I did this last year and people seemed to get a kick out of it. So why not ride my own coattails and try it again. I don’t pretend to know much about music, I like what I like and I’m content to quietly enjoy it. So I’m not claiming to be any expert on this subject, but regardless the opening to an anime can be a super important part of the experience..
So I wanted to spend some time shouting them out and giving them some love.
Most of the entries on this list are here for one of three reasons. Either #1: The song bangs and I just like it, #2: The visuals are fantastic and almost overshadow the anime itself at times. Or #3: both of those things in conjunction create a complete package that just gets me hype for the show I’m about to watch.
I’m generally not a guy who skips the opening, as I feel it’s an important part of getting me in the mood to watch a show. Sometimes I will, but the vast majority of the shows in this list are openings that I defiantly took the time to enjoy before getting into the show that followed:
#10: “Soul Salvation” by Megumi, From Shaman King (Opening Song)
I have pretty mixed feelings about Shaman King as an anime. I was pretty interested in it from hearing how it was one of those shows like Dragon Ball or Yu-Gi-Oh that a lot of people my age grew up on. So I was intent to give it a go when this remake was announced. Then Netflix picked it up and decided they were going act like absolute clowns in how they distributed it.
You can read more about my feeling on that by following this link here.
This song though is pretty cool. I like the fact that they went and asked the artist who sang the original opening song from the early 2000s to come back and sing this one too. Which might be why it has such a unique, old school sound to it compared to pretty much every other song on this list.
I’d be lying if there wasn’t some amount of scrambling about trying to pick something for the bottom slot on this list, but I need to give it some respect for the respect it gave to it’s own history. Too bad I’m probably not going to see the rest of it till this time next year.
#9: “Ai no Supreme!” by Fhana, From Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S (Opening Song)
Just like the show itself, this intro is some cute, wacky, wholesome nonsense. This entry finds itself on the list more because I appreciate the visuals than I do just the song. Not to start criticising a show that’s supposed to be on a top ten list, but I went back and watched the opening fir the first season while figuring out this ranking; and it’s kind of better in most ways.
That’s just subjective opinion though. This one is still weird and wacky enough that I can’t help but look at the screen when the characters are dancing around in a style that looks like real human movement almost as they sing along with the intro.
It is a good one, and it was warming to see this show make its return.
#8: “My War” by Shinsei Kamattechan, From Attack on Titan (Opening Song 6)
Attack on Titan has had some of the biggest, most hype anime openings I’ve ever seen. My War… isn’t one of them. It was one, however, that grew on me the more I was it. While that very first opening for the show was a ridiculously blood pumping action intro, this one is more subdued. Almost unnerving in its tone and visuals.
Which I feel like it a choice well made. The tone and content of this forth season, after a time skip and character redesign from the seasons that came before, Is much darker and conflicted. We spend a lot of time early in this most recent season with new characters, people from the nation of Marley. And the show does a great job of making us like them.
So when the characters we know from the season prior show up and commit a pretty brutal terror attack, we feel suddenly feel very conflicted. Which is a feeling this song sums up perfectly in my opinion. It might not be super hype or anything, but it feels like the right song for this series.
#7: “Merry-Go-Round” by MAN WITH A MISSION, From My Hero Academia (Opening Song 9)
There have been a lot of My Hero Academia songs at this point. Sadly, after the first few, most of them have been kind of forgettable in my opinion. Which is why I was super happy to hear this one and really enjoy it… even if the season itself wasn’t blowing me away.
I’ll be honest, a big part of the reason I like this one so much is because as soon as I heard it, I recognised the vocalist from the artists; Man with a Mission from the first opening song from Golden Kamuy; “Winding Road”. Which is a song I still find myself going back to listen to on a semi-regular basis.
There’s just something about their songs that really vibes with me, and this one is no different. It’s a good-ass song.
#6: “FACTION” by Wienners, From Digimon Ghost Game (Opening Song)
I don’t know why I like this one so much. It’s just a fast paced song with a weird vibe and an even weirder video. which I guess sums up the tone and content of this show pretty well. I haven’t watched that many Digimon shows in the grand scheme of things, and of the shows I have watched, this one feels a little different.
If you asked me what a standard Digimon new show was going to be, I’d tell you it’d be a battle driven shonen anime, Ghost Game is different in that it’s more of a mystery series. Setting up situations at the beginning of the episode and having our trio of main characters figure out what’s going on. Usually ending in a fight.
But it gives me more Cyber Sleuth vibes than Digimon World vibes. Which makes it and this song something different. And I generally approve of different.
