My picks for the top 10 opening and ending themes of 2012 are less about vocals and imagery (though in some cases it was a deciding factor), and more about whether or not it really represented the show’s themes. I’m too lazy to post videos, but they’d be taken down anyways….
Top 10 Ending Themes:
All of the Inu x Boku SS endings – these endings would take up far too many spots on the top 10, but I enjoyed every one especially Ririchiyo’s, Karuta’s and Renzou/Nobara’s duet.
Also Gundam AGE – It had too many (4 OP, 4 ED) and it wouldn’t be fair since I actually would put at least 6 of these songs on both lists. I do love each song though.
#10 – Sora wa Tatakau, Kaze wa Utau by Luna Haruna (Fate/Zero 2 ED)
Great vocals but a slideshow ending brings it down. Come on ufotable, you have a godly budget for this show!
#9 – Calendrier by Aki Okui (Tasogare Otome x Amnesia ED)
Really powerful vocals, they’re just as haunting as Jinrui’s ED but the ED itself is plain which puts it way down here.
#8 – Above your hand by Annabel (Sankarea ED)
DAT guitar. It’s a great song that really highlights the vocalist’s natural singing capabilities and it really works as an ED. Also, nice visuals.
#7 – Houkago no Yakusoku by Ayako Yoshitani (Nazo no Kanojo X)
Lovely song compensates for slideshow ending, though it’s a NazoKano-styled slideshow (aka, the spit).
#6 – Salvage by Team Nekokan feat. Rekka Katakiri (Kokoro Connect ED 3)
The visuals really represent this show well: the zooming in and out effect of the ED definitely works to show a crazy, unpredictable situation unfolding – which is exactly what Kokoro Connect was known for, or at least it should have been. DAT INABAN.
#5 – Anata ni Deawanarekeba ~Natsuyuki Fuyuhana~ by AIMER (Natsuyuki Rendevous)
There’s no animation here, but the visuals are just oozing with creativity.
#4 – Vidro Mouyou by Nagi Yanagi (Ano Natsu de Matteru)
Probably tied for 1st in terms of vocals, as expected of the former supercell singer. But the visuals….wow. It’s creative, but not extravagant either. I do love how the song starts playing during each episode’s last scene and then the ED theme itself plays out: I’m actually a huge fan of this practice and I hope more shows do this.
#3 – Ohisama by Annesaki Annanin (Nichibros ED 2)
Horrible nasally vocals , but god damn it totally works here. This ED makes me laugh like a moron. It fits this show so well.
#2 – unfinished by KOTOKO (Accel World ED 1)
I just don’t care how auto-tuned it sounds, this song makes me pumped. I had a hard time deciding to pick unfinished or Unite (the second ED), but I chose this one because it really fits the series a lot better than Unite, even if they’re both great songs.
#1 – Kimi no Naka no Yume no Watashi by Masumi Itou (Jinrui ED)
Not only do the vocals scare the shit out of me (in a good way), but the imagery is just as scary. It basically shows Watashi (representing humanity) indulging on sweets (representing greed among others), traveling the world and dying in a field of flowers. This is the best ending not just in vocals, but imagery and how perfect it represents the series in just 1:30.
Top 10 Openings
I thought the openings were pretty weak compared to 2011, but there were some great ones that managed to win me over.
#666 – The Everlasting Guilty Crown by EGOIST (Guilty Crown OP 2)
It had to go somewhere, right? I can’t stink up the top 10 with such a horrible anime, but I can’t deny that this song is amazing either.
#10 – UNDER//SHAFT by Maon Kurosaki (Jormungand: Perfect Order OP)
Perfect Order has been a big step up from season 1, and so has the OP. I like the new visuals, new song and the added allure of mystery in the OP.
#9 – Burst the Gravity by ALTIMA (Accel World OP 2)
It’s somewhat corny with the lyrics, but it fits this show very well. But seriously Sunrise, a naked Haru and Taku? I mean Taku’s one thing, but Haru…..eeeeeeek.
#8 – Q&A Recital! by Haruka Tomatsu (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun OP)
I’m not the biggest fan of seiyuu-sung songs, but I have to make an exception. Haruka Tomatsu is a very popular seiyuu, she voiced Ichika in Ano Natsu, Anaru in Ano Hana and a whole bunch of other main characters in 2012, including from a certain show. It’s very upbeat and it fits the series to a “T”, ironic as the series’ title starts with “T”.
#7 -Real World by nano.RIPE (Jinrui OP)
I love nano.RIPE’s songs, even if they aren’t the most well-sung song, they just bring a certain charm that I can’t describe. Jinrui’s OP, like above, is very upbeat but the visuals tell a much different story, which really fits how crazy the show can be. I’m basically picking the OPs that fit the show for the top 10, rather than having the best vocals or best visuals.
#6 – Koi no Orchestra by Ayako Yoshitani (Nazo no Kanojo X OP)
Okay, this show already has a retro art style but the song sounds like a Japanese Marilyn Monroe to me. It’s charming and quite cute.
#5 – Sakamichi no Melody by YUKI (Sakamichi no Apollon OP)
The music just comes together beautifully, if only the show’s plot could have done the same.
#4 -Youthful by 99RadioService (Chihayafuru OP)
The title of the song says it all. It gets me thinking of the good ol’ days, and for a show that I feel has a nice coming of age vibe, it works quite well.
#3 – Mikansei Stride by Saori Kodama (Hyouka OP 2)
It was either this or the first Hyouka OP, Yasashisa no Riyuu. The first had better vocals, but the second OP has better visuals and ultimately the visuals won out. They both do a great job in highlighting the character relationships, which I thought was pretty great.
#2 – To the Beginning by Kalafina (Fate/Zero 2 OP)
Nothing says “Hey, you’re (Kiritsugu) life is fucked up” like the second opening of Fate/Zero. Being Kiritsugu is suffering.
#1 – See You by Yuuya Matsushita (Natsuyuki Rendevous OP)
If only the anime was as amazing as this song. It’s very depressing to listen to, but sometimes I can hear a glimpse of hopefulness in it.