Hey guys, Samurai here! And yes, I know I stopped abruptly with my countdown of the best of 2014, but I have something to make up for it! My friend Charles over at “Beneath The Tangles” asked me of all people if I would mind doing a Top-5 Countdown of my favorite anime openings. Why he picked me, a guy who hasn’t updated his own blog in months, is beyond me, but I’m always willing to lend a hand. However, the first draft of my article was PRODIGIOUSLY long-winded and I had to cut a lot out. But, Charles, in his infinite wisdom, came up with the idea for me to post my long version on my blog, and link back to the truncated version on his blog–bringing our two blogs together in a beautiful otaku bridge of awesomeness paved with moe and floppy socks. Yeah, I’m weird. Anyway, here’s my top 5 anime OP’s!
5. Nichijou “Hyadain no Jojo Yujo”
For a show as deliciously random as Nichijou, you need an opening theme to set it up. While the 1st OP did a good job of warning the viewer that they were about to watch the everyday lives of some of the oddest, most random group of characters they’ve ever seen in an anime since Cromartie High School, it’s the 2nd OP that really drives this point home. The song, “Hyadain no JouJou Yuujou (Hyadain’s Best Best Friend)”, is catchy to the point of being considered ear rape, with lyrics that sing of the fun and frivolities of friendship. The visuals, which finally includes or favorite robot girl Nano in her new high school uniform, are very much like the first OP; random, colorful, and if you ask me, an impromptu Epileptic Seizure test.
4. Space Brothers “Feel So Moon”
This OP makes the list for one reason and one reason alone: it has a pug in it. Seriously. If you want to improve ANYTHING in life, add a pug. Want to improve Sunday church services? Add a pug in your sermon. Jesus loves pugs. Why don’t you? Childbirth? Toss a pug in the delivery room. Who needs an epidural when you have a pug? In fact, just put the kid up for adoption and take the pug home. Pugs are awesome. Pugs are cute. Pugs shall rule the world. That is all. Oh, and I guess the song “Feel So Moon” is awesome too; heck, I played this song in my Jeep during many a road trip. Also, the child-like visuals and colors are amazing too. It really gets you excited for the show and when compared to the other OP’s later in this show, it is by far my all-time favorite. Love the pug.
3. Attack on Titan “Guren no Yumiya”
Okay. Let me get this out the way first. I am NOT an Attack on Titan fan…at all. I think AoT is the most overblown, overrated, over-hyped anime of the last few years and to this day, I still don’t get why people vehemently defend this series. That being said, I think the very first opening title sequence and song is the most epic opening sequence I’ve seen in a long time. The visuals are stunning, and for better or worse, it matches the overall tone of the show. The opening cry of “Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger” (Translated as “Are you the food? No we’re the hunters!”) is not only a rallying cry for the troops in the show (stupid though they may be), it’s also a rallying cry for those who want their socks appropriately rocked.
Okay, true story. My friends and I went to MechaCon 2014 last August, and I just so happened to have this song playing from my Jeep as we were driving up the parking garage ramp. Eventually, we passed by an Attack on Titan cosplayer (and a darn good one at that). The second I saw her, I turned up my volume, rolled down my windows and let that song blast from my speakers. The look on her face was priceless. It’s an awesome, instantly identifiable song, and I would’ve preferred if it were used throughout the series. Ah well…
2. Toradora! “Pre-Parade”
There’s just something about “Pre-Parade” that is so tastefully simple, yet so deliciously complex. “Pre-Parade”, to me, is a study in how a simple title sequence coupled with an awesome song can create an OP that is as legendary as “Zankoku na Tenshi No Thesis” from Evangelion or “Tank!” from Cowboy Bebop. Much like Evangelion, the visuals for Toradora are simple yet intricate in detail. For example, about 0:42 into the opening, Ryuji and Yusaku walk past Taiga and Minori, and there’s a moment when they’re both in the center of the screen and they look back at their respective crushes with a blush. I also love the whole “Candid Camera” aspect of some shots, where it looks like the viewer is watching the characters, like Taiga putting on her thigh-highs or Ryuji making lunch. Don’t get me wrong–“Silky Heart”, the second OP, is very well done as well, combining aspects of the original OP into a new format, but at the end of the day, “Pre-Parade” is what does it for me!
On a related note. Please…just watch this. It’s a live action version of “Pre-Parade” that I found while looking for the OP to link back here on YouTube. Before you ask, NO, the guy in the video is NOT ME…but please…just watch…
1. Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven “Sakura”
Throughout its run, Eureka Seven has had a lot of opening title sequences; all of them awesome. But it’s the final OP, “Sakura”, which gets my official nod. Not only is this OP a perfect amalgam of standard J-Pop and the hymn “Amazing Grace”, not only are the visuals amazing eye candy (with the final shot of a smiling Eureka, Maurice, Mater, Linck and Renton holding the world in their hands my most used wallpaper ever), but it’s the one song that my mother and I really like. Seriously! My mom loves “Sakura”. We were warming up our vehicles one morning, and she just so happened to have her CD Player turned up with “Sakura” blasting. She actually hums the song every so often to herself if I’m walking by. Keep in mind this is a 60+ Year old woman who knows next to nothing about anime, but she loves Eureka Seven (especially Maurice, Mater and Linck) and she loves that dawg gone song…and so do I. Like son, like mother I guess.
Runners Up (Because 5 Just Ain’t Enough):
5. Planetes “Dive In The Sky”
I am WAY overdue for a marathon of this show if I was able to forget about this amazing OP. The song is very well done and the detail of the title sequence is amazing. There are subtle changes as the series goes on and certain characters enter and leave the narrative. It’s very well done, and I don’t think I’ve seen any OP do something quite like that. Granted, by today’s standards, it does look a little dated at times, it goes without saying that Planetes sets you up for awesomeness from the jump with this OP.
4. Digimon: Digital Monsters – “Season One Opening Theme”
Don’t get me wrong, I adore Koji Wada’s “Butter-Fly”, and I believe that the title sequence animation should’ve been left alone, but for me, this particular song holds a special place in my heart. Yeah, it’s repetitive and doesn’t contain near the amount of in-depth imagery as “Butter-Fly” did, but kids of that time weren’t looking for depth in their OP’s. They wanted something that would use the name of the show so that they knew what they were watching and explain what the show was about in one simple concise sentence. Oh, and it had to sound great too. “Butter-Fly”, while it does sound great, did not do this. “Season One Opening Theme” did.
3. Kodocha “7 O’Clock News”
Okay, this was SUPPOSED be the original OP for the first season of Kodocha, but due to several legal reasons involving the Japanese artist Tokio, that opening was never used in the US Release, instead opting for the “okay, I guess” opening “Ultra Relax”. However, thanks to the miracle that is YouTube, I was able to find the original theme and I have to say, it was very good!
2. Nerima Daikon Brothers “Ma-Ji-Ya-Ba”
The Japanese answer to the Blues Brothers. What more could you want? It’s hip, it’s dance-able, it’s jammable, and it’s awesome. And don’t get me started with the English version of this song voiced by the English Dub V/As. They took this OP and made it their own.
1. Outlaw Star “Through the Night”
A song so awesome it was broadcast in the original Japanese throughout its many runs on Toonami. That’s got to tell you something on how great this OP was. Much like the show that follows, “Through the Night” was fast paced when it needed to be, slow when necessary, and put you in the mood to watch a great program. It never got stale or tiring, even after
25 26 episodes. (I keep forgetting about “Hot Springs Planet Tenrei”).