They make our heart race. They make us pumped up. They make us fee good. They are the anime openings that we love and enjoy.
We are going to end the year with take a look at the top 10 anime openings of the last year. Before we get started, let me break down the rules that I followed in making this countdown. The openings were selected based on the music for the opening, the animation of the opening, how memorable the opening is and the overall synergy between the music and animation. How connected the opening was to the show itself was also a factor in my judgement. All openings had to have either come out in 2014 or seen during an active show in 2014. Basically, if the show was new or still ongoing with new episodes in 2014, then it was eligible.
I know many bands have multiple countdown worth entries to the show. With that in mind, I only limited myself to one song per band/artist. I also limited one opening per show. I’m sorry, but I did not want this countdown to be riddled with openings from the same show over and over again.
With that said, let’s take a look. These openings moved us and got us excited for the show we were able to see. These were the openings that made us want to listen to them besides when we saw the show. The openings that we definite think about when we think about the show. Here are the Top 10 anime openings for 2014.
#10 Kimi no Matsu Sekai by Lagoon (Opening to Magic Kaito 1412)
Oh Phantom Thief. How you charm us with your magic tricks again and again.
We get a retelling of the Phantom Thief in this rockin’ opening to the show. We follow our lead, Kaito, who is a smug, yet charismatic high school student who is also a great magician. We come to find out that his father was a great magician … that turned out to be the infamous Phantom Thief. Now, Kaito has taken up the mantle to find out if his father was murdered … and by whom.
This opening kicks off with a great array of tricks and mystery, while showing us our main character. The song’s lyrics definitely fit the situations of the show and the animation is great. The song is just infectious on its own. The reason why this is #10 is because during the middle of the song, while showing our main protagonist and his love interest off, the theme feels a little off. Yet, it links back together when the chorus hits. Still, we get some great animation from A-1 Pictures and an energetic opening to kick us off.
#9 – Believer’s High by flumpool (1st Opening to Captain Earth)
Bones hit a home run with the animation and music to this opening. It’s got a great sense of rising tempo, allowing the song to continuously build slowly with some spectacular animation. We get to see the main mecha merge slowly alongside the main characters in natural way. Some great shots of our characters along with fumpool’s track, we got ourselves a great opening theme.
#8 – Ambigous by Granidelia (2nd Opening to Kill la Kill)
The second opening of Kill la Kill graces the countdown. Another high energy song, it fits the motif of the show and the animation as it is a battle to the death while still being a giant fashion show.
Actually, the fact that it blends the action and the fashion so well in the opening in a testament to the work done by Trigger as they put this opening together. Granidelia perform the opening with a passion that definitely captures you as every note builds upon the next.
With Ryoko’s crew and Satsuki’s Elite Four walking the runway towards Raygo, it signals the absolute insanity with in the show while being stylish and full of energy. Abigious fits that so well.
#7 – Liar Mask by Rika Mayama (2nd Opening to Akame ga Kill)
Definitely a surprise on this list, Akame ga Kill snuck towards the end of the year with this jewel of an opening. We get a beautiful set up to the lower tempo and choir like hymms with a sword and then the two main factions of the later half of the show: Night Raid, featuring our main characters … and The Jaegers, their antagonists.
Then the visuals get weird and stylish as we continue to see the two groups come together, the other figures that play key roles up till the finale till we get an amazing plethora of battle images. These all fit the show as it focuses on a group of assassins, Night Raid, looking to take down the corrupt government and their special group, The Jaegers.
With the violin and choir working with the rock guitar, this opening is a joy to listen to and watch. It is also very memorable, which makes it on this list at #7.
#6 – Masayume Chasing by BoA (Fairy Tail Opening 15)
We kick things off with Fairy Tail! It returned to the small screen this year with a new production company, A-1 Pictures, new characters and a great new arc to jump on to. What is even better is that this opening.
And while it is not a reboot, this new opening is just great with its club/house background and piano driving it. Along with great, flowing animation as the show is now being produced under A-1. This opening gives you ominous evils to come and the joy that comes from the characters of Fairy Tail. It really synergizes well with what Fairy Tail is about in this arc and the guild itself.
Plus, it’s grooving sound makes it really easy to dance too.
#5 – Yowamushi na Honoo by Magic of Life/Dirty Old Men (2nd Opening to Yowamushi Pedal)
Ok. Top 5 and we start off with one of the most energetic and infectious songs on this countdown. I love every last bit of this song. This song is so full of energy and wonder … much like the anime that it represents.
The opening kicks off with all guns ablazing as it takes viewers and listeners on a journey. With a great use of the bicycle riding and the tune from Magic of Life/formerly Dirty Old Men, we get to see some really wonderful work. With the opening animation connected to UEC, AI and Studio Bones, we see all the characters in play, with great shots of them and their personalities while taking a fast ride. The zoom way to the clouds to show the credits alone is one of the most innovative and beautiful sequences I have ever seen in any anime opening ever.
Originally, this spot was about to be given to Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road’s first opening, yet no opening from this season or the current season can capture the wonder and energy of Onoda and the gang as much as this opening has. Not bad for a sports anime about bicycles, huh? And this is why it takes #5 on this countdown.
