Anime Soundtrack Review: Naruto Original Soundtrack

Naruto Original Soundtrack is a 22-track CD that includes 20 pieces of background instrumental score from the first Naruto anime, as well as the series’ first opening theme and first ending theme.

Naruto Original Soundtrack
Publisher: Sony Music
Release Date: March 19, 2003

The disc opens with “R*O*C*K*S” by Hound Dog, which was the first opening theme for the Naruto anime series. If you already have the Naruto Best Hit Collection CD, this track is an exact duplicate of the version that appears on that disc. The disc closes with “Wind” by Akeboshi, which was the first ending theme for the series. Like “R*O*C*K*S,” the version of the song that appears on this disc is the exact same as on Naruto Best Hit Collection.

The main selling point of this disc to me are the 20 pieces of background score music from the first Naruto anime. It’s my understanding that there are two additional discs of score besides this one, so obviously this disc doesn’t contain all of the score pieces. However, of all the background instrumental tracks that appear on this disc, I instantly recognized all of them except for one: “Sakura’s Theme.” My guess is that this is one of the pieces that was used very early on in the series, but ultimately didn’t get used much as the series progressed.

But the remaining pieces made me go, “Yes, I recognize this!” And for many of them, I could clearly visualize scenes from the series that utilized a particular piece of music. Most of the tracks on this disc run around one-and-a-half to two minutes, although there’s one or two that are shorter than this average, and a small handful that are longer than this average. On this disc, there was a very good mix between uptempo and downtempo pieces. Now, I don’t know if these instrumental pieces were sequenced in the order that they first appeared in the series, or if the person putting this compilation together decided how to sequence the songs on this release. But whichever way the sequence of these instrumental tracks was decided, it works very well for listeners who are listening to the CD straight through.

When it comes to the actual score pieces themselves, I have always appreciated how composer Toshio Masuda combined the sound of traditional Japanese instruments with the sound of modern instruments. The sound and tone of this combination works well for the more light-hearted feel that the original Naruto series had for most of its 220-episode run. For this particular franchise, I feel that at times, the background score has almost as much character as the actual characters of the series. These pieces are not the kind that will just blend into the background and be ignored by the viewer. Instead, they become important pieces of the series… whenever a listener hears these pieces, they know what kind of scene to expect.

Overall, Naruto Original Soundtrack is a fantastic release, especially for listeners who have an appreciation for score music. While I personally thought including the first opening and ending theme really wasn’t needed, they ultimately don’t have a negative effect on this release.

If you’re a fan of the Naruto franchise and enjoy the background score music, I would recommend finding a way to acquire Naruto Original Soundtrack. The best way to acquire this disc is to look around at sites that sell Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

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