Top 5 + Guest: Our Favorite Anime Openings

More and more effort and money seems to be put toward anime openings (OP) these days, but more than ever it’s striking when an opening strikes such a chord that viewers will watch it each week instead of skipping.  For the winter 2015 season, the Death Parade OP foots the bill – frankly, it’s probably better than the series deserves!

Below are our picks for all-time favorite anime openings.  This week, we’re joined by The Cajun Samurai, who’ll give his list as well.  By the way, I recommend that you go to his site to see his extended explanation regarding his selections.

And as always, we welcome your thoughts – what are your favorite anime openings?

Cajun Samurai’s Picks

  1. Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven (“Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)”)
  2. Toradora (“Pre-Parade”)
  3. Attack on Titan (“Guren no Yumiya”)
  4. Space Brothers (“Feel So Moon”)
  5. Nichijou (“Hyadain no Jojo Yujo”)

Tangles-san is evil. Yup. He’s brimming with evil. Yeah, I know he might look like a nice guy and sound like a nice guy, but really he’s not. Wanna know why? He asked me to pick five of my favorite anime openers and then rank them. You might as well ask me to take apart my Jeep Cherokee and put it back together…BLINDFOLDED. Picking five great songs is bad enough, but RANKING them!? Good grief. But, thankfully, I was able to pull it off, and my number one pick was pretty much a no-brainer; not only does it combine a classic hymn with J-Pop, it’s also the one anime song that my mom listens to while driving in her car. My mother is over sixty years old. Let that sink in. Anyway, those are my picks. Have a great day. I’m the Cajun Samurai, strolling inexorably down the bayous of life.

Kaze’s Picks

  1. Carnival Phantasm (“Super☆Affection”)
  2. Baccano! (“Guns&Roses”)
  3. Gundam SEED OP1 (“Invoke”)
  4. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 (“Uchuu Senkan Yamato”)
  5. Texhnolyze (“Guardian Angel”)

This was a pretty difficult decision. From the bottom, I have Texhnolyze, etching out Lain (sorry Japes and Charles) with an opening that was filled with such intrigue that it kept me going despite the show’s painfully slow start. Uchuu Senkan Yamato’s opening is not anything impressive; in fact, the first half could be called quite boring. But there’s just something about the visuals of the opening that really puts you into the mood of the story, something I rarely feel. Gundam SEED is one of the most nostalgic openings for me, with SEED as one of the few shows I watched “early on” that I still legitimately consider good. (The opening is so great in fact, that Sunrise just can’t help reusing its scenes) What top anime openings list would be complete without Baccano? This opening is fun, brilliantly directed, memorable, and most impressively, simple. At the top is the very entertaining Carnival Phantasm, which manages to parody an entire multiverse in 90 seconds. On a final note, I really wanted to put in Mushishi, but I wouldn’t know which opening to pick because they’re all amazing.

Zeroe4’s Picks

  1. Durarara (“Complication”)
  2. Eden of the East (“Falling Down”)
  3. Psycho-Pass 2 (“Enigmatic Feeling”)
  4. Anohana (“Aoi Shiori”)
  5. Gundam 00 (“Daybreak’s Bell”)

Durarara’s two openings are wonderful, but second one does a flawless job of introducing the myriad of characters, the setting of Ikebukuro, and the whimsical and serious tone of the show. Eden of The East has a very intense and visual fascinating opening, the english words, stunning visuals over lapped by typography and effects, and the ridiculous amount of symbolism makes this opening a philosophical experience for me. Psycho-Pass 2 has such a beautiful and dark opening that really adds to the overwhelming sense of intensity and uncertainty the show offers. Anohana’s opening adds such a mix of melancholy and cheery tone to a wonderful and deep show. Gundam 00’s original opening is a bit stereotypical for mecha anime, but the music and the views of earth and space are stunning and really set up the shows setting. 

Japesland’s Picks

  1. Serial Experiments Lain (“Duvet”)
  2. Now and Then, Here and There (“Now and Then, Here and There”)
  3. Mushishi Zoku Shou (“Shiver”)
  4. Haibane Renmei (“Free Bird”)
  5. Emma: A Victorian Romance (“Silhouette of a Breeze”)

There are SO many openings I wanted to put on this list. Alas, five is both a small and difficult number to reach! But in the face of all of this undue hardship thrust upon me by my cruel editor (*cough*Charles*cough*) I managed to select a few of my favorites. You’ve probably noticed that my choice of openings differs greatly from most. Several other writers represented some openings that easily would have (and some have already) made it into my J-Pop shuffle playlist, but when I reviewed many of my favorite openings, I realized that the ones I most respect are not the ones I am most likely to listen to in my free time, but that I think add greatly to the atmosphere of the show itself. Thus, while I love songs like Cowboy Bebop’s “Tank!,” Diebuster’s “Groovin’ Magic,” Nichijou’s “Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi,” and many more, they just didn’t make the cut.

TWWK’s Picks

  1. Bleach (“Asterisk”)
  2. Toradora (“Pre-Parade”)
  3. Neon Genesis Evangelion (“Cruel Angel’s Thesis”)
  4. Cowboy Bebop (“Tank!”)
  5. Oreimo (“Irony”)

I remember way back in the day, when Bleach first aired on Adult Swim, that I thought I was witnessing something special and spectacular.  I was bound to be let down, but looking back, much (or most?) of my hopes seemed to have been predicated on the awesomeness of the first opening.  It was beautiful. The rest of my list includes some love for more classic series OPs, like those for Cowboy Bebop and NGE (while after much contemplation, I left Serial Experiments Lain off the list – it would be my runner-up!).  I also noticed that I’ve taken a shine to openings that have a track that I would call “fresh” sounding, like my number five (which is my daily alarm song, by the way).  Two others in that category, “Stable Staple” (Bakemonogatari) and another ClariS song, “Click” (Nisekoi), just barely missed the cut.

