Anime April Mayhem! The Magic of Music in Anime, My Favorite Openings/Endings

Screenshot from Million Dollar Detective (2020)

I have a slight twist for this particular list. Rather then it just being my favorites in a neat list, I will rank them based on five criteria on a scale from 1-10:

1.If they inspire me to watch the anime

2. Quality of the Visuals

3. Musicality

4. Hummability (Does it get stuck in my head?)

5. Does it give me chills or make me excited?

I compiled a list of 25 openings and endings from various shows I’ve come across. To make the scores a little less subjective, I asked my brother to make his own scores. I’ll post the scores for both of us under each entry and rank each based on the our average.

I have not seen every anime listed here unfortunately! Perhaps that will play an important role in later posts this month when I talk about shows I really need to go see or finish.

That being said, onward to the glorious music filled list! Scores 40 and above.

25. Ending for Cowboy Bebop (1998)

“The Real Folk Blues” by The Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane 

My Total Score: 40.5

My brother’s Score: 41.5

Average Score: 41

Funny thing about endings: most watchers don’t actually take the time to see them all the way through before rushing to the next episode. That said, Mai Yamane’s sultry singing of “The Real Folk Blues” has been one of my favorites from Cowboy Bebop‘s soundtrack. As far as musicality goes, this song is definitely a 10.

However, it scored lower based on my emotional connection to it. Plus, the visuals are still frame, so it feels distanced emotionally, especially compared to other sequences from the show.

24. Ending for the 5th Season of Natsume’s Book of Friends (2016)

“Akane Sasu (茜さす)” by Aimer

My Total Score: 44

My Brother’s Total Score: 40

Average Score: 42

I often go through Natsume’s Book of Friends‘ soundtrack whenever I need to wind down. “Akane Sasu” from it’s 5th season is one of two songs which really stand out to me. My scores were only lower for the visuals and how much it makes me want to see the show.

23. Opening for Angel Beats! (2010)

“My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia

My Total Score: 40

My Brother’s Total Score: 46

Average Score: 43

This opening’s strongest sequence is in the beginning, showing Tachibana playing the piano. I love the how the animators showed her actually playing notes on the piano, rather then hiding her hands or pushing random keys. As far as the rest of it, I like the energy and the snapshots for all the characters. For me, this song is not as catchy compared to others on this list.

22. Opening for the 1st Season of Attack on Titan (2013)

“Guren no Yumiya (紅蓮の弓矢)” by Linked Horizon 

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 45

Average Score: 44

As some readers may recall, I frankly stated I would never watch Attack on Titan. Ever. (See my post Anime April Mayhem! Day 5, Anime/Manga I’ll never do for more info). But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the soundtracks for each season. I use a lot of the songs to workout. Now, for this opening the music gets a solid 10/10. The only thing keeping it from being higher on the list is the visuals. They don’t make me want to watch the show because I think its visually horrifying.

21. Opening for the 1st season of Mob Psycho 100 (2016)

“99” by MOB CHOIR

My Total Score: 40

My Brother’s Total Score: 48.5

Average Score: 44.25

What really stood out for me in this opening isn’t the music. (I gave the music 7/10). It’s the visuals! I thoroughly enjoy watching this opening. The colors, imagery, and foreshadowing scattered throughout are so fun to see. I also enjoy the subtle homage the animators did for the original artist ONE. It is one of the few openings I let play through each time I watch the 1st season.

20. Ending for the 1st Season of Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008)

“Natsu Yuuzora (夏夕空; Summer Evening Sky)” by Kousuke Atari

My Total Score: 46

My Brother’s Total Score: 43

Average Score: 44.5

I love this song. Sometimes when I watch the 1st season of Natsume’s Book of Friends, I let it play through to the next episode. It’s hauntingly beautiful to me. I also like the watercolor and colored pencil look used for the animation. The one thing holding it back is how visually there is not a lot which catches the eye. The highlight for me is the music not necessarily all the visuals.

19. Opening for Death Parade (2015)

“Flyers” by BRADIO

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 46.5

Average Score: 44.75

“Flyers” makes me want to go back and see this show sometime. Not immediately, but sometime in the future. Musically, I think this song is a solid 9/10. However, it doesn’t get stuck in my head really. The best feature is its visuals. It plays like a choreographed Broadway opening number.

18. Opening for Soul Eater (2009)

“Resonance” by T.M.Revolution

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 45

“Resonance” is a solid 9/10 as a song. I’m not as much of a fan of rock songs as other types of music, so it doesn’t really get into my head, partially because I have heard it so many times. I especially admire it’s animation. It has great timing, coloring, and energy. It does a fantastic job introducing characters and foreshadowing events in the show. Kudos to it for having the most impressive first 15 seconds. It has a moving background shot which wraps around its characters! It’s fascinating to study if you’re into animation.

