Hello you wonderful people! Another year has passed, so it is once again time for an absurdly long countdown list. We’ve done the best and worst anime of all time—completely objective and factual lists—and this time we’re tackling the BEST anime OPs.
Because I am a foolish man, I opted to make this a hybrid list. The video above is the actual countdown and features ~15 second snippets of each OP. Down below is an exhaustively long, written version of the list, which features justifications for each entry. This is also where you’ll find links to where you can listen to these songs on YouTube, Spotify, and Animethemes.moe.
I encourage people to just watch the video and only use the written list for more information and the links. With that said, thank you for checking out this list and I hope to see all again sometime in 2022!
Please don’t mock my video editing skills. I had to learn this stuff as I went.
#100 Groovin’ Magic – Diebuster
The joyful tone of Groovin’ Magic perfectly accentuates the drastic shift in tone compared to Gunbuster. It’s a peppy song that matches the stylish, comedy-action style of mid-2000s Gainax productions. Just a shame that they chose to pad out the OPs visuals with random, mismatched scenes from the OVA.
#99 Futari no Hane – Hanebado!
Futari no Hane has a banger of a chorus to start off with, which immediately gets one hyped for the intense badminton action that the anime promises. The OP is full of stylish action shots synced up to the punchy lyrics, but it also foreshadows some of Hanebado‘s ventures into the psychology of its cast.
#98 Inner Universe – Ghost in the Shell SAC
Using a Russian song for an anime was a fascinating decision, but one that worked out amazingly well for Ghost in the Shell. Inner Universe is a beautiful, mysterious song; it gets you wondering what kind of amazing sci-fi stories might lie in wait. The dated CGI is slightly disappointing, but there are some nice scenes that still make it an OP worth watching.
#97 Red Fraction – Black Lagoon
Red Fraction is so embarrassingly bad that it somehow manages to come around to being endearing. An aggressive rock track combined with Engrish vocals about justifying violence perfectly fits the grimdark nature of Black Lagoon. It only barely makes sense, but it sure is catchy.
#96 Botsuraku Kizoku no Tame no Teekyu – Teekyu
Teekyu is an immensely stupid show and its first OP does a perfect job of capturing just that. It is infectiously happy.
#95 Meiya Kadenrou – Katanagatari
A unique series like Katanagatari needs an OP that sets it apart, which is exactly what Meiya Kadenrou provides. Sung by Minami Kuribayashi, this OP has a unique feel to it that pairs well with the artsy visuals.
#94 Oshichau zo!! – Omamori Himari
Underrated anime sometimes have the catchiest of opening songs, as is the case with the harem comedy Omamori Himari. This opening stars an indulgent amount of fanservice, but Oshichau zo!! by Aya Sakamoto and Ruka Kawada is also such a damn fine song. It gets me in a good mood whenever I listen to it.
#93 Koisuru Kokoro – Girl Meets Girl
My preferences usually lie with intense, fast-paced music, but sometimes a song just resonates with you. Koisuru Kokoro by Eufonius is so soft and tender, it sounds almost fragile. A beautiful, emotional OP for an equally touching series.
#92 Dai Mahou Touge – Magical Witch Punie-chan
The core joke of Punie-chan is the disconnect between its cutesy designs and the crass, ultra-violent nature of its characters. The OP plays along with this perfectly by presenting a cheery song that stars some hilariously off-putting lyrics. Having Punie cheerfully dance in front of pictures of humanitarian disasters and national monuments set ablaze is also incredibly grim, but wholly on brand for this franchise.
#91 Taste of Paradise – OniSuki
Eri Kitamura hits it out of the park with Taste of Paradise; a song that manages to make an admittedly super-mediocre harem comedy seem actually promising. Her fantastic singing voice and the song’s instantaneous energy are gripping. The lyrics are also great, though not exactly a match for the themes of the anime.
#90 Hanaukyo Meido-tai no Uta – Hanaukyo Maid Team
Sung by various characters from the show, Hanaukyo Meido-tai no Uta is a relaxed, charming OP that captures the feel of the anime very well. The slow pace of the song is very pleasant and allows the chorus to really shine, which then nicely leads into the short solo portions for the individual singers. The remake would change the song to “Voice of Heart” by Rie Tanaka, but it honestly could not compare to this classic.
