I must confess before getting into this part that I don’t have an ear for anime tunes and only recently, very recently that I’m actively checking out for anime songs and soundtracks. Now that I’m more familiar with anime songs and know some of the prominent artists in this medium, I want explore more, dig deeper and making this list to celebrate all the goodies of this past year. In regards to OPs and EDs, 2018 is another underwhelming year for me. Normally I can easily come up with more than 5 picks, but this year that number is a high bar. This year, however, produces one of my favorite soundtracks in years so I’m not looking back on it with bitter eyes. Whether it has distinctive visual, or great songs, or how these two are in perfect sync to each other, below are my favorite OPs of the year, in no particular order
Top 5 Favorite OPs of 2018
A perfect groovy song with a stylish visual. If I have to give a crown to one single OP, this would be it. The music, aside from catchy as hell, more than set the mood for what about to come in the series. The visual is more experimenting and abstract, which again fits well to the gritty dark nature of Devilman Crybaby.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
This might be the most conventional OP out of this list, but by no mean it’s anything less than amazing. The OP nails it on giving off the colorful, fluffy feeling of a girl who fallen in love. The song strengthens that feeling well with its sweet lyrics and well-composed tune from start to finish.
The mixture of rap, horror, idol elements with trippy visual and the use of black and red color elaborates what Zombieland Saga in a nutshell (well, the first two episodes of it anyways). The sound effects are awesome too.
Out of every OP released this year, this one made the biggest first impression. As the show itself mostly takes place in a single frame of time, this OP delivers that unique premise with a ear-worm song that always serves as a good starter for the episode.
Persona 5 the Animation (OP2)
While I’m not personally following this series, the buzz from this OP catches my attention and boy, this is visually stunning in every sense. Just look at the amount of flawless cuts. They’re all match cuts that never disrupt the flows of the music piece.
Top 5 Favorite EDs of 2018
Now for EDs, I often don’t pay that much attention to them as I tend to click exit right after the episode ends (and sometimes that would cost me some after-credit sequences). Usually they don’t receive the same amount of sakuga animation like in the OPs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t awesome or essential. Here’s my favorite picks for EDs of 2018
Hisone to Masotan
French summer song has never sounded so cool and addictive. It reminds me a great deal to my favorite Francoise Hardy (which this song is supposed to come from the same era), boasted by those moving hips and their deadpan expressions. It’s one of these few EDs that I was always looking forward to every week.
It’s always a welcome that we’d have The Pillows songs in FLCL franchise, and the animation in this ED in excellent. Reminds you a great deal of the original, while at the same time is strong enough to stand firm on its own.
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
It’s multiple members of the cast singing the same song, based on the episode they are in. Music has always been a big part in Revue Starlight and this song doesn’t disappoint.
Lupin the Third part V
Leave it to Lupin the Third to go risque and retro with its focus on Mine Fujiko’s sexual appeal. The jazz music is soothing and it looks stylish as hell. It somehow reminds me of the great In the Mood for Love for its… mood it evokes. It’s also bittersweet for some reasons and Mine Fujiko never looks more sexy here (well, I jest)
Well, this one doesn’t have that memorable tune, or does it have interesting visual. But there’s a moment at the beginning of the ED, where Rin was sitting in her camp at night, enjoying the moment of being by herself, while the song softly kicks in. That moment right there speaks to me greatly on a personal level that it deserves a spot here nonetheless.
Top 2 Favorite Songs of 2018
Humanlove – Shiro Sagisu (SSSS.Gridman)
I can’t even recall it playing anywhere in the series, but when I hear this full song of this beast I know it has to be here. Funky, upbeat, it reminds me of Daft Punk and it’s the best recommendation that I can mutter. This song (like the series itself) is unreal.
Thank You My Twilight – The Pillows (FLCL Progressive)
Some might say this song (another hit from the powerhouse The Pillows) is the best thing out of this FLCL sequel. While I don’t necessarily agree with that, there’s no denying that this song already sounds addictive ang brings strong impression to the sequel. The fact that it plays out during the first few second into the show, nearly made me in tears that all the joy of the spirits of the original flushing back.
Special mentions to A Place Further than the Universe where they have 3 whole insert songs. Especially this song below was in some of the most intimate drama moments of the year. The strength of it is that it benefits from the emotional scene that could bring tears down your face.
Haru Ka Tooku – Saya (A Place Further than the Universe)
Top Favorite Soundtrack of 2018
Soundtrack, not that many of you might realize, does not necessarily include its theme songs. It’s a collection of scores that play out during the episode itself. This year, I have a clear favorite, the violin/piano score of Koi wa Ameagari is something to behold. It elevates the show well, to the point where you listen to its individual piece it can flip your mind to certain scene in the show. And it’s gorgeous by its own. I’ve listened to it since the soundtrack comes out and almost 9 month later, still listen to it regularly and enjoy it even more. Ryo Yoshimata is a goddamn legend. Here’s the samples of these:
Top Original Anime Music Video
Finally, an original anime music video. I will sample more once I can find the source for these MVs and will update my favorite accordingly. At the moment though, enjoy this cool piece from Bump of Chicken as a advertising piece for… Lotte.