Is there anything better than a great anime intro? It sets the tone for the viewer, sometimes offering you insight into the story if you pay close attention (I’m looking at you Attack on Titan!) In general, they’re nothing if not a lovely display of artwork paired with an uptempo song that’ll make you laugh, smile and sing at the top of your lungs. Anime intros are usually vibrant and upbeat unlike their counterpart the anime outro. Here’s a look at MY favorites in no particular order of importance:
Attack on Titan
Opening 2: Jiyuu no Tsubasa by Linked Horizon
This was a tough call for me because I also LOVE the 4th “Red Swan” theme for all its stunning visuals and cuteness but I had to give it to this underrated OP.
No opening song is more epic than Linked Horizon’s “Jiyuu no Tsubasa“. It offers the perfect soundtrack as the second intro of the series takes us up and over a massive field. As we watch the credits fly out across the screen, you’re suddenly hit with feelings of pride and inspiration but true AOT fans know that peace and serenity don’t hold up for very long and, true to form, this intro delivers when the pace of the symphonic rock track quickens and is met with the dark and violent imagery Attack on Titan is all too famous for. If you pay close enough attention, the intro gives glimpses and hints of what’s in store in the upcoming season ( I found it no mere coincidence that there was a focus on Annie’s face an extra 2 seconds longer).
The intro closes out as the vocals and guitar riffs compete with one another in a fast pace mash up of epic proportions. My favorite moment hands down is the scene in which the faces of the remaining Scouts fade, transitioning to one another against the glowing orange background.
It’s so gloomy and dramatic it makes my heart flutter.
God of High School
Opening 1: Contradiction by KSUKE featuring Tyler Carter
God of High School’s OP is the perfect marriage of a vibrant, neon art style and a dope dance track that’ll make you want to rage or punch someone in the face. That’s thanks in large part to the non stop action this intro offers for a whopping 29 seconds, only letting up to give you a brief glimpse of the tournaments Judges.
The hyper electronica track “Contradiction” is infectious and will have you head banging when you’re not singing along, plus that little snippet of Jin lip syncing was a nice touch.
Opening 1: TANK! by Seatbelts
Ahh man, this intro had me at hello. The dark crime-noir feel of this Jazzy opening is hands down my favorite. Then again, Cowboy Bebop IS my favorite anime. Who can forget the infamous shot of Spike Spiegel’s silhouette as someone lights up his cigarette?
When the singer hits you with the “3…2…1 let’s jam!”, what unfolds is more of mini crime drama than an anime intro. And OMG THE SONG!? Between the trumpeting and the bass, Seatbelt’s “TANK!” will make you run to google in search of the OST (which I recommend btw). It teases you with glimpses of action sequences and sensuality as the words “Cowboy Bebop” flash across the screen “Breaking News” style.
As it comes to a close and the images of the Bebop crew float toward the center of the screen to the tune of a trumpeting solo, you can’t help but be tantalized and excited for the space adventures that follow.
Opening 1: Sakura Saku
Bright! Bubbly! Upbeat! Funny! Love Hina’s OP is more of a classic intro. It opens up to a scenic view of the series’ bathhouse with the cherry blossom aesthetic anime is famous for, which is quickly interrupted by a flying Keitaro. We’re given an overview of the series main cast, starting with Shinobu and making our way to Keitaro but not before the beautiful Naru spins in time to the songs “that’s so wonderful” breakdown (If you’re like me and you sang that part, you just became one of my favorite people.) As the pace of the song pickups, you’ll notice Keitaro’s clumsiness gets him beat up, AGAIN!
This intro is classic anime style, delivering a blend of cuteness, comedy and curiosity (that back to back shot of Naru and Mutsumi!? The resemblance is uncanny).
As the song ends and the camera pans out, you’re left wondering what awaits this colorful ensemble.
Opening 1: Hataraku Onii-san by DearDream
This opening is funny and random which is the perfect way to describe the series. The first time I watched this, I couldn’t help but laugh at the craziness that unraveled before me. The cat puppets dressed up as professionals was so unexpected I didn’t know what I would be in store for. I can assure you that the series will not disappoint.
Opening 1: Resonance by T.M. Revolution
I love this anime intro almost as much as I love the actual series. It starts off with a shot of a soul resonance between Maka and Soul setting the tone for the rest of the OP. The sounds of a ticking clock paired with an epic guitar riff evoke curiosity as the camera takes you through Death City. As the singer begins, you get a lovely image of Death breaking it down to the music.
This intro delivers on the dark and twisted nature of Soul Eater and gives you a taste of the damage Maka can do when paired with her best friend and weapon, Soul. After the pair high five and Soul is transformed into Maka’s scythe, that glaring look in her eyes tells us she means business.
Opening 1: Sailor Moon English theme
THE INFAMOUS SAILOR MOON THEME! It was every little girl’s dream to be the super-heroine pretty guardian that is Sailor Moon. She’s beautiful, brave and made us feel like, with the help of love and friendship, we could conquer anything!
The intro opens up to a full moon and a gloved white hand stretched out to the sky. It’s pulled down to reveal Sailor Moon and from there we’re treated to an arrangement of romance, friendship and girl power! I dare you not to sing along as the Sailor Guardians display their array of powers and strengths and make their way through their transformations. The intro comes to an end with the freeze frame pose that Sailor Moon made famous.
Although the original Japanese OP goes down in history, I have personally picked the English dubbed version based off of what it symbolized for my childhood. However, it is worth it to learn the song in Japanese, too!
Mob Psycho 100
Opening 1: 99 by Mob Choir
Talk about a lovely display of imagery paired with an epic song! I love Mob Psycho 100’s opening theme for it’s random, colorfulness and its head banging track “99“.
As the count begins, starting off at 1 and somehow making it all the way to 99, the screen tilts and turns and is constantly morphing and transforming from this point on. It goes from shots of the series cast to a nuclear blast to broccoli?
The vivid display of color is only disrupted as the screen transitions to an image of Mob in his “100” state and we’re given a taste of the chaos that ensues as the World around him begins to crumble into chaos and destruction.
In the end, we come full circle as the titular screen so cleverly blends back into the city landscape shot we’re given at the beginning.
Opening: Cha-la head Cha-la by Hironobu Kageyama
I had to end on a high note. Of course Dragonball Z’s original opening theme made my favorite’s list! Truthfully, I could have went with the English “Rock the Dragon” theme for the sake of nostalgia but, Hironobu Kageyama’s “Cha-la head cha-la” is a so damn catchy that I had to go with this one. I’m instantly reminded of a young Gohan running across hilltops as the massive head of Shenron makes its way out of the foggy background.
Or how about when Gohan falls from the sky and onto Son Goku’s shoulder as they’re whisked away on the flying nimbus (whatever happened to that thing, anyway?). This intro gives you Super Saiyans (Vegeta and Future Trunks), action, aesthetics, a glimpse of Bulma’s rack (rawr.) and a catchy song that, you may not know all the words to, but dammit when the chorus hits, it’s your time to shine! The intro wraps up with a bad-ass shot of a Super Saiyan Goku flanked by the Z-fighter gang.
It is hands down one of the coolest opening themes in anime history, and at the very least the best display of parenting Goku shows in the entire series.
Do you have a list of favorite anime OPs? I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments