OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Winter 2019

I must admit I haven’t been impressed with the opening and ending songs from the past few seasons, but thankfully Winter has brought us the best batch of OP/EDs in quite some time… well I guess if you can call two or three really good ones a “batch”. ANYWAY, you know the drill by now. Check out our picks before they get copyright struck and let us know what you think.​

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“Chika Dance Song” by Konomi Kohara (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War)

I want to keep this post fun, so I’ll just say my first choice would have been Kaguya-sama’s OP if not for reasons I explained here. My next choice then is the surprise exclusive ending song for episode 3. The ED is much more notable for it’s insanely high quality animation than the catchy but bland music, but that alone was enough to make it a minor internet sensation. It might be the best silly anime dance since “Hare Hare Yukai”, which could be an interesting question in itself… wait, you’re telling me “Hare Hare Yukai” was almost 13 years ago and I should probably link that so kids don’t think it’s an Overwatch dance? Dear god we are all getting old.​

“Kaen” by Ziyoou-vachi (Dororo)

First of all, shout out to the original 1969 Dororo OP. As for the 2019 OP, I wasn’t all that sold on it during the first episode, but with each repeated listening of this song I came to enjoy its slow build more and more. Redline‘s Takeshi Koike lends his talents to the animation side of things, coupling his flair for fight scenes with numerous references and shots from the original manga. The competition is stiff this season, but nothing else has latched itself into my head quite as hard as this one.

“99.9” by Mob Choir (Mob Psycho 100 II)

When Mob’s OP hit, I was absolutely floored. I loved the vibrant energy and hilariously janky 3D, custom made for the Mob Choir’s lyrics. I made the mistake of betraying the first season despite its fantastic OP, but I’m not going to make the same mistake twice. While it’s hard for it to reach the frenzied pace of the original 99, 99.9 keeps a good tempo and finishes with a magnificent flourish, animating some engaging fight scenes. The OP somewhat betrays our expectations in this way, the majority of this season has been about Mob’s personal growth rather than his exaggerated battles. Still, it doesn’t betray the story’s tone, which revels in using the ridiculous to highlight the often mundane nature of human experience.

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“99.9” by Mob Choir (Mob Psycho 100 II)

This season had me caught between two worlds. The first was Dororo’s “Kaen” by Ziyoou-vachi, boasting the always excellent Takeshi Koike’s visual direction in conjunction with a hauntingly cool track that grew on me with every passing episode. The other was Mob Psycho 100 II’s immediately impressive “99.9” by Mob Choir. I’ve heard the detractors say that “99.9” fails to live up to the legacy of its iconic predecessor, “99.” I’ve heard your arguments, and I vehemently disagree. “99.9” immediately sets out to establish its own strong visual identity, featuring some of the most impressive animated sequences I’ve seen in an opening in years. Most anime OPs are lucky to have one or two really distinctive shots. “99.9” is 90 seconds straight of diverse and interesting aesthetics. There isn’t a single shot you couldn’t point to and comment on its visual accomplishment. I look forward to seeing Bones try to top themselves again whenever season 3 shows up and they bust out, “99.99.”

“Sayonara Gokko” by amazarashi (Dororo)

The benefit of working with an anime radio show is that you end up hearing a lot of music from shows you wouldn’t normally give the time of day. That, on top of a pretty solid offering from the shows I am actually watching, gave me a whopping shortlist of nine songs to try and pick a winner from. Sayonara Gokko, the song that rounds off each episode of Dororo and signals that it’s okay to move to a corner and cry, is probably it. The gorgeous yet simple art coupled with this sombre music is just about perfect for the show given its brutal subject matter. In spite of that, it’s also proven to be surprisingly catchy, and it’s easily at the top of the list for songs that keep popping into my head right now.

And in case you were curious, here’s my shortlist of certified bangers from this season tee emm:

KEMURIKUSA – nano (Kemurikusa OP)
Love Dramatic feat. Rikka Ihara – Suzuki Masayuki (Kaguya-sama: Love is War OP)
Kaen – Ziyoou-vachi (Dororo OP)
Sayonara Gokko – amazarashi (Dororo ED)
Kawaki wo Ameku – Minami (Domestic Girlfriend OP)
99.9 – Mob Choir ft sajou no hana (Mob Psycho 100 S2 OP)
Touch Off – UVERworld (The Promised Neverland OP)
Shadowgraph – MYTH & ROID (Boogiepop Phantom OP)
Whiteout – Riko Azuna (Boogiepop Phantom ED)

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“Kaen” by Ziyoou-vachi (Dororo)

While this season doesn’t strike me as being at the top of its game as far as OPs and EDs are concerned – in particular, I thought Kakegurui’s OP would bring more to the table – it at least makes it pretty easy for me to pick a favourite. ‘Kaen’ took a while to really grow on me, but at this point I’m hooked. I really like the weird musical fusion going on here, with traditional Japanese sounds and contemporary punk-rock melding together to create this oddly-paced, but undeniably fun, song. Meanwhile, the genuinely impressive vocal range either helps to distract me from or actually enjoy the Engrish lyrics – I’m really not sure which – so that overall, it’s probably enough to make me go check out more of what Ziyoou-vachi has to offer.

3 thoughts on “OP/ED Op-Eds: The Best of Winter 2019

  1. Man… I usually agree with at least one of you, but this time I’m not even watching any of the shows you folks chose from.

    Only two OP’s made the cut this season and made the “watched/listened to every time” list. I also ended up buying both on iTunes, the first time I’ve found current season anime music there… a trend I hope continues.

    In second place is “Break the Blue” (Run Girls, Run) from Girly Air Force. The animation is fairly generic, but the tune rocks… Sadly, I ended up dropping the show.

    Top honors go to “Touch Off” (UVERworld) from The Promised Neverland, which SERIOUSLY ROCKS. The animation is well done, and touches on the themes/plot of the show. One nice touch… the red string of fate features in a TON of anime OP’s, but I like how it turns into a burning fuse.

    • The Promised Neverland OP is a solid choice. It’s been awhile since I looked, but I seem to remember a decent amount of anime songs making it to iTunes in the past. I’m sure that depends a lot on what label the artist is signed to.

      • Yah, true. Could me more a case of “the first current season anime songs I care about” more than “the first current season anime songs”. I’ve bought quite a bit of older stuff.

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