Home Cartoons Track of the Day- Ecstasy of Steel, Samurai Jack Season 5
Track of the Day- Ecstasy of Steel, Samurai Jack Season 5

Track of the Day- Ecstasy of Steel, Samurai Jack Season 5


*This article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Samurai Jack, read at your own risk!* 

I couldn’t help but see Samurai Jack as a Western film in disguise when I first watched it. Jack’s endless wanderings, his stoic approach to his many failures and the ‘high noon’ fight scenes added to this.  However, there’s more to it than that. The Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood’s famous role, is in reality a homage to Akira Kurosawa’s wandering ronin character. Both characters wear a long cloak, are skilled with a certain weapon (revolver/katana) and have no proper name. Similarly, our favourite samurai never reveals his true name, going by the name of Jack given to him by the people of the future.

This parallel deepens when we see Jack mirroring Mad Max in his latest appearance. Max is another character who is seen as following in the footsteps of the Western. Following in the footsteps of the Western inevitably means following Kurosawa and his contribution to Japanese cinema. As a western animation portraying a samurai’s adventures, Samurai Jack partakes of this tradition. For this reason, I feel the tomb scene in the latest episode of Samurai Jack is openly aware of this cross-cultural relationship.

As Jack runs from the Daughters of Aku, he takes refuge in an empty sarcophagus within an /underground tomb. As Jack lays low, this piece of music begins to play. Given the scene’s close resemblance to the graveyard scene in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, I feel the piece of music only strengthens with connection. Since the opening chord closely resembles Ennio Morricone’s fantastic Ecstasy of Gold, fans have given this piece the unofficial name ‘Ecstasy of Steel.’

The music does a great job of building up tension. Being a far softer piece than Ecstasy of Gold perhaps helps to highlight Jack’s vulnerability. Deprived of his sword and armour, Jack has no choice but to cower in the dark. Outnumbered by his opponents, Jack shows more fear in this scene than he ever did in the original series. The music definitely helps to highlight this, keeping largely to the same repetitive beat up until Jack springs into action. However, the piece lacks the triumphant swell of Morricone’s version, choosing to focus on tension instead. This serves to highlight the ending of the episode. Jack is not going heroically destroy another robot against the odds this time. In fact, he might not even be making it out alive…