The video above is the Opening to Space Dandy, love this song and the animation so I think it fits the message I am getting across in this post. So I figured I add something a little bit different to this site, and put up my Top Favorites from Anime series based on different criteria. I have seen about 200+ anime series and I listen to Japanese and Korean music extensively. So to start this list I will begin with the Top 10 Best Anime Opening Animations. This is based on musical performance by artist with a combination of stylized animation techniques to provide an overall unique atmosphere that captures the anime series as a whole. Here goes…
#10. PHANTOM: Requiem for the PHANTOM OP TV Animation 1
[KARMA] by KOKIA
I really like the vocals here it really shows how much this series is dark at its core, and delivers every right note, in terms of animation and sound quality. This definitely is in my Top 10.
#9 SOUL EATER OP 2
[PAPERMOON] by TommyHeavenly6
The thing about Soul Eater is I love it and I hate it at the same time. This series was awesome its first half but due to being dangerously close the manga it deviated a lot. The animation is fantastic and it really shows in this opening! TommyHeavenly6’s singer does an awesome job of conveying the emotions that the characters feel throughout the second half, as much as I hate it, I just love this song and the animation that goes along with it! What is strange is I enjoyed the first half of the series, did not like the 1st opening animation too much. Felt way too generic for my tastes.
#8 MONONOKE OP
[Kagen no Tsuki] by Komatsu Ryota x Charlie Kosei
I absolutely loved this series, and this opening animation along with it! The pastel painting-like animation is so unique and never done in anime before! The music has strong accordion tones to it that you never find an much anime these days. Great series, and great soundtrack if you ever get a chance to listen to it.
#7 Cowboy Bebop OP
[TANK!!!] by The SEATBELTS
I have to say Yoko Kanno is by far my favorite composer in the Japanese industry. Her skill at creating compositions to convey the thoughts and feelings of characters throughout a story is unparallel. You can tell she had a hand in helping the SEATBELTS write this Jazz song for Cowboy Bebop. This series stands the test of time as one of the best anime series of all time. I think the music is what ultimately help this series achieve the success it got especially in the United States. Another thing I LOVE JAZZ.
#6 PARANOIA AGENT OP
[Dream Island Obsessional Park] by Susumu Hirasawa
The late Satoshi-Kon’s only anime TV series, and it was a splendid series indeed. The opening animation really conveys the level of crazy the large ensemble cast has. Too bad Satoshi didn’t direct Samurai Flamenco that would have been awesome. You can really see the atmosphere in the world he created in his storytelling all in the Opening animation. The song itself has strong melisma vibes to it, giving that creepy eerie feel to the overall presentation of 1:30 introduction.
#5 PSYCHO-PASS OP 2
[Out of Control] by Nothing’s Carved in Stone
I LOVE THIS SONG! This band does a fantastic job at singing in English and Japanese on their albums, yet this song is entirely in English and sung flawlessly! The colors used here are not what I expected for such a dark series. The darkness lies in the character animation and the backgrounds are lit with color, perhaps to signify the world is blind of what the system has been hiding. Great way to illustrate the atmosphere of this cyberpunk series.
#4 Guilty Crown OP 1
[My Dearest] by SUPERCELL ft. CHELLEY
SUPERCELL is one of my favorite bands from Japan. They started out using the Hatsune Miku Vocaloid system submitting their videos on Nico Nico streaming site. They gained popularity and eventually got a name for itself in anime series like Bakemonogatari, Black Rock Shooter, Guilty Crown, and PSYCHO-PASS. Most recently they provide the ending theme for Noragami. The vocalist [CHELLEY] here is incredible! She formed a solo unit under the named Egoist which is used in the anime under Inori’s persona. What is really cool is the band EGOIST has Inori on all the cover artwork for their SINGLES and albums. THE PSYCHO-PASS art is astounding! Anyway off topic, this song may sound like your typical anime theme song and that’s because it is! The broad range of vocals mixed with stringed instruments combined with the strong visuals deliver a huge impact on the opening animation. The series itself was a trainwreck at around episode 13. Biggest Noitamina disappointment ever, but fantastic use of art direction and music. Soundtrack [Hiroyuki Sawano] is incredible too!
#3 Revolutionary Girl Utena
[Rinbu Revolution] by Masami Okui
I am really glad I found this video on youtube, because this is from the Japanese Blu-Ray Box set that cost a fortune. Come to think of it there are two box sets for this series. The quality is incredible for such an older series! The music is very typical for 90’s anime with the high dance beats. The vocalist does provide a great job of keeping up with rhythm and the animation provides a great look at the Prince Utena. This is one of the best of the best school anime series out there.
#2 The Tatami Galaxy OP
[Maigoinu to Ame no Beat] by Asian Kung Fu Generation
I had a hard time deciding on my Top 3, but I knew this would make it. Asian Kung Fu Generation is one of the better bands out there, that is all across the board with their music. They have been around for quite a long time on the anime scene. I really thought the live action backgrounds mixed with Yūsuke Nakamura was a really nice touch. The animation to this series is so complex and I have never watched an anime that I had to pause and rewind because I couldn’t catch what they were saying. No wonder this hasn’t been dubbed yet, it would be a nightmare. Great use of visuals and music create an impact of college life that leaves the viewer wanting more.
#1 SHIKI Opening 1
[Kuchizuke] (means “Kiss” in Japanese) by BUCK-TICK
This was really tough because I knew this would hit my list but where? This is #1 because this was the best music to visual combination that provided so much background into the story as best as possible. To add this is BUCK-TICK’s best song ever. The animation is dauntingly beautiful and so creepy to help add the eerie effect the keyboard lays out. The guitars provide a break in suspense the series looms over throughout. Great atmosphere in terms of visual appeal and composition.
Well that’s it for Top 10 Best Opening Animations. I am sure the list will change over time, but for now this is it. Hope to have some other kind of Top 10’s in the future. Look forward to it!