Monday, April 14, 2014

Top 10 Anime Openings 2

Written by: Shiggins

The previous Top 10 Anime Openings list was completely constructed and chosen by Claydragon and had nothing to do with me. Therefore, I felt it was only fair that I did the same thing and sent in my personal top 10, but with slightly more detail since that's what makes an article more memorable. (I still feel bad for my Top 10 Titans list being so small.) This list is about how each anime opening fits well with the series itself, as well as the quality, atmosphere, tone and setting they give to the audience themselves.

Note: This article contains spoilers for several anime series. Also, it is only one opening per anime and none of the anime from the first list are on this list since I agreed with some of Claydragon's choices.

10. Gintama Enchousen Opening 2

I’ve only just started watching Gintama but so far, I’m enjoying myself. It’s weird and stupid and it’s funny because of that. However, I looked ahead and saw the openings of Gintama and found the majority of them quite stale and typical of an anime. Then I saw this opening and instantly loved it. The song is “Sakura Mitsusuki by SPYAIR” and surprisingly, the song and setting gives the entire series itself a more emotional and dramatic side which I have yet to uncover in Gintama.

There's more emotion in this image than in most episodes of Gintama.
Starting off with dull-lit images of the characters doing the typical random stares at things we can’t see, the sun slowly starts to appear on them. Then suddenly, Gintoki is running as pink flower petals are falling from the sky. We see a past image of a woman talking to a young Gintoki who is yelling out, and then of course, running Gintoki notices the two other characters running alongside him. We get the typical cuts to other characters in the series before suddenly seeing Gintoki fighting a villain in a dramatic and awesome way, then another villain by a red moon, before the opening ends with the three main characters looking at the huge tree next to the moon.

So evil... I assume.

 To be honest, if Gintama was like this opening suggested, I’d probably love it even more. This was an opening that had heart and gave Gintoki instantly more depth than any other opening suggested, as well as giving small hints to just how close he was with his friends. The song is catchy and the graphics are great. In a way, I’m surprised this opening isn’t higher on this list.

9. Dangan Ronpa Opening

If an anime series is only going to have one opening, it needs to be a good one that sticks in your head and fits the series perfectly. Luckily, the opening for Dangan Ronpa did just that. Although I prefer the epic song the series used for the ending credits, this song has a nice mixture of weird and dark as it is completely sung in English, called "Never Say Never by TKDzZb”. 

The sexiest dancing you will ever see.

Starting with a stylish bullet that has every character’s face on it, we then see the evil Monokuma laughing as the song properly starts from there. Surprisingly, every character is properly shown here as we see an image best representing them all and what their talents are. (For example, we see the programmer surrounded by computers). After literally watching a wall with the word “Hope” shatter into pieces, this then goes to Monokuma doing a creepy and “sensual” dance as the music goes a bit more gentle. Afterwards, we see a bunch of the various rooms and locations inside the academy, before ending it with the trial room and seeing everybody’s scared faces as Monokuma brings the hammer down. 

The lovely ladies of Dangan Ronpa

It’s strange how well-designed this opening is, especially because it fits so perfectly with the atmosphere that follows it. And as you should know, characters are constantly dying in it which means every time you see the opening, you get more and more upset as you keep thinking to yourself “He’s dead. And she’s dead. And he’s dead too. And he killed her.” 

8. Trigun Opening

One of the oldest entries on this list, Trigun is the only story based on westerns that I’ve ever seen (unless you count Cowboy Bebop as a space-western). When I first heard about this series, I had trouble deciding whether or not I should watch it, then I saw the opening. Unlike the vast majority of a billion openings, Trigun has zero lyrics and focusses entirely on the sound, which actually gives it an edge above the rest.  It’s nothing but awesome guitar and other instruments and, in case you are wondering, it’s called “H.T. by Tsuneo Imahori”.

High-fiving: Gun Style!

We start off with a glorious shining shot of the signature gun used by the protagonist Vash the Stampede. Follow that with a night-time glasses-shining silhouette of Vash, before we cut to see him in his goofy from as he does the usual impossible stuff we expect of him by dodging bullets with a sandwich. We then see the two girl reporters who are his main supporting cast and the rest of the opening is mostly a combination of glimpses of who else are in the series, and Vash showing just how awesome he is by standing still in the wind or pointing his gun. 

