In an age where American TV theme songs, for the most part, keep getting shorter to the point of becoming almost nonexistent, anime opening themes continue to be incredible showcases of both music and animation. With dozens of great anime openings each year, picking the best of all time is a tough decision, and certainly one that fans won't arrive at a consensus on any time soon. The following five anime openings -- from Cowboy Bebop to Pokémon -- however, should certainly be in contention in this debate.
Tank! - Cowboy Bebop
When discussing the best anime openings with American fans, the Cowboy Bebop opening theme "Tank!" is one of the most popular choices for good reason. The jazz stylings of Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts are a huge part of Bebop's overall appeal, and the opening's blasting horns instantly announce that viewers are about to watch something cool. It could accurately be said that "Tank!" hooked tens if not hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting Americans into anime fans when Bebop aired on Adult Swim. No wonder the Netflix live-action remake is making sure to include the original music.
A Cruel Angel's Thesis - Neon Genesis Evangelion
Great as it is, Cowboy Bebop's opening is relatively uncharacteristic of most anime openings, so for the title of "Best Anime Opening," it perhaps makes more sense to pick something that plays more to the medium's general strengths. "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" from Neon Genesis Evangelion, performed by Yoko Takahashi, is exemplary of one of the most popular types of anime openings: the upbeat pop song that nonetheless makes a perfect accompaniment to a dark, often depressing story. The mysterious flashing images and text that accompany the opening are so iconic that they've become the go-to reference when meme-makers want to make an "anime opening" for anything.
Guren no Yumiya - Attack on Titan
"Guren no Yumiya," the first opening theme to Attack on Titan, is an opening that might just be better than the show that follows it. There's a lot one can say about Attack on Titan's controversial story, but even the series' harshest critics have to admit "Guren no Yumiya" is a banger. Linked Horizon's symphonic metal instantly gets the blood pumping, while the visuals showcase Wit Studio's animation at its best and establish an atmosphere of simultaneous terror and excitement. Like "A Cruel Angel's Thesis," this opening became subject to many a remix -- the music could make just about anything more thrilling.
Dream Island Obsessional Park - Paranoia Agent
A somewhat underrated pick from Satoshi Kon's cult TV series, "Dream Island Obsessional Park" from Paranoia Agent is absolutely the creepiest anime opening out there. Kon's intention for the opening was to wake viewers up during the show's late-night timeslot, and the combination of Susumu Hirasawa's booming electronic music and nonsensical lyrics with scenes of the characters hysterically laughing amidst strange, semi-apocalyptic backgrounds certainly does the trick. It's an unforgettable opening to an incredible anime.
First US Theme - Pokemon
This might be a controversial pick given that it's a dub theme song, and one from the infamous 4Kids Entertainment no less, but let's face it: the first American Pokemon theme, performed by Jason Paige, absolutely rocks. This is perhaps the only time in history where an international dubbing company's theme for an anime was undeniably superior to the original. To prove just how great this song was, every other international dub chose to translate the American theme rather than the Japanese one. Start singing it in the vicinity of anyone who grew up during the initial Pokemon boom and you're sure to start a sing-along. Even if it's not the very best anime opening, it certainly wants to be the very best -- like no one ever was.