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Anime has been an important cultural phenomenon in Japan and has gained a significant following across the world. With its unique characters, storylines, and animation, it is no surprise that the music of anime has also captured the hearts of many. Anime soundtracks often feature emotional, epic, and catchy songs that perfectly capture the essence of the show’s themes and characters. From opening and ending themes to insert songs, anime music has become a genre of its own. In this article, we will take a look at the top 20 songs about anime that have made a mark on the industry and captured the hearts of fans around the world. These songs have become anthems of the anime community, and many have even crossed over into mainstream media. From classics like “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” from Neon Genesis Evangelion to more recent hits like “Gurenge” from Demon Slayer, these songs have become cultural touchstones and beloved by anime fans everywhere. So, whether you’re a die-hard anime fan or just love a good soundtrack, let’s dive into the world of anime music and explore the top 20 songs that have defined the genre.
1. “Planetes” by EGOIST
“Planetes” by EGOIST is the opening theme song for the anime series of the same name. The song is characterized by its catchy electronic sound and the powerful vocals of the lead singer, Chelly. The lyrics evoke the feeling of setting out on a new adventure and pursuing one’s dreams, with lines like “I’ll fly up to the sky without fear” and “In this moment, I’ll be reborn.” The song is a perfect fit for the anime’s story, which follows the crew of a space debris collection ship as they journey through the solar system and encounter new challenges and adventures. The fast-paced beat and soaring vocals create a sense of excitement and anticipation, drawing listeners into the world of the anime. “Planetes” has become a beloved track among fans of the series and a great example of how an anime opening theme can capture the spirit and essence of a show.
2. “One Last Kiss” by Hikaru Utada
“One Last Kiss” is a song by Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, released in 2021 as the theme song for the anime film “Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time.” The song showcases Hikaru’s soaring vocals over a synth-pop instrumentation that ranges from ethereal to punchy. The lyrics speak of a bittersweet farewell, with a focus on moving forward with determination and optimism, in line with the film’s themes.
The song has been a commercial success, topping the charts in Japan and receiving critical acclaim for its composition and Hikaru’s performance. It has also garnered a large following among anime fans, who praise the song’s emotional resonance with the film’s story and characters. With its infectious melody and impactful lyrics, “One Last Kiss” has become a beloved anthem for fans of the anime and for Hikaru’s extensive fanbase.
3. “Gurenge” by Lisa HD From Demon Slayer
“Gurenge” by Lisa is the opening theme song for the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The song was released in 2019, and it quickly gained popularity among anime fans for its fast-paced and energetic beat. The lyrics of the song focus on the theme of determination and the protagonist’s will to protect his loved ones. The song’s title, “Gurenge,” translates to “Red Lotus,” and it references the color of the protagonist’s sword, which is a crucial weapon in the anime. The song features a unique combination of rock and electronic music, which creates an intense and captivating sound. Lisa’s powerful vocals match the energy of the music and create a perfect fit for the series’ intense battle scenes. “Gurenge” has become one of the most popular anime songs of recent times, earning multiple awards and breaking records on various music streaming platforms. The song’s infectious rhythm and inspiring lyrics make it a must-listen for any anime fan, and it perfectly captures the spirit of the series.
4. “Moonlight Densetsu” by Sailor Moon
“Moonlight Densetsu” is the opening theme song for the classic anime series Sailor Moon. Composed by Tetsuya Komoro and performed by DALI, the song is known for its catchy melody and memorable lyrics that perfectly capture the show’s magical girl themes. The song has a mix of electronic and rock sounds with lyrics that talk about the main character, Usagi Tsukino, as a princess from a magical kingdom, and her journey to save the world from evil forces. The song has become an iconic part of the anime and has been covered by various artists over the years. Its opening piano notes have become synonymous with the series, and it’s often used in parodies or tributes to the show. The song’s upbeat tempo and uplifting message make it an anthem for those who grew up watching Sailor Moon and a great reminder of the magical powers of friendship and love.
