What comes to the mind when you sit and think about certain identifiers of an anime? Some of them would be the characters, the tone, the genre, the voice actors and so forth. However, one of the most defining identifiers of an anime - is its opening. A fascinating aspect of being an anime fan is to know that even openings of an anime have a separate fandom for themselves. It is undeniable that anyone who was adventurous enough to delve into the world of anime has heard the opening songs of Tokyo Ghoul, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Pokemon without ever watching the show. The opening is extremely important, as in many cases, it serves as the primary introduction of the audience to the feel of the show and what it's about. It's not always the case so don't quote me on that, but it is certainly used as a way for fans to connect with the show. Here are the top 10 openings of anime that have resonated with fans on a grander scale.
- Sakura Mitsutsuki - Gintama
Sakura Mitsutsuki by J-pop rock band SPYAIR performed the 13th opening for Gintama which quickly climbed the ranks of the best openings of all time. Gintama is many things but the one thing it is not is : boring. A myopic view of Gintama would probably be seeing it as merely a bizarre comedy. However, Gintama grows to become a very well-written drama that still finds roots in the comedy that it is known for. The strong suit of this opening is its evocative power. The song and the visuals tap into the feel-good aspects of the anime and reminds you of what you love about the show.
- Kyouran Hey Kids!! - Noragami Aragoto
It wasn't just Noragami Aragoto that created a buzz when it came out, but it was also its opening - Kyouran Hey Kids!! By The Oral Cigarettes. The scene stealer regarding the opening is its punk rock music that's extremely catchy and its visuals especially. In a flurry of sequences, the opening reintroduces us to our favourite characters of the series (mostly all of them) and reveals to us what's in store for this season, vis-a-vis Yato's past with Bishamon, his turbulent past with Nora and his Father (he makes the opening but it's a spoiler), and his fight against Ebisu. The edgy aspect of the visuals is the glitch vaporwave effect that makes it pretty rad to watch.
- Seishun Kyosokyoku - Naruto
Any Naruto fan can attest to the fact that the Sasuke Retrieval Arc is one of the best in the story. It's when the plot starts playing with darker elements of the story. Seishun Kyosokyoku by Sambomaster is the fifth opening that plays during this arc. It features the quest of Naruto, Neji, Choji and Kiba in retrieving Sasuke back after he joins the Sound Four. The opening portrays Naruto's longing for his friend Sasuke and even provides a glimpse into his look after manifesting the Kyuubi. The lyrics of the song signify the separation from a loved one.
- Out of Control - Psycho Pass
Out of Control by the Japanese rock band Nothing's Carved Out of Stone is the heavier side of alternative rock and we're here for it. It was the second opening song of the first season of Psycho-Pass. Despite the equally amazing first opening, the second opening grabs my attention for its rock elements and the beautiful vibrant colours used for the visuals. The direction of the opening is incredibly creative and eye-capturing. The opening emphasizes the underlying tension and the main focus of the story, i.e, Kogami's fight against Makishima. It also features a lost Detective Akane and the Enforcers who can be seen walking in a different direction from Kogami signifying Kogami's solitude in this fight.
- Battlecry - Samurai Champloo
It's extremely rare to find a hip-hop style treatment to an anime opening but Nujabes and Shing02's BattleCry stands bold in this experiment. The opening perfectly portrays the distinct Shinichiro Watanabe take on an alternative Edo-era with an anachronistic hip-hop setting. Nujabes' BattleCry can be credited with the popularization of LoFi music in the anime music industry. The main characters, Mugen and Jin's exceptional samurai skills shine through the fluid animation and play of striking colours.
- Colors - Code Geass
Colors by FLOW is a catchy upbeat song that has been etched into the hearts of anime fans. The opening words "Jibun wo" is met with vigorous enthusiasm and participation. This is the first opening of Code Geass and it introduces us to all the characters that will impact the story of Lelouch's rebellion against the colonization by Brittania. The song represents the theme that people mould themselves as per the good and bad times they witness - however, one always has the confidence to persevere through dark times. This accurately fits the kind of journey Lelouch must embark on to fulfil his goal.
- Tank - Cowboy Bebop
This is arguably one of the sassiest and coolest openings that an anime has. You can't help but either tap your feet or click your fingers to the groove of the opening. Not only is it a catchy beat to listen to, it beautifully portrays the western theme of Cowboy Bebop. The jazz elements with rhythmic beats orchestrated by the Seatbelts blend well with the quick-paced editing sequence of the main characters and elements of what makes them who they are - space bounty hunters. While being quite unique, it is also another Shinichiro Watanabe anime that has a cool opening.
- A Cruel Angel's Thesis - Neon Genesis Evangelion
A Cruel Angel's Thesis by Yoko Takahashi sounds heavy from its title but given the philosophical emphasis in the story, it's quite understandable. Neon Genesis Evangelion's opening is recognizable to any newcomer on account of it being iconic. The opening focuses on the characters of Shinji, Rei, Asuka, Misato and a look into the scientists from the laboratory. Most importantly, the opening shows flashes of the Eva Unit-01 that dominates the storyline. The show is based on Shinji's advent as a pilot to a slightly rogue Eva in humanity's fight against alien beings called Aliens. Neon Genesis Evangelion is known for orchestrating a massive thematic transformation that has its fans reeling.
- Unravel - Tokyo Ghoul
Hailed as the best opening of all time by many fans, Unravel by TK, the vocalist and guitarist of the band Ling Tosite Sigure had to make the list. This is the otaku anthem and it's perfectly normal to hear this being sung at otaku gatherings. It is the opening song of the first season and rightfully reflects the inner turmoil within Kaneki regarding the changes in his lifestyle and who he has become. The lyrics include the feeling of coming to terms with oneself - which is what Kaneki struggles with throughout the first season and eventually does at the end (the song plays then as well).
- Guren no Yumiya - Attack on Titan
One of the peak moments of Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon is screaming "JAËGER" at the top of your lungs. This opening theme trumps Unravel for the sole reason of being extremely edgy and rad in its lyrics, vocals and visuals - it is stimulating enough to give you goosebumps. Guren no Yumiya is the perfect introduction to the chaotic, nihilistic and gory world of Attack on Titan. The lyrics are resonant with the thoughts of the characters that fight against the terrorizing Titan that threaten their lives. It mocks complacency and encourages the spirit of those who dare to break free of their caged lives to fight for freedom. The visuals are a sombre montage of Titans and the characters in battle.