Continuing with last week’s post I will break down what I personally think are the best anime openings of each decade. With anime having wide appeal and many different genres the choices are vast and are hard to limit to five choices. This post will cover the 2000s when anime experienced highs and lows of popularity. Though the beginning of the decade anime was still at full steam coming off of the 90s the later part of the decade thrust the medium into obscurity with only a handful of titles remaining relevant. The 2000s were also a time when many series came over to Western audiences so narrowing down will be drastically harder than the previous posts.
Eureka Seven – “Days”
One of the most iconic animes in the 2000s was Eureka Seven. Eureka Seven has it’s fair share of critics however the anime is generally enjoyed by most. The best aspect of this anime is the design and animation for which it won “Best Character Designs” during the 5th Tokyo Anime Awards. Following the life of a teenager who is looking for adventure and an escape from his average life, he finds a mech which launches him into an exciting life.
“Days” is the first theme song from this anime and arguably the most iconic opening for Eureka Seven. Though only used for 13 episodes it provided an introduction to the Land of Kanan providing an emotional attachment to the universe.
FLCL– “Ride On Shooting Star”
FLCL takes topics that are common tropes and plot lines in anime such as growing up and maturing and exemplifies them. Mastering commonality is one of the biggest draws to FLCL as while the story may be far fetched at times at its core there is a grounded nature to it. If you have not checked out the follow-ups to the original series FLCL Progressive and FLCL Alternative I suggest that you do. I had my reservations about bringing back a series after 18 years however they are masterfully done and truly akin to the original.
Picking one song out of the list of choices from The Pillows is difficult since music is entwined with the show. “Ride On Shooting Star” officially makes it because it is the official theme song though “Little Busters” is a better song in my opinion. but classifies as a battle theme. “Ride On Shooting Star” is one of the few ending songs that are equally or more important than the opening due to the nature of the show structure.
Naruto Shippuuden – “Hero’s come back”
When discussing 2000s anime Naruto is a mandatory topic due to its massive popularity rivaling Dragon Ball at its peak. Including Shippuuden rather than the original series might get some backlash though I’d say “Hero’s come back” is the most iconic opening. Being the first opening from the follow-up series
“Hero’s come back” is aptly named as this opening provides a reintroduction to the characters after the three year time skip. When a series matches well with the theme song the cohesion enhances the quality of the song which puts this firmly in my top 5.
Death Note – “The WORLD”
Death Note is another example of a classic 2000s anime that has a killer theme. Spawning many follow ups and remakes due to its popularity nothing has quite lived up to the original series which will go down as one of the best anime series of all time. Though the basic construct of the series was somewhat simplistic it opened an interesting thought experiment that was not too hard to translate into real life.
Nightmare’s “The WORLD” has the perfect amount of edge needed for a series about death. While the lyrics about changing the world are great the instrumentals in this opening are even better at providing excitement to get fully immersed in the story.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – “Again”
So nice they made it twice. Fullmetal Alchemist is the pinnacle of anime no matter what era as the plot and animation were fantastic diving into the fantasy realm of alchemy. Brotherhood unlike its previous incarnation Fullmetal Alchemist it follows the manga much more faithfully. This is why most fans prefer Brotherhood as it is pretty much shot-for-shot out of the manga which manga purists enjoy as it removed the filler that derailed the first series.
When a theme song takes home Gold Certification and peaks at number one for Japanese single charts and number 2 for Taiwan’s J-Pop chart you know it’s a good song. Granted this song was later adapted to the anime and not specifically made for it the quality of the song does not change. Did the quality of the show amplify the theme song or did the theme lead to the massive popularity of the anime?
Honorable mentions: “Sorairo Days”–Gurren Lagann, “Change the World”–Inuyasha
Let us know your thoughts. What are your top five 2000s anime songs?