xiaobear Oct 23, 2015
I was introduced to the world of Japanese pop via anime like many. It opened doors to other music including Korean pop and Chinese pop. It’s hard to ignore the catchy intro and ending theme songs that accompany anime. It’s a great way to discover new music. Most of the anime below introduced me to a new artist whose other songs and albums I have in my music collection as a result of hearing them for the first time in an anime. Musical taste is quite subjective – so I don’t expect you to agree with everything (or anything!) on this list. But please share your own in the comments. Tell us your favorites.
10. Nobunaga the Fool (“Fool the world” and “Harmonized Chaos” by Chihara Minori)
Nobunaga the Fool’s upbeat, dance-style intro/outro fits the chaotic, temperamental nature of the show and especially the anime’s protagonist, Nobunaga. I couldn’t decide which I liked better, and since they are both sung by the same woman – I decided to keep them tied.
9. Gravitation ending (Glaring Dream by Kotani Kinya)
I also enjoyed the intro, but the ending theme song is really, really good. It’s a song I’d have listened to over and over again even if I hadn’t heard it first on Gravitation. I think they should use this song if they ever did a live-action version of this awesome anime. This song has an 90s/early 00s feel (which I hold nostalgia over that time period), of course, the anime began airing in Japan in 2000. So it makes sense.
8. Sword Art Online intro (Crossing Field by LiSA)
Sword Art Online was not only a great anime, it had a great soundtrack too with music from LiSA and Eir Aoi. I love both artists because of this anime. LiSA’s “Crossing Field” song wins, however, because it makes you want to dance and the dress she wears in the music video is REALLY cool.
7. Bleach ending (Thank You by Home Made Kazoku)
I’m not sure what drew me to Home Made Kazoku’s “Thank You” song. Perhaps it’s the warmness and feel-good nature of this hip-hop beat. This is a great summer song (therefore it should pep you up during the cold season!) and I suggest you give it a listen even if you aren’t a Bleach fan.
6. Ghost in the Shell opening (Inner Universe sung by ORIGA)
Origa, whose real name is Olga Vital’evna Yakovleva, sung this fantastic song produced by Yoko Kanno. She also sings the equally good “Rise” also featured in Ghost in the Shell. Her voice is really angelic and unique. Unfortunately, Origa passed away in January of this year from lung cancer. This is a great singer who is still missed.
5. Inuyasha (Dearest by Ayumi Hamasaki)
Although I’ve listened to Jpop and watched anime before Inuyasha made it to Toonami in the early 2000s, it was Inuyasha’s OST that really pushed me to become a true J-pop fan. I’m also a huge Ayumi Hamasaki fan and this slow ballad is just a beautiful song all around.
4. Cowboy Bebop (Real Folk Blues sung by Mai Yamane)
Mai Yamane has a beautiful, strong voice with soul. She primarily sings jazz and blues and has been in the business longer than I’ve been alive. This song had me from its start and is a perfect fit for a mature anime like Cowboy Bebop. The wonderful Yoko Kanno is behind this track, along with Ghost in the Shell’s Inner Universe.
3. Yona of the Dawn opening (Yona of the Dawn by Kunihiko Ryo)
Combined with the beautiful visuals in the opening, this instrumental song evokes strong emotions. I have to say this is one of the rare openings that I both watch and listen to over and over again. Usually, after watching the opening it’s like “yeah, yeah get on with the show.” But not this one.
2. Inuyasha (Shinjitsu no Uta by Do As Infinity)
Shinjitsu no Utsa is soft ballad that has beautiful instruments, a beautiful melody, and beautiful vocals. To this very day, Do As Infinity (and especially this song) remains one of my top favorite musical groups.
1. Amnesia intro (Zoetrope by Yanagi Nagi)
Zoetrope is another dance-sounding song that gets the heart pumping. Yanagi Nagi might be a familiar name, as she’s done other songs featured in anime. She was also a guest vocalist in the group Supercell. This is my number one pick because I frequently listen to this song even though it’s been about two and a half years since I first heard it.
Honorable mentions: Eir Aoi (Sword Art Online), ON/OFF (Vampire Knight), Maaya Sakamoto (Wolf’s Rain), Sailor Moon (any)
Don’t forget to name some of your favorites in the comments!