|“||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 is the secondary antagonist turned deuteragonist of Season 5 of Samurai Jack. She is the leader and the only confirmed living member of the Daughters of Aku, seven sisters who serve as assassins attempting to kill Jack. It is only later that she comes to have doubts about Aku's true nature after Jack saves her life and she makes a full turn-around when Jack shows her the destruction Aku has unleashed on the world. She serves as Jack's most important ally and best friend in Season 5.
Ashi and her six sisters were birthed from the High Priestess, the 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 their masks and head coverings, and set out to fulfill their mission. (Episode XCII)
Ashi and her sisters set up traps for Jack in a forest, destroying his motorbike and starting 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, pursuing him to the temple's underground crypt. Here they had another intense battle with the samurai, but he succeeded in killing one of Ashi's sisters and blew up the temple with the others still inside. (Episode XCIII)
After breaking out of the rubble and tracking the samurai to a forest, Ashi fought Jack again in the next episode. 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. 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. (Episode XCIV)
Initially playing dead, Ashi survived the fall and tried to kill Jack again numerous times, despite being chained up, 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 triggers a flashback to when she was a small child and 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 starts to question her ways. Finally realizing that Jack is 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.(Episode XCV)
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 sees 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 agrees to help Jack save a group of kids who are being mind-controlled by implanted chips. While Jack distracts the children, Ashi searches 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 is angered when the Dominator gloats about turning the children into weapons due to being naive and vulnerable, striking a nerve and allowing her to break free of her restraints, since it reminds 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 manages 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 has mysteriously disappeared. (Episode XCVI)
When looking 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, which leaves her lost in her thought. She explains that she wants to help Jack and after hearing the story about how Jack saved the Woolies, the blimp driver tells her that Jack got off at their current exit, to which she hurredly hops off the blimp. After landing she ends up meeting the Three Blind Archers who tell of Jack's nobleness as well as the Children of Aku, who dance upon being reminded of Jack to which Ashi excitedly joins in on as well. Upon heading towards cave with a waterfall Ashi is reminded of how her mother forced her to jump into a pile of hot coals, burning her entire body and creating a bodysuit-like covering of scabs. Ashi at first walks away from the cave, but then jumps in and starts scraping the scabs off of her body with a rock. When she jumps out of the cave, she realizes that she is naked, to which she creates herself an 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. Ashi meets a shadowy person when walking out of the tavern 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, to which she finds Jack in a ritual site 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, which allows Jack to save her from the horseman and defeat him. (Episode XCVII)
Ashi and all of the members of the Daughters of Aku shared the same appearance. They all had slim, petite builds and all of them have big, slanted eyes, red lips, and are covered charred skin. When undercover, they usually wear a white mask to conceal their own identities. It is suggested they are of Asian descent.
The only difference between Ashi and her sisters is their varying hairstyles. Ashi's hair is combed up to a single point.
She may be considered attractive, as the Dominator refers to her as pretty.
Ashi's "bodysuit" is revealed to be burned, blackened skin, from her mother forcing her into a pile of burning coals. It is implied that her sisters received the same treatment and received the same burns. The scabbing is removed by Ashi while searching for Jack. Ashi now wears a florescent dress made from leaves, and has let her hair down in a natural style.
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.
Furthermore, she 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 bigger male deer would kill the female deer. 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.
She cares about Jack so much that she was willing to search for him and help him get back his mojo as well as save him from The Omen.
- Episode XCII (first appearance)
- Episode XCIII
- Episode XCIV
- Episode XCV
- Episode XCVI
- Episode XCVII
- Episode XCVIII
- Episode XCIX
Powers and Abilities
- Skilled Archer: Ashi has shown to have excellent skills in archery. She is capable of taking down multiple opponents with the bow while climbing.
- 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.
- 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 concrete.
- 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 electricial torture by the Dominator, which would normally kill a regular human.
- Skilled craftswoman: After cleansing herself of the ashes from her skin, Ashi constructs clothing from local flora, literally leaving her past in the dust.
Family & Relatives
- The High Priestess - As her birth mother and mentor, Ashi is slightly frightened of her and attempted to please her as best she could as a child during her extensive training. In a brief dream, Ashi sees a more monstrous version of her mother commanding her to kill Jack, showing that she harbors a deep fear of her mother. After seeing the truth about Aku's evil way, Ashi rebels and disowns her mother. Ashi's relationship with her mother was deeply abusive, as her mother frequently subjected her to both physical and mental torture, which included covering her entire body in burning ashes, which made up her apparent "outfit."
- The Daughters of Aku (Sisters) - Septuplets born to the high Priestess, Ashi and her sisters trained together their entire life in order to kill Jack. Despite all this however, there is no sympathy or even remorse for any sister who falls to the Samurai. In "XCVI" Ashi is visibly angered by the villain's boasting about turning the children into weapons, suggesting unresolved feelings over her mother and sisters.
- Aku (Formerly) - As one of his worshipers and most devoted of followers, she regarded Aku as a god, and attempted to gain his favor by killing Jack. However, after Jack shows her the truth, she now regards him as a demon that must be stopped.
