Sachi Tainaka may as well get a section just for these songs. This Symphonic Arrangement of the anime's two opening themes from her CD deserves some consideration, too. Another version called "disillusion -2010-" is arranged for the Fate/Stay Night TV Reproduction OVAs.
From the Unlimited Blade Works movie: "Imitation", which perfectly captures Shirou's defense of his ideals against Archer, his future self.
Spirited Away is already an amazing movie, but what also made it so breathtakingly beautiful is the soundtrack. "Dragon Boy" is just perfect in setting up the movie's setting, and the ending credits (though he actually didn't write it) "Always With Me" simply cannot be described in words of its beauty.
As with anything fan-produced, Sturgeon's Law applies to fandubs. However, on occasion you stumble upon that elusive 10% that's absolutely worth it. Here you may learn what your favorite anime songs sound like translated to English.
GeekyFanDubs: In addition to having a good singing voice, she reimagines the lyrics of the song so that they flow as naturally as possible, while keeping the song's original meaning.
"Innocence", the opening theme to Sword Art Online's Fairy Dance Arc.
Both LeeandLie and Shadow Link pooled their efforts and made an English cover to one of the most popular Anime songs of recent history: "Guren no Yumiya", the opening theme to Attack on Titan's first half.
Most of the music for the AIR game was considered good enough to be used directly the anime release as well—and with very good reason. Especially noteworthy is the track "Aozora" (Blue Sky) sung by Lia, whose mournful vocals set the perfect mood for the already very sad ending. The instrumental version is used all through the series to maximum effect as well.
The anime and game opening "Tori no Uta"definitely deserves a mention.
Aside from copious amounts of excellent Scenery Porn, ARIA has an impressive soundtrack, consisting of slightly classically tinted, soft pieces that fit the mood of the series perfectly. Most of the tracks are produced by Choro Club, who also did excellent work on the second OVA release of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.
"Tenki Ame" is probably one of the best instrumental songs in the series.
"Tenki Ame" just has that warm, fuzzy, Heartwarming feel to it. They played it when they found Maa.
Still the most beautiful piece is probably the opening theme of the AriettaOVA, performed by SONOROUS, with its slow and immensely melancholic melody. It is a strong departure from the more lighthearted tunes of the other OPs and sets the mood for the rest of the episode extremely well.
And while we're at it Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou deserves its own, proper entry. When Nai takes Alpha up in his airplane in particular, but there are other moments that qualify too. Not to mention pretty much everything that applies to ARIA in this trope carries over to Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou as well.
It's a fanwork about a fanwork, but the music in this video definitely qualifies. It weaves together different Vocaloid pieces together in a way which is smooth and beautiful, and the "Veneziano" measures are amazing! Which isn't mentioning the video itself and how cute and yet sad that it is.
Russia's character song and the song that plays in the anime (Episode 89) when Russia first encounters Lithuania.
It may not be official, but this fusion of "Osoreirimasu Sumimasen"/"Excuse Me, I'm Sorry" and "Ni Hao Chuugoku"/"Hello, China" titled "Sumimasen Chuugoku"/"I'm Sorry, China" needs to be mentioned.
"Running On" from Episode 9. That music makes for the most epic game of basketball ever, even if Rouge does get hit by a ball halfway through the song. Especially because the length of the game is defined by the song.
In the second season, we get an insert song, "Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa" that is also performed by Kalafina. It's just as lovely and atmospheric as their previous song, "Lacrimosa", and also downright depressing in context.
"Senshi Yo Tachiagare" from Cybaster/Cybuster. The lyrics are already awesome (seriously, hear it and read the translation). Now hearing it live, there are no words that can tell about it. Now hearing it in an acoustic version is simply death...
For Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z: While "Rise of Him" seems to be a repetitive techno song like the rest of the soundtrack at first... Cue the organ and the strings. If it doesn't seem like CMOA at first, try listening to the rest of the soundtrack and coming back. Also, "Touch Me!", the instrumental of which plays either when the girls transform as a group or when the villains are going to get their butts kicked. When the version with lyrics starts playing, the villains really should take that as a cue to run for their lives.
"Ryokushoku no Kioku/Green Memories", which is first heard with beautiful scenery as our protagonist has a lovely dream of "being whole again." It plays again later on, when said protagonist is riding on her motorcycle thinking about the man who loves her. She tosses her arms into the air and says (paraphrased): "If there is someone that can find redemption in me, then why can't I find redemption in them?" It is one most beautiful scenes in the series, and the lovely piece only amplifies it.
