Exciting original series, hyped-up sequels, fresh and tasty memes... we love everything that comes with a new season of anime, but one of our absolute favorite parts is letting the flood of opening themes wash over us so that we can pick out the best ones and play them over and over again until we’re reciting the lyrics in our dreams. Veteran bop machine Black Clover, unfortunately, won’t be making an appearance this time because its anime is on hiatus, but we’ve still got plenty of terrific tunes for you to add to your playlist. Let’s get started!
5. "Exist" by RAISE A SUILEN from Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood (Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood)
Time will tell whether Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood or Mars Red will reign supreme as the best early 20th century supernatural secret police drama of Spring 2021, but Joran at least wins in the OP department. Not that Mars Red’s opening is bad by any stretch (we did put it in the honorable mentions, after all), but “Exist” by BanG Dream’s own Raise A Suilen is a fierce battle anthem that immediately transports its listeners to the blood-stained fields where ghostly executioner Sawa slays her changeling prey. We’re fascinated by how the traditional enka-style instrumentation and vocals give way to crunching electric guitars and heart-pounding drums for the chorus, only to come back on their own at the very end for a final haunting wail of sorrow. It won’t leave our minds anytime soon…
4. "ODDTAXI" by Skirt and PUNPEE from Odd Taxi
Odd Taxi is an... odd... anime, but this understated murder mystery has a peculiar charm that its lo-fi hip-hop/jazz OP captures perfectly. The flat colors and visible brushstrokes emphasize how shallow Odokawa’s life truly is—his only interactions with other people come from his taxi passengers and a few old friends who don’t really understand him—and the other characters are soon shown to be just as lonely as he is. The melancholic music and abstract animation lend a sinister undertone to his monkey friend’s obsession with dating apps, the young hippo’s addiction to social media, and the missing girl walking away from it all. If you want even more of “Oddtaxi”, be sure to check out the official music video that puts singers Skirt and Punpee in the passenger seat of Odokawa’s taxi as he drives through the night. And don’t forget to watch the anime while you’re at it!
3. "Roll-playing” by Masayoshi Ooishi from Dragon, Ie wo Kau. (Dragon Goes House-Hunting)
From the moment the first few fiery notes of “Roll-playing” burst into our ears, we knew that we’d be humming this one for months to come. The jaunty, syncopated tune brings to mind Irish tavern songs, while the enthusiastic choir led by Masayoshi Ooishi (who you may remember from his funkalicious OP for Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun) paints a picture of the grand JRPG world in which Letty the trash-tier dragon must find a suitable home. We also love the momentary shifts to old-school video game graphics, the montage of Letty reaching out his hand to each new creature he meets, and the mysterious ending that shows Dearia with his dragon friend from the past. The sound reminds us a lot of Fairy Tail, but updated for a new age!
2. "TWISTED HEARTS" by Tasuku Hatanaka from Yuukoku no Moriarty 2nd Season (Moriarty the Patriot)
Tasuku Hatanaka already crafted an absolute banger with “Dying Wish”, the first OP for Moriarty the Patriot, and has followed it up with a worthy sequel in the form of “Twisted Hearts”. It starts off slow and contemplative, showcasing fractured fragments of the main characters’ lives, but steadily builds up to an all-out brawl between them that features a beat drop even Hiroyuki Sawano would be proud of. It’s impossible not to headbang along to the electronica chorus as it drowns out the ominous church bells with its bass-heavy beat and intense vocal performances. It ends with Sherlock’s bullet sailing directly towards William Moriarty’s head, which makes us wonder... can he really make it through this whole series in one piece?
1. "in case..." by BiSH from Godzilla: S.P (Godzilla Singular Point)
This fresh take on the classic Godzilla franchise is still stuck in Netflix jail right now, but we suggest that you at least watch the OP because it’s a genuine work of art. Set to the driving tune of “in case...” by punk rock idol group BiSH (also responsible for Black Clover’s second opening “Paint It Black”), Godzilla Singular Point’s theme song is a psychedelic love letter to the kaiju films that inspired it. Swarms of miniature Rodans screaming through the sky, glimpses of what seems to be Titanosaurus or Manda thrashing around in the water, and a single clear shadow of Godzilla himself all flash briefly onscreen as our determined heroes search for a way to stop the chaos. You’ll notice new things on each viewing—like the clever credits integration with billboards and warning signs—so give it a watch and start to unravel the mystery.
We’re also bopping along to "No.1" from My Hero Academia Season 5, “Soul Salvation” from Shaman King (sung by Megumi Hayashibara, who sounds just as good as she did on the original OP 20 years ago), “Seimei no Aria” from Mars Red, “Twister” from The World Ends with You the Animation, "The theme of the NOMAD" from Nomad: Megalo Box 2, and “Taiga yo Tomo ni Naite Kure” from Zombieland Saga: Revenge. But what are your favorite anime OPs of Spring 2021? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!