According to our authors with great taste of course.t is known that an anime’s opening tune contributes greatly to its reputation within the otaku community, but it doesn’t end there. Music truly has no borders as it can spread through the internet like fire, not sparing any bends and corners. This way, even if you don’t associate yourself in any way with anime, you can always appreciate its opening. For fans, an opening is a heartfelt memory. No matter how much time has passed since you’ve seen the show, when its opening starts playing, all the feelings flood back in as if you’ve only just finished watching the show. Therefore, be it for its quality, emotional value, or both, here are our favorite anime openings of all time!
The opening song is one of many things that I love about anime. Usually – at least from my experience watching anime since the beginning of time – an opening song or more commonly known amongst anime community as OP, creates hype and invokes different kinds of feelings for us before the story unfolds (unless the songs are shitty then you can or should skip it). I have way too many OPs that I would dub as evergreen or eternal if you may (also not to hog all the OPs from my fellow writers all for myself). Instead, I will only choose OPs from great anime that I would rewatch from time to time. Timeless OPs, from timeless anime. P.s I said great anime with high replay value so awesome OPs from shit anime like Kuzu no Honkai, Mirai Nikki, Overlord, and Sword Art Online won’t be included. Also, not in particular order.
Special mentions: “LOVE GOOD TIME” by SpecialThanks from Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji and any OPs from Naruto/Naruto Shippuden.
- “Goya no Machiawase” by Hello Sleepwalkers – from Noragami
One of the best anime out there with one of the best soundtracks to grace your eardrums. “Goya no Machiawase” leaves a good impression on first-time watchers and one of them was me. The OP alone made me feel like it’s worth spending precious time to watch the show. Naturally, I came to that realization and appreciated this masterpiece as it is. Anime like this comes round once in a blue moon (much like Yato’s eyes) and it will make you forget about trash anime like Oreimo and Umaru.
Shoutout to Yato for being the best god!
- “To the Beginning” by Kalafina – from Fate/Zero
Fresh from the news of their impending disbandment, their legacy won’t be forgotten that easily for bringing us great songs such as “Märchen” and “Magia”. Luckily for us, it’s their best song to date – “To the Beginning” – was used as Fate/Zero’s second OP which, in my opinion, remains as the best anime adaptation of Fate (light novel) series.
Do listen to their entire discography as well, my dear readers. It’s worth it.
- “Brave Shine” by Aimer – from Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works
Nothing can go wrong with Aimer, who happens to be my favorite musician from Japan. A singer with a nigh-perfect discography, she never fails to impress me with her new releases from time to time. Off-topic, but in my opinion, Aimer is one of the few true active musicians. Her unique music and voice distinguish her from the rest. The same goes with her songs that are used as anime theme songs (for both opening and ending). In short, I’m her fan okay?
“Brave Shine” shines the brightest amongst them. It is a very fitting OP for an anime with complex settings and intricate plots as Unlimited Blade Works although
Ubisoft Ufotable could’ve done a better job of adapting the second route of the original source material.
- “Tomorrow” by Machico – from Konosuba Season 2
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! No, I’m not trying to sound ridiculous but that’s the original and actual title of this anime adapted from a light novel of the same name. Japanese light novels tend to use absurdly long titles that make us forget even the keywords just after 5 seconds of reading it out loud. I’ll be frank here, the isekai (a term used for a story that involves being transported into another world) genre is totally overdone. The only way to make it pretentiously “original” is by changing the story’s core premise. Whether you are reborn as a vending machine, transported into a fantasy world full of lesbians, or gender-swapped as well as traveled back in time — just about anything that can deceive untrained eyes. Konosuba, however, puts a spin on it. They simply parodied everything – be it the nonsensical RPG party system or quests taken from a guild. If you are looking for a wacky anime to watch with fresh humor and a different take on isekai, I would easily recommend Konosuba.
That, and the OP for the second season is mighty good. The song, as well as the animation itself, perfectly depicts what Konosuba is all about in just slightly over a minute. Tomorrow is damn catchy too and you wish it is your national anthem.
- “My Hero” by MAN WITH A MISSION – from Inuyashiki
An old man and a young ikemen fight each other with their extensively augmented bodies (by some kind of aliens – not explained but oh well) over the skyscrapers under the banner of chaos and order – well, sign me up. You will realize two major things about the show the first time you watch it. The slightly better 3D rendered designs (only because Berserk existed) and the head-banging OP. Just like Aimer, you can never go wrong with MAN WITH A MISSION. For a mature show that delved into the ideologies of two polar opposite characters as they struggle to find what their hearts seek, a strong opening like “My Hero” is a good hors d’oeuvre before the entrée.
