and set out to fulfill their mission.
Later on, Ashi and her sisters set up traps for Jack in a forest, and successfully destroyed his motorbike and started an intense battle with the samurai, forcing him to hide and later escape to an abandoned temple. Ashi and her sisters looked for their hiding enemy, tracking him to the temple's underground crypt. Here they had another intense battle with the samurai, but he succeeds in killing one of Ashi's sisters and blew up the temple with the others still inside.
After breaking out of the rubble and tracking the samurai to a forest, Ashi fought Jack again in the next episode. However, this time Jack had the elements of concealment and surprise on his side, rather than the other way around as previously. Unlike their first battle, she found herself and her sisters overwhelmed as one by one Jack killed the other Daughters until only Ashi was left, hanging off a cliff by the chain of her kusarigama. Seeing her sisters perish and having been bested, Ashi had a momentary breakdown as she ranted and swore that she would kill Jack, even as he dropped her to her presumed death.Initially playing dead, Ashi survived the fall and tried to kill Jack again numerous times, despite being chained up with her own weapon, eaten whole by a giant monster and Jack's numerous attempts to save her life, undeterred from her purpose. Eventually, after escaping the monster, Ashi attempts to kill Jack with her sickle by sneaking up on him, before noticing a ladybug fly by. This triggered a flashback to when she was a small child training with her sisters, when a ladybug flew into her hand and she observed the beauty of it, before it was unceremoniously squished and killed by her mother, labeling it a distraction and "not part of Aku's order." Ashi continued to hear these words until she sees Jack hold the ladybug in his hand and releasing it unharmed. After being saved by Jack from the belly of a colossal beast (despite her constant animosity towards him and continued attempts to kill him) and watching his humble and honorable nature to the most simple of life, she started to question her ways. Finally realizing that Jack was not the enemy, she drops her weapon and reconsiders her purpose, deciding to meditate with Jack on an island from a distance, indicating that she has made peace with the Samurai.
After returning to the mainland with Jack and learning the true nature of Aku, she sees the error of her ways and becomes his ally, going against her mother and her cult. At the same time, she no longer saw Aku as a god but a demon to be destroyed, finally convinced after being shown solid evidence by Jack that Aku is truly evil. Shortly after, she agreed to help Jack save a group of kids who are being mind-controlled by implanted chips. While Jack distracted the children, Ashi searched for the source of the mind-controlling signal, only to be captured and brought before the sadistic Dominator. While being tortured and forced to watch as Jack is overwhelmed, Ashi was angered when the Dominator gloated about turning the children into weapons due to them being naive and vulnerable, striking a nerve and allowing her to break free of her restraints, since it reminded her too much of how she was also turned into a living weapon for no good reason. Fighting back the Dominator's electric onslaught, Ashi managed to overpower and kill her torturer, freeing the children in the process. Upon discovering that the children are alive and well, Ashi calls out for Jack, but the samurai had mysteriously disappeared.
