Anime openings are the gateway for viewers to decide whether to watch a show or not. They show off the characters, animation and even details of the plot to attempt to sell the show to new viewers. Here are the 10 anime openings I believe are the best. Minor spoilers for each show below! You have been warned.
10. “Asterisk” by Orange Range from Bleach
While Naruto has its fair share of fantastic openings, like “Go!!” by Flow and “Blood Circulator” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, none of them compare to Bleach‘s first opening. While it may not contain as much symbolism or as many references as the other anime on this list, it remains eye catching by representing the characters. Multiple frames are spent expressing the character relationships, especially between Ichigo and Rukia. When I think of Bleach, this is the first thing that comes to mind.
9. “Odd Future” by UVERworld from My Hero Academia
Shonen openings excel at getting you hyped and My Hero Academia‘s openings are no exception. Whether it be “The Day”, “Peace Sign”, “Sora Ni Utaeba” or “Polaris”, My Hero Academia always brings the excitement with its OPs. With that said, “Odd Future” is easily the best one. Building on the previous openings, “Odd Future” begins with Deku running towards his future at full speed. It then shows an image of him sitting with All Might, showing how Deku is every bit the hero All Might is. We see Shigaraki kneeling before All For One, begging him for guidance. We see brief sequences of class 1A at the training camp before it is interrupted by the League of Villains as the chorus hits. Shigaraki is then shown in All For One’s shadow before Class 1A springs into action to combat the League. The whole opening builds to the end where Deku rises in front of All Might, a moment that had been foreshadowed in previous openings.
8. “Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Ito from Steins;Gate
“Hacking to the Gate” is chock full of references to how each character is affected by time travel. The various alternate versions of Okabe walk side by side with each other, all following the same goal. To contrast, the alternate versions of Kurisu, Suzuha, Luka and Ferris spread and then disappear one by one as they are erased by Okabe. Various time symbols, such as gears of a watch, clocks, an hourglass and divergence numbers, appear representing both the changes in word lines, as well as the characters’ relationships with time travel. However, the most common imagery is the juxtaposition of Okabe and Mayuri, showing that despite Okabe distancing himself from Mayuri, the two still need each other. Together with the fantastic editing and music production, “Hacking to the Gate” is as trippy and symbolic as Steins;Gate.
7. “The Hero” by JAM Project from One Punch Man
It should be obvious by now that I love shonen anime. While “Odd Future” and “Asterisk” are both fantastic in their own right, JAM Project’s “The Hero” is the definition of hype with the loud metal roaring while Saitama kicks butt throughout this opening. This opening fills my body with adrenaline every time I watch it. It consistently had me punching my fists up in the air while attempting to yell the words. The roaring of the music combined with the beautiful showcase of Mad House’s animation come together to form the ultimate hype shonen opening.
6. “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa from Gurren Lagann
Mecha openings usually delight in showing the robot fighting action. Gurren Lagann is no exception, showing off Gurren Lagann battling the various beast mechas. Although, this opening shines just as much light on the mech as it does the characters. The tone of the music lifts you up and fills you with hope, the same hope Simon feels when he is with Kamina. “Sorairo Days” feels like a perfect representation of Kamina’s motto “believe in the me that believes in you.” Gainax brought their A-game with this opening and there is no way they made one better.
5. “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi from Neon Genesis Evangelion
Well crap, Gainax made an opening better than “Sorairo Days.” “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” is championed by a large portion of the anime community as one of the greatest anime openings ever made and it is not hard to see why. Evangelion was made to commentate on the overly expressive and easily digestible mecha series of the 90’s, especially Gundam. Gundam openings always featured smiling characters willing to fight the forces of evil no matter what challenges they may face. Contrast that with how Evangelion portrays the pilots within it opening. Shinji is unmotivated and depressed when inside his EVA, and when he finally looks up he stares with empty eyes. When traditional mechas are meant to look impressive, the EVAs seem menacing, horrific even. The imagery combined with the upbeat music creates an unsettling atmosphere.
4. “Re:Re:” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation from Erased
Did somebody mention symbolism, because oh boy does Erased‘s opening have a ton of it! The opening begins with Satoru sitting down with his younger self in a movie theater. Right as the movie begins playing, we then transition to Satoru’s old middle school, revealing that Satoru is actually watching his life unfold before his very eyes. The memory then floods, forcing him back into reality. The opening presents the main female characters, only to force Satoru to relive his nightmares. We then see an empty world, a world without the main character, as if he was erased (get it? It’s because the name of the anime is Erased! Man I am so smart).
3. “Tank!” by Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts from Cowboy Bebop
3… 2… 1… let’s Jam. Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts are a match made in heaven, and much like the entire score to Cowboy Bebop, the opening is a jazz masterpiece. It immediately catches your attention with the beginning notes, roaring to life with a sudden burst of color on to the screen. We see Spike and Jet running, likely towards a bounty, Faye walking seductively and Ed dancing. The simple imagery draws attention to the loud and bombastic jazz symphony. While the animation is not as energetic as it is in other openings on this list, the music supplements this creative anime opening of the 90’s.
2. “Again” by YUI from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The first opening to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood opens with a young Hohenheim in front of the Xerxes transmutation circle, before the background disappears behind him. We then transition to Trisha smiling while Hohenheim closes the door on Edward and Alphonse. The title blares in the middle of the screen as Ed and Al look on as their house burns to the ground. There is still a full minute left in this opening. “Again” is filled with moments like this. When it comes to story foreshadowing, this opening has every other one, not just beat, but completely and utterly demolished.
1. “99.9” by Mob Choir from Mob Psycho 100
I love Easter eggs and I always feel great satisfaction whenever I catch a new one, which happens nearly every single time I watch “99.9” from Mob Psycho 100. “99.9” has so many details that if you blink even once you will miss at least 50 of them. For example, at the end of the Rubik’s cube sequence, we see a collage of images, including the flower that sprouts when Mob remembers his friends and family, Minori’s teddy bear, a camera from Reigen’s press conference, Sho’s logo, the giant broccoli, Serizawa’s umbrella and Mob and Reigen’s favorite foods. Every second of this opening is filled to the brim with little details like this. Mother’s Basement on YouTube made a comprehensive video covering every little bit of information in this opening, which you can check out here. The insane visuals, combined with the spectacular animation and enthusiastic music from the Mob Choir, create the best anime opening of all time.
Is there an anime opening you absolutely love that did not make my list? Comment below!