I wanted to try to make this list a little different than other “Top 10 Anime Songs” lists, by being slightly more specific. So first of all, this list is ONLY the opening songs of a show. I will actually be making a list specifically for original ending songs next week. And what I mean by “original” in the title is that it is a song specifically commissioned for the anime, and sung by the voice actors of the characters in the show. So for example, while I absolutely love Durarara‘s season 1 second opening song “Complication” by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D, it will not be included because the song was not specifically made for Durarara.
Also, let me note that these are in no particular order, since it is too difficult for me to decide which of these is the my favorite.
1. Toradora OP 1: Pre-Parade
Toradora was one of the first anime I had ever watched, and definitely one of the first high school slice-of-life anime I have seen. So let me tell you, this song brings back fond memories of watching Toradora for the first time. I honestly didn’t like it at first, but now I can’t get enough of it, especially with just how well the lyrics fit with Taiga’s character. The song is performed by Rie Kugimiya, Eri Kitamura, and Yui Horie, who play Taiga, Ami, and Minori respectively.
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya OP 2: Super Driver
This is the opening of the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which came out in 2009 when they re-released all of the episodes in chronological order. I have a soft spot for anime Ska themes, and that is exactly what this is. The animation that goes along with the song is also just so pretty. Performed by Haurhi’s voice actress Aya Hirano.
3. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanajou OP 1: Kimi ga Yume o Tsuretekita
Also called The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, this is still to this day one of the only anime to ever make me cry. This anime just hits home very well, and so do its songs. This opening is one of my favorites for two reasons; the lyrics and the animation. The lyrics talk about chasing your dreams, which is what each of the characters living at Sakurasou try to do. And I mean just look how pretty that picture is. The animation for not only the opening and ending songs, but for the whole show are just fantastic. The song is performed by Ai Kayano, Mariko Nakatsu, and Natsumi Takamori. They play Mashiro Shiina, Nanami Aoyama, and Misaki Kamiigusa, respectively.
4. Sword Art Online Season 2 OP 2: Courage
Love Sword Art Online or hate it, you have got to admit it has some pretty great opening and ending songs. This song strikes me as a powerful, rock ballad type song whenever I hear it, and I just love it. The guitar just flows so seamlessly well with the vocals, making sure to be heard, but not overpowering. It is also sung by Asuna’s voice actress Haruka Tomatsu. She also does the first ending song in the first season of SAO, called “Yume Sekai.”
5. Bakemonogatari OP 4: Renai Circulation
I think it is difficult to have a Top 10 anime songs list without considering any of the songs from the Monogatari series. Bakemonogatari is certainly no exception, especially having five different opening songs. I chose the fourth, “Renai Circulation” because not only is it sung by the lovely Kana Hanazawa, but it has also been remixed numerous times, making it a prominent meme in the anime community. I actually heard the Snoop Dogg “Weed Circulation” remix before ever hearing the actual song. Meme or not, this song is definitely deserving of a spot in this Top 10.
6. Working!! Season 2 OP: Coolish Walk
You can’t think of Working!! without thinking of its cute and catchy openings. It was hard to choose which of the three other Working!! openings to use, but I think “Coolish Walk” stands out to me the most. This one has a good mix of an upbeat, excited chorus, mixed in with an almost relaxed, soothing verse right before the chorus. A sort of calm before the storm. I may have selected this as my favorite, but don’t let that stop you from listening to all of the openings and endings, because they are all fantastic! This song is performed by Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita and Eri Kitamura, who play Popura Taneshima, Mahiru Inami, and Yachiyo Todoroki respectively.
7. Deadman Wonderland OP: One Reason
Deadman Wonderland is the show that got me back into watching anime about four years ago when a friend told me to watch it on the newly revived Toonami block. I was hooked right away to the show, and also the shows opening song “One Reason” by DWB (Deadman Wonder Band). It is just has such a catchy, hard rock hook that is impossible to not like. This is also a rare case where I prefer the cut 90 second version of the song, as opposed to the full version, because the 90 second version has subtle key changes that really show the songs power and potential.
This pick is sort of an exception to the rule that these songs have to be sung by the voice actors, since this song is not. However, the song was specifically made for the show, by a band created specifically for the show and it’s songs, so that is why I have decided to include it. I also find the song to be interesting, as it is entirely in English, even when though premiered in Japan. It isn’t often that shows do that, so it is definitely something worth noting.
8. B Gata H Kei OP: Oshiete A to Z
Also called Yamada’s First Time, this anime has me in stitches everytime I watch it. The opening song is also just so hilariously perfect, everytime I listen to it with my friends we all sing “Kiss me baby” together. While I will admit the itself wouldn’t be that good as a standalone song, I think when paired with the anime and the animation, it is definitely one of my favorites. I thoroughly enjoy the random parts in the music video for it where Yamada plays the recorder, because it is never mentioned that she can play it at any point in the show, so it is just inserted in there for seemingly no reason. The song is performed by Yamada’s actress Yukari Tamura.
9. Golden Time OP 1: Golden Time
From the same creator of Toradora comes Golden Time, so it makes sense that I would enjoy the music from both of them as well. While I will say that the first ending is actually my favorite track from Golden Time, this opening is a close second. I feel that the opening song sets the tone for the episode, and this song does a good job of matching the first half of the show’s cheery atmosphere. Performed by the main character Kaga Koko’s voice actress Yui Horie (who you might remember from the Toradora song earlier).
10. Oreshura OP: Girlish Lover
If you are into J-Pop girl groups like AKB48, this is a song for you. It is actually a song I used to listen to on my way to class in the mornings to wake me up, since it is a pretty up-beat song, and definitely effective at raising my mood when I heard it. I also dig the simple contrasting sounds between the really pop vocals in the verse, mixed with a guitar with pretty heavy distortion. While the guitar may be pretty quiet, it is the perfect addition to create a cute, catchy song. The song is performed by Yukari Tamura (you may have recognized her from B Gata H Kei earlier), Chinatsu Akasaki, Hisako Kanemoto and Ai Kayano. They play Masuzu Natsukawa, Chiwa Harusaki, Himeka Akishino, and Ai Fuyuumi respectively.
So that’s all! That was actually a lot harder than you might think, especially since there were a lot of songs that I thought fell into my “original” category, but actually didn’t. I also didn’t want to use two songs from the same anime, that way you could also discover some anime you may not have seen before. Each of the shows listed is also a show I highly recommend, so if you haven’t seen one, give a it a try!
Let me know what songs you would have put on this list in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow my blog, so you can find out what my Top 10 Original Endings next week!