#89 Kyoukai no Kanata – Beyond the Boundary
Beyond the Boundary is quite special. It combines the artistry, the mysticism, and emotional touch of Kyoto Animation with the high-octane feel of a supernatural-action shounen anime. Kyoukai no Kanata (also the anime’s Japanese title) similarly marries these two distinctly different feelings; energetic action music and calmer, emotional portions come together wonderfully in this song, creating an OP that’s even more memorable than the actual anime.
#88 Saikousoku Fall in Love – Monster Musume
Monster Musume is a fantastic harem comedy with a diverse cast of lovable characters, so representing all of them fairly in the OP is very important. Saikousoku Fall in Love unfolds as a sketch, where each of the girls gets a time in the spotlight as they take turns putting protagonist Kimihito in danger. It’s a fun way to present the OP and the song itself, while cheesy, is a nice fit.
#87 Shinryaku no Susume – Squid Girl
Shinryaku no Susume is as goofy and weird as the anime it’s attached to. It’s ostensibly a battle song about conquering mankind, complete with battlecries, but it’s prone to random distractions both in the lyrics and visuals. The idea of this being a battle song is also sabotaged by the aggressively child-like singing voice. It’s ridiculous, but very well done and incredibly funny.
#86 Kinjirareta Asobi – Rozen Maiden
Ali Project’s music is incredibly recognizable and, to me at least, very appealing. Kinjirareta Asobi was my first encounter with this intense rock band, so it has remained a personal favorite of mine ever since. The dark, moody song perfectly compliments the gothic style of Rozen Maiden and instantly earned Ali Project a new fan back in the day.
#85 Liar Mask – Akame ga Kill!
I am not going to sit here and pretend like I enjoy Akame ga Kill. I thoroughly dislike this anime, but FUCK it has some good music in there. Liar Mask is 100% certified kick ass.
#84 Hitomi no Kakera – Madlax
Hitomi no Kakera is a cooperation between the immense talents of Yuuka Nanri and Yuki Kajiura. The result is an engrossing song that speaks to Madlax‘ mysterious feel. The music has an ominous vibe to it, but the wonderful composition and great sound still make it a nice track to listen to.
#83 Soushou Innocence – Akuma no Riddle
If Koisuru Kokoro is the opposite of the kind of music I am usually into, then Soushou Innocence is squarely in my comfort zone. Loud J-rock, a fast pace, and Maaya Uchida’s incredible singing. That this was the first single of her career is astounding!
#82 Heavenly Blue – Aldnoah.Zero
Get used to seeing Yuki Kajiura pop up throughout this list. In Heavenly Blue she clearly displays the range of her singing capacities, alternating between an aggresive, accelerating tone and calmer, almost angelic interludes. Comparable to Kyoukai no Kanata in a way, but benefiting from Kajiura’s and her band’s phenomenal style.
#81 COOLEST – Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto
The coolest man in the world needs the coolest theme song to match, which is exactly what Cutomi Z provided. A hilariously cheesy pop rock number with some genuinely good vocals and a strong composition. Sadly, the band was short-lived.
#80 Skies of Love – Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Befitting of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, its first opening “Skies of Love” is a classy, emotional song. Once you get invested into the series, it’s hard not to tear up at the beautiful lyrics and Monday Michiru’s singing.
#79 Million Clouds – Amanchu!
Million Clouds is a very slow-paced and emotional song. Even in the few moments where it speeds up and the music swells, the tone remains incredibly tender. The lyrics are also very sweet.
#78 Jump Up Yell! – Anima Yell!
For an anime about cheerleading, it’s no surprise that the OP itself is turned into an energetic performance. A literal cheer routine kicks off the song, after which the rest of the lyrics are a string of encouragements. It’s peppy and I admire how they managed to turn these simple lyrics into such a nice, coherent song.
#77 Grow Up – Ghost Stories
Example #1 of a song that’s way too good for the show it’s attached too. Grow Up is a legitimately cool song and a perfect fit for the kind of supernatural adventure that Ghost Stories distinctly is not. Whether you’re talking about the Japanese original or the English parody version, this fantastic OP exaggerates the contents of the anime way too much.
#76 Kuusou Mesorogiwi – Mirai Nikki
Like Red Fraction by Mell, Kuusou Mesorogiwi is a ridiculous song that can’t help but be catchy. That opening rollcall of the Olympian Gods is even more iconic for Mirai Nikki than its flip-phones. The rest of the song is a mix of Yousei Teikoku’s amazing music and lyrics that mix German, Japanese, and Engrish into a bizarre, but very cool blend.
