Another proof of Japan's excellence in weird and catchy things. You'd think not being able to understand Japanese would help, but nooooo...
Looks like almost all anime has at least one piece of music tailored to be an earworm, as a huge amount of them succeed. If you don't remember about a music featured in a series, you usually don't remember about the series at all.
90% of anime theme songs. Here's some with specific pages:
All of the below can be traced back to the English version of the original Astro Boy. Any and all complaints about modern anime OP causing ear worms can be directed to Fred Ladd, who decided to add lyrics to the then instrumental Japanese OP since it wasn't catchy enough. This caused Osamu Tezuka to add lyrics to later seasons of Astro Boy since he liked the effect, which caused everyone to add catchy lyrics to their anime OP since they also liked it. Everyone, sing along!
There you go, Astro Boy, on your flight into space Rocket hi~gh, through the sk~y, for adventures soon you will face! Astro Boy, bombs away, on your mission today Here's the countdown, and the blastoff, everything is go Astro Boy! Astro Boy, as you fly Strange new worlds you will find Atom celle~d, jet propelle~d, fighting monsters, high in the sky! Astro Boy, there you go! Will you find friend or foe? Cosmic ran~ger, lots of dan~ger, everything is go Astro Boy! Crowds will cheer you, you're a hero, as you go, go, go Astro Boy!
The dub for the sequel Kinnikuman Nisei (known as Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy in the U.S.) had the catchy theme song of UL-TI-MATE MUSCLE!. You know you're pumped up and primed for action after hearing that theme.
Also, The Beast II. A hauntigly powerful Dark Reprise of one of the fighting scenes' BGM's, which plays during the more tragic and nightmare-inducing action sequences towards the end. In episode 19, when Eva-01 goes berserk after a hard fight with Zeruel, she curb-stomps him easily then start to eat the angel's S2 Organ, while making a hellish howling, the song fits perfectly in the scene's terrifying mood and Yui's slowed-down growl of agony, inside Unit-01. And I still catch myself humming it occasionally.
Cruel Angel's Thesis. One of the most famous. Strangely upbeat and jazzy for one of the most depressing animes ever made, which probably contributes to its staying power. ZA-ANKOKU NA TENSHI NO TE-EZE, MADOBE KARA YAGATE TOBITATSU... The choir in the background during the chorus doesn't help matters at all. (Ooohhh-aaahhhh...hah-hah-ha-ah, hah-hah-ha-ah...ooohhh-aaahh-ahh...hah-hah-ha-ah...URAGIRU NARA!)
K-On! manages to make it even more of an Ear Worm.
LET'S STAY TOGETHER ALWAYS! That ending theme filled with concentrated cuteness, too. Remembering correctly, it had something to do with happy dinners and episode recaps. Eh, Fruits Basket IS concentrated cuteness.
Not to mention this little Music Box tune, which the troper finds to be a worse offender than the two themes put together.
Touch the untouchable, break the unbreakable, ROW ROW FIGHT THA POWAH! Seeing the ridiculous lyrics in writing was simply too much, and we succumbed to hysterical laughter punctuated by an occasional gasp of FIGHT DA POWAH! for the duration.
Also combined with opera lyrics in "Libera-me from Hell" to highlight some of the most epic scenes in the final arc.
It'd be easier to just say damn near everything by JAM Project and their members are earworms, and most of them overlap with CMOA.
Waka Laka is probably like this. It's the sped up DDR version, which also is responsible for the version of "Witch Doctor"
The OP from the first season of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni combines this trope with horror. See for yourself. If that isn't bad enough, the 'unintelligible' chant is actually intentional backmasking saying "nigerarenai" (meaning You Can't Run Away). Naraku no Hana, the 2nd season OP, features this part un-backmasked. On a scene that looks like a happy walk to school with the protagonists. Not quite as horrifying as the first OP, but unsettling and Ear Worm-ish all the same.
Speaking of Higurashi, do you know Oyashiro-sama? Yes, Hinamizawa. I kill you you kill me. No, Hinamizawa.
Don't forget the opening for Higurashi's OVA, Rei and the main song for the live action movie...
Digimon's (original) dub theme. The lyrics aren't much, but dang if that "dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun dun DUN-DUN" rhythm doesn't lodge in your head and stay there. (And the same goes for the rock remix used for the localization of Digimon Tamers)
Give Break Up!! credit. I didn't watch the series for years, and I still remembered the exact melody.
