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

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Bad news: Summer is over. Worse news: Summer season is not yet over. As you might have been able to tell from the dearth of content, the current anime load-out hasn’t really managed to swipe us off our feet. A more satisfactory review awaits you in a few weeks, but now that we’re halfway through the season already, the members of our merry crew have had more than enough time to pick their favourite anime song of the season. That is, if they even watched anything at all this season.

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“Dr. K” by Taffy (Ninja Slayer From Animation)

The otherwise entirely perishable Food Wars would’ve easily taken home my nomination, if only Avex Trax had picked Seiko Oomori’s excellent “Magic Mirror” as its ending theme. Sadly enough, the single’s rather obviously jokey b-side made the cut in stead, and while “Sacchan no Sexy Curry” isn’t terrible, it’s far from the manic, iconoclastic freak pop Oomori usually brings to the table. Good thing there is still Ninja Slayer From Animation, the gift that just keeps on giving. While Trigger got another impressive lineup of artists to do the ending themes for the show’s second half — including Boris, Akai Ko-En and TK from Ling Tosite Shigure — prime 90’s nostalgists Taffy once again stood out with their road trippy “Dr. K”, attached to episode 18. While “Dr. K” isn’t all that different from “Suicidal Bunny”, which graced Ninja Slayer‘s eighth episode last season, it’s less Breeders and more catchy 1960’s girl pop, albeit drowned in an ocean of noise that would make Phil Spector blush. In her adorably atrocious Engrish, lead singer Iris tells the story of a doctor “with a perfect hair” — likely not the Power Rangers RPM character of the same name — who tells his girls “ciao ciao” and reminisces about “all the happies” in his life. It’s awkward as heck, but endearingly so, and hey — I’ll take an easy ride down sun-swept roads over the usual anime theme song purple prose à la “the me of tomorrow will not regret the sins of the past” any day.

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“Insight” by White Ash (Gatchaman Crowds Insight)

This isn’t a great season for OP/EDs (shout out to nano.RIPE but the Non Non Biyori OP isn’t their best work) but that shouldn’t diminish how great the Gatchaman Crowds Insight opening really is. Visually, the bold colors and swirling design elements seduce my inner graphic designer while the cardboard cutout thing is a fantastic hook. The character designs are already varied and interesting as it is so playing off those works great. The song itself is super cool too, a serious but not too serious rock number that sets the mood for some artsy anime socio-political commentary and occasional monster thrashing. It’s also really, really catchy, with that huge chorus getting stuck in my head every time I hear it. This is pretty much everything you could want in an anime opening.

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“Mazeruna Kiken” by Kinniku Shoujo Tai (Ushio and Tora)

I still don’t know the lyrics to this song thank s to Crunchyroll’s bizarre insistence on not subbing openings, but its bombastic, shout-y vocals go well with Ushio and Tora. The entire show seems like it was transplanted from 20 years ago, and that includes this OP.

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“Insight” by White Ash (Gatchaman Crowds Insight)

Insight is certainly the best show of the season, and just like its first season, the show starts off with a bang by giving us a frentic, stylish opening to get us pumped for more sociopolitical commentary. I’m always a sucker for striking visual elements, so I loved the cardboard cutouts right off the bat, but I think what makes it great is, like School Live, it packs a lot of subtext into fractions of a second. I love when an opening makes you guess as to how unmentioned parts of it will figure into the grand scheme over the course of the show. Granted, that wouldn’t work for every show. School Live needed to ease people in with its OP, otherwise a lot of the better revelations would be figured out immediately. Insight does a good job of giving important hints, but not revealing too much. The Kuu-samas have been there from the very beginning, but I would have never gotten the connection between them and the faces on the emotion bubbles. I’m still just noticing little details every time I watch it.

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“Mazeruna Kiken” by Kinniku Shoujo Tai (Ushio and Tora)

It’s a little unfair because the OP is playing into my 90s nostalgia so hard. Like Iro, despite having absolutely no clue what’s even being said, I can’t help but get excited for whatever weird monster of the week Ushio and Tora have to deal with once I hear the guitar riffs and manic shouting.

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“Mazeruna Kiken” by Kinniku Shoujo Tai (Ushio and Tora)

It took a little while for it to grow on me, but I can’t watch an episode of Ushio and Tora without listening through the opening music. As Iro has already said, it’s reminiscent of a shonen anime theme from the 80s, and reminds me in particular of Masaaki Endoh’s delightful wailing. Very fitting given the age of the original manga. I also have to mention the School Live OP, as the generic-sounding slice-of-life character song nature of it contrasts so damn well with what’s happening in that show.

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“Kodoma Kotodama” by nano.RIPE (Non Non Biyori Repeat)

Under normal circumstances, this probably wouldn’t be my kind of song; it’s a little too sweet for my tastes, and like a lot of J-pop, the vocals sound quite nasally to my ears. That said, it suits Non Non Biyori so well that I can’t help but like it, particularly the gently rollicking refrain and twangy guitar chords. I get a definite countryside feel here, and the visuals accompanying the song are timed very nicely. Overall, the whole thing is cute without setting my teeth on edge, and an easy listen that always perks my mood right up.

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Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Does anyone else miss the times when Durarara!!‘s opening credits were actually good? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Summer 2015

  1. I liked how Mikado was creeping around the whole OP this season of Durarara, but the song itself wasn’t as great as last season.

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