Dennou Boukenki Webdiver is a lesser-known sci-fi series from 2001. Nonetheless, both the opening "Diver 2100" and the ending "Together" deserve a special mention.
ef- a tale of memories has the ending theme for Episode 2, "euphoric field", which turns out to be the opening for the rest of the series and also what comes out when you take the first letter of each episode's title. The song itself is mostly correct, if mispronounced Engrish, and was performed by Tenmon, of 5 Centimeters per Second fame. Tenmon also composed the rest of the series' incrediblytouchingsoundtrack. The most awesome part is the opening to Episode 12, which was exactly the same as the other openings, except the song was in Japanese and the visual symbolism was completely changed. When you think about how this must have affected the primary audience, who now understand the lyrics, it becomes doubly awesome.
It's not just those songs; the soundtrack, composed by Naoki Sato, is a delicious mix of music that not only fits the different moods of the series, but can move the listener to tears with its pure awesomeness.
The part in Episode 6 where they play "Last Dinosaur" is perfection. Right as the final confrontation is about to start, Haruko yells "It's the climax!" and the song starts to play in all its glory. The fact that up until this point they have only played a portion of the song during the next episode preview really makes it feel like the final, climactic moment in the series.
FLCL's sometimes jokingly called a series-length Animated Music Video of The Pillows. That's definitely not a bad thing.
Only one anime opening theme (besides Baccano's Guns & Roses) has even challenged Tank's position as the best jazz opening of all time: "Boomerang Boogie" from Gad Guard. It's more swing than bebop, but when it swings, it SWINGS!
Gantz, despite being absolutely gruesome and pointless, has the annoyingly catchy, Engrish-laden Super Shooter to add to the repotoire.
The GaoGaiGartheme song, "Yuusha-Oh Tanjou" is one of the catchiest pieces of music ever, successfully emulating the classic Super Robot style without feeling dated for its time, or even ten years after its time. It also makes it easier to remember for those who call it a tongue-twister.
Also. Yuuki Aru Tatakai, the track reserved for battles such as the one with EI-01, the Primevals, and Mamoru.
The themes for Soldat J and King J-der are also pretty awesome. In fact, ANY music, used as the motif for ANY main character/ robot, 99.99% of the time, it's Awesome Music. However, the themes for the Goldion Hammer and the Goldion Crusher in the OVA are probably the most epic ones there are.
While not even remotely "hell yeah!" awesome, kudos have to be given to the track on the other end of the spectrum...Guy's Theme. It makes you want to cry, give him a hug, and salute him all at once.
The saddest song on the soundtrack, though, is the one for the other protagonist. Mamoru's Theme is such a beautiful, sad song, and the show knew just WHEN exactly to use it. Mamoru's Character Development after The Reveal, the exposition about the fate of Mamoru and his replicant at the beginning of Episode 8 of FINAL, it justs works so well with what's going on.
Last, but not least, Saikyou Yuusha Robo Gundan. "The Strongest Robot Brave Corps" is the hotblooded leitmotif of the Braves. Every time this song is playing, one of the Braves—or all of them—is doing something awesome.
Genshiken's first ending theme "Biidama". It isn't bombastic rock or an insanely catchy bubblegum J Pop hit—it simply captures the bittersweetness of going to university and making friends,then having to leave both of them behind. It's even more heartbreaking with the translated lyrics. Saori Atsumi, take a bow.
While not badass like the other examples, the "Yorozuya Blues" that played while Gintoki and Otae pass each other in the rain as he goes off to fight Benizakura against her orders is pretty awesome (this is a slightly different version than the one from the show). It's laid back and melancholy and perfect.
Girls und Panzer has several well done versions of military marches, but the seiyu singing the Soviet-era song "Katyusha" became an instant fan favorite around the world.
It's a shame that there are no full versions of the really awesome OP for the original Glass Mask series, "Garasu no Kamen" by Mariko Ashibe. Still, the TV version gives a glimpse of what a lovely song this is.
The Delgados' "The Light Before We Land", used as the opening theme in Season 1, is a mesmerizingly melancholy song that perfectly sets the mood of the show. From the same album, "Woke From Dreaming", used as an insert song in Episode 7, is also a beautiful keeper.
"Inner Light", the 2nd opening to Hajime No Ippo. If any song were to represent all of Shōnen, this would be it. An instrumental version has a tendency to appear during many fights throughout the first season, and during the Kimura vs. Mashiba match.
Hamatora has the two musical themes, "FLAT" by livetune adding Yuuki Ozaki (from Galileo Galilei) and "Hikari" by Wataru Hatano, are very upbeat and fit the series' atmosphere pretty well. The latter even had an acoustic version to fit Episode 7's Downer Ending.