5. “Guren No Yumiya” by Attack On Titan
“Guren No Yumiya” is a popular opening theme song from the anime series Attack On Titan. The song is performed by Linked Horizon and was first used in the first season of the series. The song’s title translates to “Crimson Bow and Arrow” in English, which alludes to the use of archery in the show. The song has a fast-paced and energetic melody that perfectly captures the epic action and intensity of the series. The lyrics of the song speak about fighting for freedom and overcoming fears and doubts to achieve victory. The powerful vocals of the lead singer complement the intense instrumentals, making it a popular choice for fans of the anime series. The song has been covered by various artists and has gained popularity outside of Japan, especially among fans of the series. “Guren No Yumiya” is a great example of how an opening theme song can set the tone for a series and become an iconic part of the anime experience.
6. “Watashi No Uso” by Theishter
“Watashi No Uso” is a beautiful piano instrumental piece composed by Takeshi Abo for the anime series, Your Lie in April. The song is often associated with one of the show’s main themes, which is the pursuit of one’s passion and the pain that comes with it. It is a melancholic and emotional piece that captures the essence of the story’s main character, Kosei Arima, who is a piano prodigy struggling to play music after the death of his abusive mother. The title, “Watashi No Uso,” which means “my lie” in Japanese, is a reference to the secrets and lies that the characters in the anime keep from one another.
The song begins with a soft and gentle piano melody, gradually building up to a more intense and emotional sound. The beautiful harmonies and delicate touches in the composition create a sense of sadness and longing. The music is emotive, and its message transcends beyond the anime’s storyline, speaking to the hearts of listeners, even if they are not familiar with the show. It is a testament to the power of music to move people, and the emotion that it can evoke.
7. “Gurenge” by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
“Gurenge” is a popular song by Japanese singer Lisa that serves as the opening theme song for the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The song features upbeat rock instrumentation and powerful vocals that perfectly capture the action-packed, emotional nature of the series. The lyrics of the song, which are primarily in Japanese with a few lines in English, evoke the themes of the anime, which follows the story of a young man named Tanjiro as he fights demons and strives to save his sister from a cursed fate. The song’s title, “Gurenge,” is Japanese for “crimson lotus,” which symbolizes the main character’s burning determination to protect his loved ones and defeat the demons that threaten them. The song’s energetic and intense sound has made it a popular choice for anime fans and has helped to make it one of the most well-known and beloved anime opening themes of recent years.
8. “God Knows…” by the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
“God Knows…” is a lively rock song performed by the character Haruhi Suzumiya’s voice actress Aya Hirano for the popular anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It is one of the series’ most famous songs, which Haruhi performs with her fictional rock band ENOZ at the school festival. The song’s opening piano melody is iconic, leading into a fast-paced guitar riff that is full of energy and power. The lyrics are meaningful, expressing the passion and desire to pursue one’s dreams and ambitions, with the main chorus delivering the message “If I can shine brightly, it’s because of you.” The track showcases Hirano’s impressive vocal range and captures the vibrant spirit of Haruhi’s character, who is often portrayed as a self-confident and impulsive teenager. The catchy melody, intense vocals, and upbeat instrumentals make “God Knows…” an anime song that can get you pumped up and motivated.
9. “Tank!” by Seatbelts
“Tank!” by Seatbelts is the opening theme song of the anime series “Cowboy Bebop”. The song is composed by Yoko Kanno and performed by the band Seatbelts, which is a fictional band created for the series. “Tank!” is known for its unique jazz fusion sound, featuring a brass section, piano, and prominent double bass. The song perfectly sets the tone for the series with its upbeat and fast-paced rhythm, which is a reflection of the action-packed and adventurous nature of the show. The song has become an iconic piece of music in the anime world, and it has been covered and remixed by various artists. The catchy melody and the upbeat sound of “Tank!” have made it a favorite among fans of the series and jazz enthusiasts alike. The song has received critical acclaim and has been included in various “best anime songs” lists over the years.
10. “Pokémon Theme” by Pokémon
The “Pokémon Theme” is the opening theme song of the popular animated series “Pokémon”. The song, performed by Jason Paige, quickly became a hit with children and adults alike when it first aired in 1997. It has since become an iconic part of the franchise, and its catchy tune and lyrics are instantly recognizable by fans around the world.
