So I wasn't quite sure which format I should do this in - voice my commentary over the openings, just give a vocal commentary along with links to the openings or present them in video form with accompanying text. For now I went for the last one, but when I tried to compile the vid myself it somehow came out as 51.9GB which was quite a surprise. So for now have some embedded vids and text commentary, though would really like to hear back what you think would be best for when I do similar things in the future.
This isn't just about the visual element, nor is it just about the music, but rather the fusion of the two and how well that combination serves the audience as an opening. Needless to say, to earn the right to make this list these OPs had to make me want to sit through them for every episode of the series.
Note: I avoided current shows, including ongoing ones like Naruto and Fairy Tail, in this list. Mainly so I can then do separate videos on those at a later date.
6) 'Someone Else' - Kana Asumi, from Working!!
I guess this would be considered by many to be a bit of a troll of a choice, but I really like it - right from the start it has you gripped. Seeing as the part before the OP in the first episode is relatively down-to-earth compared to the rest of the show, when the music kicks in it really hits you. The whole thing is just so incredibly happy! From the music to the cutesy animations, you can't find a single thing which doesn't scream "ecstatic". My personal favourite part would have to be the start of the chorus though. The animation matches up so well with the music here, which can be said for the whole thing actually, with the army of marching Popplars. This tune gets stuck in my head consistently, even when I haven't been listening to it! This OP serves as both a great introduction to all the characters and just pure, distilled fun. It made me want to continue watching the series, and I looked forward to seeing it every week - can't fault it.
5) 'Ready Go!' - May'n, from Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi
It was trying to choose between these two top choices (and failing) that led me to expand this to a 'Top 6' rather than a 'Top 5'. I just thought I had to share them both really. I really do love this song, and it blends with the animation seamlessly. Just like the last one it gives us a bit of an insight into the characters, but it also has the funky border design with the almost chibi-esque characters. Sometimes I felt I was tuning in just for the opening and not the show, which reflects badly on the series on the face of it but I do really like the series as well. The song in itself is happy and upbeat, albeit a little on the synthy side, and May'n has an interesting voice to listen to.
4) 'Super Driver' - Hirano Aya, from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009)
This just had to feature. One of the catchiest tunes in existence, and enjoyed its own spell at the top of my Most Played on iTunes for quite a while. From the gratuitous English, to the amazing "STOMP", "CLATTER" effects and so on, to the maze of road signs, to the random equations and physics terms flashing past, to Mikuru's perfect run, this OP has it all - and it's all great. As some of you may know I'm a pretty big Hirano Aya fanboy as it is, and so automatically love all things Haruhi and all of her songs, but this one really sticks with me as a winner. The animation is bright and colourful, and the frames naming all the characters are a nice touch. Shame it lacks the complete randomness of the first OP in that we now know who all those complete strangers in the opening sequence are, but it's really enjoyable to sit through. Let's face it, without as good an OP as this I wouldn't have got through the Endless Eight.
3) 'the WORLD' - Nightmare, from Death Note
In all honesty, what list would ever be complete without some kind of Death Note link being made? But this opening is absolutely brilliant. Living up to the series itself was always going to be a difficult task, but it certainly is fulfilled in this - something that Maximum the Hormone doesn't quite carry off in the second season. This opening manages to effectively convey the same sense of drama that you get from actually watching the show, which is worthy of great praise if you ask me. The bit where L and Light are facing-off in the tunnel is done so well, particularly with the introduction of the highlighted colours and such. This is another one that gets stuck in my head as well, despite me not really knowing any of the lyrics.
2) 'My Soul, Your Beats' - Lia/Girls Dead Monster, from Angel Beats
Thought I'd use this version as the video to display one of the key points about this opening (not just because Blogger wouldn't find the normal version at all....), and that is that it changes every episode. I really like seeing that in anime: a bit of fluidity in the OPs and EDs. It shows a whole lot of effort is being put into making each episode unique and good in its own way, and when you're going to serve up both Lia AND Girls Dead Monster, who could possibly say no to that? The song on its own is brilliant, but in combination with any of the OP sequences it becomes sublime. I really like the idea of showing clips from the upcoming episode in the opening, and that first image of any episode with Angel playing the piano has become iconic in my mind. The action in the opening doesn't necessarily sync up with the music, but it suits it so well it doesn't really have to. Did I mention how great this song is?
1) 'God only knows' - Oratorio God Only Knows/ELISA, from The World God Only Knows/Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai
Bah, it's mirrored, but that's the best I could find
Definitely a surprise choice at number one. When I was going through my shortlist for this I assumed that 'My Soul, Your Beats' or one of the others would make the top spot, but going back and watching it again I just had to put this up there. Why you ask? I'll tell you: harpsichord breakdown. You just don't get that enough these days. But it is a really great combination of video and music, and it sets the stage for the series nicely - introducing a lot of the recurring themes across the episodes, including Keima's heaven full of cyber girls. I'm a particular fan of the way it caters to how Katsuragi tries to play himself off as being incredibly serious as well, despite the show being a cruel mistress to him in that respect. I don't suppose you've heard the full version of this song by any chance? It's an 8 minute long epic, but if you have the time I really recommend it (the harpsichord breakdown's extended for one thing).
There we have it then. I'd imagine some of the choices are surprising whereas others were entirely predictable, but I guess that's a good thing. Would really like to get some feedback on how to do these in the future, 'cause I think I'd like to actually upload something myself rather than do this and rely on other links.