One of the things most of us remember about an anime series is the opening theme. Whether we loved it or hated it, listened to it every time, or reached for the remote (mouse) to hit the skip. Opening themes set the tone for the entire viewing experience and yet it is another element I seldom take into consideration when ranking my favourite anime on my weekly lists. This week’s top 5 gave me a chance to reflect on some of the themes of 2016 and to realise it was not one of my favourite years for opening songs.
My criteria for top 5 opening theme is mostly that the song could be listened to as a song by itself and still sound good without the visuals, though also had good visuals to go with it, that it matched the tone of the show, and that it got me ready to watch the episode. Also, it had to be an opening I didn’t want to skip because listening to the song was part of the experience. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).
For patrons there is a list of the 5 openings of 2016 that didn’t particularly impress over on patreon.
Please Note – There probably won’t be any spoilers in this list.
Honourable mentions this week go to: Cheer Boys (because it was fun) and 91 Days (because it set the tone of the show so well). Also, special honourable mention to Raise Your Flag from Iron Blooded Orphans because if that had been the theme the whole way through the show it would have been absolutely perfect.
Number 5: Coolest from Sakamoto Desu Ga
This is the weirdest choice on this list because this is an anime I didn’t even finish watching. However, this opening gives you more or less the entire concept and is fun, bright and over the top which is everything the show itself is trying to be. I probably would have ditched the show and kept watching the opening if that was a viable option really.
Number 4: Bye Bye Yesterday from Assassination Classroom Second Season
Assassination Classroom has continued to have excellent openings that nail the tone of the show and manage to convey the overall emotion the characters are feeling at that point in time. From that point of veiw, Bye Bye Yesterday is the perfect opening during the second season because our characters have moved on from who they were and they are at a critical transitional point. The visuals throughout the song are pretty awesome to with a lot of looking back on where the characters have come from and the events that have shaped them in the series. The fact that the song is still upbeat and energizes you in preparation for the episode is perfect because Assassination Classroom still has that weird back and forth between comedy and real drama so a song that makes you feel sad and nostalgic while getting you energised is exactly what was needed.
Number 3: Lay Your Hands on Me from Kiznaiver
I know I didn’t end up thinking much of the show but this song was amazing. Actually the entire opening sequence is just an overload on the senses. The song is full of energy and drama and yet you aren’t sure whether it is trying to be optimistic or poignant and overall it just makes you feel like something is coming. Unfortunately for me, most episodes went downhill after the opening but at least I never skipped the song.
Number 2: Re:Re from Erased
During the first few episodes, while I enjoyed this opening, I couldn’t figure out why this show had such an up-beat and happy little opening. The visuals hinted at darker ideas but the song itself felt like it belonged on some coming-of-age high school romp rather than a mystery with potential supernatural elements. Turns out the song wasn’t lying as the mystery part of the show falls short and it is the coming-of-age and the finding out who you are that dominates the show thematically in the second half. So great song in and of itself and once you’ve watched the show through you realise just how apt it actually is.
Number 1: History Maker from Yuri On Ice
That was probably obvious from the get-go given the theme to Yuri on Ice was probably the only one I commented on (more than once) during my weekly reviews of a show. I couldn’t help it, the song just swept me away each and every time I listened to it. It is one of the few themes that I actively looked up and played just by itself without any intention of watching an episode of the show. And please, hit repeat. Then of course we have the beautiful animation that accompanies it. I also liked that it didn’t really sound like an anime opening. That kind of made it stand out. All and all, this was the perfect opening song for this particular story.
Alright, over to you. What opening themes made you pay attention in 2016?
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35 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Opening Themes in 2016”
“Lay Your Hands On Me” and “History Maker” — both picks I’d agree with for sure! Another one that just got me pumped up for each episode, despite the show being kinda average, was “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress,” a title I’m sure you’re already familiar with.
I still love both of Assassination Classroom’s openings in the second season. On a personal level, I find them both uplifting and motivating in my perennial quest of becoming better in as many ways as possible (mostly writing and learning new things). And I continue to listen to the songs from the openings every now and then during my walks. They’re a pleasant listen on hot, sunny days (which are a rarity in Ireland).
Don’t have much to say about the others on the list, other than Sakamato’s grew on me after a few episodes, ERASED had good visuals, and… I’m not seeing Mob Psycho 100 on the list (just kidding – I know it’s your list, good choices).
Great list! I’d also mention Drifters OP, Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2 and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
loved the opening from erased and yuri on ice still watch the openings to this day.
Dimension W, Tanaka-kun, Kiznaiver, Amanchu, and Izetta are what come to mind right away. I’d list some more, but if we’re sticking to just 5 then these are probably my picks.