Technically from the game than from the anime, but "Dear You", the ending theme of the Meakishi-hen arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is incredibly poignant and beautiful, espescially if you've seen Meakishi-hen. An epic version of it can be heard here. (Warning: Actual video contains Meakishi-hen spoilers)
The anime itself has both the OPs, which are not only awesome in and of themselves, but are perfectly indicitave of the changing tone of the series; First, the suspenseful and moody Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and secondly the defiant and hopeful Naraku no Hana.
Bonbon Bereppa is so awesomely quirky and unique, not to mention oddly relaxing. Made even better by the fact that it usually is played whenever Morita is in Cloud Cuckoo Lander mode, making it practically his Leitmotif.
For season two, we get a new opening song, "UNDER/SHAFT" by Maon Kurosaki, and the return of Nagi Yanagi with "Laterality", the ending.
The appropriately named track for this series from the original soundtrack, played during the first episode of the first anime season—and when Hex and her crew was finished off by a B-52 bombing. Enter: "Jormungand".
"Sense of Crisis" from the Jormungand: Perfect Order OST gives the show a somewhat surreal feel with all the piano music.
"Time to Rock and Roll" by Santa/Taku Iwasaki from the first OST, a catchy mix of rap, techno, and electronica that typically accompanies ass being kicked. Another song on the OST, "Time to Attack", has a harder beat and is the source of "Her name is Koko," which definitely also qualifies it.
"Last Regrets", the gorgeous, sweeping opening theme of the Kanon PC game (and the later anime series). All previous conceptions of Kanon being 'just some porn game' are blown away by the Full Chorus version of this song—how could it be with music THIS good.
The 2nd opening theme to Kurokami: The Animation, "tRANCE" by GRANRODEO, is 100% pure awesome, with metal-esque riff, some awesome soloing, a hooky chorus, and liberal Engrish ("Death Through Trance" indeed). After the cheesy synth-pop 1st Opening Theme this is downright refreshing, just like "WHAT'S UP PEOPLE" was to Death Note.
Also LadyBat's "Ankoku no Tsubasa". It has a catchy tune (in a good way) and a really cool guitar solo. And Lady Bat's voice is cool.
As for the heroes, "Kizuna" and "Kodou" are pretty impressive battle songs. As Lazy and or cheap the Italian dubbers were towards the production of their dub for this anime they did create one or two ear worms! Primarily the group songs Dolce Melodia and Battito D'amore and the solo Stella Preziosa.
At the climax of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis, Rock, of all people, ends up saving the day from revolting robots by hitting the ziggurat's self-destruct button. Cue Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You" playing over the ensuing images of destruction.
The soundtrack to Metropolis, by Toshiyuki Honda, is just one big pile of win. If you like some nice retro jazz, take a listen.
The opening and ending themes of Minami-ke may be pretty ordinary, if catchy—but the soundtrack itself contains some marvelous pieces. A lot of it is fairly minimalistic, yet full of atmosphere. Yasuhiro Misawa, the composer, obviously listened a lot to Philip Glass. Not bad for a comedy show.
Nana has an awesome soundtrack to accommodate the musical focus of the original manga. Listen to "rose" and "Winter Sleep", by fictional bands BLACK STONES and TRAPNEST respectively. The other songs used in the series are just as awesome. For example:
Nodame Cantabile takes places at a music college, so naturally has awesome music all over—if you're into classical, that is. Of special note is the rendition of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", with many parts played on melodicas. It works very well and actually manages to surpass many other performances in the show in its originality.
Now and Then, Here and There, a moody series with some very moody music. The music (and images for that matter) in the closing credits is hauntingly beautiful. However, if you base the series on those credits alone, you are in for a rough surprise. — This entry is based on the US dub, just in case there is a difference in music between Japan and the US...
Being an anime with a musical theme, RahXephon's music is all pretty good. However, the crowning song of the series has to be what's generally called "Ayato's kill theme." The actual song is called The Chariot, and if this song starts playing, someone is going to die. Very. VERY. Painfully. Generally any time The Chariot starts up, Ayato has completely forgotten any kindness or compassion for anything at all, and is seriously just going to tear your mech in half with his bare hands now.
"Solitudes" perfectly captures the loneliness and melancholy of the series.
Another Taku Iwasaki classic: The soundtrack to Read or Die. From the opening theme, which is a total homage to 60's spy film music, to the battle remix, to the British Library theme, it's all good. Special mention goes to "The I-Jin Suite"—creepy stalkerish percussion, butt-kicking electronica, and heartbreakingly sad piano and strings, all in one.
