Koda's Top 10 Winter 2014 Anime Openings

Hey there, everyone. I'm trying my hand at something new today. Today I am sharing my 10 favorite openings from the current anime season. You see, I feel like a decent amount of anime viewers don't really appreciate how the opening (and/or ending) can help an anime. To be perfectly honest the great opening and ending Coppelion had is one of the reasons I was able to last the entirety of that series, for example. So before I get on to my list, some explanation to help you understand the method to my madness. First off, this is strictly for new openings this season, so a show like Log Horizon which didn't change its opening this season isn't in the running, despite how much I love that show's opening. Secondly, I am only considering openings from anime I have actually watched this season, so if there is an opening that you really liked that I didn't include, odds are it wasn't one of the 27 anime series I am watching this season. Lastly, I don't just rank openings (and endings) based on the attached song, which a lot of people seem to do.

I have 3 primary personal criteria when it comes to judging an opening, and the more criteria an opening checks off and the better it does it, the higher it is on my standings. Those criteria are 1) the quality of the attached song, 2) the quality of the visuals, and 3) how well does the visuals clue you in to what the series is about, as in if you showed the opening to someone who didn't know anything else about the series, how well would they understand what the series is about. I also have two additional criteria that I use to separate any openings that I closely bunch together, one which is a positive one and one which is a negative one. The positive one is if they do any neat tricks with the opening, such as neat visuals or colors, basically anything that makes the opening memorably stand out. The negative one is reusing footage, I view this tactic as being cheap and a cop out.

So with all of that said, here are my choices. And please bear with me with some of the qualities of these videos. Finding quality versions of them on YT has been....quite a bit of a pain...... >_>

#10 - Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions! REN

This opening is #10 for me, because while it is certainly a beautiful looking opening and the song "Voice" by Zaq is really good, especially with how it syncs up perfectly to the combat scenes in this opening, it fails the criterion of getting across what the series is about. If you showed this opening to anyone who knows nothing about the Chunibyo franchise, they would probably think this show is about 5 vaguely middle school or high school girls who fight each other with giant weapons and magical powers. However, that is nothing like what the series is really about. Hell the entire fight sequences in this opening, and any time they are holding weapons, is all in their heads. They are imagining all of it. On top of that, Yuta, the main character, is not in this opening at all, and that is a huge, huge cardinal sin for me when it comes to anime openings. You must show the main character. The final nail in the coffin is this opening reuses footage from the first season of this show. As such, while I enjoy this opening to death, it has too many flaws to be any higher on my list.

#9 - Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil

This opening kind of fits the same situation Chu2 REN's opening is in. By that, I mean the visuals are yet again stunning to look at and the song "Justitia" by Lia is a pretty good one, but it still doesn't get across what the series is about that well. It makes it clear that the show is about wizards, that much is certainly true, but it doesn't really clue you in that the majority of the characters present in this opening are wizard defense attorneys. It at least puts the main character front and center and doesn't reuse footage, so it does just enough to be placed above Chunibyo.

#8 - Nisekoi

Oh boy....I can already hear some people clicking out of this article and others readying their keyboards to type out in rage. Let me explain myself. I LOVE this opening, ok? The song, "Click" by ClariS is freaking amazing, and I absolutely LOVE the use of colors in this opening. It even shows you all of the important characters. "So Koda, what is the problem then to make you keep this opening so low" you ask? Well....if you didn't know what this show was about.....what would this opening make you think it was? This opening makes the show look like your average harem romance/slice of life show. And yes, it is essentially that once you remove the hilarious set up (please don't kill me Nisekoi fans, I like the show, really I do, but that's what it is, and there is nothing wrong with that), but this opening leaves off WHY this show is a harem romance. Aside from the very quick look at the inside of Raku's house, there is nothing to hint at the reason Raku and Chitoge are in a farce relationship is because their dads forced them into one to prevent an all out gang war. This opening leaves out the one thing that separates this show from all other harem shows. And as such, it fails to cover all three criteria. If it had just fixed that one little problem, this opening would shoot up the list into my top 5 easily.

#7 - Tonari no Seki-kun

We now reach the openings that actually do hit all 3 of my criteria, now the remaining openings will be separated by sheer taste. Tonari no Seki-kun's opening is a cute and subtle one. "Meiwaku Spectacle" by Kana Hanazawa is a nice fast pace song that draws you in, and the visuals make it clear as day what this show is about, Yokoi trying to focus in class only to be distracted by the weird things going on at Seki-kun's desk. The opening takes on a bit of metahumor as Seki-kun starts literally animating the anime itself.

