2018 was another great year for anime! As part of our recap of the greats of last year, we’re counting down our picks for the best anime openings. We’ve based our choices on the strength of the music and how well it works together with the visuals and matches with the series as a whole. When available from official sources, we’ll also be including video links so you can jam out while reading! Without further ado, let’s go!
10. "LUPIN TROIS 2018" by Yuji Ohno & Lupintic Six from Lupin III: Part 5
The latest incarnation of the marvelous longrunning Lupin the Third series has been an amazing entry for the fans, and sees the titular Lupin traveling to France, and dealing with the changes in thievery brought on by modern technology. In fitting French fashion, this jazzy OP incorporates heavy use of accordion to really sell its setting. While the music is good and fitting, what really steals the show with this OP is the awesome artstyle of the visuals that embrace an intentionally low framerate and a bold, slightly painterly look that feels somewhat reminiscent of Western 2D animation. The OP itself also tells a story that perfectly captures the character’s personalities. Altogether, a triumph for the classic series!
9. "Haru ga Kite Bokura" by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN from 3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season (March Comes In Like A Lion 2nd Season)
This continuation of the popular emotional Shogi anime following Rei’s second year of high school as been hailed as a masterpiece by many, and the quality of the series shows through in its latest opening. UNISON SQUARE GARDEN’s upbeat pop-rock piece "Haru ga Kite Bokura" (We of the Coming Spring) blends beautifully with the soft-yet-detailed, almost watercolor style visuals that fit the tone of the series. One particular highlight of this opening is how meticulously the artists rendered light, glass, and rain which all look gorgeous and are further enhanced by small details like how some of the credits text slide down with the raindrops as if they’re also wet. Overall an excellent and gorgeous OP that fits its series!
"Haru ga Kite Bokura" (We of the Coming Spring)
8. "ODD FUTURE" by UVERworld from Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (My Hero Academia 3)
Shonen powerhouse My Hero Academia is showing no signs of slowing down in popularity, and the first OP of the latest season provides an explosive intro for Deku and his friends’ continued growth towards becoming heroes. This OP gives plenty of great moments to show off the series’ many characters which are edited together very smoothly with a lot of match cuts and other slick techniques to keep the visuals interesting. Probably the strongest part of this OP, though, is how well this is done in time with the music, which has an appropriately odd rhythm to it that attenuates the action with dramatic buildups and slowdowns that work wonderfully when paired with showcases of the heroes powers. In a series with a lot of strong OPs, “ODD FUTURE” still manages to be one of the strongest.
7. "Even...if" by Tamaru Yamada from Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
After over a decade without a follow-up anime to Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, we finally saw the return of the unorthodox mecha series last year with Invisible Victory and with it, a new OP! This opening is one that basically follows the classic form of many other action series of the past with a rockin’ song, and stuff like characters running forward, cuts between various battle scenes and symbolic character shots, and floating naked in space. While some might say it’s cliched, this approach is tried and true and a perfect fit for a classic series revival like Full Metal Panic! Like ODD FUTURE, the visuals are also timed wonderfully with the music and the editing is smooth and clean. We also wanted to give special props to the CG artists and compositors, Arm Slaves have never looked so awesome!
6. "SHINY DAYS" by Asaka from Yuru Camp△ (Laid-Back Camp)
Anime as a medium was basically built around the idea of getting a lot out of minimal frames and Yuru Camp△’s OP is proof that that approach can still yield some fantastic results even today. This OP runs wild with simple depictions of its subject matter; that being camping, it showcases various pieces of equipment, locations, and references to popular brand logos interspersed with the show’s cute characters and some more imaginative elements like the flying rocket tent. One more; the song "SHINY DAYS" with Asaka’s fantastic vocals really captures the bright and happy (perhaps shiny?) feeling of the visuals and show itself—similarities to a certain Jackson 5 song notwithstanding—and is synced together with the visuals beautifully.
5. "Dark Sun..." by Lyn from Persona 5 the Animation
The quality of the actual show aside, Persona 5’s anime adaptation received a really stellar second opening in "Dark Sun..." that succeeds in capturing the game series’ signature visual style, themes, and outstanding music. Clever framing of the main character in the beginning as he interacts with the other characters while riding the train through various locations shows character and relationships while also reflecting the social links gameplay aspect. Both the music and visuals also create a great sense of anticipation as they reach crescendo that lasts until the ending. Pair that with some striking character portraits, symbolic imagery, slick match cut editing, and strong coordination between the music and visuals and "Dark Sun..." emerges as one of the best OPs of 2018 and the best part of the series as a whole!
4. "Kimi no Sei" by the peggies from Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai (Rascal Does Not Dream of
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, one of the latest light novel adaptations with an unreasonably long title was one of the most popular titles of last year with its blend of the science-fiction(-ish) supernatural and romance that felt like an attempt to become the next Monogatari or Haruhi Suzumiya. Regardless of whether it succeeded at that or not, we got a fantastic opening out of it largely thanks to the excellent track by the peggies, which captures a triumphant and independent youthful feeling that masterfully pairs with the visuals aligned with the music. It comes together particularly well with the chorus to create an overall no-frills but highly-enjoyable OP that was one of our favorites of 2018!
3. "VORACITY" by MYTH＆ROID from Overlord III
Wow, how tasty it is indeed! The popular anti-hero-focused isekai series Overlord continued with a second 2018 season which also gave us one hell of an OP with it. The over-the-top "VORACITY" really sells the feeling of how overpowered Momonga and his minions are and simultaneously feels threatening and bouncy at once. It also crams in a lot of audio variety with spoken word, lots of English lyrics, and some brief slow and soft moments that further accentuate the jump back to explosive edginess, all while working in sync with the visuals that show off the anime’s many cool character designs. Further bonus points for the effects on the text which respond to the music and you have an memorable and overpowered OP!
2."Three-Piece" by Hina Kino, Rika Nagae, and Konomi Kohara from Asobi Asobase (Workshop Of Fun)
In terms of fitting its show, Asobi Asobase’s OP "Three-Piece" is a bit of a unique case where it is being deliberately deceptive with its saccharine sweetness that makes it seem like the anime is going to be your typical cutesy moe affair when it’s really kind of the opposite. That being said, there are many hints as to its fake nature, most obvious in the ubiquitous yellow lilies (which represent falsehood). More importantly, the song itself is a banger and really speaks to the impact that songs sung by the voice actors themselves in connecting the music to the show, and in this case, shattering expectations. While its animation is a bit limited, this OP more than makes up for it by being a clever subversion, integrating the music well with its visuals, and gets bonus points from us for showing the characters singing the OP in the OP!
1. "Fighting Gold" by Coda from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind)
Perhaps more than any series, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure consistently produces outstanding OPs in terms of both the visuals and music working together flawlessly and being highly symbolic of the events of the story, needless to say "Fighting Gold" is part of that continuing legacy. Rife with visual splendor with the series’ trademark flair for unusual color combinations and unique character designs, "Fighting Gold" dances across the screen showcasing the style and strange abilities of its cast and hinting at future events without giving anything away specifically. We’ll make special mention of the excellent editing that has the visuals seamlessly flowing from scene to scene, all of which is done in time with the awesome track by Coda. Simply put, "Fighting Gold" is the complete package. With imaginative visuals, fitting music, and deep connection to its series, we can think of no better OP from 2018. Gold!
As more and more anime come out every year it becomes ever more difficult to pick out the best, so we hope that you enjoyed our list and perhaps found something you might have missed! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! Until next time… see ya!