Note: This post is actually meant to be of therapeutic effect for me, because I am currently rewatching Diamond no Ace and suffering through angst, frustration, sadness and accentuated anxiety problems that have been seething underneath in the first place. But in any case, this idea came from my bouts of screaming, crying and cursing in watching said anime above. Since I have also never written about anime music, I figured there isn’t a better way to do it than this.
Has anybody ever cried when they hear the beginnings of an anime song, even though they aren’t actually watching the series at that moment? Anime songs may not constitute the best music out there, but what makes them special is how much they are associated with our emotional ties to the story and characters of the series they are meant for, and/or our memories of what that series means particularly to us. For me, they usually trigger flashbacks of what transpires in the story, which further ties in with what the images and animation in the song represent with reference to the series. Even when I may not have watched these anime for some time, the starting of these songs are enough to induce tears (or literally bring me to my knees for some)
Please note that the following list is my opinion only. Only numbers 5 to 1 should be treated as determinative rankings for me; the rest are merely listed as I remember them.
15. Anohana OP: “Aoi Shiori” by Galileo Galiei
Deceptively soothing and giving off a mere ‘slice-of-life’ feel with its calm rhythm, only those who have waded through Anohana would know how much this OP reflects the anime’s theme of dealing with loss, regret and moving on from the past. Anohana does not come close to being in my favourites, but I certainly cried a lot at the inevitable ending scenes and this OP always manages to evoke a wave of nostalgia over me. Too bad Galileo Galiei is disbanding soon – a huge waste.
14. Katekyo Hitman Reborn OP 4: “88” by L.M.C
Prefacing what would be a prolonged battle in the ‘Future Arc’, it would probably be hard for those who have never watched it to understand why such a song would be called ‘tears-inducing’. For me, its pretty much because it signifies a lot of growth in the characters of KHR as they try to come back together even if they are separated by an insurmountable chasm – time. The comparison of their youthful selves and their adult selves in this OP chokes me up each time.
13. Nagi no Asukara OP 2: “ebb and flow” by Ray
I think everybody who has watched Nagi no Asu would agree with me on this OP in particular being a major tearjerker, not only because of the ‘underwater’ effect that is maintained in the music, but because of its melody and lyrics. In fact, I think the only opposition would come from its relatively low placing on this list. But that is merely because I still think Nagi no Asu ultimately ends on a more hopeful note despite the trials and tribulations that the characters have gone through. To me, its a happy ending, but there are certain parts of how it ended that may give rise to some disagreement among some viewers I know on how much of a HE it is.
12. Fairy Tail OP 14: “Yakusoku no Hi” by Chihiro Yonekura
Rather than saying this induces melancholy in me, it just makes me so pumped up that it is capable of producing tears of anger in me. The Grand Magic arc represents the peak of the Fairy Tail spirit in the previous Fairy Tail series due to its competitive nature, and it is the first taste of ‘sports anime’ which I ever had, the similarities which I only later realised. This whole OP just screams – ‘There is no way Fairy Tail can’t win, right?‘ It is not the saddest arc then, but it is still capable of making my blood pressure shoot up and revving me up for a fight, especially when the arc progresses in a way where a lot of injustice is dealt to the Fairy Tail members through dirty fights.
11. Durarara OP 2: “Complication” by ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D
There isn’t anything inherently sad in the story of Durarara, but it really is the way the OP is animated and coloured that brings out deep-seated sadness and a sense of greyness. It may be a little incongruent with what Durarara is as a story, but it does portray the multi-faceted personalities of its large cast in a more negative light. The later OPs do not adopt a similar approach, choosing to focus on the comedic nature of its cast, which makes this OP even more precious for me.
10. Katekyo Hitman Reborn ED 16: “Canvas” by +Plus
Again, this is one of those songs that does not boast any inherently melancholic melodic progression, but it an extremely – or perhaps too fitting – ending to the KHR anime, summarising all the characters had learnt about what it means to be family. KHR’s conception of ‘family’ has always been quite different from Fairy Tail – the former focuses more on how each member is an individual with no prior ties and how their quirky and strange personalities only got used to one another after a period of time. Fairy Tail meanwhile has always been quite welcoming to new members from the start, something which I often raise my eyebrows at – which is why I appreciate the process of relationship-building in KHR a lot more. Hence, the end of its run causes me more sorrow – the fact that the rest of the manga was never adapted into anime makes it worse.
9. FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood OP 5: “Rain” by SID
Everything with this OP speaks of delicate deliberation – from the opening scene of Ed’s opening of his eyes and the camera panning out to show a dark city landscape, and where the faces of the people they care about flash through in tinted shades of blue – all of them meld and fit perfectly with the music, which is stylistically different from all its previous OPs. The dark theme of the animation foreshadows the cruel obstacles that await Ed and his friends, and the scene of Roy Mustang’s eyes widening in hopelessness never fails to pain me. FMAB is a masterpiece on almost every level, and its OP is really just the tip of that iceberg.