The song’s upbeat melody and energetic vocals perfectly capture the spirit of the show, which follows the adventures of a young boy named Ash and his journey to become the greatest Pokémon trainer in the world. Its lyrics, which include memorable lines like “I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was”, have become synonymous with the series and are often referenced in popular culture.
The “Pokémon Theme” has undergone several remixes and covers over the years, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the world of Pokémon, this classic theme song is sure to get you pumped up and ready to catch ’em all.
11. “Crossing Field” by LiSA
“Crossing Field” by LiSA is the opening theme song of the popular anime series Sword Art Online. The song features a mix of rock and pop elements with strong vocals and electronic sounds. The lyrics are about overcoming challenges and moving forward, fitting well with the theme of the show. The song’s opening riff is recognizable to many anime fans, and it has become an iconic part of the Sword Art Online franchise. The song’s popularity helped to launch LiSA’s career, and she has since gone on to perform several other theme songs for anime series. The combination of LiSA’s powerful voice, the catchy melody, and the exciting anime visuals make “Crossing Field” a memorable song that continues to resonate with fans of the show.
12. “Summer Sky” by Galileo Galilei
“Summer Sky” by Galileo Galilei is a song that was used as the ending theme for the anime series, “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day”. The song has a mellow, slow-tempo melody that matches the emotional tone of the anime series. The lyrics describe the bittersweet memories of a summer love that has ended and the sadness that comes with it. The lead singer’s voice is soft and emotional, adding to the melancholic feeling of the song. The use of guitars, drums, and piano creates a laid-back, nostalgic vibe that reflects the summer season. The song is both heartbreaking and beautiful, and it perfectly captures the emotions of the anime series. Fans of the show often reminisce about the moments that were set to this song, as it has become one of the most iconic pieces of music from “Anohana”. “Summer Sky” is a perfect example of how anime music can capture the emotions of a story and enhance the viewer’s experience, leaving a lasting impression on their hearts.
13. “Katawaredoki” by RADWIMPS
“Katawaredoki” is a Japanese song by the band RADWIMPS. The song was featured in the 2016 anime movie “Kimi no Na Wa” (Your Name), directed by Makoto Shinkai. The song has a sentimental melody that depicts the feeling of separation between two lovers, who switch bodies in their dreams. The lyrics are full of emotions, expressing the pain of separation and the longing for togetherness. The song is performed in both Japanese and English, with lyrics that touch the hearts of fans around the world. The instrumental arrangement is beautifully crafted with a mix of rock, electronic, and pop elements. The piano melody in the background blends in perfectly with the singer’s voice, creating a truly captivating experience. The song showcases the beauty of RADWIMPS’ music and highlights their ability to capture the emotion of the moment. “Katawaredoki” is a perfect blend of contemporary music and anime, and it shows how music can enhance the storytelling in anime movies.
14. “Butter-Fly” by Kōji Wada
“Butter-Fly” is a popular song from the anime series Digimon Adventure, performed by Kōji Wada. The upbeat and energetic song was the opening theme for the series, and it quickly became a fan-favorite. The song’s catchy melody, combined with its emotional lyrics, makes it a memorable part of the series. The lyrics talk about never giving up and looking forward to the future. The song has a sense of optimism and positivity that fits well with the themes of the series. It has been covered by various artists and was even re-recorded by Kōji Wada himself for the 15th-anniversary release of the series. “Butter-Fly” has become an iconic song of the Digimon franchise and a staple of Japanese anime music.
15. “Bratja” by Beda & Ooshima Michiru
“Bratja” is a melancholic song that features in the popular anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. It is a Russian-inspired ballad that follows the tragic story of the two Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, who attempted to bring their deceased mother back to life through alchemy, but the process failed and resulted in terrible consequences. The haunting melody and soulful lyrics describe the brothers’ bond and their unbreakable connection despite the hardships and tragedies they face. The song is performed by Beda and Ooshima Michiru and has become a beloved theme song among fans of the series. The emotional depth of the song and its touching lyrics have made it a popular choice for cover versions by other artists, including in different languages. The song’s title “Bratja” is the Russian word for “Brothers,” fitting for the Elric brothers who are the central characters in the anime. Overall, “Bratja” is a powerful song that embodies the theme of brotherhood and the strength of family bonds, making it a beloved and timeless song among anime fans.
