I earned this “Sunday” post. Gotta vent a little. BUT PLEASE, feel free to skip to the bottom where the top 10 are, you impatient dilettante!
First off- I had an extremely challenging dishonest employee interview with a supervisor. An absolutely brutal hour of confrontation and wits.
Second off- I’m changing jobs again, so today I had my last day with my current company and then 4 days off before I attend 8 weeks of training in Los Angeles for the new company, ~500 MILES AWAY… I am an UTTER family man, so the thought of leaving my newly pregnant lady does NOT excite me. Two months… I’ve never gone more than a week not seeing my family let alone my lady and dog… I’m kinda spooked and I worry I’ll be home sick as hell!
Third off- TOO MUCH CHANGE!!! I DON’T LIKE CHANGE!! SOMEONE… HOLD ME…
With that off my chest, I feel……….
a modicum of ease.
I ended up taking a stroll on iTunes looking for anime OP and ED on a whim. I will be DAMNED, if there isn’t a decent little selection on there!
There is no better time to be a big nerd than right now. A few years ago I could barely scrape out a Code Geass OP by Flow… now?? Well there was already some great Hatsune Miku titles since 2011 but now I found One Punch Man OP
I found My Hero Academia OP
Guilty Crown OP and ED
Gurren Lagan OP
List goes on and on.
Suffice to say, I may have blown like $15 in anime OP and ED LOL
Which means I’ve spent about $1,000 on iTunes over 10 years… not bad. I regret nothing! Down with piracy!!!
All this is to get to my main point of this post. Which is to say, anime OP, and by extension, Japanese music, is SUCH A TREAT.
Holy hell I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I like jamming to my childish gambino, my Kendrick Lamar, my Kanye West etc. etc. BUT IT GETS OLD, while the new, cultural flavors of foreign music, Japanese in particular, due to my fond anime related associations, are just utterly refreshing. A true palate cleanser!
Not to mention the lyrics alone are quite different from Western songs as the Japanese songs are generally more uplifting and philosophical as opposed to… people talking about money, drugs, women, social commentary… sometimes I just want to hear about how even if the world calls me a liar and tries to hurt me with their heartless words and tries to make me wear a crown of thorns without even trying to believe in me that you can take my side and my side alone…
Or that I will go forth and run alongside my own shadow, so blessed are the days when I confront my inner storm, NOW LET THERE BE LIGHT!
Western music never gives me the chills like Japanese music and lyrics do… then add in this amazing music being timed perfectly with a fight scene or amazing animation or something dramatic or romantic and grand… it creates NOTHING but good vibes.
And it is awesome how much more mainstream anime and Japanese music has become, proof in iTunes providing a supply for the demand.
Not EVERYTHING is on there(I want the High Powered Squid Girl OP!)… there is still a lot missing… but it’s the best off it ever has been and that is a positive step in the right direction.
This realization compelled me to make up a list of my favorite 10 anime OP EVER… I exclude ED because that’s a post for another time and frankly I fear it would be too difficult an under taking.
Now while most people would advise that their list is a personal favorites list and JUST an opinion and that it is okay to disagree with them…
I’m here to say that my list is derived through objective math and science and that if you disagree with me you are categorically wrong. This list is a fact sheet, not a string of fickle opinions.
But seriously, I went through a TON of OP for this and looked at other’s favorite OP lists that I could find online and I asked my nerdy friends AND all that taken into consideration in tandem with my own knowledge and memory led to this list.
THE REASON THIS POST WAS NOT UP SUNDAY OR MONDAY, AND I EVEN MISSED TODAY, IS BECAUSE IT TOOK FOREVER… holy SHIT. This is the hardest I’ve worked on something since my last marriage…jokes jokes never been married or failed a marriage…YET!But yea all in all from listening and watching OP, drawing my list, searching lyrics, writing this up, taking screen shots, and actually choosing ONLY 10?! This whole little project has taken approximately 20 hours or so over 3-4 days… at least 5 of those hours were spent in AGONY trying to choose 10… those cuts… I still feel sick at the blasphemy I’m sure I have committed but I WENT WITH MY GUTS… at least I did that much. I went through so much stuff.
0%-70% of anime OP range from crappy/ bland/ non-original, 70%-95% are pretty cool to great… and 95%-100%(something about that sounds wrong…) is LEGENDARY. The music flows with the animation, there are motions of the characters that incite a certain musical fluctuation, and it is captivating from open to close with great animation and kick ass music… a genuine intent to create awesome… that’s ultimately how I made my decisions.
