OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Summer 2017

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Bad news! Summer is over! Good news! That means we’ll be telling you about our favourite anime songs of the season again! Scant consolation, probably, but hey, since when is that our job? Regardless, we have another diverse lineup for you, with gratuitous sex jazz, spy prog, minimal hip-house and a dash of fairy pop. All of these are totally real genres. Look them up.

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“The Other Side of the Wall” by Void_Chords ft. Maru (Princess Principal)

Alright, no, this isn’t the best opening sequence of the season, that honour unequivocally goes to Kakegurui’s saucy “Deal with the Devil”. Yet since you’ll be seeing that barely legal ditty twice on this list already, I’ve elected to highlight another favourite of mine — the funky theme song to Princess Principal. Though ostensibly a rather bog-standard anime song, with its overwrought proggy structure, overproduced arrangement and audibly accented English, “The Other Side of the Wall” makes use of its kitchen-sink approach to accentuate the versatility of the show it introduces. On one hand, there’s the kind of catchy power pop choruses and vocal showmanship you’d expect from the opening to a science fiction anime, but on the other, sinister electric guitars reminiscent of the James Bond theme and a dash of jazz straight out of a hard-boiled film noir. Heck, even series composer Yuki Kajiura gets a shout-out in some of these gorgeous vocal harmonies. “The Other Side of the Wall” is as eclectic in referencing musical spy tropes as its show is in referencing storytelling cues, and for that reason, stands as one of the few anime theme songs that is an integral part to an excellent whole.

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“Deal with the Devil” by Tia (Kakegurui)

MAPPA should keep calling in Sayo Yamamato to storyboard all their openings after last seasons’ awesome OP for Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul and now this one. I could probably write an entire post breaking down why the visuals are so amazing and how being sexy is so much more than smashing body parts in your face, but I don’t have to because it’s made so well. All you have to do is watch it and it makes sense. Musically we have singer Tia reunited with Ryo of supercell fame for what I think is the first time since the Noragami Aragoto ending, and they do work well together. It’s probably not his best work as I’m not a fan of the rapid fire crammed in lyrics, but Tia manages to tough it out and deliver on the fun and sexy vibe they are going for. Really great work overall.

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“Cinderella Step” by DAOKO (Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul)

Look, we here at Glorio have opinions about the direction Bahamut has taken – and some equally strong opinions on how dumb the romance arc between Nina and Charioce is – but I also cannot deny this ED’s charm. The cast dancing in goofy aristocratic outfits and DAOKO’s soft rap vocals give the sense of just plain fun that the show lost over the season break, and let me pretend that this show is what I wanted it to be for at least 90 seconds.

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“Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite” by Miyu Tomita and Mariya Ise (Made in Abyss)

“Deal with the Devil” is obviously the most technically and musically superior OP/ED of the season, but it’s a bit too shameless in its imagery for my tastes. While Made in Abyss‘s ED isn’t much to look at, it is a great book-end to the show, slowly getting more dissonant with every episode. It’s especially fun for particular moments like seeing the Crimson Splitjaw or Ozen popping out of the camp and you are like “Yeah, that definitely wasn’t as fun as this ED.” It’s a perfectly bubbly song for Riko’s character even now that things have certainly not gone as smoothly as she may have hoped. You could almost see it as a look into her psyche, how she’s always able to look at the bright side of things no matter how messed up the situation she’s in can get. It also speaks to that universal strength of real relationship that’s exemplified in Riko and Reg. What hardships one could not endure alone, can be overcome with hand in hand. I can’t wait to meet this weird bunny creature and find out she also tries to kill them or eat them or something else that’s fittingly ironic before becoming friends.

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“10% roll, 10% romance” by Unison Square Garden (Welcome to the Ballroom)

This season has been kind of on the weak side for OP/EDs so Ballroom’s OP ends up sliding into place by default. I’ve always been a sucker for Unison Square Garden, so getting them was the cherry on top of the Ballroom adaptation for me. That said, the song itself is the sort of cheery and catchy thing that’s perfect for your non-sports anime, and there really isn’t much to say beyond that. I do rather like the visuals, conventional they may be. It’s the right mix of energetic and friendly to, well, welcome you to Welcome to the Ballroom.

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“Deal with the Devil” by Tia (Kakegurui)

Kakegurui is pure trash. Highly entertaining trash, but trash nonetheless, and a textbook example of style over substance. The OP is likewise stylish as hell, but unlike the rest of the show it’s also genuinely good. I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to anything by Tia before, but her vocals in Deal with the Devil definitely compliment the catchy, show-time jazz music – husky, playful, and undeniably sexy. And while I’d normally be instantly turned off by this much obvious fanservice in any opening sequence, it helps that it is actually pretty sexy here as opposed to just plain dumb and unimaginative as most fanservice tends to be. There’s also enough going on with the visuals that said fanservice seems more like a way to emphasize the trippiness rather than the other way around. Nothing less from Yamamoto Sayo, whose always vividly colourful and seemingly effortlessly chic touch gives Kakegurui one hell of an entrance.

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Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Why is Ryo giving all his good songs to other people? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

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