- Jack - After beginning to see Jack as a kind soul who appreciated life (saving a ladybug), she begins to question her beliefs regarding Jack as "evil" and Aku as the "Creator of life and savior of all". She and Jack escape the island they are on and she follows him, demanding he show her the truth. Slowly she sees the horrors Aku has unleashed upon the world and sides with Jack, even helping him to free some alien children from being enslaved in a factory. When she sees he has gone missing, she sets out on a journey to find him while learning about the people Jack has helped, growing to care for him and acknowledge him as a hero while worrying for his wellbeing.
|“||You worthless scum!! I will kill you!! You can never escape from Aku!! Die, Samurai!! DIE, DIE, DIE!!! You will DIE!!!||”|
- Samurai Jack (formerly) - Fated to destroy him once and for fall, Ashi grew into a fiercely resolved woman bent on eradicating the samurai from the face of the Earth for good. Her first attempt to kill him alongside his sisters was partially succcessful, as they managed to surprise him and strip him of his armor and weapons. However, he managed to turn the tide on them and he managed to eliminate six of the seven daughters of Aku, with Ashi being the only survivor. She suffered a mental breakdown and cursed him, proclaiming Aku would kill him. After her fall, she tries to attack him several times and the two end up being eaten alive. Jack tries to keep her safe but she continues to attack him and taunt him, much to his frustration. He tries to show her the error of her ways and that Aku is the evil one, but she tells him to die. He even tries bonding with her by having small talk and saving her multiple times, though his attempts tend to annoy her and she remained resistant. When the two managed to escape, she began to see that he had a humble appreciation for life, making her question if he was truly evil.
- Aku - After being shown the truth and consequences of Aku's power by Jack, Ashi has started to help him in undoing the work of Aku and his followers.
- The Omen: When Ashi found Jack meditating in the middle of a cemetery, she met up with the mysterious samurai who has haunted him since the beginning. The samurai tells her not to interfere as he is preparing to have Jack commit seppuku for his supposed failures. However, Ashi knew that every word the samurai spits out is a lie and tries to convince Jack not to give up hope. She reminded him of the people he saved and how he has regained hope in them just as he did with her. The samurai continues to lie and taunts Jack about the blue-furred children he supposedly killed. But Ashi manages to explain that the children are still alive and well. The samurai, who has had enough with her persistence, goes to kill her. However, after hearing the truth from Ashi, Jack protected her and destroyed the samurai once and for all.
- Conscience: Interestingly, like Jack, Ashi suffers from doubts which manifest as her mother, a representation of her conscience and reminder of the purpose she was trained since birth to accomplish. Her mother first appears in episode XCV, where Ashi is asleep and she dreams of her mother appearing demonic and angry, telling Ashi to slay the samurai and scaring her awake. She then appears in episode XCVI, telling Ashi to kill the samurai in his sleep, but Ashi refuses as she wishes to learn the truth. The hallucination calls Ashi the weak one for always being distracted and claims she failed her. Her conscience seems to be a manifestation of her fear of her mother and a reminder in needing to fulfill her destiny, along with her doubts about her beliefs regarding both Aku and the samurai.
- "Death is failure."
- "You worthless scum! I will kill you! You can never escape from Aku! You will die! You will die a horrible death, and then Aku will sing, for he is free from the parasite that you are! Die, Samurai! Die, die, you scum!! Die! Die! Die, Samurai! You will die!!!"
- "Die!! Die!! Why won't you die!!? Scum, Aku will be triumphant!! I will kill you as long as I have breathe in my body!! I will strike you down!!! Long live the glory of Aku!!"
- "Deceiver, worm!! Scum!!!
- "Lecherous snake!!"
- "By Aku's will, you will die in here!!"
- "There is no hope for you, foolish samurai! Aku is the master of masters and will end you!"
- "No matter what you have planned for me, I will never buckle, never waver!!"
- "Your death is certain!! Aku desires it!!"
- "Aku has made a world of wonders and you have soiled it!!"
- "Aku is the father of fathers!! His greatness cannot be measured!"
- "You are a parasite, Samurai, feeding off Aku's generosity!!"
- "Aku, my master, this fool knows not of your greatness, your kindness, your understanding!!!"
- "I'd be happier as that creature's excrement than be grateful to you."
- "You look hideous."
- "You tell me that everything I know is wrong! But refuse to prove any of it! You're afraid! Afraid that I will see you are a liar!!"
- (After Jack disappears with the Mysterious Rider) "Samurai? Samurai! SAMURAI JACK!?!"
- (After her nightly cleansing, and realizing she had no clothes afterwards)"Uh oh"
- (Once the cloaked stranger asked if she was Jack's friend)"Yes"
- Main article: Ashi/Gallery
- She is a major character in Season 5.
- Ashi can be seen as an antithesis to Jack as she was raised to kill him, similar to how he was trained from childhood to defeat Aku.
- As a child, Ashi showed a genuine interest in the world outside of the temple she and her sisters were kept in for their entire lives.
- Ashi's weapon is a kusarigama. Unlike the traditional kusarigama, her kusarigama is designed with a spike circle at the loose end rather than a iron ball.
- Ashi is the only one of the "Daughters of Aku" who has been named on screen.
- While three of her sisters' names have been revealed in the credits of Episode XCIV (Aki, Ami and Avi), which name belongs to which sister hasn't been revealed so far.
- Ashi has a similar hairstyle to Princess Ilana from the cancelled, incomplete cartoon show, Sym-Bionic Titan, another show created by Genndy Tartakovsky. The notable exception is that she has one bang instead of three.
- Tartakovsky revealed during a Q&A session that the resemblance was completely unintentional.
- While Ashi's official voice actress has been revealed to be Tara Strong, in Episode XCII, some of her vocals were done by Kari Wahlgren.