Anyway, since 892 shows come out per season I went 90% with what I or a close buddy had seen(Between me and buddies we have seen a TON), as well as very popular shows that I haven’t seen myself. I listened to OP for hours and listed what I hated/liked/loved and then began the grueling process of making cuts until only 10 songs remained standing… THEN I PUT THOSE TEN IN ORDER FROM BEST TO WORST… of the best… I will list the show’s name and OP title for everything I heard and then list the top 10.
With that said, I’ll start with #10
Suffice to say HARD CUTS WERE MADE. But they died for our sins…
#10: Hanasaku Iroha- Omokage Warp- nano.RIPE
-I remember watching this show before football practice over the Summer and this OP ALWAYS got me pumped to hit the field before I remembered how miserable conditioning would be, and the song STILL holds up! It has the least stylistic flair but just pound for pound is a great OP with a lot of synergy.
#9: Honey and Clover- Dramatic- Yuki
– The lyrics in tandem with these food dishes and especially as the food becomes anthropomorphic… It was just so bizarre… There is a kind of loneliness, a kind of passionate hand crafted quality, something so utterly profound about this OP… That haunting stare as the skeleton looks up, completely despondent, the hand writing help, the pasta bride who is flipping out like a scene out of Jacob’s Ladder, it is unsettling, like an artist or person who while having trouble speaking their mind manages to positively scream their opinions through their art even as they writhe just underneath their calm exterior. Then the show being about the abstract of love and how people cope and try to give their voice even when they have trouble speaking out, thus the food is given life, reflecting the personality of the hand that created it, a projection of the artist’s desires… YEA, something like that. Anyway this OP is utterly inimitable and so stylistic, and a great song.
#8: Deadman Wonderland- One Reason- Fade
-What can I say… Awesome rock music with characters writhing in agony(ecstasy? maybe both?) that is well timed with the music. It completely gets the point of the show across, lyrics are edgy, great stylistic flair, and a girl who has her tongue out while twirling in madness…. It was bold and did it’s job.
#7: Attack on Titan- Guren no Yumiya- Linked Horizon
-This show’s OP makes me want to kill people from a different country for no other reason besides they are different… well… maybe not THAT crazy but it certainly makes me feel nationalistic. Which is interesting because a lot of the show is political intrigue, a militaristic show where nationalism and harsh law and order government attempts to ensure humanity’s survival in a very harsh and hopeless world. The images are fantastic, and well drawn, and supports the general theme of the music which is fight for survival while protecting the homeland… If this doesn’t compel you to protect the homeland from the foreign invaders, nothing will!
#6: Samurai Champloo- Battle Cry- Nujabes
-This OP was, and still is, an INSTANT LEGENDARY CLASSIC… It is an OP that is recognizable IMMEDIATELY. The beat slaps, the tone is rogue yet trendy… I mean you have this SWAGGER! It OOZES style. Kind of anachronistic with fluid, up beat rap serving as the backdrop for samurai of a bygone era. The whole show is about the old world meeting the new world and the discordant blend that can often happen, the resistance to change and yet the inevitability of it. Samurai are fading into the annuls of history as the new industrialized world is approaching and conspiring to do away with tradition… it just works on so many levels… But basically… it just slaps.
#5: Durarara- Uragiri no Yuuyake- Theatre Brook
-This OP is where it becomes increasingly important to have an OP hand tailored through the use of music as well as visuals to create an OP master piece. The whole OP is basically a series of fantastic segue that all lead into one another without ugly hard cuts. It aligns well with the theme that all these random “coincidences” are all really tied together by the invisible strings of fate. All the characters are bound to the other effecting one another’s lives in ways that may be difficult to predict and discern, but none the less, just like this OP demonstrates, there ARE causal links… I just love it!
#4: Kakegurui- Deal with the Devil- Tia
-HOLY CRAP! This OP may be extremely new on the whole… BUT WHEN YOU’RE HOT YOU’RE HOT!!!! And DANG, this OP is certified HOT AND FRESH. The style is SOOOOOOOOO good, my God. From the manic squee at the beginning to the head punching to the eye licking to the strawberry head exploding(which matches the lyrics) to the toe sucking to the twin hugging…. just my GOD, how to dissect it… The whole OP sets the tone for the show. A series of extremely powerful female leads which… oh man, that was refreshing, everything else tends to be male dominated or the women get relegated to fan service rolls that don’t serve to empower the characters themselves and serve as an extension of their confidence and free will but rather male wish fulfillment fantasy fodder. This show is the opposite, while it may service the fans, it does so IN SPITE of the fans NOT because of the fans. These women are all the last boss lol, strong personalities and the OP shows this so well. Also the theme, the student council all gathered on the dinner table like a course of a meal to over-come, a challenge to devour, and the unstable lunacy of the images and music, just like our main character, excited to gamble for gambling’s sake. “Meow, Meow, I’m a loser cat with a gambling addiction!”
