Soundtracks are an essential part of any anime. They breathe life into a series and elevate the whole experience. This is particularly true for opening songs that give a glimpse of the characters, set the tone for the story, and tell the viewers what they should expect.
Some anime may even have more than one opening but a particular one will hit harder than others. With a plethora of anime released every season, it can be hard for opening themes to stand out. Still, many anime opening songs stand the test of time and have a special place in the fans’ hearts.
Also Read: Ranking The Best Anime of All Time
Check out our list of the best anime opening songs of all time to learn more about this.
Best 20 Anime Openings
A Cruel Angel’s Thesis
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Studio: Gainax, Tatsunoko
Artist: Yoko Takahashi
When talking about iconic anime openings, Neon Genesis Evangelion’s theme song “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” tops the list. It is considered to be the best anime opening for a reason. While Hideaki Anno wanted an opera song as the opening for the anime, TV Tokyo insisted on having something catchier. The result is Yoko Takahashi’s haunting number “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.”
The opening video of Neon Genesis Evangelion features scenes of Asuka, Rei, Shinji, and of different battles. The song perfectly captures the intense action and dark subtext of the anime.
“A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” impeccably conveys the story of a life that is meant to have more. The opening video hints at the deeper themes of the series as it conveys that even a life full of sadness and harsh memories can become a legend.
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Guren no Yumiya
Series: Attack on Titan
Studio: Wit Studio, MAPPA
Artist: Linked Horizon
Attack on Titan is a fan-favorite and an iconic modern anime series. Therefore, it is a given that an unforgettable series will have an unforgettable opening song, and Linked Horizon’s “Guren no Yumiya” is exactly that.
In Attack on Titan, Eren Yeager loses his family to Titans and has to come to terms with his new life. The lyrics of the song and the visuals of the opening video encapsulate the determination and fighting spirit of the main characters.
Such is the magic of Guren no Yumiya that it still echoes in the minds of Attack on Titan fans.
Series: Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul’s opening song “Unravel” is a beautiful display of TK’s vocal prowess. Building upon the anime’s theme, the lyrics talk about the protagonist Ken Kaneki’s struggle to find his identity.
The song depicts his breaking point as he finally comes to terms with his new self. “Unravel” thus perfectly sets up the mood for season one of Tokyo Ghoul.
Series: Your Lie in April
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Your Lie in April set a high bar for romance and drama anime when it was released. As a series revolving around characters deeply involved in the world of music, you bet it will have some beautiful and unforgettable songs. Released back in 2014, Your Lie in April’s opening song Hikaru Nara remains one of the best anime openings.
This song by Goose begins with a guitar strum that leads into a cheerful and powerful melody. A strong build-up leads to an intense chorus that leaves the fans breathless and mesmerized long after the song ends.
The opening video features scenes from the series that may spoil the plot if properly analyzed but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of watching the anime.
Series: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba pushed the boundaries of anime conventions when it was released in 2019. Its opening theme, “Gurenge” is a fitting song that became a chart-topper as soon as it debuted.
The powerful composition, LiSa’s energetic vocals, and the animation prowess of Ufotable Studios have helped in making it a foot-tapping number. You can check out Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s album for other such stunning tracks.
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Series: Cowboy Bebop
Artist: Yoko Kanno
Simply put, Cowboy Bebop is a classic. A gripping story with an eccentric cast of characters and a unique take on the space Western genre has cemented its position as an iconic anime.
However, what is often not mentioned is the role of its opening song “Tank” in attracting the audience to the show. The jazzy instrumental portrays Cowboy Bebop’s mystery theme and its penchant for the music genre.
Other than making it to an elusive list of well received live action anime adaptation, Cowboy Bebop is quite a throwback number and prepares the audience for the anime’s serious and hyper-energetic treatment of multiple stories.
Series: Death Note
Death Note has two opening themes and fans have long been divided over which one is better. Both have different styles but if we were to choose, our vote goes to “The World” by Nightmare.
The song talks about a world of light and darkness indicating the dark new world Light is creating thinking that what he is doing is for the greater good. It also elaborates on Light’s thought process as he wonders why people think he is bad.
“The World” aptly tells you about the protagonist and what to expect from the series which is what makes it the best anime opening.
Series: Code Geass
Code Geass is a badass anime in many ways- Lelouch’s horse, Zero’s mask, and a whole lot of resistance movements. The stakes are high here as Lelouch launches a revolution against the Holy Britannian Empire and has to face his best friend to achieve his goal.
FLOW’s song “Colors” is, thus, perfect for Code Geass as it captures the vibe of the series. It is a dazzling composition that exudes awesomeness as Lelouch fights to regain his birthright.
Series: Hunter x Hunter
Artist: Masatoshi Ono
One of the most esteemed anime openings of all time, “Departure” sung by Masatoshi Ono certainly elevated the whole experience of watching Hunter x Hunter. He has a magical voice that combined with stunning visuals and moving lyrics makes the opening video a thing of beauty.
The song has inspiring lyrics that will motivate you to achieve your goals. Therefore, we recommend checking out the translation of the lyrics for “Departure” to better appreciate the hard work put into creating the ride that is Hunter x Hunter.
