Along with reviewing their favorite animated shows, most Otakus also have a list of original anime soundtracks and opening themes that they love to listen to over and over again. While some are enchanted by the melodies and lyrics of these overtures, others return to them to recall the memories and feelings they once associated with an anime.
Whatever the reason, it’s obvious that opening themes can further intensify a viewer’s overall experience with an anime. Since opening themes play such a crucial role in making or breaking an anime, there are several epic anime openings. Among them, here are some of the best that deserve a place in every Otaku’s playlist.
ten Kiri by MONORAL (Ergo Proxy)
For the most part, the sole intention of an opening theme is to grab a viewer and give a little taste of what to expect from the series. Considering how Ergo Proxy is a psychological thriller with a philosophical plot, its opening theme does just that.
The opening visuals bring the show’s quirky cyberpunk animation style to full screen, while the lyrical depth of Kiri from MONORAL comes in tandem with the deep narrative of the anime. Not to mention, MY ORALThe post-grunge / alternative rock music of the anime is perfectly in tune with the gothic and nostalgic atmosphere of the anime.
9 Duvet By Bôa (Serial Experiment Lain)
While most science fiction shows do not stand the test of time, Lain series experience remains relevant even to this day. Even after more than two decades since its release, the show’s forward-thinking conceptualization of human existence continues to fascinate viewers. Adding more weight to all the brilliant ideas he brings to the table is his minimalist approach to music and background sounds.
So while the anime doesn’t offer much when it comes to the original soundtracks, it does grab the viewer’s attention with its opening theme. Not only does its openness suit its dark tone and aesthetic, but it also evokes a sense of familiarity; probably because it sounds like Akira Yamaoka’s music from silent Hill.
8 Tank! By seat belts (Cowboy Bebop)
The opening theme of Cowboy Bebop grabs the viewer’s attention with its upbeat jazzy mood and James Bond vibe. Written by Yoko Kanno and performed by The Seatbelts, Tank! sets the tone for the anime by establishing that it borrows from Western tropes but still manages to stay true to the spirit of shounen.
Shinichiro Watanabe’s love for jazz is not only visible in his magnum opus space opera, Cowboy Bebop, but can also be found in Children on the slope, which is another anime where he collaborated with Yoko Kanno.
7 Again by Yui (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood)
Flowing perfectly from scene to scene, the opening of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood involves detailed match cuts and amazing camera design.
While the alluring song by Japanese pop-rock singer-songwriter Yui, Again, plays out as the backdrop, the visuals walk viewers through intense action and heart-wrenching drama – the two essential pillars of the anime’s narrative that make it one of the highest-rated anime of all time.
6 Welcome to chaos by (K) NoW_NAME (Dorohedoro)
Getting through Q Hayashida’s epic world-building in anime is no easy task. MAPPA Studio has always surprised everyone with its fantastic adaptation which does the original justice. Dorohedoro manga. Like the source, the anime isn’t confined to one genre and switches between dark comedy, action, violence, and a tinge of romance.
It is these dizzying combinations of several genres that make Dorohedoro absolutely chaotic (in a good way). Capturing this chaos, its opening features a series of trippy visuals with a weird but eye-catching background score. Without revealing much, the OP captures the essence of the anime.
5 Thesis of a cruel angel by Yoko Takahashi (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Labeled as “the bohemian rhapsody of anime openings, ” The thesis of a cruel angel is the kind of opening theme that slowly grows on you.
The theme is somewhat of an anthem for anime viewers who are familiar with the characters and themes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. But for new viewers, it gets nicer over time when they learn that Neon Genesis Evangelion is much more than a regular mecha anime.
4 Toki Wo Kizamu Uta by Maeda Jun by Lia (Clannad After Story)
A good opening not only evokes curiosity, but also brings back an ocean of memories for viewers each time it is revisited. The opening theme of Clannad after story, Toki Wo Kizuma Uta, accomplishes this and that’s why, while relatively less well-known, it ranks among the best anime opening themes.
The anime draws viewers through a range of emotions with its simple yet effective storyline. The opening, with a nostalgic tone, recalls all the raw emotions that the series infuses through its realistic characters.
3 Untangled by TK by Ling Tosite Sigure (Tokyo Ghoul)
Dive deep into Kaneki’s mind, Unravel tells a story, both visually and lyrically. Language is also not a barrier here as even though its lyrics are in Japanese, the opening theme conveys the ups and downs of the protagonist’s journey through its shifting tones.
It begins with a soft whisper, then erupts into a strong, moving melody that picks up speed until the end, only to then fade away in a new episode. It serves as the perfect intro to every episode of the anime and stays with a viewer long after the credits start.
2 Lilium by Kumiko Noma (Elfen Lied)
Elfen lied is an anime that has divided viewers. While some are disheartened by his unwavering approach to gore, others look past his bloodshed and appreciate its narrative depth. But one element of the anime that doesn’t divide viewers is its opening theme, Lilium.
While visually referencing Gustav Klimt’s paintings, the anime opens with a beautiful piano melody combined with Latin opera vocals. The opening is slow, dark and perfectly sums up the essence of the melancholic themes of the series.
1 Battle cry of Nujabes (Samurai Champloo)
The main reason why Shinichiro Watanabe’s animated series are so popular in the West is that he creates a perfect blend of different cultures through music and aesthetics. For example, as seen in Cowboy Bebop, it serves viewers with a cocktail of fast-paced action, space drama and jazz music. Likewise, in Samurai Champloo, the director portrays the Japan of the Edo period with a hip-hop style.
Much like the anime, even the opening theme combines the lo-fi hip-hop beats of Japanese DJ Nujabes with the English rap of Shing02 and sparkling visuals of samurai action. The opening is done so well that most viewers would never feel the need to skip it.
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