I swear, the majority of this opening just has him looking this awesome.

 It’s a classic and easy to do opening but the way it fits perfectly with the music itself, doesn’t bother changing throughout the whole series (because it has no reason to!), and gives tiny hints to the story itself without giving any spoilers is what makes it so memorable. Also, the guitar solo that goes throughout this opening is so intense that you just feel like playing along with it. And don’t lie, you’ve played air-guitar alongside it in the past.

 7. One Piece Opening 14

One Piece is one of the longest-running anime around, so of course it’s going to have had many openings. At the time I write this article, there are 17 openings but I highly doubt the series could beat this one. This was during the Post-War Arc where, spoiler alert, Luffy had just witnessed his brother Ace die at the hands of Admiral Akainu. And that’s why this opening gets high points. It doesn’t just act like this arc has nothing to do with it and move on from the One Piece’s first major death. Instead, it heavily focusses on how tragic it was but also that there’s more to go. The song is called “Fight Together by Namie Amuro”. 

I bet Luffy's plan is just to keep walking that one way and assume the One Piece will pop up on the road.

The opening relies mostly on flashes and a quick-paced video as we see Shanks, the pirate king and young Luffy before we see the ship is moving about over a map. Obviously, this is a good way to show how far they’ve travelled. After some more fast clips of the results of the war, including Ace’s death, we see Luffy staring at the symbolic straw hat which shows he is doubting himself. After that, it’s a fun little trip through the other members of the straw hat pirates doing what they do best, like Zoro using swords or an obese form of Usopp with his slingshot. After that, it’s time for emotional flashbacks as we see a young Luffy, young Ace and a young Sabo (a friend never mentioned until now) having fun together before a small montage of how Luffy got each crew member to join his crew and the tears that followed. Then of course, we see the ghost of Ace push Luffy encouringly towards the straw hat, who then puts it on and sets off to find his crew.

I can't believe they put Franky's ass closer to the audience than Robin's.

 One Piece’s openings tend to be longer than every other opening these days which I think is unnecessary but on the bright side, they use that time well. This opening was emotional and showed plenty of symbolism and the crew themselves to let you know exactly what’s going on and what Luffy is going through during this arc.

6. Death Note Opening 1

Let’s face it, Death Note is a classic masterpiece of anime. The story of anti-hero Light Yagami using a notebook to kill all criminals and become God is one we’ve all at least tried once or twice. So of course, it should be no surprise that an opening of the series is in here. I never fully cared for the second opening, although that’s just my opinion, but I always felt the first one fitted the series perfectly. The song is “The WORLD by Nightmare”.

"One at a time, ladies"

The opening is immediately fast and shows clips of the Light from different views and angles, then the Shinigami Ryuk as clouds move quickly above him. Following up these clips is a representation of the infamous painting The Creation of Adam, but Light is Adam and Ryuk is God (of Death), and the finger of power is replaced with handing over Death Note’s infamous apple to show the power Light gains. We’re then gifted to the images of Light and his ultimate rival L, with Light having evil red hair and L having good blue hair. This Is followed by clips of the city with Light standing above, then typical shots of the characters, more Light staring at L, a shot of Misa Amane in the rain going to Light and we end it with my favourite image, where Light stands in front of an image of God (I think) to represent his power, before we see the simple Death Note itself on a table.

...How do I get down from here?

 This is an opening that heavily emphasises just how much power and darkness this series holds, and even finds a way to highlight the rivalry of Light and L without even making them do more than stare at each other (which they do a lot in the series too). The metaphors of Light being/becoming God might go a bit too much but the feel of the song and the rest of the images makes up for it.

5. Ouran Highschool Host Club Opening

Some series are dark and scary, while other series are funny and bright. This series is definitely the latter, and the opening helps show that. With its own unique style of animation and constant brightness, Ouran’s opening provides exactly what the short series needs. Also, it’s bright and cheery song comes in both Japanese and English dub, so you have your pick! The song is called “Sakura Kiss by Kristine Sa”.

