Here’s one of my first posts that’s not anime news related. At least in awhile. Usually I’ve watched videos on fans “top 10” anime “insert subject here” on Youtube and always thought about doing one as well. But given the time it takes to make one and I am not as video/tech/editing savvy as I would like to be; we will have to settle for a list with videos. Also, instead of doing a top 10 list, I am doing a top 15 list. I just couldn’t just pick ten and these are going to be in no particular order as well. I just didn’t see a reason to rate them and when I tried, it just got too difficult. So here is my list for the top 15 anime opening sequences. This is just my picks and have no bearings on other lists. This is also more based on anime that I have already watched.
1. Sailor Moon S Opening 3:
Out of all the Sailor Moon openings of the entire 1995 to 1997 anime, this one is my personal favorite. What appeals to me about this opening is it is one of the only openings where we see all of the Scouts at the same time. Other openings just show the Inner Scouts with Tuxedo Mask. While Sailor Saturn is not shown, her civilian form Hotaru is shown with a slight purple glow as if hinting to the Scout of Silents appearance. We also see the cats Luna and Artemis along with Sailor Moon transforming into Super Sailor Moon. Plus the opening theme song “Moonlight Densetsu” is such a classic and easily recognizable even if you have never watched the show before.
2. Revolutionary Girl Utena Opening
Revolutionary Girl Utena is an excellent Shojo-esque show, and what drew me to the show was the design and story. Then come to find out, the show was worked on by most of the same staff who worked on Sailor Moon. The opening is very fantasy like and dreamy, with detailed backgrounds and tight character designs. Revolutionary Girl Utena was also one of the first shows that introduced me to the concept of “Yuri” or “Girls Love” stories. I love the fact that Anthy is the Princess in need of rescue and the “Prince” who comes to help her is Utena. The guys in the show are pretty, but their souls are made to be ugly. It’s almost like you would rather see the two girls together than have them be with one of the male characters. A great opening to match a very well designed show.
3. Samurai Champloo Opening
When it comes to the pairing of Hip Hop and Anime, or Hip Hop with Samurai/Kung Fu movies; somehow it just works. Nothing can express this more than the opening sequence to the anime TV show Samurai Champloo. Another brain child from Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, the show takes place in Feudal Japan and follows the adventures of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu as they search for the samurai who smells of sunflowers. The opening sets the pace for the show, showing a lot of action and fighting. The design of those sequences seem very reminiscence of the ones we see in Kill Bill. Not to mention the killer track “Battlecry” by Nujabes playing throughout.
4. Elfen Lied Opening
Elfen Lied’s opening is one of a couple on this list where looks can deceiving. The show on the whole is very violent, but you would never know it by watching this. The opening takes a note from the artist Gustav Klimt, with the characters posing from his various paintings; including “The Kiss” and “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” Instead of the typical Japanese Language song, “Lillium” is sung all in Latin. A very beautiful opening to a very dark, violent, and disturbing show.
5. Slayers Season 1 Opening
One of the very first anime I was introduced to in High School was Slayers. I only watched the first season and the movies. The first opening sequence is very reminiscent of typical classical fantasy anime and gives that nostalgia feeling when you watch it. It gives you a bit of everything: action, the introductions of the lead characters and villains, and a catchy theme song. “Get Along” is one of my favorite anime opening theme songs and it is always played on my iPhone. Lina Inverse’s character is infectious and it shows.
6. Iria: Zeram the Animation
Iria: Zeiram the Animation was a six episode OVA series that was released in 1994. It served as a prequel to the live action movie that would be released a few months later. While the movie was a dud, the OVA is very superb. The opening sequence is very detailed and stylized. Since OVA’s had a better budget to work with than an anime television would, you can guarantee it a lot of work was put into it. What also draws me into this opening is the haunting opening theme song. “At the End of the Melting Dream” is wonderfully sung by Yayoi Goto. It is a great series to invest in. It will be getting a re-release in March of this year.
7. Magic Knight Rayearth Opening 2
Off the heels of season one, season two of Magic Knight Rayearth would be dark and sorrowful as the opening entails. The second opening marks the return of Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu to Cephiro; only to see that the world is in ruins. We are introduced to new characters and villains while being re-introduced to the ones we love and know. The opening retains CLAMP’s style through and through, as if the manga had jumped out of the pages and animated themselves. Shojo fantasy at its best.