#75 Here – The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Another OP that kicks off with an iconic chant, “Here” by JUNNA is a powerful song. It has a long and mystical-sounding build-up, which eventually explodes into passionate singing. “Here” hits like a freight train every time.
#74 Key Plus Words – Persona 4: The Animation
How in the world did I forget to include this on my list of the best English OPs. Key Plus Words is an amazing cooperation between Shihoko Hirata and Yumi Kawamura, who together put up one of the best English performances in Japanese music I have ever heard.
#73 Let Me Hear – Parasyte
This is definitely one of the loudest openings, but for good reason. Parasyte is a sci-fi action series filled with body horror, so metal music and screaming are a good fit. The vocals that sing about humanity’s place in the food chain also align strongly with Parasyte‘s themes, and they give Let Me Hear a philosophical touch that contrasts nicely against the violent music.
#72 GAMERS! – Gamers!
GAMERS! is admittedly quite a simple (though appealing) song, but it’s an example of an OP that ranks high for its visual accompaniment. Like its anime, the OP is an homage to just how cool gaming is. It touches on everything from the oldest of retro games to the (then) latest fads, all with snappy directing.
#71 Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni – Fate/Stay Night
The original adaptation of Fate/Stay Night has been criticized for many different problems, but its music certainly isn’t among them. Of the two opening songs, “Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni” is absolutely my favorite. It’s a thrilling, action-packed song with stunning vocals by Sachi Tainaka. Definitely a second opening that blows the original out of the water.
#70 Sakura Saku – Love Hina
“Sakura Saku” has an impressive beat to it. It’s quick-paced and very erratic, which fits the crazy romcom anime that it’s attached to. However, what makes the song really come together is Megumi Hayashibara’s wonderful voice. She has been one of my favorite singers for a while now, but hearing her nail “Sakura Saku” and keep up with its bizarre pace is amazing. It turns a goofy song into one that is genuinely pleasant to listen to.
#69 Raison D’être – Claymore
Claymore is not the anime adaptation that the legendary fantasy manga deserved, but ” Raison D’être” by Nightmare makes it seem like it could have been. The rock music and vocals are spot-on, backed up by action shots that far outclass anything in the actual anime. For fans, that shot of Clare and Teresa passing each other before transforming into a statue of the twin Goddesses is particularly cool.
#68 Errand – Seikon no Qwaser
Like “Soushou Innocence”, Faylan’s “Errand” goes for exactly the kind of music I like in action anime. It’s loud, powerful, and it nicely changes up the rhythm throughout, without ever fading out entirely. It’s such a memorable song that I entirely forgot which anime it was from for the longest time and didn’t think to look for it in Seikon no Qwaser. I was absolutely sure it must’ve been a more… respectable anime.
#67 Cras numquam scire – The Mystic Archives of Dantalian
Latin always lends a mystique to music, of which “Cras numquam scire” is a great example. For an anime all about literature and mysteries, the dramatic tone is just perfect. The animation also nails both the gothic feel of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian as well as its supernatural elements.
#66 Yumeji Labyrinth – Urara Meirochou
Openings sung by the main cast of the show tend to be nice for capturing the personality of the characters, but are often quite simplistic. “Yumeji Labyrinth” is an exception; it being a spirited song with a lot going on in it. It’s fun and lighthearted, but it also moves fast, suddenly changes pace at surprising moments, and has overlapping singing. Though it focuses mostly on being cheerful, it also captures some of the magic that make the setting of Urara Meirochou so fascinating.
#65 Seijaku no Apostle – One Punch Man
Controversial pick, I know. The opening of One Punch Man‘s first season is iconic for the series, but I feel that season’s “Seijaku no Apostle” is technically better. It still has the kick ass feel of a Jam Project song, but with music and lyrics that are just more interesting. It can’t match “THE HERO !!” in sheer hype factor, but I listen to it far more often and with much more delight.
#64 Catch You Catch Me – Cardcaptor Sakura
A childhood classic for many, the Japanese OP for Cardcaptor Sakura is astoundingly good. “Catch You Catch Me” is an adorable song, excellently performed by Megumi Hinata. I staunchly prefer the original manga over the anime, but I fell in love with this song all the same. Don’t have a bad word to say about it!
