"Episode XIII: Aku's Fairy Tales" is the thirteenth episode in the first season of Samurai Jack. Aku tries to make children hate Jack by telling stories about him being an evil villain with Aku making the children love him with stories about him being a hero.
Aku is spying on a group of kids, who are playing out a battle that Jack wins and Aku loses, through his magic "screen" with an angry look. He goes on to complain about how everyone used to fear him, but now stories of Jack's heroism are spreading, causing people to develop hope. An old man walks up to the kids and warns them they can't openly mock Aku, though the children simply laugh him off. Seeing that older generations still fear him, Aku concocts an idea to steal the hearts of the children.
Ordering a large group of children, including those that role-played previously, into a dome, Aku appears before them, sits on his throne and begins his first tale. Aku states that in another universe, a giant, hungry creature, "the cosmic scourge," was devouring worlds and had now set its sights on their "sphere". A hero, clad in Greco-Roman armor and driving a chariot, arrived, "mounted on his sled with eight tiny reindeer". The warrior hurled his spear of truth at the beast, turning it into a large piece of beef jerky, which was eaten by the people. The warrior revealed himself as Aku, who became the king of the grateful people. After the conclusion, Aku realizes that most of the children were not truly paying attention.
Deciding to simplify the tales this time, he finds "Little Red Riding Hood" and begins the second tale. He proceeds to introduce "Little Red Hood", a beloved little girl with great, flaming eyebrows. On her way to deliver a picnic basket with confectionery treats, the wolf overhears her, and rushes over to grandma's house before Little Red Hood. Once Little Red Hood arrives to be greeted by the wolf, he lunges at her, not knowing that she had laser eye beams, great combat skills and a powerful uppercut that freed her grandmother from the wolf's bowels. Aku concludes the story with Little Red Hood's victory, though the children clearly show disinterest in Aku's story. Growing increasingly annoyed, he demands the children to speak, and one rises and states that they'd like to hear a story about Samurai Jack.
Aku decides to pander to this with the story of "Jack and the Three Bears". In a house of wood lived three bears, a wee, little bear, a middle-sized bear and great, huge bear. The little bear makes porridge for the three, but it's too hot to be eaten immediately, so the three leave to the forest to let the food cool off. During their absence, Jack appears and enters their home. Eating all the porridge, Jack began destroying the house, breaking and dirtying various parts and objects of the house. When the three bears returned, they discover the damage that was dealt, and the perpetrator sleeping on little bear's bed. Disturbed by the noise of the trio, Jack angrily yells, "Shut up! I'm trying to sleep!". A child proceeds to interrupt Aku, saying that Jack wouldn't do such a thing.
Aku decides to exaggerate less about Jack in his next tale. Another story begins with a house made of straw, wood and brick that housed three little pigs. Big Bad Jack arrives soon after and demands to be let in, though the pigs fearfully refuse him. As Jack hacks his way through the house's door, a girl complains that she's getting scared at the progression of the story. Phil rises to say that Jack wouldn't do such a thing, though Aku interrupts Phil by bringing in another tale, which begins to annoy the children.
Starting a new story, Aku tells of a new story of Cinderella and her evil stepmother, Jackelyn, and her wicked stepsisters, Jackie and Jackuena, only for a child to say that Jack's male. Another story begins with a house of candy that was destroyed by a giant samurai. A child notes that Aku had now been telling three different stories, causing him to bring in another one, where the Samurai Prince found and kissed the magical frog, who was enraged and ate him. Soon more questions begin piling up, causing the Aku's tales to become more confusing and convoluted, though they often involved Jack getting harmed in some way. Eventually, Aku finally concludes with his last tale with an almighty, all-powerful wizard who destroyed a pathetic samurai, before angrily leaving.
With Aku out of the picture, the children decide to tell their own story; Jack climbs up a castle during a misty night after defeating the 8-foot, 6 armed bodyguard. Jack climbs the top, where he and Aku have a stare down and fight after an exchange of words. While Aku turns into a dragon, Jack is able to defeat Aku with a single strike, before declaring his wish to return to his own time.
- Directed by
- Casting by
- Collette Sunderman
- The wolf in the "Little Red Riding Hood" story is based on Yogi Bear, who also takes Yogi's catchphrase "pikinik baskets", and furthermore having the story incorporating the sound effects typically heard in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
- Jack's depiction in "The Three Little Pigs" story in which he hacked a hole through a door with his sword and, with a crazy look in his eyes, said "Here's Jackie!", is a reference to a scene in Stanley Kubrick's adaption of The Shining.
- Phil, the kid who "does the best Jack impression", is an obvious reference to Jack's voice actor, Phil LaMarr. LaMarr even does Phil's impression of Jack.
- The child with the four on his T-shirt wears his hair and clothes like the G-Force members dress in their spare time in Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets.
- So far, this is the most recently aired episode of Samurai Jack on Cartoon Network when it came on during Cartoon Network's 20th anniversary.
- This episode marks the first and only time Aku has tried to do something about his "zero-percent approval rating," most of the time he doesn't care. This also makes Aku one of the few villains in fiction to do so.
- This is one of the few episodes that shows Jack's skeleton. One of which is episode 5 .
- This is the first episode where Jack does not physically appear.
- This is the first episode since the initial three not to have Jack's name in the title.
- Ironically enough, the "bad Jack" in Aku's tales greatly resembles the one that frequently harasses Jack in his series of hallucinations in Season 5.
- In some ways, Aku's first tale is a twisted version of the battle between three gods Odin, Ra, and Vishnu with the Ultimate Evil centuries ago.
- After Jack successfully destroyed the past Aku for good, it's likely that the stories of Jack's adventures were erased from the memory of the now-adult children and their descendants as well. Apart from that, how it affected their existence is unknown.
- Stories based on this episode appear in the comic Cartoon Network action pack.
- This is the only episode of the series where Jack is merely referenced, rather than actually appearing in person.