Top 50 Best Anime Opening Intro Themes Of All Time (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Okay I’m going to be honest with you here. I really love anime music.
I’ve got thousands of songs in my personal library, and I don’t think I’ve went a day not humming Giorno’s theme from Golden Wind since it aired.
So, this list took a while to compile.
I’ve seen 700 anime, and after combing through every single one, I ended up with a top 130.
I was going to include opening theme songs from anime I haven’t seen(yet know well) but I decided to cut that 130 down to 50 and curate my own personal list.
As such, there will be many anime on this list that you may not have heard of, and there definitely will be entries you expected that did not make it.
With that said, let’s get on with the tunes!
50. Yu-Gi-Oh! Theme
Anime: Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duel Monsters
Wayne Sharpe was given the job of adapting the Japanese theme song to an esoteric card game cartoon for children over to the West. In a time when that was what most of us called anime!
And man did he do a good job.
The song starts with Egyptian acoustics before launching into an avalanche of electronic, industrial beats and remixed vocals. Then a killer bassline kicks in to round the song off before the calling card of the song is played –
It’s time to d-d-d-d-d-duel!
49. Pokémon Theme
I asked my father to sing the Pokémon theme song and he got pretty far before forgetting the words.
That says all you need to know about its memorability and cultural significance.
It’s a meme for generations, with the sing-able value adherent to classics like Bohemian Rhapsody.
This melody plays over a montage of the events of the series interspersed with unique artwork designed to get you excited for the next twenty minutes.
48. Renegade (Gangsta)
Gangsta is a mature story comprising gang-warfare, sex, drugs, and murder.
Stereo Dive Foundation brings a completely fitting theme song. With heavy, energetic electronics and glitchy effects building up to a soft vocal chorus, before fading out into the anime.
47. Howling (Darker Than Black)
Anime: Darker Than Black
Beginning with a somber monologue, this song transitions into a heavy and effective guitar riff while the name flashes on the screen.
Then a stylized montage of the city at night and character reveals accompany a rock song that takes you right back to the late 2000s.
46. Database (Log Horizon)
Anime: Log Horizon
By total chance I happened to see Man With A Mission play live, and the moment this song started the room went crazy.
It’s camp as all hell, but man is it effective at building hype.
There’s no way to watch this anime and not yell “Database! Database!” at least once.
45. The Hero (One Punch Man)
Anime: One Punch Man
Honestly, no other song could fit One Punch Man so well.
Starting the song off with a glam-metal vocal performance before launching into an epic guitar-driven explosion of noise and buildup, until climaxing with a well-earned scream.
All in one-and-a-half minutes.
Fun as all hell, I’ll tell you that.
44. We’re Not Alone (Rainbow)
The guttural, tormented, painfilled screams and frantic guitar fretting of Coldrain play over a flickering montage of our protagonists and the title card.
Then the English singing starts, wailing about isolation and a desire for freedom before revealing our characters are trapped inside a prison, barbed-wired-fence keeping them from society.
Yet they’re together and “not alone.”
43. Oath Sign (Fate/Zero)
We pan across a gorgeously animated Ufotable river while a cascading piano plays us in. We can hear the faint trace of a choir in the background.
Then an abrupt stop before the singing kicks in.
Slowly the song builds its enthusiasm – moving away from the somber tone of the first few seconds – to reveal our characters.
The chorus starts, and by this point that sad tone of before is gone. And we’re shown battle sequences and environmental shots before ending on a high note back at the river whence we started.
This song perfectly reminds you of the sad underpinnings of the show before reinforcing the energetic action that overhand the whole affair.
LiSA is at it again with those talented lungs.
42. This Game (No Game, No Life)
Anime: No Game, No Life
An upbeat piano and a darkly silhouette images of our protagonists are shown.
Then at once, the guitar kicks in precisely as the anime shows its ace card – its pastel color palette and pink outline scheme – in a burst of shades.
We’re thrown into a fast-moving montage of the world as a catchy J-Rock anthem introduces us to the dynamic experience that is No Game No Life.
41. Euterpe (Guilty Crown)
Anime: Guilty Crown
Isolated female vocals and a rhythmic piano piece fade us out into a quiet nighttime setting… Before building back up dramatically with a flurry of drums, pianos, and guitars.
The characters are then shown simply as Koeda sings before we’re introduced to a series of minimalist animations, depicting our characters in a sparse world. Eventually, when you think the song can’t build any further it, explodes and color floods into the world at an alarming rate.
