After a strong showing last season, with the likes of “Pink Blood” from To Your Eternity and “Aria of Life” from Mars Red, Summer 2021 has a tough act to follow. But even though there aren’t quite as many standout OPs as there have been in the past, this season still has a small selection of certified bops that deserve a spot on your playlist. Let’s give them a listen!
5. "Bloodlines ~Unmei no Kettou” by JAM Project from Getter Robo Arc
You kind of have to love JAM Project for their dogged dedication to creating Awesome-with-a-capital-A anime music (they were responsible for the One Punch Man theme, after all). And this season, they’ve come out with a fiery new track for the retro revival anime Getter Robo Arc that’s dripping with more ‘70s-style fury than the blazing sideburns on Ryouma’s face. The visuals and music both feel like a pure throwback to an earlier era rather than an updated reboot, but there’s a certain charm in that that we adore. If you can’t get enough muscly mecha men in your life, “Bloodlines ~Unmei no Kettou” is the OP for you.
4. “Merry-Go-Round” by MAN WITH A MISSION from Boku no Hero Academia 5th Season (My Hero Academia Season 5)
Continuing the tradition of My Hero Academia openings that make you want to beat up bad guys with the power of friendship, we’ve got “Merry-Go-Round” by veteran J-rock group MAN WITH A MISSION. Though, unlike some of the previous OPs, this one adds in a more serious undertone that emphasizes just how intense our heroes’ situation has become. Watch out for when the chorus soars to life as the dream team of Deku, Bakugou, and Todoroki stride confidently towards new challenges only they can face... it’s worthy of a chef’s kiss.
3. “Analogy” by Ayane from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu (Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU)
OPs for Higurashi installments tend to be dark and brooding, with a particular thematic emphasis on the secrets people keep from each other and Rika trying to escape her horrible fate. For Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu, “Analogy” flips the script by focusing on the person who was secretly pulling the strings for all of last season; not only do the visuals reflect this (changing Rika’s desperate running to that of her enemy, etc.), but the lyrics hammer in the idea that that person will stop at nothing to get the future they desire. It’s a creepy, catchy OP, and we love it to death!
2. “Icy Ivy” by Who-ya Extended from Night Head 2041
Even if you’ve been sleeping on Night Head 2041 (which you shouldn’t be – it’s actually pretty rad once you get used to the animation), you should give its OP “Icy Ivy” a shot. Coming from Who-ya Extended, who blessed us with Jujutsu Kaisen’s second opening “Vivid Vice” back in winter, this cyberpunk-drenched feast for the senses perfectly captures the frantic lives that our dueling pairs of protagonists lead. Its contemplative first verse bursts into a fast-paced chorus, reflecting how the world the characters thought they knew is breaking apart before their eyes. If you’re into abstract imagery, “Icy Ivy” has plenty to sink your teeth into!
1. “Sora to Utsuro” by sasanomaly from Vanitas no Karte (The Case Study of Vanitas)
We love jazzy anime OPs more than just about anything, so this laid-back track by Nico Nico Douga star sasanomaly for The Case Study of Vanitas is right up our alley. It embodies the casually vitriolic friendship between main characters Noé and Vanitas, interspersing bouncy melodies with flourishes of French instrumentation as the animation follows the two dorks excitedly taking in the sights of steampunk Paris. We particularly like the little touch at the end where the main piano line stomps to a halt when Noé collapses on his bed... poor guy.
We’ve also been jamming along to the OPs from Peach Boy Riverside, Record of Ragnarok, Tsukimichi -Moonlit Fantasy-, Boruto, Tsukipro the Animation 2, and The Itaden Dieties Know Only Peace. But are there any great Summer 2021 anime OPs that we missed? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!