A very controversial topic today: the best opening themes in anime all time! Everyone has a different opinion on this, that’s why I preface this by letting you know that this is just my opinion. These aren’t necessarily the “best” OPs, just my personal favorites. You can argue with them all you like. Except for #1, that is. You can’t argue with #1. Unless you think #2 is #1. Well, let’s get to it…
#10: Samurai Champloo – Nujabes’ “Battlecry”
I didn’t care for this theme much when I first heard it, but I’ve been unable to keep it out of my head since. I hate rap, too. Yet this song completely hooked me. So despite not liking the genre, it’s too catchy to be left off this list.
#9: Shangri-La – May’n’s “Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare”
The newest addition to this list, Shangri-La is awesome in absolutely everything it does, so why not the OP too? Probably the most underrated anime of all time has probably the most underrated OP of all time. Luckily for the viewer, it stays as the same opening throughout all 24 episodes, so you have a chance to get hooked on it by the time the show’s over.
#8: Mobile Suit Gundam: Unicorn – Tielle’s “Into the Sky”
“It’s every time you hurt yourself with knives…” Despite the questionable lyrics, this ballad is amazing. It’s the only thing about Gundam: Unicorn that I like, in fact. Toonami cuts out almost all of it, so listen to the whole song; it’s really worth it.
#7: InuYasha – Hitomi Shimitani’s “ANGELUS”
What happens when you mix Latin dance music with J-pop? This is the result. I’ve listened to this song way too many times to count. It used to be much higher on my list, but I burned out the song by playing it too many times.
#6: Cardcaptor Sakura – Gumi’s “Catch You Catch Me”
I can’t find a clean version of this on YouTube, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. This song has been a very popular karaoke song at conventions that have a karaoke room. Obviously it’s an old one and a very memorable one. The big shots must be taking down every YouTube video of it! All that’s left are English and Spanish covers.
#5: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Aya Hirano’s “Bouken Desho Besho?”
I forgot exactly how amazing this OP was before watching it again. Anything from Aya Hirano is an instant success, it’s as if everything she touches turns to gold.
#4: Tenchi Universe: Sonia’s “Tenchi Muyo!”
This song is great in both Japanese and English, and that’s because it’s the same group – Sonia – singing both versions. I have searched long and wide for information on this mysterious group Sonia, and the best I’ve been able to find is that it was made up of two girls, Jun Ozaki and Boogie Burns. Those two produced the ultimate 90’s J-pop album, Sonia Wonderland.
#3: Puella Magi Madoka Magica – ClariS’s “Connect”
The perfect opening for this show. It comes across as your typical magical girl show. Obviously, it’s not, but the way it sets you up in complete surprise as to what you’re going to see next is why this one is so good. Oh, and plus, it’s an awesome song. RIP ClariS.
#2: Cowboy Bebop – The Seatbelts’ “Tank!”
Everyone knows this one. No lyrics, just music. And it’s about as good as it gets. So why isn’t it #1? Well, because this certain song is #1…
#1: Neon Genesis Evangelion – Yoko Takahashi’s “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”
The only thing that could top “Tank!” It’s obviously “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” Remember watching this thing after you knew what all those split-second frames meant? Suddenly it all came together. This was one wild show, and the opening included every major person or object involved in the show. Try listening to the “Ambivalence Mix” of this song, which includes some drums in the background to spice it up a bit. Nothing can ever beat “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” in my book. “Tank!” comes close, but it doesn’t have the gravity “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” brings to the table when it comes to the seriousness of Evangelion.
So there you have it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Obviously my choices are a bit eclectic, save for the top two. And I doubt anyone agrees with #10. What’s your #1, and top 10? For me, it’s Evangelion, and always will be.