We end on a dying note, and a somber visual of old CRT-TVs flickering pathetically in a barren overgrown warehouse.
40. Pre-Parade (Toradora!)
Immediately in your face and provocative, demanding your attention and endearing you to the characters, Toradora’s cute yet feet-twitchingly electronic opening introduces us sequentially to our characters.
All while the original Japanese voice actors sing. It then crashes down, before rising back up into an even catchier chorus, with stylized graphics and idyllic slice of life images giving you an idea of what kind of energy to expect in each episode.
39. One Reason (Deadman Wonderland)
Anime: Deadman Wonderland
Sang entirely in English, One Reason starts with a twanging guitar string and a rock-centric roar.
Our characters switch between normal and static, and demonic and twisted with the changing chords.
Then the vocal performance begins, the lyrics eluding to blood and imprisonment and insanity and nightmares… Until we’re interrupted by a stellar chorus.
Rippling bodies and contorted muscular frames take the scene as he croons with violent energy.
38. Redo (Re: Zero)
Anime: Re: Zero
A lone lead guitar draws us into blood splatters on a barren ground, until the blood begins reversing into a corpse, and the corpse stands up.
The time-reversal mechanics seen in the anime are shown through the constantly interrupting guitar and animation which seems almost to be caught in a ceaseless, endless loop of simple bar chords.
That is, until the chorus kicks in. And we’re taken higher than before, given greater glimpses of the characters and the running themes, and see our MCs almost join his friends. Until, once again, he is killed… we get some blood, and the first sequence is repeated once more to imply the loop has come full circle.
This is an amazing example of the narrative mechanics and musical production synergistically feeding off one another to provide an even more cohesive form of art.
37. Existence (Rage of Bahamut)
Anime: Shingeki no Bahamut(Rage of Bahamut)
Relentlessly heavy metal guitar work and drums compliment a stellar screaming performance into the title card.
We’re given some respite with a traditional riff, until the vocals come back kicking and screaming once more, getting heavier and heavier until softening out into a catchy chorus and hook.
The song ends heavy again, preparing us for the Western-infused fantasy antics to come.
36. Speed to Masatsu (Ranpo Kitan)
Anime: Ranpo Kitan
Glitchy drums and subdued acoustic guitar chords beneath a rap hook begins the Ranpo Kitan opening, while our characters are shown one by one.
The rapping ends and a distorted vocal performance and strings takes hold… and the rapping starts again, this time over a melodic piano and an emotionally lifting chord progression.
If only this anime had ended up being as good as its theme song.
35. Yoru wa Nemureru kai (Ajin)
Cascading guitar notes progress into a heavy and energetic guitar riff.
The singing starts over a slideshow of our characters in action, a sexy and elegant voice setting an unmistakably cool mood until the whole song explodes in a silhouetted spectacle of thrashing limbs and wavering voices.
34. Goya no Machiawase (Noragami)
The quirky note bending eclectic riff atop monotone graphics lends itself to the funky vocals bouncing back and forth energetically.
Then all at once the tone is disrupted, spinning out into a catchy call-and-response of cool vocals and instruments. What a treat! We return to the monotone color scheme and quirky bent notes.
This song perfectly fits the urban-shounen aesthetic the story relies on and became an instant favorite of mine.
33. WataMote (WataMote)
Deep, guttural roars and an almost pop-rock chord progression kickstarts this opening.
A male rapping and some female vocals kick in, complimenting each side of the main character’s consciousness. Out of nowhere, the voices quieten.
The heavy metal instrumentals are left entirely in favor of a more jazz, down tempo vibe, before rushing back in. As if a sudden wave of anxiety complete with a killer screamo performance.
This time, the two singers perform synchronously instead of apart, shouting out the longer Japanese name of the anime before abruptly ending. What a unique opening!
32. My Soul, Your Beats! (Angel Beats)
Anime: Angel Beats
An isolated piano plays a melancholic riff before collapsing into an emotionally resonant collection of disjointed melodies in harmony with the vocals. And then the chorus starts.
Basically throwing us out into the clouds and into the lives of our protagonists and the school where they reside.
The Angel Beats theme song is one of those that, upon finishing the anime, can prompt a tear with only a few notes.
31. Kiri (Ergo Proxy)
Anime: Ergo Proxy
The downtempo electric guitar and vocal performance here, alongside gloomy visuals deteriorating and glitching with the music, introduce us to the dystopic world of Ergo Proxy.
The chorus starts with a lone man out in the wilderness, arms outstretched, screaming to the sky while we hear over and over “come and save me.”
