My how fast time moves. Just three weeks ago I did my article over my favorite openings and endings of the Fall 2015 season, and now here I am going over my favorites of the year. I know it sounds a bit early, since it still is in November, but funnily enough by no conscious decision on my part, I am basically right on schedule with how I did it last year. You see last year I got my Fall 2014 favorite openings article out on November 11th and my overall favorites for the year article out on December 2nd, this year I got my Fall article out on November 9th and I’m getting this out today, November 30th. So basically all I did was subconsciously move the timetable up by 2 days.
So here’s how I am going to do things, while in my seasonal articles in the Summer and Fall I combined the openings and endings into one group, for this one I am splitting them back up. It will be my Top 5 endings and then my Top 10 openings. But to carry on what I have started to do in those seasons, they will be listed alphabetically by show, not by rank. Also, the one entry per so rule still applies, so if a show appears in one list, they won’t appear in the other. Now the question becomes, if they aren’t listed by rank, how are you going to know which one is my favorite of the year. The simple answer to that is, unlike in the Summer and Fall where I just flat out said what my favorites were in their descriptions, this time around I will include the full version of the song used in my favorite opening or ending of the year below the openings list.
Lastly, there will be no honorable mentions this year. Pretty much the reason for that is last year when including honorable mentions I had 16 total entries in that article, and since I’m already covering 15 by default this time around, I don’t want to make things to excessive. So with all that in mind, let’s get started with the results of a rather painstaking process that saw me leave several openings and endings I truly loved this year as broken bodies on the side of the road. And do remember, if some of your favorites aren’t on either of these lists, you will get a chance to rectify that, just like last year, so make sure to read the stuff after the completion of this list.
Top 5 Endings
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Title: Sugar Song to Bitter Step | Artist: UNION SQUARE GARDEN
Is it hard to believe that all these months later I am still noticing new things when I watching this ending? Part of that is I keep getting distracted during the big group dance part so I have yet to notice exactly what everyone is doing. Only a few weeks ago I noticed that Lucky Abrams looked like he was framing his crotch.....for some reason.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Title: One Light | Artist: Kalafina
Ok this one is going to take a bit explaining, I think. You see I love both of Arslan’s endings, but for different reasons. If I was going purely by the strength of the song, then my pick would have instead been Arslan’s first ending which had the song “Lapis Lazuli” by Eir Aoi. I think that is a better stand alone song than “One Light”. However, Arslan’s second ending, the more I watched it the more I realized it worked better as an anime theme. It has the kind of chorus that just works better for this use. On top of that, while the first ending looked beautiful, especially at the beginning, it was almost entirely still images. The second ending is fully animated, and in my opinion better represents Arslan as a series, especially when the chorus kicks in and we get the glorious aerial view of Arslan’s massive charging army.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - Battle in Egypt
Title: Last Train Home | Artist: Pat Metheny Group
Yes I am picking this as my JoJo’s representative for the year instead of Battle in Egypt’s pretty awesome opening. Why? Because I needed this ending. Time and again after an episode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure this year, I needed the calm instrumental music of this ending to bring me back down to Earth. Another reason is that this ending basically evolved for me as the series went on. At first it was just a chill song to me, but during the last leg of the show, during the assault on Dio’s mansion and the ensuing battle with the Big D himself, this ending became one of somber remembrance instead. It took on an air of bittersweet nostalgia, thinking back to the good friends we lost along the way, something that was always punctuated with the last shot in this ending. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holy hell out of the opening as well, but this ending holds much more sentimental value to me.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Title: Orphans no Namida | Artist: MISIA
Still loving this James Bond-esque ending that in my opinion is a better Bond song than many recent Bond songs. Not much has changed on this front.
Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls
Title: Hey! Smith!! | Artist: Smith with MON
I love it when endings use badass rock songs that make them seem like they should be openings. Very rarely do I get to see such endings actually be used as an opening. This, however, is one of the rare exceptions, as it was also used as the opening to an episode focused on MON, and you know what, it worked perfectly fine as an opening. Hell it made me wish that MON had their own series and this was their opening.
So with the opening act out of the way, it is now time for the main event of the evening, the openings!
Top 10 Openings
Title: Flyers | Artist: BRADIO
Heading into the Fall season, this was, for me, the unquestionable king of anime themes this year. Stylish visuals, catchy song that I just couldn’t get enough of. I mean this was the opening that caused me to change my rules about an opening needing to be representative of its show, because I knew I wanted this to be crowned my favorite opening in the Winter season, my own rules be damned! Damned I say! This opening set the record for the fastest I got out a seasonal article because I just knew it wasn’t being topped, regardless of how much I might have come to love the other openings in that season. So, will it take home my favorite of the year or did it finally meet some competition?
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Title: Brave Shine | Artist: Aimer
What was once my favorite opening from the Spring season is no longer my favorite. Its replacement will appear later on in this list, but it still must be said that I love the hell out of this opening, and while Ufotable’s animation is still gorgeous, the star of this opening is still that amazing song. So damn good. Hell that song is the main reason I even crowned this my favorite opening of the Spring season in the first place.
Title: Renegade | Artist: STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION
Knowing the issues Manglobe went through during the production of Gangsta. I don’t even know if they actually animated this opening, which is kind of sad, as this (and the ending theme) is probably the only thing about the show people can look at in a positive light now, since the way the show “ended” has left several people with a sour taste in their mouth. Still problems the show itself might have had, I just can’t stop loving this opening.
