(All videos linked from reddit.com/r/animethemes)
#10: Dream Solister – TRUE (Hibike! Euphonium)
So, throughout the large majority of my years in school, I was in the school’s orchestra. It was an experience that shaped me and was a very important part of my formative years. KyoAni’s Hibike! Euphonium masterfully captured the “school band” atmosphere and all the trials and tribulations that come with it, easily making it one of my favorite anime. If we’re going to talk about an opening sequence and song that perfectly captures the feel of the show, Dream Solister does just that for Hibike! Euphonium. TRUE’s vocal performance is spectacular and goes without saying, but the instrumental is where this OP really shines. The entirety of the instrumentation consists of band instruments and the kind of sounds you would hear from a brass/woodwind band. The visuals are as spectacular as you would expect from Kyoto Animation at their best and the entire feel and visual flair of tie sequence captures the essence of what makes Hibike! Euphonium great, with bits of dreariness being contrasted by the bombastic, triumphant feel of the chorus as the band explodes into a beautiful harmony. It’s a spectacular sequence and one of KyoAni’s best in my opinion.
#9: Daydream Cafe – Petit rabbit’s (Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?/Is The Order A Rabbit?)
Now, here we come to probably the biggest surprise of this list for me personally. When it comes to talking about fluff and that cozy, warm feeling I get from watching anime about cute girls doing cute things, GochiUsa is the undisputed king of capturing that warm, cozy feeling. However, until making the choices for this list, I had never quite realized how much I adore Daydream Cafe. The OP packs that same level of charming fluffiness that GochiUsa provides throughout its entire run and the song is an instant eatworm that has been relentlessly stuck in my head since making this list. It has this unique kind of charm of that perfect feelgood emotion when I hear the “kokoro pyonpyon machi” as the opening begins and has a light bouncy tone that carries throughout the song. The visuals, while not being a superb spectacle on their own, capture the cozy feeling of a nice, warm cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon and it’s a feeling that captures the essence of what makes GochiUsa such an enjoyable experience.
#8: Jinsei wa Subarashii – Johnny’s West (Gyakuten Saiban: Sono Shinjitsu “Igi Ari!”)
So, I’m a huge fan of Ace Attorney. It’s probably one of my favorite video game franchises of all time and I was unsurprisingly excited for its anime adaptation. Long story short…it’s a very mixed bag. I enjoyed the anime, but also had a lot of problems with it as an adaptation. However, easily the best thing to come out of the anime adaptation was the opening sequence used for the “Justice for All” portion of the series, Jinsei wa Subarashii. While I wasn’t a big fan of “Gyakuten Winner”, the first OP, I was instantly captured by the strong, bombastic instrumentals of the second OP. Its triumphant, driving instrumentals coupled with a powerful vocal performance made gave the entire song a feeling that runs similar to that of the Ace Attorney series. Overblown, over-the-top fun packed into a wild ride of an opening sequence. The triumphant brass overtones of the instrumental mesh well with the smooth flow of the vocals from Johnny’s West and put the entire OP on another level from that of its peers.
#7: Hoshi to Hana – Sanshu Middle School Hero Club (Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru/Yuki Yuna is a Hero)
Speaking of surprises earlier, how the hell did Hoshi to Hana fall so low? The opening sequence to Yuuki Yuuna, my second favorite anime of all-time and the big reason people would recognize me on /r/anime, used to be my undisputed favorite OP of all time. The instrumental is absolutely fantastic, with its orchestra base and the driving power waiting around each turn of the OP, and each member of the Hero Club provides their own unique flavor and sound to the opening. The visuals of the opening sequence are rife with symbolism and foreshadowing to events of the show. I personally just hold a lot of bias towards Hoshi to Hana, it’s long been one of my absolute favorite OPs and it came as a big surprise to me making this ranking how low it had fallen in recent months.
#6: Lion – May’n and Megumi Nakajima (Macross F)
Oh, boy, we’re getting into the really good stuff now. Things like Lion are one of the big reasons I love anime as a medium. I’ve never had openings to western shows or movies get me as excited for something as things like Lion get me for each episode of Macross F. The differing vocal styles of May’n and Megumi Nakajima as Sheryl and Ranka make the vocal track of Lion extremely interesting to as the two bounce back and forth throughout the verses, eventually joining together for the final part of the chorus. The piano and synth instrumentals in the intro instantly hook the listener in before the synth blasts you with the first major instrumental segment. The verses perfectly build themselves to a powerful chorus that is honestly one of the best in anime, in my opinion. It’s one of my go-to “hype” openings and a song I always frequent when I need to get myself pumped up and excited for whatever lies ahead. As for the visuals, if there’s one thing Lion does exceedingly well in the visual aspect, it has flair. Lots of flash, bright contrasting colors, and interesting transitions and visual shifts make the opening one of the best visual works in this entire list and earn its spot just outside the Top 5.