What is the most epic anime opening? Some might think of Attack on Titan, Hunter x Hunter, or Jujitsu Kaisen. While these more recent animes definitely have epic openings, let’s look a little further back!
Some of the most epic anime openings are from the 2000s. To keep things simple, this list will only be discussing the first opening of each anime listed. Debating on which opening is the best from each anime is an entirely different conversation. Every opening in these anime are great, which is why it is on this list.
Anime openings are more than just a song, too. They set the tone and mood for the story to follow! Some anime YouTubers can make whole videos analyzing the symbolism in them.
Here, though, we’re going to talk mostly about the music itself.
Rock music was common for anime openings during this time, so this list has a lot of rock songs. Not every song is rock, though. Quality, intensity, and emotional reactions from the listener are what makes a song epic. All of the songs on this list do just that!
Death Note’s Biblical Epicness
Death Note’s opening song is performed by the visual kei rock band Nightmare. Visual kei is a style of rock that focuses on the visual aspect of rock performance. Bands like Nightmare accomplish this by wearing heavy makeup and expressive clothing. Visual kei boomed in the ’90s and seeped into the early 2000s sound.
“The WORLD” is the kind of melodic-heavy rock song that this era is known for. The vocals of Nightmare are smooth but powerful. They complement the heavy drums and electric guitar very well.
This song also has religious undertones with biblical references in the lyrics. It mentions Adam and Eve, the Messiah, and light versus darkness. Religious references in rock are not a new idea. At times rock critiques religion. However, it also poetically embraces it. This epic anime opening poetically embraces it. It also foreshadows the anime’s ideas about life, death, and control over them.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
“Inner Universe” is an audibly trippy song. The voices echo and overlap each other, creating a distorted sound. The vocals combined with effects push and pull each other throughout the song. Underneath all of that, there is a consistent and steady beat.
That beat consistency under the vocal distortion makes time itself feel warped. The lyrics add to this warped feeling as well. They are vague, yet oddly nostalgic. The lyrics speak of life, longing, and spirits.
The singers, Origa and Ben Del Maestro, reflect these ideas in their voices. They switch between strong and whimsical. Ben is a male soprano. His voice is reminiscent of the Italian castrati, known for high notes. His voice is pure and delicate, unlike Origa’s powerful voice and the intensity of the epic music. The contrast reflects the nostalgic confusion about human nature that the show will explore.
Hellsing’s Jazzy Epic Anime Opening
Hellsing is an epic show with an equally epic anime opening. “Logos Naki World” by Yasushi Ishii may not be as hardcore as some others on this list, but it is exactly what an anime like Hellsing needs. The voice is soft and raspy, yet holds the same intensity as hard rock singers.
The drums are not intense, but they are a highlighted presence. The blending of the voice and drums creates a wonderfully unique sound.
Additionally, jazz-influenced the sound of this song. The piano’s snippy solos come from jazz melodies and rhythms. The beats are also swung throughout the song. The vocal riffs use the words “shooby-dooby-doo” which are directly taken from jazz vocal riffs. The combination of rock and jazz creates a unique and slightly old western sound that makes this song epic.
The jazz elements fit the story, too. Hellsing involves counteracting forces of evil that began in the 1930s and 40s. The 1920s and 30s were known as the Golden Age of Jazz.
Black Butler’s Unusual Style
SID is another visual kei rock band. In “Monochrome no kiss” (which translates to “Monochrome’s Kiss”) they utilize classic rock techniques. One of these techniques involves only the singer and drummer playing together. They next add the electric guitar to certain beats and words as emphasis.
Another technique used is opening the piece with an unplugged electric guitar, which they plug in during the chorus.
Some of these elements are not original, but the song itself is. After all, they use these techniques to create their own sound. The guitar riffs are new and impressive. They also added flutes, which is more uncommon in the rock scene but fits the historical time period of the show.
The Choir And The Clock: Soul Eater’s Epic Anime Opening
T.M.Resonance’s (Takanori Nishikawa) “Resonance” is a rock song, like most others on this list. However, it is different than many of the others because it uses a choir. The choir sings infrequently, maybe two or three times throughout the song.
However, when they sing, there is a drastic change in sound. The choir sounds creepy and otherworldly, mostly because of the chord progression. These chords are reminiscent of a church choir. This comparison makes the song especially disorienting.
“Resonance” also uses the sound of a ticking clock at the beginning of the song. There’s a catch, though: the clock ticks much faster than the length of a second. A normal clock ticks at 60 beats per minute.
This song runs at over 160 beats per minute.
A clock ticking this fast builds anticipation very early in the song for a faster, more intense sound. The choir singing on top of the racing clock gives an epic church feeling, combined with the feeling of running out of time. It’s an epic combination for an epic anime opening.
Code Geass’s Happy Take On Epicness
Ayasa’s “COLORS” is a very upbeat and happy-sounding song. It is one of those songs that get stuck in your head all day. Happy songs can be just as epic as angsty rock songs, too!
The drums drive the song while the melody is easy to follow and predictable. Predictability is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in this case, it works well. Predictability makes the song very easy to sing along to, even if you don’t know the words.
The creators of the anime connect with their fans quickly in this way. Due to this, they make a good impact and catch the viewer in the first few minutes.
This song uses brass instruments, mainly trumpets. The singers also have a brass quality to their voices. The voices and trumpets mesh well together. This helps with the overall happy feeling and predictability… which is ironic for a very unpredictable series!
The Thematically Epic Anime Opening of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Yui’s “Again” starts off sounding very sweet and nostalgic. Then, heavy drums and guitar aggressively interrupts this pretty sound. The song switches between these two, building in intensity.
Eventually? Both opposing sections reach the same intensity at the same time. The voices and music finally match.
Anticipation is created and fulfilled with this technique. Not only that, but it mimics the concept of equivalent exchange. This concept is a major plot and thematic point in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, after all!
The singer does a wonderful job changing and developing her sound throughout the song. She starts off singing very light and sweet but ends strong and powerful. She sounds clear, no matter what part of the song she is singing. Not only is this very important, but also impressive for a singer to do. It shows a good control of the voice.
This opening is one of the greatest among the most popular anime in the western world. The music is certainly one of the things that makes this anime so popular, in addition to the art style and the plot. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s epic anime openings lives up to the equally epic show.
Gurren Lagann’s Future-Oriented Epicness
“Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa has some interesting sound effects at the beginning and end of the song. This effect is a high-pitched trill. It sounds like something you might hear from a futuristic alien invasion movie. Gurren Lagann takes place in the future, and these sound effects help set the scene.
The chorus starts off with an explosion of percussion. There are a few moments where all of the notes are short and only on the beat. For those unaware, this is referred to as “staccato.” It creates tiny moments of silence between the notes. This contrasts well with the eruption of drums at the start of the chorus.
This also makes the song itself more catchy and memorable. This element is an important part of what makes this an epic anime opening.
Epic 2000s MusicEach era of anime music is a little different. 2000s openings take a lot of inspiration from ’90s and ’80s rock. However, technology and music itself advanced in the ’80s and ’90s. The 2000s’ music developed a unique sound from its inspirations and growing available technology.
The 2000s’ music is poised at a unique time in history. It incorporates classical elements while still exploring new technological ways of making music. Hence, it’s no surprise many of its anime openings are epic! The only issue is that sometimes, anime among other animated shows will change their openings to lean more toward current audiences.
This is not exactly needed when you already have an epic opening song. We’re talking to you, Saban! Stop messing with the Power Rangers themes!