The best anime openings are beautifully animated and imaginative—with an unbeatable musical score to boot. While countless animes are recognizable by their openings, there are a few that have become known as the best of the best. These 31 best anime openings will blow you away both visually and musically that they have become an unskippable part of the viewing experience.
1. Tougenkyou Alien — Gintama
Gintama lasted a long time, almost 400 episodes. Its opening songs have more than once made a lasting impact on fans. “Tougenkyou Alien”—or “Paradise Alien,” if you prefer—is no exception.
This song introduces the shounen anime’s second season with lots of chaotic humor, high energy, and surprising depth. Gintama’s long list of personalities is on full display. Adding to the series’ meta-humor is a hilarious bit in episode 224, where the characters mess up the opening. But in every one of its iterations, this opening is outstanding.
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2. Flag Wo Tatero — March Comes in Like a Lion
In March Comes In Like A Lion, we follow the tale of a lonely young shogi player named Rei Kiriyama. He becomes involved with the Kawamoto sisters and weaves a story that is equal parts dramatic, intense, uplifting, and often heartbreaking. “Flag Wo Tatero” is featured in the second season, bringing together the anime’s unique tone and emotional themes.
This is unlike a lot of anime opening music in that it is comparatively subdued. But what it lacks in in-your-face energy, it matches with beautiful art and a reflective, ponderous experience. The lyrics further cement this, focusing on the difficulties of life without pulling any punches.
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3. Chikichiki Banban — Ya Boy Kongming!
While Ya Boy Kongming!’s “Chikichiki Banban” is a newer release—hitting our screens in spring 2022—it set itself apart as one for the ages. This anime focuses on the music industry, so it only makes sense that its opening song is a ridiculously catchy one that could easily top the charts. This is perhaps the best piece of music in anime, and that is certainly no insult to its other tracks.
The animation is frenetic and clean, full of positive energy found throughout the whole show. It has a plot unlike any other, really: a Chinese strategist reborn in present-day Tokyo as a talent manager for an aspiring singer. As strange as it may sound, the opening theme really seals the deal.
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4. Mathemagics — Owarimonogatari
Shaft’s Monogatari’s opening themes bring together exquisite animation and fantastic music. They clearly demonstrate the themes in the story and character arcs. Some of the most notable pieces include Chiwa Waito’s and Shinichiro Miki’s “Kogarashi Sentiment” and Kaori Mizuhashi’s “Dark Cherry Mystery.”
While picking the best song is nigh impossible, Marina Inoue’s “Mathemagics” is often especially highlighted. This more than stands well enough on its own. Combined with the beautiful artwork, these incredible vocals may give you goosebumps. Even the instrumental alone will sweep you away.
5. Connect — Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Claris’ “Connect” might not seem like they belong on this list at first glance. The first or second viewing of the show can be deceiving, and “Connect” might leave you with the initial impression that this is a solid pop song and decent artwork—but nothing more.
But this song takes up the themes of desperation and melancholy of the show’s progress. They both hold far more darkness and tension than you might expect. The lyrics and opening visuals set you up to contemplate the anime’s later themes. This catches many viewers off-guard entirely and can totally change their perspective on the entire series.
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6. Northern Lights — Shaman King
The Shaman King remake in 2021 took the anime world by storm. Nostalgic fans and newcomers alike flocked to see what lay in store. Its original opening song, Megumi Hayashibara’s “Over Soul,” already held massive sway among returning viewers, but the same artist’s “Northern Lights” not only keeps up with it but, some argue, even surpasses it.
The former focused a lot of energy on the opening visuals of Yoh Asakura and company, while “Northern Lights” showed just who the characters are and what they’re each capable of with real skill. We get to see everyone’s complete Oversoul forms—as well as Chocolove McDonell and Johann Faust VIII.