30. I Am Waiting For You (Legend of the Galactic Heroes)
Anime: Legend of the Galactic Heroes
A beautiful panning shot of our solar system whilst a sweet orchestral piece plays in the background accompanies the Germanic name of the anime.
Suitable in its epic yet elegant, bittersweet tone.
The all too common phrase, “In every age, in every place, the deeds of man, remain the same” fades in and out.
We’re shown a woman sat sowing, an idyllic and simply human activity that doesn’t match the diplomacy, interstellar warfare, and violent conspiracy taking place behind her.
29. Rose (NANA)
One of the main characters of Nana is in a punk-rock band.
Throughout the anime we’re shown some songs of theirs – Rose is one such track.
Each time you listen, it’s an insight into the character more-so than anything. The heavy yet sad guitar work acts almost dissonantly with the crooning, confident voice of Nana.
Then it all collapses, the guitars twist and turn, and the chorus kicks in – “I need your love, I’m a broken rose” – over wailing guitars and incessant drumming before finishing on a morose note and scene.
Another perfect example the opening telling a microcosm of narrative external to the main story.
28. Man Human (Devilman: Crybaby)
Anime: Devilman: Crybaby
This opening makes it on the list for its style and flair.
Instead of vocals, we get an electronic darkcore tune over a series of monochromatic images, each depicting key instances preceding and during the anime’s narrative.
Many of the scenes feature a klecksographic Rorschach design.
It’s short, concise, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and perfectly reflects the contents of the anime.
27. Kuusou Mesorogiwi (Future Diary)
Anime: Future Diary
Orchestral, operatic chants lead into twisted array of zany female vocals, eccentric strings, and a leading guitar to guide the first verse into a catchy chorus rife with vulnerable singing.
Eventually the chorus ends, swiftly descending into a collage of guitar fingering and dissonant vocals.
It’s suitably creepy, unsettling, and cool. The theme reflects the dual nature of one of our main characters, Yuno Gasai, and the distorted violent world we’re thrown into.
26. 99 (Mob Psycho 100)
Anime: Mob Psycho 100
Energetic as all heck, the main theme to Mob Psycho 100 is a count from zero to one-hundred with tons of crazy vocalizations and electronic instrumentals interspersed.
I never skipped this opening – it’s just too unbelievably fun.
25. Sidonia (Knights of Sidonia)
Anime: Knights of Sidonia
What starts as an epic marching song, with bagpipes and trumpets and a call to arms, quickly escalates into a technologically infused electronic dance number that fuses duty and adrenaline.
It feels both like a callback to an older era of mecha anime, and a glimpse into the future.
24. Asterisk (Bleach)
For many, this opening will stir all manner of nostalgic emotions from the recesses of their brains.
Following the then-rule-of-cool, this opening theme features an awesome rap-rock song courtesy of Orange Range atop a collage of urban-inspired character showcases.
Truly an anime song from a simpler time.
23. Toki wo Kizamu Uta (Clannad: After Story)
Anime: Clannad: After Story
If there’s one thing you’ve heard about Clannad, it’s that it’s almost guaranteed to get a tear out of you.
And the wonderful soundtrack goes a long way to ensuring that.
The opening to the second, more serious season – After Story – is a soft piano ballad. In the background we’re shown images of the characters in various environments.
The school where they met, the pink blossom streets they wandered, and the meadows they spoke in.
I listened to Toki wo Kizamu Uta in preparation for this list and now I’m crying. Great. Thanks. NEXT.
22. Trigger (Terror in Resonance)
Anime: Zankyou no Terror(Terror in Resonance)
Dissonant singing overlaid atop minimalist silhouettes of our characters give off an almost dreamlike feeling.
Artistically abstract in its visual and audio presentation, Trigger throws an abstract collage of memories at us as we descend further into the psyche of our protagonists.
21. Colors (Code Geass)
Anime: Code Geass
The Calling Cry of a million weeaboos, Colors is an unmistakably anime song.
An upbeat and energetic guitar and trumpet introduce an equally excitable voice which sets a unique tone, equally nostalgic and egocentric.
From the first episode, Code Geass knew exactly what it wanted to be.
And the flamboyant opening song only supports this.
20. Guren no Yumiya (Attack on Titan)
Anime: Attack on Titan
Dramatic, cinematic panning shots of the environment.
Stylized monochromatic collages of gargantuan and grotesque humanoid creatures picking people up off the ground for food.
