My Top 15 Anime OP Sequences

January 19, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Anime & Manga | Leave a comment

Although this type of post has probably been overdone, everyone has different criteria when it comes to anime openings, making it interesting to read their opinions.

For me, I tend to look for how well the syncing and transitioning work, and the screen time for the characters. I am a sucker for “character moments” where each main character has a portion of the OP dedicated to them – needless to say, opening sequences that focus too much on only ONE character are lower on my list. I like symbolic OPs too as long as they aren’t overdone.

Anyhow, I’ll be going in reverse order, to save the best for last.

You can find all these on YouTube – forgive me for not embedding them, since I’m way too lazy ^^;;

15. hack//Legend of the Twilight – New World by ROUND TABLE feat. Nino
I didn’t like the anime, but if I recall correctly, this OP is what got me listening to RT feat. Nino. The flashy colors in the beginning match up with the guitar well and Mireille’s popping out of the toy chest was funny. The best part was the chorus – bursting through those “windows” and high-fiving, and Aura floating in the air. I also liked the characters’ reflections in the sword. I lol’d at the very end, since you could see non-anime .hack game characters in the shadows.

14. Naruto – GO!!! by FLOW
Ah, this makes me nostalgic for those pre-filler days where I was an avid fan of this series. Props for the scroll idea; the part where Jiraiya ogles the girls on the scroll painting and Naruto kicks him was the highlight. Great timing in the chorus alternating stills and fight scenes, though I wish they’d use a different picture every time. The OP ends with Naruto slamming a rasengan into the viewer’s face, haha.

13. Ghost in the Shell – Inner Universe by Origa
I’m not a huge fan of the CG style used in this OP, but the color scheme was nice. The song…was haunting, especially the ghostly “aeria gloris” floating above it the main melody. Image-wise, it matched the song very well – the doll part was just spooky and Motoko’s expressionless face contrasted well with the music’s intense emotion.

12. Moyashimon – Curriculum by Ifu Sarasa
Speaking of CG, here’s a completely different take. When I first saw the yellow microbe (a. oryzae) with its little dreadlocks bopping around in the beginning, I knew this was an instant classic. In the chorus all the different microbes fly up into the air, and a little oryzae does a little dance-wiggle for the viewer. Each microbe then has their own little moment, and it ends with all of the floating toward a farm. I’d be hard-pressed to describe this other than “cute.”

11. Tsubasa Chronicle – BLAZE by KINYA
The beginning sure is an attention grabber, with the wings’ light releasing when the background music kicks in. The OP starts out on a darker feel until the turning moment – when Sakura releases the bird into the sky at “koe wo shinjite” (I believe in your voice). At that point, everything is “set free” in the chorus and the travelers on the journey have replenished hope, shown by Syaoran continuously running forwards, no matter what awaits him.

10. Fate/Stay Night – Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni by Tainaka Sachi
This one starts out with some stills and Saber holding her sword as if making a pledge. There’s a heavy feeling of foreboding throughout this song, with happy scenes and darker ones interspersed throughout the verse. The part with Sakura’s tears flowing out, making Rin turn around in the chorus was especially effective since the lyrics were “kirameku namida wa hoshi ni” (sparkling tears are in the stars). Great fight scenes, then it ends with Shirou looking into the dawn of a new day.

9. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s – ETERNAL BLAZE by Mizuki Nana
As with any mahou shoujo series, there’s the obligatory transformation scene – transforming Nanoha and Fate at the same time at different angles was effective and interesting. The best character moments culminated in the fights which, in my opinion, are better than a lot of magical girl battles in some series put together. Perhaps it was Mizuki Nana’s vocals, but this OP had me addicted for quite a while.

8. Rozen Maiden – Kinjirareta Asobi by ALI PROJECT
This one was a real eye-opener (pardon the bad pun). The images were a nice contrast – cutesy yet dark. I really liked the line “yami yori mo kowai no wa kodoku” (solitude is more frightening than darkness) with the single ring dropping. Suigintou’s “evil gaze” was awesome; as was the chorus, which showed the dolls’ abilities and that fairy of light. The only thing I didn’t really like was the “Jun kissing Shinku’s hand” part.

