It’s…wait let me check my watch…that day. Pretty much any day that ends with a “Y” is an ordeal to survive, but if you’ve got the proper motivation then it’s a breeze to kick a 24-hour planetary rotation right in the spheres and get to work. What’s better than high-energy music blasting in the background and pushing your motivation up to over 9000?
Anime music of course.
While there’s no shortage of brilliant anime soundtracks available, there’s something to be said for the one-two punch of series intros from shows that got you hooked on Japan’s finest export. We all remember those days, when we had to engage in some piracy before the likes of Netflix, Crunchyroll, and official DVD translations helped spread the word. Burning a handful of Naruto episodes onto a CD, passing it around, and marveling the next day at that epic fight between brothers in arms at the Valley of the End.
So in memory of that nostalgia, here’s ten brilliant Anime openings that’ll have you blasting through whatever life has to throw at you.
Naruto Shipudden – Hero’s Come Back
This one was damn difficult, because let’s face it: Konoha’s loudest ninja has no shortage of absolutely fantastic openings. For our money though, Naruto Shippuden’s first opening is an absolute winner. Kicking off the boldest return in anime since Vegeta dug himself out of a grave on Namek, Hero’s Come Back arrived at a time when fans were tired of the endless filler anime between Naruto’s major story-arcs.
All the energy, gravel-voiced Japanese rap, and a catchy tune signalled the start of a brave new world for Naruto at the time, and it still stands today as an absolute series highlight.
Bleach – Ichirin No Hana
Let’s be real, Bleach has always had a…eclectic mix of music. Some of it was great, some of it made me want to jab rusty sporks into my ears whenever Ichigo appeared and the soundtrack chosen was the equivalent of the Red Guy from Cow ‘n Chicken experiencing multiple orgasms. But the sound of Bleach at its best, was when it leaned heavily into its weird supernatural elements and added a touch of hard rock to images of death god samurai looking as stylish as possible.
Bleach’s third opening, is a pitch perfect example of that idea, that blends iconic guitar riffs with very angry people shouting and I can listen to that all day.
Gintama – Shura
Gintama is one of anime’s greatest treasures, a brilliant answer to the question of what would happen if Japan decided to animate It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, add epic battles, and turn the piss-take factor up to 11. In the spirit of that show, I’m also flipping the script on its head and using the earworm Shura ending theme from DOES on this list. It’s Katsura dammit, not Zura.
Cowboy Bebop – Tank
I don’t get jazz, not in the slightest. But if you throw in the coolest mercenaries this side of the solar system, add a little funk to the mix, and let it roar? Yeah, that’s a track that I can get behind any day of the week! Not only an instant attention-getter, Cowboy Bebop’s touch of bass and trumpets is an iconic piece of music, one that’ll have your foot tapping within micro-seconds of hearing it. Now that’s pure legacy gold, right there.
FLCL – Little Busters
You know, I can’t remember if FLCL even had an opening theme, but it’s entire soundtrack from punk rock band The Pillows was solid gold. If there was one song that perfectly captured the energy of that show though, it was Little Busters. Indie and punk rock fused into one glorious specimen, it was the track that defined one of the most influential anime series of all time.
Serial Experiments Lain – Duvet
Honestly I had completely forgotten that this track existed until Kervyn reminded me of it again! Anyway, if you want to question your own sanity and the possible lie that all of reality is a computer simulation that is a single click away from being deleted while also getting deceptively positive before the madness escalates, go watch Serial Experiments Lain.
Dragon Ball Z – Rock the dragon
Right now, anime fans are angrily typing “WHAT ABOUT HEAD CHA-LA DARRYN” but let’s face it, Bruce Falcouner’s contributions to Dragon Ball Z helped the show become the gold standard for what a western dub should be. When Dragon Ball Z first went west, fans had no idea what to expect, and an intro animation made up of the best moments from the show and its films certainly didn’t help ease the confusion off!
But one thing was for certain when you heard those first plucks of a guitar string: You knew that this series about giant monkey alien invaders fighting intergalactic tyrants hellbent on achieving immortality with dragon-summoning orbs that could grant wishes, was going to rock.
Samurai Champloo – Battlecry
Hip hop and anime has always had a symbiotic relationship, and thanks to shows like Samurai Champloo, that bond was forged in animated blood and fire. Nujabes and Shing02’s “Battlecry” is a prime example of anime venturing out of its comfort zone, mixing surprisingly mellow beats with a cool factor that is simply reinvigorating. And also a damn good anime on top of that, that deserves the occasional rewatch.
D. Gray Man – Doubt and Trust
To this day, I will always believe that D. Gray Man is one of the most overlooked series to ever emerge in manga and anime. A surprisingly tender action series, the mixture of biblical themes, characters that felt genuinely real in a crazy world, and some of the best battle scenes ever animated all combined to form an elegant package. The show’s third opening fusion of piano and electric guitars belting out killer riffs? Well that’s just icing on top of the anime cake.
One Punch Man – One Punch!
You know how I said this list was for classic anime? Well technically, the first season of OnePunch Man and only the first season because a lacklustre seqiel series definitely wasn’t made no sir, is already a modern-day classic. SCIENCE, YEAH! The titular hero of his own show that nobody knows about, OnePunch Man’s opening theme is brilliant at delivering a single KO blow to lethargy.
A fist of hard rockin’ guitar licks, one of the best anime of recent memory will lay you out in a single blow and leave a smile on your face
Last Updated: February 11, 2021