Samurai Jack, PPG, PPKNG, RRB, Scotsman
HIM, Mojo Jojo, Demongo (Servent), Mad Jack, X9
Mako Iwamatsu (Deceased)
The episode The Birth of Evil reveals Aku's origins. Long ago in the vastness of space, a great, formless evil arose. Before it could do harm to the universe, it was set upon by three god-like figures known only as "The Deities". They are Odin, Ra, and Vishnu. During the battle, the deities' attack was fierce and the evil was all but destroyed save for a small fragment that was flung aside and it drifted for an unknown period of time before falling to Earth during the era of the dinosaurs causing their extinction. It slowly grew and spread like poison over the course of the centuries, creating an ever-spreading forest of black spikes that devoured any who entered. Eventually the forest grew so large that the Samurai Lord of the Land (Jack's father) decided to kill the evil at its source. Armed with a magic oil given to him by Buddhist monks, the Lord and his cavalry rode into the heart of the forest, the Lord himself the only one to survive. Once at the black lake in the forest's center, the Samurai Lord doused an arrow into the oil he was given, shot it into the air, and into the black lake. Instead of destroying the evil, however; the magic arrow gave it humanoid form, sentience, and the ability to shape shift. Thus, the demon wizard Aku was born. Aku easily defeated the Lord, trapped him on a giant, dead tree, and went on a rampage. The Deities, sensing the good in the Samurai Lord, summoned him to a secret place. Taking the good inside him, they forged an enchanted sword that is capable of harming Aku. Armed with the sword and a magical suit of armor, he plunged into battle against Aku. In the end, the Lord was victorious, but he was unable to destroy him, so he had to settle with trapping him inside the earth in the form of a tree. As he was sealed away, Aku vowed he would one day return. Shortly after, Jack's mother gave birth to him. Determined to learn from this and be prepared in the event Aku's vow came to pass, The Lord and his family decided that they needed a plan.
During a solar eclipse, the tree form that Aku was imprisoned in dissolved and Aku was released. In a castle, Jack was a young child and his father was telling him how he defeated Aku. After the story was done, Jack was left alone, playing with a toy sword. Suddenly, the castle was covered in Aku's shadow. Aku unleashed a vicious attack on the city. Jack's father attempted to get the sword, but Aku captured him before he could reach it. The Lord told his wife it was time to enact the plan they had prepared. Following the plan, Jack's mother escaped with him and the sword. Jack then started on his journey to prepare both physically and mentally for his confrontation against Aku. Many years have gone since Jack left for his journey. His people, including his father, have become enslaved to dig up the resources of their land so Aku can begin to take over the world. After Jack completed his training, he came back and defeated all of Aku's demonic minions and freed the people of his land. Jack then went to his tower to battle with Aku. After a vicious battle, Jack eventually overpowered Aku. However, before Jack could finish what his father started, a desperate Aku tore open a portal in time and flung him into the distant future, certain that he will be able to amass enough power to destroy him by then.
Many ages have passed since they last met. During that time, Aku slowly rose to power and enslaved most of the world, plundering its resources. Aku wanted a robot army to help his empire. Aku hired scientists to make the X-Models. All but one got destroyed. The scientists helped Aku make Beetle Drones which are successors to the X-Models so Aku will have power. But he still hungered for more power and opened his ports to the galaxy so he could pillage and dominate other worlds as well. Since then, his slow conquest of the galaxy has drawn aliens to the earth, making it topsy-turvy. Since Jack arrived in the future, Aku has kept a close eye on him and tries to destroy him many times.
Ikra was one of Aku's aliases, just one of several forms which Aku assumed in order to travel closely with Jack. Using his shifting abilities Aku changed himself to the appearance of a young woman with green skin, black hair and a black dress. She/He travelled with Jack across the desert, battling many dangers together. Under the guise of Ikra, Aku and Jack had formed a close bond. Ikra told Jack that her father, like Jack's, had fought with Aku and having lost been forced to spend eternity trapped in a ring of fire and that she was on a quest to find a magical jewel in the desert which was powerful enough to free her father. When Aku reveals himself as having been Ikra the whole time he mocks Jack for having believed the story about her father.
