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20. FLOW – Sign (“Naruto Shippuden” Opening 6)
An emotional sucker punch of an opening, Sign signaled a drastic shift in tone for long running shounen classic Naruto and ushered in the darker and more mature themes that would go on to have lasting effects on the course of the show. And what better way to do that through a surging rock track that harnessed the groups incredible vocal blend for one of the most emotionally resonant anime openings ever.
19. ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D- Complication (“Durarara!!” Opening 2)
Rather than hit you over the head with a driving dance track or an incredibly resonant emotive number, the soft rock of Complication is a track that gets under your skin over a number of listens and views. The slowly building nature of the track coupled with the unique animated stills give the product a unique perspective whereas that soaring chorus will linger in your mind for ages.
18. Coda – Bloody Stream (“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” Opening 2)
Arguably one of the funkiest anime openings ever, Bloody Stream is the very definition of groove. From the initial blast of brass to the unflagging dance beat and Coda’s strained vocals, every single moment of Bloody Stream is imbued with such an incredible sense of groove that you can’t help but move your body. But Bloody Stream would not be nearly as good if not coupled with the brilliant animation that switches effortlessly between 3D and 2D animation for a surrealist opening that makes excellent use of a vibrant colour scheme.
17. Serial Tv Drama – Tougenkyo Alien (“Gintama” Opening 9)
Now this is just genius from start to finish.
The song and animation itself are just pure Gintama through and through, switching from a more aloof and freewheeling opening verse before shifting into a hard hitting chorus that just pulses with power. The animation follows suit, opening with the main cast troll facing the camera before following the thematic nature of the track perfectly. But while all that might have easily gotten Tougenkyo Alien into the top 50, there’s one particular element of the opening that rockets it all the way up to the 17th spot.
And that element is when they literally fuck it up.
After 22 episodes of the opening, Gintoki and the gang completetly stuff the ending of the opening and what ensues is some of the absolute funniest and most fourth wall breaking stuff in anime history. It’s incredibly inventive stuff and easily helps Gintama’s 9th opening secure a place this high.
16. SCREEN mode – Reason Living (“Bungou Stray Dogs” Opening 2)
Carried by the majestic chorus at the center of the track, Reason Living is an absolute blast of a track from start to finish. Of all the tracks in the top 20, I think this is one that succeds soley thanks to the strength of the song alone because while the animation is great, it doesn’t offer anything truley iconic or unique in comparision to many of the other picks. But the song man. When you’ve got a melody this perfect, there’s not much else needed to be done.
15. Kana-Boon – Silhouette (“Naruto Shippuden” Opening 16)
Probably the most critically acclaimed, iconic and meme’d anime opening of the past decade, Silhouette was the peak muscial moment of the Naruto anime. The instantly iconic guitar riff is an instant hook but what really cements the opening as one of the greatest is the entire chorus sequence. From the perfect transitions of Naruto growing up to the instantly memorable and catchy chorus, it’s honestly hard to criticize one of the most perfectly calibrated shounen openings ever.
14. Seatbelts – Tank (“Cowboy Bebop” Opening)
An anime opening which remains utterly unique till this day, Tank is an absolute marvel in the animation and soundtrack department. As one of the only purely instrumental openings, Tank immediatly differentiates itself but that alone wouldnt usually cut it. “Tankfully”, the instrumetnal is absolutely stunning, built upon layers of jazz, brassy explosions and galloping supporting percussion which act as the ideal backbone for an instnatly iconic piece. But when looking at Tank, the animation is nearly as integral to the experience as the music. The quick cut, completly hand frames are cinematically perfect; so much so that this opening has been used as an example in many a film school. Truly a masterwork for a masterpiece of an anime.
13. Linked Horizon – Jiyuu No Tsubasa (“Attack On Titan” Opening 2 )
If you like chest beating anthems, then the Attack On Titan soundtrack is 100% for you. Songs like this aren’t for the faint hearted and if you don’t like sensory overload, then stay away as far as you can. But for the rest of us that love this kind of over the top bombast, a song like Jiyuu No Tsubasa is pure catnip to our ears. The schreeching guitars, the chorused background vocals and the masjestic central meldoy all come together to create a product that revels in its own sense of grandeur. This is honestly one of the most epic songs i’ve ever heard.
12. UVERworld – D-technoLife (“Bleach” Opening 2)
A pure nostalgia pick that gets by thanks to one of my favourite choruses of all time, the consistently growing instrumental is brilliant, with a vocal performance that suits the more reserved verses and builds expertly to the explosive central hook. It introduces the upcoming arc brilliantly, introducing the gotei 13 in excellent fashion and paining our protagonists as worthy yet clearly outmatched characters. It’s just a complete package that gets better after every repetition.
11. Linked Horizon – Guren No Yumiya (“Attack On Titan” Opening 1)
Though Attack On Titan is now easily one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed anime of all time, its first season would have never garnered the level of it did without Guren No Yumiya.
Though most first openings attempt to set up the overall nature and vibe of the show, few have ever been as successful and triumphant as Attack On Titan’s incredible opening salvo. This is an absolute statement, pulsing forward on an absolutely massive instrumental that explodes into one of the most iconic and instantly rousing choruses in anime history. This coupled with incredibly hype animation and the instantly iconic “JAEGER!!” scene and you’ve got an instant showstopper.