And a wholly original opening song by Linked Horizon inspired by progressive rock, Germanic orchestra, and hardcore rock.
This is one of the most hype opening songs ever created.
19. Hacking to the Gate (Steins;Gate)
Steins;Gate’s opening begins with a dynamic guitar shred, some suitable sound effects, and then a zoom through diagrams and esoteric designs to introduce us to our protagonists.
Many of our protagonists – thousands of the same person, all walking asynchronous to one another yet heading in the same direction.
Motifs of time are expressed through the imagery – butterflies, clocks, skipping scenes and non-static graphical elements – and through the music, which skips around before detonating in a chorus.
We’re shown a collage of Akihabara, a haven for geeks and technology, before the track ends with all of our characters on screen.
Yet another superb example of representing the narrative and characters through the opening song and animation.
18. Talking (The Perfect Insider)
Anime: The Perfect Insider
Djent guitars pop and distort in the background as a collection of linework rotoscoped characters dance and contort in time with the music.
All this creates a purely delightful visualization.
The anime itself may not be amazing – but I’m glad it exists for this opening alone, because this is art. Aesthetic as all heck.
17. Flyers (Death Parade)
Anime: Death Parade
Bombastic. Just utterly bombastic.
Jazzy, catchy, and ready to dance to.
We’re shown a vignette of the bar-staff, dancing and hanging out with eachother, while some of the happiest most excitable anime music plays in the background.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it matches the tone of the anime itself narratively. But not once did I skip it.
16. Nornir (Mawaru Penguindrum)
Anime: Mawaru Penguindrum
Quick guitar work and drums match the irregular piano & strings to create a sparse, abstract, yet minimalist opening.
This one’s rich in emotion and intrigue from the first second.
Penguindrum’s opening combines constant symbolism, well timed animation, and a haunting whisper-like voice to create an aesthetically pleasing mood driver.
15. Guns and Roses (Baccano!)
The madmen actually did it.
They managed to fit every single character in the sprawling cast of Baccano! into a seamlessly transitioning joyfest through gambling clubs and diners, streets, hotel rooms, and trains.
Complete with one of the catchiest jazz openings since another classic later on this list, Baccano! succinctly re-introduces you to the fleshed out character roster every time you start an episode – just to help you out – and looks killer doing it.
14. Inner Universe (Ghost in the Shell: SAC)
Anime: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Orgia’s mystical, eerie Russian lyrics permeate though this electronic ballad, accompanied by fitting 3D-CGI animation of the Major and the Tachiyomi engaging in combat and subterfuge.
This opening is equally awe-inspiring and haunting, painting an uncanny valley of robotic human (and humane robot) proportions.
And if you’re curious what this might sound like in a capella, well enjoy.
13. Wild Side (Beastars)
Our characters, resembling puppets in a miniature world, dance their way through one of the greatest openings in recent memory.
What starts as a saxophone explosion and journey of piano keystrokes, infected by an overly confident vocal style that creates an eerie tone, quickly evolves into a beautifully romantic dance single.
Upbeat with some truly incredible brass and strings, Beastars manages to convey the central motif of animalistic nature (of all forms, bloody and beautiful) through its artistic opening theme.
12. Resonance (Soul Eater)
Anime: Soul Eater
This opening has some of the most impressive Sakuga on this list.
Constantly flowing, hyper detailed and animated, with an incredible camera design.
We’re shown all our major players, a glimpse of the superb combat, and the Halloween-enthusiastic aesthetic that Soul Eater relishes in.
And that’s just the visuals. T.M. Revolution’s ‘Resonance’ is a constantly moving electronic-rock song with plenty of individuality, incorporating dance beats and infectious drumloops to create more hype than you know what to do with.
11. Uragiri no Yuuyake (Durarara!!)
Much like Baccano!, Durarara!! features exclamation marks. Uh, I meant an engaging yet gargantuan cast of characters each with distinct personalities and storylines.
To make remembering them all easier, the opening goes to the trouble of taking you through the streets of Ikebukero, pointing out each character as we pass them in their environment.
With a supreme earworm of an lively track playing in the background, might I add.
10. Again (FMA: Brotherhood)
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
What an incredible song!
Perfectly paced with the animation, “Again” manages to hype the upcoming episode without sacrificing any emotional beat from the one before.
It manages to be tearjerking, badass, and accessible – much like the anime itself.
9. Hakushi Kassai Uta Awase (Katanagatari)
Starting soft, delayed, reminiscent – only the hint of a piano in the background struggling to support a lapsing tone – until exploding with a killer guitar riff and a constant energy.
