Looking back now, 2019 was another great year for anime with an almost overwhelming number of titles, plenty of which have the potential to become modern classics. Along with these series, we obviously also got a myriad of opening sequences. Today we’ll be covering our top favorite OPs of last year, taking all aspects into consideration from art direction, originality, connection to the anime, and general quality of the music. Obviously this isn’t a scientific process but we hope you enjoy our picks regardless! We’ll also be including the OP videos when possible, let’s start!
5. Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland) - “Touch Off”
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2019 –March 2019
A new blockbuster Shonen Jump series, Yakusoku no Neverland’s anime adaptation has a captivating blend of psychological thriller with horror and sci-fi that made it one of the most popular shows of last year. Some part of that should definitely be credited to its opening “Touch off” with excudes hype, mystery, and one of the most powerful saxophone riffs in all of anime! We also thought some of the use of symbolism was clever, particularly the recurring red thread of fate that is later revealed as a burning fuse which further connects to the openings’ use of fire and light. Other standout moments include the first-person section in the beginning and the blooming flower which, like much of the other symbolism, is well done in how it connects in retrospect without spoiling the story. UVERworld’s track is also fits perfectly with a masterful sense of rhythm and buildup that keeps everything moving.
Yakusoku no Neverland Opening “Touch off” by UVERworld
4. Carole & Tuesday - “Kiss Me”
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2019 – October 2019
Shinichiro Watanabe’s latest anime series, Carole & Tuesday doubled down on his trademark incorporation of music into the theming of his anime with an inspiring tale of the titular musicians’ rise in a world dominated by manufactured pop music literally produced by artificial intelligence. As such, a great deal of care was put into this opening and we think it paid off! It’s hard to say what stands out first in “Kiss Me” from its smooth R&B-style English vocals from the talented Nai Br.XX and Celeina Ann to its beautiful painterly visuals but it all comes together wonderfully. There’s a strong sense of movement throughout, with great attention to detail in the editing to match the progression of the music along with an overall style that feels very modern in the way it combines ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ sensibilities to great effect and is one of our most memorable openings of 2019!
3. BEASTARS - “Wild Side”
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2019 – December 2019
In terms of unusual visual styles, “Wild Side” stands out immediately with its almost entirely stop-motion animated opening made using some really impressive models that match the anime’s character designs and expressions very well. This approach was also fitting as it tied into the series’ theatrical theming with clear thought put into the stage design and lighting. The dance scene, in particular, feels very theatrical and, of course, flowed well with the distinctly jazzy, big band style accompaniment that ties the whole thing together. The shocking reveal at the end leaves a big impression and drives home the predatory tension that pervades the series with another highlight being the ‘antler forest’ (presumably Louis’) from earlier in the OP. In short, “Wild Side” is a visually and sonically unique opening that captures its series well.
BEASTARS Opening “Wild Side” by ALI
2. Joshikousei no Mudazukai (Wasteful Days of High School Girl) - “Wa! Moon! Dass! cry!”
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2019 – September 2019
Joshikousei no Mudazukai was probably one of the most underrated series of 2019 and definitely a strong contender for the best comedy anime of last year. It also happened to have one of our favorite openings in the appropriately non sequitur “Wa! Moon! Dass! Cry!”. Not only does this OP nail the mood of the show perfectly (with bonus points for in-character vocals from the main cast) but it is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, quite creative in its ‘camera work’ in making this opening have an amateur, school project-like style with segments of ‘handheld’ shaky cam, faux stop-motion animation, and motion blur photographs which are often accompanied by hilarious photo-bombing by Nozomu "Baka" Tanaka. The music itself is quite an earworm with a very catchy and unusual offbeat style that is matched well with the visuals and comes together to make an OP that feels very genuine, playful, and amusing.
Joshikousei no Mudazukai Opening “Wa! Moon! Dass! Cry!” by Chinatsu Akasaki, Haruka Tomatsu, and Aki Toyosaki
1. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind) - “Uragirimono no Requiem”
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: October 2018 – July 2019
As a series, David Production’s anime adaptations of the beloved manga have produced some of the most consistently excellent openings of any long-running series to date and Uragirimon no Requiem is no exception. With a soaring buildup at the beginning leading into a further escalated ramp up, this opening continually builds up tension with its music and expressive, flowing visuals that feel at times like flying through the pages of the manga. “Uragirimono no Requiem” also features its series’ trademark color shifting and, most impactfully, new variants of the opening that tie into story developments towards the end which continues to be absolutely amazing and is done particularly well in Part 5. General excellence, along with special touches like this and fanservice moments like Giorno’s Dio-like pose, have to push JoJo again to our favorite opening of the year!
As we said before, objective rankings for art can be a tricky business but we feel lucky to be alive at a time full of so many wonderful choices to put here! Were your favorites here too? Any surprise picks? Let us know your top openings from 2019 in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more great coverage of all things anime and otherwise awesome! See you in the opening future!