Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Anime Best of 2013, Part 2: Top Ending Sequences

Yesterday, 2013 came to an end, and today opens up 2014. So let's look at the best openings (OPs) and endings (EDs) of 2013! I will be looking at both the opening and ending themes themselves, as well as the animation sequences. Since we first had things come to an end, I will first look at the top endings (EDs) of 2013.

Special Rules: Only EDs that originated in 2013 count. For the Fall 2012 shows that went into 2013 and changed EDs, only the new ED is eligible (Little Busters's ED is not eligible, as it originated in 2012 and did not change). Also, Fall 2013 EDs are eligible. If a show has multiple EDs, only one per show is eligible.

Top 10 Ending Themes

To start with, let's look at the best ED themes from a musical perspective. This list will only look at the parts of the song that play during the show's ED sequence itself, though I will note anything noteworthy about the full versions.

#10. Tamako Market ED: "Neguse" by Aya Suzuki

A song with a very interesting style to it. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I like it a lot. It seems to fit Tamako quite well.

#9. Free! ED: "Splash Free!" by STYLE FIVE (main voice cast)

Two Kyoto Animation shows in a row. This one's really fun and catchy. Also, I don't get too many songs sung by males in my OPs and EDs, but this one's nice.

#8. Sunday Without God ED: "Owaranai Melody no Utaidashimashita" by Mikako Komatsu

Such a haunting, beautiful song, just like the world this show takes place in. The transitions into this from the main show are amazing. (The song's name translates to "I Sing This Unending Melody", by the way.)

#7. Kin-iro Mosaic ED: "Your Voice" by Rhodanthe* (main voice cast)

This one is actually a cover of an older Japanese song, and here it gets used in a Western swing style. A perfect way to illustrate the "east meets west" aspect of this show.

#6. Kotoura-san ED1: "Kibou no Hana" by Haruka Chisuga

This beautiful song's title translates to "Flower of Hope", and really fits just how Haruka has finally found hope in her life at the end of the first episode.

#5. The Flowers of Evil ED: "~Hana~ A Last Flower" by Asa-Chang & Junray

The Flowers of Evil is a very unnerving show, and this ED is definitely an unnerving one, with its uneven rhythms and constantly-changing tempo. The full version is even worse in this regard. Definitely one of the most noteworthy ED themes of this year.

#4. Yuyushiki ED: "Affection" by Another Infinity (Ryu☆×Starving Trancer) feat. Mayumi Morinaga

This one's more of a personal geek-out moment for me, since one of the artists, Ryu, is a well-known composer for the Bemani series of rhythm games (including Dance Dance Revolution). Of course, the song itself is great, too.

#3. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet ED: "Sora to Kimi no Message" by ChouCho

Not really much to say about this one; it's just a really, really beautiful song.

#2. Tamayura ~more aggressive~ ED: "Arigatou" by Megumi Nakajima

Argh, I can't find the actual ED sequence anywhere on Youtube. So instead, have the official music video version of this really beautiful ED song (the song itself starts around fifty seconds in).

#1. Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen ED: "Alternative" by Annabel

Such an amazing song. Haunting and beautiful, like the Sunday Without God ED, but this one really stands out in its unusual musical style. Definitely my favorite ED song of this year.

Top 10 Ending Animations

Unlike the previous list, this list looks at the animation sequences themselves, so music is not a factor (though how fitting the music is can affect my rankings). Only new entries will have video embeds afterwards.

10. Tamako Market ED

Tamako with her hair down is adorable.

9. Da Capo III ED1

Appearing only in some late episodes (as well as in episode 1, though without the characters within), this one stood out to me mainly for being a nostalgia trip, featuring some significant events from both the original Da Capo series as well as Da Capo II (well, the second season, at least).

8. Kin-iro Mosaic ED

Please tell me there'll be a second season and that in that season, everyone gets to go to England like they show in this ED sequence.

7. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet ED

Some interesting things going on here. Amy surfing on her windsurfer in the sunset with Chamber following behind is nice, and then as it turns to night, a ship passes by, and scenes from the next episode play on it, as if to serve as the "next episode preview". Then, when it becomes morning, her windsurfer becomes her hang glider, and off she goes. I just really like how that all plays out.

6. Tamayura ~more aggressive~ ED

Argh, I wish I could actually find this sequence somewhere so I can show it to you. It features scenes from Fuu's childhood and how her now-deceased father had played with her and gotten her interested in cameras. That this is all playing as a memory of Fuu makes it something of a tear-jerker.

5. WataMote ED

It may just be Tomoko walking through a series of smartphone images, but it sure gets creative with that concept. Watch and you'll see what I mean. (The song itself was a close contender for the top 10 list above.)

4. Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 ED

Cheerful long-haired Yura having fun with her club-mates shooting airsoft guns and dancing in chibi form. What's not to like? Definitely very representative of this show… oh wait.

3. Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they? ED

These chibi characters can really get down, eh? And LOL at Izayoi totally stealing the show at the end; I'm glad he didn't really do so in the actual show, as that would be annoying.

2. Chronicles of the Going Home Club ED2

(Sorry for the flipped video; it was the only one I could find.)

Botan plays lots of smartphone games. Man, those bullet hell games are hard.

1. Free! ED

Rin has all the water. You're not getting any, Haru. Also, swimming dance moves, an Arabian theme, and Haru taking off his clothes to jump into an oasis. Truly a spectacular ending sequence.

Next time, we look at openings, and boy, are there some good ones!

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