#5: “Rakuen” by Fujifabric, From Dr. Stone: Stone Wars (Opening Song)
I almost forgot I watched this series this year. I guess it happened during the break from anime and blogging I took at the very beginning of the year. But Dr. Stone is a great show, one that has usually had great opening songs to go along with it.
There’s something cool about this opening. I think it fits the style of the show super well. While this second series was the most action driven chunk of the story so far, it still had this feeling of being a bit more reserved and about smarts more than brute force.
It might just be me, but this song feels like one that emphasises that more than a pure action song would. And besides, I just like it.
#4: “Kokotsu Labyrinth” by Masaaki Endoh, from Sakugan (Opening Song)
Sakugan ended up being a very different show that I first thought it was going to be, and I have pretty mixed feelings on it as a result. That being said, this song is great. I really like the main two characters of Gagumber and Memempu and their goofy, dysfunctional dynamic.
This song sums them up perfectly. They’re barely in control of themselves and each other. But it seems like they still having fun, as long as they’re together. This is a song I never skip, for the music and the visuals combined.
It’s a lot of fun and while I am still on the fence about the direction the series ended up taking, I can’t deny that it’s got one of my favourite opening songs of the year.
#3: “Imperfect” by Masayoshi Oishi, From SSSS.Dynazenon (Opening Song)
SSSS.Dynazenon was a great anime from this year. While I might not have liked it quite as much as the first as it’s predecessor: SSSS.Gridman, I still thing is was a ton of fun. And “Imperfect” is a great song that really feels like it both sums up the show itself while also harkening back to a type of Japanese entertainment from my childhood.
It’s like I said in my Gridman review, these shows make me nostalgic for a kind of series I never really watched in the first place. Although I’m sure that there’s some cultural osmosis involved in there regardless. For all the Power Rangers I watched and numerous copy cat shows that followed.
There’s something so earnestly up front about this song. If that makes any sense, it knows what kind of show its being and wants you to know that too. While Dynazenon itself is playing with the Super Sentai and Mecha genres, this song feels like it wants you believe it’s 100% one of those. And I, for one, let it work on me every time.
#2: “Cinderella” by CIDERGIRL, from Komi Can’t Communicate (Opening Song)
This is a great opening. It’s got a great song, not only that though, the song has been made to match up perfectly with the visuals throughout. Which surprisingly few openings do to this extent. This series has been something of a sleeper hit for me this year.
Don’t know why, but it’s managed to speak to me on some deeper level and really touch me. Last year I did this, I spoke about how sometimes, you end up enjoying a series so much that listening to the opening song actively pumps up your excitement to watch the episode.
Which also has the benefit of making you enjoy the song even more because you end up associating it with the events of the show so deeply. Not many openings managed to inspire that feeling in me this year. As I’ve been a bit of a grump when it comes to the T.V. and games I’ve consumed this year. But Komi Can’t Communicate managed it.
#1: “Stone Ocean” by Ichigo from Kisida Kyodan & The Akebosi Rockets, from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean (Opening Song)
Is this too basic? I mean, come on. It’s a Jojo Theme. What did you expect?
I mean, even the worst theme songs for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are actually pretty good. It’s insane how consistant they’ve been over the course of their entire run.
During Golden Wind’s run, both of their songs were slow burns for me. Ones that I wasn’t sure about to begin with, but then ended up loving by the time the series was over. That is nowhere near the case for Stone Ocean, I loved this opening the first time I saw it.
The song itself slaps. Combined with the return of the CGI animation, which hadn’t been since since the final opening for Stardust Crusaders look amazing in combination. It’s probably no accident either, considering Jolyne is Jotaro’s daughter, the homages to those intros from part three are rife in this one. The very act of going back to that old style is just one more element in the mix that makes Stone Ocean great.
I might have loved Stone Ocean when I read the manga the first time, but the anime has already done a lot to turn me around on it. This song is no small part of that change of opinion. It’s so good that I’ve just been listening to it out of context at work to help me through the night. So, sorry, not sorry.
I want to say that this year seemed a little weaker than 2020 when it came to my enthusiasm about the songs I was filling this list with. But talking about that top four, at least, turned me around and made me realise there was some good shit out there. Plus, there was so much anime I haven’t even seen in 2021 that might have hyped me up in a way I could never expect.
So hey, if anyone feels like filling my comments with some openings or ending they feel should be on a top ten list then please feel free to do so. I know there’s gotta be at least one banger that I totally missed in 2021.