“My Hero” is just too perfect for Inuyashiki despite the show’s annoying and recurring flaws, and that is not an understatement. Plus, you get to see anime Donald Trump being himself on the show.
Most of my favorite opening sequences are from mainstream anime – that is, anime that have a sizable following. Narrowing the list down to just five choices was a bit hard. There are other sequences that I would have loved to mention as well. “Rocks” by Hound Dog from Naruto Season One is one favorite that I could not list here. “Rocks” has a rock sound reminiscent to the classic from the ‘80s; classics like songs released by iconic bands like Journey and Queen. Another one that I wished to include here is “Unravel” from Tokyo Ghoul. It almost made the list but I picked another song due to its lyrical content, overall meaning, and thematic significance. The last song that almost made the list is “Departure” by Masatoshi Ono, which served as the opening theme for Hunter x Hunter. At any rate, I will move on to my list. I focused on the songs that fulfilled four criteria: the overall production of the song, its replayability factor, lyrical content, and finally, thematic significance to the overall anime. Thus, here are my favorite anime openings:
- “Again” by Yui – from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Season I
This might be one of my more biased picks, as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my favorite anime. However, “Again” is such a lovely rock single. Yui’s voice really makes this song what it is, and her sweet vocals and inflections make this a standout track. The sequence accompanying the song is not all that striking to look at, but that’s where “Again” comes in. Despite an ‘okay’ sequence, the song makes it worthwhile to watch the entire thing.
- “Guren no Yumiya” by Linked Horizon – from Attack On Titan Season I
Is this the catchiest anime opening ever? I don’t know a single word in this song, but I sure as hell remember to scream ‘jaeger!’ when the times comes. The song is also quite fitting, given the anime’s subject matter. Attack on Titan (Japanese name: Shingeki no Kyojin) is an anime that focuses on human struggle – both communal and personal – in the midst of war. Thus, it is quite fitting for the theme song to have sentiments of fighting for victory. The sentiment of fighting to the end is evident in Eren Yeager’s struggle, as he tries to avenge his mother (and humanity) and drive back the titans. His struggle is very generic, as far as anime goes, but the theme song does well to reiterate the theme of the anime.
I do wish that the visual sequence was more thematic; it really is a missed opportunity as the anime does entertain some very interesting and controversial subject matter and it would be amazing to see that transformed in a better designed visual experience. The ideas of blood, land, human sacrifice and human purification are themes that are evident all throughout the anime’s run, and these are controversial historical themes that can be linked all the way to Nazi Germany and beyond. Given the massive subject matter, the director should have tried to do something more symbolic instead of replaying battle scenes from episodes. Either way, “Guren no Yumiya” is one of the catchiest theme songs I’ve ever heard. It set the bar so high that I was somewhat disappointed by the opening from Season II, even though it was wonderful, in and of itself.
- “The Hero” by JAM Project – from One Punch Man
If “Guren no Yumiya” is the catchiest anime opening, then “The Hero” is the one that gives the most hype. This is one of the few anime openings that I loved from the very first listen. It is fun but it also represents the anime’s overall message quite well. One Punch Man may be a parody anime, but it does offer some interesting and clever insights into the idea of heroism and the perfect protagonist. One of my favorite anime moments happens when the protagonist, Saitama, fights an invading alien warlord, Boros. The opening theme is played for a good portion of the fight. In fact, the song enhances the viewing experience, as the fight happens too quickly to zoom into the nitty gritties of what is going on. Playing the song over the fight also illustrates the position that both combatants are facing: Saitama is too bored with his heroics but he is still doing them for fun while Boros is disappointed that he has yet to meet someone with equal fighting ability.
This is one opening that can be played over and over again, without the backdrop of the anime. It also could fit into many other shonen animes, especially those that do with a protagonist trying his best to do good (which is a good majority of them anyway). I was sad to learn that Madhouse won’t be working on the second season, as the new opening may not live up to this one. The best case scenario is that they get someone to compose an even better opening theme. I am crossing my fingers that the worst case scenario is an Attack on Titan case: the second theme is amazing still, but it doesn’t live up to the first one. Or, the new production staff may decide to keep the old one? A girl can dream…
- “99” by MOB CHOIR – from Mob Psycho 100
“99” makes my list due to pure catchiness. I cannot stress just how much I love this song, especially the countdown parts. The colors featured in the opening scene are very vibrant and dynamic, which is reflective of the anime itself. Mob Psycho 100 was originally written by the same guy who did One Punch Man and so the similarities between the two anime are not surprising. The big difference in the adaptations is that OPM is cleaner and more well-refined – which should be expected from MadHouse. Mob Psycho 100’s animation is not as stellar as its brother anime, but its choppiness actually adds to the wackiness of the characters and the story. This is reflected in the anime opening theme, given its rock sound. The song may not have a deeper meaning behind it, but it sure does stand out due to just how simple but well-made it is. It’s no wonder that “99” is one of the most played songs in my music library.