#63 We Were Lovers – Gankutsuou
A returning entry from an earlier list of the best English songs in anime, and for good reason. Jean-Jacques Burnel was specifically asked to compose for Gankutsuou by series director Mahiro Maeda and “We Were Lovers” is the crown piece of his work. Even putting aside the novelty factor, this tragic love song is just so breathtakingly good. A rare example of an anime opening that your parents may even like.
#62 Kyomu Densen – Another
“Kyomu Densen” is my favorite Ali Project song, both because it’s their best work as well as for its fantastic animation. Ali Project and Another were a match made in heaven and they made sure to support the song with lots of unsettling imagery. Imagery that may foreshadow things to come if you pay attention to the details.
#61 Power Play – Shinzo
The music, lyrics, and visuals of “Power Play” really make you wonder how in the world Shinzo ended up being so niche. It’s a really cool OP with vocals by Ayumi Miyazaki, famous for his work on various Digimon OPs. It’s also one of the most fun openings to watch, owing to the sharp directing and great transitions between scenes.
#60 Just Think Of Tomorrow – The Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Few songs get to be fantastic in two languages at the same time, but Just Think Of Tomorrow is a rare example of just that. The Japanese version is especially nice, as Mari Sasaki’s voice lends it the ideal tone. The song feels adventurous and I really adore the visuals, which experiment a lot with rotoscoping to great effect.
#59 Deep in Abyss – Made in Abyss
Another song worth praising for its adventurous feel is “Deep in Abyss”, even if the adventure at hand is a lot more grim than that of Captain Tylor. It’s a wonderful song with vocals by the actors of Reg and Riko, but its upbeat tone obfuscates the grim meaning of its lyrics. Just like the anime itself, you could say.
#58 Yuzurenai Negai – Magic Knight Rayearth
The slow build-up that starts off this OP is so beautiful and refined, but just like Magic Knight Rayearth itself, the OP quickly proves itself to be formidable at action as well. The song swells up real nicely and that initial line that started it off keeps returning as a leifmotif, now with more power and energy to it. Really well done.
#57 Suddenly – Battle Programmer Shirase
Another one of those songs that’s a little too good for the anime they belong to. Naomi Amagata’s “Suddenly” has a mysterious feel to it, like something deep & meaningful is going on here. Meanwhile, Shirase is seen walking through a void code and computer screens. It’s pretentious, but that makes it clash in a funny way with the few scenes in the OP that more accurately represent Battle Programmer Shirase‘s comedic contents. And hey, even if it’s ill-fitting, the song is still a joy to listen to.
#56 Paradisus-Paradoxum – Re:Zero
Myth & Roid is a band that I’ve gotten into a lot in recent years, which their work on Re:Zero has certainly contributed to. Paradisus-Paradoxum is a song that blends a lot of different styles; the ominous shot of birds circling overhead while we listen to strange chanting, the emotional singing as we watch Subaru suffocate, but also excitement and fun segments once the song picks up. It’s diversity that the song shares with Re:Zero itself and it’s a testament to Myth & Roid’s talent that they captured this so well
#55 Bon Appétit – Blend S
Even though the song became somewhat of a meme, it has a lot more to it than just the now-iconic intro. It’s a well-composed song with a lot of excitement to it, which really sells the lovable characters of Blend S. If anything, I’d say it deserves to have gotten as popular as it did.
#54 Spiral – Blood-C
Just like Akema ga Kill, Blood-C is another anime that I didn’t like itself, but which has some killer music. I absolutely hated the show, but Spiral has been a staple of my playlists for years! The rock music is simply exceptional and the mixture of Japanese and French lyrics, while equally unintelligible to me, sounds fantastic. Listening to this song sometimes makes me contemplate rewatching the series, even though I am completely certain that I’ll hate it just as much.
#53 Super Driver – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
This used to be my go-to song while exercising because—like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya itself—it just has that stupid energy to it that makes you want to keep going. It’s a song that I still come back to a lot, especially since Aya Hirano’s music career was cut so unfairly short. It really embodies her work back when she was at her peak.
#52 Kokoro no Tamago – Shugo Chara
“Kokoro no Tamago” is one of the sweetest openings to a magical girl show that I know, sadly held back by its very underwhelming visuals. Of all the openings on this list, this is the one song where I absolutely recommend listening to the full version and skipping the TV cut.
