Bending the rules again here, because I don’t have an absolute favourite anime opening. There’s so many I love and evoke different kind of emotions that it’s too difficult for me to choose just one. However, I will try to narrow it down to two different categories:
- Favourite OP in the sense of it being a perfect visual representation of what the show is about with awesome music to enhance it.
- Favourite OP in the sense just listening to it is enough to evoke imagery of the show and the music is especially emotional and awesome on its own.
For the first category, I feel strongly inclined to pick Mob Psycho 100’s OP, because of how dense it is and how impressive the visuals, music and unison between the two all are. It’s been a growing love of mine, and very much enjoy both watching and just listening to it. But despite it having such a strong case, I still choose Baccano!’s awesome jazzy OP over it. After all, this is favourites we’re talking about, and I’ve spent a lot more time with Baccano than Mob Psycho 100.
The opening theme in Baccano manages to not only captivate my attention from the first second of its opening with the striking instrumentation and cue to the coin toss, but also remarkably is able to concisely depict each and every character in the show purely through body language and other clever editing with the imagery. You get a strong impression of the characters’ personalities and their roles through their mannerisms and learn their names through awesome title sequences focusing in on and pausing on their faces just long enough to match the two in an impressively cool way.
Though, I would also like to mention Stein;s Gate’s ‘Hacking to the Gate’ OP as another really close contender, because of how striking the imagery, instrumentation, vocals, and tone of it all is, but also because of how it gradually becomes more and more emotionally resonant as you progress through the series. It’s neck-and-neck with the two mentioned above, in my mind.
For the second category, I feel torn between The World God Only Knows’ three excellent OPs and Toradora’s two spectacularly heartfelt OPs. All of these OPs have a lot of things going for them: catchy and powerful music and vocals, excellent use of detail (especially for TWGOK), really fun and surprisingly emotional. In short, they’re awesome. And I especially feel conflicted over choosing Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s ‘Sorairo Days’, but I’ve written about that before, and think I captured my feelings on it quite well. These are all really beautiful, powerful and resonant opening themes in their own way, and each set a different mood and capture a different set of feelings.
However, I feel that while these are all amazing and wonderful OPs for both similar and different reasons, I feel more inclined to choose Gunbuster over them. Its delightfully lighthearted and endearing theme is really encouraging and full of spirit. The lovely and wonderful vocals performed by Noriko Sakai and Rei Sakuma are really something of an amazing phenomenon in how happy and motivating they are, and perfectly fitting to play when jogging. It inspires so much GAR in me, I can’t even begin to try and quantify it!
This challenge was particularly difficult for me, because I love so many anime OPs, and there are many I really enjoy that I didn’t mention even as contenders here – Neon Genesis Evangelion’s ‘Cruel Angel Thesis’, Cowboy Bebop’s ‘Tank’, etc. Be aware that my favorite anime opening theme varies based on mood and emotional potency. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something light and touching, and other times I want something to rock out to. ‘Database’ from Log Horizon is probably my favourite ‘rock-out’ OP. It’s really fun to jam to with friends.
Honestly, I consider this a tie between Gunbuster’s and Log Horizon’s OP, because they both inspire strong feelings in me that makes me love revisiting them again and again. I don’t like picking favourites, and I feel it important to note that all of these OPs are very enjoyable and awesome, just that sometimes I’ll be in the mood for one and not in the mood for another. They’re all great for different reasons, and at different times.