- “The World” by Nightmare – from Death Note Season 1
Death Note is one of those anime classics that relies heavily on symbolism to add an extra layer to the storytelling. I criticized the Attack On Titan opening for not having a more thematic opening sequence despite the symbolism-ridden theme song. Luckily, Death Note does not suffer from that and is well aware of the anime’s core themes. Biblical symbolism may not be that many, but the few that are there are well-placed and executed to illustrate Light Yagami’s’ twisted philosophy. This is actually present in the opening sequence, with the production staff throwing in various parodies of biblical paintings (see that of him receiving the apple from Ryuk/heaven). Another thing that is highlighted is the contrast between the two main characters, Light and L. They are often presented using contrasting colors – L being blue and Light being red – and this works well with the overall message of the sequence. I love this opening theme not because of the song itself, but because of the imagery present and its thematic weight. The lyrics are fine enough and convey the anime’s motifs well, but this is one of those openings that is better viewed than heard.
An anime’s opening song has the power to revive all the feelings watching a series brought. When it starts playing, it takes me somewhere else in my memory and nostalgia starts kicking in. Aside from the emotional baggage, an opening’s quality is also a very important deal. How can you enjoy it when it’s just no good? I have anime that are quite dear to me but can’t stand the opening or ending songs – and although that does not affect said anime’s quality, it surely doesn’t help boost it either. The five songs I picked merge these two aspects, as they are very dear to me both for the meaning they carry and for how enjoyable they are.
- “Iitoshi Hito no Tameni” by Satou Akemi – from Fushigi Yuugi
Since the anime is set in ancient China, it only makes sense to have an opening with traditional music influences. Not only that but it also has an epic tone, as it tells the story of a determined girl that finds herself split between the real world and the reality inside a book that enrolls her in an adventure to save a country. This is one of those cases where the opening was made specifically for the series – so it really does fit like a glove! I must admit that although I placed this first, musically speaking, it is not the best opening out of the 5. But in my heart, however, it will always be the best opening. I can’t help but sing it out loud as I reminisce about the days I watched this series as a kid.
- “Scarlet” by Junko Iwao – from Ayashi no Ceres
Ayashi no Ceres, also referred to as “The Legend of Ceres”, has many things in common with the anime previously mentioned. Both were written by Yuu Watase, aired in the 90s and have memorable openings! This one has a very different tone, as it is somehow more mellow and romantic, but still memorable. My favourite thing about this opening is the piano and the vocals – I must mention that the singer, Junko Iwao, is a notorious voice actress! Aside from this heartfelt soundtrack, her voice can be heard on iconic animations such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cardcaptor Sakura, Perfect Blue and Magi Madoka.
- “Kimi ni Todoke” by Tanizawa Tomofumi – from Kimi ni Todoke
“Kimi ni Todoke” is a sweet-toned indie track that portraits spring at its peak, in all its charm and essence. There is something really pure about this song – which happens to be the defining trait of the main character in this anime! I think that this is one of those animes that a lot of people have watched and know about, but the opening tends to be extremely underrated. It is such a pleasant song to listen to! If you close your eyes for a bit while listening to it you will feel light and peaceful which is the reason why I listen to often.
- “:Re :Re” by Asian Kung-fu Generation – from Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (erased)
If the anime’s title doesn’t (at least) ring a bell, its opening’s artist must! Asian Kung-fu Generation has been around for a while, and they are one of the most successful Japanese indie bands out there. This is not the first opening they were in charge of – there were a few others. However, out of the bunch, this is my favourite one. The rhythm and groove are the most attractive things about this opening, as well as the instruments and catchy lyrics. I also listen to this quite often, as it is not only a great opening but also a great song in itself. Be prepared for it to stick to your head like glue!