#51 Unravel – Tokyo Ghoul
I considered being a bastard and cutting the song off just before that epic scream, but I just couldn’t disrespect the amazing craftsmanship like that. Unravel is a brilliant song by Toru “TK” Kitajima. It already impresses right away with TK’s tender voice and emotional lyrics, but then the song just explodes once he unleashes that shout. Years down the line, it is still totally jaw-dropping to listen to.
#50 Easy Breezy – Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Rap is definitely not one my usual genres, but the rap duo Chelmico really is something else. “Easy Breezy” is such a charming song. Combined with the weird dances and goofy visuals of the OP, “Easy Breezy” is just all-around super fun and lighthearted.
#49 Shiny Days – Yuru Camp
It’s no surprise with a title like “Shiny Days”, but man this is such a feel good song. Asaka’s cheery voice and the chipper lyrics just perk you right up. The OPs snappy editing then completes the package.
#48 EXiSTENCE – Rage of Bahamut
I’d never heard of SiM prior to watching Rage of Bahamut, but man did “EXiSTENCE” make me want to check out more of their work. It manages to combine aggressive metal music with hip hop in a way that completely blew me away. It transitions between genres so seamlessly, as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
#47 Duvet – Serial Experiments Lain
Another returning song from the list of best English OPs and another song produced by British musicians. “Duvet” from Bôa’s EP Tall Snake was originally a tragic love song, but in spite of its thematic differences, the song fit Serial Experiments Lain to a tee. Especially that opening line, “And you don’t seem to understand”, hilariously describes the series’ confounding sci-fi plot.
#46 Gun’s & Roses – Baccano!
A jazzy opening like this is only fitting for a 1930s gangster anime like Baccano. However, what really sells the OP is the editing. It’s essentially a rollcall of the anime’s entire cast, tied together through a series of brilliant scene transitions. It’s an impressively directed OP, making it no surprise that they rehashed the concept for Durarara.
#45 Big-O! – The Big O
Songs don’t get anymore to-the-point than this, but Ryu Nagai’s “BIG-O!” is just so good. That drumming beat and the splendid singer make even this simple song kick so much ass.
#44 Hito ni Yasashiku – The Rolling Girls
This requires some explanation. The Rolling Girls uses seminal rock music for its soundtrack, but its OP is not the original song. It’s a cover of the 1987 punk rock song “Hito ni Yasashiku” by the band The Blue Hearts, sung by the voice actresses from the anime. This is especially fun because The Blue Hearts was an all-male band while the reverse is true for the VA cast, which makes this cover very distinct from the original. The fact that it was always a fantastic song to begin with also helps of course.
#43 Aozora no Rhapsody – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
The surreal, but expertly directed visuals are as much a selling point for “Aozora no Rhapsody” as the song attached to it. Certainly, Dragon Maid has no shortage of weird stuff in it, but this cheerful opening song is accompanied by strange dances and many bizarre visuals. It took me a while to warm up to at the time, but it has grown on me really well since I started rewatching the series.
#42 Through The Night – Outlaw Star
“Through The Night” is one of those mystery songs; written and performed by a man who has never worked in anime before or since. Nevertheless, his one-time contribution has made a tremendous impact. This song really fires you up from the moment it starts and keeps that hype going all the way to the end, while showing off many Outlaw Star‘s strongest qualities.
#41 Eternal Blaze – Lyrical Nanoha
Acting as the opening song to Lyrical Nanoha‘s second season, “Eternal Blaze” is definitely one of the most recognizable songs in the franchise. It’s sung by Fate Testarossa’s voice actress Nana Mizuki and man did she do a killer job with this OP. The build-up gradually gets more spirited as we run through shots of characters new and old, before accelerating rapidly as these characters begin to clash in combat. The directing and musical timing are great, which gives it an edge over the likes of “Innocent Starter” and “Secret Ambition” even though those are also sung by Nana Mizuki.
#40 TOMORROW – Konosuba
If it’s an opening’s job to show off an anime in a nutshell, then “TOMORROW” is a perfect specimen. The OP tells a short KonoSuba story that perfectly shows off the goofy tone of the overall series and the personalities of the cast. It’s an OP I watched every single time when binging the show, just because there’s so much detail worked into it and I never got tired of the song.