#4 Senkou Strings by Cyntia (4th Opening to Saint Seiya Omega)
Oh boy! Here were go again. I talked about this opening in my last countdown of underrated themes. And underrated it is.
This opening is pure action, excitement and energy. From the opening animation of Pallas and Athena donning their own armors, which is HUGE to anyone who watches the show, to seeing each of the main players of the show and the war within the show, this opening delivers. It is colorful. It is energetic. It has action. It has beautiful characters.
This opening allows the music and animation flow in an almost perfect union. When the guitar gets sinister during the middle of the opening, we see Pallas’ army in all their glory. While the more upbeat sounding music has Athena’s Saints in action. With the final animation picture is of all of the main Saints … not just the main characters of Omega, but the original Saints from Saint Seiya and the Gold Saints together with Athena at the end of the show while the song ends … it just really hits you hard. This is by far an amazing opening that truly burns its cosmos.
#3 Stand Proud by Jin Hashimoto (Opening to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders)
This opening is stunning. It is beautiful. It is fabulous. And it’s manly.
Jin Hashimoto gives us a drum pounding, testosterone charged opening from the moment we start with the opening guitar till the final moments. As the opening goes on, we get to see all the main players in this CGI opening. David produces a great opening that really lets us into the world of Stardust Crusaders while showing off the plot without any spoilers.
It is amazing how well this opening fits the arc and Hirohiko Araki’s stylish yet manly work so well. And to tribute the previous two seasons/arcs before this one, we get to see Jonathan Joestar and Josef Joestar as young men before we are hit with our latest Joestar, Jotaro Kujo as we are introduced to his stand as it punches through your screen throughout the opening. The only reason this is lower than our top 2 openings is because there are times where the CGI does not flow as well as it should. Our heroes walking through different areas in their travels seems a bit stiff. Otherwise, this opening is the soulmate of Stardust Crusaders.
#2 – Cerulean by BACK-ON (1st Opening to Gundam Build Fighters Try)
This was, by far, the hardest number to choose. I had a clear mind of what #1 would be from the moment I conceived this countdown in my brain. Yet, when it came to #2, it was definitely a battle royal to get to this point. Even after dwindling down to only 2 choices, they were from the same band. So, Back On had an incredible year when it come to openings, especially for the Gundam franchise. So, it came down to either “Wimp” or this song to take the #2 spot. Cerulean came out on top … barely.
Cerulean is a beautiful, energetic and definitive representation of not only Gundam Build Fighters Try, but the various Gundam franchises that it connects to. With some of Sunrise’s best animation behind it, we get an opening which feature all our characters, the battles that Gundam is known for, a look at all the potential storylines within this first half of the show and innovative perspectives to help make the opening stand out. From just showing our main 3 with their respective Gundams to seeing the various teams and mecha our protagonists must face to the ghostly figure of the Meijin from last season is seen … this opening goes at full throttle. We get a quick look at all the gunpla as they are starting to be assembled, but we also get the various Build Fighters fighting all over the place.
With different suits that show that tribute various franchises and the overall look of our characters … this opening fills us with Gundam at its essence, overcoming war or any odds to press forward in life. Cerulean’s lyrics only enhance that as you watch the opening and fit our main characters struggles as well. This opening achieves a synergy that only one other opening on this countdown has. With the powerful guitar to the commanding vocals and rap, this song captures the essence of the show perfectly. A true marvel, this is why this opening gets #2.
#1 – Hikaru Nara by Goose House (1st Opening to Your Lie in April)
This opening is one of the most beautiful things I have every seen or heard in my life. This opening is by far A-1 Pictures masterpiece of the year.
I am sure I am surprising a LOT of fans right now with me choosing a musical drama with the best opening of the year. Yet, this opening has so many things going for it. Your Lie in April focuses on Kousei, a piano genius who loses his desire to play after the death of his mother. Yet, after his childhood friend, Tsubaki, introduces him to the spunky violinist, Kaori, Kousei ends up confronting his fears (whether he wanted to or not) and begins to play music again. Yet, this music ignites not only his love of music, but a love triangle that seems to get complicated as time passes.
This opening takes the main themes of the show and the characters and gives them solid representations of their characters and feelings. The water color pallett throughout the opening gives it a distinct look as the music is given life through the animation. Cut aways to other scenes in the opening are innovative as music notes from the song by Goose House are given physical form by the characters within Your Lie in April. The light and coloring showing the characters shifting from traditional animation to more water-colored and abstract is stunning.
As you go through the anime to learn about the characters, the song “Hikaru Nara” which translates “If We Shine …” really connects to each of the main four characters of the show. Listening to this opening alone invokes so much emotion, but this opening with Goose house’s song brings me to tears. I am tearing up right now.
It is widely different from nearly any other opening I have ever seen and the song is in perfect union with the opening. There are not enough words that can tell you how great and fitting this opening is. So, I would say watch it for yourself. It is unlike anything you have seen and it is an experience … not just an anime opening. This is why this gets the #1 stop.
Thank you all for coming on this journey with me! Have a happy new year everyone and see you again!