Behold, the field in which we grow our blogs! Lay thine eyes upon it and thou shalt see that it is barren! In the chaotic race towards the final days of this godforsaken year and the 12 Days of Glorio we’ll celebrate to see it off, we’d almost forgotten all about our seasonal look back at the best anime title sequences of the past few months. Luckily, we got our act together right in time to bring you recovering junkies, hellacious motorcycles and the glorious return of JUNNA to OP/ED Op-Eds!
“Saturday Night Question” by Megumi Nakajima (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
“Saturday Night Question” might not technically be the best OP/ED this season, but I’m going with my heart on this one. I’ve always been a fan of Megumi Nakajima, and considering how rare new tracks from her are these days, I’ll take what I can get. It helps that the song is one of the best she’s done in her post-Macross career, a real solid, mature pop song with slick production that almost sounds like something made for her vocaloid counterpart, GUMI. The visuals are unremarkable but very well directed, packing in a few clues that make sense as the series goes on. Overall it’s a really good OP for a really good series.
“Here” by JUNNA (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
It’s rare that anime shows get the luxury of openings specifically tailored to them, and I’m not certain that’s the case here, but so well does ‘Here’ match the mood and tone of The Ancient Magus’ Bride that it’s tough to imagine otherwise. From the massed choral chanting that opens the track, through the delicate finger-picked guitar and lush strings, the song evokes both the rustic folk feel of the story and its more grand, magical ambitions. JUNNA’s voice is strong but planitive, delivering in both the tenderness required of the quiet moments, and the huge swell of the chorus. It’s a perfect tone-setting piece for the show which follows, as well as a magical composition in its own right.
“EMG” by JAM Project (Garo: Vanishing Line)
This season has been a strong one for OP and ED sequences, with Inuyashiki featuring a glorious return to form for Man with a Mission and Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond’s OP and ED reminding us why the first season was one of the most stylish debuts in recent memory. In any other season, they would have been easy contenders, but as fate would have it, a new entry in the Garo franchise also happened to air this season. Compared to Garo: Honō no Kokuin’s first OP, which immediately made a powerful first impression, EMG doesn’t as easily impress. But as Vanishing Line progressed and we became better acquainted with the wonderful world of Garo’s crazy anime USA and its fantastic cast, EMG grew on me in a way I wasn’t expecting. It’s a physical embodiment of Vanishing Line’s willingness to forge its own identity apart from its predecessor.
“VS” by Blue Encount (Gintama.: Porori-hen)
There aren’t any songs that stood out to me this season, but there’s still good music to be had here. I’m rather fond of YUKI’s “Sayonara Bystander” and Man With a Mission’s “My Hero”, and the Girls’ Last Tour OP and ED are pretty fun too, but I think the 523rd opening to Gintama might edge them all. You may remember Blue Encount from the opening they contributed to the first season of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, a show with arguably better music than plot beats. Interestingly it’s why I even know of this song, as I haven’t watched Gintama in years.
“Sayonara Bystander” by YUKI (March Comes in Like a Lion 2nd Season)
I gotta be honest, there are no particular standouts for me this anime season in terms of either OPs or EDs. There are certainly plenty of nice songs, but that’s all they are – pleasant, inoffensive, and otherwise unremarkable. That said, of all these kinds of songs on offer, I think March Comes in Like a Lion’s OP is probably the best of them, or at least the one that sticks in my head the most. YUKI’s vocals are a bit too high-pitched and nasally for my tastes, but they’re certainly distinctive, and are familiar enough to me by this point that they don’t grate on my nerves like they used to a few years back. I also think they happen to suit the actual song as well as the anime itself quite well. March Comes in Like a Lion is often bleak, but there’s an optimistic tone to it nonetheless, especially now in season two – a sense that, so long as Rei gets the emotional support he needs and the Kawamotos remain such a warm and loving family, everything will work out in the end. As such, ‘Sayonara Bystander’ feels appropriately uplifting, with a message about walking hard roads together and gaining strength from the people around you.
Did your favourite make the cut? Did we overlook a massive hit? Why is Aqua still hosting this feature when he’s too lazy to pick a song for himself? Make sure to let us know in the comments!