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Top 10 Naruto Opening Themes

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Garrett Alden Nothing gets you hype for some Ninja warfare like these tracks. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Naruto” and “Naruto Shippuden” opening themes. For this list, we’ll be looking at the intro songs, and the accompanying visuals, which helped introduce a generation to Naruto’s story, as well as some truly excellent J-rock and J-pop. We’ll be basing our entries on the quality of the songs, and how well the opening conveys both the story arc it aired during and the series at large, so there will be spoilers ahead. Special thanks to our users Ashjbow, Steven Wasco and Luis Gabriel Vallecillo Zaldivar for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Naruto Opening Themes



Nothing gets you hype for some Ninja warfare like these tracks. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Naruto” and “Naruto Shippuden” opening themes.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the intro songs, and the accompanying visuals, which helped introduce a generation to Naruto’s story, as well as some truly excellent J-rock and J-pop. We’ll be basing our entries on the quality of the songs, and how well the opening conveys both the story arc it aired during and the series at large, so there will be spoilers ahead.

#10: “Youth’s Rhapsody” (“Seishun Kyōsōkyoku”)


Sambomaster
Airing during the climatic arc in the first half of “Naruto,” before filler-hell of course, this theme captures the urgency experienced by Naruto and his friends as they try to bring Sasuke, who has gone rogue in his quest for power, back to the village. Above all, the song and animation convey the nostalgia and angst-ridden turmoil experienced by Naruto now that he is forced to fight against his former friend; making it seem like the true end of an era.

#9: “Closer”


Joe Inoue
Naruto Shippuden’s fourth opening, “Closer” is, right from its hauntingly ethereal first notes, a great song. The lyrics are generally inspirational, emphasizing the importance of life and savoring it while we can. This message matches quite well with the storyline it is set against, namely prominent side-characters Team 10, especially Shikamaru, dealing with the loss of their teacher, Asuma. With its stirring message, and goosebumps-inducing melody, this one was an essential pick.

#8:“Blood Circulator”


Asian Kung-Fu Generation
One of the most recent “Naruto Shippuden” themes, “Blood Circulator” is a fantastic rock song, with strong vocals, guitar work, and emphatic drums. The lyrics espouse the attitude that one should not give up in the face of despair, which matches up perfectly with the climactic final battles. The visuals focus primarily on darkness enveloping the extended cast, with Naruto slowly sinking, both literally and figuratively, to join them. However, the efforts of his teammates in combating the shadowy foes lift his spirits such that he gains the will to fight back too.

#7: “Blue Bird”


Ikimono-Gakari
Appropriately enough, this opening uses a blue bird, as a thematic element; with the bird and its feathers acting as a transitionary device between images. Apart from the usual character introductions, the visuals also focus on the fight between members of the villain group Akatsuki and ninjas from Konoha, in an event that ultimately results in the death of certain comrades. The song itself has a very unique sound, supplementing its strong vocals with a lot of string instruments and even a harmonica. “Blue Bird’s” distinctive, emotional music and beautiful animation definitely make it worth checking out.

#6: “Diver”


NICO Touches the Walls
Although not as varied as some of our other entries with respect to animation style or cuts, “Diver” makes up for this by vividly capturing the spirit of its lyrics, which touch on sinking in despair, with near continuous imagery of Naruto slowly drowning, surrounded by enemies. However, while Naruto is eventually lifted up and above the water, by his friends, Sasuke remains underwater, unsupported by anyone, leaving it up to Naruto to pull him up. “Diver” essentially sums up the character arcs of its protagonist and his rival in a way that is metaphorical, a feast for the eyes, and a pleasure to listen to.

#5: “Hero's Come Back!!”


nobodyknows+
The first opening for “Naruto Shippuden,” the aptly titled “Hero’s Come Back!!” revealed the new, more mature looks for the characters after the two-year time skip between “Naruto” and its sequel show. This maturity is reflected both in the song, which has a darker and more intense air about it than those openings that preceded it, even including rap sections, as well as the visuals, which consist of a variety of styles, some of which are presented with rough or monochrome animation. Overall, this opening did a good job of renewing our excitement for the story and what would happen next to the orange-clad ninja.

#4: “Glow of a Firefly” (“Hotaru no Hikari”)


Ikimono-Gakari
Glow of a Firefly” has an air of oddly cheerful gloominess throughout that makes for good introductory music. It is also notable for its uncommon focus on Sasuke, as it aired during his return to prominence in the story; revealing his new teammates and teasing several plot developments. While a love song may be an unusual choice for a “Naruto” theme, particularly one that spotlights a stoic figure like Sasuke, it actually really works here.

#3: “Not Even Giving in to the Sudden Rain” (“Niwaka Amenimo Makezu”)


NICO Touches the Walls
One of more visually striking entries on our list, this opening, set against the backdrop of the long running war arc, features several recurring elements. The first is the five Kage, the strongest ninjas in the “Naruto” world, who are all introduced onscreen and shown in a dynamic fight scene with Madara Uchiha, one of the chief villains. The other major element is the contrast of light and darkness. The lyrics emphasize hope, and help reinforce the message that Naruto, who reveals a glowing new transformation by the theme’s end, is the best chance to win the war.

#2: “Sign”


Flow
This is an intro that gets straight to the point, emphasizing its message of loss with its nostalgic footage of Naruto and Sasuke with their loved ones. After some brief, establishing character shots, the bulk of the video is devoted to excellently animated fight scenes, showing the battles that will ultimately claim the lives of both Jiraiya and Itachi. The song, despite its somber lyrics, has an upbeat and energetic attitude about it, giving the characters’ last fights, and the profound effect their deaths will have on Naruto and Sasuke, a somewhat bittersweet feeling.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Go!!!”
Flow

“Silhouette”
KANA-BOON

“Distance”
LONG SHOT PARTY

#1: “Far Away” (“Haruka Kanata”)


Asian Kung-Fu Generation
It’s difficult to quantify what makes this opening so great, but we’ll give it a try. The visuals begin with images of Naruto, his teammates, and their teacher. We are also treated to some action beats and foreshadowed plot points. The song meanwhile has a tone and lyrics indicative of angry youth, the desire to kick things up a notch and prove oneself. This fits perfectly as a theme for the arc, which was all about the young ninjas demonstrating their skills, and also because this was when “Naruto” really took off.
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