It occurs to us we haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but there are a couple pieces we look forward to almost as much as the episodes they’re attached to. So here’s what we consider to be the best opening and ending sequences this Summer. (Apologizes if the YouTube videos won’t play; that means someone had them taken down.)
Best OP: Gatchaman Crowds
Gatchaman’s colorful, kinetic, awesome opening is our unquestioned favorite. The first frames give you a quick glimpse of just about every member of the cast, then comes back to them all standing/sitting around the city, looking cool, all to the zig-zagging “Crowds” by J-rock group White Ash, blending English and Japanese lyrics fluidly around the music. It’s also dotted with gorgeous CGI of the Gatchamen in their suits kicking ass or flying through the sky.
OP Runner-up: The World God Only Knows – Goddesses Arc
First, we like how the OP is bookended by trippy abstract patterns, and starts off with a very melodramatic ballad-like sound that segues into the original TWGOK leitmotif, before going back to doing its own thing with a happy, optimistic tune as Keima and his conquests are presented. The whole thing is suffused with a divine and angelic tone very appropriate for a show full of goddesses. The theme is by Oratorio The World God Only Knows, with very upbeat English lyrics.
Best ED: Free!
For us, this was as much of a no-brainer as Gatchaman for the OP category. The thumping club-like theme “SPLASH FREE” by STYLE FIVE (composed of the five male leads’ voice seiyus, which is welcome news to us as of this writing) is perfectly complements the little tale of water-loving Nagisa traversing the barren desert in search of water, finding none in town, being mocked by Rei, who has plenty of it, and finally coming across an oasis where he jumps right in with the others.
ED Runner-up: Blood Lad
Both the OP and ED of Blood Lad are highly conventional, and don’t blaze any trails, including the tendency for the ED to be a slower, more morose counterpoint to the fast, upbeat, rocky OP (or vice versa). Still, we think the ED is very well executed, focusing on Fuyumi and Bell and their struggle for Staz’s attention. We particularly like the final sequence of Fuyumi inexplicably beaming very widely; she and Staz set back in the wildly-colored graveyard as Bell peeks her head out of a portal in the foreground, looking displeased.