17. Ending for Fruits Basket (2019)

“Lucky Ending” by Vickeblanka

My Total Score: 45.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 45

Average Score: 45.25

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this show yet. I think I need to emotionally prepare myself first, because this story is very special to me. This ending does get me really excited to finally see the show. Visually, it is very beautiful and I don’t mind its stillness. Like most endings, it’s meant to gently let its watchers go. However, it does it in a way the is more visually immersive. Since I haven’t seen the show, I don’t have as much of an emotional connection to this song. That might change in the future.

The first tie! Between “Uso” from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and “Monoglo City” from Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui. To break the score, I further scored them based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

16. Ending for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

“Uso (嘘)” by SID

My Total Score: 44

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 45.5

Tie Breaker Score: 19.25 vs 19.75

Don’t get me wrong! I love the 1st opening for this show. It just so happens I like the ending more. (Shrug.) I like how the animators changed up the style, giving it thick colored penciled, cartoony drawings. My favorite moment is the beginning when Edward’s arm slowly comes together. The one thing holding it back for me is I’m not as emotionally invested in it. I love to listen to the song and casually watch the animation.

15. Opening for Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui (2021)

“Monoqlo City (モノクロシティ)” by ACE COLLECTION

My Total Score: 47

My Brother’s Total Score: 44

The music and visuals are delightful for this opening! I gave it solid tens across the board except in the last category. It doesn’t thoroughly get me excited or give me chills. This must be because I know the show’s context. (As a side note, I don’t know why I think this show is interesting. People have made very solid points concerning how strange/twisted the romance is. But this is a subject for another time.)

Average Score: 45.5

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 19.25

14. Opening for Baccano! (2007)

“Gun’s & Roses” by Paradise Lunch

My Total Score: 46

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.5

“Gun’s and Roses” is one of my jams! I love jazz, and every time I see this opening I want to see the show. (Someday I might. I don’t like mature anime usually though, so we shall see.) The only ways I think it lacks is in its duller coloring (which a lot of the shows from the 2000’s suffered from) and how emotionally connected I feel to it. Otherwise, this opening is amazing!

Here we are at the second tie, between “Trigger” from Terror in Resonance and “Daia no Hana” from Black Cat. Like the first tie, the breaker will be based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

13. Opening for Terror in Resonance (2014)

“Trigger” by Yuuki Ozaki (from Galileo Galilei)

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.75

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 20

This opening makes me feel ashamed I haven’t seen the show. Psychological dramas are really fascinating to me. The only thing that keeps me from scoring it higher is the music. Not that I don’t love the song, especially coupled with the compelling visuals. It just isn’t very catchy. For me! It’s more of a sultry song, meant to draw me into the show.

12. Opening for Black Cat (2006)

“Daia no Hana” by Yorico

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.75

Tie Breaker Score: 20 vs 19.75

I’ve listened to “Daia no Hana” many, many times and I still think it’s fantastic! Not only that, but this opening introduces characters and foreshadows highlights from the show so well! It flows seamlessly in its animation. That is why it got a perfect score from me for timing. Kudos to it for introducing audiences to a show so well!

Behold, the third tie between “Kimi ni Todoke” and the 3rd opening from Attack on Titan “Red Swan”. Like before, the tie breaker was between how well they reflected the show and timing.

11. Opening for Kimi ni Todoke (2009)

“Kimi ni Todoke (きみにとどけ)” by Tanizawa Tomofumi

My Total Score:46

My Brother’s Total Score: 48

Average Score: 47

Tie Breaker Score: 19 vs 19.75

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this show. It’s a shame, because it’s very heartwarming, as illustrated from its colorful opening. It has great timing, especially how the animation dances with the music, and a unique style. I don’t have as deep of an emotional connection to this song as others, but I smile every time I come across it.

10. Opening for the 3rd Season of Attack on Titan (2018)

“Red Swan” by YOSHIKI feat. HYDE

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47.5

Average Score: 47

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 19

I was genuinely shocked when I realized I like “Red Swan” more than Guren no Yumiya” from the 1st season. It doesn’t have as much of a beat to it or get stuck in my head as deeply. But, I felt myself tear up as I watched it and saw it’s deeper meaning. Visually it’s incredibly striking and almost (ALMOST) makes me want to see the show, just to understand the full context.

9. Opening for the 4th Season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

“Period” by Chemistry 

My Total Score: 50

My Brother’s Total Score: 46.5

Average Score: 48.25

Like any opening from FMA: Brotherhood, this opening is magnificently animated. It’s choreographed and staged in a way that highlights both the characters, and events in the story. I gave each category 10/10. But, this list is non-subjective, so my brother’s slightly lower score brought it down. So, so sad.

8. Opening for Cells at Work (2018)

“Mission! Ken Kou Dai Ichi (ミッション!健・康・第・イチ)” by English Cast at Funimation

My Total Score: 49

My Brother’s Total Score: 48.5

Average Score: 48.75

“Mission!” is the one and only English dubbed opening on this list! Cells at Work is an anime I never thought I would watch, or like as much as I do. (I learned things!) Man, every time I see this opening I get excited to learn about the human body! (Another thing I never thought would happen). I don’t absolutely, positively love it musically, but everything else for me gets a solid 10/10.