CHAAAANGE INTO DIGITAL CHAMPIONS TOOOO SAVE THE DIGITAL WORLD.
"Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh, Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh...HERE WE GO!" Just when you get it out, they all go home and it plays again.
You run around, I run around, we're all gonna run, run, around...
Things are starting to accelerate into something, never stopping always trouble bubbling!
For whatever reason, Kari blowing the theme on her whistle in the Digimon movie.
Digimon Savers has the main battle/evolution theme, Believer. The use of this as the battle music basically every time, at the climax of every episode, helps. That and a fairly good use of Gratuitous English.
The Latin American Dub of Butterfly is the top 1 choice in Karaoke in Argentina, if you cannot chant the lyrics you dont belong to the convention.
The original version is nothing to sneeze at either. Heck, ANY Digimon song by Kouji Wada is catchy.
The Japanese versions of the opening "Hikari E" (Towards The Light) is just as catchy. YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YE-E-E-A-A-A-H!
This song is pretty catchy in German too, well at least if you know German.
And then to top it off, as if the theme for D.N.Angel wasn't catchy enough, Vic Mignogna decided to go and write English lyrics for it. Not for the American release or anything, oh no, he just did it for kicks, and thus made it THAT MUCH EASIER to get stuck in your head because you can now easily sing along. (And his lyrics are actually pretty close to the original, too!) We've gathered enough evidence to label Vic Mignogna an Ear Worm repeat offender.
That's not the only music trope he's a repeat offender of..."True Light" is actually more Crowning Music of Awesome material.
"Uninstall", the opening for Bokurano. The Masaaki Endoh version is so over the top so epic that he made a haunting song in one truly and epicaly CHEERFUL song,if you hear it one time you won't stop ever again,so here it is: "Uninstall Masaaki Endoh version"
Hello, what about the ending, Little Bird...? *sniff*.... Anata no hitomi ni utsuru mono...
Death Note: HIROGARU YAMI NO NAKA, KAWASHIATTE, KAKUMEI NO CHIGIRI (...) SEKAI WOOOOOO
WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN THIS, SO BRING ON THIS PAIN..... WOOAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Wall of screaming and then incredibly fast singing follows. Everyone remembers "Hey ningen sucker, a ningen ningen fucker."
Zetsubou ZA BIRII iza rinri Saa tomerarenai ERASER RAIN!!
Several of the character songs from the Bleach Beat Collection are offenders, too. La La La for Orihime, We for Yachiru/Ikkaku/Ayasegawa/Kenpachi, This Light I See for Toshirou, and that's not even getting into the couple dozen openings and endings. Good thing it's actually good music, or Bleach would've probably caused a lot of suicides by this point.
And now, we have even more in the form of the Bleach Breathless Collection (Soul Reapers and their materialized Zanpakutos having character songs.) At the moment for this editor, Miss for Hisagi Shuhei is getting some pretty much daily play.
It seems that, to make up for the filler arcs, the ending and opening songs are specially cool and catchy. Examples include "Hanabi" and "My Pace" aired during the Bount Arc, and "Orange", from the New Captain Arc.
The openings for the four Angelique TV series are pretty head-stuckable. If Angelique isn't enough, there's the Harukanaru Toki No Naka De - Hachiyoushou TV series, whose opening, catchy enough by itself, has a bonus of being sung by three members of the local Cast Full of Pretty Boys; and then you get to the Image Songs from the same series (particularly Tenma's "Hitomi to Hitomi no IGNITION")...
The ending for the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Maihitoyo movie, "Harari, Hirari", might do this as well. And stuff from earlier OAVs (Ajisai Yumegatari, "Sakura Fubuki"). And... yep, the NeoRomance series love these. A lot.
Special metion in the original series had "Melissa" and "Kesenai Tsumi", the first Opening and Ending, "Ready Steady Go", the insert song "Brothers" and "Rewrite". "Lost Heaven" for the movie.
Honors to Brotherhood for "Again" (the first Opening), "Uso" (the first Ending), "Hologram" (the second opening), "Golden Time Lover" (the third opening), "Period" (the fourth opening), and "Shunkan Sentimental" (the fourth ending). "GOOD LUCK MY WAY" for the movie.
They're supposed to be the world's ancient language. You can almost make out the "Silvarant" and "Tethe'alla" in the chorus.