- “Kakakata Kataomoi” by Hyadain – C – from Nichijou
This is the most different song out of the bunch – we had two great openings belonging to Yuu Watase’s works, two indie rock openings with a smooth and catchy feel to them and then there’s “Kakakata Kataomoi”. There really are no words to describe this song. Both Nichijou openings were made by Hyadain — which by the way, consists of one guy — and this one is quirky, cute and fun. The lyrics are about one-sided love and they are quite catchy. The song really does bring out the anxiousness and helplessness of having one-sided feelings for another person, which I found very interesting.
I still remember my confusion concerning OPs back when I first started watching anime. As a kid who was used to seeing western cartoons without them, I wondered why some of the “cartoons” I liked contained these catchy songs. Later on, I thankfully learned to use a computer and found out that these shows are actually anime, and that Openings are one of its iconic components. There are many songs I love and although I really wanted to choose some of the very memorable ones from most fans’ must-watch anime – such as COLORS by FLOW from Code Geass and A Cruel Angel’s Thesis by Yoko Takahashi from Evangelion –, I decided to list my more recent favorites.
- Kyōran Hey Kids!! by THE ORAL CIGARETTES – from Noragami Aragoto
Although I don’t hear much of it, rock is probably my favorite genre. There’s just something about it that makes it extremely pleasing to the ear. What other people could consider obnoxious and loud screaming in some rock or metal songs just sounds amazing to me. Taking this into account, of course, I quickly became a sucker for Noragami Aragoto’s OP.
“Kyōran Hey Kids!!” mixes extremely enthusiastic electric guitar sounds with passionate drumming in the background. The pace of the song changes often, going from a slow instrumental to an extremely fast-paced one with an amazing ability to pull the listener in and make their mood match the wild feeling of the music. This was my number one go-to song for months, and even now I haven’t grown tired of it.
- Paradisus-Paradoxum by MYTH & ROID – from Re:Zero
Well, all of my favorite OPs are fairly fast-paced. The vocalists of MYTH & ROID definitely do a great job with the harmonization of their voices and I simply love the chorus of this Opening, it definitely made me feel a lot of hype and this was one of those OPs you simply can’t bring yourself to skip. Visually, it gets extra points for showing some decent Rem – aka best waifu – content.
- Kuchizuke Diamond by WEAVER – from Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
I love the bass, the drums, the piano and fell in love with the vocals. In other words, I adore this song. Despite being performed by a J-rock band, its sound is incredibly soft and warm-hearted. It does a very good job transmitting the feelings of love and devotion found in the lyrics.
The OP begins with a soothing piano and the other instruments gradually join in. During the chorus, the instruments compose a beautiful array of delicate sounds. Outside of the chorus, the instruments set up a beautiful stage for the vocals rather than trying to overwhelm them. I really love how the harmonization is especially precise and careful so as to not let the instrumental drown out Sugimoto Yuji’s gorgeous vocal color.
This song is a gentle and pleasant tune that I highly recommend adding to your playlist for writing or doing assignments/working.
- Let Me Hear by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas – from Parasyte
Yet another song by a rock band. One of my favorite J-Rock bands, in fact. Not only is the tune extremely catchy, but the mix between English lyrics and Japanese ones makes it very fun to sing along to – excluding the screams, of course – and memorizing the lyrics came more naturally than with other Openings.
- BLOODY STREAM by Coda – from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
People who haven’t watched JoJo probably have only heard of it because of the numerous references scattered across the internet or the famous “To Be Continued” meme. If you have watched JoJo, however, you will know that its style is incredibly unique and all of its characters have their pompous moments, be it because of their lines, their designs or their poses.
“BLOODY STREAM” as a song has an incredibly funky and captivating vibe that fits the overall tone of the series perfectly, especially the tone of the arc in which it’s played since it has our carefree protagonist, Joseph Joestar, and some of the most fabulous-looking antagonists in the story of JoJo, the four Aztec gods of fitness and posing. Better yet, the colorful visuals in the Opening also nicely complement the entirety of the music. My soul currently belongs to whoever came up with the idea of incorporating those distinctive horn sounds – the song definitely wouldn’t be nearly as great without them.
I must admit that although I rarely ever completely memorize an OP, I’ve listened to BLOODY STREAM enough to be able to sing along to all of the song. Will I ever get over it? Probably not.
An anime OP, for me, is a song that can give you a glimpse of the atmosphere that will be shown in the series or in the specific arc. Through the OP of an anime, we are able to see a summary of the events that is usually spoiler-proof, thus giving the viewers a pinch of excitement to look forward to the future episodes.