The Hermit was another one of Aku's aliases, just one of several forms which Aku assumed in order to travel closely with Jack. Using his shapeshifting abilities Aku changed himself to the appearance of an old cranky hermit with green skin, white hair and a black robe. He travelled with Jack to find the Gems of Cronus, looking for one gem to the other, in order to resurrect Cronus.
- Shapeshifting: Calling himself the Shape Shifting Master of Darkness at the opening of each episode, Aku can change into virtually any form he desires, from a giant dragon to a small insect, or even a beautiful woman. He can also change his size, liquefy himself, stretch, and expand his body. Aku's consciousness can exist even in a part of himself. He typically changes into animal forms that are threatening to fit certain situations, such as a scorpion or an octopus, adapting to the situation. He is however limited to his own colour scheme, no matter what form he takes, it will always be black, red and green. Also, his true reflection will always appear, even in another form.
- Dark Magic: Aku, being a demonic manifestation of a formless evil, is naturally tapped into variuos dark forces. This gives him great magical power and variety likely beyond any mortal dark sorcerer. There appears to be little to no limit to it, as he can perform acts of Necromancy along with manifesting demons, energy projection and various supernatural feats.
- Self Sustenance: Aku needs no food, hydration, or air.
- Interstellar travel: aku is capable of interstellar travel.
- Scrying: Using mystical forces, he can create mid air images to spy upon Jack and other enemies. He seems to need to be aware of their existence before he can track them.
- Superhuman Strength: Aku can manifest considerable physical force when needed, though do to his shape shifting and mystical nature he rarely utilizes simple brute force.
- Time Travel: This was the very ability that Aku had used to send Jack into the future at the beginning of the series, though so far it has only been used once and was a one way portal forward in time.
- Laser Eye Beams: Aku used this ability in numerous battles with Jack and he also used it to destroy the majority of Jack's Kingdom. He can also use this ability to teleport other people.
- Teleportation: Aku uses this quite often to appear before those he has business with, such as the Imakandi.
- Summoning Storms: Aku is capable of conjuring thunder storms through will.
- Object Materialization: The ability to create objects out of thin air. He once used this ability to conjure gold, jewels, and treasure for the Imakandi.
- Telekinesis: Aku has shown the ability to move objects with his mind alone.
- Sonic Scream: Aku was shown capable of producing a powerful scream that causes massive damage to the landscape.
- Necromancy: Aku has been shown in one episode to be capable of animating countless dead bodies, and bending them to his will, for they lack mind and soul.
- Pyrokinesis: Aku can breath streams of fire from his mouth.
- Terrakinesis: Aku has once summoned a natural stone wall, emerging from the ground.
- Immortality: A significant aspect in the series is that Aku is ageless and immortal. Therefore, he needs no food, air, or water and his wounds will merely regenerate nearly all forms of physical injury in moments. He can only be harmed and finally defeated by Jack's samurai sword. It is notable that Aku is also vulnerable to various magical and divine attacks (such as the powers and artifacts of gods). Given his regeneration ability, even the most powerful of divine and mystical weapons have a hard time destroying him.
- Bat: (he uses this form mostly to escape) used lots of times
- Scorpion: used in I and XXX also shown in opening titles
- Gorilla: used in I
- Billy Goat: used in I
- Squid: used in VIII and briefly seen in XXXVIII
- Manta Ray: used in IX
- Spiked Tubeworm : used in IX
- Spider: used in XXXVIII
- Kraken: used in I but also shown in beginning opening titles
- Cobra: used in XII
- Dragon: used in XIII
- Chinese Dragon: used in XXX
- Praying Mantis: used in XXX
- Mouse: used in XXX
- Frog: used in XXXIV
- Fish: used in XXXIV
- Flying Dragon: used in XXXVIII
- Army: used in XXXVIII
- Dark Mass of Shadow tentacles: used in XXX
- Human: used in XLVIII
Despite his nearly omnipotent abilities, Aku has a few weaknesses. These include:
- Color Scheme: Aku's shapeshifting is limited to his color scheme and will remain red, black, and green no matter what form he takes.
- Reflection: Aku's own reflection will reveal his normal form.
