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Opening & Ending Themes
Whether you like or dislike the anime, if there is one thing most people agree on is that Naruto and Naruto Shippuden consistently delivered awesome Opening and Ending themes. As a matter of fact, they delivered many of the most memorable J-Pop and J-Rock songs to come out of the anime industry in the 2000s and early-to-mid 2010s. And being a Long Runner as it is, there are plenty of tracks to choose from:
Openings - Part I
- The very first opening, ROCKS. The Viz Media version of this opening isn't as well known, but BOY does it get you pumped up!
- Also the Season 2 opening, Haruka Kanata.
- Haruka Kanata was so highly regarded that when the dub finally used the song for the openings after two seasons of the Narm Charm theme "Rise! Tsuyosa!" (albeit mashed up with the third opening's visuals), the whole fandom was BLOWN AWAY.
- After almost 10 years, AKFG finally returns to the series to sing Road to Ninja's theme per Kishimoto's personal request. As expected, they didn't disappoint.
- The Fifth Season Opener, Seishun Kyosokyoku's melancholy sound and sadly wistful lyrics perfectly captured the feeling of the series at that point, as Team 7 slowly began to collapse.
- The sixth, No Boy, No Cry by STANCE PUNKS. The accompanying animation in which Naruto takes a flying leap off Hokage Rock is especially good in the dub (lacking the original's prominently superimposed "TV Tokyo" logo).
Openings - Part II
- The 1st Shippuden opening is one HECK of a way to get old Naruto fans pumped up for Shippuden!
- The fourth Shippuden Opening, Joe Inoue's CLOSER, is a beautiful song in and of itself. When combined with Asuma's final fight with Hidan catapults it into CMoA status. Also works well as a Naruto/Hinata piece, once you know its lyrics. Joe Inoue, being a Japanese man raised in Los Angeles, speaks perfect English, along with Japanese. In fact, he made an English version of that song.
- The band little by little made an opening song for Naruto and a closing song for Naruto Shippuden that are both made of epic f'ing awesome. Here's the first and the second.
- The sixth intro to Shippuden, Sign by FLOW. Considered by many in the fandom to be among the most beautiful and heartrending of the tracks here, if only because the in-song lyrics' theme/content dovetails very well with the iconic events of the arc it debuts into: the deaths of Jiraiya and Uchiha Itachi and—more importantly—how these events impacted and hurt the people most important to them. Its popularity has even led to it becoming a signature song of sorts for FLOW, and it is not unheard for them to open their own events with it.
- Toumei Datta Sekai is an awesome Naruto opening. Not only that, but it's also an epic opening sequence. Also slight Tear Jerker, like Sign, due to some of the imagery on the opening. Okay, most, if you know what's going to happen next. This opening truly shows off Naruto's Character Development the finest; the music, while epic and hopeful, manages to remain gentle and modest, reflecting Naruto's humbling and his eventual rise to the status of local hero.
- "Diver" by NICO Touches the Walls definitely qualifies, it along with the video perfectly demonstrates The Power of Friendship and Heroic Resolve in music form.
- NICO Touches the Walls returns to give us the kickass 13th opening, Niwaka Ame ni Mo Makezu.
- The 14th Shippuden opening, Tsuki no Okisa is absolutely masterful. It certainly helps that the opening itself is visually stunning.
- The 15th Opening, "Guren" by DOES and the 29th Ending, "FLAME" by DISH are both mind-blowing, both screaming "Everything just got real!" Prominent Naruto/Hinata moment aside, they're notable in that the accompanying animation also both compare and contrast the relationships of love and hate between brothers (between incarnations of Asura and Indra in the opening, and for Obito and Kakashi for the ending.
- Opening 16, Silhouette, fits this well. The sheer amount of epicness in the opening is overflowing: there's the jarring Camera Abuse and Madara's sadistic face at the beginning; the Time-Compression Montage encapsulating almost everything important that's happened in the Shippuden part of the series so far; a Red Oni, Blue Oni dichotomy + foreshadowing of how Obito & Madara and Naruto & Sasuke have grown; and the fight sequences are pretty darn awesome too, especially Madara breakdancing his way through a fight and crashing through rocks. Also, the song itself is super catchy. The Last version of this opening is of similar epicness, showcasing glimpses of the many epic action scenes throughout the movie, including Naruto's climatic battle with Toneri, while also intertwining in many heartwarming shots of Naruto and Hinata's gradual romance over the course of the movie and the series as a whole.
