Welcome, one and all, to a new list post! Whoo! I want to do more of these because they’re great ways to show a bunch of different things in short form and, in truth, I’ve always found them interesting.
Today, I want to give you my top ten anime OP 1’s. What this means is that I’m going through a load of different series from different eras and picking my favourite opening videos, but with one caveat: it has to be the first opening. That means, if there are multiple seasons, I go for season one, opening one, not season two opening one. The list would actually be a little different otherwise, with tracks like RISE by Origa (Ghost in the Shell: SAC Season Two) vying for a spot. Nope, this is all about the originals.
So, in no particular order, here are my top ten, complete with why I love both the theme and videos.
Ranma 1/2 : Don’t Make Me Wild Like You by Etsuko Nishio
This is one of those classic anime themes that is ridiculously catchy to me. It’s such a simple track, but the chorus melody really stick. Visually, it gives you a good idea of some of the things you can expect too, showing off a few key characters and also the water-based transformation of the main character. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like that old school visual style too; it may not be as flashy as modern pieces, but it’s definitely got a charm to it. As an interesting side note, the song has a second title: Don’t Make Me A Shrew or Jajauma ni Sasenaide. Jajauma is a Japanese term for a cute girl that acts masculine or violent, which plays nicely into both Ranma acting the exact same regardless of gender, and lead female Akane Tendo’s violent outbursts.
Soul Eater: Resonance by T.M. Revolution
So, the title here relates to the concept of Soul Resonance, whereby a Meister’s Soul Wavelength is sent into their Weapon and then amplified and returned. It’s simply a nod to a strong technique from the series. Now, the song itself is a hefty mix of J-Rock and electronic elements, and it works really well. Meanwhile, the video is pretty good at showing what to expect, from the Meister/Weapon link to the clear villains, and all the way back to the Tim Burton-esque feel of the visuals and fan service.
Canaan: Mind As Judgement by Faylan
Okay, so this is a series that I personally think is a little underrated. It’s not perfect, and certainly not medically accurate in terms of representing synaesthesia. It did keep me engaged though. Here we get to see plenty of show-accurate action, a clear clash between the main hero and villain, and a good look at the animation quality overall. Meanwhile, the song itself is a fun little rock track that felt like a commercial Western piece to me.
Attack On Titan: Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen by Linked Horizon
I avoided this show for so long because the hype around it was so immense that I thought it would fail to live up to it. I was wrong. Way wrong. This opening theme is one of my absolute favourites and immediately grabbed me. It feels so powerful metal to me, and that is by far my favourite type of metal. The sweeping vocals and orchestral backing fit well with the series as a whole, and it’s aided here by some excellent visuals. If you saw this before an episode, I feel like you’d have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. The amazingly smooth combat, the BFG-for adults style of the Titans, and the clear message that this is going to be dark and bloody are all there. It’s easily one of the most effective opening videos I’ve seen.
Wolf’s Rain: Stray by Steve Conte
Another series that I adore but that doesn’t seem to get as much recognition as it should. I really like what they did with this one, oddly for different reasons than some of the others on this list. You see, it doesn’t actually give much away. You get to see the main leads in human form, as well as some nice shots of the wolves, but there’s nothing there to indicate exactly what is happening. At the same time though, it does enough to make you wonder. Meanwhile, the song is very much a Western rock piece that features some excellent vocals.
Black Lagoon: Red Fraction by Mell
Who doesn’t love this one? The chaotic rock-infused dance track fits perfectly with the frenetic world that the cast lives in, and feels just hard enough to fit perfectly alongside the main themes of the series. Visually, it pretty much confirms that Revy is the character to watch. In a way, that does an injustice to the others, who are also excellent, but let’s be honest here: Revy is the star. We see the importance of gunplay, the sort of fan service we’ll get, ad a couple of hints at criminal activities. So, really, it’s job done.
Digimon Adventure 01: ButterFly by Koji Wada
This one makes me a little sad. Koji Wada was a huge part of the franchise, so to know that he’s gone is hard. Thankfully, his contribution to the different series is really awesome, and it all started with this bouncy rock track that sticks in your head long after it’s done. The visuals in the video are really good too. We start out with a definite representation of the kids being transported to the Digital World and then head straight into the action with the cute monsters. In my opinion, this is about as good as it gets when it comes to kids shows showing exactly what the show will feel like.
Flying Witch: Shanran Feat 96 Neko by miwa
Oh my word, I love this show. The theme is kinda a relaxed pop affair but with some mild folk tinges to the guitars. And that pretty much sums up the series. It’s light-hearted, relaxing, and all sorts of fun. Plus, it’s hard not to join in with the clap moments. That the video shows off not only the core cast members but the exact sort of magic you’re going to see is a definite bonus too. And that’s all aided by the stunning animation and super-realistic background work.
Amanchu!: Million Clouds by Maaya Sakamoto
On a similar note, Amanchu! is another of those series that you can just chill to, and this one captures that perfectly musically. It starts slow and builds to an uplifting climax, but maintains a chill feel overall, much like the series itself. The melody is so hummable too. And the visuals! I’m yet to see a series top this for sheer beauty. The characters look and move great, the scenery is beyond picturesque, and it all comes together in an aesthetically perfect package.
Elfen Lied: Lilium by Yukio Kondon and Kayo Konishi
Have you ever found an opening that just sticks with you, even when you haven’t watched it for a long time? This was mine. From a visual aesthetic standpoint, I actually think it’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to letting you know what you’re about to watch. Yes, you will be seeing a lot of Lucy’s naked body, but this gives nothing away in terms of the sheer violence. What makes it so good for me is the song itself. The classical piece is nothing short of haunting, and the melancholy feel of it all is a fair warning that this isn’t going to be a laugh a minute series. That it stayed with me long enough that I still wander around singing the melody now, years after the last time I watched it, says a lot to me.
Well, those are my top ten. But what about yourselves? What do you think about the ones on my list? What others would you include? Let me know in the comments below!