Gatchaman Crowds Insight
Title: insight | Artist: White Ash
For a while I preferred the first season’s opening, but now this is personally my defining opening for the Gatchaman Crowds franchise. Not only is the song easier to understand, but the visuals are so gorgeous. I can’t even begin to think of the undertaking it took to do the stop motion sequences in this opening.
Title: Miiro | Artist: Akino from bless4
WANKER!!! Ok I know it is really supposed to be “weigh anchor” but I just had to get in that much used joke. This is the OP that launched a million new KanColle players. They should just recruit new players with this opening, as it does a better job at making the game look good. Seriously though, the show itself is rather......well ok it’s crap aside from the episodes focused on the Kongou sisters or Destroyer Division Six. The show doesn’t even use many of the most popular girls from the game. Hell Kuma and Tama (two of my personal favorites in the game) have about as much screentime in this opening as they do in the show itself.
Title: Kyoran Hey Kids!! | Artist: THE ORAL CIGARETTES
The opening that keeps getting better the more I listen to it. This opening’s meteoric rise has seen it go from being something I hated, to something I liked but not a favorite of a season, to one of my Top 5 favorites of the season, to now one of my 15 absolute favorites of the year. Give it a few more weeks and it’d probably be my favorite of the year at this rate.
One Punch Man
Title: The Hero!! ~Ikareru Ken ni Honō o Tsukeru~ | Artist: JAM Project
I mean what else can I say right now that I haven’t said in the Fall article? This is JAM Project at their best, certainly the best I’ve heard from them. This is an epic song for an epic series.
The Perfect Insider
Title: Talking | Artist: Kana-Boon
Much like with One Punch Man, there’s not much else I can really say about this opening. It’s gorgeous, rather unique, and has an awesome song.
Seraph of the End
Title: X.U. | Artist: SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Gemie
If the Fall season wasn’t as weak for me as it is, this wouldn’t be here. It was thanks to this season being light on shows that interested me that made me on a whim check out Seraph of the End, just for the possibility of adding the second season to my Fall lineup. I kept hearing about how good the opening was and how people couldn’t believe I left it off my Spring list, and you know what? They were right, if I was someone reading that article and didn’t know about my restriction to shows I was watching, I’d be questioning why this was left off as well, because it is fucking amazing. It’s also incredibly rare to not only hear an anime opening entirely in English, but English that can be understood. This opening is almost all build up towards the chorus, but man it is worth it. Once that chorus kicks in I can’t help but get pumped up. So yeah, this is my new favorite opening from the Spring season. Sorry, UBW.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Title: Seven Deadly Sins | Artist: MAN WITH A MISSION
Well....holy crap MAN WITH A MISSION! I’m so damn used to your songs just repeating a word or phrase over and over again and that being the big hook to the song (see “Database” and “Raise Your Flag” for what I mean). And then y’all go and make a song like this? God damn man.....And yes this is pretty much here entirely because of that god damn glorious song, because the visuals aren’t super special, just.....I dunno, standard? But they work, because they let the song take center stage. The one part of the visuals I love is how they perfectly sync in one particular part that always gets me in the feels. Always. What I am talking about is how they specifically focus on the character Elaine while the lyrics “I’ll see you on the other side” are sung. If you’ve seen or read the series, you know why that gets me right square in the feels. Every. Fucking. Time.
So now comes the time to reveal my favorite opening or ending of the year. Will Death Parade be the first opening or ending to go wire to wire in terms of being my favorite for the year? Well........no.......no it isn’t. I was almost certain it was going to, but then I saw 5 shows this last two months that dashed those plans. Those 5 being Noragami Aragoto, One Punch Man, The Perfect Insider, Seraph of the End, and The Seven Deadly Sins, all of whom I like their OPs more than Death Parade, and by sheer coincidence, they end up being the last 5 openings in my openings list. I did not plan that, it just happened to work out that way. So what is my favorite of the year? It is.....*drumroll*.....
It was really, really close between One Punch Man and Seven Deadly Sins with Seraph a slightly distant third, but while Sins’ second opening keeps getting me in the feels, and is my current favorite of MAN WITH A MISSION, I’m a far bigger fan of JAM Project than I am of MAN WITH A MISSION. And to be perfectly honest, every time I see OPM’s opening, something just takes over me and I get sucked in. I shit you not, I often end up posing and punching along with Saitama. Really what sealed the deal for me was the full version of “The Hero!! ~Ikareru Ken ni Honō o Tsukeru~” because that just keeps that epic feeling going for twice the usual length. So, there you go. One Punch Man is my favorite opening or ending of 2015. But what about you guys?
Just like last year, I will be doing a “collaboration” article in the middle of December where I will be revealing the results of this poll that you can vote on starting now. The rules this year are simple, list up to 15 of your favorite anime openings and/or endings from 2015 (and they must be from this year, they can’t be an opening from a show from last year that ran into this year, such as Parasyte, however something like Shirobako is perfectly eligible because it changed to a new opening and ending in 2015). And that’s about it. You can pick as many openings and endings from the same shows if you wish. This will carry over to the results as well, basically the one entry per show rule that I use will not apply to you guys. Just know that the results will be like this with the Top 5 endings and Top 10 openings making the final cut. Voting will be open for two weeks, so midnight on December 15th will be the point I won’t be accepting any new votes!