7. Hacking To The Gate — Steins;Gate
Steins;Gate is top-notch sci-fi anime that packs in so much of what fans of both genres love. The show has a great time travel story arc. The “mad scientist” Okabe Rintarou works with his companions to figure out how to communicate with the past. It doesn’t take long for his experiments with time to create dangerous consequences as the gang struggles with the laws of nature.
The opening song, “Hacking To The Gate,” brings together the story’s themes and the feelings of mystery, discovery, and helplessness it evokes. Ominous yet upbeat, the monochromatic art style pairs powerfully with the song’s intensity to emphasize Rintarou’s struggle against powerlessness.
8. Stand Proud — JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has a string of top-tier openings, whether it’s “Sono Chi No Sadame” in part 1, “Fighting Gold” in part 5, and who could forget, part 2’s “Bloody Stream?” But “Stand Proud” is different from the rest. Jin Hashimoto’s performance in this mere minute-and-a-half song is a masterpiece of visual and musical artistry. While separately they are exquisite, it’s together that they become legendary.
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9. Ignited — Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
Every Gundam series has a stellar opening song with awesome visuals. It must be an unspoken rule. But Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny’s “Ignited” is on another level. Yes, you get the classic Gundam opening showing some sweet Mobile Suits. But this song emphasized just how cool this anime is. It combines the Impulse Gundam, the entire cast of old and new villains, and the pilots and their Mobile Suits.
10. Just Fly Away — Gundam Build Fighters Try
EDGE of LIFE nailed it with “Just Fly Away,” Gundam Build Fighters Try’s second opening song. Gunpla builders have figured out how to make Gunpla moveable like Gundam. This leads the way for our main character, Kamiki Sekai, and his pals to compete in the Gunpla Battle World Championships.
The upbeat pace and tone in this song capture your attention, focusing on themes of strong friendship and fun Gunpla building. The Try-Burning Gundam, Sekai, and more make appearances fighting in heated competition to be the best builder. To top it all off, this opening develops with the plot, revealing more segments as the show progresses.
11. Wild Drive — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters has no shortage of powerful story arcs. Perhaps the Battle City Finals was the best—it easily contends for the honor. The opening takes place in Seto Kaiba’s classic Battle Ship and Duel Tower. The stakes are at an all-time high as Kaiba, Yami Marik, and Yugi prepare to fight for the world using the three Egyptian God Cards.
“Wild Drive” by Masato Nago serves as the anime’s third and probably most intense opening. All the most important folks appear as well as many favorite monsters. All three Egyptian Gods—Obelisk the Tormentor, Slifer, and the Winged Dragon of Ra—show up in all their splendor, too.
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12. Kaikai Kitan — Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen’s opening may initially seem to be merely another character roll call. The opening theme song is “Kakai Kitan” by Eve, and its catchy, upbeat feel can be equally deceiving. The lyrics are full of dark, somber themes of loneliness and one’s inner darkness. As it goes on, the opening becomes ever more impressive.
13. Battlecry — Samurai Champloo
Shinichiro Watanabe’s anime always have stellar opening themes, and “Battlecry” in Samurai Champloo is no exception. While “Space Dandy” or “Kids On The Slope” are incredible, this knocks it out of the park. Featuring Shing02 and produced by Nujabes, this hip hop song is a wild contrast with its anime art style. These intermingle impressively to create unique and delightful combinations of visual and musical brilliance.
14. Jiyuu no Tsubasa — Attack On Titan
Attack On Titan always seems to deliver with its openings, but “Jiyuu No Tsubasa” takes the cake. While some, like “My War” in Season 4, can be a little more controversial, they all tend to have something that sets them apart. But it’s pretty compelling that season one’s “Jiyuu No Tsubasa” remains the best. This eerie, haunting track by Linked Horizon melds with gripping imagery to sear into your imagination.