- Magic: Though Aku cannot be harmed by normal weapons and attacks, he can only be harmed, defeated and vanquish by Jack's Sword and other mystical forces, such as divine weapons and power. Furthermore, the Goddess of Water and her 3 elemental servants are able to harm and defeat Aku with very little effort, although not at the same degree as three 3 gods Odin, Ra and Vishnu. Since Aku was a fragment of the greatest manifestation of evil, he can be destroyed by the strength and purity of a human's (and likely any other living creature) spirit, as stated by Vishnu. This can be seen by Jack's katana, forged from the purity and strength of his father's spirit, are able to inflict an extremely agonizing injury to him, judging by his scream. When possess by Aku, Jack, in his psyche, vanquish and exorcise the demon from him completely by the light of his spirit.
- Illness: In one episode (XLIII), Aku appears to suffer from flu-like symptoms, exposing his lack of immunity to catching diseases.
Aku is evil incarnate, he embodies the very essence of an evil overlord. Cruel and domineering to all he might meet, it's obey or be obliterated with Aku. Arrogant and sadistic by default, he has been the ruler of most of the planet for thousands of years and does not take kindly to disobedience. An example of his cruelty can be shown when an alien prince and princess had crash landed on the earth and begged him to help them because they needed to get back to their planet to stop an invasion; Aku had them thrown in prison to be tortured in order to "add to their misery".. The same episode also showed a dog in his castle being tormented by electrocution and whipping for unknown reasons. Although he is merciless and inhumane, to say the least, he has enough of an understanding of humanity to successfully manipulate and control people when his powers aren't enough. Despite this, he possesses a dry sense of humor and often jokes when in a good mood, frequently mocking Jack whenever he can and whatever he can. For instance, in one episode Aku holds a time portal just out of Jack's reach as Jack jumps for it. He also provides humor to some episodes in more indirect, physical ways. For example:
- In one episode, Aku steals Jack's sword and ultimately strikes at him while Jack is utterly defenseless and immobile. At this point, Aku is as excited about his victory as a child in a candy store. Rather than piercing Jack's chest, the sword simply bounces off his skin with a metallic cling, leaving both opponents speechless. As soon as Aku sees this, his face is shown in close-up. He does not move, his pupils shrink and his flaming eye-brows extinguish with a sound like that of a loud bunzen burner being turned off abruptly.
- In the same episode, before Jack arrives at the location where they would fight, Aku was spying on Jack to loudly loathe his existence and await new oppurtunities for an attack. When Jack arrives at a junction in the road, he decides to leave his choice to fate. He picks up a stick and tries to "sense" the best destination by pointing it both ways. Following that, he throws the stick into the air and follows the path it points at after landing. During this entire scene, which lasts quite long, Aku is repeatedly shown as he spies on Jack. Each time, Aku has a plain expression and clearly has no clue whatsoever as to Jack's intentions with the stick. He doesn't move or even blink, he just sits perfectly still and continues to look dumbfounded until he finally realizes what Jack is about to do and sabotages the stick's landing direction.
- In another episode, Jack finds an ancient, inhabited, secret temple. Upon meeting the temple's grand master, Jack remembers Aku's ability to spy on him wherever he goes and loudly tells his host that he must leave immediately. The grand master then tells Jack he's blocking Aku's vision using what he describes as a large shield. The next scene shows large creatures equipped with searchlights scouring the jungle resembling search helicopters, followed by Aku glaring at and banging on his spying screen, which is showing white noise like a TV and clearly sounds like glass when he hits it. Combined with the knowledge that Aku has a rather comfortable chair to sit in while spying, one can almost visualize him reaching for the remote control and changing the channel. Aku is wise as he is powerful, and his sadistic cunning knows little end, from taking the form of a woman to trick Jack or manipulating various races into serving him. He has no remorse whatsoever about telling someone he will save their village if they obey his command, only to then destroy said village as soon as the command is carried out.
Aku is a character who appears in Chapter 8 of Grim Tales. He is introduced after a few pages of Chapter 8. He is the father of Chi, but also acts as a mother figure for her when transformed to Ikra. He is ruler of the City of Aku. He originates from he Cartoon Network show, Samurai Jack.