"The Last Wolf Suite", which could really be said to be the Kyoto Arc theme. It's suitably menacing and builds up the tension into awesomeness. That it's used for some of the best battles is icing on the cake.
Even if the synth brings the piece down a bit, Kizuna & Sadame is still the best single to come out of all the Saint Beast OP/ED tracks, and the way the seiyuus voices blend together is downright hypnotic.
The song that plays while Mugen is drowning and flashing back to growing up with Kohza and Mukuro is a Heartbreaking Moment. Doubly so when you understand the hopeful, wistful lyrics.
Every time "The Million Way of Drum" is used, it is a Moment Of Awesome, ESPECIALLY the first time it is used in Episode 14 when Kohza realizes that her plan has totally and utterly failed because Mugen is still alive.
Sasami Magical Girls Club has among the most captivating, imaginative, and catchiest songs that may ever grace one's ears. The opening, SweetMagic, just fascinates and intrigues the viewer with visuals that look somewhat like Van Gogh's A Starry Night, and the second season's ending Yuyake no Solitude a.k.a Sunset of Solitude is just beautiful yet somewhat sad and lonely kinda like how Misao feels when she leaves her friends to go into the World of the Witches without them.
The real Ultimate Awesome Song for Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is not one of the openings, it's not one of the endings, it's not the rap versions of the openings, it's not that weird song about fishing or something, it's this, the song that shares the series' title, and deserves it.
The ending of School Days is an excellent example of how music can greatly enhance an entire scene. When Makoto recieves his "Goodbye" message on his cell phone, all sound and action stops for three seconds. Then "Kanashimi no Mukou e" sets in and almost drowns out the sound of the scene of his violent murder, and it keeps playing throughout the following scenes in which both his Love Interests try to kill each other.
Live and Learn being played over the finale of the Sonic X episode Maria's Request Everyone's Request is just as awesome in the anime as it is in the videogame. Unless you're watching the dub4KidsMacekre. Then it's gone.
Considering it's done by the same guy who did the Gurren Lagann soundtrack (Iwasaki Taku), the Soul Eater original soundtrack rocks.
Both the opening "resonance" by T.M.Revolution and the first ending "I Wanna Be" by STANCE PUNKS are very energy-enducing and epic.
"STRENGTH." Basically anything abingdon boys school touches turns to gold. "PAPERMOON" is absolutely fantastic too. The lyrics sum up the series quite well.
"Counter Identity", the Repeat Show's first opening, not only lives up to the epicness of the original openings, but is also ridiculously badass as well.
It might be becoming almost as repetitive as the stop-watch theme 'Melodie' is in Noir, but in Tiger & Bunny the theme associated with the murder of Barnaby's parents is a very nice, very eerie piece. And then there's all of the OPs and EDs which are gloriously pop-y.
Now that the soundtrack is out, the name of that theme is (quite fittingly) called "Barnaby".
Episode 6 of the anime ("Disaster Drill") has "Danran! Robot Kazoku" ("Harmony! Robot Family"), an insert song performed by Ichiro Mizuki (yes that Ichiro Mizuki) with just as much passion and energy as his themes for shows like Mazinger Z and Getter Robo.
"Orange" from Toradora! can become Heartwarming just from the sheer atmosphere of the song. Even more if you juxtapose the show's grand finale with it
"Orange ~Citrus Remix~" gets special mention for taking that song and giving it a slightly more rock-y and much more awesome feel.
The anime keeps up this standard, with another opening by Akiko Shikata, singer of the above, which uses most of the same elements to similar, yet somehow even more awesome effect. And then there's the anime ending, a dramatic male vocal on the JAM Project level backed by a dramatic chorus that sounds like an unused duel song from Utena. Even better than it sounds.
Anyone who has played the original visual novel (see Video Games) knows that pretty much the entire soundtrack is nothing but Awesome Music. To bring up one that isn't covered here or there, Beato's Image Song, "Chain" is just sublime.
Witchblade: %2BOST pick any. Especially the main battle theme (Witchblade OST). "XTC" is at its best with video part of the opening, but is good even on its own.
The closing theme to Wolf's Rain is "Gravity" by Yoko Kanno and Troy, sung by Maaya Sakamoto. It's a touching and poignant song in its own right, but combined with the tragic events of the final OVA episodes it becomes totally heartrending.
On the surface, Zoids: Chaotic Century doesn't look like the kind of anime that would have a good soundtrack, but it does. In fact, it's got a great soundtrack. Just listen to the main theme, this, this, and this. You can thank Robert Etoll for such awesome music.