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Friday, 2 January 2015

Editorial: Top 5 Anime Openings of 2014.

Editorial: Top 5 Anime Openings of 2014.

Expect a few of these in the next few weeks - top 'somethings' of 2014. After all, it's traditional for a new year, right? But for the first one, let's do something easy. Something simple. Something musical. 

Runners up include Liar Mask for Akame ga Kill, Heavenly Blue for Aldnoah.Zero, and Take Your Way for Devil Survivor II: The Animation. 

On with the list.

5. Fool the World, by Minori Chihara, Nobunaga the Fool.

I will say this, we were certainly forewarned that Nobunaga the Fool would be the weirdest anime of the year. Its opening, combining a storm of characters with sparkly Sengoku Era aesthetics and giant robots, to the enthused crooning of someone with a very high pitched voice, is basically a one and a half minute warning that you're in for something absolutely ridiculous. 

We ignored that warning, because every anime opening is kind of like that. I mean, Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen's second opening involves people chilling out with their coffee on a battlefield, and it wasn't a weird show at all.

Still, Fool the World is a beautiful, catchy song, and paired with brightly coloured, striking visuals, it was one of the most memorable openings of the year.

4. Enigmatic Feeling, by Ling Tosite Sigure, Psycho-Pass 2.

This might be higher on the list, except this opening makes a lot of use of repeating the same split second of footage over and over. 

Like Fool the World, this is a very high-pitched song being enthusiastically sung to a storm of rapid-fire images, but while Fool the World is bright and chirpy and quite straightforward if odd, Enigmatic Feeling is accompanied by bizarre, brutal, abstract images in which men are birthed from jumbo jets and shirtless series one characters disintegrate into smoke.

Which, really, is par for the course for a Psycho-Pass opening, so well done, Noitamina. Four for you.

3. Courage, by Haruka Tomatsu, Sword Art Online II.

This is a very standard anime opening. Almost uniformly so.

But you know what? I don't care. If I didn't like standard anime openings, I wouldn't be doing a list of them. Courage is catchy and well-sung, and the images that accompany it set the stage incredibly well for the ensemble second act of Sword Art Online II, focusing heavily on the friendship between the characters and their dynamics as a party.

It's a very warm, very pleasant opening, and it comes in an alternate flavour, which is also very warm and will make you break down sobbing if you've already seen the end of the series.

2. Trigger, by Yoko Kanno, Zankyou no Terror.

Well, this one is just beautiful. Beautiful and sinister. Like a majestic robin perched on a winter branch, whose bloated body contains a swarm of moths. I'm so great at similes.

Trigger is soft, quiet and understated, and the images that accompany it are dreamlike (or nightmarish), flowing seamlessly from one to another in a way that is both disorienting and very striking. It's definitely something you should watch, even if you don't intend to watch the series.

Perhaps most of all, though, it captures what the series is like, encapsulating the sickly washed-out brightness of the colours, the brooding and dreamlike way the plot pans out, and the double natures of the characters.

1. Burn, by Bullettrain, Yu-Gi-Oh Arc-V.

Another very standard opening, if we're being honest. But gosh, is it catchy. This might be the catchiest song I've heard all year. 

It's just so enthusiastic. Everything about it, the animation and the song itself, oozes joy and enthusiasm - and the full version is even better for this, utilising brief quiet moments before roaring back into crashing enthusiasm. 

I like that. I can appreciate an opening that goes 'Look, we got a ridiculous premise, and it's time we matched that with an opening that suggests that everything ever in the entire world is awesome and wonderful and super great.' 

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