#39 Destin Histoire – Gosick
The artstyle and feel of “Destin Histoire” make it a captivating opening, but Risa Yoshiki’s singing is also certainly not to be underestimated. Gosick‘s soundtrack, in general, is already something I’ve found myself returning to often, even as memories of the show have grown vague. A splendid opening song like this serves as a frequent reminder that I should get around to that long-delayed rewatch.
#38 Sweet Drop – Bunny Drop
“Sweet Drop” is a pop song for little kids by a band called “PUFFY”, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t catchy to listen to. It’s almost unbearably cute, but the vocals are delivered with such determination that the song somehow grips you, regardless of age.
#37 Love Dramatic – Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
The funky music and great lyrics of “Love Dramatic” already guaranteed it a spot on this list, but equally important is the phenomenal directing of this OP. It takes the “Love is War” subtitle literally and the visuals that flow from this are very creative. A shame that the series couldn’t capture the same classy feel.
#36 My Pace Daioh – Genshiken
This song is pure hype. The literal cheers included in the song, the exciting build-up, the confidence put into every line, it all contributes to the song feeling very encouraging. The translated title “King of My Own Pace” is very apt indeed.
#35 Re:Re: – ERASED
“RE:RE:” is an OP that perfectly captures the deeply-emotional story of ERASED. It’s a song about grief, about being trapped in regrets, but also about clinging to hope and finding the strength to move on. It’s an essential part of ERASED, and even changes slightly as its plot unfolds.
#34 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – Higurashi
Both the song and anime of the same name are ominous and moody, but unlike the anime, this song is plain beautiful. Eiko Shimamiya puts up a stellar performance and the distorted sound-effects add to the horror vibe without taking away from her singing. Simply captivating.
#33 Rightfully – Goblin Slayer
“Rightfully” by the indie rock band Mili is a fascianting song. Vocalist Cassie Wei, a Canadian-Chinese singer, already has a very distinct voice that gives the band’s music a unique sound. The song is also largely in English, but devolves into a cool-sounding fantasy language during its more intense choruses. It’s a joy to listen to, though for a weird experience I encourage people to look into the official music video. It is… bizarre.
#32 Hyadain no Joujou Yuujou – Nichijou
Hyadain was the perfect man for Nichijou. Not only is he a great artist whose songs have a frantic, joyful energy to them, he’s also a total goofball. “Hyadain’s Amazing Friendship” shows off just how wacky the guy truly is. Not only did he name the song after himself, but it’s also presented as a duet even though it’s just Hyadain switching between voices. As silly as it is, the song is still amazing to listen to and is backed up by some of Nichijou‘s trademark comedy.
#31 Resonance – Soul Eater
This is shounen music at its fucking best. From start to finish, T.M. Revolution’s “Resonance” is non-stop hype and cool rock music. That opening POV shot of Death City is already amazing, but from there the OP explodes into action. It shows off some of the cool fighting animation for which Soul Eater is famous, but also alludes to various upcoming events and character arcs. It’s all-around super impressive, but the song is also definitely one of my favorites to listen to even without the animation.
#30 Sorairo Days – Gurren Lagann
Another classic shounen OP, though within an entirely different genre, is found in Shoko Nakagawa’s “Sorairo Days”. Shoko’s sweet voice lends this OP a more adventurous feel compared to the more action-oriented “Resonance”, but both songs are very exciting and get you pumped up for their respective anime.
#29 Lilium – Elfen Lied
“Lilium” remains one of the most influential and memorable pieces of music in anime to date. Performed by opera singer Kumiko Noma, “Lilium” combines Greek and Latin lyrics to create a stunningly beautiful, gripping song. Combined with the classy visuals, this makes the OP great to watch or listen to, even for those who don’t care for Elfen Lied‘s ultraviolence.
#28 Man Human – Devilman Crybaby
MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN
#27 Real World – Humanity Has Declined
“Real World” is a visually bizarre opening that captures the wacky surreality of Humanity Has Declined, and brilliantly pairs this with an upbeat Nano Ripe song. The entire OP beams with joy, though Kimiko’s voice is definitely an acquired taste.
#26 Katayoku no Tori – Umineko
The music for the anime adaptation of Umineko was provided by the same musician who worked on the visual novels, Akiko Shikata. Unsurprisingly, the anime’s OP is just as awesome as those of the visual novel original. “Katayoku no Tori” kicks in the door with that epic opening sung in Latin, then drags you along relentlessly through the rest of the song. It has the gaudy vibe to match Umineko’s visual style, but also sells the thrill of the series with its fast pace and frequent peaks.
