Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Favorite Current Anime OP/EDs

When this season started, I thought the theme music might rival spring 2009 (Requiem for the Phantom, Hanasakeru Shounen, Pandora Hearts, Souten Kouro, K-On, etc.). Well, it isn't quite that good, but I'm still enjoying a number of OP/EDs.

Here are my favorites -- for the music, for the animation, and/or for good synergy between the two. Not the "best," by whatever definition, but just what I'm most enjoying.

1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica ED "Magia"

sung by: Kalafina
music, lyrics: Kajiura Yuki
animation: Suzuki Hirofumi
Strong music matched to strong animation. A memorable, atmospheric ending theme that fits perfectly with this bizarre anime. The best online version I could find is overlaid with three sets of subs: Japanese, romanized Japanese, and Spanish. But you can still see the video behind them.

2. Gosick ED "Resuscitated Hope"

sung by: Komine Lisa
music, lyrics: Watanabe Shio
animation: Kazui Hiroko
Komine Lisa's light but expressive voice gives a special feeling to the song. I loved her ED for Psychic Detective Yakumo last season, too. She can really sing. And the animation works well with the music. I like the lace, whose designer is specifically credited. And the puff of smoke at the beginning is the only indication we have so far that Victorica actually smokes that pipe.

Beyond those first two, I can't really put the rest of these in order. I like them all, but not as much as those.

Fractale ED "Down By the Salley Gardens."

sung by: Azuma Hitomi
music: Irish folk melody, lyrics: William Butler Yeats
animation: Yamamoto Yutaka (the director)
The ED to Fractale is a favorite partly because the song is an old favorite of mine, but Yamakan's extremely simple animation works beautifully here, too. I was dissatisfied with the singing until I searched YouTube for other versions: none was perfect, and Azuma-san's sounded pretty good in comparison with most, despite some pronunciation problems. The version I know best is by Kathleen Ferrier. I also liked the one on YouTube by Órla Fallon. "Salley" means "willow."

Fractale OP "Hedgehog"

sung by: Azuma Hitomi
music, lyrics: Azuma Hitomi
animation: Yamamoto Yutaka
Unfortunately, to me the movements of the fractal patterns just don't feel right, and the music doesn't quite seem to work with their rhythms. I had high expectations for Yamakan's ability in just this regard -- matching song and movement in OP/EDs (Haruhi, Lucky Star, Kannagi) -- so I was disappointed. But you can't go wrong with fractals, lol. And the music is good.

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OP "Ma-ka-se-te Tonight"

sung by: Nomizu Iori
music, lyrics: manzo
animation: Kanesaki Takaomi (the director)
Nomizu Iori is far from being a great singer, but her voice here does the job perfectly, for me. And the animation works very well with the driving music.

Dragon Crisis OP "Immoralist"

sung by: Horie Yui
music, lyrics: Kiyoshi Ryuujin
animation: Kiyoshi Hideki (the director)
When I first heard this, I liked the song but not the singer. I thought she sounded amateurish. When I realized it was Horie Yui, I felt confirmed in my longstanding lack of enthusiasm for her music. But now I can't imagine what I was thinking: it sounds good to me. This may be the most I have ever liked Hocchan's singing.

Hourou Musuko ED "For You"

sung by: Rie Fu
music, lyrics: Rie Fu
animation: Aoki Ei (the director)
Just a delightful song with delightful animation. Here is Rie Fu's own PV of the song. Worth a look.

Gosik OP "Destin Histoire"

sung by: yoshiki*lisa
music: Sakabe Gou, lyrics: Watanabe Shio
animation: Kazui Hiroko.
A classic OP, doing its job of getting us ready for the show. A good but far from unusual song, well sung. And simple but good-looking animation that introduces us to the characters, and gives hints of the story. The way the sound and image work together is especially nice.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica OP "Connect"

sung by: ClariS
music, lyrics: Watanabe Shou
animation: Itamura Tomoyuki (storyboard, direction), Imamura Ryou (layout)
Not as strong a pop song as ClariS's OP for OreImo, but good nonetheless. And the animation is not so amazing as for the show's ED, but this OP gives a good introduction to the characters, and the humorous tone is brilliantly misleading.... ClariS is a pair of middle-school students who used to post songs on Nico Nico Douga under the name "Alice and Clara."


Anonymous said...

I love the Hourou Musuko ED. Totally fits the anime.

Chris said...

"Not as strong a pop song as ClariS's OP for Railgun..."

Yuki Tsukishiro said...

I agree with you about Magia! XD
That song is very awesome!

hashi said...

@Chris. Bows head. Shaaame. Fixed. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the feeling that the OP/ED of Fractale are mismatched. I think they fit perfectly. The world of Fractale is mostly this up-pace futuristic computerized world where people don't take the moments to enjoy the real world around them. They're a tiny cog (fractal) in this larger picture. Perfectly in tune with the opening song. Down by the Salley Gardens is this slow thoughtful song that is perfectly in tune with what the anime is trying to get across.

"Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet; She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet. She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree; But I, being young and foolish, with her did not agree. In a field by the river my love and I did stand, And on my leaning shoulder she placed her snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs; But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears."

She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;

The songs in my mind perfectly fit the anime and the beginning situation and the ending situation of anime. Of course I experience the ending songs differently. I almost never watch the ending songs until I've seen the whole anime or the whole season. If you were take the OP, watch the whole anime, and then watch the ED, it'd make perfect sense.