#3: Nichijou- Hydain no Kakakata- Hydain
-This is one of the most hyper active/over stylized/perfectly timed/unique/inimitable anime OP that have graced this earth. On certain days of the week it is my favorite anime OP EVER. Period. the lyrics are perfect, the two different singers have a great synergy… JUST WATCH IT…. do yourself a favor and watch this OP over and over a few hundred times… HELL… make it a thousand.
#2: Blood-C- Spiral- Dustz
-This OP and Nichijou’s have competed for a long time as my favorite OP ever. This one tends to win out though because of how well the lyrics(which are a combo of Japanese, English, and French… which is kind of awesome) parallel the atmosphere of the show. The endless existential nightmare Saya finds herself in… nightmare after nightmare, the lies, the shadows pulling the strings, the anxiety… The fight to survive both external and internal demons. How the imagery serves as a kind of visual cacophony, there is an instability to otherwise normal mundane activities, that the facade may come crumbling down at any moment… it is on the whole… SINISTER. But that coupled with music which is perfectly timed to what is happening on screen, the flashing images, trying to make sense of it all, confusing, almost over whelming, just like Saya must feel, trying to glean what is happening from the quick flashes of memory and feelings of unease. Though she can’t figure out what isn’t right. The loneliness, the isolation, the trance like quality to the opening of the intro… JUST FANTASTIC!
#1: One Punch Man- The Hero- JAM Project
-This is the best anime OP ever made. Enough to over come my two former favorites… The animation quality is not comparable to any other show’s quality. It is just… too good… Other shows simply look at this OP after a long and drawn out fight where they thought they were on equal footing only to simply say “I never stood a chance… you’re just… too strong…” This show’s OP stands alone on a different celestial body. From the moment the title screen pops up you know you are in for a treat.. The line work is SO strong, the images are beautiful, the message loud and clear. Saitama can be seen in backdrops of grand natural beauty, although also perilous, like the side of a mountain, however he seems dauntless… as though he can, as a mere human being, rival the power of Earth itself… As though Saitama were a force more treacherous than even the calamity of natural disasters. More severe and intense than a hurricane or volcano… It is fluid, gorgeous, and is confident with it’s identity. It has the timing of images flashing on screen in sync to the fluctuations and queues of the song… it is amazing. It is the best OP ever made.
#0: Moon Phase- Neko Mimi Mode- Dimitri From Paris
THE TRUE LAST BOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STRONGER THAN SAITAMA HIMSELF!!!!!!!!!! My GOD, I remember watching this on the AZN channel on cable, like channel 94 LOL back in junior high when anime was still super hard to come by and I relied on cable, and IFC on Demand for anime lololol, SO NOSTALGIC FOR ME!!!! I did not care what it was, I just wanted to consume anime, I was ravenous… I will never forget staying up and waiting JUST to watch the OP XD it is addicting! Pure ear candy! I remember finishing the show and just not knowing what to think… It was weird, perverted in a way where no one in the show was bothered but it was objectively CREEPY at times, but since no one in the show said anything about it, it made it even weirder lol, and sometimes there was action, sometimes there would be plot… it was HELLA episodes for being so silly. I remember the shrine arc where the dude trains and then he gains insight and sees the girl cat ear vampire as a monster… just… WEIRD… it has this air of being older than it is, plus not knowing if it was popular or what the world thought of it since I had no internet and was on my own insulated anime island. Plus, that it was on AZN channel I did not know what that meant, whether it was a bargain bin show, but it seemed pretty clean and well animated… anyway this is an ear worm, this OP will forever be the secret boss of anime OP.
*sigh* That was a fun, few days long, 20 hour project… I’m burnt out, I’ll be back in a few months.
Until next time!
P.S. So that I don’t go crazy in L.A. and will give me something to do I’ll be watching, FINALLY, the last Naruto movie which I recently purchased! I hear it’s all about Naruto and Hinata so I look forward to some great moments and then… maybe writing a post analyzing their relationship and how the dynamics evolved over the years… yea… should be a WEIRD/ good time. And then one day when I have the gumption maybe try a top 10 ED list.