#25 Voracity – Overlord
The Overlord OPs have usually focused on action, but with season’s 3 “VORACITY” that has shifted to more of a horror vibe. It’s an intense song with disturbing lyrics, which fits the direction of the anime’s story. Particularly impressive is how they found a sweet spot where the audio is warped for stylistic effect, while still sounding appealing. Definitely the most interesting song by Myth & Roid thus far.
#24 Tabi no Tochuu – Spice and Wolf
For something else entirely, we got “Tabi no Tochuu” by Natsumi Kiyoura. A song that deliberately keeps the musical accompaniment simplistic, so that the Natsumi’s passionate voice is always at the front. Her singing is amazing, which is emboldened by the song’s beautiful lyrics about overcoming loneliness.
#23 Silky Heart – Toradora!
“Silky Heart” replaces “Pre-Parade” as Toradora!’s OP midway through the series. A good move, because “Silky Heart” is so much stronger as a love song, with lyrics that match the struggles of the show’s cast. Its also a more powerful song in general, which is a welcome change as its introduced around the time where Toradora!‘s plot becomes more serious.
#22 database – Log Horizon
“Database” has a silly subject to it, but writing it off as a meme song would be underselling Man with a Mission’s fantastic work. Its catchy chorus is certainly a plus, but the song in its entirety is an astounding mixture of rap and rock music.
#21 Let Me Be With You – Chobits
Simplicity is not necessarily a bad thing. “Let Me Be With You” by Round Table is a very simple song, but it’s near-unrivaled in its sweetness. An adorable love song, worthy of starring as the OP for one of anime’s finest romance series.
#20 My War – Attack on Titan
As a fan of military anime, the opening songs of Attack on Titan have always appealed to me. Every time it felt like the pinnacle had been reached, the next OP would blow the last one out of the water. The same applies to “My War”, also known as “Boku no Sensou”. Anime openings don’t get more militaristic than this.
#19 Northern Lights – Shaman King
Songs by Megumi Hayashibara are always a blast. “Northern Light” perhaps best captures the nostalgic hype that her work evokes in older anime fans. It’s a rousing song with a great sound to it, which has no doubt contributed to making Shaman King one of the more memorable “childhood” anime of the early-2000s.
#18 Ai – Excel Saga
I did not expect “Ai” to rank so high, but the more I reflected on it, the more the song stood out as memorable and endearing to me. As with everything Excel Saga, the song has an “anything goes” attitude to it, with cheesy lyrics and ridiculous visuals. The entire song was apparently composed and written on a train mere minutes before the deadline, which is also entirely on brand. It’s only as stupid as everything else in Excel Saga.
#17 Hikari no Senritsu – Sound of the Sky
Fans of Elfen Lied may find “Hikari no Senritsu” remarkably familiar. Both series were directed by Mamoru Kanbe, who reused Lilium’s visual style, but with a lot more motion to it. The song by Kalafina is also one of their finest works to date, and perfectly fits the gaudy style that also worked so well for Elfen Lied.
#16 Ebi Sukui – Hyouge Mono
Hyouge Mono‘s openings were all strange, as all of them reused the exact same visuals but with wildly different music. These visuals are artsy and surreal, which is made extra interesting by each song casting them in an entirely different light. “Ebi Sukui” is my personal favorite; the mixture of digital and traditional music compliments the animation the best, and is also a blast to listen to.
#15 Utsukushi Kereba Sore de Ii – Simoun
Loosely translating to “If it’s Beautiful, That’s Good Enough”, this song perfectly describes its reason for being on the list right there in the name. The soundtrack for Simoun is full of enchanting music and stunning orchestras, and this OP by Chiaki Ishikawa is the finest of them all. Her singing just leaves me stunned every time I listen to this amazing song.
#14 You – Shuffle!
Who decided that the anime adaptation of an eroge novel needed to have such a banger of a song attached to it. YURIA, who also voiced Ama Shigure in the anime, puts up a stellar performance in this OP. Her voice has so much power to it; just when you think it’s about to slow down, YURIA kicks right back into gear and keeps up the amazing pace. Also nice is how “YOU” emphasizes the fantasy and later drama of the story. It’s a clever way to keep people interested who’d otherwise consider dropping the show early on when its still mainly a romcom anime.
