We’re halfway through the Fall season, somewhat, maybe, so we’ve heard the theme songs of this quarter’s anime enough to decide which one we like the most. I initially wrote this introduction expecting a landslide victory by Jam Project’s theme song for One Punch Man, but to my (and likely yours) pleasant surprise, the Glorio Crew is a lot more resistant to the unstoppable force of Theme Songs Where They Scream The Title Of The Show Really Loud then I expected. Hurray for variety!
“talking by KANA-BOON (The Perfect Insider)
Now I’m definitely not picking this one because of the song. KANA-BOON are exactly the kind of generic, polished, insubstantial ‘indie’ shlock (see also: Sekai no Owari, indigo la end, ONE OK ROCK, Bump of Chicken, etc.) that drives me up the wall, and while ‘talking’ is a perfectly inoffensive bit of funk rock, it’s mostly the animation that interests me. If there’s any opening sequences I love more than opening sequences where they yell the name of the song really loudly, it’s opening sequences with dancing in them. A striking example of how to use rotoscoping well, The Perfect Insider‘s crudely drawn cast engages in a dance-off that perfectly captures the bizarre obsession triangle between Moe, Saikawa and Shiki at the core of the show’s narrative. The constant unraveling of Shiki’s silhouette turns the somewhat uncharacteristically silly dance routine into an easily digestible bit of symbolism, while the various filters, bleeps and bloops add to the show’s grisly, futuristic vibe. Plus, I just find it really funny that a song named ‘talking’ is the theme song for an anime that consists mostly of, well…
“Mathemagics” by Marina Inoue (Owarimonogatari)
I’m pretty much a lock to choose Monogatari OP’s or anything sung by Marina Inoue for these posts. Considering “Mathemagics” covers both, I really had no choice but to pick it. Fortunately it turns out to be a pretty great song. Inoue’s smooth, mature voice soothes then soars over the urgent piano riff and synth strings, creating a sense of drama that really stands out. Visually the style is interesting with the stunning contrast of the red on the monotone, cool greens, but let’s be honest: it mostly looks like computer tricks to avoid having to animate anything. THANKS SHAFT. Overall though, it’s a cool OP. Too bad that arc sucked.
“THE HERO!!” by JAM Project (One Punch Man)
One Punch Man is a joke anime about the most over the top shonen fighting heroes you’ve ever seen. JAM Project are basically a joke band who sing the most over the top shonen fighting anime themes you’ve ever heard. What better match could they be. “THE HERO!” is the band at their most flamboyantly dumb ever, all big bellowing choruses and screaming exhortations to be an ultimate hero, layered over the shredding sounds of 80’s hair metal guitars. It might be a tad too earnest if it weren’t for the delightfully silly accompanying animation, the highlight of which has to be Saitama punching a giant star man straight in his dumb grinning face. As it is, the entire thing walks the same line the show does, between earnest spirit and deliviously tongue-in-cheek mockery.
“Orphans’ Tears” by Misia (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans)
I was going to pick JAM Project’s opening for One-Punch Man, but this song is the one that’s been stuck in my head all season. I’m certain part of this is because Iron-Blooded Orphans does that whole thing where the ED starts playing over the very end of the actual episode, which is an effect technique I’ve always loved; JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Log Horizon did it a lot, too. While the animation involved here is not terribly impressive – consisting mostly of a still pan – the song is top notch, and is reminiscent of the style of older Gundam shows. Misia is apparently one of Japan’s best-selling music artists, and I can’t say I’m surprised.
“talking” by KANA-BOON (The Perfect Insider)
It breaks my heart to have to only pick one OP/ED for this season. Every one mentioned here is one I would have easily picked just as well as talking. Still, while I do love One Punch Man to pieces, The Perfect Insider also came out swinging with its OP. Immediately it draws you in with its wild effervescent style, something matched perfectly by its peppy score. I have no idea what they’re talking about, but the interpretive dance our main characters do as it goes seems to give us all the information we need. I love the idea of the dances giving us little insights into each character before we even meet them. Rotoscoping often gets a bad name in the anime business, so it’s nice to see its powers used for good this time.
“Orphans’ Tears” by Misia (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans)
“Orphans’ Tears” is a Tomino-esque fever dream of an ED in a Gundam show that isn’t even headlined by the old man. It’s fucking rad and I’m all for more retro-styled songs in modern anime.
“Raise Your Flag” by MAN WITH A MISSION (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans)
For me, this was a toss up between both the OP and ED for Iron Blooded Orphans, which I think may be the first time since I’ve been writing for Glorio that that’s happened? The reason why I’m leaning towards Raise Your Flag has nothing to do with me spotting that Gee has the ED covered, and rather in how effective this song is in getting me pumped up for another episode Gundam. I also really dig the grain effect on the accompanying animation, making it seem like (artistically shot) footage from the base of Tekkadan. It does a great job of showing the extended cast in a way that makes them feel part of the big family that Tekkadan is, rather than bit-part characters that don’t actually mean a great deal as far as the plot is concerned. The band itself isn’t particularly mind blowing with the vocals, and the Engrish is pretty bad even if it is fun, but I’d be lying if I said the OP didn’t do its job. Oh, and ignore what Aqua says because ONE OK ROCK and Bump of Chicken are good bands.
“Theme from Lupin III 2015” by You & The Explosion Band (Lupin III)
This season has felt pretty strong in terms of its ODs and EDs; I can think of several off the top of my head that have really grown on me, like Noragami’s very rock-heavy OP or The Perfect Insider’s just as catchy indie pop-rock one, courtesy of The Oral Cigarettes and Kana-Boon respectively. My top vote has to go to the OP for Lupin III though – in part because jazz is awesome and should be used in the medium more often, but mostly because it’s just so damn fun. The theme itself (created by Ōno Yūji, who returned as composer for the current series) isn’t new, but this particular version is not only extremely stylish but also fits the tone of the show perfectly. It’s effortlessly cool yet charmingly retro, and combined with the visuals puts me in mind quite strongly of Cowboy Bebop, which is never a bad thing.
Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Does
Euri Aqua have the worst taste in music, or what? Make sure to let us know in the comments!