8. Sunday Without God ED: “Owaranai Melody wo Utaidashimashita” by Mikako Komatsu
The opening chords sound a rhythmic slow drone, belying the wealth of emotions that lay underneath these thirteen episodes of precious goodness. Even though the melody that transpires actually turns out more hopeful sounding, it still does not take away the unique charm of Sunday Without God, with how hope is always there at the end of the tunnel, and how a small girl manages to turn tragedy into something good. When this theme comes in with the ending of Episode 3, that is enough to carve this in into the back of the mind – anyone’s mind really. It’s really too bad that nobody I know has ever been convinced by me to watch it – it certainly is a more touching story than Charlotte ever was.
7. Clannad After Story OP: “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” by Lia
The first few chords are enough to choke me up, especially with the camera shots of the town where Nagisa and Tomoya’s story occurs. If that does not stir you, then perhaps Nagisa’s headtilt will. I don’t actually know what Clannad AS as a story means to me because its not strictly in my Top 25 anime (and it still is not), but all I know is that despite it lacks that final personal resonance with me (perhaps because of my perennial problem with the character art and the fact that I did not like its first season), it is one of the best anime tearjerkers known to mankind. I cried loads and will continue to cry loads for this story.
6. Fate/Zero OP 2: “to the beginning” by Kalafina
While FMAB is also an expansive work, Fate/Zero’s dark fantasy setting and the Holy Grail War has always boasted an immersive world despite an objective lack of breadth. It is perhaps ufotable’s animation that makes everything looks twice as real, and the consequences twice as damning. Nevertheless, Fate Zero has always been the ‘darker’ version, especially with a morally ambiguous protagonist like Emiya Kiritsugu. I have always been a big fan of these ‘misunderstood heroes’, so this OP really represents Kiritsugu’s backstory, how much he sacrifices for his cause and how helpless he really is. Kalafina was really a good choice because of their opera-like vocals which are excellent for drawing out tension (symbolic of the stakes involved in this series), which are a parallel to how much each player in the War actually sacrifices just to get to the Grail. Doesn’t Saber’s face at the beginning just haunt you? For me, I cry at the thought of how much each character has done and what they have discarded in order to do what they have to do. Excellent work, Gen Urobuchi.
5. Gundam Seed Insert Song: “Fields of Hope” by Rie Tanaka
Yeah, I cheated in putting an Insert Song into this lineup. But it is really because none of the OPs or EDs in my opinion throughout Seed and Destiny can really bring out the essence of what Seed is – melancholy that stems from an inevitable fight to the finish between two former best friends who just happen to be born in two opposing sides. The series is an emotional whirlwind and contains one of the most complicated web of relationships in the Gundam universe, but its drama is done extremely well. To be honest, I can’t believe I am crying again as I listen to this – even if I can’t find a good AMV to use here (so there’s the live version of Rie Tanaka instead.)
4. Code Geass OP4: “World End” by FLOW
I have too much emotional connection to this OP. To me, it reflects the series of events that happens in Code Geass R2 at that point in time, all to culminate in what is in my opinion one of the best endings in anime of all time, an inevitable one. Perhaps its really just the anime I am attached to instead of the OP, but at this point I can no longer tell the difference myself.
3. Diamond no Ace Season 1 OP 3: “Hashire! Mirai” by GLAY
So I come to the anime that made me write this in the first place. Again, the emotions attached to this can probably only understood by those who have watched it and suffered through all its pain. On hindsight, the plot development should have been pretty clear just based on the OP. But my emotions are still all over the place right now, because I am clearly too attached to this series, way more than I had ever been for Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basket. Perhaps I’d write something on it soon.
2. Angel Beats ED: “Brave Song” by Aoi Tada
Angel Beats is a pack of emotions, and still remains one of my favourites till this very day. Though the ED can be said to be a little too obvious in its foreshadowing, it is perhaps the very simplicity of it that gets me every single time. Ultimately, this is a story about death and the afterlife, so the distilled message of the series is laid out in this ED. Aoi Tada’s voice is also a very soothing fit.
1. Clannad ED: “Dango Daikazoku” by Chata
Please let me know if you have watched Clannad AS and failed to even feel the slightest bit of waver in your emotions when this video plays. I would genuinely love to know what your heart is made of. … I kid. In stark contrast to the rest of the songs that I have put here, I personally think its the childlike innocence of this song, which is clearly a kids’ song, that really makes this an undisputed Number One. After all, the central theme and source of sorrow in Clannad AS lies in its portrayal of love, family, and human emotions, much of it which has to do with Ushio. Even though this was Clannad’s ED and not AS’s, I inevitably think of Ushio when we hear this – mostly because the story of Clannad itself was already gearing up for her arrival in many little ways. Happiness comes in little ways, even if they are punctuated with episodes of sorrow, and I think Clannad reminds me of that sometimes.
I apologise for my lack of activity on WP because I am basically in an emotional dump, but I’d probably end up writing something about Daiya soon just to make myself feel better. But do you agree with any of my choices? Is there any other anime OP or ED that can make you cry instantly? Feel free to like or leave a comment, and thank you for reading!