Irresponsible Captain Tylor's opening. You'll see it and think 'It wasn't that catchy,' and then the next day you'll be humming "Ima sugu, sail away for future!" and wondering to yourself where you heard that . . .
The ending is even worse. 1 2 3 4 5, ikizugi wo one two . . .
Saki has its first ending theme "Netsuretsu Kangei Wonderland", better known as "WAI WAI".
And the music to the second (technically third, but the second appeared twice as a special ending song) is even catchier.
"Clover" from Solty Rei. Nee ima made shiriakatta...
"Discotheque" from Rosario + Vampire has the (always dangerous) mix of earworm and Dancing Theme to totally destroy your brain. Mizore somehow seems to have gained fans just from that video if the comments are any indication. Also a popular song live.
Chaos;Head: You're always super special, that's why you are here with me!
Speaking of the dub, the first opening Will get lodged in your mind VERY easily. it may not play over and over, but just think about it and it will play in your mind on demand.
CAAAAAAAAAAAAARD CAPTORS~! A MYSTIC ADVENTURE. CAAAAAAAAAAARD CAPTORS~! A QUEST FOR ALL TIME.
Don't forget the surprisingly catchy "On the Wings of a Dream" sung by Tomoyo (or "Madison", as the "dub" decides to call her). She's a little squeaky on the high notes, but her duet with the Song card is very good.
Waltz (which isn't an actual waltz), from Honey and Clover, performed by Suneohair. It's even more powerful to people who have seen the show, due to its tendency to start coming in before the end of each episode, and over the most poignant scenes. The highly recognizable yowling synthesizer tones in the intro add greatly to its impact.
The opening for Lupin III. Even Adult Swim caught that one; they made a commercial for the show that was just the words "Da-da-daaaaa da-da-da" repeated over to fit the song.
Not to mention the OP, "Osaki ni S'il Vous Plait". Hitotsu~ hitotsu~ hitotsu~ hitotsu~
The opening of Aoi Hana, performed by Kukikodan, is a rare mix of cheery, melancholic and romantic, which make for a haunting melody that is hard to shake off. It also forms a great combination with the visuals.
Ready for the action now, Dangerboy Ready if I'm ready for you, Dangerboy Ready if I want it now, Dangerboy? How dare you, dare you, Dangerboy? How dare you, Dangerboy? I dare you, dare you, Dangerboy...
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water: ima kimi no meni, ippari no mirai... tsubete wo KA-GA yakasuu~! If you aren't tapping your feet by the middle of the song, you have no soul or beat. It also has a freakin' sweet guitar solo.
To Love-Ru: Forever We Can Make It! Saigou no CHYANSU now is the time Minogasanai only once, KEGA osoreteinai de forever we can make it
Many, many, many manySuper Robot themes are made of this. This toper is currently listening to Ai Wo Shitta Yajuu You Ni, by Kazuki Yao, from Dancougar. It doesn't sound like much the first time you listen to it, but it buries itself into your brain pretty quick.
From Gintama: Mr. Raindrop, Fallin' away from me now~
Plenty of the ops and eds fall into this category, including the first pair of the new season; Tougenkyou Alien & Samurai Heart.
GO! GO! MARS uchuu wo kakero GO! GO! GO! Yasumu koto naku
Seriously, I'm surprised the page has gone THIS far without mentioning the opening theme for F-Zero Falcon Densetsu - THE MEANING OF TRUTH. Tsuyoku hakanaki mono yo kono te wo hiki michibiite, Shinjitsu to yoberu basho ga aru nara
Once you've had a few episodes to become familiar with the tune, good luck getting the hauntingly beautiful opening of Soranowoto out of your head for a while.
Ha! A few episodes? I listened to it for the first time, and only two seconds in (when Youtube's buffer forced a pause) I could already tell my brain was going to be invaded and occupied. What have you done to me!? *cries...Tears of Joy*
The OP for Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko quickly becomes one of these if you don't decide to stop the song straight away because of how weird it sounds at first (It's Studio Shaft, what did you expect?). Did I mention that the anime in question hasn't aired as of when this entry was added? It was leaked before the anime started.
Nichijou, Kyoto Animation's Spring 2011 anime series, has a rare combination of having two incredibly catchy songs as an opening and ending, a feat last known to be achieved by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Opening: Hyadain no Kakakata☆Kataomoi-C. Shabba dabba deeby doo-wah ba dee yeah...