Hey guys! And like last week, I’m spending the time between anime review posts to rank the best anime openings from each of the Naruto series (excluding Boruto). Today we’re looking at all 20 Naruto Shippuden openings and seeing which one comes out on top for me.
20. Distance (OP 2)
Holy crap this opening is creepy. I’m sorry, okay? This opening is specifically for the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission arc, where Sasuke makes a reappearance. The song’s English-sung lyrics speak for themselves – ‘You are my friend’ and ‘I’ll go the distance’, considering how I feel about the friendship between Naruto and Sasuke, probably not great enough friends for this fanfare in the first place. On top of this is the utter creep-fest that is that one scene with Sasuke naked, covered by snakes posed as if on a crucifix, with Orochimaru’s eyes on the background. Nope.
19. Diver (OP 8)
Diver’s actually a really good song, but it’s one of those filler arc openings that doesn’t offer a whole lot, really. I like the symbolism in it, at least, but because it doesn’t grab my attention, it’s one I’d skip more often even in the canon episodes that it features on.
18. Moshimo (OP 12)
This definitely screamed ‘filler’, and I’m just not a fan. Even though it does touch on canon storylines and backstory, it just doesn’t feel the same as other OPs do. Having to watch a few seconds of Gaara’s backstory every episode doesn’t help, because that’s better suited for in the episode.
I also take specific umbrage with showing Sasuke with his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan, because we realise that the OP changes before he actually shows it for the first time.
17. Tomei datta Sekai (OP 7)
This is okay. It’s nothing spectacular, plus there’s a really strange artistic choice part-way in with all the characters looking a bit 3D (and that’s never a good look with most anime). Plus I would have liked to have seen an actual battle with the girls versus Konan, because we never actually got that, and that’s disappointing. Plus this opening had so many spoilers. Mate, some people don’t read manga!
16. Hotaru no Hikari (OP 5)
This entry is so low because, once again, Orochimaru decides to act like a paedophile yet again. Otherwise this would be closer to the top 10, I will admit. It’s a lot better in the last variation that introducese Suigetsu, Karin and Jugo, though.
15. Newsong (OP 10)
This is a very silly OP, fitting for a filler arc. However, it’s really entertaining with the silly antics and dancing. Plus Gaara of the Funk is real!
It’s a nice change to not have anyone moping about Sasuke! It’s just lower because there are literally 14 other openings that I prefer.
14. Niwaka Ame ni mo Makezu (OP 13)
I like this. I just…like this.
13. Karanokokoro (OP 20)
This opening sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a last arc that focuses on a more slice-of-life element to go along with the series.
12. LINE (OP 18)
I will admit when watching through the anime it is a boring opening, with not a lot going on. But on its own, it’s so good! I think it suffers from being a filler opening, rather than being in context with the current arc. However, I’ve come to appreciate the symbolism all the more as time has passed.
11. Lovers (OP 9)
We get to a bop, and it’s a pretty badass bop with a badass opening, and…of course Sakura is crying because Sasuke. This could have been a little higher if not for that.
10. Totsugeki Rock (OP 11)
I noticed when this first came out that a lot of people hated this opening. I’m not entirely sure why, but I suppose they didn’t find it as action-packed as they would like. But they were literally presenting the start of a war that would inevitably be for most of the entire series with this opening. And we had Newsong just before it that was completely insane. A lot of people think it’s too happy (?), I dunno.
9. Closer (OP 4)
This is a great opening to come into, towards the end of that arc that we hate so much because it not only tugs at our heartstrings, it stomps on them. Poor Asuma. Poor Shikamaru. This opening has two versions – the Hidan and Kakuzu battle, as this opening closes that arc, and another filler variant that doesn’t feel as good until you see Guren. I gotta be honest, even though I didn’t review it, it’s a solid arc, and Guren and Yukimaru are great filler characters.
8. Blue Bird (OP 3)
A lot of people love this one, and so do I. Again, this one has two versions – the filler variant, as well as the variant with the Hidan and Kakuzu battle. It’s a great song with amazing visuals, though. I think the filler variant actually fits the song better than the canon, though. But that’s just my opinion!
7. Sign (OP 6)
At one point, this was considered the best of the Shippuden openings, but the later ones tend to blow it out of the water. Although it still ranks a little low because it does involve some eyeball play and I’m not about that.
I do like how it foreshadows the battles between Jiraiya and Pain, as well as Sasuke and Itachi. Although it is a tad spoilerific at the ending scenes.
6. Hero’s Come Back (OP 1)
This is ranked highly because after the slog-fest of the pre-Shippuden fillers and Yura Yura we get this. Bonus points because I think Gaara’s in the opening (collectively) more than he’s actually doing anything in the arc. Well it is the Kazekage Rescue arc, after all…am I biased? Probably.
5. Guren (OP 15)
This is where the latter portion of the series really upped its game with its openings. I mean, it’s this high just for the song alone. Whenever I come back to this opening I’m like ‘oh shit yeah, Neji’s dead’ and I don’t like that one bit. But I love the visuals of the divisions between Naruto and Sasuke, Kakashi and Obito, and Hashirama and Madara in their backstory, with the former of the three lifting as they work together and become allies. Hooray! The whole Tailed Beast ‘montage’ – can I call it that? – is a tad cheesy, but I’ll accept it. Plus the revived Hokage look impressive.
4. Tsuki no Okisa (OP 14)
I love the song, but the different visual style took a long time for me to like it. But I really like it now. The contrasting style works really well with the song, and feels like there’s so much hype building up for this section of the war. And yes, the Kage are still fighting Madara here.
3. Kaze (OP 17)
Similar to the last entry, it took a while for me to like this visual style they went for. But the visual style is different from the other openings, but it took a lot less time to appreciate it. And the more I watched it while watching the anime, the more I enjoyed it. It’s very traditional Japanese, and the fight between Gai and Madara always gives me chills. Without fail.
For me, this also signals the urgency of the forthcoming episodes, and that, very soon, everything will go completely tits up. I love it!
2. Blood Circulator (OP 19)
There are three different versions to this opening, and all of them hit so differently. The first focuses on the immediate danger of the Infinite Tsukuyomi and Kaguya, the second mixes that with tension between Naruto and Sasuke, while the third focuses entirely on Naruto and Sasuke, their history, duality and their battle. Not only that, Asian Kung-Fu Generation really do some amazing songs (see Haruka Kanata and Sora Dewa, Mata Ashita from Road to Ninja – I will review that soon), and this one I personally think hits harder than those two. Overall, they hit so well that these would have been my favourite, but one stands out more.
1. Silhouette (OP 16)
You knew this would be here, didn’t you? This is an absolute bop if I ever heard one. There’s not much to say.
Also bonus points for breakdancing Madara.