15. Motteke! Sailor Fuku — Lucky Star
Lucky Star gives anime lovers a carefree adventure following the lives of four high school girls. The opening theme is positively contagious and brings inspiring energy to a very relaxed show. It even has matching dance moves. “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” or “Take It! Sailor Clothes” is a catchy, positive song that brings together themes of adolescent journey and discovery.
16. Flyers — Death Parade
Death Parade is set in the afterlife and follows the exploits of the Decim, a bartender who makes bets with the recently dead to determine their soul’s fate. Each episode is intense and the stakes are always sky-high. This show is not for the faint of heart, which is why BRADIO’s “Flyers” might be deceptive.
This upbeat pop song is put together with comedic visuals in a way that doesn’t prepare the viewer for the tragedy and melancholy they’re about to encounter. Besides the song’s undeniable catchiness, maybe that’s this opening’s real charm.
17. My Dearest — Guilty Crown
Guilty Crown can be a testy one among many viewers. Debates rage about the show and its story. Few, however, dispute the anime’s cool aesthetics or its awesome music. It has one of the best soundtracks in anime of the last decade. Right out the gate, “My Dearest” by Supercell blows you away.
The opening showcases how hearts manifest into tools used by warring factions for their own good or evil ends. It has an excellent blend of piano and vocals that slowly builds into an incredible burst that suddenly but fittingly ends.
18. Fly High!! — Haikyuu!!
None of Haikyuu!!’s openings disappoint. Any one of them can easily be argued as the best anime opening of all time list. But this sports anime is famously represented by BURNOUT SYNDROMES’s “Fly High!!”
This Season 2 opening is completely infectious and quickly demonstrates the characters’ infinite dedication. The visuals aren’t quite as impressive as the song, but they’re nevertheless powerful and captivating.
19. Moonlight Densetsu — Sailor Moon
“Moonlight Densetsu” by DALI is mysterious, intriguing, and downright fun. This opener shows Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Senshi as they save the world from evil while living their schoolgirl lives. It brings a ton of nostalgic power, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does the opener feature bright and colorful visuals, but it has real staying power.
20. Main theme — Pokémon
Another anime classic that’s perhaps a surprise for some, Pokémon’s opening is a top contender. It combines classic, colorful visuals with themes of hope, friendship, and adventure. There’s little not to love here visually and musically. Viewers are immediately plunged into the wonderful world of Pokémon, with a display of various powers and emotional moments.
The Japanese version is different; its opening song is “Mezase Pokémon Masuta” by Rika Matsumoto, which awakens the Pokémon master in all of us.
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21. Sonic Drive — Sonic X
Sonic X—or Sonikku Ekkusu in Japan—might be a surprise for some, but fans of the original anime already know what’s up. The original opener is as different from the North American theme song as the two shows. It makes sense since the American version was toned down and lightened up by comparison. This holds true especially in the dialogue but also in fight scenes.
The original opener displays some awesome visuals of Sonic and the gang battling it out and getting into trouble. “Sonic Drive” amps you up and gets you ready to keep pace with the anime’s breakneck speed.
22. Colors — Code Geass
Code Geass is defined by a number of things from Zero’s infamous mask to that familiar “Jibun wo.” But the exiled prince Lelouch riding his horse is probably the most recognizable. This anime revolves around his use of the Geass to control people and start a revolution against the Holy Britannian Empire. His own best friend is among his chief adversaries.
It’s tough to combine such diverse and dramatic themes in music, but FLOW’s “Colors” manages it in style. You get to see plenty of flamboyant mecha and characters with a track that gears you up for Lelouch’s desperate fight for what’s his.
23. Oath Sign — Fate/Zero
The Fate series centers on the Holy Grail War between the seven Masters and seven Servants. These characters fight for control of the Holy Grail, an artifact able to grant their wishes. Fate/Zero shows the Fourth Holy Grail War that sets up the stakes of the Fate/Stay Night story. For this, LiSA’s “Oath Sign” pulls out all the stops and really grabs your attention.
