Top 5 Openings & Endings of the Fall 2018 Anime Season | Lightning Lists
With Anime TKO and the Fall Anime Season drawing close to its end, it’s time we take a look at all the OPs and EDs of the shows we’ve been covering.
EvilBob: Well. If researching for this list has taught me anything, it’s Voyager’s one true weakness. A kickin’ bassline.
Voyager: …I admit nothing.
EvilBob: Well, lucky for us, we have evidence! So, let’s get down to this and decide who reigns supreme in the music department. I’m Bob and he’s Voyager and it’s our job to analyze their Rhythm, Visuals, and Vocals to find out who would win a Music Battle.
Number 5: SSSS.Gridman
EvilBob: So. Voyager. What’s your favorite part of this one?
Voyager: Shut up, Bob.
EvilBob: Whaaat? I just wanna know what you like so much about this song. What’s so wrong about that?
Voyager: *ahem* So, this is a Trigger show. Obviously, the visuals are amazing. It’s a given. Giant robots are friggin’ awesome and I love how this OP actually homages those old tokusatsu shows. Right down to the title card just appearing over that image of Gridman as he slowly rises. It’s all just really, really cool.
EvilBob: The song also appropriately sounds exactly like one you’d hear attached to one of those shows. Oh. It also helps that it has a really killer bassline.
Voyager: So gooood.
Number 4: Golden Kamuy
EvilBob: Why do I get hungry, every time I watch this?
Voyager: Is it just me or is this another case of an anime whose OP seems a bit too epic for the actual product?
EvilBob: Maybe. But we can all agree on one thing, at least. It’s really cool. The first half is basically a glorified food commercial.
Voyager: But then the second half hits and we’re introduced to a segment that cuts right to the point, showing off visual elements that emphasize the action of the series while also highlighting all the important characters to show how this season is clearly more character-based… (or wanted to be).
EvilBob: And on the musical side, the song sounds like the adventure that the show’s meant to be. So what else could we do but give it a spot on the list?
Number 3: Black Clover
Voyager: And the King of Shounen OPs returns.
EvilBob: Wait, what? This has never gotten to the top of any of these lists, before?
Voyager: Maybe, but it does consistently get on them. Which is more than I can say for any other show we’ve covered. Yes, even Boku no Hero Academia.
EvilBob: …Point. I mean, I can see why it’s on here, anyway. The song itself has a really great hook.
Voyager: True. It might not be the most epic song ever, but Black Clover isn’t gonna win points for “most epic Shounen ever” anyway. The thing that sets this apart in a big way, though, is what the OP does visually. I’ve always really enjoyed the OPs where the visuals are actually telling the story of the season in condensed form. And that’s what the visual aspect of this OP is doing – giving us little glimpses of all the key points in the arc. It’s actually really cool, and has a lot of neat little aesthetic touches like images of key characters flashing across pages of a grimoire, that bring it all together.
Number 2: Toaru Majutsu no Index III
Voyager: I mean… the music in this show is just generally awesome. And it really fits with the overall semi-futuristic vibe of the series, as a whole. A very techno sound, but with elements that ground it to make sure you know it’s not actually the future. It’s also appropriately actiony.
EvilBob: It’s also visually doing the same thing you just talked about with Black Clover, telling the story of the season throughout the OP. Though it also does just flash a few key people and groups across the screen just because the world of Index is so massive and deep. And you really get a sense of exactly how big it is from this OP with all these different faces, representing different factions and everything.
Voyager: Yeah. Now. Before we move on to our Number 1 OP of the season, some quick honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama.
Voyager: It’s just-
EvilBob: It’s not really good enough to make the list.
Voyager: But it matches the show perfectly. The visuals are simplistic, but appropriately fluffy.
EvilBob: And the music is light and upbeat, which matches the overall tone of the show, itself.
Voyager: But compared to everything else on the list, it doesn’t really have the same hook going for it, visually or musically. So while it’s definitely a pleasant listen, and the visuals are cute, it’s not in the top five.
Honorable Mention: Akanesasu Shoujo
EvilBob: This one gets so close.
Voyager: I think the thing holding it back is the music, actually. And… probably the show, itself, to a degree. The visuals are great, for the most part. But the heavy emphasis on the characters is a bit problematic, considering how shallow the characters generally are.
