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Naruto Music: Okamoto's

Sunday 20th July 2014

Tom Smith on Naruto Shippuden’s 18th ending theme


As Naruto ups the ante and swears to take on Sasuke alone in box set 18 of Naruto Shippuden, the team responsible for the encompassing episodes’ ending theme have also took it upon themselves to up the pace. Dials have been cranked to 11, leather jackets have been dusted down and Japan’s brand new garage rock hooligans OKAMOTO’S have been unleashed on the unsuspecting Naru-fandom with their debut anthem ‘Yokubou o Sakebe!!!’ (‘Shout Out Your Desires!!!’)

OKAMOTO’S, like many of the bands covered on the Manga UK blog, have been classmates since junior high school. From day one they had a clear vision of what their band name should represent; something that captures their influences from western rock ‘n roll, but something that doesn’t forget their roots in Japan.

The result was OKAMOTO’S, directly named after Japan’s famous abstract and avant-garde painter and sculptor Tarou Okamoto (famous for his Tower of the Sun building, pictured), and the nod to western influences? The band is big fans of Blitzkrieg Boppers The Ramones, as you can probably guess from listening to them (check out their official YouTube channel here).  As such, they decided that each member should adopt ‘Okamoto’ as their stage ‘surname’, much like their punk-rock heroes Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, et al.

Apart from guitarist Koki Okamoto, all members are sons of famous figures in the entertainment industry: vocalist Shou Okamoto was born in New York and is the eldest son of jazz saxophonist extraordinaire Scott Hamilton. Bass player Hama Okamoto’s father may be familiar to fans of Japanese comedy duo Downtown (popular for the Gaki No Tsukai TV show, where contestants get physically punished if they laugh), he’s Masatoshi Hamada, or more affectionately known as ‘Super Sadistic Hama-chan’. Lastly, drummer Reiji Okamoto is the son of the frontman to 80s greaser outfit The Privates.

Despite having dads with connections, OKAMOTO’S let their music do the talking. They first started getting attention after a track was featured on a compilation album while they were still unsigned in 2009. They followed up the ensuing hype with their first indie album Here Are Okamoto’s, backed up with an impressive 100-date tour schedule for the year.

It impressed the bods at Ariola Japan (an affiliate of Sony), too. They snapped them up and by 2010 had introduced them to life as a major label act; more touring (this time in America!), a brand new full-length album out less than a year after their previous one, and their first single to be tied in with anime thanks to Naruto Shippuden, as mentioned in the introduction.

Currently the band can be found celebrating their five-year anniversary of being signed with the release of their fifth album, entitled Let It V (see what they did there?), coupled with an anniversary tour and appearance at this year’s Rock In Japan Festival, showcasing the best in Japanese music.

OKAMOTO’S albums Yokubou and Here Are Okamoto’s are out now on iTunes. Naruto Shippuden Box Set 18 (episodes 219-231) is out from 21 July on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment. 

Buy it now


Naruto Shippuden Box Set 18 (episodes 219-231)

was £24.99
aruto declares to his friends his intention to take on Sasuke by himself, while the Elders of the Leaf make a serious decision about who will fill the vacant seat of Hokage: Kakashi! In Mount Myoboku, Gerotora, Fukasaku and the Great Lord Elder debate whether or not to give Naruto the key to the Tetragram Seal that Gerotora holds, an act that could potentially unleash Nine Tails.
Meanwhile, Tsunade recovers from her coma and, having grasped the situation, issues orders to prepare for war!
Contains episodes 219-231.
Special Features: Additional Scenes, Production Sketches, Storyboards.
Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.



Naruto: Now & Then

Matt Kamen weighs the difference between the original series and the newer Shippuden episodes of Naruto.
With hundreds of episodes under Naruto’s belt, it can be easy to forget just how far the world’s favourite orange ninja cadet and friends have come since their first days at school. The release of the complete first season of Naruto Shippuden seems the perfect time to look back at some of the key players in the saga, and see where the new series finds them – and haven’t they grown…?

Naruto music: NICO Touches the Walls

Tom Smith dives in to the band behind Naruto Shippuden Box 15
Who’s NICO, and what’s their obsession with walls? It’s a question you may ask yourself upon discovering the artist name behind Naruto Shippuden’s eighth opening theme. They call themselves NICO Touches the Walls and, despite the ridiculous name, they are a pretty big deal in Japan right now.

Out Now: Naruto Shippuden 16

Ninja action sneaking to a store near you
Naruto Shippuden box 16 is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Time Travel in Anime

Paul Browne rewinds from Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower into the past
In the latest Naruto film The Lost Tower, the title character and his comrades embark on a mission to capture Mukade – a missing ninja who has the ability to travel through time. Mukade’s plan is to travel into the past and take control of the Five Great Shinobi Countries. During the battle with Mukade, Naruto and Yamato find themselves hurled back twenty years in time. Will Naruto and his friends be able to return to his own time? And will their actions in the past save the future?

Naruto Music: Asian Kung Fu Generation

Tom Smith on the Britmaniacs behind the Naruto theme.
They’re so loud and proud that they insist on writing it all in caps: ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – possibly one of Japan’s most important alternative rock acts. The group’s tenth single ‘After Dark’ makes for the energetic, guitar-heavy opening theme to the latest volume of Bleach, released in the UK this month, and the group’s sound might at first seem reminiscent of America’s indie scene dashed with elements of punk, it actually has a lot more in common with The Who, their generation, and the sea of British-based guitar heroes that have appeared since.

Naruto's World of "Jutsu"

Rayna Denison sneaks into the background of ninja anime
What is it about Japanese martial arts that these shows celebrate? In the case of Naruto, and now the second series, Naruto Shippuden, it is the “mysterious” art of ninjutsu that comes in for exploration and explosion.


Keiichi Hara Interview

Andrew Osmond talks to the director of Shin-chan and Colorful
As the eleventh Japan Touring Film Programme heads through Britain (see here for venues and here for our write-up), we took the opportunity to speak to the director of the anime entry, the feature film Colorful. Keiichi Hara has been working in anime for thirty-odd years, gaining experience through working with two of Japan’s most popular kids’ characters, Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan. He then graduated to his own projects, and is now a freelancer who pushes at the boundaries of what anime can be.

2013 at the Japanese Box Office

We take today's statistics to predict tomorrow in Japanese cinemas
Which film beat Mission Impossible in Japanese cinemas? Which Ghibli film failed to make the Top 30? Which acclaimed anime was voted the worst of the year? And what the hell is ODS...?

Ghost in the Shell Fashions

Helen McCarthy on Major Kusanagi – fashion icon
Ever since her debut, the heroine of Masamune Shirow's manga-turned-global-franchise Ghost In The Shell has been a high-end product. She's a cyborg combat specialist modified to look like a cross between a top fashion model and a porn star, in a world where most of the women we see are as objectified as in our own reality.
There is simply no denying that Land, Sea or Air, anything remotely related to Disney is mandatorily intrinsic of good times.

Chinese Zodiac

Jonathan Clements on Jackie Chan and the Garden of Gardens
Jackie Chan’s films have often smuggled in the odd political nudge and wink behind the tomfoolery, but Chinese Zodiac puts it all front and centre. Rather nobly, it shies away from issues of race or one-sided nationalism, making greed itself the great unifier – ensuring that Europeans and Chinese can be found on both sides of the battle.

Black Butler: The Movie!

Out in UK cinemas on 17th October
The fan favourite anime comes to the UK in a live-action feature version.
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