It’s time. Well, to be more precise, it’s almost time. Almost time for my annual tradition of spending a good chunk of December talking about my favourite anime and video games of the year. There was a time I used to talk about movies too, but they stopped coming out at some point.
This post isn’t a part of my top ten lists proper, but a little opening taster of what’s to come. One of two I’m going to post today in fact. Tomorrow will be the start my top ten marathon, starting with my number 10 anime of the year. An entry I’ve still not actually decided upon at the time of writing this post.
So get us into the groove, I’d steal a leaf out of the more mainstream anime award’s topics and give my list of my ten favourite anime openings and endings of anime I watched in 2020. I’m not going to give too much context to each entry, rather I just listening to all of the songs from this year and ordered them into a top ten.
While it’s not totally arbitrary, it’s not far off. This is purely based on them being the songs I never skipped while watching these shows and my enjoyment of them. Some of them find their rankings through their song alone, while others find success through a combination of the music and the visuals that accompany them.
This is mostly just an excuse for me to celebrate these songs that made me really enjoy anime this year and hopefully for you the get a kick out of them too.
#10: “Arigatouwa Kocchino Kotoba” by Miyano, from Somali and the Forest Spirit (Opening song)
This is a really sweet song that perfectly sums up the emotions this anime inspired in me. It was a very bittersweet show about parenthood and raising a child in a hostile world where someone would as soon stab you in the back as help you if you weren’t like them.
#9: “Spark-Again” by Aimer, from Fire Force (1st Opening Song)
Every Fire Force opening is a banger. They look good and they’re earworms more often than not as well. It’s difficult to not enjoy them every time one comes up.
#8: “Mikakunin Hikousen” by Takayoshi Tanimoto, from Digimon Adventure (Opening Song)
Nostalgia hit me hard for this one, and I was never nostalgic for the subbed version of Digimon. The visuals emulating the style and shots from the original intro while modernising them was great. I need to get back and catch up with this anime.
#7: “Last Dance” by Mamoru Miyano, from In/Spectre (Ending Song)
For as many problems as I had when it came to the pacing and style of storytelling of In/Spectre, I really liked the dynamic and interactions between the main two characters. I also really liked this big band sounding ending song. In/Spectre had all the ingredients to be an anime I really loved, they just used tried to use those same ingredients to make a cheesecake instead of the lasagne they were meant for.
#6: “Easy Breezy” by Chelmico, from Keep your Hands off Eizoken! (Opening Song)
I fell off this show pretty quickly, but there’s no denying it had a uniquely quirky charm to it that has made it stick in the mind of a lot of people, especially struggling creators. This intro encapsulated that feeling perfectly, it’s strange and unique in all the best ways.
#5: “Kaikai Kitan” by Eve, from Jujutsu Kaisen (Opening Song)
The visuals of this opening propel it a fair few spaces up this list. The CG blended with traditional animation makes it look amazing. And the song ain’t too bad either. There’s some really cool and compelling art design in this intro, I dig it.
#4: “Torch of Liberty” by Kana-Boon, from Fire Force (Second Opening Song)
Is there an echo in here? Because all Fire Force intros are bangers. They tend to have a little quirkiness to them that matches the weird insanity of the characters in the show. Love this one.
#3: “Lost in Paradise feat. AKLO” by Ali, from Jujutsu Kaisen (Ending Song)
I don’t what it is about this one that hits so right. I don’t know if it’s using some kind of rotoscoping, but the out of world visuals of the main characters being ultra stylish makes it seem like it’s plucked out of a fragrance or fashion commercial. Plus, I think I have a man-crush on Gojo.
#2: “Dying Wish ” by Tasuku Hatanaka, from Moriarty the Patriot (Opening Song)
I apologise for not being able to find a better version of this video. (Funimation have since updated their channel with the video) But I needed to find one with the animation in it because it’s such an important part of why I like it so much. The music perfectly captures the tone and feel of the show: mixing violence with decadence. Plus, I just love that shot of Sebastian spinning the rifle. This is one of those cases where my increasing admiration for the show makes me excited to watch the intro, because it’s a constant before the thing I’m about to watch and enjoy.
#1: “Daddy! Daddy! Do!” by Makayuki Suzuki, from Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Season 2 (Opening Song)
This intro is so weird, I love it. I am so endeared to these character and this show’s unique tone. So seeing this intro as an encapsulation of the dynamic between the main two characters coupled with all the visual flair and bouncy animation this intro has just works for me so hard. This anime was my gateway into watching seasonal anime and really enjoying it. So there’s an element of me knowing what I’m about to watch increasing my enjoyment of what is already a goof opening. Which I guess is the charm of all great anime openings.
They can be visually compelling out of context, accompanied with a great song, but the knowledge that this intro is ingrained with the experience of watching an anime you also really liked elevated it somewhat. And so hearing a song like an anime intro brings back all of the feelings and emotions that came with watching the anime itself in retrospect. Hmm, maybe I should have started this article with this spiel.
There’s plenty of other great intros and endings I haven’t seen, so if there’s anyone reading this who feels like they want to shout something out in the comments, please feel free to do so.