Voyager: I don’t mean that in a particularly bad way. I just mean the OP puts a lot of emphasis on the characters when, really, there’s not a lot to any of them. They’re just… fine. Then there’s the music, itself, which kinda psychs you out.
EvilBob: Yeah. It starts out with this deep, swelling vibe, building itself up with dark vocals and drums. Then the bridge comes and gets you ready for the song’s climax, which…
Voyager: Is just kind of a disappointment? All that build up made you expect something a lot more epic than what followed. Now, that isn’t to say it’s not good. It definitely is. But the payoff just doesn’t feel big enough for the buildup it received. Also, visually the OP’s a bit… dull at the climax. It doesn’t really show anything pertaining to the big action the show goes on to define itself with, which is honestly a big letdown, all things considered. A solid OP, just not worthy of placement on the list.
Honorable Mention: Conception
EvilBob: Dang it.
Voyager: Okay, so the OP to this is actually pretty cool. Why is the OP to this so cool?
EvilBob: I don’t know. But for some reason that makes me hate it even more…
Voyager: I guess, to be fair, it’s just that the song, itself, is nice. The visuals aren’t really anything special.
EvilBob: And, once again, the show, itself, doesn’t deserve the OP at all. Which is probably why it’s not making the actual list.
Voyager: Riiight. But really, the main thing holding it back is the generic overall visual element of the OP. It’s basically just flashing things across the screen. Glimpses of the many, many girls in the harem, flashes of the world, and a fairly boring and straightforward action scene between the main character and a demon… thing.
EvilBob: Yeah. If you’re gonna just throw all the girls at the screen, the least you could do is show them all in ways that bring attention to their personalities or quirks. So while the song’s cool, it doesn’t really warrant being on the list, itself.
Honorable Mention: Yagate Kimi ni Naru
Voyager: Okay, when this show first came out, I was hearing a lot of buzz about the OP. And, to its credit, it’s definitely good. It’s gorgeous to look at, beautiful to listen to, and does tell some aspects of the story through its visuals.
EvilBob: But there’s just one thing keeping it from the list. See, the visual element makes heavy use of flowers through these really breathtaking hanging gardens and such. This show obviously has a real emphasis on visual storytelling. The problem is that… well…
Voyager: Neither of us knows anything about flowers or floral symbology. At all.
EvilBob: It’s keeping us from knowing exactly how good this OP really is. If, and when, we can learn more, that may very well bump this up to actually being on the list, itself.
Voyager: But, for now, it’s just… really darn pretty. There are worse things, I suppose.
Number 1: Release the Spyce
EvilBob: Chris. It’s… it’s so good. So freakin’ good! Why is it so freakin’ good, Chris?!
Voyager: …I mean, do we want the music theory answer or the grade-school, answer?
EvilBob: …Let’s go with grade-school, this time?
Voyager: ‘Kay. Song make instruments sound good together.
EvilBob: Got it!
Voyager: Seriously, musically this song just has everything I could want out of a show like this. Awesome drums? Check. Horns? Check.
EvilBob: Sick bassline?
Voyager: Goood, it’s so good!
EvilBob: So easy.
Voyager: No one asked you. Anyway, they all come together with the super catchy vocals and make for a song whose sound is just pure, concentrated energy and it is wicked fun. This show sounds like a Saturday Morning cartoon, and I love it.
EvilBob: Oh, but that isn’t all. The OP’s visuals? They might be a bit busy and colorful for some, but they fit the show perfectly. And all it does is enhance the whole “Saturday Morning Cartoon” thing. It’s practically there to catch some kid’s attention, that way. The OP’s constantly moving and matches the energy of the song, itself. It’s also really cool how it shows the way each girl fights. Overall, this OP’s just amazing.
EvilBob: But hey. The OPs aren’t the only ones that deserve some love, right?
Voyager: So, let’s shift gears now and take a look at the EDs we’ve covered, this season.
Number 5: Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara
EvilBob: Chris… are we gonna have to have an interven-
Voyager: Shut up, I’m fine. I’m fine. Totally, perfectly fine.
EvilBob: Really? So. Why’d this song make the cut?
EvilBob: I mean, it’s pretty but doesn’t have much going for it, visually aside from that. So. What’d you like so much about the music? Hmmm?
