Japanese anime has been around for decades giving its fans some genuinely iconic songs that shaped their childhood until adulthood.
From catchy opening themes to heart-wrenching ballads, anime music has featured many styles and genres.
In this article, we count down 25 popular anime opening songs that nobody want to skip!
These songs have become classics in and outside the anime community, always making people sing to their heart’s content.
So whether you’re a long-time anime fan or just getting started, this list is sure to have something for you!
25 Popular Anime Opening Songs That Nobody Want to Skip
Below are some of the most popular anime opening songs of all time!
We made a complete playlist with all these anime songs on Spotify, be sure to take a look to listening to them later on!
Gotta Catch ‘Em All (Pokémon: Indigo League)
Gotta Catch ‘Em All, or simply the Pokémon Theme, has been the song of everyone’s childhood, anime fan or not.
It’s the first season’s theme song of the Nintendo’s game English franchise, turned into a Japanese anime series Pokémon.
The Pokémon Theme is composed by John Siegler and John Loeffler and sung by Jason Paige.
After Niantic’s launch of the Pokémon Go game in 2016, Spotify even announced an increase of 382% in listenings for the famous soundtrack!
That’s how significant the Pokémon theme’s influence is for everyone.
Cha-La-Head-Cha-La (Dragon Ball Z)
If you only started watching the Dragon Ball series today, you’ll probably hear Cha-La-Head-Cha-La by Hironobu Kageyama much longer than you thought (assuming you won’t skip the opening theme in each episode).
Just imagine, this song has been used as the OP of Dragon Ball Z for four consecutive years since the series aired in 1989.
Cha-La-Head-Cha-La was also used in many other Dragon Ball franchises, such as films and games.
There is really no escaping from this song, but who dare complain when it’s totally a bop!
Moonlight Densetsu (Sailor Moon)
We have another nostalgic song right here, the Moonlight Densetsu from the anime series Sailor Moon by Momoiro Clover Z, one of the most famous J-pop girl groups.
It was used as the original opening theme for the show’s first four seasons, telling its viewers and listeners about the great love that Mamoru and Usagi have for each other.
The song had multiple songs, instrumental covers, and remixes, making everyone’s childhood perpetually alive.
A Cruel Angel’s Thesis (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Performed by Yoko Takahashi, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis is also a song that is well-loved in and outside of the anime community.
It is one of the most-played songs in Japanese karaoke, and there have also been countless song covers uploaded on the Internet each year!
This song is the opening theme of one of the most iconic anime series ever made, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
A Cruel Angel’s Thesis really set the bar high for anime openings since its debut in 1995.
Again (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Again is a song performed by Yui for the first opening theme of the first season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
The lyrics and the musical arrangement beautifully encapsulate the resolve of the protagonists, the Elric brothers.
Being the OP of one of the top anime series of all time, it is impossible not to get LSS-ed over Again.
Listening to it after reading this article might even urge you to rewatch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for the nth time.
Unravel (Tokyo Ghoul)
Unravel by TK from Ling Tosite Sigure is one of the top anime songs that will give listeners literal chills upon playing it.
It’s the first opening theme of the Tokyo Ghoul series.
After its debut, many fans have made memes and even song covers of it, further advancing its popularity within and outside the anime community.
The lyrics of Unravel clearly depict the dilemma of the protagonist Ken Kaneki as he makes sense of Rize Kamishiro’s kakuhou dwelling inside him.
Shinzou wo Sasageyo (Attack on Titan)
Shinzou wo Sasageyo by Linked Horizon not only poses as the opening theme of Attack on Titan Season 2 but the song is also considered a fan anthem.
It is even performed at sold-out concerts where anime songs are solely played to the crowd!
Listening to the song makes listeners feel a sense of solidarity with the Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, alongside the Scout Regiment, as they fight for their lives against gigantic Titans.
Guren no Yumiya (Attack on Titan)
Another masterpiece from Linked Horizon, Guren no Yumiya, is the first opening theme of the first season of Attack on Titan.
Upon its debut, the song peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 and number 2 on the Oricon’s Weekly Singles Chart for three consecutive weeks.