When searching for Jack on a blimp, Ashi finds herself being targeted by two mysterious figures. When they reveal themselves to be friends of Jack they ask her if she is a friend to Jack as well, leaving her lost in her thought. Ashi then assures them she also wants to help Jack. After hearing the story about how Jack saved the Woolies, the airship captain informs her that Jack got off at their current exit, to which she quickly hops off the blimp. After landing in a forest, she ends up meeting the Three Blind Archers, who tell of Jack's nobleness, then later the Children of Aku, who dance and sing upon being reminded of Jack, causing Ashi to join in as well. Upon arriving at a cave with a waterfall, Ashi remembers how her mother forced her and her sisters to jump into a pile of burning darkness, creating a bodysuit that also allows her to store her weapons. Ashi at first walks away from the cave, but then jumps in and starts scraping the scabs off her body with rocks. While climbing out of the cave, she realizes that she is naked, and creates a new outfit out of leaves. Later on, when she arrives at a tavern in the forest, she meets Da Samurai, who explains that he gave up his samurai life after Jack enlightened him. Back outside, Ashi meets a shadowy person and is asked if Jack is her friend, to which Ashi assuredly says yes. The shadowy person then tells Ashi to follow the path north, after which she finds Jack in a cemetery about to commit seppuku. Ashi tries to snap Jack into his senses, yet The Omen fights to keep her from interfering. Eventually, Ashi is able to get to Jack when she tells him the children from the factory are still alive, allowing Jack to save her from the Horseman and defeat him. After the ghosts of the other samurai return to their graves and Jack compliments Ashi's new dress, she asks what their next move is, and Jack responds it is time to find his sword.After Jack tells her the story of how he lost his sword, they arrive at the site on the back of a large bird. Exploring the pit, but failing to find the sword, Ashi wonders if someone could have stolen it, to which Jack responds the sword abandoned him and not vice versa. Back outside, Ashi thanks the bird, and it nuzzles her in return. While Jack meditates to find his sword, Ashi remains behind to protect his body. Sure enough, an entire army arrives to kill Jack. Ashi confronts them, much to their amusement, but she actually manages to fight and defeat them all. Afterwards, Ashi spots another hostile near the top of the mountain and calls for the bird to take her back to high ground. The assassin fires multiple arrows at Jack, but Ashi quickly catches one mid-air, blocking the rest with a large stone slab. Ashi is surprised that the attacker is none other than her own mother. The High Priestess criticizes Ashi's lack of focus, but offers her another chance to kill Jack. Ashi refuses, explaining that Jack showed her the truth about Aku. Furious, the High Priestess attacks them both, but Ashi manages to defend Jack and herself using only a ram's horn. The High Priestess scolds Ashi for sparing Jack and betraying their family, despite the fact the Samurai killed her sisters. Ashi retorts their fates were already sealed, being raised as nothing more than living weapons. Before the High Priestess can finish Jack, Ashi recovers from the rubble she had been buried under and manages to throw one of her mother's arrows back at her, hitting her in the back and sending her falling to her presumed death. Ashi herself falls to the ground shortly after, exhausted from the fight. Jack wakes her up upon returning from the spirit world. She compliments his new look and getting his sword back, and Jack himself remarks that Ashi has also been busy. When Ashi asks what their plan is now, Jack tells her Aku is next.
After the events of finding Jack's sword, Ashi and Jack then journey through a desert. They take a break at a city resembling an alternate version of India where Jack eats a food that temporarily turns his head into a fish and offers to Ashi but she politely refuses. While on the barge the hidden affection for Jack starts to show when he kept grabbing her hand while trying to hold on to the pole, and she and him exchange quick glances at each other with Jack laughing nervously. They are then attacked while on the barge but Ashi and Jack can't stop holding each other; furthering the hints of love. Jack gives Ashi a piggyback after getting off the barge and they show smiles toward each other. When traveling on foot, the two decide to take a drink at an Oasis with Jack making Ashi and his homemade straw hats with her showing open passion for him in her eyes. Eventually the two are caught in a sand storm and have to take shelter in a space prison. Jack and Ashi inspect the facility and Ashi is suddenly bitten by a leech creature. The poison of the leech spreads on her leg before Jack sucks it out in time. They are then chased by multiple leeches and barely make it out alive while fighting it off. Fortunately the pair come across a weapons depot with Jack learning how to kill the creature. However Ashi accidentally pulls the trigger on a laser rifle and shoots a wall causing Jack to miss the part of activating a weapon in order to kill Lazuras-92. Ashi then dons a riot shield and a double ended sword and says she is ready, Jack reluctantly agreeing. Once hunting down the creature Jack attempts to turn on the weapon but fails when it suddenly finds them. Ashi then learns that Jack doesn't know how to turn it on and attempts to try it. However she is attacked by Lazuras-92 and her leaf dress is eaten off, leaving her completely naked. Ashi says she can't get it to work with Jack blushing seeing her naked, he then explained private parts are personal but Ashi doesn't know what he is talking about due to her sheltered life and being naked before. He then gives his Gi to her while fighting and she says he's acting weird with Jack playfully and nervously brushing it off. The two are then surrounded by the leeches when Jack gets the weapon and are nearly killed while saying each other's names, the device activates killing the creature. The two are exhausted with both of them looking at each other and catching their breaths. They then exchange a serious but lovable glare at each other. Ashi, realizes that she and Jack love each other. She then kisses Jack passionately in a make out session, revealing that she has loved Samurai Jack and the two have found true love together.
