OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Spring 2016

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With the season more than halfway over, it’s time to once again dig into our favorite songs from shows that have been airing for the past few months. While our Winter 2016 slate was impressively diverse, judging from our collective fawning, I was convinced this season’s award ceremony would be rather repetitively focused on two certain songs from certain shows by a certain studio (Hint: its name is one letter short of a beloved Winnie the Pooh character). Luckily, I forgot that some people on this blog are contractually obliged to honour that YoYo’s Eccentric Shenanigans show that keeps popping up in this feature like The Beatles on top 100 songs of all time lists, so luckily for you, you won’t end up seeing a song on this list more than, err. twice. Hey, we do like agreeing on stuff once in a while!

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“Pipo Password” by Teddyloid ft. Bonjour Suzuki (Space Patrol Luluco)

I can’t help but get a bit embarrassed when I listen to Bonjour Suzuki. There’s something undeniably sexual in her breathy, half-mumbled, half-moaned vocals that nevertheless manages to sound lush and proudly girly. It’s both her greatest strength and her biggest weakness, and might explain why she’s been all over the place in anime ever since Yuri Kuma Arashi: A voice that so intensely exudes both innocence and eroticism is what the industry has been looking for for ages now. Nevertheless, “Pipo Password” wisely takes the high road and goes all-in on dreamlike atmosphere rather than sixpence sleaze. Teddyloid — previously seen collaborating with that other mysterious, husky-voiced rapper girl — eschews his usual maximalism for a sparser sound more reminiscent of the laid-back haze-hop Suzuki produces on her own. Nevertheless, his expertise in hit-making is integral to cutting the final track down to dream pop perfection. “Pipo Password” is both appropriately spacey and surprisingly heartfelt, earning Trigger’s current short the best theme song of the season yet again.

But wait! A new challenger has entered the ring!

“Lay Your Hands On Me” by Boom Boom Satellites (Kiznaiver)

Sue me, I couldn’t choose between this and “Pipo Password” if my life depended on it. It’s been a while since shows I’m actually watching have had such fantastic theme songs, so I’m gonna enjoy them for all that they are worth. Boom Boom Satellites first blipped onto the radar with their beloved, big beat contributions to 2008’s Xam’d: Lost Memories. Eight years later, they still sound like they’re consistently ten years behind on current musical trends, but in the case of “Lay Your Hands On Me”, this is most definitely a good thing. I’ll take my trance ethereal and slow-burning over brash and cheesy everyday, and in just under a minute and a half, this TV cut builds up to a cathartic finale that no full version could ever top. The sparse, kaleidoscopic visuals supplement the music beautifully, opening up every single episode with a sense of otherworldly emotion no amounts of the show’s own slapstick comedy and preposterous melodrama could ever compete with. As a result, “Lay Your Hands On Me” might just be a better fit for Kiznaiver than the show itself will ever be.

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“Ikenai Borderline” by Walkure (Macross Delta)

Technically this is more of an insert song than an ending, but since Aqua is also cheating I’m just going for it. In my defense, Wikipedia lists it as an ending song and Wikipedia is never wrong. That out of the way, “Ikenai Borderline” strikes a great balance between sounding believable as a dumb idol group song while still being good. It’s driven and intense pop perfection, peaking in an absolutely massive hook of a chorus that will drive itself into your brain for weeks. Much like May’n in the previous series, lead singer JUNNA blows away the rest of the cast and could end up being the break out star when this is all said and done. Perhaps the only negative is the bar was set so high for the rest of the soundtrack that the other songs have been a bit disappointing, but on its own “Ikenai Borderline” is one of the best songs of its type that we’ve heard in a while.

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“I Want You” by Savage Garden (JoJo: Diamond is Unbreakable)

David Production’s JoJo adaptations have had a stellar track record of using weird old pop songs as endings an that streak isn’t broken here. Savage Garden’s 90’s techno-pop hit ‘I Want You’ might initially seem a bizarre choice for an all-action shonen show. but really it’s a stroke of left-field genius. Darren Hayes’s spacey, detached vocals and the song’s lush harmonies meld perfectly with David’s gorgeous psychedelic visual flight through the town of Morioh. The combined effect is of something far more calm and ethereal than your standard JoJo fare and that’s a welcome contrast to the bombast of the much loved opening. Plus, it’s 90’s as hell. What’s not to like?

