Sunday, December 06, 2009

Favorite OP/EDs of 2009

There have been some wonderful OPs and EDs this year. I posted this list of my own favorites in an AnimeSuki thread. But I'd like to post a slightly expanded version here.

My favorite OP? KOKIA's "Karma," the OP to Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~. The song has KOKIA's usual captivating flow, and such beautiful and appropriate imagery. It does what an OP should: please you with its music and images and draw you in to the mood of the show:

I also loved the OPs for Darker than Black 2 (by Stereopony), Pandora Hearts (Kajiura Yuki and Fiction Junction), Railgun (fripSide), Hanasakeru Seishounen (J-min), Tegami Bachi (Suga Shikao), Spice & Wolf 2 (Arai Akino), Bakemonogatari (Saitou Chiwa), Souten Kouro (Tribal Chair), Shangri-la (May'n), Asura Cryin' OP1 (angela), White Album OP2 (Mizuki Nana), Eden of the East (Oasis), and Basquash! (Eclipse: Tomatsu Haruka, Nakajima Megumi, Hayami Saori). (links are to online streams)

Favorite EDs: Bakemonogatari (ryo and supercell), Phantom ED2 (KOKIA), Guin Saga (Kanon), Hanasakeru Seishounen ED (J-min), Sora no Otoshimono ED9 ("Hatsukoi" by Hayami Saori and Takagaki Ayahi), Sora no Otoshimono ED1 ("Soba ni Irareru Dake" by Blue Drops: Yoshida Hitomi & Hayami Saori), Sora no Otoshimono ED2 ("Misaki Meguri," the flying pantsu ED, sung by Mina), Souten Kouro ED (by Ogre You Asshole), Asura Cryin' ED1 (angela), White Album ED2 (Suara).

As you can see, I like melody. Although there is a bit of punk in there, too. Here are a few embedded streams:

OP Darker than Black 2 -- "Tsukiari no Michishirube" by Stereopony
Creates the perfect mood for this more feminine Darker than Black mystery adventure. Excellent melodic rock and moving lyrics from an all-girl band, and Bones animation that carries you into the story:

OP Pandora Hearts -- "Parallel Hearts" by Fiction Junction (written by Kajiura Yuki)
Another great song from Kajiura Yuki, with animation that's pretty straightforward but captures the feelings of the story. This might have been the OP this year that best got me ready for its show:

OP To Aru Kagaku no Railgun -- "Only My Railgun" by fripSide
Completely undeniable. Picks you up and throws you forward like a railgun, right into the show. Seiyuu Nanjou Hoshino hits it big with her first song as fripSide's new vocalist:

OP Hanasakeru Seishounen -- "Change" by J-min
Beautiful folky music from Korean-born pop singer J-min, wedded to simple but apposite images that give a deeper layer to the show:

ED Bakemonogatari -- "Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari" by ryo and supercell
Has everything: beauty, invention, and fine music from amateurs-turned-pro Ryo and Supercell, with vocals by Nagi:

ED Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ ED2 -- "Transparent" by KOKIA
KOKIA is just terrific. I hope that showing up here in anime music doesn't mean she is losing ground with the general public. She is one of the world's top singer/songwriters, for me. And this ED has the same rich animation as OP1 of this show (see above):

OP Spice & Wolf 2 -- "Mitsu no Yoake" by Arai Akino
A truly professional singer and a lovely song, with beautifully edited images that pull us right into the show's mediaeval world:

ED Guin Saga -- "Saga - This is My Road" by Kanon
Kanon gives me chills with her beautiful, expressive voice and this marriage of classical song and Enya. The imagery is mainly just pans of a lush background, but suits the story so well, as does the song:

ED Souten Kouro -- "Pinhole" by Ogre You Asshole
One of the more unusual OP/EDs I've ever seen. Deceptively simple, as is the music, but with a deep effect:

OP Souten Kouro -- "909" by Tribal Chair
Dramatic punkish rock with a great shouted vocal and terrific visual editing of scenes from the show. I especially like the moment a catapulted rock smashes a wooden guard tower, so well timed to a solid drumbeat:

ED Sora no Otoshimono ED2 -- "Misaki Meguri" by Mina
This is the virally famous "flocks of flying panties" ED. It's not that the music is so great, but the visuals are hilarious and somehow moving:

OP Shangri-la -- "Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare" by May'n
A strong, if standard, song, but the editing of the images to the music is superb. Reminds me of the rushing movement of the Railgun OP (above). If only the show were as good as its OP:

OP White Album 2 -- "Mugen" by Mizuki Nana
I've seen some grumbling by Nana fans that this is nowhere near her best work, but as someone who has found it hard to get into her, this song helps do it for me. The amazingly complexity and lithe precision of her singing come through, without the overblown arrangements that put me off. The images are pretty and mysterious, and the lyrics strong:

ED Sora no otoshimono ED9 -- "Hatsukoi" by Takagaki Ayahi and Hayami Saori
Finally, here is a song by two seiyuus who, like Nana-chan, are worthy of comparison with professional singers. The imagery is nothing special, but Hayami Saori's voice (the second you hear) is one of the prettiest on the planet, for me, so I can't help including this ED from last week's episode of this show:


Rozza C said...

Don't think I can argue with your choices. You got some great OP/ED's...

Allow me to add a few of my own personal faves if you will:

Phantom ED1 (Ali Project - Jigoku No Mon)
Fairy Tail OP (Funkist - Snow Fairy)
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 OP (abingdon boys school - Kimi No Uta)
The Sacred Blacksmith OP (Mayumi Gojo - Justice of Light)
11eyes OP (Ayane - Arrival of Tears)

That's just off the top of my head. I can't remember anymore.

bmk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bmk said...

Looking at your list makes me realize I've missed some great OPs and EDs because I don't follow those anime.

Anyways, my personal favorite OP and ED would both be from Bakemonogatari. I love listening to Staple Stable and it makes a great piano piece to replay over and over. And Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari is an absolute blast to listen to no matter how times I've listened to it.

☆君だけの アンサー★ said...

yup mi also like it..but no much anime can show like reborn..

hashi said...

@bmk -- When I read other people's lists on AnimeSuki, I realize I have missed a lot, too. I try to watch at least one episode of every new TV anime, but it often takes a few episodes for the excellence of a song to sink in.

I haven't kept watching some of the shows in my list, and I watched very little of Asura Cryin' or Basquash, but the songs still had enough time to make an impact.

Honya-san said...

I think you got the wrong Kanon for the singer of This is my Road. Wakeshima Kanon doesn't sing the ED for Guin Saga.

hashi said...

@Honya-san -- Thanks. True. Changed. No cello in sight. I just love the sound of the other one's name, I guess.

Serakah said...

I had to look up when K-On! was released since I saw no mention of either the OP or ED and confirmed that it was this year. This is blasphemy! It's MADNESS! Must calm nerd rage...

This is My Road is a gorgeous song and I still love the DtB 2 OP. Here's Kanon live:

Spellfire said...

I love quite a few OP/ED you mentioned hashi... on top of that these few are in my current favourite list too:

Kimi ni Todoke ED (Chara - Kataomoi)
Umineko no Naku Koro ni OP (Shikata Akiko - Kata Tsubasa no Tori)
The Sacred Blacksmith ED (Toyosaki Aki - Miracle Happy Day)

and the insert song
Toradora! Character Song Album (Kugimiya Rie & Kitamura Eri - Holy Night)

Christmas is coming to town :)

hashi said...

@Serakah -- Lol. Sorry about that. For one thing, I figured lots of other people had covered K-On. I started off really liking the music, but even Don't Say Lazy became boring to me after a while, much as I loved aspects of the animation.

Maybe it's also my little protest against easy profits. The show itself seemed too much "by the numbers" to me, yet became overwhelmingly popular because it hit the right moe notes.

Anonymous said...

no shin ai :o?!!!!??!

hashi said...

@anonymous -- I prefer Mugen. I'm not really a Nana fan, but I really like Mugen. For whatever reason, it just does more for me than Shin Ai.

Anonymous said...

I think Kokia isn't well known at all, not in Japan nor elsewhere. Eventhough she would really deserve it, since she is really talented.

Same for Kanon. She also has so much talent, she has done music for La Corda d'Oro and Angel Heart, but the Guin Saga ED is the best.

hashi said...

@anonymous -- For me, the closest Western singer to KOKIA is Loreena McKinnit, who does her own stuff, but is basically Celtic folk.