It’s a brand-new year, and you know what that means – so many new anime to watch! And each one of those anime has an opening theme to set the scene, so let’s take a listen to the best that the season has to offer. Here are the 5 best anime OPs of Winter 2023!
5. “Judgement” by ASH DA HERO from Blue Lock
Blue Lock is already the most extra sports anime we’ve ever seen, pitting genius soccer players against one another in a death game style arena to find an egotistical striker who can win the World Cup, but it’s somehow managed to one-up itself with its second OP. “Judgement” illustrates Isagi’s precarious situation by tying him up with chains and tossing him through the Loser’s Gate, an evil laugh ringing in his ears as his teammate Bachira is torn away from him. The harsh guitar, neon colors against angular black backgrounds, and the crazed expressions on the players’ faces emphasize how everyone has to push past their limits to break out of such a desperate bind. Yes, it’s kind of hilarious, but you can’t deny that it’s hype as hell!
Blue Lock OP 2
4. “Trickster” by FIVE NEW OLD from High Card
Here’s another OP that uses flat colors and sharp angles, but goes for an entirely different tone than Blue Lock. High Card has a James Bond/Kingsmen vibe, so sharp suits and Victorian floral patterns are the order of the day, and the result is so stylish that you just can’t look away. As for the music itself, FIVE NEW OLD infuses “Trickster” with an effortlessly suave tone that combines jazz and hip-hop to bridge the gap between the series’ retro inspirations and its high concept “cards give you superpowers” premise. If High Card ends up being anywhere near as cool as its OP, then we’ll have a serious contender for Anime of the Season on our hands.
High Card OP
3. “River” by Anonymouz from Vinland Saga Season 2
Vinland Saga is a series that changes tone dramatically as it goes on, reflecting how Thorfinn grows from his experiences throughout his life, and nothing showcases this better than “River”, the OP for Season 2. Gone are the bombastic metal tracks, replaced with a sorrowful voice wishing for a river to carry them away from the death and destruction they’ve been mired in for so long. The visuals here are particularly haunting: countless hands crawl over each other to drag Thorfinn down, a kaleidoscope pattern mixes the past and present into an inescapable spiral, and the corrupting influence of the crown seems to burn Canute to his core. You’ll notice new things every time you watch this opening, so make sure not to skip it when a new episode comes out.
Vinland Saga Season 2 OP
2. “Dystopia” by Sizuk from Hyouken no Majutsushi ga Sekai wo Suberu (The Iceblade Sorcerer Shall Rule the World)
Unlike the anime itself, which is pretty much just a generic fantasy light novel adaptation, the OP for The Iceblade Sorcerer Shall Rule the World is unlike anything we’ve heard in a long time. The high energy female vocals (courtesy of AYAME from AliA) and minor key make it feel like a long-lost Touhou song, complete with lightning-fast keyboard sections and a drumbeat to slay monsters to. Our favorite part has to be in the very last moments when the melody takes a nosedive down the scale and then goes right back up to end on a punchy and almost discordant high note. Whether or not Iceblade Sorcerer is actually any good, “Dystopia” absolutely deserves a place on your playlist.
Hyouken no Majutsushi ga Sekai wo Suberu OP
1. “Wanna Muchuu” by MAISONdes from Urusei Yatsura (2022)
MAISONdes has done it again! Following up from the first season’s “Aiue”, which was already an unparalleled bop on its own, “Wanna Muchuu” is somehow even cuter and catchier than that! The bouncy beat and surprisingly chill vocals mesh together to create a tune that not even the onscreen characters can help dancing to, and the pastel visuals that remind us of something we would’ve had on a Trapper Keeper in the ‘90s are the perfect accompaniment. Plus, if you know your old-school Urusei Yatsura, this OP is chock-full of references to the manga and original anime. There’s truly something for everyone here, and that’s why “Wanna Muchuu” is our top pick for the best anime OP of Winter 2023!
Urusei Yatsura (2022) OP 2
We’re also bopping along to the OPs from Reborn to Master the Blade: From Hero-King to Extraordinary Squire, Junji Ito: Maniac, My Hero Academia Season 6, Revenger, Buddy Daddies, NieR: Automata Ver1.1a, and Trigun: Stampede. But what are your favorite anime OPs from the Winter 2023 season? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!