We are three months into this year, and you know what that means… another favorites list from a year we don’t want to remember! This is going to be the second-last one for my year-end lists, I plan to finalizing my top anime of 2020 list over spring break so it will be a couple of weeks till I post the final list.

But let’s get this wonderful list of my favorite anime openings and endings out of the way. I avoided including both the openings and endings of a single anime because who wants repetitions (sorry Great Pretender, AoT and Taiso Samurai). That’s it for my arbitrary rules, so starting with the openings…

OPs

#10 Aimer – SPARK-AGAIN (Fire Force S2)


This OP showcases some flashy animations that do a call back to the absolutely magical first OP of the show. It’s an Aimer song – her vocals are as measured yet cool-sounding as ever. It’s a very anime theme song with the cloud-chasing guitar riffage and all that, but I mean it in the best way possible. My favorite moment is when I hear this zooming out effect in the cymbals when Benimaru rotates his mop.

#9 (K)NoW_NAME – Welcome to Chaos (Dorohedoro)

The psychedelic sprawl of colors and absurd storyboarding in the animation sequence fits like a glove on the metal instrumental backed by those weird monk chants. Making gyoza couldn’t be portrayed in a more manic and violent way. The opening captures the freakish genre clash of humor and gore pretty effectively.

#8  the peggies – Centimeter (Rent-a-Girlfriend)


I love the small choreography thing the girls did in the opening, it reminds me of Wotakoi’s opening. It showcases the cute character designs of the girls pretty well if only they were written with that much personality. The pop rock song itself is as colorful and poppy as the color scheme in the anime itself. Their sound gives me nano.ripe vibes.

#7 BURNOUT SYNDROMES – PHOENIX (Haikyuu!! To the Top)

I was nearly splitting hairs over which of the two season 4 openings is the “better” one, and I went with this one because Burnout Syndromes can do no wrong when it comes to encapsulating the hype and hope that most Haikyuu openings should embody. Aptly titled “Phoenix”, this OP is featured in the transitioning arc after the heated Shiratorizawa showdown – where Hinata and co. need to reinvent themselves in order to relive the past glory of Karasuno in the Nationals, like the rebirth of a phoenix.

#6 Yunomi feat. Akari Kitou – Koi no Uta (Tonikaku Kawaii)

It’s one of those rare occasions where the TV size of the song is significantly better than the original version. The buildup during the bridge section is bubbly and the drop feels like a confetti burst of sakura petals. Now, if only the anime itself was as fun as the OP, instead it’s just a marriage-fetishizing, otaku-pandering rom-com featuring a dude who just needs a perpetual cold shower and a girl with a personality of a waifu wallpaper.

#5 Daisuke Namikawa, Kensho Ono, Yuki Kaji – Shanghai Honey (Taiso Samurai)

I love this rendition of the Orange Range song, the instrumental mix has more bells and whistles pertaining to synth and dance-funk elements and the seiyuu trio had the energy to match the glam. The flashy animation sequence is equally fun and the color scheme carries some eye-catching glittery vibrance that made me replay the opening a couple of times. I love how the presentation of the credits matches the visual aesthetic of the opening. 

#4 Masayuki Suzuki – DADDY! DADDY! DO! feat. Airi Suzuki (Kaguya-sama: Love is War S2)

Masayuki’s soul-tinged retro-funk joint, backed by Airi’s higher-register harmonization, makes for a song as warm and familiar as the bento box Kaguya was preparing in the opening. The animation sequence highlights the visual gags and expressive character animations of the anime effectively. I will miss Masayuki’s presence in the OP if the next opening of Kaguya-sama features a different artist.

#3 Taeko Oonuki & Ryuichi Sakamoto – a life (Japan Sinks: 2020)

This piano-backed collaboration between the city pop legend Taeko Onuki and another legend, the composer Ryuchi Sakamoto feels as refreshing and clean as a morning shower. The soft watercolored art and the white background being barely distinguished by soft outlines. The animation sequence shows a slice of the Mutou family’s morning, along with sights of nature outside – it evokes a feeling of how fragile and “barely there” our normal lives are, but it’s something beautiful to be cherished anyway. It’s such a powerful sentiment for an OP – love it, love it.

#2 Yutaka Yamada – G.P. (Great Pretender)

With ear-grabbing sax licks and skittering drums revolving around the soaring big band jazz instrumental, this intro killed any sense of fatigue I got from binging this show. The transition animation between the cuts, the dynamic use of color schemes and patterns give a very sleek feel to the opening. And add that to the cuts highlighting major arcs of the anime, the opening basically gives away that we are going to watch a heist anime in the most stylistic way imaginable.

#1 chelmico – Easy Breezy (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!)

For my number one spot, it’s not an OP with ambitious storyboarding ideas but rather it’s one that just oozes pure unbridled joy. With the elastic blues riff orbiting the breakbeat percussion and a vivid and feverish color scheme that stimulates every retinal cell on the back of my eye, the result feels almost psychedelic. And of course, the angular choreography in their little dances is a joy to look at every single time. The song itself is the catchiest one out of the openings here for me, chelmico kills it with their playful blend of rap and singing on this track. The character introductions of the trio are creative and this OP really did increase my appreciation of the character designs by a lot. So yeah, this is my favorite OP of last year no question.

EDs

#5 AAAMYYY – NIGHT RUNNING feat. Shin Sakiura (BNA)

If nothing else, BNA has a cool color scheme, and this ED accentuates that purple-pink, nocturnal neon aesthetic. And with neat linework and animation topping it off,  this ED is just candy for the eyes. I’m glad that AAAMYYY and Shin Sakiura are getting some exposure through this, they deserve it.

#4 OKAMOTO’S – Welcome My Friend (Fugou Keiji)

The marriage between the staccato groove and the dynamic vocal work on this track is something that sounds irresistibly playful and infectious. The drums and bass sound so full yet so crisp. The animation fits the buddy cop theme of the anime but with a neo-noir twist brought about by the gray color grading.

#3 ALI ft. AKLO – LOST IN PARADISE (Jujutsu Kaisen)

You know this is going to be on everyone’s list and for good reason. The funky city-pop influenced track makes for a smooth listen. The linework and color scheme make the sequence look like it stepped out of a webtoon – in a great way. I love how the border-rebelling coloring feeds into the animation smears and the general movement of the characters in the animation sequence.

#2 Yuuko Andou – Shougeki (Attack on Titan: The Final Season)

The track is an entrancing blend of chamber instrumentation and breakbeat electronic percussion, and the haunting vocal work on this is amazing. It evokes this feeling of despondent finality yet it’s mixed with a faint hope that the world is on the brink of a new beginning. Again, the storyboard of the animation sequence features some cryptic foreshadowing with all the characters looking depressed as hell. So yeah, it’s a whole lotta fun.

#1 Eiichi Ohtaki – Kimi wa Tennenshoku (Kakushigoto)

And in first place is this tear-inducingly nostalgic summer time Christmas song from Happy End member Eiichi Ohtaki. The busy instrumentation is so colorful and the light reverb on the chorus just opens the floodgates of nostalgia that I have a hard time understanding why. Yeah, no OP/ED in 2020 has emotionally unzipped me as much as this song has. Anyway, the sun drenched, sky-blue-washed animation sequence does justice to this colorful song. Truly heart warming stuff.

And that’s all I have for this post. See you in the next one.