(Also a huge honourable mention to “Lay Your Hands On Me” on which far better people than I have written things)

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“Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town” by The DU (JoJo: Diamond is Unbreakable)

Yeah, I’m gonna be That Guy again and just pick the latest JoJo opening. What can I say? JoJo is great and I haven’t been disappointed by one of its OPs yet. Notable is that this one is in full 2D animation – as opposed to previous seasons, which used CG models – and that it looks like we’re going to get evolving credits as the show moves on. Koichi’s already had his Stand added, and there’s a sequence of dancing characters at the end that only represents around 12 episodes of content. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.

Also, though I’m pretty sure it’s technically an insert song, special mention goes to “Ikenai Borderline” from Macross Delta, which has been stuck in my head for the past few weeks.

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“Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town” by The DU (JoJo: Diamond is Unbreakable)

Jojo knocks it out of the park once again. This is the exact kind of OP this show needed to come out with to establish DU’s own unique style. It seems we’re going flashy again, with the jazzy track a bit reminiscent of part 2. Once again David Production knows just what to hide and just what to tease, as this week we got to see Koichi’s stand fully present in the OP for the first time, adding a great visual cue to its powers. Few anime seem to get the total devotion to theme that the Jojo OPs have gotten, what with getting their own band to make it and everything, and that has made every one of them seem so personal and so perfect for their part.

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“Pipo Password” by Teddyloid ft. Bonjour Suzuki (Space Patrol Luluco)

As a fan of Bonjour Suzuki’s weird breathy vocals, it’s nice to finally have her feature said vocals in the ED of an anime I actually watch. Teaming up with Teddyloid is a baller fucking combo. I was seriously torn between this and Diamond is Unbreakable’s thematically perfect OP, but it was “Pipo Password” that utterly bowled me over the first time I heard it. Like goddamn what a hot track.

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“Lay Your Hands On Me” by Boom Boom Satellites (Kiznaiver)

This was an easy pick for me. If I’d heard anything of Boom Boom Satellites before it was only in passing and so while I’m pretty good at recognising artists, I honestly didn’t know who was performing this OP without looking it up first. I’m with Aqua though – the track has a really great build-up that ends on a gloriously strong yet somehow rather dreamy note, and I think that’s a good fit for the kind of surrealness that Kiznaiver‘s trying to sell. I can never decide whether I like the accompanying visuals or not – they might be a little frenetic and epileptic fit-inducing for me – but the song itself is solid. I also can’t not give mention to the all-English lyrics which, while not quite natural enough to pass as anything else but Japanese-English to me, are pronounced well enough to (almost) fool the ear. That’s not intended as criticism, by the way – knowing first-hand just how little English is spoken in Japan means being able to appreciate it a whole lot more whenever I hear something as smooth as this.

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Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Is Bonjour Suzuki secretly a highly advanced Vocaloid? Did anyone actually listen to the music for “ME! ME! ME!”? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Spring 2016

  1. Didn’t have the time to add properly, but +1 to Boom Boom Satellites. Been a fan of them since Xam’d, and none other than colons introduced me to their back catalogue when we were still in halls at uni. I feel old.

  2. Kiznaiver is a clear winner for me as far as openings go. JoJo’s comes in second, and the rest of the field is left in the dust. I would have to leave Kabaneri in third for OPs.

    In endings, JoJo’s is the best by far. I listen to it every bloody time haha! I also like the Kabaneri ED -it is wicked awesome. None of the others have quite caught me eye….

  3. Am I the only one that thinks Kiznaiver OP sounds like the chorus of a-ha’s Take On Me? No no doesn’t just sound like it but immidiately makes me want to listen to it on youtube. Taaaaake meeeeee oooonnnnnn!!! Classic.

    As for my choice its gotta be “Pipo Password”. It’s such a graceful and delicate track it almost seems innapropriate considerin Luluco is a quite the opposite.

  4. Re:0096 has a pretty good set of OPs and EDs too, due to getting Hiroyuki Sawano for both themes this time around. Admittedly, Kiznaiver still steals the OP spot for me, but it’s still got my 2nd/3rd place OP and EDs this season. Good stuff.

    • We’re talking the ED right? I guess the OP and ED are both pretty good. I kind of wish we had all picked Kiznaiver after the incredibly tragic news about Boom Boom Satellites though.

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