Aku is one of the Big Five, in other words one of the five most feared beings in the Underworld. Though having long since settled into retirement after the death of his rival he's greatly feared and respected for his great wisdom and power and is still regarded as the Master of Darkness. Once, Demongo was Aku's greatest and most powerful generals in his army. However after his defeat at the hands of Jack, Aku had punished Demongo with death, reducing him to a floating disembodied soul and a royal Court Jester/herald for him and a babysitter/plaything for his heir. Aku has a prized daughter, named Chi, whom as a result of a pampered upbringing is almost universally regarded as a spoiled brat in the Underworld. Aku is also good friends and business partner's with HIM a fellow member of the big five. He also has a unknown relationship with Mandy, and apparently ended it on good terms with her.
When Chi started a fight with HIM, Aku took notice and intervened on her behalf, apologizing for not disciplining her properly. As a apology Aku suggests HIM indulge in his personal hot-springs and sake while he is disciplining Chi, HIM gladly accepting. Once inside the castle Aku scolds Chi for her actions, not only did she attack one of his oldest friends and honored guest but she did so in a ridiculous outfit. Realizing that she's depressed about something Aku dons a couple of comical guises in order to cheer her up, followed by a female form in order to properly dress Chi while she explains herself. Aku understands and sympathizes with Chi's concern for her friend Mimi, however as royalty violence is not their way, and challenging someone like Him to a fight is foolish, reckless and dangerous. While brushing Chi's hair Aku's daughter asks her if she's lined up any suitors for her yet, requesting Mimi as her betrothed. According to Aku, Chi's too young to start thinking about marriage, and while Mimi is a ideal candidate such a decision would not sit well with the other Hell lords. Furthermore marrying Mimi would require asking HIM's permission, and considering her display in front of HIM just now it's not a good time to ask. With that settled and Chi properly dressed Aku goes to attend her meeting with HIM, instructing Demongo to make sure she stays put and out of trouble. Aku, completely naked, has her meeting with HIM in her hot springs, the latter flirting with her. Bromance aside Aku questions HIM on what he wants, wondering if it has something to do with Mimi, Jeff, or his missing claw. As it turns it's none of the above, instead HIM wants to discuss the future of the Underworld with Aku. Aku however sees through HIM's attempts to beat around the bush and guesses that he got Mandy mad a him again. HIM explains that he'll go over the finer points with her later in her office wanting to relax and forget his troubles for the time being. Back in Aku's office and in his default form HIM has explained what the story is thus far. While Aku agree's that HIM's in quite the predicament he won't risk his kingdom and family in a war against Mandy. Him however points out that Mandy is too big a threat to ignore especially to Aku after all she does have the one weapon in all the universe that can kill him in her vault, Jack's sword. However according to Aku there's no one alive can wield the weapon, so it's useless and not a threat. Acknowledging the lost of his zeal, Aku states that he will only stand by HIM as his friend and nothing more, having long since moved past the days of senseless bloodshed. Aku also asks that Chi be left out of the loop, as her beloved Mimi is deeply involved.
Retirement seems to have mellowed Aku out considerably from the original series, no longer having any desire to rule the world/universe/etc like he once did. It seems he no longer shows the same inhumane cruelties to his subjects he once did either, his realm the City of Aku is stated to be a place where people indulge in the guiltiest of pleasures. Finally he's shown to have a rather large soft spot for his daughter Chi. Even when disciplining Chi he uses his shapeshifting powers to cheer her up and provide a much needed mother-like figure in her life. As Ikra he is very calm and nice to Chi, talking like a good parent to Chi. Despite this soft spot for Chi he takes a tough but fair approach to raising her, scolding her for making foolish mistakes such as dressing or acting inappropriately or challenging a superior to a fight. This proves that he, unlike HIM, he clearly loves his daughter very much, which also seems to be well know around the Underworld, his daughter being called a spoiled brat by many, showing that he dotes on his daughter a lot, not even trying to hide it in public. This can be shown as a clear improvement of his behavior compared to what his personnality was in Samurai Jack, as he cares deeply for his daughter, instead of being cruel to her as he was with his subjects in the past. He also ask HIM to not tell Chi about what happened to Mimi, not wanting her to get involved, which is another proof of his love to his daughter. Another proof that he loves Chi is that his anger would know no limits, his rampage would extend to the very end of the universe, his vengeance would turn the stars in the heaven black if his daughter would be kidnapped, showing that messing with his daughter is possibly the worst thing that could happen to him, as he loves her very dearly.