As Naruto Shippuden gradually heads into the upcoming war arc, today's episode debuted the latest new opening for the show, "Newsong" by Tacica. And I've gotta say that I'm quite impressed. It starts off with the standard showcasing of characters, nothing unusual. But then we see Killer Bee movin' and groovin' with a boombox to his ear, and it's right around here that we know we're in for something quite different.
It features scenes with the likes of Kakashi, Raikage, and the Konoha grown-ups prancing around like ballerinas, the newly revived Akatsuki dancing to the side like puppets while their caskets topple over behind them, and several fight scenes where Naruto, Sakura, and Sai are flying (yes, FLYING) towards Madara and Kisame. Add in choreographed dancing scenes with most of the Konoha 11 and the Sand siblings, with just enough spoilers in there to satisfy, and we've got ourselves one refreshingly unique Naruto opening.
And the more I think about it, this may very well be the best opening in the series, and a lot of it comes down to the subtleties about it. Fans of the first Kage Summit opening, "Diver" by Nico Touches the Walls, commented on how subtlety worked in that one's favor, and I believe the same to be the case with this one. Now, as over the top as this opening is, subtle may be an odd word choice to describe it, but hear me out.
For one thing, Naruto is back to being his goofy self, as so many of his peers have commented on ever since his last confrontation with Sasuke. In fact, the lack of Sasuke in this opening also shows off how Naruto has finally gotten over his obsession with him. This opening is pretty much a celebration of Naruto's return to form with its goofy antics.
Plus, we all know how much Naruto tends to rub off on people, so it makes sense for everyone around him to be joining in on the goofiness. Notice that it's only the protagonists who are doing any dancing, with the slight exception of the Akatuski, who are tugged to the side like the group of puppets that they are. And the choreographed dancing also emphasizes the teamwork necessary in the upcoming war.
Even the fighting portions have little details in them that hint at some of the actual upcoming fights. For example, Sakura attacking Madara with paper bombs nods to Madara's actual forthcoming fight with Konan, and Naruto's transformation is just enough to entice without completely spoiling the big reveal (even though the new ending did just that...).
In some prior openings, the inclusion of the Konoha 11 usually feels forced, given how they oftentimes play little to no role at all in the accompanying arc. But here, as we head into war, for once the inclusion of every single side character actually makes sense.
There's other little details that I keep catching, which really just shows how much thought was actually put into this one. But overall, while the song itself isn't great, it's also not bad by any means, and fits the tone and the animation perfectly. I've gotta say this opening is absolutely brilliant, and is one of the most impressive ones that the anime has produced yet.