OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Spring 2015

‘Tis finally the season for annoying summer hits, so let’s all stay inside and reflect on the good old days before the calypso beats took over. Only it’s not the early 2000’s anymore and this is an anime blog, so the music isn’t going to be that much better. Especially since this season has been positively gasping for decent shows and decent songs to go with them, so don’t be surprised if you’re going to get a bit of déjà vu from this here feature. For what they’re worth, these are our favourite Blood Blockade Battlefront anime songs from the past season.

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“Suicidal Bunny” by Taffy (Ninja Slayer from Animation)

Getting Boris to do the ending theme for your silly ninja anime is like getting Led Zeppelin to soundtrack a 1960’s sitcom, so I had “Kilmister” shortlisted as my favourite of the season already before we even heard it. Nevertheless, that’s not where Ninja Slayer’s mad alt-rock licensing spree ended. As the ending credits for episode 8, Trigger licensed “Suicidal Bunny” by Taffy, a summery rock-out from a band that clearly looks to the other side of the Pacific for its inspiration. From lead singer Iris’ distinct cadence reminiscent of the Pixies’ Kim Deal and the sleazy guitar grumbling peppering Taffy’s Britpop songwriting with some grunge, it’s hard not to talk about the band in Western terms. Even their atmospheric, loud production feels like a distinct far cry from the shoegazing adopted by many a Japanese band. Don’t let all these comparisons fool you into thinking Taffy don’t have a sound all of their own, though. “Suicidal Bunny” may have sod all to do with the show it’s been slapped onto, it’s a song that deserves all the attention it can get.

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“Kuchizuke Diamond” by Weaver (Yamada-kun and the 7 Witches)

As much as I wanted to join Aqua in choosing one of the amazing Ninja Slayer ED songs (and will cheat by linking my favorite here), I try to judge these things as a complete package. So while I’d give the musical nod to Ninja Slayer and the visual nod to Blood Blockade Battlefront, the opening of Yamada-kun and the 7 Witches does both pretty well. The sweet, passionate vocals and warm visual filter set the perfect mood for a funny, romantic, and surprisingly thoughtful series. You can almost feel the cool breeze as the hats blow through the air and you think back fondly about the first time you fell in love… uhhh what was I writing about again? Point is the audio and visuals all work well together and get you in the right frame of mind for the show. Isn’t that what a great OP is all about?

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“Sugar Song to Bitter Step” by Unison Square Garden (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

Considering BBB’s premise of a bunch of quirky friends in super-NYC, it’s hard to think of a more appropriate ED than having everyone hanging out and dancing together. It captures the same fun vibe as last season’s Death Parade OP, as well as those of similar urban fantasies Baccano! and Durarara!!. I’ve enjoyed Unison Square Garden’s music since Yozakura Quartet, and I catch a new visual detail in Bones’ animation every time I watch it. We could use more OP/EDs like this one.

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“Sugar Song to Bitter Step” by Unison Square Garden (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

It’s hard not to like this pure bit of goofy fun. Sure, it may not be the most technically impressive ED of all time, but it has an entertaining style that perfectly mirrors the show itself. My personal favorite part is everyone just dork-dancing their asses off at the end. I’m also a big fan of Chain in that dress, she ain’t called a shawty for nothing. It’s such an infectious piece of energy that it’s hard not to smile as you watch everyone do an asynchronous can-can or look for the little details that get more fleshed out as the show progresses.

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“Hello, World!” by Bump of Chicken (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

BBB’s ED is arguably the more eye catching and iconic of the show’s bookends, Despite that, I find myself drawn to its OP even more. A combination of Bump of Chicken’s top tier tunes and a montage that reeks of style has me picking it over its ED. No offense to Union Square Garden, but Bump of Chicken is one of the premier icons of J-Rock for a reason. As someone who’s always had a love for bustling cities and the beautiful displays of life and energy they are, both in real life and in fiction, BBB’s OP is a fantastic capturing of that magic. It gives the exact kind of vibe a story about a crazy world and its crazy inhabitants needs. At the end of the day, no matter how weird things get in New Hellsalem’s Lot, it’s all about the adventure and the stories you make with the people around you.

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“Hello, shooting-star” by moumoon (Assassination Classroom)

I’ve been listening to moumoon’s music for a few months now, after learning that they were going to doing a few gigs in London. My impressions remain mixed; YUKA has a fantastic voice and the music she’s singing to is nice and catchy, but they like to hop between English and Japanese lyrics. This isn’t a bad thing by itself, and YUKA’s pronunciation of English words is absolutely spot on, but the lyrics themselves are awful. This is perhaps why I love ‘Hello, shooting-star’ so much, because the English lyrics are fine and the song does a great job of getting me to sing along to it. What’s more, check out the accompanying visuals. What a gorgeous way to end an episode, and there’s no sign of the animation re-usage that the OP suffered from until a few episodes ago.

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“Sugar Song to Bitter Step” by Unison Square Garden (Blood Blockade Battlefront)

The song took a while to grow on me (and it’s still not as good or as catchy as the OP’s), but in terms of visuals and sheer style, the ED to Blood Blockade Battlefront takes the cake. I can’t help but compare it a little to last season’s Death Parade OP in that way – only while that was the most hilariously inappropriate OP of all time, the shenanigans of this ED are perfectly in keeping with the general tone of the show. What I enjoy most about BBB are the episodic mini-adventures, filled with the frenetic action and ridiculous antics of one of the most dysfunctional team of ‘heroes’ I’ve seen in any anime to date – and that’s exactly the feel I get from this ED. In fact, if all the show’s characters got drunk and had a party, I could well imagine a scene just like this one taking place. In short, the ED is fun, it’s lively, and it’s adorably idiotic, just like the anime itself.

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Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Are the horns in the Sound! Euphonium OP real or fake? Seriously, I can’t tell. You’d think they’d make the horns in a song for a show about a brass band sound like actual horns, but I can’t shake the feeling we’re just listening to synths. Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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