Photo from Pako Guzman / Flickr
By Kevin Matyi
As usual, the same rules apply. The only candidates are shows in their first season with no previous anime adaptation. “Naruto Shippuden” and “Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans” are not candidates.
As with the previous season, the openings are now taken from the second episode of each show. A new addition for this season is that short-form shows, those whose running time is less than 22 minutes per episode, are included.
This list does not judge the content of the shows, only the quality of their openings.
10. ‘Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid’
The main reason this show is on the list is because it has a decent song that fits the action on screen. It also shows off one of the main elements of the show, girls transforming in to weapons, very well.
Unfortunately, while this list does not discriminate against shows based on their content, the amount of fan-service in the opening is likely to make many potential viewers turn away, forcing this show to a lower spot.
9. ‘Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan (Hakone-chan)’
One of the two short-form shows on this season’s list, this show made it because it does many of the same things right as “Valkyrie Drive,” but with the fan-service that would drive some people away.
It is an extremely fast opening. But the song is interesting to listen to, and the locations in the show are shown off in an easily-understandable way.
8. ‘Itoshi no Muco (Lovely Muco)’
This is the second short-form show on this season’s list. “Lovely Muco” (technically, the official English name is “Lovely Muuuuuuuco!”) ranks above “Hakone-chan” because it gives a better sense of what the show will actually be about, and has the characters interact with each other.
The simplistic art style may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it makes the show stand out by not having the normal modern anime aesthetic.
7. ‘Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (The Asterisk War)’
This show ranks largely because of the synthesis of visuals and music. During the quiet establishing shots, the music is forgettable, but not unpleasant. When the camera is panning and zooming through several scenes, the instrumentation becomes much more interesting.
Unfortunately, “The Asterisk War” falls in to the same trap as many action shows. The second half of the opening is comprised of a lot of fighting.
While not inherently bad, for many shows this trope limits how much the characters can show their personalities and relationships with other characters.
6. ‘Heavy Object’
“Heavy Object’s” opening song fits the mood perfectly. It is energetic, powerful and somewhat silly. The mechs are also shown off well, and the protagonist’s mech has a unique design.
The problem is that while the opening tries to show off battles, the scenes are comprised of a mech shooting off screen, instead of showing an all-out battle.
The character interactions are nice to see, but I have no idea what most of them actually do.
5. ‘Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (Chivalry of a Failed Knight)’
“Lovely Muco” was the first show on this list to have an interesting aesthetic, but it is far from the last.
“Chivalry of a Failed Knight” uses a visual style close to that of “Sin City,” where most things are in blank and white and only certain objects are in color. For “Chivalry of a Failed Knight,” the only other color is red, making for a striking visual.
Unfortunately, like “The Asterisk War,” much of the opening is fighting. However, the way the characters respond throughout the opening of “Chivalry of a Failed Knight” gives at least some sense of their personalities.
4. ‘Lance N’ Masques’
After watching this opening, I have absolutely no idea what this show is about, but I am inclined to think that it only has one character.
The song is passable, but not particularly special. The part of the opening that makes it stand out and rank so highly are the visuals. While they start fairly normal, at least by anime opening standards, it is impossible to look away from the screen once the opening gets a full color palette.
Watching the middle of this opening feels like I’m looking at a young girl go through the stargate from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and may be seeing her turn in to a godlike being in the process.
Based on the description of the show from Anichart, none of my speculation is correct, but regardless, the opening is extremely interesting to watch.
3. ‘Dance With Devils’
The first thing that catches the viewer’s attention about this show’s opening is the music. At first it sounds like the singer is going to be over the top with the vocal, like with “Ushio and Tora” previously. However, as the opening continues, the song generally becomes more enjoyable to listen to while still fitting the visuals.
Meanwhile, the visuals do a terrific job of quickly showing a connection between all of the major characters, and then the relationship between the female lead and the male characters. At the same time, there are hints that the show will have more going on than just a reverse harem situation.
2. ‘One Punch Man’
While “Dance With Devils” seemed like it was going to follow the same path as “Ushio & Tora,” but then went in a completely different direction, “One Punch Man” follows through.
Rarely is over-the-top screaming and many voices chant-singing lyrics quite as fitting as in this opening.
Somehow, the main part of the song still manages to sound nice while the main character punches the air and somehow obliterates a mountain.
The actual premise of the show is somewhat lost in the sheer awesome of everything else, and the villains are not introduced in a very interesting way. But everything else is so absurd and awesome that I can’t help but love this opening.
1. ‘Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider’
“Lance N’ Masque” had the most insane visuals, but “The Perfect Insider” almost matches it while still staying comprehensible. One method that helps is that “The Perfect Insider” starts by showing the characters as they likely appear in the show before going to a much more unique art style.
The show also has the one song from the list that I would listen to without even watching the show. However, it still falls into a theme of this season: not explaining what the show is about. I am very intrigued by the show’s opening, but do not have any clue as to what the show itself might be about.
All I know is that the opening made me want to keep watching, even if for no other reason than to get to the next episode and watch the opening again.