16. “Battlecry” by Nujabes feat. Shing02
“Battlecry” is a hip-hop song by Japanese producer Nujabes and rapper Shing02. The track is best known as the opening theme to the popular anime series Samurai Champloo. The song features a dynamic blend of jazz and hip-hop elements, with Nujabes’ signature style of layered instrumentation, funky guitar riffs, and smooth piano melodies. Shing02’s rapid-fire flow and socially conscious lyrics complement the instrumental perfectly, making for an exciting and thought-provoking listening experience. The track’s high-energy tempo, funky beats, and memorable hooks have made it a fan favorite and one of the most iconic anime opening themes of all time.
17. “Hontou No Oto” by KOKIA
“Hontou No Oto” is a hauntingly beautiful song by KOKIA, known for its emotive melody and powerful vocals. The song, which translates to “True Sound,” is the opening theme for the anime adaptation of the visual novel “Umineko no Naku Koro ni.” With its sweeping orchestration and atmospheric instrumentation, the song effectively captures the dramatic and mysterious tone of the anime, while KOKIA’s voice adds an ethereal quality to the overall experience. The lyrics, which touch on themes of truth and illusion, perfectly complement the haunting melody, and the overall effect is both hypnotic and moving. “Hontou No Oto” is a standout track in KOKIA’s discography and a beloved theme song for anime fans.
18. “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi
“A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi is the opening theme song for the widely popular anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion. The song starts with a fast-paced, upbeat and electronic melody that is instantly recognizable to fans. The lyrics are in Japanese and speak of determination and the need to move forward, perfectly fitting the overall tone of the anime. The song builds up gradually with a strong drumbeat and Yoko Takahashi’s powerful vocals, eventually leading to the memorable chorus. It is a catchy and energetic song that perfectly captures the mood of the anime and has become an iconic track in anime music history. The song has received critical acclaim for its unique sound and catchy melody, and has been covered and remixed by numerous artists in various styles. It is a timeless classic that has been enjoyed by anime fans all over the world for over 25 years since the show’s premiere in 1995.
19. “Inferno” by Flame Flame Fire Department (Fire Force)
“Inferno” is the opening theme song for the anime series Fire Force, performed by the group Flame Flame Fire Department. The song starts off with a fast-paced guitar riff and quickly builds up with energetic drums and passionate vocals. The lyrics describe the struggles of the main characters, who are firefighters battling against infernal creatures to save humanity. The chorus features a catchy melody and a powerful call to action, urging listeners to keep fighting against the odds. The song has a hard-rock sound that matches the intense action and fiery theme of the anime, and it quickly became a fan favorite after the series premiered in 2019. “Inferno” also features an impressive animation sequence that showcases the main characters and the world of the anime. Overall, the song perfectly captures the energy and intensity of Fire Force and is a great example of how an opening theme can set the tone for an entire anime series.
20. “Moonlit Night” by Hayashi Yuki
“Moonlit Night” is a song from the anime series “Death Note”, composed by Hayashi Yuki. The song features a haunting melody that is filled with emotion and drama. It begins with a slow and somber tone, with soft piano keys and mournful strings setting the scene for a tragic story. As the song progresses, the pace picks up, and the instrumentation becomes more intense, culminating in a powerful climax. The vocals are also a highlight of the song, with a male singer delivering the lyrics with deep emotion and conviction. The lyrics themselves are filled with sadness and longing, describing a love that is doomed to fail. The song perfectly captures the tone and atmosphere of “Death Note,” a dark and intense series about a high school student who gains the power to kill anyone he wishes. Overall, “Moonlit Night” is a beautiful and moving song that will resonate with fans of the series and lovers of anime music alike.