I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


I'm not very sure what got the young me to watch Naruto. Probably the Cartoon Network commercials for this hugely popular anime on ninjas looked too inviting to miss. And so I gave it a go. An episode here, an episode there, end of season one. I didn't really understand the whole plot - a fault on my part for skipping most of the show - and I began to realise many episodes there after just consisted of characters staring at each other, having flashbacks, etc. Lot's and lot's of filler. One whole fight that could have taken five minutes to complete gets stretched over an episode or two or more. Needless to say, I stopped watching it. Well, the real thing that is. I switched to watching the hilarious abridged version on YouTube a while later, which was easier to comprehend... you know, despite it being hardly accurate.

Anyway, through the original and the abridged versions, two of Naruto's theme songs had imprinted themselves into my little mind. One being the anime's 7th opening theme, "Re:member", by rock band FLOW. The other being the 1st opening theme, "ROCKS", by HOUND DOG. Both struck me as really cool songs as usage of the electric guitar is through the roof, but I think "ROCKS" made a bigger impression on me with the instrument revving away in the back, boldly slicing in at times, accompanying the head-bobbing beat, synthesizers, and Kouhei Otomo's (大友康平) husky, gruff vocals that makes him sound like the very animal his band is named after. This was composed by HOUND DOG's former keyboardist, Hitoshi Minowa (蓑輪単志), and for a song released in 2002, it has quite a lot of synths in it that make it sound more like a rock song from the 80's. I like it though, and I enjoy it most at a higher volume - some songs just sound better loud.

And I thought monomane talent Tsuki Kamina (神奈月) was exaggerating when doing impressions of Otomo.

The lyrics to "ROCKS" were done by Yukio Matsuo (松尾由紀夫), who had also co-written "ff(フォルティシモ)", the band's hit from 1985. From the translation I've read on Anime Lyrics dot Com, I gather that the song's about chasing one's dreams or trying to reach a certain goal, and having to deal with obstacles along the way, or you know, something inspirational like that. But what I don't get is the "ROCKS" part, which only comes in at the end of the song where Otomo shouts, "I wanna ROCKS! Mune ni ROCKS!" It kinda sounds as if Matsuo forgot about that bit, took note of it at the last minute, and hastily decided to add it in.

I remember doing a little research on "ROCKS" and its singer all those years ago, and I recall recoiling in horror at Otomo's age (he was in his early 50s at that point in time). My brother even bothered me for liking a song from a middle-aged man! Well, considering the age of singers I've been discovering and coming to like... a lot (currently), Otomo is a young man in comparison.


  1. Dang! This was an anison?! I thought the song would have done all right just by itself, but getting attached to a popular anime didn't hurt. You're right about the 80s sound, Noelle. It sounds just like something Complex would have done back then.

    I've heard a lot about "Naruto" but never saw it. The way you describe it, it sounds like "Dragonball". I never got into that either but I did enjoy Akira Toriyama's previous venture, "Dr. Slump".

  2. Hi J-Canuck.

    In my case, I've not yet watched "Dragonball" or "Dr.Slump". I've not heard of "Dr. Slump" before, but "I've definitely heard of "Dragonball" through a website called "9GAG", and there were a couple of "Dragonball" memes floating around here and there. Everyone seems to love it, but just like Naruto it is known for its fillers, so I couldn't get myself to watch it.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.