Ring in the year of 2015 with our 10 favorite OP’s of the winter anime season. The year may be young and the weather may be frosty, but this season’s OP’s have come out blazing hot.
As always, let us know your personal favorites in the comments!
10. “Seishun Satsubatsu-ron” by 3-nen E-gumi Utatan – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Lerche)
A raucous song and dance number is perhaps the only appropriate way to set the stage for the battle between the slimy Koro-sensei and the aspiring assassins in Class E. Like the series itself, AssClass’s OP is largely comedic but still shaded by a slightly macabre umbrella. The large cast of characters, flickering typography, and a spinning Koro-sensei ensure that there’s always something interesting happening on screen. Sassassa!
9. “Star!!” by CINDERELLA PROJECT – The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls (A-1 Pictures)
More than just a name, the Cinderella theme is used to great effect here with images of clocks and shoes popping up throughout the video. Even the arrow motif found in The iDOLM@STER‘s first OP, “READY,” is creatively turned into the hands of the clock preparing to strike midnight. The presence of chime bells and a twinkling box will leave you feeling like royalty – that all your dreams may come true if you have the heart to simply wish upon a star… or contract with 346 Productions. Appropriately, 346 is read as mishiro and when written as 美城, it means “beautiful castle.”
8. “Punky Funky Love” by GRANRODEO – Kuroko no Basuke 3 (Production I.G.)
The 5th OP in Kuroko no Basuke‘s career, “Punky Funky Love” wins the award for best song title of the season. As we’ve come to expect from the series, this OP introduces all of the major players from each school, a roster that grows bigger and better with each season. The change of pace between the song’s opening verses to the chorus is as dynamic as Kagami entering the Zone, with visuals ramping up to show flashy and honestly inhuman maneuvers on the court. Gotta love the use of color in the opening shots, highlighting each teams’ colors, as well as all the fireworks.
7. “Shiawase ni Tsuite Watashi ga Shitteiru Itsutsu no Houhou” by Maaya Sakamoto – Koufuku Graffiti (Shaft)
An OP animated by Shaft is never ordinary, and that’s always a good thing in our book. Maaya Sakamoto’s dreamy vocals and a persistent synth beat are right at home in the otherworldly atmosphere drawn out by the OP – one in which spoon soldiers exist and fruits and vegetables rain from the sky. Alice in Wonderland is a brilliant analogy for the culinary craft, as the rabbit hole known as cuisine can be as deep as one’s imagination and love for cooking.
6. “Kimiiro Signal” by Luna Haruna – Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (A-1 Pictures)
“Kimiiro Signal” is very concerned with controlling what we see, making the interesting decision to postpone focusing on the heroine’s faces until the very end. In the meantime, we get long shots of their legs, chests, and torsos, which makes sense given the importance of character creation, fictional or otherwise, in Saekano. The kick of the chorus is accompanied by a visually alluring section showing off Eriri drawing, Tomoya typing, and Michiru playing the guitar, all in glowing neon.
5. “Hito ni Yasashiku” by THE ROLLING GIRLS – Rolling☆Girls (Wit Studio)
This cute cover of The Blue Hearts 1987 hit song manages to retain its edginess, encapsulating the exhilaration of traveling the country with friends and riding your motorized steeds wherever the wind takes you. “Hito ni Yasashiku” is undoubtedly one of the most visually exciting OP’s we’ve seen in a long time, with a myriad of colors and geometric patterns adventurously going in any direction they desire. Dynamic camerawork creates the sense that we’re actually at an outdoor concert watching The Rolling Girls perform.
4. “HEADHUNT” by OKAMOTO’S – Durarara!!x2: Shou (Studio Shuka)
The second season of Durarara!! gathers a monster roster of characters, and it’s classic roll call style OP feels equally as gargantuan, flipping through 21 character cut-ins. As always, we love how a recap is seamlessly inserted in each OP, reflecting the importance of intersecting events in Durarara!!. “HEADHUNT” delivers a punk vibe befitting the seedy streets of Ikebukuro and has a latent intensity that goes along well with watching Shizuo mercilessly chase Izaya around the city.
3. “Orange Mint” by Yotsugi Ononoki (CV: Saori Hayami) – Tsukimonogatari (Shaft)
Saori Hayami’s calming voice is in direct contrast with the pulsing synth beats and the spiraling, out of control visuals. Even the credits text can’t seem to figure out what’s up and what’s down. Yotsugi’s dance moves rival even those of Tsukihi’s in her 2013 hit, “Platinum Disco.” Bryan really doesn’t like the color orange or the fruit, but this OP may just be enough to change his mind because doki-doki orange and kira-kira mint sounds like a delicious flavor combination. Pan! Pan!
2. “Miiro” by AKINO from bless4 – Kantai Collection (Diomedea)
The level of detail and care seen in the anime shines through in its OP, “Miiro.” The marriage between visuals and music are exceptionally good, from the six lights, representing a fleet of ships, flying by to the beat of an arpeggiating electric guitar, to the powerful attack and shower of sakura petals accompanying the title logo to the cinematic deployment of fighter planes. Even a little CG can’t bring this OP down. From stormy seas to the harshest night battles to the dawn horizon, “Miiro” captures the energy, intensity, and courage that the kanmusu carry into combat.
1. “FLYERS” by BRADIO – Death Parade (Madhouse)
With an almost brazen amount of self-awareness, this funky number from Death Parade sets the standard for OP’s to come in 2015. The fun times are as eternal as the void itself at arbiters’ lounges, where the alcohol is plenty and Twister is always a party option. Madhouse brings some gorgeous animation with Chiyuki and Decim killing it on dance floor, Quin juggling her precious ales, and everyone having fun on a swing carousel that never appears in the series. Though some may describe “FLYERS” as the most misleading OP this season, we’d argue that it’s strangely fitting of Death Parade‘s themes. Death is an inevitability, and that’s all the more reason to enjoy life to fullest.