Monday OP: “Underground River” from Made in Abyss

This piece of music (by series composer Kevin Penkin) is played at the start of the first episode of Made in Abyss in lieu of the standard OP, during an otherwise soundless montage of Riko and Nat heading home to Orth with Reg on Nat’s back.

“Underground River” and the montage that accompanies it, were all I needed to see and hear become absolutely hooked on Made in Abyss, albeit five weeks later than most others.

It perfectly encapsulates the show’s spirit of youthful adventure, as well as the excitement and bittersweet yearning that go hand in hand upon striking out into the big world, from the home you’ve always known.

(The vocals also remind me of Sohn.)

So far I think MIA is hands-down the best series of the Summer, excelling equally in story, characters, animation, and yes, music. I only wish this piece was the weekly OP (though the actual one isn’t bad either).

Weekly OP: Gundam IBO

To be honest, my favorite part of the newest Gundam’s OP is the first five seconds, which suggest a more soaring orchestral theme than the rock number we get, and “Raise Your Flag” by MAN WITH A MISSION isn’t anywhere near as stirringly awesome or operatic as “Daybreak’s Bell” (the 00 theme) by L’Arc-en-Ciel. But it is hella catchy and is quickly growing on me. There’s nothing in the gritty visuals to complain about, either.

Weekly OP: Subete ga F ni Naru

Zane started off the week with an ED (one I agree is probably the best ED of the season, at least music-wise), so I’m ending it with an OP, specifically, the OP of Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider.

The highly catchy, danceable theme song is “Talking” by Kana-Boon, and the visuals, consisting of animated “gesture drawings” of the characters, well, dancing. They’re faceless, but you know pretty much instantly who they are: Saikawa, Moe, and Shiki.

They’re not just “regular person” dancing, either, but more like professional dancing, perfectly in time with the beat and with lots of spins and lifts and hip-throwing. I wonder if the live-action version of this included dancing?

I’ll admit the OP is not quite on the same wavelength as the show proper, but that’s not that big of a deal, and in any case, it does what any good OP should: get you pumped up to watch the show.

Finally, there’s a nice symbolism to their dance, as the three literally circle each other and feel each other out, which is what they’re figuratively doing in the show.

Weekly OP: Owarimonogatari

“Decent Black” by Meg Rock

This opening starts out very dark and foreboding, as befits a “final showdown” or “last level.” There’s a palpable “This Is It” aura to it. Then it the music gets a little more lighthearted as Oshino Ougi dances around in her Oshino Ougi way, before getting a little darker in tone again towards the end.

There’s still nothing that can touch Koimonogatari’s sublime retro/modern OP (IMO one of the best openings ever…I WILL FIGHT YOU), but this is still one of the more solid Monogatari OPs.

Weekly OP: Sore ga Seiyuu!

(Sorry for the chipmunk effect from the higher-pitched music and lack of subtitles in the video above; it’s not our video.)

Gonzo’s Sore ga Seiyuu! may not be the Summer’s most popular anime (or even the  seventeenth most popular), but it does have one of the stronger OPs of the season, for three main reasons:

A.) It’s extemely on-point, as the lyrics were written specifically for the show, and it’s sung by all three titular seiyu whose lives the show follows;

B.) It’s extremely fun and catchy, starting out cutesy, but quickly taking on the verve and vigor of an action-paced shounen (or in this case, shoujo) anime; and

C.) features the three seiyu reciting the Japanese tongue twister about plums and peaches, “sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi!” The visuals, in which the three girls describe their lives and then embody the characters they voice.

Here’s the full-length live-action music video:

Weekly OP & ED – Charlotte

P.A. Works kinda has a knack for great OPs and EDs as far as we’re concerned, from Canaan and Angel Beats to Nagi no Asukara. Good to see Charlotte keeping up that tradition with very good opening and closing sequences full of bittersweet longing and hope.

OP – “Bravely You” by Lia

ED – “The Wings that Won’t Be Burned Down” by Tada Aoi

Weekly OP: Yuri Kuma Arashi

Song: “Ano Mori de Matteru” (あの森で待ってる; I’ve Been Waiting in That Forest) by Bonjour Suzuki

A clarion chorus, breathy, sensual vocals, and lush, crisp visuals of girls in various states of undress or bear-dress nuzzling and licking one another: it’s like being slowly lowered into a bathtub full of honey in a forest; something admittedly not everyone would want done to them! But while it is on the cutesy/suggestive side, it’s pretty much a pitch-perfect start to the show. Like that honey bath, it’s best to take it slow.

Be that as it may, Love Bullet Yurikuma Arashi’s OP is probably as polarizing as the show itself. However, if you like what you’ve seen so far and are still a little lost, I recommend this essay written by Gabriella Ekens over at ANN, which provides some satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs analysis and poining out several references I missed initially (and kudos to commenter Tausif for sharing that link).