- Opening 17, Kaze, continues to impress as the music flows with the visuals in wonderful fashion.
- Opening 18, LINE, is an incredibly subdued song in comparison to the vast array of songs Naruto and Shippuden has opened with before. A powerful and emotional opening that expresses how one takes up the light from those who have passed on. Especially poignant is that those who have died are shown smiling, entrusting the light to the next generation. Note also the difference in reaction to the light between Naruto and Sasuke, once again highlighting the differences between them.
Endings - Part I
- The child Naruto montage with Wind is a very sad combo. English lyrics are a plus.
- Harmonia (the second ending) is guaranteed to give listeners the warm fuzzies.
- The 7th ending of Naruto, Mountain-a-Go Go-Two. The ending is simple but the song is pure awesomeness.
- Nakushita Kotoba ("Lost Words") by No Regret Life, the ending theme of the original anime's last non-filler arc. Beautiful and terribly sad, appropriate considering Naruto and Sakura's reactions to Sasuke's departure.
- The ending "Parade" has a positively beautiful melody.
Endings - Part II
- The 6th Shippuden ending, Broken Youth, is too badass not to mention.
- Long Kiss Goodbye the 7th ending and U Can Do It! the 15th ending for Shippuden are so so catchy.
- Bacchikoi. Even if it doesn't seem that good the first time, it becomes an Ear Worm after repeated hearings.
- My ANSWER is surprisingly catchy and relaxing.
- Utakata Hanabi, the 14th ending for Shippuden, is just too beautiful for words.
- Mayonaka no Orchestra, the 16th ending for Shippuden, has got to be the most epic ending ever.
- The 20th Shippuden ending, By My Side, is basically The Power of Friendship and maternal love made manifest.
- The 24th Shippuden ending, Sayonara Memory, is definitely one of the most awesome endings of the series ever.
Soundtrack: Part I
- The Raising Fighting Spirit, which has a habit of showing up and making moments even more epic than they already were.
- "Beautiful Green Wild Beast", played when Rock Lee opens up a massive can of whoopass. Pity it never lasts.
- Though by no means upbeat, "Sadness and Sorrow" is epically touching.
- Badass and memetic to the core, presenting "Raikiri - Thunder Break". A lot of people have heard this somewhere before, and this is where it's from.
- Neji/Tenten's theme and the slower, sadder remix used for Gaara's childhood.
- Both Orochimaru's regular and fighting themes which are foreboding and ominous.
- Hinata vs. Neji is pretty underrated.
Soundtrack: Part II
- Three words. Heaven. Shaking. Event. Which is actually just a longer term for BAD & ASS. "Heaven Shaking Moment" often comes up when there's a Moment of Awesome, like Team Guy defeating their doppelgangers, Naruto defeating the first movie villain, Naruto using Wind Style: Spiraling Shuriken on Kakuzu, and when the Kyuubi got the most epic, over-the-top ass-kicking of all time, courtesy of Naruto.
- In Shippuden premiere, where Sasori and Deidara approach Suna, the music that plays in the background... You just know the sand ninja have no idea what's coming at them.
- "Reverse Situation"; the tune amplifies the awesomeness of Sakura/Chiyo x Sasori battle tenfold. It's just that amazing.
- "Man of the World", "Hidden Will to Fight", "Anger", and "Nightfall".
- "Breakdown" plays for the first time when Minato fights The Masked Man during the Kyuubi Attack on the leaf. "Yondaime Hokage" is the original version that played during the anime during Minato Vs Tobi, from OST III.
- "Goddess of Purge", which plays when Kaguya begins fighting in earnest. It's pure ear-candy, majestic and foreboding. More than appropriate for fighting the most powerful being who ever lived.
- Victory is played on really cool bits like when Naruto passes Kakashi's test.
- The 3-on-1 fight between Sarutobi, Orochimaru and the two deceased Hokages sounds more dangerous and exciting and totally kickass thanks to Heavy Violence. And you know the part where Sarutobi is talking to Orochimaru about the Konoha villagers and how the Will of Fire will never fade? Yeah that part.
- In Naruto, there are themes that have been made for the different parts of the day and activity. There's a theme for morning, a theme for daylight, a theme for the afternoon, and a theme for the evening. There's also a theme for Naruto's daily activities.