Look at the size of those legs!

We start with flashes of pretty close-ups of the characters, which is then followed by each of the characters individually giving a glimpse of their personalities, like how Tamaki gives a commanding pose as he is the leader, and Kyoya is seen running about as he is in charge of tons of tasks. After a brief comedy version of Haruhi running away from love-struck girls, we then see a quick glimpse of how each member of the club interacts with her, like Honey giving her a hug, the twins messing her about or Tamaki giving her a rose. A quick glimpse of Tamaki on a chair, tons of flowers and moving about, before we end with a last pose of them all. 

Let's play the "Which one is Hikaru?" game!

 It’s all in good fun and it’s so successful because it works so well with the series. It doesn’t matter how good an opening is unless it works with what it’s opening up to. In this case, we see tons of bright lights, flowers, pretty boys and girls chasing the pretty boys because this is a comedy romance which parodies cliché harem and romance series.

4. Black Butler Opening 1

The Black Butler anime was lacking in many areas, but I never had a problem with the audio itself. The voice acting was superb and both openings were done perfectly. Due to its deceptive ways, the second opening was almost my choice but the first one presents a certain atmosphere that I’ve never seen before in any other opening. There are also two versions of the first opening so we’ll go with the second one. The song is called “Monochrome no Kiss by SID”.

Just look at all that weird crap he's wearing!

 We open with blood dripping down the wall as the song gives a very ghost-like tune and beat and the titles appear in the blood. We then see Ciel stand in the ruins of his old home which was burnt down by someone unknown. After this we skip to Ciel’s favourite game chess, and see shots of all of Ciel’s servants on the giant chess board, which ends with Sebastian the butler bowing to the king piece which transforms into Ciel. This is actually quite clever as it emphasises just how much control Ciel has over all of the characters and what they mean to him. To put it simply, they are pawns. We then see Sebastian going up against the most recurring villain of the series, Grell, as they prepare to face off in a church (which is heavily ironic and fitting at the same time), before we see the Undertaker surrounded by coffins. After some flashes of the generic crap villain of the series, Sebastian dramatically throws a black rose which lands on red rose petals. And to top it off, there is a final shot of Ciel on a throne with Sebastian by his side. 

Careful before he shows you the back of his hand, bitch!

The series is based in England and is all about the dead, demons and other ghostly-horror style things. With the way the music feels and the classy aura you get from Ciel and Sebastian as they play with dead roses and chess pieces, the opening prepares you for exactly what you’re about to see and nothing more. Just a shame about the shitty villain though.

3. Inuyasha Opening 1

This may honestly be the most beautiful opening I’ve ever seen in my whole damn life! I’ve never spent enough time to fully invest in Inuyasha, although I hope to someday, and this opening makes me feel guilty for not doing enough to love the series itself. The song is called “Change the World by V-6” and, much to my surprise, is the only theme tune I’ve seen so far that has sound effects in it!

Best. Image. Ever.
So our opening begins with the main female protagonist jumping into the water and somehow she keeps going deep until she is suddenly flying above a vast world. Next, there’s a bunch of fast cuts before we see Inuyasha himself fighting off against his brother with swords and whips involved. After a few glimpses of other characters, including a squirrel boy and a boomerang-throwing character, we see Inuyasha standing in front of a tree when the girl from earlier goes behind him but she disappears before Inuyasha can turn round to see her. Just when another “ghost” appears behind Inuyasha, he dives to her before an arrow suddenly hits him in the heart. This is when we skip to the main chorus climax as Inuyasha stands atop a cliff edge with hundreds of birds flying around him. Next, Inuyasha walks past a tree of sakura blossoms (which seems vastly popular in Japanese openings) before he’s suddenly on a beach where his friends appear, flying a giant cat on fire and the main girl takes his hand as they fly up into the sky.

Why is this at the bottom of her pool and not mine? ...And why don't I have a pool?

 Overall, this opening is strange but memorable and not in some over-the-top ridiculous way. It’s an opening with heart and soul, and it looks better than most anime openings these days because it’s inventive when it has to be and generic when it wants to be.

