Mirai Nikki – Kuusou Mesorogiwi
Mirai Nikki is so incredibly stupid, yet I loved every minute of it. It’s a trainwreck of a story in which the most extreme of solutions is the first solution. But sometimes the best thing you can do is stop giving a fuck and enjoy the ride. How can you not get hyped to watch our favorite Yandere, Yuno, after listening to Kuusou Mesorogiwi? It even throws in some random German in the chorus, because why the hell that?! Had Mirai Nikki’s been competently written, this opening might have hit the top 5.
Hunter x Hunter – Departure
Departure is such a fascinating opening. It sounds like a song straight from the early 90s, perfectly matching up with the long running Hunter x Hunter. As the sole opening to the 2011 adaptation of HxH, you’d think I’d become sick of it after 148 episodes. And I’ll admit, there were certain points where I’d instantly skip it. Yet, when Departure starts playing in the final scene of the anime, I become misty eyed. It was one of the greatest endings I’d ever seen, using one of my favorite tropes, the last episode theme reprise. If pulled off effectively, it’s pretty much guarantee’s that I’ll lose my mind.
Bakemonogatari – Staple Stable
While Monogatari openings have been hit or miss in regards to their opening songs for myself, Staple Stable stands out above the rest. I love this particular song so much, I learned how to play most of it on piano. There is a soothing quality to the song that I absolutely love. The low-key nature of the animation, with flying staplers and a huge Senjougahara passing by, are a perfect match for the song. While I consider the best music of Monogatari to be found in its endings, Staple Stable is still an incredibly addictive song to listen to, and always a pleasure to watch.
Dragon Ball GT – DAN DAN Kokoro Hikareteku
For how much shit Dragon Ball GT rightfully gets, there is but one beacon of light in this poorly thought out anime: the opening. This was probably the first Japanese openings I ever watched. After years of having seen mediocre to downright horrid English openings, this was a real eye opener. Anime could actually have great openings? Who would have thought? Learning about the origins of Dragon Ball was my gateway into Japanese culture as a kid, and the beautifully somber opening of Dragon Ball GT marks the start of my journey into weebness.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Bloody Stream
In terms of raw visuals, Bloody Stream might be the greatest openings I’ve ever seen. The vibrant colors, the flashy patterns, the various art styles. I jumped on the JoJo hype train early into part 1, but as some one who hadn’t read the Manga, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Phantom Blood ended and Battle Tendency began, I couldn’t believe the raw style presented in this opening. David Production had done great work incorporating CGI into the first opening, but Bloody Stream went above and beyond.
Gurren Lagann – Sorairo Days
Here is the part where I state as we move forward, my choices will have a little less to do with the animation itself, and more with the music itself. That isn’t to say Gurren Lagann doesn’t have a pretty opening. It does, but better than Bloody Stream? I don’t think so. It’s the perfect unison of visual and auditory imagery that makes openings like Gurren Lagann stand out. Sorairo Days hypes you up even though the openings has few new pieces of animation. The fact that it still looks as good as it does is the true testament of Gurren Lagann’s quality animation. And once again, we have another song that plays in the final episode. It just never get’s old.
Kill la Kill – Ambiguous
Okay, now we are getting into dangerous levels of bias. Ambiguous is performed by GARNiDELiA which consists of Mai Mizuhashi (MARiA) and TokuP. As a huge Vocaloid fan, I know TokuP from one of my favorite songs SPiCa, so Ambiguous is already off to a great start. MARiA’s delivers on powerful vocals to complement TokuP’s fabulous instrumentals. Man oh man is this starting to get overwhelming. Finish it off with one of my favorite anime’s in recent years, and I’m foaming at the mouth. It was a tough pick between Ambiguous, and the first Kill La Kill opening SIRIUS, however as much as I also love Eir Aoi, GARNiDELIA just barely scrapes by ahead.
Gundam Wing – Rhythm Emotion
Written and performed by Two-Mix, it’s an electronic pop song that transitions perfectly from the more somber verses into a catchy chorus. The animation is top notch with some of the most detailed art you’ll ever see in the franchise. Every frame is filled with an impressive attention to detail. From the character’s clothing to the panning shot of a ruined colony. It does an excellent job of balancing the showcase characters and mobile suits, slowly building up to a climactic clash between Wing Zero and Epyon in the final chorus.
Gintama (2015) – Pride Kakumei
Seeing as how Gintama is my favorite anime, one of its openings was bound to show up eventually. This was another incredibly difficult choice to make, as I had to consider the quality of the animation in relation to the song. I ended up picking Pride Kakumei for a couple of reasons. I could go on about the song itself, by Chico with HoneyWorks, which might just be my favorite opening song ever. Or how well put together the opening itself it. But my love for the 15th opening of Gintama goes further than that. It shows up at a crucial place within the story and alongside the battle cry anthem of the song’s lyrics, makes for one of the most effective openings I’ve ever seen.
Evangelion – A Cruel Angel’s Thesis
It feels like I’m cheating picking such an obvious answer, but I can’t help it. I love everything about Evangelion and this opening. There really isn’t much to be said about A Cruel Angel’s Thesis that hasn’t been already said. It’s an iconic song that accompanies one of the best opening sequences. The slow build up, the increasingly quick cuts, until it climaxes into a flurry of images: simply amazing. There’s a reason A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’s popularity has persisted in Japan for over 20 years. It really is that damn good, rightfully earning its place as my number one anime opening.