It’s strange, in every season there’s always a single opening sequence and ending sequence that stands apart from the rest as the example that compels me to seek it out. And while there are several incredibly good opening songs this season (Persona 4’s comes to mind easily), there’s only been one song that has truly grabbed me like no other. That’s Un-Go’s “Fantasy”, by LAMA. The melancholy minor key tonality of the vocals being pulled along by the repetitive lilt of the piano transfixes me like no other. I’ve enjoyed several opening songs so far, but none have really grabbed me viscerally so much as this particular song has. Perhaps I need a little more time for the songs to grow on me. I know for instance that I didn’t know how much I enjoyed Tiger & Bunny’s Orion wo Nazoru until it was gone.
I’ve been an anime fan for a long time and I have lots of anime ED themes that I like, but this one really left a strong impression.
Bakuretsu Hunters, “Mask”:
The song’s title is Mask, sung by Masami Okui.
That certain ED theme for me was just epic. The song is probably one of the best anisongs/j-pop song that came out in the 90’s and it is an awesome fusion of disco and pop, and is sung by Masami Okui, one of the best female j-pop singers. Also the song has a strong to the anime If you look at the lyrics, it has the strong affinity to the anime (if you watched Sorcerer Hunters anime, that is).
I really like the invoked emotion that the song brings and coupled with the ED video that features the female heroines of the anime in their “dominatrix alter-ego” modes which for me is the girls’ “mask” and with the imagery of masks only accentuate the fact. At the chorus part, the mask is broken, showing the true selves of the girls.
It is upbeat, catchy and the song is a story in itself. Just the way I like my anime ED theme.
Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge, “Akai Coat (赤いコート)”:
A great song, with a great ED sequence, belonging to a great show. I’m talking about the ED to the second season of Arakawa Under the Bridge, featuring Suneohair’s ‘Akai Coat’ (‘Red Coat’). There are two versions of the ED (same song, different visuals), but, as much as I like the visuals in the pretty second animated version, I prefer the first live-action sequence. I found the song itself instantly likeable, due to my fondness for folky/ indie tunes featuring an acoustic guitar, a dreamy male vocal, and thoughtful lyrics. Combined with those scenes by the riverbank, of sun-dappled paths, train tracks, blue skies, and talk of ‘goodbyes’ and ‘journeys’ in the lyrics, the whole thing feels both nostalgic and hopeful.
‘Thinking of the end of my journey, the days I used to search for it passed by… Thinking of the beginning of my journey… I’m swimming in our tomorrow…’
Having said goodbye to his former life of paternal privilege in order to move into a new community of weird and wonderful folks and, inevitably, to mature and develop as his own independent person, it also feels like Recruit’s thoughts (a.k.a. Rik). Not that the ED features either of the two main characters, Ric and Nino, but it does include two equally unforgettable members of that community, the Mayor and Hoshi, complete with their respective giant kappa suit and star mask. Thus, I like the ED because I think it sounds and looks lovely, and because it conveys some of the more absurd goings-on in the story. And also because it makes me want to go on more journeys of my own, perhaps armed with an acoustic guitar. ;)
Toradora!, “Vanilla Salt (バニラソルト)”:
My tastes for ED & OP themes differs greatly and it’s probably because I expect and want different things from them. With OP’s I usually want them to get me excited for the show, to wake me up in some way before I get started. I used to watch my anime early in the morning , because it was generally the only thing on after the news and Sportcenter. I guess it may be a conditioning thing.
With ED themes and their animation, like a lot of you guys I generally want them to leave an impression or link strongly to a memory or emotion from the show. So that generally means they’re more melancholy or at least more
slowly paced. Though there are strong exceptions.
Here’s my blog posting from a few years back on my favorite ten ED’s. Sorry if many of the links are broke, but you should be able to find the videos or songs on Youtube easily enough. Sorry for the inconvenience. Also, even though this list is old it’s completely accurate. My number 1 choice isn’t coming down anytime soon.
Hidamari Sketch×☆☆☆, “Sakura Sakura Saku ~Ano Hi Kimi wo matsu, Sora to Onajide~ (さくらさくら咲く 〜あの日君を待つ 空と同じで〜)”:
To start, I like all three of the endings of the Hidamari Sketch series, but I think from the moment I saw it, I fell in love with the ending of Hidamari Sketch×☆☆☆. Hidamari Sketch is known for its ridiculously high energy opening themes. In a way it parallels the progression of the episodes. Yuno and friends have a day full of fun and silliness at their art school, but each episode draws to a close with Yuno taking a relaxing bath and reflecting on the day’s events. The more subdued ED theme for this series has the same contrast to that of the OP and does an excellent job in wrapping each episode up. The Hidamari Sketch×☆☆☆ ED stands out in particular because of how it links with the overall story of the series. It illustrates the introduction of the two new characters Nori and Nazuna into Yuno’s circle of friends. Sakura Sakura Saku’s imagery starts off with black and white colors, showing Nazuna and Nori alone in the the winter snow. Halfway through, the snowflakes turn into cherry blossom petals and the scenery is suddenly vibrant and colorful. At the end of the sequence, we see Yuno, Hiro, Sae, and Miyako with Yuno welcoming Nazuna and Nori with open arms. That the entire ED is a metaphor for the two newcomers joining the warmth of Yuno and company’s friendship is why I love this ED so much.