Saturday, January 4, 2014

Anime Best of 2013, Part 3: Top Opening Sequences

Let's open up 2014 by looking at 2013's best openings!

Same rules as for the Top Closing Sequences apply: the sequence must have originated in 2013, only one per series, and Fall 2013 sequences are eligible. This time, I will start with the Top 10 Opening Animations. Lots of video embeds following the jump!

Top 10 Opening Animations

I'm going to start with animations. There are a lot of great animations; however, I'm going to focus mainly on shows that aren't just sequences of scenes that could be from the show. So, here goes.

#10. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses

This one has some cool visual effects.

#9. Problem children are coming in from another world, aren't they?

More cool visual effects, including some amusing word-bubble placements.

#8. Silver Spoon

(Can't find a video on YouTube. Boot up an episode on Crunchyroll to see the sequence.)

Some dancing, a piglet, and a foreshadowing of Yuugo's internal struggle over the fact that the delicious food he's eating comes from living beings.

#7. Outbreak Company

A pretty plain OP for the most part, but it has some nice moments, such as the chibi characters and a moment where a lizardpeople couple share affection by intertwining tails.

#6. Servant x Service

(No YouTube embed here, either. Find an episode on Crunchyroll to watch the sequence.)

We're really getting into good stuff here. More crazy visual effects, including credits cleverly incorporated into office items.

#5. Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos W

A very fun opening sequence, featuring the characters playing hot potato with a bomb and lots of dancing.

#4. WataMote

This opening is so heavy metal, both musically and visually. Bonus points go to one particular episode which transitions into this opening sequence perfectly.

#3. The Eccentric Family

I love the visual effects in this one. Lots of city-based elements and plenty of well-placed English, among other things, make this a very fun animation and easily one of the best of the year.

#2. Namiuchigawa no Muromi-san

(Once again, no video available. Launch an episode on Crunchyroll to watch this epic sequence.)

Where do I even begin with how crazy this one is? Muromi has to stop a giant meteor from destroying Earth. Muromi being Muromi, this won't end well. The show is completely different from the opening, though no less insane.

#1. Monogatari Series "Koimonogatari" OP

My Nadeko, this OP is genius. It's a complete nostalgic throwback to anime openings of yore (think Kimagure Orange Road, if you're familiar with that era), with that visual style and even credits and subtitles in old fonts; the song is also very much in an oldies style. At the same time, the actual, modern-era visuals are there, too, plus some crazy SHAFT stuff, all carefully mixed together. It also makes sense considering this particular arc is from the older Kaiki's perspective. This OP sequence is just brilliant and easily my favorite from this year's opening animations.

Top 15 Opening Themes

Fifteen because ten just isn't enough with all the awesome openings this year.

#15. The Eccentric Family OP: "Uchouten Jinsei" by milktub

(Listen: Play video in #3 above.)

An incredibly catchy song with a great harmonized chorus.

#14: Nyarko-san W OP: "Koi wa Chaos no Shimobenari" by main voice cast

(Listen: Play video in #5 above.)

Nyarko-san's first season also had a very catchy opening theme, and this season continues that with some lovely san-pinch ("sanity pinch").

#13. Little Busters! Refrain OP: "Boys be smile" by Suzuyu

(This song is available on the iTunes Store.)

This song is simply beautiful. It's reminiscent of the opening to Clannad After Story, which is a good thing.

#12. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU OP: "Yukitoki" by Nagi Yanagi

(Listen: On Dailymotion)

Another song that is beautiful, yet this one is also nice and upbeat. Also, the artist choice is very fitting given the naming gimmick of the characters in this show.

#11. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses OP: "God only knows -Secrets of the Goddess-" by ELISA

(Listen: Play video in #10 above.)

If I were covering full versions, this one would be near the top, as the full version is a near-13-minute epic (like how the full version of season 1's OP was). This extract is still excellent, though, with its fitting opening, fast techno beat, and classy ELISA Engrish.

#10. WataMote OP: "Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui" by Suzuki Konomi n' Kiba of Akiba

(Listen: Play video in #4 above.)

Again, this song is so heavy metal, mixing that screamo with normal vocals brilliantly.

#9. Log Horizon OP: "database" by MAN WITH A MISSION feat. TAKUMA (10-FEET)

(Listen: On YouTube)

More heavy metal, this time with 1000% more Engrish.

#8. Attack on Titan OP1: "Guren no Yumiya" by Linked Horizon

(This song (and the second OP) is available on the iTunes Store.)

Epic song is epic. That said, as far as full versions go, I actually like the second OP, "Jiyuu no Tsubasa" better, with some epic bass solos and a cool throwback to the first OP. Both are awesome songs, though.

#7. Gingitsune OP: "tiny lamp" by fhana

(Can't find a video of just the opening, so have a full version instead.)

An energetic song with a top-notch vocal performance. Not much to say; I just love this song.

#6 (tie). Monogatari "Nekomonogatari (White)" OP: "chocolate insomnia" & Golden Time OP: "Golden Time" by Yui Horie

I am a big fan of Yui Horie, both as a voice actress and as a singer. Both of her major opening songs this year are excellent (and Monogatari's also has a great animation to go with it), and I couldn't just pick one, so have both.

#5. Servant x Service OP: "May I Help You?" by main voice cast

(Opening song plays during this official trailer.)

This song is so cheery and catchy, and has epic piano to boot. Easily a top-tier opening song.

#4. Yuyushiki OP: "Se-no!" by main voice cast

There are a couple of things I absolutely love in anime openings: cheerfulness, energy, and catchiness. This song has all of that, plus some nice vocal harmonization on top of all of that.

#3. Sasami-san@Ganbaranai OP: "Alteration" by ZAQ

One of 2013's underrated OPs from one of 2013's most underrated shows. ZAQ previously provided an awesome opener for Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions!, and they do it again for this show with a song full of energy and some amazing vocal acrobatics.

#2. Outbreak Company OP: "Univer Page" by Suzuko Mimori

(Listen: Play video in #7 above.)

Instrumentation is this song's strong suit, using bells, strings, accordion, a harpsichord, and other  instruments to give an extra fantasy feel to this song. My favorite opening from a pure instrumentation perspective, though the vocals are great, too.

#1. Kin-iro Mosaic OP: "Jumping!" by Rhodanthe* (main voice cast)

(Lack of a good video of the OP makes me sad. Make do with the official music video instead.)

This song? Surely one of the above songs would be better in terms of musicality, right? Maybe. But in terms of being catchy and cheerful, this song is unrivaled. Seriously, this has got to be the single most cheerful song in the world. The instrumentation is great, too, especially the trumpets. I know others might not see this song as particularly noteworthy, but it's one that has really stood out to me and has such become not only my favorite anime theme song of 2013, but also one of my favorite anime theme songs of all time.

Next time, I'll be taking a look at the visual aspect of anime. It's like Halloween all over again, except with eye candy!

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