A theme song can define how an anime is portrayed and also hype you up or set the mood for what you’re about to watch. While a good theme song doesn’t always mean it’s going to be a good anime, a good song does give a good first impression of what you’re about to watch.
Listening to the opening theme sets the tone for the show. It should make you feel like you’re about to watch a good show or remind you why you’re watching in the first place. It doesn’t have to be flashy. In fact, there are some anime themes that are simple and can still get the message across.
Here are the top 10 anime openings of all time.
10. “Crossing Field” by LiSA – Sword Art Online Season 1
“Crossing Field” by LiSA is the very definition of a generic, yet memorable opening theme song. Watching the opening of Sword Art Online Season 1 defines the main characters in the simplest way possible. At the same time, it introduces us to the side characters and the world they’re in.
9. “Connect” by ClariS – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The opening to Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a total misdirection, but at the same time, it’s perfect. It doesn’t spoil the anime but it makes audiences excited to watch the show without warning them about what’s about to happen. In other words, if you know, you know. The beginning of the song matches the deep depression of the tragedy in Madoka, but as it progresses, it expresses a theme of hope, like that of the show and the main character, Madoka.
8. “Pokemon Theme” by Jason Paige – Pokémon
Be honest, who hasn’t sung this at the top of their lungs when they were young. This song has pretty much defined our childhoods as it was pretty much one of the first anime we ever saw as kids. After all, we all wanted to be the very best.
7. ‘Country Roads” by John Denver – Whispers of the Heart
“Country Roads” is not just a theme song but also played a role in the film. The music became part of the central plot which worked really well. Now, not only do we have an English version of the song but we have a Japanese version too.
6. “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka – Yuri!!! On Ice
The opening of Yuri!!! On Ice is artistic in nature. It didn’t have the flashy lights or clips from the show, but rather a 2D sketch of 3 of the main characters skating around on the screen. And that’s good as it reminds the viewer that this anime is about figure skating, a choreographic and acrobatic heavily performative sport. The lyrics of “History Maker” match the theme of the show of pushing past hang-ups to win and to also encourage others.
5. “Sakura Kiss” by Kawabe Chieko – Ouran High School Host Club
The opening to Ouran High School Host Club does a good job of showcasing the different personalities that each of the host club members has rather than just making it all about Haruhi. After all, the reason why host clubs are popular in Japan is because of the different types of hosts that serve their patrons. It also gives off this cheesy high school romance vibe that gets played around with in the anime. The lyrics of “Sakura Kiss” capture the whimsey of the series and the romantic aspects and aspirations of the characters.
4. “Silhouette” by KANA-BOON – Naruto Shippuden
Naruto had multiple openings due to its really long run time. But if you had to choose one, it has to be the one featuring the song “Silhouette”. It showed more of Naruto’s potential as a shinobi (aka ninja), as well as the other characters and the stakes and challenges Naruto has to face. This is no longer Naruto – the number one loudmouth ninja, this is someone ready to fight.
3. “Bye Bye Yesterday” by 3 Nen E Gumi Uta Tan – Assassination Classroom Season 2
“Bye Bye Yesterday” is a theme song that compares and contrasts the earlier seasons to where we are now. Not to mention, the perfect goodbye song as the series is about to come to an end. It’s technically the perfect graduation song for a class that’s about to graduate from school, as well as making you feel nostalgic as the journey is about to end.
Also, in case you’re unaware, at the 1:13 mark, the text on the board changes in each episode, counting down till the day of Koro Sensei’s deadline.
2. “The Hero” by Jam Project – One Punch Man
Not all anime openings need a flashy opening but One Punch Man’s definitely takes the cake. The reason why it’s flashy is that this guy is unbeatable. One punch is all it takes to defeat an enemy so Saitama goes on this journey to find a worthy opponent. The guy can beat ANYONE with just one punch.
Also, the theme song is about being an all-powerful superhero, fighting, using all of your strength, and the thrill of fighting bad guys.
1. “Shinzou wo Sasageyo!” by Linked Horizon – Attack on Titan Season 2
Ever felt patriotic for a fictional country? Season 2 of Attack on Titan expands its story by asking “is there more to Titans than what’s shown in season 1?” But at the same time, it shows the determination of humanity to fight for freedom beyond the walls.
But what makes this opening memorable is the use of “sasageyo”, a phrase often used in the anime, meaning “to devote”, “to sacrifice” or “to dedicate”.
Whether the anime is flashy and filled with action, or simple enough to set the scene, a good anime opening can help set the scene or mood of what you’re about to watch.