Another tie between “Departure” from Hunter X Hunter and “Morning Grace” from Princess Tutu. The tie breaker was based on how well it reflected the show and timing.

7. Opening for Hunter X Hunter (2011)

“departure!” by Ono Masatoshi

My Total Score: 49

My Brother’s Total Score: 49

Average Score: 49

Tie Breaker Score: 19 vs 20

“Departure” makes me want to both go on an adventure and see this show again. (I still haven’t seen it all the way through. . . I have no one to blame except myself. I have such a hard time with long shows!) The only thing keeping this opening from a perfect score is the visuals. I don’t think all of them are fantastic, but that is nitpicking really. Also, the singer Masatoshi wins the award for best vocals! He hits a high Bb, and holds it multiple times! He has my respect.

6. Opening for Princess Tutu (2003)

“Morning Grace” by Ritsuko Okazaki

My Total Score: 48

My Brother’s Total Score: 50

Average Score: 49

Tie Breaker Score: 20 vs 19

(Sorry about the visuals for this. I couldn’t find a better video). “Morning Grace” always takes me on a beautiful, emotional ride. Much like the show, I don’t think anyone expects very much from this song visually or musically. But, for me, it has such a pure feeling to it, and it sounds like a waltz from a ballet, which I appreciate.

5. Opening for Tsuritama (2012)

“Tsurezure Monochrome (徒然モノクローム)” by Fujifabric

My Total Score: 50

My Brother’s Total Score: 49

This song gets in my head and stays there for days! There is so much to praise in this opening: the addictive dance all the characters perform to the music, the vibrant colors, its energy, and the overall peaceful vibe the song emits. (About fishing of all things. . . ). This is yet another opening which I gave a perfect score, but my brother didn’t like quite as much.

Average Score: 49.5

Alas, there were four openings/endings with a perfect score: “Tank” from Cowboy Bebop, “Balance” from Million Dollar Detective, Hikaru Nara from Your Lie in April, and “Hacking the Gate” from Steins:Gate. First, we judged based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

Even After that, we needed to create another criteria. Cowboy Bebop and Million Dollar Detective tied for third and Steins:Gate and Your Lie in April tied for first. The final criteria was how well they presented a visual narrative. Here are the results!

4. Opening for Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop – Opening Theme – Tank!

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19

Tie Breaker Score 2: 9.25 vs 10

This song. Wow, this song and opening are stellar! I’ve seen the show once, but I distinctly remember seeing this opening for the first time and thinking to myself, “I’ve got to see this show.” When I nitpicked, I thought, “Yeah, the opening doesn’t really capture the cowboy, space adventure story or have a solidly defined visual narrative”, which is why it is in 4th place. (But it still has a perfect score. This was a hard decision).

3. Ending for Million Dollar Detective (2020)

“Welcome My Friend” by OKAMOTO’S

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19

Tie Breaker Score 2: 10 vs 9.25

(There are no videos for this ending on YouTube. I would look up the anime to see it if you have the time!) Though I think this song is 10/10, what really makes this ending pop when compared to others on this list is its visuals! Whoever designed the backgrounds and staged the animation was inspired! Fun fact, my brother had never seen this show before and still gave this ending a perfect score. When I saw this show a couple of months ago, the opening felt off to me. What kept me watching the show was this ending.

2. Opening for Steins;Gate (2011)

“Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Itou

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19.75

Tie Breaker Score: 9

I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. I mentioned before how much I love psychological dramas. Steins:Gate is one of the reasons why. This song is great. The visuals are mysterious and layered with symbolism and foreshadowing. The only thing which kept it from 1st place was first time viewers wouldn’t understand they were watching a visual narrative. (Honestly though, it is fascinating to re-watch the opening after seeing the whole show. You will see the visual narrative).

1. Opening for Your Lie in April (2014)

“Hikaru nara (光るなら)” by Goose house

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score1 : 19.75

Tie Breaker Score 2: 10 vs 9

. . . No, I haven’t seen this show yet. I have personal reasons for that. However, as a musician and animation enthusiast, I thoroughly admire this opening. It gives me chills every time and gets me emotional even thinking about it. What made it go slightly ahead of “Hacking to the Gate” was its visual narrative. Even without the show, it told a distinct story, showcasing the characters and highlighting their passions for music and living.

There you have it! Thank you for tuning in to this special list. I hope you could take the time to watch each of these openings/endings. Maybe you found something new to explore! ( I hope so. 🙂 )

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.

Anime April Mayhem! Day 11, My Most Disappointing Experiences.

Anime April Mayhem! The anime I know I need to watch soon… Be patient with me.

7 thoughts on “Anime April Mayhem! The Magic of Music in Anime, My Favorite Openings/Endings

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    • I don’t remember paper moon very well, so I watched it again and it didn’t really do much for me. I was surprised how many new anime openings/endings made it into the list.

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