History Maker! Made me fall in love with Dean again. 😀
Always nice to see Re:Re getting some love!
Nice list! In agreement with Kizaniver, Yuri, and Erased most definitely. Also, as others have said the first OP for March Comes in Like a Lion was great!
I… uh… I liked the OP for Kabaneri a lot.
Um… so… yeah… My name is Cain, and I have an addiction to weird OP’s.
I haven’t heard that one because Kabaneri didn’t come out anywhere I could watch it. It is on my list of catch up anime for the future. I’ll have to pay attention to the OP after that comment.
The OP is pretty much what you’d expect from the guys who made Attack on Titan. The show itself is okay, but the OP was pretty good.
Gotta agree with Kiznaiver and Erased. I’d also throw in the first OP sequence for March comes in like a Lion. Bump of Chicken is always good. 🙂
Will you be doing something like this for the EDs as well?
If I’m honest, other than Yuri on Ice, I didn’t actually sit through all that many EDs last year. I tend to skip over and see if there is anything post credit and then move on. So while I watched most of them once, nothing stuck with me enough to make me want to watch it again or to remember it.
Kiznaivers Opening song really resonated with me on a really personal level for some reason.
That, and I was already a huge fan of BOOM BOOM Satellites before this song came out. I loved the song so much that I actually got the EP and everything, and it’s now on my Top 10 Albums list.
Just a real shame it was their final song with the vocalist passing away shortly after. It really was their final masterpiece, and it really does feel like it.
All excellent selection of choices. I loved all of these 🙂
As I said, I didn’t much care for Kiznaiver as a show (though I didn’t dislike it overly much either), but that song was amazing. I’d have watched the episodes to just to listen to that each week.
I like Yuri on Ice
Sakamoto, Kiznaiver, YOI Erased are without a doubt some of my favourites as well. I’d probably have to add Amaama to Inazuma’s OP in there as well, personally – that’s also an OP that hypes you up for the episode ahead, but in a cute way. 91days’ is always a good contender, though, as mentioned before.
I always feel a little irked to ask this, but what about Phantom World >_<
The show ended up not going very (read: at all) deep content wise, so having the visuals in the OP lack any kind of storytelling sort of fits, but Naked Dive is a fantastic song.
To be honest, I more or less forgot about it. When making these lists I went through the titles of all the released anime and wrote down the ones I remembered the openings of and then ranked them.
Haha fair enough, I’m not judging you. I probably remember it because I caught maybe 6 shows from 2016 altogether.
I have the same top three as yours, with erased being #1 and kiznaiver’s being second. 4th place would go to Amanchu and 5th to 91 days. I never skipped over the opening for these anime. Sakamoto is a solid pick, too. I have yet to catch up on Assassination Classroom.
91 Days was a pretty solid opening for the show. Thanks for the comment.
It’s good to see that Kiznaiver and Re:Zero opening made the list. Opening of Assassination classroom sure set such a great atmosphere that we were urged to watch the series. But I think my favourite opening is from Parasyte the maxim, Let me hear, it’s metal and really hard on your ears but for some reason I really like that opening. Thanks for sharing your views!
Yeah, but Parasyte didn’t come out in 2016. Thanks for sharing.
Yeah.. I meant my all time favourite opening. But for 2016, nothing that special caught my eye.
I would’ve added Bungou Stray Dogs and Mob Psycho 100’s OPs to my list along side YOI, Erased and Kiznaiver 🙂 Great list. I have yet to see assassination classroom!
I never found Bungou’s opening to be particularly interesting. I vaguely remember Mob Psycho’s opening and that was pretty memorable but probably my dislike for the show stopped me considering that one for the list.
i know you didnt watch it, but i would probably pick drifters as my favorite. honestly, i find the yuri on ice op to be overrated, but my musical tastes are weird. i really liked openings for kiznaiver, sakamoto, and erased, though.
I really need to find access to Drifters sooner rather than later because so many people have said so many good things about it at this point.
for the most part, it’s a matter of whether you can handle the comedy scenes. it’s pretty hit or miss. but man that opening song was great.
It was a miss from my part lol xD
I don’t blame you for putting Sakamoto Desu Ga in the list; that OP really hyped me up for the show (which I also haven’t finished… yet), but I would’ve put Kiznaiver’s OP in closer competition with History Maker. As you say, the senses were completely overloaded but it made a more significant impact on my heart than my mind, so I would’ve put this at No.2, maybe first if I hadn’t binge watched Yuri on Ice and fell in love with its OP…