- And then there's music for laughs like Naruto's Sexy no Jutsu, and slapsticks.
- Then there is music of the scene in which Madara reveals himself alongside Pain, easily surpassing any previous Ominous Latin Chanting piece of the series. Holy crap, you know those guys mean business.
- Akatsuki's Theme in Shippuden. You KNOW you're in trouble when you hear that. (Word of warning, turn off the notations.)
- Pain's Theme. Ominous Latin Chanting, check, accompanying Pain being badass, check. The official name for the song is 'Girei' and here it is.
- At last, Itachi gets a theme: Many Nights. And they couldn't have picked a more fitting tune.
- More or less the entire original anime's soundtrack, most notably Fake, Need to Be Strong, Avenger, Jiraiya's Theme, Those Who Inherit the Will of Fire, Hokage, and especially the oh-so-appropriately entitled Naruto Main Theme.
- Hurricane Suite. It's TEN FREAKING MINUTES LONG, whereas all the other Naruto songs range from one to four minutes, so you've got something more than worth listening to.
- From the 2nd Shippuden OST, Track 3, "Crushing", is dripping with overflowing awesomeness.
- Flying Light, God of War, Flames, and Blind Animal from the newest Naruto Shippuden Movie.
- The song "Strangeness" from Shippuden, which normally starts playing when sh*t gets real.
- Emergence of Talents. Especially when it is associated with the first appearance of the Rasen-Shuriken and Naruto's defeating the Kyuubi and attaining the Rikudo-esque Kyuubi Chakra Mode...
- Loneliness and Despair for those sad and yet touching songs.
- "Samidare". Beautiful and heartbreaking.
- Kouen is just awesome battle music.
- A place to return to, which just goes to show how much work went into the anime-exclusive arcs in Shippuden.
- The first three songs of the 2nd Shippuden OST are simply Hot-Blooded to not be considered awesome, namely: Shouryuu, Rinkai, and Gekiha. The fact that Gekiha has already been used in Naruto's battle with Pain in Sage Mode simply highlights its awesome. In addition, Kokuten sounds somewhat sweet as an anti-Sasuke theme, seeing as they played when Itachi was plucking out Sasuke's eye with Tsukuyomi and when Killer Bee blasted him with a Lariat. And we can add Midaregami (Unkempt Hair) to this list.
- The music that plays in Shippuden episode 85 while Shikamaru shocks Kakuzu by summoning a pile of water and then saves Ino and Chouji with Kakashi's help. Listen to it here.
- Two Shippuden songs that have only appeared twice each, and neither of them are on either of the currently-released soundtracks, that both deserve to be here. The first is a slow, sad tune played on strings and flute, heard during Naruto's mindscape just before his first 4-Tailed Form transformation, where he's beating himself up over not being stronger, in Episode 41; heard again in Episode 159, when Kakashi dies and laments his failure to protect his teammates, as spectres of his old team disappear in front of him. The second song, which turns Ominous Pipe Organ up to 11, has been heard twice: once in Episode 41, when Naruto started to transform into 4-Tailed Form, his flesh tearing away and forming a cocoon of black chakra around him; and again (this time accompanied by ominous chanting) at the tail end of Episode 166, when Pain stabs Hinata and gives his little "Love breeds sacrifice, which in turn leads to hatred" speech, and Naruto proceeds to go 6-Tails.
- One Shippuden track deserves special mention because of its massive emotional impact. Its first use? The scene when Minato and Kushina sacrifice themselves to seal the Kyuubi into their newborn son, Naruto. The same scene is shown in Road to Ninja with a remixed version officially named "Road to Ninja". The song is played again when Naruto describes to the Raikage the strength he gained from Minato's faith and Kushina's love, which Bee describes as Naruto's "two suns." It was played again when Hinata snapped Naruto out of his despair when he nearly gave in to Obito's Breaking Lecture following Neji's death. The original version is aptly named "Father and Mother".
- In Episode 167 of Shippuden, there is Hisou, possibly the most epic soundtrack in the entire series, played in perfect sync to a rampant, 8-tail Naruto breaking out from Pain's Chibaku-Tensei moon and threatening the full 9-tail transformation because Pain stabbed Hinata, only to be stopped by the spirit of the 4th Hokage. It plays again the second time Naruto is shown defeating Deva Pain and when Danzo flashes back to Sarutobi being named Hokage and attempts to kill Madara. It is last heard during Kakashi and Obito's battle within Obito's dimension.