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will be incomplete without Yui’s “Again.” It is impossible to get the song out of your head once you hear it. An iconic opening theme, it encapsulates the bag of emotions that is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
“Again” captures all the feelings of the tear-jerking past of the Elrics, their dedication to their mission, and most of all, the epic nature of alchemy itself. This is done with the help of the somber beginning and an action-packed chorus that gives a glimpse of the badassery that awaits the viewers.
Studio: OLM Team Ota
Artist: Jason Paige
For the English-speaking world, the “Pokemon Theme” or “Gotta Catch Them All” by Jason Paige is an anime opening theme full of nostalgia. Pokemon took the world by storm in the ‘90s and even today you can find kids singing this iconic song.
The opening video of the theme introduces Ash and his journey as he strives to become a Pokemon Master. Watch him as he wins battles, meets new friends, and ‘catches ‘em all.’ While the “Pokemon Theme” is the opening for only the first season, it is etched in the minds of hundreds of Pokemon fans.
Series: Haikyuu!!, Season 2
Studio: Production I.G.
Artist: Burnout Syndromes
For a series like Haikyuu!!, you bet its opening theme is just as adrenaline-pumping as this classic sports anime. “Fly High!!” which is season 2’s opening song is filled with that infectious energy that Haikyuu!! Is known for. It is a catchy song that reflects the main character’s passion for the sport.
The video may not be anything extraordinary but it highlights the main characters and matches which is apt.
Series: One-Punch Man, Season 1
Artist: JAM Project
It would not be wrong to say that One-Punch Man’s opening theme “The Hero” took the internet by storm when it was released. The ‘One Punch!’ lyric that opens the song remains in the hearts of fans even today. There is still no superhero anime opening that could even come close to this song.
“The Hero” is an energetic number that incorporates the power of Saitama’s punch into a song. The chorus talks about not wanting the fame and accolades associated with being a hero. It is a perfect song to get that boost of adrenaline or kick off your gym workout.
Series: Sailor Moon
Studio: Toei Animation
Sailor Moon is an anime that defines an era. It follows the adventures of the titular Sailor Moon and her fellow Sailor Senshi as they try to save the world while also attending school and keeping up with schoolwork. Keeping a secret identity is a struggle and what’s better than DALI’s mysterious and playful number “Moonlight Densetsu” to convey that?
This song is a pure nostalgia trip as its melody and progression take you down memory lane while talking about Sailor Moon’s clandestine adventures.
Series: My Hero Academia
Artist: Porno Graffiti
Sure, My Hero Academia has several good opening themes across its various seasons but “The Day” by Porno Graffiti stands out among them. It perfectly describes Deku’s character and the journey he will have to undertake to become the number one Hero.
According to the song, Deku must give it his everything to become what he wants to be. The opening video emphasizes the same as it contains a compilation of Deku’s training as he strives to become the Symbol of Peace, All Might.
Series: Samurai Champloo
Artist: Nujabes, ShingO2
The inclusion of hip-hop in anime soundtracks is relatively rare. But Shinichiro Watanabe’s series are not known for being conventional. It is, therefore, fitting that Samurai Champloo created by him also features one of the most iconic anime openings ever.
“Battlecry,” produced by Nujabes and featuring ShingO2 beautifully mixes the hip-hop track with the anime’s Edo setting. This combination works terrifically and represents a blend of cultures and time periods. The opening video too has stylish and crisp visuals that aptly represent the main character Mugen’s personality.
Hacking to the Gate
Series: Steins; Gate
Studio: White Fox
Artist: Kanaki Ito
Steins; Gate is a sci-fi anime about a self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe and his friends who discover a method of sending text messages to the past. As the gang experiments with this newfound mystery, they are plunged deeper into a dangerous game with the forces of nature itself.
It is an interesting concept and an addicting thriller that bewilders you and hooks you into its world. Kanaki Ito’s “Hacking to the Gate” encapsulates all the feelings that the anime invokes.
It begins with an upbeat yet ominous tune and the intensity of the chorus keeps increasing as it builds up a feeling of powerlessness that Okabe has to overcome.
Series: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Studio: David Production
JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure is a sprawling generational saga of the members of the Joestar family. All of the protagonists have names that can be abbreviated to JoJo and can transform their inner spiritual power into a Stand. It is a series with great opening themes across seasons.
Fans may have differences over which one is the best but our vote goes to CODA’s “Bloody Stream.” It is a catchy tune that stands out from standard anime openings and suits the style of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Lum no Love Song
Series: Urusei Yatsura
Studio: Kitty Films, Pierrot, Studio Deen
Artist: Yuko Matsutani
Urusei Yatsura is nearly 30 years old but it remains a beloved anime for a whole generation of anime fans. The series’ first opening, “Lum no Love Song” by Yuko Matsutani is, therefore, also one of the most famous anime opening songs. It is an excellent depiction of Urusei Yatsura’s style and quirks.
You can also check out the series’ reboot which aired in 2022. It has an equally energetic opening song that is a banger in its own right.
Series: Fruits Basket
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Artist: Asako Toki
Fruits Basket’s 2019 revival has set the bar high for anime openings. While most songs used as openings for anime series are upbeat numbers or instrumentals, “Home” by Asako Toki is a peaceful and sweet one. The track has beautiful vocals, a sparse beat, and soulful lyrics.
It has a soothing vibe and is like a warm hug and loving smile you receive after getting home. There’s a reason Fruits Basket is considered a classic and its heartwarming soundtrack is a big part of it.