#6 - Witch Craft Works

Witch Craft Works' opening is essentially what I wished Chunibyo's and Wizard Barristers' openings were like. It is beautifully animated just like those two, and has a good song in "divine intervention" by fhána, but the difference here is it makes the core premise of the anime clear. Kagari is a badass witch and she has to protect Takamiya from a multitude of other witches while training Takamiya in the magical arts. The only thing wrong with this opening is it lacks a memorable stand out moment. What we see, while beautiful, is a little bit by the book.

#5 - Sakura Trick

This opening gets straight to the point and drives home that the two main exports in Sakura Trick is a cuteness overload and cute girls kissing each other. And I will flat out admit it, I love the song "Won(*3*)Chu KissMe!" sung by the seiyuus for the six main girls. I just think it is an addictive little song. Add in all the moments where characters are dancing and the little bits with the chibi characters, and this opening has enough memorable parts to keep me watching it over and over.

#4 - Nobunagun

Let me just get this out of the way, I absolutely love anime openings that use metal songs. You make an anime opening and attach a metal song to it, it will always be high on my list. So this opening was locked into my top 10 just because of "Respect for the dead man" by Pay money To my Pain. I also like the use of color in this opening, not as much as I like Nisekoi's mind you, but it still creates a unique look. And thankfully Nobunagun has such a simple premise/story that there was almost no way in hell they could mess up getting across what this series is about. It is about a bunch of people who can channel the "powers" of people from history/mythology to fight giant alien monsters. So simple, and yet it works.

Now, before I get into my top 3, I will say that, almost from the very second these three openings aired, they secured a spot in my top 3, the only hard part was deciding what order they were in. Make no mistake, though, these three are far and away my favorites of the season, so don't think of it as #3 through #1, but rather, #1c through #1a.

#3 - Noragami (version 2)

This truly is an amazing opening and on another season it would have been my #1 choice. I really, really love the use of color in this opening. I'll be honest, I want an anime colored this way. It is just so damn beautiful. The song "Goya no Machiawase" by Hello Sleepwalkers is really damn good, too. Now you might be wondering why I called this "version 2". Well you see, this is basically the same as the first opening used for Noragami, however there is a very slight change made to this opening. You see the part where the three lead characters rotate around in a grey background? In the first version, they are standing still. In this version, the three of them have been given walking animations. It is a very small and subtle change, but one that makes this version better.

#2 - Kill la Kill

I'll admit, part of the reason I love this opening so much is because it evokes a bit of nostalgia in me. This feels like a good old school action anime opening. I can just listen to "ambiguous" by GARNiDELiA over and over and never cease to get pumped. I also like some of the little touches, such as when they change Nonon's background portrait during her part at the start where they shift through everyone's various costumes. But really the thing that makes me love this opening so much is seeing Ryuko and Satsuki literally carve out the series' title out of stone and then paint it its signature red with their own blood. That right there is the kind of creative tricks that makes an opening memorable. So how do you top that? Well......

#1 - Yowamushi Pedal

.....By incorporating the credits on damn near everything. I'm going to ignore everything else in this opening to focus on how this opening works in its credits. I'll be honest here guys, I have seen hundreds of anime, and thus hundreds of anime openings. I....I can't really think of many that use the credits like this opening does. It is like whoever made this opening realized that the credits are another asset to play with, and not something that has to be relegated to looking like it was simply overlaid on top of the opening. No, they work it into the opening by placing it on seemingly random objects like traffic cones, bike tires, guardrails, street signs, even the freaking road itself. Not only that, but they form the credits around the object they are placed on, so for example, if there is a curved surface, the credits themselves are curved. And yes I realize I have been spending this entire time talking about the fucking credits, but dear lord this opening opened my eyes to how they can be used. After this opening, any opening that doesn't play with its credits is just lacking in my opinion. They don't even have to go this far out of their way, I just want them to not look like they were thrown over the animation. I mean look at Noragami's opening and how they at least color the credits at certain parts. Something as small as that is all I ask. Now to move on from my credits love fest, the rest of the opening does a great job of letting you know this is a bike racing anime and it shows you all the major characters and the rival schools. And then there is the song, "Yowamushi na Honoo" by DIRTY OLD MEN. I love this song. It just gets me pumped up every time I listen to it, and it is really addictive to me. I have to will myself to stop watching this opening. Every time I watch it, I have to keep watching it over and over and over and over. Far and away this is my favorite opening of this season, and my favorite opening since Watamote's back in the Summer 2013 season.

Thank you for taking the time to see me gush about anime openings. Feel free to discuss what some of your favorites of the season are, or even what you thought of my choices.