As the episode opens, deep in another nondescript city, rain falls over branches, hovels and lampposts alike. An old-fashioned-looking car with a red-eyed, robotic driver sits on the side of the street. He slips a CD into his radio and a techno-trumpet solo steals over the air, to which time seems to slow to a crawl. 'Lulu.. sweet thing.' he says, following with why he hates the rain, how it makes him sentimental. As a robot, he speaks to the viewers directly, knowing that they're probably curious why he has all these conflicting emotions and recalls how he came to be. As X-49 (who we later find to be the robot in question) tells, the modern robot came about as a supplement to Aku's reign, to help him conquer the world and beyond faster. Initially, the robots were wobbly and unsophisticated, eventually ending in the X-series, robotic assassins in coats, hats and wingtips. Their job was to seek out dissidents and eliminate with extreme prejudice. X-49 was different, as he was built by an eccentric engineer to learn, understand and feel.
As he does this, he begins to develop emotions and the knowledge of right and wrong and what the X series did was wrong.. very wrong. The other X's couldn't care less, how could they? 49's ability kept him from harm's way while the others were gradually destroyed. When the last of them went down, 49 became angry and made a real mess of things, destroying a whole district in his rage. It was then that he met Lulu, a pug dog with a huge smile and an odd, heart-shaped tongue. X-49 had never seen anything like her, and was so moved by this that he took Lulu with him. And so, X-49 went into retirement. It was around the same time the beetle-droids were invented, establishing the mainstay of Aku's robot army. X-49 didn't pay any mind though, he had Lulu and they had their music, the same trumpet tune X-49 himself would play for Lulu all the time. Then one day she disappeared, throwing X-49 into a hailstorm of confusion. He finds out the Deliverer of Darkness had kidnapped her to force X-49 out of retirement to end the Samurai problem plaguing his kingdom. And so, X-49 once again put on his best suit and shoes, got the guns out of lock-up and went on one last mission.
It brings us back to the beginning, X-49 sitting in his car in a dingy, rain-soaked alley, facing the decommissioned beetle robot factory that he's tracked the samurai to.. pretty ironic, huh? X-49 slowly makes his way through the factory, measuring each step and keeping the guns ready. He spots a campfire near a wall, with a familiar silhouette. As he nears the target, he nudges a bolt only for a moment, then turns to attack. The samurai has barely escaped the scene. Sounds and motion range X-49's bullets all over the factory, the assembly lines activating to further dampen the air with activity. He quickly destroys it all to silence the air. As he moves further after his prey, his near-misses begin to clip the steam pipes and fill the factory with hot mist. More and more, he fires into it, the moisture condensing on him and his guns, like sweat. As he stops and looks around, he spies a tall form in the steam nearby. He quietly draws a bead and shoots.. the figure winces, spouts a fluid and crumples. The assassin moves in to examine the body.. only to find the form of an old X-series who spouted oil. As he pulls back in disgust, he senses someone standing behind him. There is a woosh and crash of metal against metal and X-49 falls to the ground, defeated. As the samurai sheathes his sword and moves on, he hears a voice, ' Lulu. Take care of Lulu.', followed by the unmistakable sound of a robot shutting off forever after essential functions have been terminated. He turns and regards the robot sadly, then we see a shot of Lulu's picture in X-49's car as the episode fades out.
- Directed by
- Genndy Tartakovsky
- Storyboards by
- Bryan Andrews
- Genndy Tartakovsky
- Casting by
- Collette Sunderman
- This episode is sometimes erroneously referred to as "Tale of X9" in fan circles.
- This is the only episode of the entire series to feature exactly one speaking part.
- Each of Aku's evil scientists look like other doctors from history, other shows, and video games:
- The one who looks like Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- The one wearing a welding mask look like Dr. Wily from the Megaman series.
- The one who gave X-49 the emotion chip looks similar to Dr. Forrester from Mystery Science Theater.
- One of the scientists has the same mustache and hairstyle as the German dictator Adolf Hitler, although is more obese.
- Genndy Tartakovsky was nominated for the 2005 Annie Award for "Directing in an Animated Television Production" for this episode.
- This episode is styled heavily on Noir films. Common noir themes present in the series is a rainy city, a hero with a dark past, and even a bittersweet ending.
- Much of the jazz music used takes inspiration from Cowboy Bebop.
- Jack had no speaking parts in this episode.
- This is the last appearance of Aku for Season 4.
- This episode is similar to the later made film and character, John Wick (A hitman who comes out of retirement for a dog).
Slightly alternate scenes
Before the episode aired, a couple of scenes where altered slightly due to their rather mature nature. Both these alternate scenes can be found on the Season 4 DVD.
- When X-49 heard that Aku captured Lulu, he said "Damn feelings".
- When X-49 shot the X robot thinking it was Jack, oil sprayed out of its head similarly to actual blood.