#13 Rondo-Revolution – Revolutionary Girl Utena
Masami Okui already topped my list of the best insert songs in anime, so it should be no surprise that one of her most famous works would rank high here as well. “Rondo-Revolution” is a song bursting with style, owing to its fantastic composition and the unique sound. While I was quite disappointed with Revolutionary Girl Utena, music like this is the reason for why I still listen to its soundtrack from time to time.
#12 Give a Reason – Slayers Next
“Give a Reason” is a song worthy of being labeled legendary. Sung by Megumi Hayashibara, it would go on to become a song iconic for its prestigious franchise and, to me at least, 90s anime in general. It’s unrivaled in its ability to hype me up, both thanks to Hayashibara’s singing as well as the skillful directing work.
#11 Hito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru – Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei
The astounding quality of “Hito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru” serves as a solemn reminder of the lost potential that characterizes Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei. It’s a captivating OP that hints at deep psychological themes, trauma, and sexual relationships, none of which the anime adaptation lives up to. It’s a real shame, but that doesn’t take away from the fantastic artistry of the anime’s OP.
#10 Uso no Hibana – Scum’s Wish
Kicking off the top 10, we got “Uso no Hibana” from Scum’s Wish. The pace of the song reminds me of Shuffle!‘s “YOU”, but 96neko’s voice gives it a very different feel. As intense as the song is, her sound remains tender and emotional throughout; a unique mix, but one that makes the whole OP click together wonderfully.
#9 A Cruel Angel’s Thesis – Neon Genesis Evangelion
No explanation needed.
#8 Fall in YOU – Iketeru Futari
We have had a few entries on this list where the OP is far too excellent for the anime it belongs to, but Iketeru Futari absolutely takes the cake. “Fall in YOU” by Yuki Kimura is breathtakingly cool. It’s such a gripping song with fantastic visuals to back it up, which make it easy to forget that Iketeru Futari is an entirely mediocre series of romcom shorts.
#7 Platinum Disco – Monogatari
There were many fantastic OPs to choose from across the Monogatari series, yet the right choice was obvious from the start. “Platinum Disco” is THE opening that everybody knows and loves, myself included. Its catchy beat and the adorable singing by Tsukihi voice actress Yuka Iguchi made this into one of the most memorable anime songs to date.
#6 Cutie Honey – Cutie Honey
The opening theme to Cutie Honey has a loooooooooong history. Originally performed by Yoko Maekawa for the 1973 adaptation, the song has stuck with the series for nearly 50 years and across countless releases. It even made it into the live-action adaptation and has been performed in both English and German. It was always a great song to begin with, but its amazing legacy certainly earns it extra points.
#5 Soramimi Cake – Azumanga Daioh
“Soramimi Cake” is pure, unfiltered joy. A song that never fails to infect me with its boundless happiness, just like Azumanga Daioh itself. It’s not technically impressive or anything, but this OP means so much to me that it deserves a spot this high up.
#4 Moonlight Densetsu – Sailor Moon
Just like how Sailor Moon became the iconic magical girl anime, so too did “Moonligt Densetsu” set new expectations for music in shoujo anime. Those church bells that start off the song establish an eerie atmosphere, which persists throughout. Though it has its excitement and romantic lyrics, it also has a moody, almost melancholic tone to it, sometimes crossing into danger. It’s a fascinating piece of music, making it no surprise it would remain the franchise’s OP across 4 seasons, until Sailor Stars finally dared to change it. Or did it?…
#3 Ru-Ru-Ru-Russian Roulette – Dirty Pair
Dirty Pair‘s OP is an old school anime classic, which I feel is severely underappreciated today. The jazzy song by Meiko Nakahara is an absolute joy to listen to. it has great lyrics, it’s excellently performed, just all-around stellar. The directing is equally amazing; featuring one continuous shot of a busy street, as all kinds of action scenes flash by. It perfectly shows off the stylish nature of the anime, as well as that of The Lovely Angels themselves.
#2 Just Communication – Gundam Wing
“Just Communication” is so good that it ought to be a crime how they just changed it out with fucking “Rhythm Heaven” midway through the show. It represents shounen anime music at its peak, capturing both the thrill of Gundam Wing‘s action-packed universe, as well as touches of its melancholy and tragedy.
#1 Boy – Figure 17
Happy new year and thank you for making it this far. <3