Recently, I posted a list of my favorite anime opening themes that came out between the 1970’s and 1990’s. This is a follow-up to that post, and it is a list of my five favorite anime opening themes that came out between 2000 and the present.
Instead of publishing this as a top 5 list, I will be sharing my favorites by organizing them in alphabetical order. I will be using the titles to alphabetize the list.
V6 – “Change The World” (Inuyasha)
Fans of Inuyasha will recognize this as the first opening theme song for the series, which was released in 2000(!). It’s hard to believe that the Inuyasha anime premiered 20 years ago.
“Change The World” is a catchy song musically, and the vocalist for V6 delivers the lyrics so earnestly and so enthusiastically. This is a perfect blend to make this a memorable song and stand out as an exceptional opening theme for an anime series.
Joe Inoue – “Closer” (Naruto Shippuden)
This song was used as the fourth opening theme song for the Naruto Shippuden anime series. Of the theme songs for Naruto Shippuden, this one has always stood out to me. It’s catchy as heck, and I love the feel of this song musically. Whenever I hear it, I can easily see the visuals from the opening credits in my head.
When the final theme song soundtrack was released for Naruto Shippuden, there weren’t enough tracks to fill the disc, so they had fans vote for their favorite themes. Not surprisingly, Joe Inoue’s “Closer” was among the fan-chosen songs that appeared on that soundtrack. And according to Wikipedia, if it’s accurate, “Closer” was only the second single of Joe Inoue’s career. Wow!
Dean Fujioka – “History Maker” (Yuri!!! On Ice)
From the first note of this opening theme, you can hear there’s something special about it. It doesn’t sound like a typical anime opening theme song, which catches your attention immediately. Also, it’s one of those rare anime opening themes that’s sung entirely in English.
I love the upbeat and positive vibe of the song, as well as what the song is saying with its lyrics. And Dean Fujioka’s vocal performance just blows me away every time. You can hear his conviction as he sings the lyrics, and combining his vocal delivery with this musical arrangement sends chills down my spine.
Yuki – “Melody of the Slope” (Kids on the Slope)
This theme song was written by anime composer Yoko Kanno for Kids on the Slope, an anime about music. Even though the music featured in the series is jazz, this pop song includes jazz references in its lyrics, which helps to tie it in with the anime that the song was composed for.
I love the dynamics of this song, and how it goes from being soft to packing a punch and becoming catchy. The song does this at least a couple of times, and it sounds natural rather than jarring. Yoko Kanno composed another winner with this one.
ROOKIEZ is PUNK’D – “Reclimb” (Yowamushi Pedal)
When I went to watch the first episode of Yowamushi Pedal, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I was walking into. Yes, I read the description about it being about a high school bicycle racing club, but that was all I knew. I had never considered myself a fan of sports anime prior to this, so I didn’t think I’d enjoy the show. Well, the show grabbed me within its first couple of episodes, and I think this catchy opening theme song also helped.
It’s an upbeat song that you would expect to accompany a sports anime, and you can’t help but move along with it when you hear it. The vocalists on this song help to accentuate the exuberance of the music with their enthusiastic vocal delivery.
Unison Square Garden – “Tracing Orion” (Tiger & Bunny)
This opening theme is a fun and upbeat number, and not one you would initially expect for an anime about superheroes. However, as you watch the series and experience the tone of the writing, the sound of this opening theme makes a lot more sense.
I know I say this a lot, but this is a catchy song. But I think that being catchy is one of the ingredients to having a successful anime opening theme song. Sometimes originality helps, but I think that how catchy and memorable a song is helps to determine how classic and loved an anime opening theme song is in the long run.