Turns out, “best ever ever ever in the history of ever” is a classification open to much discussion and disagreement. We thoughts ourselves to be thoroughly rational and scientific when calculating the five greatest anime openings mankind has ever borne witness to–but we were wrong. There was an enormous response, with a whole plethora of anime offered up as preferred alternatives. Obviously, some corrections are in order. Before we get to these newly-ranked titles, though, we’d like to point out that one of our picks did, in fact, receive nigh-unanimous agreement.
Horea Scalat “I may be a bit biased here, but, as it is so often the case, this list too goes like: well, there’s Cowboy Bebop… and then there’s the rest.”
Damon Brown “…I agree 100% with Cowboy Bebop at #1. The visual style? The music? I can’t think of a better intro for anything. Period.”
Bill Kroyer “Beebop easily has the best intro of all time. Really the title should be ‘Cowboy Bebops intro and 4 other pretty great ones.'”
Karola Radmacher “Cowboy Bebop is the only show I ALWAYS watch the full opening even when binge watching.”
Edward Antigog “Cowboy Beebop had the best opening imo.”
Who says we can’t all get behind something? Now onto the most popular recs from our readers.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
This choice of “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi might be Hideaki Anno’s most Lynchian stroke. While the escalating glimpses of abstract imagery do hint at the challenging finale, and the lyrics of self-belief do reflect Shinji’s journey as an unsure young man, an upbeat dance track with a rumba-esque drum line sashays in blatant contradiction to the series’ brooding nihilism. And that’s probably why it works so well!
Martin Roberts “Best intros ever in the history of ever? How can you not have Neon Genesis Evangelion on there? Thesis Of A Creul Angel has become iconic as well as the whole opening.”
Frank Bromley “List invalid do to lack of Cruel Angel Thesis.”
Scott Orr “Evangelion Neon Genesis-Cruel Angel Thesis should have been in there somewhere!”
Tim Haldane “It’s been mentioned, but this list is a failure without Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
Splattercat “But…but…. Neon Genesis Evangelion!! A Cruel Angel’s Thesis is one of the best intro songs *EVER* ever.”
Neldolas “Zaaankoku na tenshi no youuniiii Shooouuneeen yo shimwa ni naaareeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I completely agree with you!!”
Relentless riffs! Playful drum breaks! Gun porn! Mid-firefight shenanigans! And, of course, comically-high stacks of insurance form! No combination of clashing scenarios and sounds could better sum up the strange sitcom-cum-morality-play that is Trigun. And no track could suit it better than Tsuneo Imahori’s swaggering “H.T.”
Matthew Ryan Guidroz “You forgot triguns opening. It’s probably one of the most iconic.”
Matthew Alan Dennis “FLCL and Trigun had some amazing intro/outros as well. I just don’t keep up with anime anymore, can you tell?”
Michael Bolinger “Trigun is an obvious omission…”
Nuno Tavares “Trigun had a great opening :).”
It’s hard not to picture the producers deliberately picking this is as a jarring contrast to Death Note‘s melodic and emo first intro. Freaking people the @#$% out is what metal’s all about, dude! As the cat and mouse game between Kira and L ratchets in intensity, the intro swings sharply more frantic. Inappropriate colors! Bullet time! Reapers chasing apples! Screaming! Growling! Rapping! Mass hysteria!
Jonathan Pharr “What up People?! By Maximum the Hormone from Deathnote. Still doesn’t top Tank! But should have had an honorable mention”
Erica Nicole “No love for Death Note???? ‘What’s up people’ is pretty bad ass…”
Amber Lynn Gravley “Deathnooooote season 2!!!”
Zubair Qureshi “For me: DeathNote, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure OP2, Soul Eater, Naruto Shippuden and Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
Yu Yu Hakusho
As is the case with Eva‘s song choice, “Smile Bomb” by Sara White works largely because it feels so unfitting. This show’s about teenage punks beating the crap out of horrifying demons. What better song to score that than a lounge-y number maybe only a few BPMs away from being a Stock, Aitken and Waterman dance single? Remember, this is the show that dubs riff-tastic humor over scary scenes with doom-laden synth. It’s already crossing wires!
Rochelle Huckaby “…where’s Yu Yu Hakusho? Cuz that intro is PERFECT.”
Nikki Rakiri “But where are Yu Yu Hakusho and Soul Eater though?”
Hunter X Hunter
In a lot of ways, Hunter X Hunter is what’d you get after turning the Dangerous Book for Boys into a shonen anime. So, really, its opening should be focused on one moment of serious bro-ing out during a camping trip. And Keno’s mellow cafe-rock track “Ohayou” fits just right, setting the tone as Gon and his pals rise, shine and essentially seize the day with a fishing pole. (For the record, we do personally prefer the HxH reboot’s “Departure” and its endlessly-encouraging reach for “ashita.”)
Prince Asumbrado “Too many to fit in a top 5, but off the top of my head: Tank! (Cowbow Bebop), H.T (Trigun), Ohayou (Hunter x Hunter 1999), 1/2 (Rurouni Kenshin), Butterfly Kiss (Groove Adventure Rave), For Real (Gensomaden Saiyuki), and of course, Head f@#$ing Cha La.”
Justin Selgrad “Cowboy Bebop for sure… But there are tons of better ones to list over the rest! Eyeshield 21, Break Through, Paranoia Agent, FMA Ready Steady Go & Hunter x Hunter 2011 for example.”
Have we set the record straight, finally? Or do other intros deserve inclusion in our oh-so-selective “best ever in the history of ever” list? If you agree, comment! If you disagree, comment twice!
Featured Image Credit: FUNimation