Although I am more of a K-Pop and Korean entertainment inclined person, one cannot just not love anime. I may have just watched only a few anime in my lifetime, but some opening songs already caught my heart and dominated my playlist. If you have anime recommendations for me (that is not the anime with initials B.N.P.), kindly comment down below. I have a slight preference for less-upbeat and light hearted tracks, which you may find evident in some of the songs listed below. Here are my favorite anime opening theme songs — I hope you like them too!
- Masayume Chasing by BoA – from Fairy Tail
I may have mentioned earlier that I am a K-Pop fan, but choosing this song doesn’t necessarily have to be a reflection of that. To be honest, even I was shocked when I found out that the BoA I know, is the voice behind “Masayume Chasing”, which soon became my most favorite anime OP ever.
“Masayume Chasing” is the opening theme of Fairy Tail during the second part of the Grand Magic Games and Eclipse Arc. It’s entirely a coincidence how my most favorite OP came from my most favorite arc in my most favorite anime, definitely no bias at all… I guess. Anyways, Masayume Chasing conveyed a very different feel in comparison to the other opening themes of Fairy Tail. The song is upbeat, but keeping a youthful and fun approach. The verses are quite interesting, and the chorus is extremely catchy. If you ask me, this song fits the anime the best, especially since the characters, though already experiencing hardships and has sad backstories, are still teenagers living their youth.
- Signal Graph by Annabel – from Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is an anime in a school setting, which doesn’t quite stand out among the vast number of school themed series out there. Fighting for a club, going against the school policies or trying to create a change, and falling in love along the way… It’s quite not so un-generic. I wouldn’t have started watching if it wasn’t for Yume and Yuki’s cute interactions, for which I am thankful because the anime is really fun and a good watch.
“Signal Graph”, like the series itself, is not that different among other songs too. It sports the usual instrumental break from the start, and along those lines, the verse will follow, and so does the chorus, and is always in an upbeat mood. However, what made me like… no, love “Signal Graph” is its really catchy tune and the voice of Annabel as well. Also, personally, unlike other songs where the instrumental overpowers the voice of the singer, Annabel’s voice blended very well with the instrumental.
Reflecting the anime’s youthful theme, the song is refreshing and is very pleasing to the ears.
- Grilleto by GARNiDELiA – from Mahouko Koukou no Rettousei
“Griletto” on the other hand, compared to the two earlier songs, is more upbeat and has a heavier instrumental. It uses elements of rock and also present in the song are various synths scattered. Like the song’s music video, the song itself exudes a futuristic and a dark feel. GARNiDELiA, though it’s bothersome to write her name that way, has a very amazing voice, which is not what you expect when you see her face. I expect her to have a very cute voice and sing cutesy music, but maybe that is just me after noticing her resemblance with Juniel, Heyne, and Shannon, who are not exactly known for rock songs.
It’s the second opening theme song for Mahouko Koukou no Rettousei, a series that takes place in an alternate dimension where magic is present. Actually, the reason I liked the anime is its similar features with Fairy Tail. However, the ambiance of Mahouko itself is heavier than Fairy Tail’s, and the OP reflects it.
- Prince x Prince by From4to7 – from Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda
Don’t judge me! I just have a soft spot for this anime, and the opening song is too good to not mention! “Prince x Prince” is a very bright and light-hearted theme song for the bright and light-hearted anime that is Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda. This song actually reminds me of K-Pop boy group songs, which may explain my adoration for “Prince x Prince”.
It is sung by From4to7, a four-membered, all-boy group, which is pretty coincidental since Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda is a reverse harem series where four boys are fighting for one girl’s heart, who is a yaoi fan… yeah… so that may explain the title “Prince x Prince”.
Anyways, “Prince x Prince”, like “Signal Graph”, is a refreshing song, and is definitely not skippable at all!
- Shoujo S by SCANDAL – from Bleach
I usually watch Bleach opening themes for like one time, and for the succeeding episodes, I just skip them. However, when the Arrancar arc came, and “Shoujo S” played (which I had a hard time knowing the title), I got instantly hooked! “Shoujo S” is definitely a song that you will never skip at all! It also is worth mentioning that the cuts used in the opening theme are really cool and #neverforget Rukia and Inoue’s dance moves!
The song has a very interesting instrumental but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s also worth mentioning that SCANDAL is a band, and are very much capable vocalists as well. The verses are catchy and builds up tension as the chorus drops like a bomb and sets the roof on fire. There is also an alternate overlapping sequence present in the chorus which makes it more effective and enjoyable. Over-all, Shoujo S is an amazing song, amazing enough that I never skipped it while it was still Bleach’s opening theme. And with “Shoujo S”, my top 5 favorite OPs are done!