8. Attack on Titan Opening 2
The better of the two openings for Attack on Titan, this opening’s production value scores higher in my view. The first opening seemed rushed and instead of a full animation sequence; most of it has pages of the manga spliced into it. This opening opens with a nice, panning outside shot and quickly sets the pace for the second half. This opening is faster, harder, more violent. Linked Horizon’s song “Shingeki No Kyojin” is epic and is well timed with the animation. Let’s hope that when we get a season 3 of this show, their opening sequence will follow suit to this one.
9. One Punch Man Opening
The unexpected hit of this past year of 2015, the opening of One Punch Man is just as hilarious and amazing as the show itself. Outrageous villains, actions sequences, and an amazing rock song sung by the band JAM Project make this to be one of the most awesome openings I’ve seen. With the amount of explosions in this opening, you would’ve thought it was directed by Michael Bay. But saying that would be insulting to this anime, and Michael Bay can only wish he did something the amazing balls as this one.
10. Cowboy Bebop Opening
The second show on the list from Shinichio Watanabe, Cowboy Bebops opening relies heavily on a more graphic design feel with bold colors and limited animation. It gives off a very 70’s feel, like if it were a James Bond opening without the naked women and better music. The jazz track “Tank” fits perfectly with the sequence with great timing and a catchiness that will find yourself tapping your hands and feet. One the best openings from an equally great show.
11. Sailor Moon Crystal Opening 2
Not a lot of love has been given to the new reboot of Sailor Moon. I throughly enjoyed the show, despite its many mistakes. I think I was a little more sympathetic to the mistakes, having worked years ago in TV animation. When you are on a tight schedule, some things to get missed when pushed comes to shove. Also, when you are live streaming to various different counties at the same time, it can add to the stress. The second opening for Crystal is well improved from the first opening with some mistakes fixed. We also get glimpses of the Black Moon Villains, Chibi Usa, and Sailor Pluto. I love the song “Moon Pride” as well.
12. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Opening 1
Gundam Wing’s first opening holds a lot of nostalgia for myself. When the show was released stateside, anime had just hit the mainstream thanks to shows like Pokemon ad Sailor Moon. Another reason why I love this opening as it reminds me of how my youngest brother and I really bonded. We both loved Pokemon and video games, and this show made us closer. This opening has it all: giant robots, handsome Bishojo guys, and plenty of action. “Just Communication” is a great song as well, sung by Two-Mix.
13. Love Stage Opening
Love Stage is a recent “Yaoi” (boys love) anime that streamed on Crunchyroll as it aired in Japan. Love Stage follows the relationship and antics of Izumi and Ryoma. Izumi is a bookish Otaku while Ryoma is a very handsome famous actor. A case of mistaken identity leads from one thing to another The opening sequence has it all. A catchy theme song, the shows cast of characters, crossing dressing themes, and for some reason, a cat and bear stuffed toys. It’s a very cute show, even if you’re not into that sort of thing.
14. Puella Magi Madoka Magica Opening
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is the other on my list that is like Elfen Lied. The opening throws you off, making you think it’s a very cute Magical Girl show. Then you watch the show and have the rug thrown out from under you, because it’s anything but. The opening is cute with very pastel colors running through out. It does have that magical girl feel, from the costumes to the very cute girls who are the heroes, so to speak. Even though the show only has twelve episodes, it’s a very good one. There are various manga and three movies, if you need to satisfy your craving for more Magica.
15. Himouto Umaru-Chan Opening
The last opening on my list of favorites comes from the anime comedy Himouto Umaru-Chan. Right out of the gate, this opening makes you do a double take, followed by the expression, “The heck…” as the main character Himouto marches out with a bunch of hamsters while wearing her hamster cloak. It makes references to her Otaku nature, while spoofing games such as Mario Kart and Monster Hunter. We also get to see her double sided personality as the perfect girl on the outside and the snack crazy video game Otaku at home. It is also one of those rare sequences where we see none of the supporting characters expect her brother in passing (as her Otaku self humps his head). An extremely funny series and it’s still streaming on Crunchyroll.