Anti-Japanese war drama takes soundtrack from Japanese anime

Blue Wolf, a new Chinese drama, has music that seems to come from the popular Japanese anime Naruto: Shippuden

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 January, 2014, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 January, 2014, 6:26pm

One of China’s newest anti-Japan war dramas, Blue Wolf, has ironically taken music from the popular Japanese animated series Naruto: Shippuden, raising eyebrows amongst netizens who are familiar with anime.

The sorrowful music appears in episode 33 of Blue Wolf, complementing scenes that show one of the drama’s male protagonists reminiscing about his lover. 

Members of China’s microblogging community were quick to point out that the music is uncannily similar to a theme arranged by Japanese anime composer Yasuharu Takanashi, entitled “Man of the World.” This theme was frequently played during episodes of Naruto: Shippuden, one of Japan’s most well known and long-running animation series since 2007.

State media newspaper People’s Daily analysed both pieces of music and found them to be “basically the same…with only slight differences.” 

Have a listen to the two pieces of music here: 

A look at the Blue Wolf soundtrack credits does not specifically reveal who composed the music for episode 33 of the show, and inquires on whether the Naruto: Shippuden theme was used intentionally have been unanswered.

Sina Weibo microbloggers commented that it was “too ironic” that a Chinese drama focused on battles during the second Sino-Japanese war would lift musical elements from a Japanese anime.

“This is why I haven’t watched these anti-Japanese dramas in years,” one netizen wrote. “They’re garbage… It’s already commonplace for them to steal music from Japanese shows. It just shows you that the music Japan creates for their television shows is much better than anything China’s ever made.”

Others were less vehement in their criticism, and suggested that the Blue Wolf music had perhaps been meant as a tribute, particularly since Naruto: Shippuden commands a wide audience of dedicated fans in China.

“Maybe the director of this episode is a Naruto fan,” one commentator wrote.

China’s anti-Japan dramas have drawn heated criticism in recent years for increasingly outlandish plots, lavish overacting and historical liberties that ignore the details of the Sino-Japanese wars, instead painting the Chinese as overwhelming victors.

In May, Chinese viewers took to Sina Weibo in droves to complain about dramas that showed Chinese fighters splitting Japanese enemies in half with their hands and killing dozens of Imperial Japan soldiers with just one arrow.

“The anti-Japan war is…a valuable resource for film and television creativity,” television watchdog official Wang Weiping told People’s Daily at the time. “Recently some of this creativity has shown a lack of seriousness, creating lots of nonsense [and] not respecting history.”