This is Supercell’s greatest song, embodying samurai tones and themes into a progressive rock anthem. It perfectly encapsulates what made Kanagatari’s journey such a special and touching one.
8. Unravel (Tokyo Ghoul)
Anime: Tokyo Ghoul
With beautifully animated(sometimes surreal) scenes set above a soul-piercing ballad of personal freedom and trauma, Unravel starts on a high note and only raises the bar.
It begins with a hushed, almost whispered first line. And ends with an explosive series of wails and cries before collapsing in a heap of cascading piano keys.
It gives us some fantastic universal insight into Kaneki’s mind – or at least his feelings. And it’s understandable regardless of any language barrier.
7. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (Higurashi: When They Cry)
Anime: Higurashi: When They Cry
Psychedelics imagery, blossoming flowers, and haunting girls looming on the horizon staring directly at the camera. What more could you want for an opening?
In the background a glitching, distorting, and disturbing song accelerates the pace until reaching a dramatic climax.
This anime lands so high on this list for its style and atmosphere, able to craft a manic & unnerving aura from the get-go.
6. Lilium (Elfen Lied)
Anime: Elfen Lied
We pan slowly across a re-imagined rendition of Klimt’s Ukiyo-e masterpiece, ‘The Kiss’ before moving onto similar re-imaginings.
In each of them, our protagonist Lucy is nude, poised majestically much like in the original piece. But with her anime aesthetic overpowering the replicated technique.
Meanwhile the esteemed opera singer Kumiko Noma sings passages from the Bible, the Book of Psalms, and other Christian literature, in a haunting Latin and Greek dialect.
I’m not remotely a fan of Elfen Lied, unfortunately. But I can’t deny the aesthetic beauty and artistic significance of this opening.
5. Duvet (Serial Experiments Lain)
Anime: Serial Experiments Lain
Ghostly images of desolate streets, eager crows nibbling atop phone wires, and a little girl wanders below in the mist as if lost.
All the while Duvet plays the first bar and chorus; a soft melodic track exemplifying the dissociative symptoms strongly touched upon through the narrative.
Stellar in all ways. Eerie and gently moving.
4. Bloody Stream (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
David Production prides itself in its ability to adapt JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and excels at enhancing the experience.
From animation, soundtrack, voice acting, references, or plot mending, they have truly proven themselves worthy of adapting the legendary series.
And one of the finest examples of this is their gorgeously crafted openings, each of which are hyper stylized to the arc, the era, and the atmosphere of the part.
In my eyes, Bloody Stream by CODA epitomizes this with a fanatic and colorful 80s energy that spills out of the screen and directly into your eyes and ears.
3. Tabi no Tochuu (Spice and Wolf)
Anime: Spice and Wolf
This one is a big personal favorite of mine purely for the unique, guaranteed feeling of sorrow it sends down my spine.
Soft beautiful vocals overlaying a gentle piano. A naked woman with wolfish features emerges in a moonlit field of snow.
The quiet acoustic guitar makes itself heard over picturesque images of a man walking down a medieval street.
Things pick up when they meet. And we’re shown peaceful images of the two guiding a horse drawn cart across a summer meadow moments, before they look at one another – the penny drops – and the chorus hits us.
Two singers now(male and female) singing about love and loneliness in their despairing voices, until it ends suddenly with a cold, hard note courtesy of the woman.
Literal tears, man.
2. Tank (Cowboy Bebop)
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
“Okay. 3, 2, 1. Let’s jam.”
What can be said for this perfect one and a half minutes of audio-visual spectacle?
On its own, this opening stands strong artistically.
Saxaphones, trumpets, bombastic drums, all behind a minimalistic and stylishly sublime series of visuals introducing us to the world, the characters – but most importantly, the tone.
For tone is what Cowboy Bebop is all about.
1. A Cruel Angel’s Thesis (Evangelion)
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
A Cruel Angel’s Thesis really does not need an introduction.
Memed beyond belief, it’s easy to dismiss this track as comedically overdone.
But just listen to it – how confident it is of itself, how assertive and reminiscent it is.
This pioneered so much, and the opening animation is no exception.
A mysterious choir draws us in deep until opening up to the title card, and with it brings an energetic dance song that has gone down as one of the most culturally important anime songs to have ever existed.
It’s so unmistakably, unashamedly otaku, just as Hideki Anno surely intended. And it pulls no punches in overstimulating your visual cortex with an array of intriguing images & words before ending with a bang.