I’ve been working on this one for a while… it has been a very difficult decision, but I’m finally ready to share my top six Anime openings of all time. You’d think that something like this would make for an easy decision… I mean, it’s just best openings right? But the people who make the Anime series so often do such a fantastic job on the openings so often… that it truly is an incredibly close running to pick a best opening between all of the various shows I’ve watched over my life. In this list, in cases where a show has multiple openings I’ve only picked the best opening from that show, otherwise this list might well be pretty heavily dominated by one or two series and that wouldn’t be any fun.
So here we are, my Shadow’s Six list of the best Anime Opening Sequences. Enjoy!
6) Fate/Zero Second Arc
Fate/Zero’s second opening features a fantastic song that suits the tone of the show incredibly well. The song features a very slow cadence from an almost meek and subtle beginning to an almost fevered pitch at the end, which is utterly perfect for the progression of the story through this season. The opening also does a really good job of portraying the characters and shows off some of the absolutely amazing backgrounds and set pieces found within the show… my only real problem with it, and the reason it isn’t higher on the list, is that the opening itself doesn’t do a good job of taking advantage of the gradual rising tension within the song. You have the song building up to an epic conclusion, but the opening still features a car driving slowly or a person standing around doing nothing.
The fact that it suits the show so well, and still provides most of the things you want from an opening is why it has landed itself in my sixth spot on the list, barely eeking itself onto the list because of just how awesome the song is.
5) Kokoro Connect First Arc
First off I want to apologize, I wasn’t able to find any good quality versions of the opening that didn’t have the Spanish subtitles – not sure why, but it seems to be a common issue.
But moving on to the opening itself… again, what makes Kokoro Connect’s opening so fun is that it does such a good job of giving you an idea of what you’re in for watching the show. This isn’t a show about high action or suspense… it’s about lives and friendships. Sure there’s a crazy twist, but it’s supposed to be overall a fun show.
The upbeat tone of the song and the fact that it and the opening in general just do a perfect job of getting you in just the right mood to watch some Kokoro Connect have landed the first opening for Kokoro Connect in the fifth spot on my list.
4) Pokémon First Season
Ahh Pokémon… what is there to be said about Pokémon? It is one of the most classic and iconic Anime series you can find, and the opening used in the first season does such a good job of being memorable, setting up the mood, and setting up the show, that you just can’t include a list of Anime openings without including Pokémon.
The fact that it still holds up after over a decade, that the series itself has done so well for itself, and that the song is so well known that you can get practically any group of anime fans together and hold a singalong and nobody will need to learn the lyrics have all worked together to land Pokémon’s first opening a very solid fourth place on this list.
3) Asura Cryin’ 2
This was an incredibly difficult decision. Both of Asura Cryin’s openings are so fantastic that deciding which one to pick was an arduous process that involved much second-guessing, flipping, AND flopping. But in the end I settled on Asura Cryin’ 2’s opening for a number of reasons.
Most prominent is the fact that the song is just really well made. It’s a song that holds up on its own even without the video to ride by its side. But, that is not enough… the editors did an absolutely amazing job of matching pace between the video and the song, creating just the right emotions and setting for you to follow even throughout this relatively short sampling.
What makes the opening so incredible that it has placed this high on the list is something much more subtle: it provides just the slightest hints of things to come without really providing any explanation. It gives just enough information that you’re left wondering… and does it without ever sacrificing what is most important in an opening: establishing the tone. You come out of this opening not only wondering what’s to come… but just eager to watch more and more. This is one of the few shows where I never really wanted to skip the opening sequence, and that’s a rarity in this day and age.
2) Sword Art Online First Arc
It shouldn’t surprise any of my long time readers to see Sword Art Online near the top of my list, I loved the show and the first opening does an almost perfect job.
The tone of the opening might seem a bit high-paced given the subject matter… but let’s face it, most of the show takes that same tone. That was part of what made it so enjoyable to watch – it still felt like a game, even though lives were on the line. And the opening works so well for that, keeping things consistent.
What makes it so special is that the content, the actual substance of the opening manages to match up with the tone and rhythm of the song so perfectly. Every transition matches a similar transition in the song, every exciting moment in the song is matched by the video… and it just makes for a completely consistent viewing experience. And it does it without once spoiling anything pertinent… in fact, it does the opposite. It tantalizes you to want to see what these moments are referencing… and that little moment at the end is just such a perfect image to represent the show.
1) Angel Beats
Taking the number one spot away from Sword Art Online was a show that truly shocked me. A show that I enjoyed much more than I expected to… and I think a lot of why can be seen within the opening. The music.
Angel Beats has probably the best soundtrack I’ve ever seen with every single song being absolutely incredible. And the opening is the highlight of it all. My Soul, Your Beats – the opening song – is so good that it is probably in my top 5 favourite songs of all time. It has a fantastic beat, great vocals, and is just overall awesome.
And they do a great job of matching visual effects to the audio queues to create a truly cohesive experience. And it provides certain subtle hints that will gradually be noticed as you watch the show – which is just another reason to never skip this opening. Every episode you watch, the opening means more.
I would have to say that although I did enjoy Angel Beats a great deal, it’s opening is the best part of the show. That isn’t because the show is lacking, not at all… but it’s simply because this is, in my opinion, the best opening I have ever seen to any show, animated or otherwise.
Now, I know you’ve been waiting to see it since I didn’t let you watch it before reading this so here you go:
Hope you’ve enjoyed this list, you can click on the series info to find out my other Shadow’s Six lists, and I do have reviews of Asura Cryin’, Angel Beats, Sword Art Online, and Fate/Zero here on the site if you want to read more about these shows. If you want to discuss my picks, or share any awesome Anime openings you’ve found, feel free to comment below.