Anime ending songs are generally low-key affairs, consisting of a simple tune and unobtrusive visuals to allow the viewer to reflect on the episode they just watched. In other words, they don’t usually command much attention for themselves. But today, we’re shining the spotlight on 5 anime EDs that are always worth watching because of how they change over time.
These shows mix up the formula by adding new characters, swapping out the song, foreshadowing future events, and all sorts of other techniques to keep fans engaged all the way until the next episode preview. Let’s check out the 5 best evolving anime endings!
5. Blend S
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
While Blend S’s memetic OP focuses on the novelty roles each girl plays at the café, its ending explores Maika’s dream of traveling the world. At first, only her two initial coworkers Kaho and Mafuyu join her as she sets sail to visit cultural landmarks like the Taj Mahal and the bamboo forests of China. But, as more characters are introduced, the party grows to include Miu, Hideri, and even their dog named Owner. Seeing the whole crew fly through the night sky on sakura flowers, magical girl wands, and ribbon propellers is so adorable!
A more frequent change comes in the last shot of each ending, where Maika’s bulletin board acquires an increasing amount of pictures from her various adventures with the café staff. We know that she’ll treasure these memories forever!
4. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2012 – April 2013
Because JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure takes so much inspiration from Western rock and pop music, it’s only appropriate to use those very songs for the series’ endings! The first season adapts parts 1 and 2 of the manga, so they both share the same song—the legendary progressive rock hit “Roundabout” by Yes. For part 1, the music plays over an animation of an Aztec mural systematically filling up with blood and activating the Stone Mask, while still shots of the main characters scroll on top of it.
Part 2 cleverly continues on from this by starting with the Stone Mask activating and scrolling up to the pivotal object of this storyline, the Red Stone of Aja. It also usually plays a later section of “Roundabout”, evoking the feeling of passing the torch both in animation and music. And to drive the point home even further, the first few EDs of part 2 show Jonathan reaching up to Joseph as if to pass on his will to the next generation.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Lucky Star is a laid-back sort of anime, so what better way to end an episode than listening to the main characters sing muffled karaoke tunes behind a closed door? Yes, the visuals leave something to be desired (since it’s literally just a single still shot of a door), but it’s just so charming to hear the girls belt out off-key renditions of old-school anime songs like the original Dragon Ball Z theme and the Doraemon theme.
Later on in the series, a live-action actor named Minoru Shiraishi takes over the endings and sings whatever classic anime themes he wants. His version of the Urusei Yatsura theme is hilarious, but what truly knocks us off of our chairs is this man singing Lucky Star’s own opening song all by himself on the edge of a cliff. The low budget special effects combined with the ambient wind knocking his mic around make this particular ending look and sound like a YouTube video from 10 years ago, but we honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 (Attack on Titan Season 3)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 – October 2018
WIT Studio’s decision to split Attack on Titan Season 3 into two parts was certainly an unpopular one, but at least we got an unforgettable ending out of it. In episode 12, the bombastic ED suddenly glitches out and speeds through a flurry of unfamiliar images and sound bytes until it cuts to a shot of Levi, Eren, and Mikasa on a rooftop with something smoldering beside them.
The tense atmosphere and lack of music make Levi’s harsh words of “You guys, do you even have the faintest damn clue what you’re doing?” hit even harder than his left hook to the side of Eren’s head. Mikasa loses her cool and lunges at him, just barely restraining herself from slicing him up. Then the ED music fades back in and we’re back to where we left off, our minds swimming with questions about whatever it was that we just saw. It’s one of the best hype-generating teasers we’ve ever seen, and anime fans were beyond psyched to get answers in the second half of the season.
1. Hetalia Axis Powers
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: January 2009 – March 2010
Hetalia is a gag series that represents international politics and culture through the medium of cute anime boys and irreverent comedy. Its ending is initially sung by the spacey Italy, who rambles about wanting bolognese pasta and drinking alcohol in a big boot, but just about every character gets to sing about their associated country at some point.
England’s praise of the Tube, America’s self-aggrandizement, and Russia’s veiled threats are some of our favorite lyrical moments, but the most entertaining aspect of these national variations is the change in musical style to fit each character. Japan and China have traditional instruments in the background, America and England have electric guitar riffs, Austria expertly plays a piano solo, and Prussia’s version completely goes off the rails so he can brag about how great he is. These endings are bursting with personality, perfectly encapsulating Hetalia’s lovingly insane caricatures of real-world countries in 40 seconds or less.
What did you think of our list? What are some of your favorite evolving anime endings? Did we miss any classics? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!