EvilBob: Could it have been the-?
Voyager: YES, IT’S THE BASSLINE, ALRIGHT?
EvilBob: You, my friend, have a problem.
Voyager: Oh, bite me, tubby! It’s the only instrument I know how to play! I notice these things!
Number 4: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken
Voyager: Is it strange that I think, visually, this show’s ED is better at telling the story than its OP is? Because… that’s kinda weird.
EvilBob: Yeah… yeah. I mean, even ignoring the song, which is a perfect tonal fit for the series, the visuals just tell the story a lot better than I think the OP does. Why this isn’t the OP, I have no idea. But I really like how it shows all these different characters and their relationships to Rimuru. So it makes a lot of sense it gets on this list.
Number 3: Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
EvilBob: So. What do you like about this one?
EvilBob: Oh. Well. That’s… not what I was expecting, at all.
Voyager: For one thing, I love how the song stays the same, but the girl at the center of each arc is the one who sings it for that particular arc. Mai sang it first, then Tomoe, then Futaba. It’s a great touch. I also like the visual disparity. How they’re all walking on the beach, but each one is at a different time of day. Sunset for Mai, early morning for Tomoe, and the dead of night for Futaba. And, of course, there’s the song itself. Which has this really soothing, sort of entrancing or hypnotic vibe, at first to suck you in. The hook is just really smooth, especially in Mai’s version. Girl’s voice is like silk. And yes. The bassline is amazing, in case you’re wondering.
EvilBob: Ah. There it is.
Number 2: Black Clover
EvilBob: Oh. It’s back again.
Voyager: Let it never be said that this show isn’t consistent. If there is one thing Black Clover gets right, it’s the music. Sure, the visuals in this ED aren’t really anything to write home about. But the song, itself, is just catchy, the beat is infectious, and, you know… other stuff.
Voyager: Shut up.
Honorable Mention: Release the Spyce
Voyager: All right. This one mainly just gets in because it’s a feel-good song over some fluffy, cute visuals with a light color palette.
EvilBob: Yeah. It’s a nice little relaxing song. Not much else to it.
Voyager: Also, special shoutout to episode 4, where they changed the ED to fit with the events of that week and the emotional significance of the relationship between the two characters at the center of it. It was a nice touch and a pretty song with really heartwarming visuals that told a complete story in their own right.
Number 1: Yagate Kimi ni Naru
Voyager: Okay. I’mma just nerd out for a sec.
EvilBob: What? The bassline again?
Voyager: Actually, no. Shut up. This ED is just excellent. The song is great, and I’ll come back to that. But can we just take a minute to address the visuals? Because they’re amazing. Apparently, this show’s knack for visual storytelling doesn’t stop at the credits. Let’s talk about the red string, real quick, shall we?
EvilBob: Oh, that! So, in the ED, Yuu and Touko actually do that cup telephone thing where they tie a string to a pair of cups. Yeah, at first glance, it looks like it’s just representing the waveforms of the song. And if that were the case, it’d already be pretty cool. But if you look again, between there the string’s just going along with the beat of the song, which actually is sort of mimicking a heartbeat.
Voyager: Which, oh my god, is amazing. Especially since the string is red. You know. The whole red string of fate, thing? So their hearts are connected by the red string? Driven even further home by the string actually forming into a heart at the end. So the string forming the heart is going doki doki the whole time it’s just… god that’s good. The symbology of that, alone, is just amazing. And that’s without mentioning the song, itself. So let’s talk about that for a moment because it does two things that make me geek out. We talked about the cup phone thing. Well, there’s this one audio effect the song has where it filters their voices like the stereotypical sound of talking through a telephone. It’s just a really great touch. Oh. And they also actually drop the title of the show in the song during the chorus. Won’t lie. I’m a sucker for that.
EvilBob: All that said, this ED deserves the top spot.
Voyager: And that’s all, folks.
EvilBob: It’s been fun! Especially getting to spend a few hours just listening to all of these again to work the list out.
Voyager: I mean, 99% of my library consists of anime music, at this point, anyway, so… I’m pretty sure all this is gonna do is pad it out even more.
Voyager: So… keep listening?
EvilBob: You know it.
Voyager: All right, folks, thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.
EvilBob: And Keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care.