My love affair with anime has been one that’s kind of like an on and off kind of thing. There have always been periods of my life when I am either super interested about the latest and greatest new anime from Japan and I can’t wait to watch it. There are also long stretches of time when I find myself wondering why I stopped watching them in the first place.
Even though I’m in one of those periods when I don’t find myself watching any anime in particular, I still do catch myself humming or even singing some of my favorite songs from the genre. There are just so many memorable and catchy songs! So many in fact that this list took me a long while to really wrap my head around! I even had to break up my initial list into opening and closing anime songs!
This week, I’ll be listing down my favorite opening songs from anime. Please remember that this is my personal list so, if you’re favorite anime opening isn’t here, this is my personal list, okay? Also, this may not reflect my all time favorite animes of all time. That’s a totally different list as well!
#5. Let Me Be With You from Chobits
Chobits was one of the very first animes that I remember watching. I was around 6 or 7 years old when I saw it. My brother managed to find some fansubs of Chobits so, being incredibly young and couldn’t handle reading mountains of text while watching the gorgeous animation, I don’t remember a whole lot of the actual story. Maybe I should go search for it online because I do remember being enamored by how everything looked.
While I didn’t get the story, I totally got the idea behind the show’s opening song, Let Me Be With You. I may not understand Japanese but I did know what the title signified. The opening part with the “Ooh-Ooh Ooh-Ooh — Yeah” just sounds so soothing and catchy. I also love how they managed to animate Chi and Hideki (I still remember their names up to now!) as if they’re singing the song because their lips move perfectly in sync with the lyrics! It’s a fantastic song that I really do sing up to now when I’m in a very happy mood.
#4 Yakusoku wa Iranai (I Don’t Need Promises) from Vision of Escaflowne
Is it fair to call this a mecha anime? I used to think it was.
Oh, what a time it was to be an anime fan in the Philippines in the year 2000! This was the time when a cable channel called AXN really popularized anime in the country and local channels caught on and started showing anime dubbed in Filipino, the country’s national language. While I preferred my anime to be dubbed in English, I did fall in love with Yakusoku wa Irenai, the Vision of Escaflowne’s opening song that was shown on GMA 7 way, way back.
The Vision of Escaflowne’s opening song just has a really epic start with those hard chords playing before the very first “Nee~” is spoken. From then on, it’s a very melodical tune and slowly build up to the refrain. Yakusoku is very dramatic and intense yet very soft and otherworldly at the same time. It’s a really beautiful song that I do love to listen to and sing at the top of my lungs in the shower.
#3 1/2 from Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X
I actually memorized the lyrics to the complete song by brute force! That’s how much I love 1/2!
All of Rurouni Kenshin, or Samurai X to those gaijin out there, are extremely good. When it came to this list I was torn between the anime’s first opening, Sobakasu, or 1/2. I know Sobakasu is a more iconic song but 1/2, in my mind, is just a much better song because of how complex and fun it is.
1/2 starts out really slow and smooth. It’s a trick as, slowly but surely, the rhythm picks up and even the rate of the lyrics speed up. It’s full of tongue twisters as well, especially if you don’t know what they’re saying. Even with all of that, I wanted to remember all the lyrics! I even printed out the Romanji version of the song and I would read and sing the song every change I got. I eventually succeeded and it was super worth it! That’s because 1/2 is incredibly good and it’s an impressive song to sing flawlessly, which I can still do!
#2 Tank! from Cowboy Bebop
I think it’s time to blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Okay, 3, 2, 1. Let’s jam!
It wasn’t a question if Cowboy Bebop’s Tank! was going to be on this list. It was a question as to where it was going to be placed on this list. Most anime songs are J-Pop and Rock songs so Tank! immediately stands out for being one of the rare anime openings that uses jazz.
It’s also a song that anyone can just appreciate, regardless if you watch anime or not. Sure, the visuals of Cowboy Bebop’s opening do help make it stand out even more. However, if you just play it by itself, Tank! is a stupidly catchy song that sticks in your head. It’s super smooth and just a blast to hear. I have this song on my playlist whenever I go work out or when I’m traveling. I must have heard this song at least a thousand times now but I have yet to skip it whenever it comes on my playlist.
#1 CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA from Dragon Ball Z
Sorry to all you Western fans out there. This is just leagues better than Rock the Dragon! I’m sorry but it’s true!
I was really torn between my #2 and #1 picks. It was either Tank! from Cowboy Bebop or CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA from Dragon Ball Z. Ultimately, CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA just edged out a win because of how memorable and iconic it is. This is the song that, once you hear it, you will remember it for eternity.
The other thing that made CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA make it to the top of the list is because of how unique it actually sounds. The song itself is very distinct and no other anime song, or other song for that matter, comes close to how it comes off. There are so many energetic and powerful songs but none of them really sounds anything like CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA sounds. This is truly one of the best anime songs and the anime song in my book.
Now, let’s go look at a torrent of bonus songs because they really should be in this list in one form or another…
Bonus #1: Zankoku no Tenshi to Tee-ze (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis) from Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, this iconic song didn’t make the list. Let me explain…
I know that Zankoku no Tenshi no Tee-za is one of anime’s best songs out there. Even I was surprised that Neon Genesis Evangelion’s main theme song didn’t make it here as well! I like the song very much as well and it would easily make it to my Top 10 list. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Top 10 list. It’s a Top 5.
You still may be debating why it didn’t crack the Top 5 then. Well, the thing is, as good as Evangelion’s theme song is, it doesn’t ring in my head as loud as the other songs. That’s probably because I don’t have any strong nostalgic feeling for the anime. It’s indeed a good song but I just like the songs from Chobits and Vision of Escaflowne just a bit more.
Don’t @ me.
Bonus #2: Sobakasu (Freckles) from Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X
This should’ve been on the list but isn’t due to a technicality.
There’s no denying that Sobakasu, Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X’s first opening song is great. It’s super catchy. It catches you off-guard with the chaotic guitar intro before blasting you with a chipper vocal performance.
The only reason why I didn’t include it in this list is because I had to choose between this or 1/2. As I mentioned earlier, 1/2 beat out Sobakasu. I could’ve still put Sobakasu in this list but it would feel cheap if there were 2 songs from the same anime on the list. So I sadly had to cut out Sobakasu.
Bonus #3: Gotta Catch ‘Em All from Pokemon
Another iconic song that got cut out due to a technicality.
Now, I don’t even watch Pokemon! It wasn’t ever my thing growing up. I will still acknowledge that Gotta Catch ‘Em All is one of the most memorable songs out there ever. It’s up there with the Duck Tales theme song, another show that I didn’t watch! Even if I didn’t grow up watching Pokemon, I still know all the lyrics to Gotta Catch ‘Em All by heart! That’s how memorable the song is!
This would’ve been an easy entry. The only problem is it’s the English theme song, not the original anime song! I had to disqualify it just for that.
Don’t @ me again.
What are your favorite anime opening songs? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!