- Orochimaru's Theme. Ominous Pipe Organ playing Toccata and Fugue, check. Electric guitar in background, check. It's debatable whether he's cool, but his theme reeks of badass. His fight theme is this with creepy Japanese chanting and on steroids. Both songs are included in the link.
- For that beautiful fusion of metal guitar, flute music and shamisen that screams "I am going to put you six feet into the dirt RIGHT NOW," there's always Keisei Gyakuten.
- Nightfall carries such a sad, mournful feeling to it, that one can't help but feel sad.
- Hishou from the 4th Shippuden movie, "The Lost Tower," which played during the incredibly awesome battle with Naruto and his father against Anrokuzan.
- THIS. When you hear this, expect badassness in the form of Gaara.
- Shutsujin, or Departure to the Front. An awesome song fit for a hero's glorious departure—or return, as it were. Two notable occasions when this is played are at the end of Shippuden episode 175, with Naruto's triumphant return from defeating Pain... and Boruto: Naruto the Movie, when Boruto truly carries himself like a shinobi, ready to prove himself worthy again.
- There are two noteworthy unofficially released soundtrack pieces. One is the theme that plays during Jiraiya's death, and the other plays after Chouji wins his fight with Jirobo.
- Tobi's Theme is great with its Ominous Pipe Organ, badass tone, and Ominous Latin Chanting.
- Danzo's Theme was never officially released, but deserves a mention for fitting his militant traditionalism and downright scariness.
- Sai's Theme has a nice, but haunting melody.
- The song that plays when the crow uses Kotoamatsukami to free Itachi from Kabuto's control is amazing.
- There's an awesome track that first plays in Shippuden episode 329, when Naruto first pulls off the Tailed Beast Transformation and proceeds to throw down with the Tobi-controlled 3- through 7-Tailed Beasts.
- The theme which plays for the final five minutes of Shippuden episode 329. The combination of tragedy and optimism is incredible. Every moment of action it plays behind is immediately made more powerful just by its mere presence!
- The Tailed Beasts Counting Song, from Shippuden episode 330, is really catchy.
- This very upbeat tune from the fighting game "Clash of Ninja 2" is ridiculously catchy.
- In the same vein as The Last: Naruto the Movie's revival of the main character's theme, Shippuden episode 468 brought out a full reorchestration of "Sadness and Sorrow" when Hagoromo tells the undead Hokage of his last days of living as Indra fell completely and Ashura tried in vain to protect the legacy of the Ninshu.
The Last: Naruto the Movie
Composed by Yasuharu Takanashi (who was the composer of the anime), yaiba and Musashi Project. They give the love story one hell of a musical send off.
- "Crescent Moon", the music that sounds when Naruto goes berserk against Toneri's goons to save Hinata when they try to kidnap her at the beginning of the film.
- "The Day", which sounds when Naruto gives Hinata that incredible Longing Look, and then confesses his love to her.
- "Good Bye, Forever", which sounds when Hinata goes with Toneri after Naruto confesses his love to her. You can tell it's a pretty dramatic scene.
- "The Last". A glorious comeback of "Naruto's Theme" from the original series which sounds during the Final Battle between Naruto and Toneri on the Moon's surface.
- Naruto and Hinata got a beautiful love theme titled... well... "Naruto and Hinata". Because it doesn't need anything else. The main riff appears several times throughout the movie as their shared Leitmotif, but this is the most bombastic and beautiful version.
- "Fuyu No Owari Ni" ("At the End of Winter"). Hinata's character theme, performed by her voice actress Nana Mizuki. But not in her regular voice, but rather in the high-pitched tone she uses when she voices Hinata. Bonus points for the lyrics, which are a perfect reflection of Hinata's feelings towards Naruto before the events of the film. It's like Hinata herself is confessing to Naruto all over again in song, and it's BEAUTIFUL! The English Version is also quite moving.
- "Hoshi No Utsuwa" ("Star Vessel"), the Staff Credits song. A beautiful song as the song is about stars and humans being mortal yet immortal as they can create life, as in the title, Star Vessel, what carries the stars.