The song starts out with a slow, delicate piano building as drums jump in. It hints at a melancholic tone to prepare viewers while showing the main characters and gorgeous combat sequences. Finally, an energetic closer seals the deal to really amp up viewers before diving into Holy Grail warfare.
24. Dream Of Life — Bakuman
Bakuman follows the exploits of Mashiro Moritaka and Akito Takagi as they aspire to the mangaka experience. This artist-writer pair has been striving for the mangaka life since adolescence. Bakuman has tons of wonderful openings but the best of the best is “Dream Of Life” by Ito Shohei. It is a brilliant exposition of the daily life of the mangaka and those who surround them. The endless determination embodied by the song meshes perfectly with the anime’s enthralling appeal.
25. Again — Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s “Again” by YUI is an anime opening that lodges in the brain the first time you watch it. This song perfectly complements the show’s array of emotional themes. The story of the Elrics is heartbreaking and inspiring—and the anime’s portrayal of alchemy is just awesome. The opener lays it all out there to prep you for a wild ride, from its somber opening to its powerful chorus. You get to see the main characters and a tantalizing taste of the epic battles that await.
26. Cha-La Head-Cha-La — Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z’s opening shows you everything you need to know to get ready: dramatic battles, awesome characters, and wild villains. Goku and company are always fun to watch but the ante is upped whenever you see the energetic yellow-haired heroes in dazzling, intense battles. “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” by Hironobu Kageyama is an exquisite fit. No complex build-ups, no convoluted storylines—just frenetic music and the gang defending earth from yet another epic baddie.
27. Tank! — Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop’s “Tank!” makes a fantastic pairing with the alluring visuals and gripping story of this sci-fi western in space. Seatbelts’ song brings awesome jazz and blues that only gets you ready for the rest of Cowboy Bebop’s phenomenal soundtrack. Viewers are able to get a real sense of the show’s sobriety and high energy right away. This opening is easily one of the most unique on the list both visually and musically.
28. Hikaru Nara — Your Lie In April
Goose House’s “Hikaru Nara” is a strong opening song that raises dramatic stakes from Your Lie In April’s moments. The playful opening guitar quickly becomes a cheerful melody full of powerful emotion. The chorus is intense, and the song can truly leave you breathless by the end.
One surprising feature is that the opening completely spoils the plot if carefully picked apart. Nevertheless, this can be considered a strength as much as a weakness. It’s done delicately enough that most viewers take some time to catch on.
Next: Greatest movie & film soundtracks of all time (our picks)
29. A Cruel Angel’s Thesis — Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion naturally has a place in every list of the best anime intros of all time. Yoko Takahashi’s impeccable “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” brings a wondrous, headbanging tune. It manages to capture the intensity and darkness embedded throughout the anime.
Giant robots are interspersed with scenes of devastation and heartbreak to emphasize the stakes. While Hideaki Anno originally intended to make this opening song an opera, Takahashi’s catchy piece ended up delivering everything and more.
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30. Hero’s Come Back!! — Naruto Shippuden
Season one of Naruto Shippuden features “Hero’s Come Back!!” by Nobodyknows+. This song pumps you up in preparation for the cheerful drama that awaits. Themes of heroism and determination shine through with a beat that never fails to grab your attention. The lyrics and music prepare you to jump right in with a delightful cast of characters without looking back. Plus, the opening visuals are just plain fun to watch, making it why it counts among the best anime opening songs of all time.
31. *~Asterisk~ — Bleach
“*~Asterisk~” by Orange Range served as Bleach’s first opening song and remains its most recognizable. This is upbeat and fun but full of depth. It starts off strong with a literal bang and really showcases how Bleach can be funny and gnarly at the same time.
Audiences are introduced to Rukia and Ichigo, who will be followed throughout the series. Other notable characters appear in overall bright colors and positive attitudes. Nevertheless, the series itself can often be dark without losing these qualities.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.