EDIT: “Irony” actually shouldn’t make the cut on my list – “Kiseki no Umi” (Record of Lodoss War) replaces it in the top five and would rank fourth overall.

Again, now that you’ve seen ours, what are some of your favorite anime openings?

24 thoughts on “Top 5 + Guest: Our Favorite Anime Openings

  1. Wow, great lists!

    My own would be:

    1. Yakusoku wa iranai, The Vision of Escaflowne
    2. Face, Heat Guy J
    3. My God and me, Neo Ranga (second opening)
    4. My Dearest, Guilty Crown
    5. Macross Plus, Voices

  2. My list is a bit different if only going off music. (I love “ANGELUS” from InuYasha & Hitomi Shimitani but it’s nothing special animation-wise.) But going off music + animation:

    1. Neon Genesis Evangelion “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”
    2. Attack on Titan “Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen”
    3. Cowboy Bebop “Tank!”
    4. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya “Bouken Desho Desho?”
    5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica “Connect”

    1. We actually had that conversation! Ours lists would differ greatly if we just considered the songs.

      And gosh…your list contains OPs that would all be among my top few as well. Bouken Desho Desho should probably be in my top five, actually…

  3. Hard to say, actually. There’s a lot of them. But if I was put on the spot right now I’d say:

    1. Cowboy Bebop “Tank!”
    2. Haibane Renmei “Free Bird”
    3. Bokurano “Uninstall”
    4. Spice and Wolf “Tabi no Tochuu”

    But it breaks down at #5. There’s at least a three-way tie:

    Ergo Proxy “Kiri”
    Kyousougiga “Koko”
    Shin Mazinger Z “Kanjite Knight”

    1. Oh man, I love “Tabi no Tochuu” and “Koko”!

      I actually did a saxophone cover of “Tabi no Tochuu” on my channel! The full version is even better than the TV edit!

      1. Yeah, they’re nice songs, just like Shiver (which I would put up here too, but the animation didn’t really impress as much upon me as much as the others). You’re right though, there’s WAY too many OPs to qualify. Baccano’s and Trigun’s and oh so many more. But you have to try drawing the line somewhere, somehow 🙂

        Nice cover, btw. I’m pleasantly surprised by how many people cover Tabi no Tochuu.

  4. This is such a hard question! Currently, my favorite is Death Parade’s…can’t get it out of my mind!

    I also love Gugure! Kokkuri-san’s opening, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s first opening, Your Lie in April’s first opening, and Psycho-Path’s second opening! 😀

  5. Alright, here are the ones I currently dig the most
    5. Soul Eater: Resonance
    4. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Bloody Stream
    3. Cromartie High School: Innocent
    2. Bokurano: Uninstall
    1. Great Teacher Onizuka: Driver’s High

  6. 1:Hacking to the Gate-Steins;Gate
    2:Tank!-Cowboy Bebop
    3:Guren no Yumiya-Attack on Titan
    4:Light Before We Land-Gunslinger Girl
    5:Crossing Fields-Sword Art Online

    This was a lot harder than i thought it would be. I wanted to put up Trigun’s opening, but once I realized I had forgotten Guren i knew i’d have to take it out.

  7. My endings would have to be.
    1.Dango Family-Clannad
    2.Small Prayer-Fruits Basket
    3.Real Folk Blues-Cowboy Bebop
    4.Kaze-wa Mirai-ni Fuku-Trigun
    5.Shiki No Uta-Samurai Champloo (never finished the series, but it’s still a good song)

    1. Oh, save the endings! I’m sure we’ll get to those one day. 😉

      By the way, my very favorite ED is among your top five!

  8. Here are my openings:

    (1). Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: 4th Opening (This one is like a drug)
    (2). Soul Eater’s 2nd Opening (So good it made me buy the show, even though I had no clue what was going on)
    (3). Cowboy Bebop “Tank” (Now symbolizes all charismatic criminals in my head)
    (4). Psychopass’ 1st Season, 2nd opening (Incomprehensibly addictive, Psycho-Pass has some of the best opening/closing music in show)
    (5).Gunslinger Girl (Haunting, disturbing, beautiful)

  9. Possibly #5 is tied between Gunslinger Girl and Guilty Crown’s 1st opening (But only because GC’s first opening lyrics have a quasi-spiritual relevance to me).

  10. Those were some excellent lists. I’m especially grateful to Kaze for putting up Carneval Phantasm. That was a fun song to listen to, and the animation made it that much better.

    As long as we’re sharing top five opening songs, my top five come from the following shows:

    1. Utawarerumono
    2. Escaflowne
    3. The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye
    4. Lost Universe
    5. Chrono Crusade

  11. I’m biased toward ’90s shoujo, so Sailor Moon’s opening/Moonlight Densetsu and the Utena opening Rinbu Revolution are my faves. While I like the Haruhi Suzumiya soundtrack in general, the opening isn’t really my favorite. Same with Full Moon Wo Sagishite, I Love U is OK, but I prefer the ending themes and insert songs.

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