There was a point in time where I would skip past the openings and endings of the anime I watched. That is no longer the case as I have realized the error in my ways. The theme music to a show is just as important as the animation and story elements. More often then not, a great series or movie will be accompanied by an equally awesome soundtrack. What follows is a list of theme music from anime which have, over the years, grown near and dear to me.
“Voices” – Akino Arai, Yoko Kanno
Macross Plus Theme
Music has always been a staple of the Macross franchise. Do You Remember Love was all about the music. So was Macross 7 and to a lesser degree, Macross Frontier. My favorite would still have to be Macross Plus, the very first Macross I had ever seen. The story and the musical accompaniment blew me away.
“Seika no Monshou” – Katsuhisa Hattori
Crest of the Stars Opening Theme
Quite possibly the last space opera in the classic sense, Crest of the Stars is nothing short epic. The opening theme, which plays throughout all 4 seasons, can attest to that fact. They don’t make em like this anymore.
“Just Before the Sunrise” – The Rhodes
Black Jack OVA First Opening Theme
Classic Tezuka, classic Dezaki, classic Black Jack, and classic 90s theme to top it off. There were several Black Jack OVA themes, but I’ve always liked the first one.
“Tsuki no Uta” – Gackt
Texhnolyze Ending Theme
Texhnolyze is, to this day, one of the few (very) anime series that I have found “scary.” Not scary as in the contemporary Hollywood “jump-out-of-closet” definition, but more of an Alfred Hitchcock “what if?” inspired horror feel. It is terrifyingly beautiful, often times invoking the most polarizing of emotions only to end it all on the calmest of notes.
“Maigo Inu to Ame no Beat” – Asian Kung-Fu Generation
The Tatami Galaxy Opening Theme
What makes this opening song so great is the fact that it doesn’t make complete sense until the very end. At first, it just looks cool. However, as the series winds down to its finale, we begin to gain a better understanding of its meaning. When episode 11 finally rolls around, the show pulls a fast one on us by starting with the series ending theme. It waits until we’ve pieced together the all the pieces and all the questions are resolved, then ends definitively with the opening song. Perfect.
“Dive in the Sky” – Mikio Sakai
Planetes Opening Theme
You can tell Planetes is hard science fiction just by looking at the opening theme. If I could describe it in one word, it would be “inspiring.” Shows like this are few and far between these days, and by these days, I mean these years, and by these years I mean these decades.
“The Real Folk Blues” – Mai Yamane, The Seatbelts
Cowboy Bebop Ending Theme
The soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop is truly incredible. Choosing one feels like doing a disservice to the rest. “Tank” is awesome. “Space Lion” is awesome. “Blue” is awesome. But in the end, I gotta go with “The Real Folk Blues.” Without any dialogue or animation, that simply minute-and-a-half ending manages to tell the story of Spike, Julia, and Vicious before the start of the series. Thank you Mai Yamane, thank you Seatbelts, thank you Yoko Kanno, and thank you Shinichiro Watanabe.
“Hemisphere” – Maaya Sakamoto
RahXephon Opening Theme
If the subtitle to the show is “tuning the world,” then it follows that it better have damn good music. Well guess what. RahXephon has damn good music. The harmonic vocals prevalent throughout the series offers a sense of mystery and calmness.
“Kuusou Rumba” – Kenji Otsuki
Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Opening Theme
All the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei opening themes are full of high octane randomness. For the Goku OVA, they took the opening song from the Zoku and basically went to town on it. I don’t even know what’s going on here, but I love every second of it. Oh and by the way, Rumba > Bure > Ringo.
“Ride On Shooting Star” – The Pillows
FLCL Ending Theme
I could have put Happy Bivouac on shuffle and any song that came up would have be suitable for this list. It could have been “One Life” for its ominous intro. It could have been “Hybrid Rainbow” for its eerie beauty. It could have been “Crazy Sunshine” for its unmatched buildup and emotion. It could have been “Last Dinousaur” for its sheer evocativeness. It could have been “I Think I Can” for its manliness and power. It could have been “Little Busters” simply because its fucking “Little Busters.” But in the end, I gotta go with the classic, the endearing, the ending theme, RIDE ON SHOOTING STAR.
“Giant Robo OVA First Ending Theme”
Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Last and most certainly not least, is the ending theme to one of the greatest OVAs in the history of anime. The orchestral score for Giant Robo is nothing short of spectacular and each episode features its own complete soundtrack. My personal favorite still has to be the ending theme to the first OVA.