7. Shakugan no Shana – Hishoku no Sora by Kawada Mami
The intro immediately hooked me in with the clock-ticking. The flames part had the most impact, and then you get to see evil Friagne glance back. The scene switches to Shana in one of her weaker moments, and Yuji comforting her ^^. Character clips follow, making a new viewer unsure which are the villains and which are not (my favorite aspect), interspersed with Shana’s fight and “real life”. I think this OP’s strongest point is the sync of the images to the music.

6. DNAngel – True Light by Miyamoto Shunichi
True Light has a bit of a build-up. The OP begins on an empty sky, and starts moving along when the characters are introduced. The best parts are Dark and Wiz’s whole “transformation” thing and the face-off between Dark and Krad. The fact that Dark and Krad were shown as “halves” of the same face at one point illustrated the whole dark and light metaphor. And I loved the irony that Dark, who was the protagonist is in black whereas the evil Krad is wearing all white.


5. Shaman King – Northern Lights by Hayashibara Megumi

Another old favorite of mine. The best part is reading all the nuances in the characters’ expressions, since each of them has an internal conflict to deal with but is trying to hide it. Nice bit of timing with the fairy flying in…then you have Jeanne’s crying – for those who have watched the series, it relates to theme of the blurred line between good and evil. The fight scenes follow afterwards with the protagonists fighting with renewed determination and will (resembling Tsubasa’a OP in that sense).

4. Bleach – D-tecnoLife by UVERworld
A bit of a cop-out on this one, since I’ve never watched Bleach but was in love with the song. However,”dawn” is one of my favorite themes. The intro with the sun rising and Ichigo and Rukia sitting back to back fit perfectly with the song. The whole OP has the hopeful journey feel with a darker undertone (Rukia’s fate, etc.). The fighting scenes…were strange. There seemed to be a strong sense of purpose and urgency in them, and they covered up the distinction between good guy and villain (then again, I’ve wouldn’t know).

3. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai – Naraku no Hana by Shimamiya Eiko
Again, another series I haven’t watched. Since I’m such a literature freak, I mainly noticed the metaphors in the OP. First – there is the dream motif; Rika’s asleep in the beginning while the scene cuts repeatedly to different characters in the shadows. Then you have her running during the chorus – is it away from something or towards something? Then you have clips of characters crying – fitting, given the anime title. The song ends in a cheery “real life,” or is that happiness all illusion to cover up the true darkness of reality?

2. La Corda d’Oro ~primo passo~ – Brand New Breeze by Kanon
The song title couldn’t fit any better – it’s a fresh change from the usual. The OP’s a lot calmer than what I usually see, for one – starting out with Hino reminiscing while looking out the window. I also think this has one of the best character intros – you see each guy posing normally, and playing his instrument in the background. Each guy’s scenery reflects his personality as well. The leading-in line flashes stills of the girl with each guy (to see the possible pairings, I guess?) The chorus melody and video is soothing and gives this sense of freedom. Although this is a love song, I see it as more of Hino’s love for music which is shown to her and shared by the guys.

1. Ouran High School Host Club – Sakura Kiss by Kawabe Chieco
And finally, the ultimate winner! The intro with the stills flashed and each Host Club member “assembling” was cute. I liked how they used a slightly different art style – it’s more pastel and the lines are more gentle. and the flowery backgrounds were nice complements. The line leading up to the chorus had each host “rotate” and look at the viewer – a bit of timing I enjoyed immensely. As the song peaks, so does the video. Each boy has its signature way of greeting the girl – my personal favorites were the Hitachiin twins dancing’ and Kyouya kneeling down. The song concludes with Tamaki in a chair gazing at Haruhi who looks out the window (again, great backgrounds).

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