In what is probably the first time in this blog’s history, we’ve all picked another song as our favourite anime song of the season, so now I don’t know which pick has the honour of headlining this post! What a dilemma! Oh, no, wait, just kidding, I chose my pick. Of course. I mean, it’s Daoko eating a hamburger. What could possibly top that? Heck, can you believe this lady refused to show her face until two years ago?
Err, anyway,we’re somewhere vaguely halfway into the Spring season again, so here we are again to tell you which opening sequences and ending themes we didn’t skip after the first episode this time around. And let me just seize this opportunity to tell the anime industry to step up your music game, yo. I get the feeling no one here’s particularly excited about their pick, and it sure as heck isn’t the first time. Heck, we got to hear Shinsei Kammattechan doing their first anime song since this beautiful train wreck, and I’m legally obligated not to give a shit about it because it’s tied to Attack on fucking Titan? For shame, I say, for shame, good sir!
“Haikei Goodbye Sayonara” by DAOKO (Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul)
Even if her first foray into anime marked her transition from indie starlet to major label diva, from anonymous shrinking violet to overnight style icon and – perhaps most controversially – from rapper to full-fledged pop star, Daoko has done an admirable job avoiding the pitfalls that have reduced many a talented artist to purveyors of commercial jingles. If that means the singer’s somehow actively fighting her label’s efforts to turn her into yet another disposable anison machine is entirely up for discussion, but that fact remains that whenever her distinct whispers show up in anime, chances are likely you’re watching something made with utmost passion for the craft.
No show this season to better show off that sentiment than Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to hear Daoko’s latest single featuring as its ending song. In a show still mostly associated – at least, musically – with the bombastic cacophonies of SiM, “Haikei Goodbye Sayonara” appears to represent the breezy, girly vibes Virgin Soul has been conspicuously adding to the franchise’s established formula of swashbuckling adventure and shameless heavy metal bullshit. The cutesy, if somewhat uncharacteristically under-animated ending animation appears to back up this interpretation… until you start digesting the lyrics and realise the song they’ve been trying to pass off as Nina’s theme song is actually a rather vicious breakup song. Oops.
“Kaidoku Funou” by After the Rain (Atom: The Beginning)
This one is all about the visuals as the song itself is the same kind of earnest mess of pop rock we’ve heard in a million anime openings (or vocaloid songs) before it. It does a fine job setting the mood for the video, but it’s not particularly noteworthy on its own. It’s the animation that really makes this a top notch opening, the work of internet famous animator Bahi JD who is probably best known for his work on the game Skullgirls. I love the choice of soft, warm colors and the rough, hand drawn style adds a pleasant human touch to a show set in a very robotic, technology driven world. Watching this makes me want to be in this world and hang out with these people as they go about their business of robot fighting or whatever it is their supposed to be doing. Sadly the anime itself has done little to live up to this potential but even as a standalone piece, this OP is pretty great.
“LET iT END” by SiM (Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul)
This OP is the kind of stupid fun that we want from Bahamut, and it means I start every single episode with an exasperated-yet-amused groan. It brings me back to the old days of Genesis, full of rooftop horseback swordfights and swashbuckling adventures. The animation is naturally stellar as well, with the Persona 5 reminiscent red, black, and white making for some of the most striking visuals this side of the Little Witch Academia ED. Here’s hoping the show picks up, though…
“Opfert eure Herzen” by Linked Horizon (Attack on Titan)
Sure, the season 2 OP is pretty much just the same as season 1, but that one lit the anime world on fire so they obviously were doing something right. There’s something just really blood pumping about a choir shouting while people on horseback charge a two hundred foot monstrosity. There’s also something just charmingly goofy about the very end of it, where a montage of predators showing their hearts (I assume this is a running theme in the show) has them running over a destroyed town. It’s cool to see the incredibly accurate depictions of the different hearts in each animal. Also, since this OP is on Funi’s official page, I get the nice bonus that people who stumble across this blog in the distant future will actually know what video I’m talking about.
“Invisible Wings” by Ohara (Little Witch Academia)
Let it be said and dare anyone to argue otherwise, Trigger has some of the best animators in the entire industry in their roster. The second ED, storyboarded by Yoh Yoshinari and primarily animated by Masanobu Hiraoka is the animation equivalent of a mic drop. It’s a declaration to everyone else in the game that you could never hope to achieve something this beautifully animated. The sheer fluidity of the ED’s animation is a showcase of Yoshinari’s talent for effects animation. I was awestruck when I saw it for the first time. At its finest, Little Witch Academia is about the splendor of its magical world and the adventures that accompany it. In many ways, the ED thematically understands this even better than the show itself at times. Forget just best OP/ED, Little Witch Academia’s second ED might be the best animated sequence of the year.
“Moon River” by fhána (The Eccentric Family 2)
I’ve never been the biggest fan of fhána – the vocals tend to be a bit high-pitched and squeaky for my tastes, and a lot of their songs both completely inoffensive yet also completely generic. I like Moon River’s melody though, and it’s grown on me more and more with each episode. More to the point, the visuals that accompany it actually tell a story, and I’m a huge sucker for that kind of thing. It was great to eventually be given some context for the images, which are static but quite beautiful in their simplicity nonetheless, and if those last few are anything to go by, said story is not fully told just yet. Yasaburou may the show’s main character but Benten is certainly my favourite, and I enjoy seeing a totally different, rather melancholy side of her here.
Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Is it already ending? Does Iro simply not understand the joys of true romance? Make sure to let us know in the comments! Not that last one though, save it for the Roundup.