A lot of today’s films, series, and even animation have themes related to the Samurai warrior which contains great soundtracks. The story and characters are often based on actual historical events and figures, though some can be entirely fictional.
To make everything more enjoyable, they included great music to these films/series, giving us the best Samurai soundtracks.
Today, we’re sharing with you a great list of the most favorite soundtracks coming from Samurai films, series, and animation.
Heart of Sword
Heart of Sword is a soundtrack from the Japanese animation, Rurouni Kenshin, which has grown popular like the series itself. Fans worldwide have grown fond of the song, hence, has become one of the best Samurai soundtracks to date.
The song was released in the year 1996, and performed by T.M. Revolution which stands for “Takanori Makes Revolution”. The song appeared as the anime series’ third ending theme, which greatly expanded T.M. Revolution’s fanbase.
Aside from Heart of Sword, T.M. Revolution also contributed various opening and ending songs to a lot of notable games and anime series.
A Way of the Sword
The movie The Last Samurai is an American-epic war film produced and directed by Edward Zwick. All tracks for this movie were from Hans Zimmer, a German film-score composer and record producer.
Although he created all the tunes for The Last Samurai, the real highlight of the soundtrack is “A Way of the sword”. In the movie, this specific song has an excellent effect, and you’ll get blown away by Zimmer’s fantastic style.
His works are famous for integrating traditional orchestral arrangements with electronic music sounds. He has also composed soundtracks for more than 150 films.
Kurosawa Akira created the epic historical adventure drama, Seven Samurai, in the year 1954. It has consistently ranked high in specific lists of the best films. Plus, its music has also become one of the best Samurai soundtracks of all time.
The drama has a total of 35 soundtracks which were all composed and conducted by Hayasaka Fumio. Orchestrations were by Hayasaka himself, together with Sato Masaru.
All tracks are perfect for the scenes, and Hayasaka was able to capture the ambiance and essence of that time.
Another best Samurai soundtrack comes from the series Furin Kazan. It is the 46th Taiga drama from NHK that aired in 2007.
For its opening and ending theme, the songs came from the composer Senju Akira. He is a famous composer, conductor, and arranger from Japan who created music for different genres.
Furin Kazan is an adaptation to the 1959 historical novel with the same title. It was a novel from Inoue Yasushi, with the English title The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan.
JAP is a song from Sengoku BASARA which is originally a series of video games created and published by CAPCOM.
There’s considerable media based on it which includes anime series, a movie, magazine series, and even trading card games.
The song JAP is from the band Abingdon Boys School formed in 2005. It’s one of the popular and best Samurai soundtracks to date, and was taken from their first single “We Are”.
Specifically, the title track appeared as the theme song for the PS3 game Sengoku Basara HD Collection. It was the soundtrack from the game released in the year 2012.
1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou
1/3 no Junjō na Kanjō is another song used as an ending theme for Rurouni Kenshin. It’s from the Japanese rock band called Siam Shade, and 1997 was its year of release.
1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou was the band’s sixth single released on that same year. It also appeared on their fourth studio album named Siam Shade IV – Zero.
The song is the band’s best known and best-selling single and grew even more popular after it appeared as the anime’s soundtrack.
It has a catchy tune that blends well with the vocalist’s unique voice. Because of that, the song is part of the list of best Samurai soundtracks of all time.
Samurai Champloo is one of the few anime with unique and catchy tunes that make it a favorite among viewers. It is also the reason why the music is part of the list of best Samurai soundtracks.
This series follows the journey of the characters, Jin, Mugen, and Fuu. Samurai Champloo has the same director as Cowboy Bebop, another popular series. However, the former takes a different path wherein it focuses a lot on hip-hop.
Another significant aspect of Samurai Champloo is that it’s the only anime to feature music from famous Japanese hip-hop artist Nujabes.
It was before he passed in 2010. Upon hearing his tunes, you can clearly and immediately hear the passion he poured into the project.
Nujabes produced brilliant music for the show, and a lot of people got drawn to the anime because of this. He worked on tons of albums, but the soundtrack of Samurai Champloo was definitely among the best Nujabes collaborated on.
For the series, he combined hip hop with jazz elements into mellow and classic sounds. He was able to create music that’s relaxed and unique at the same time. The man was indeed the best in his craft, yet has gone too soon.
The Shinsengumi OST
The list of the best Samurai soundtrack won’t be complete without a soundtrack from the Taiga drama series Shinsengumi! This is one of the favorite dramas of NHK.
Hirokami Junichi composes music for this NHK Taiga drama. He is a Japanese conductor born in Tokyo, who won his very first award in the Kondrashin International Conducting Competition in Amsterdam.
What’s excellent about the music from this Taiga drama is its catchiness, especially the Shinsengumi opening theme.
It has a classic feel to it, and it produced a vibe that was powerful, strong, and perfect for this special police force of the Bakumatsu period.
NHK aired this drama in the year 2004. It was written by Mitani Kouki, and produced by the Japanese broadcaster, NHK.