Immediately after, Ashi and Jack quickly realize they are kissing and stop, nervous and mildly disgusted by the venom. Ashi offers Jack his gi, but he insists she keep it until she finds new clothes, claiming the ship is drafty. Soon, they spot a hole in the ceiling leading outside. Ashi searches for something to wear while Jack heads back outside. After finding a sweater and boots in a locker room, Ashi comes across Jack showering outside and kindly leaves him his gi. That evening, after hunting some worms for dinner, the two awkwardly try to make small talk. Ashi asks Jack if he ever thinks about his home, and Jack answers that he does so all the time, opening up to her with the memories of his home throughout the seasons. When Ashi asks if there was a girl in his life, Jack explains there wasn't time, since he was only 8 when Aku returned. While Jack admits the time before Aku was nice, the memories of his home are the only way he will see it again. The next morning, a distraught Ashi wakes up to find that Jack has left her again. She later finds him in a robot graveyard, demanding to know why he left. Jack explains that, in addition to witnessing the suffering of many innocent people, Aku has taken everything from him, leaving him with nothing but memories, and doesn't want the same to happen to Ashi. Instead, Ashi assures him they will defeat Aku together. Sure enough, the demon in question reveals himself, followed by Scaramouche. Aku claims he is aware that Jack lost his sword, having learned the information from Scaramouche. When Jack reveals the opposite, Aku telekinetically destroys Scaramouche's head in frustration. He casually prepares to leave as Jack attacks him, but smells something familiar nearby: himself. Jack is confused by this until Aku approaches Ashi. Smelling part of himself inside her, Aku remembers the time when he personally paid a visit to the members of the Cult of Aku, providing them with some of his essence. He then deduces that the High Priestess drank his essence shortly after and gave birth to the Daughters of Aku, revealing to a shocked Ashi that she is Aku's biological daughter. When Jack attacks him once again, Aku simply uses his essence inside Ashi to control her body like a puppet, forcing her to fight against Jack. Jack pleads with her to resist, assuring her she is better than her parents, but she is unable to do so. Unhappy with this, Aku tells Ashi she needs to "bring out her best" (i.e., himself) and corrupts her with an upgraded version of her old outfit. Despite this, Jack manages to break Ashi's sword and cut her arm, briefly getting through to her. Ashi begs Jack to kill her and destroy Aku, but he can't bring himself to do so and stands down. Before Ashi can finish Jack, Aku orders his daughter to stop, joyfully claiming the Samurai's sword as Jack accepts defeat.
When Aku has captured Jack and stolen his sword, broadcasting his victory to everyone in the world, if not the universe, once again relishing in his victory. Aku prepared to kill Jack in front of the whole universe, but is confused as to how he should kill his arch-enemy. After a period of in decision, Aku decides it's best for Ashi to kill Jack. As Ashi prepares to kill Jack, all of Jack's allies soon arrive and fight Aku and his forces in a grand-scale battle while Jack fights the corrupted Ashi. Aku finds amusement in the armies attempts to save Jack, as while they may be able to fight off Aku's forces, Aku himself is nearly untouchable. Eventually, Ashi frees herself of Aku's corruption and gains his powers, she warps Jack and herself back to the past, where Jack meets Aku in the same spot where he was cast in the future, and after a brief battle, uses his sword to destroy Aku once and for all, thus preventing the rise of Aku and spared both the universe and the future from his tyranny.
Unfortunately, since Ashi was Aku's daughter and Aku no longer exists, she fades away before she and Jack could be married some time later, and falls before reaching the altar. Because Jack had altered history, her path was altered as well, and she disappeared from his arms.
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.
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