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Naruto's Composer Was Careful Not To Spoil The Story With The Music

Even if you haven't watched "Naruto", chances are you've still heard a song or two from its soundtrack. For the iconic soundtrack of one of the most popular Shonen anime ever created, fans mainly have two artists to thank: Toshio Masuda, who worked on the music in the anime's early days, and Yasuharu Takanashi, who took over and composed the soundtrack for "Naruto: Shippuden."

Masuda was the one who had the added responsibility of setting the bar in terms of the show's music. Although he was only involved with the project for four seasons, Masuda created songs, such as "Naruto Main Theme", "I Said I'm Naruto", "The Raising Fighting Spirit," and "Sadness and Sorrow," that made the beginning of the series that much more memorable. Inspired by an avant-garde band from the '80s, Masuda's work in Masashi Kishimoto's series is known for blending traditional Japanese instruments with rock music and other modern genres.

That being said, Masuda had to have more in mind than just blending different styles and adjusting his compositions to suit the mood of the show. In a 2021 interview with Crunchyroll, Masuda revealed he had been reading Kishimoto's manga since it first was published in 1999. It is not unreasonable to think that being well-acquainted with the story prior to composing the soundtrack for the TV adaptation may have contributed to the visionary quality of Masuda's compositions. However, what even hardcore "Naruto" fans may not know is that the artist had to moderate and balance that same visionary quality so as not to spoil those who were experiencing the story for the very first time. 

Spoilers can be everywhere, even in music

The first work meeting Toshio Masuda had before composing for "Naruto" told him nothing that he was not already aware of. Having kept up with the manga prior to this meeting allowed him to have a concrete idea of what to expect.

This same in-depth knowledge of the series made it so he knew exactly the direction it was taking. Thus, there was a specific example Masuda gave as he recalled a time when he had to prevent his future knowledge from seeping into his composition. "I don't remember which song it was, but I think I personally took care not to spoil the story when I arranged it," he said. "There are fans who only enjoy watching the anime without reading the original, so I tried to arrange the songs as crisply as possible so that they wouldn't be able to predict what would happen later. In other words, fun songs were made really fun and energetic songs were made full of energy. Of course, this was only if there wasn't a specific request." Knowing how quintessentially impeccable his work on the series is, there is little doubt that the talented composer could convey spoilers through his music. 

It should be a testament to the greatness of Masuda's work that "Naruto" fans are vocal in conveying the fondness and nostalgia they feel for the series' early soundtrack. One user, in fact, went as far as claiming it was the soundtrack that got them into the anime in the first place. 

Nowadays, it's hard to think of "Naruto" without being marked by how elevated it was by its music. Concerning the series' beginning, we have Masuda to thank for how, with the power of his songs, he made pivotal moments feel that much more remarkable.