2. Naruto Shippuden Opening 6

To me, Naruto and Naruto Shippuden are two different anime series. One of them is great until after Sasuke left, and the other is utter crap because the animators don’t bother giving us real animation and instead focus on shitty filler episodes. Anyway, this isn’t an anti-Shippuden rant so I’ll move on. (And maybe do that rant some other time.) Shippuden has quite a few great openings including Lovers, Closer and Distance but for me, the winner is “Sign by Flow”.

Oh God... The feels!

We start off with cute flashbacks of a young Naruto and his beloved master Jiraiya before moving on to an even younger Sasuke getting playfully poked by his older brother Itachi. The drums then start and we go serious as we see Naruto, Jiraiya, Pain, Itachi and Sasuke all face the screen in their own way. The lyrics then start and we see some of the groups within the Naruto series at the time, including Sasuke’s squad of losers and the surviving Akatsuki members. We’re then treated to a glimpse of how great Sasuke vs Itachi should look, with fast action and blades slashing against each other. Then it’s some fast clips of the Akatsuki, the infamous Uchiha massacre, and Itachi trying to rip out Sasuke’s eye before getting a nice glimpse of Mangekyou Sharingan and Tobi’s right eye. We then see some unusual water-painting style as a figure thrashes about and rips open to reveal a monster (which is most likely Naruto transforming into Nine-Tails), before it moves to Sage Jiraiya’s final faceoff against Pain atop his giant toad. The clip then ends with Jiraiya disappearing into nothing which makes Naruto cry, and we see Sasuke and Naruto watching the sunset from different locations.

"Think we should go help him?"
"...Nah. He'll be fine."

 This opening occurred during the Itachi Pursuit Arc which was a tragic and meaningful arc for all Naruto fans as we lost two fan-favourite characters and the song heavily reminded us of that because it has such a sad feel to it, mixed with excitement and quality animation. There are a lot of bad openings and great openings but for me, Naruto Shippuden’s highlight is Sign.

1. Attack on Titan Opening 2

Attack on Titan has fucking amazing audio! So amazing I have to swear just to get my point across to you all! When I first heard of this series, I thought it was going to be shit and didn’t waste my time but like all good openings, Attack on Titan’s first opening grabbed me and never let go. So imagine my surprise when I found myself actually liking the second opening even better. I never thought that could happen and when season 2 of Attack on Titan comes out it’s got a lot of pressure to deal with. The song I chose for the number one spot is called “Jiyuu no Tsubasa by Linked Horizon”.

This is just how Armin relaxes after a stressful day at the office.

 The epicness begins with words flying through the vast area as the words (which I think are actually German) chant out for us. Then it gets fast as we see horses and the characters quickly flash in front of us. Next is a glimpse of Mikasa looking out the window and Eren looking like he’s floating in water before we suddenly skip to Armin standing in the middle of an empty town as blood rains down on him. A scene I’d have loved to have seen in the actual series to be honest. After a bunch of castles snub out, we see fast images of Titans and soldiers and Zoe’s glasses breaking. (Side note: I am in love with Zoe Hanji. She’s mine. So is Sasha.) This is when we get some extra epicness as Levy suddenly jumps through the trees with his elite squad and we see beautiful close-ups of the equipment the group use to fly about and fight. After seeing Zoe’s mouth covered in blood, we get a shot of the epic commander before tons of flashes too numerous to talk about appear, that include the dreaded Female Titan and the Erin Titan battling. 

Who dares try to hurt my waifu?!

I have never seen such an exciting and pulse-pounding opening like this one. Tons of energy and passion was clearly put into this opening and compared to other openings, this one is a masterpiece. Also, who doesn’t love a bit of the German language being sung in a military chanting way? I know I love it! 

Honourable Mentions

Madoka Magica Opening

Fairy Tail Opening 10

The World God Only Knows Opening 1

 Are there any anime openings I left out? Any suggestions for a new top 10? Let me know in the comments below!

The animation quality that Naruto deserves...
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  1. Replies
    1. I considered that one but I felt 10 had a slight advantage. Just my personal opinion though.