Let's kick it off with something jazzy. This is a unique pick for a story about time-traveling delinquents but it's got the right level of emotional intensity for Takemichi's journey. If I'm honest, I liked the beginning a little more than the latter half and that's why I didn't rank this higher. Official HiGE DANdism is a band that's been on my radar for awhile after their song "Pretender" won the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards Japan.
9. Koikimo “Monochrome City” by Ace Collection
The plot of Koikimo, which if you didn't guess by the opening sequence is about a guy in his late twenties who becomes desperately in love with a 17-year-old, isn't for me. But band Ace Collection didn't have anything to do with the story of this series, so I'm not going to fault their music for it. “Monochrome City” is a bouncy song that very easily gets my head bouncing. Singer Tatsuya has a really excellent sound that reminds me of some of my favorite boy bands in the aughts.
No, I'm absolutely not kidding about this. DJ Koo and motsu have produced something that sounds like a lost DDR track. After listening to this, I immediately scoured YouTube for uploads of Captain Jack songs and FUN fact, the official 1995 features some considerable nudity! Which circles back to How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Omega. So in a way, this has come full circle. Anyway, great song guys.
This is our first song featuring traditional Japanese instruments but it won't be the last. The bloody action fest anime takes place in an alternate version of 1931 where the Tokugawa government still reigns over Japan. Girl rockers RAISE A SUILEN is actually a band from the popular anime franchise BanG Dream! The group has a strong sound thanks in part to vocalist Raychell. The group previously performed the opening theme “Sacred World” in last year's Assault Lily Bouquet.
6. Dragon Goes House-Hunting “Role-playing” by Masayoshi Ooishi
Masayoshi Ooishi is an extremely versatile vocalist which might be why he's performed themes from everything Overlord to SSSS.Gridman. What I like about “Role-playing” is that it has a level of cheesiness that it fully embraces. The song gets its fantasy-worthy inspiration by utilizing a bagpipe. The beat reminds of something you might hear during a Lord of the Dance performance; remember when Michael Flatley was on top of the world? Television sets fixated on a bunch of men in tight, sparkly clothing all stomping in rhythm while staring deep into your soul. God, what a time to be alive.
My first introduction to BiSH was when they performed on an official Sailor Moon cover album. Their rendition of “Moon Revenge” has legit heavy metal vibes. The group was formed specifically to be a harder version of standard idols, if their name is any indicator. BiSH, for the uninitiated, stands for Brand-new idol SHiT. Anyway, their song “in case...” isn't quite as intense as “Moon Revenge” but it's still friggin' COOL. This is a song to listen to when you want to get pumped up to take on some kaiju!
4. ODDTAXI “ODDTAXI” by Skirt and DJ PUNPEE
Oddtaxi is probably one of the weirdest shows this season, so it makes sense for it have one of the most unique OPs. As far as setting up audience expectations, this opening track feels like it was made to be listened to exclusively at night while driving in the city. Your ride is an early aughts Honda Civic that you've beaten into the ground but refuses to quit. The driver side window is rolled down so you feel the cool night breeze and the smells of delicious foods waft in as stop at the traffic light outside the bustling shopping district. Nights like these only come during the summer. The saxophone whines from the radio and you disappear into the night.
Dare I say it, not every single song needs vocals to be good? Kenichiro Suehiro dusts off the orchestral strings section, backs it with church-like choir, and lets the magic happen. The result is a gothic and moody piece that perfectly fits the visuals of Shadows House. The series about a family that look like literal shadows (with a mix of soot) and their representative “dolls” has more mystery than that art style lets on.
SPICY TAKE! This absolutely amazing song by ALI isn't the opening to The World Ends with You, at least not anymore. The song “Teenage Riot” was slated to open the series based on Square Enix's The World Ends with You game but it was pulled last minute when one of band's members was arrested. ALI's drummer Kahaido was arrested on suspicion of being part of a money fraud scam. The future of the band itself is still up in the air, as scandals like this have ended other Japanese acts' careers. The funky hip-hop band has previously been featured on our lists before; they're the musicians behind the hit “Wild Side” from the first season of BEASTARS and the iconic ending theme “Lost in Paradise” from Jujutsu Kaisen.
Those Snow White Notes is a drama series focusing on a young man's relationship with music, specifically the shamisen. It's a no-brainer to feature the instrument in the series' opening, but dang Burnout Syndromes didn't have to go this hard?! The band perfectly meshed the instrument with a modern rock song, helping to prove the shamisen is far from a dated sound. You've probably heard Burnout Syndromes before; they were featured in our best Ops of Summer 2019 for the opening song for the first season of Dr. Stone. Since Those Snow White Notes premiered, I've listened to “Blizzard” maybe...15? 20 times?
What OPs made their way into your playlist? How much will I be skewered for leaving off Hikaru Utada's "Pink Blood?" Find out in the comments!