Not all shows are blessed with good openings. Every season you get some stand-outs, a bunch of mediocre ones, and then a couple where you wonder what they were thinking.
Each season I’m going to be making a list of my Top 5 Openings out of all the shows that are currently airing. I’ve managed to hunt down every last one and watch it at least half way through (because come on, some are really bad and I have to put my ears first) and have reached my verdict. Links to the songs can be found in the headers.
5. Gatchaman Crowds Insight – “Insight” by White Ash Raw
Just from the opening few seconds it’s easy to tell that this opening is oozing with style. The video is chock full of interesting visual effects – my favourite is the mix of animated characters superimposed against real world backdrops. The music is well timed to the transitions and the song itself is catchy and captures the tone of the show. Overall, this opening is an action packed delight that will get you pumped up for the show that follows.
4. Classroom Crisis – “Cobalt” by TrySail
I like this opening for a lot of the same reasons I like “Insight”, even though the actual songs aren’t that similar. The use of colourful symbols is similar in both videos and both have a lot of energy. This one edges ahead in the ranking for me because the song is more of an earworm – once it gets in your head it won’t be coming out for a while. I also appreciate how the opening of Classroom Crisis establishes the characters and the relationship between Nagisa and Kaito, which is one of the larger themes in the show.
3. Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace – “Speed and Friction” by amazarashi
This is one of the more unique openings of the season. It has a different sound, a different visual style, which grabs your attention by virtue of it standing out from the crowd. The song is a slow burn and the vocals build in intensity throughout the video, becoming more desperate and raw. I think the lyrics do an effective job of reflecting the warped world view of the protagonist. The imagery at the start invokes the idea of a split personality, a hidden darker side by showing each of the characters and then a flickery inverted frame of more disturbing imagery. I’m a big fan of this opening and would listen to this song further outside of the context of the show.
2. Gakkou Gurashi! – “Friend Shitai” by Gakuen Seikabutsu
Appearances can be deceiving. We learn this in the first episode of Gakkou Gurashi, but it also becomes evident in the opening as the show continues. The opening updates as you get further into the show, warping and changing to show what life is really like for the girls. The outside world moves from daytime to night and the zombies increase with every episode you watch of the show. Sections of the opening update as each character has their own revelation. Yuki runs through empty, destroyed classrooms but contained in her silhouette they are remade the way they used to be, pristine with smiling students. Tonal dissonance is created by the music, which is the standard chirpy and cheery song that you would hear at the beginning of a regular slice of life show. It doesn’t seem right that this plays while the characters’ silhouettes frolic amongst the zombies.
I find this opening and how it interacts with the show’s narrative really interesting. The fact that the song gets stuck in my head for hours on end only cemented its position near the top of my list.
1. Gangsta. – “Renegade” by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION
Somebody call the style police, this opening officially has an illegal amount of style. The use of black and white, colour bursts and screentones create a visually striking atmosphere right from the get go which draws the viewer in. The music is funky, unique and stands out from the crowd, going for a more western inspired hiphop/electronic sound that fits with the content and tone of the show, as a story about gritty gangsters and criminals in a european inspired setting. This opening is akin to watching the manga in motion, which is ultimately where the show failed. If only the anime was able to live up to the standard and quality that its opening set.
Overall there have been a lot of really good openings this season, with my 5th place being quite contested. Both Non Non Biyori Repeat and Akagami no Shirayukihime got so close to getting on the list but didn’t quite get there. The highs still don’t quite compare to previous seasons this year (Death Parade’s “Flyers” still holds the number one place in my heart) but I think each of my picks are pretty solid in their own way.
That’s it from me, but now, a question: what were your favourite openings this season?