Shadow’s Six – 2015’s Best Anime Openings

This year has been good for anime… and while we’re not quite ready to talk about the best of summer and fall… we are ready to talk about the best opening scenes. Why are we talking openings? Because this year had some of the best I’ve seen and deserves recognition for that!

6) Beautiful Bones – Sakurako’s Investigation

The opening to Beautiful Bones is beautiful. But, let’s be fair, most of this list will be. It takes more than just ‘beautiful’ to make the cut for this list. What makes Beautiful Bones’ opening so special to me are the layers of symbolism and subtle character hints. There are several moments where you’ll watch an episode, move on to the next, and then get a brief moment of revelation as something in the opening makes a bit more sense.

They’re very clever about it, and you can’t really spoil yourself.. the references feel more like inside jokes that you’re getting let in on than spoilers. Also worth noting the song is one of my favourites of the year. “Dear Answer” has such a great tune to it, and it paces the opening fantastically.

5) Wish Upon the Pleiades

Wish Upon the Pleiades was an adorable Magical Girl show with an adorable Magical Girl opening… it was just in general a well done opening for the type of show. But there was one effect they used that I fell in love with. When they were showing the characters, they had the characters standing next to reflective surfaces with their alternate appearances reflected. It’s such a simple effect, but it looks stunning in this particular show.

When you couple amazing imagery, such as the above, with an opening theme that is incredibly catchy… you just get a scene that is simply fun to watch.

4) The Perfect Insider

This is one of the most unique openings I’ve ever seen. It might seem to be fairly plain, but it has an artistic quality to it that makes it fun and engaging to watch. The song is exciting, and the wireframe art versions of the characters do a great job of portraying the show in a metaphoric way. It’s hard to really describe, so just go ahead and watch it… watch it and you’ll understand why I gave this unique opening such a high place on this list.

3) School-Live!

I’m not going to offer a video of School-Live!’s opening, because the beauty of this opening isn’t in watching a single one. That isn’t to say the opening isn’t good… it is – it’s a great representation of the main character’s mindset. But what makes this opening so fantastic is watching it every episode. They make changes – some subtle, some blatant – to the opening and it is absolutely fascinating to watch it progress. The opening has a lot of great symbolism as well, there are several scenes in the opening that are meant to provide either hints of some of the show’s events or insights into some of the characters. Nothing you can’t find by watching the show, but definitely things that will feed speculation.

If you’ve already watched the show, here’s a link to a video comparing all of the openings… but don’t click it unless you’ve watched the show. It will spoil a lot for you, as the opening reflects the show’s current state.

2) Charlotte

Charlotte’s opening is, to be frank, phenomenal. The song is likely my favourite song this year, and it works so well for an opening. It has a great flow, with varied pacing that lent itself to creating a scene capable of capturing the attitude of this show and its characters. The opening also does a great job of representing the show’s underlying themes.

My favourite part of this opening is the way in which it utilizes the effects and camera positioning for dramatic effect. The breaking clock, reflections in the water, the time-lapse, the celestial references… they’re all so gorgeous and paced so well, and yet at the same time also relevant to the show. It’s an amazing accomplishment, and I simply loved watching this opening every single time during both of my complete runs of this show.

1) Fruit of Grisaia (Eden of Grisaia Arc)

And here we have what is probably the best anime opening I’ve ever seen. Regardless of what you may think of the Grisaia series (and I can absolutely see why it’s a ‘love it or hate it’ show), the animators knew what they were doing. The amount of work that must have gone into this creation is staggering. They art and imagery are phenomenal… and it’s all completely unique, none of it is reused from the show.

They fit little ties and tags for every character, even most of the minor ones, into the opening… and it is all representative of what the show has in store, but not in such a way that it feels like a spoiler. And it all fits so well with the pacing and tone of the music. It literally sends chills down my spine. Those first few seconds set the tone, and the rest runs with it. A masterful accomplishment.

 

So these have been my six favourite anime opening sequences of 2015. If you guys have any favourites of your own to share, let me know!

 

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