We’re all guilty of skipping through the opening songs of animes every now and again. Some of us may be serial offenders. But even those who have no patience to sit through roughly a minute and a half of jpop/jrock tunes have to admit that some anime legacies are defined by their choice of opening song. Here are our list of 25 of the best anime opening songs of all time.
All ranking information was taken on the date of publication
Cowboy Bebop – ”Tank!” by Seatbelts
MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise
The famous jazz/bebop tune which is iconic and always associated with this anime. It has been used in international commercials as well.
Samurai Champloo – ”Battlecry” by Nujabes feat. SHINGO2
MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #101 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe
This rap opening has become more famous than the anime itself and it has brought worldwide recognition to the late artist Nujabes.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – “Inner Universe” by Origa
MAL Rated 8.46, Ranked #119 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Production I.G
The late vocalist Origa lent her amazing voice for this outstanding song that has brought her recognition worldwide.
Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary) – “Kuusou Mesorogiwi” by Yousei Teikoku
MAL Rated 8.18, Ranked #322 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Asread
In this case, the opening song reflects the dynamics of the anime perfectly – it is fast, crazy and catchy. The transition from a choral beginning to a powerful, fast melody is just as surprising as the many mysteries in the anime itself!
Angel Beats! – “My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia
MAL Rated 8.47, Ranked #114 | Aired Spring 2010 | Produced by Aniplex
(Episodes 1-3, 5-12)
Enjoy this catchy pop tune of amazing refrain to help you remember all the hilarious and sad moments of this beautiful anime.
Tokyo Ghoul – “unravel” by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure
MAL Rated 8.11, Ranked #402 | Aired Summer 2014 | Produced by Studio Pierrot
This song hits you hard. Its slow beginning picks up beat throughout the opening, similar to the sound of a heart, beating faster and faster!
If you enjoyed the beautiful blue skies in this opening, please be sure to check out the Way Too Many Anime Openings Use This Motif article as well!
Elfen Lied – “Lilium” by Kumiko Noma
MAL Rated 7.93, Ranked #611 | Aired Summer 2004 | Produced by Arms
The opera singer Kumiko Noma will give you an eargasm with her breathtaking voice! This opening is a perfect portrayal of the sci-fi/action feeling of the series.
Neon Genesis Evangelion – “Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis)” by Yoko Takahashi
MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #199 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Gainax
You can hear the upbeat ’90s sound in this opening pop theme. It is one of the most popular songs in anime history and still lives on in the hearts of fans worldwide!
Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) – ”Guren no Yumiya (Crimson Bow and Arrow)” by Linked Horizon
MAL Rated 8.65, Ranked #52 | Aired Sring 2013 | Produced by Production I.G & Wit Studio
Probably one of the most recognizable anime series out there, it begins with a choral opening (which is omitted in the TV version) and then swiftly switches to a bombastic and fast tempo.
Dragon Ball Z – “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” by Hironobu Kageyama
MAL Rated 8.32, Ranked #198 | Aired Spring 1989 | Produced by Toei Animation
The song is the epitome of the sound of the ’80s and you won’t be able to kick the line “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” out of your head once you hear it.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry) – “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” by Eiko Shimamiya
MAL Rated 8.24, Ranked #258 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Studio Deen
This opening song gives off mysterious and eerie vibes, the same that you get while watching the anime. It will give you goosebumps in more way than one!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – “again” by YUI
MAL Rated 9.25, Ranked #1 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bones
YUI is a talented singer who writes her own music and this tune is one of her best! It flows well with FMA‘s action style.
MAL Rated 8.86, Ranked #19 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Sunrise
This catchy tune, performed by FLOW, perfectly portrays all the complex emotions of this popular mecha anime.
Death Note – “the WORLD” by Nightmare
MAL Rated 8.75, Ranked #32 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Madhouse
The Japanese band Nightmare performs this super popular rock tune that is just as exciting as the anime itself.
Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) – “Hyadain no Kakakata☆Kataomoi – C” by Hyadain (Kenichi Maeyamada)
MAL Rated 8.53, Ranked #91 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Kyoto Animation
(Episodes 1-6, 8-13)
If you’re a fan of cheerful and upbeat melodies, you are sure to fall in love with this fun opening!
One Piece – “Share the World” by Tohoshinki
MAL Rated 8.62, Ranked #58 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation
The super famous Korean boy band Tohoshinki performed this upbeat opening for the mega popular One Piece.
Death Parade – “Flyers” by BRADIO
MAL Rated 8.40, Ranked #153 | Aired Winter 2015 | Produced by Madhouse
Probably one of the catchiest openings ever, it is a tune that you can’t help but dance to. Its contrast to the anime’s dark theme is also very memorable.
Noragami – “Goya no Machiawase” by Hello Sleepwalkers
MAL Rated 8.17, Ranked #332 | Aired Winter 2014 | Produced by Bones
Check out this rock opening song that fits nicely with the recently released anime Noragami. It is full of action and fantasy elements.
MAL Rated 7.87, Ranked #712 | Aired Fall 2000 | Produced by Kyoto Animation & Sunrise
The soundtracks for InuYasha have always been packed with beautiful songs from influential artists. But this outstanding opening is one of the most well known and is praised amongst fans as one of the most iconic.
Digimon Adventure – “Butter-Fly” by Kouji Wada
MAL Rated 7.87, Ranked #710 | Aired Spring 1999 | Produced by Toei Animation
If you haven’t heard of “Butter-Fly” then you’re either too young or you have lived under a rock your whole life. Just like the insert song Brave Heart, this opening theme is one of the most famous anime openings ever.
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S (Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon S) – “Moonlight Densetsu” by Moon Lips
MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #693 | Aired Spring 1994 | Produced by Toei Animation
Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend) is the opening song for the first four seasons of this anime and it is also the theme song which is most commonly associated with the Sailor Moon franchise.
Naruto: Shippuuden – “Aoi no Sora (Blue Bird)” by Ikimonogakari
MAL Rated 7.96, Ranked #577 | Aired Winter 2007 | Produced by Studio Pierrot
Ikimonogakari is one of the most well known bands in Japan and this is their most successful song, loved by fans of the series as well as tons of non-anime fans worldwide.
Bleach – “Asterisk” by Orange Range
MAL Rated 7.97, Ranked #553 | Aired Fall 2004 | Produced by Studio Pierrot
This amazing intro is provided by the famous boy band Orange Range. It is a catchy pop tune with powerful rock elements.
Serial Experiments Lain – “Duvet” by Bôa
MAL Rated 7.98, Ranked #549 | Aired Summer 1998 | Produced by TV Tokyo
Unbelievably catchy and charming, this song is sung in English and performed by a British indie band. It fits the psychedelic atmosphere of the anime.
Deadman Wonderland – “One Reason” by DWB feat.fade
MAL Rated 7.56, Ranked #1329 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by Manglobe
Sung in English, the lyrics are as dark as the anime and the rock tune fits it perfectly.
Want more anime music? Check out the below articles as well!
Top 15 Anime OSTs: Music of the Heart
25 Best Anime Endings of All Time
Top 9 Anime Series with Piano Music That Will Tug At Your Heart