The melody of Guren no Yumiya perfectly captures the haunting story of the characters in the anime.
Tank! (Cowboy Bebop)
Cowboy Bebop was totally ahead of its time when the show first aired in 1998.
And thanks to its incredible opening theme, Tank! by Seatbelts, the song became one of the reasons why the show gained popularity and is still winning fans today.
Composed and arranged by Yoko Kanno, Tank! successfully combines classical and jazz in its music, making it an incredible listening experience.
We Are! (One Piece)
For the fans of One Piece, listening to We Are! by Hiroshi Kitadani can’t help but make you think of the Straw Hat Pirates and their earliest adventures.
And for anime fans, this song is one of the iconic anime opening themes ever released, thanks to the nostalgia it brings and the fantastic message it conveys.
We Are! is used as the OP in most episodes during the East Blue Saga and was also used in the airing of One Piece‘s 1000th episode.
Gurenge (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba)
According to Billboard, Gurenge by LiSA became a “social phenomenon” upon its debut in 2019.
And we are totally agree with that!
It was impossible to skip the opening theme of the first season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba just because it’s a total bop.
Gurenge even became the first single performed by a woman artist to reach over a million streams and downloads in the history of Oricon.
How impressive is that?
Silhouette (Naruto: Shippūden)
Silhouette is the sixteenth opening of Naruto: Shippūden played from episodes 380 to 405.
Performed by KANA-BOON, many fans regarded the song as one of the series’ best OPs.
From its lyrical and musical arrangement to the use of spectacular sequences for its montage, Silhouette perfectly captures the development of the characters in the show.
Blue Bird (Naruto)
Another fan favorite, Blue Bird is a song performed by Ikimonogakari and used as the third opening of Naruto: Shippūden, running from episodes 54 to 77.
It is one of the most iconic opening themes that is well-recognized and nostalgic for the community.
God knows… (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya started an internet craze upon its debut in 2006.
While the Internet wasn’t as advanced as now, the anime series gathered a global following under the name of ‘Haruhism.’
And the song “God knows…,” performed by Aya Hirano, is one of the reasons behind the show’s success.
God knows… peaked at number 5 in the Oricon charts and stayed for over a hundred weeks, becoming the franchise’s longest charting release.
Sparkle (Your Name)
Since its debut, Sparkle by RADWIMPS, one of the most popular J-pop boy bands, has become a staple in Japanese pop culture.
It is used as one of the soundtracks for one of Japan’s highest-grossing films, Your Name.
Listening to the song feels like being transported back to 2016, sitting on a cinema seat, and watching the film for the first time.
Departure (Hunter x Hunter)
Departure by Masatoshi Ono is used as the first, third, and fifth opening theme of the Hunter X Hunter anime adaptation that aired in 2011.
The OP and each following episode correspond so well with each other that most (if not all) fans find it difficult to skip the song altogether!
Fly High!! (Haikyuu!!)
Fly High!! is a song performed by BURNOUT SYNDROMES for the anime series Haikyuu!!.
It is the second OP of the show’s second season.
Fly High!! has received several accolades, peaking at number 20 on the Oricon, 12 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, and 2 on the Billboard Japan Hot Animation.
Kaikai Kitan (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Kaikai Kitan by EVE might be the most recently released anime song on our list, but that doesn’t stop it from becoming one of the most iconic ones in the industry.
The song is used as the first opening theme of the first season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime adaptation.
Kaikai Kitan was such a hit after its debut that it was nominated for the “Best Opening Sequence” award during the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
Hikaru Nara (Your Lie in April)
Hikaru Nara is the opening theme of the anime series Your Lie in April, performed by the Japanese band Goose House.
It is funny, and at the same time sad, how the opening sequence spoils the entire plot of the series when one properly analyzes it.
Kyouran Hey Kids!! (Noragami)
Kyouran Hey Kids!! is a single performed by the J-pop band THE ORAL CIGARETTES as the opening theme for the anime series Noragami.
The song was released in November 2015 and peaked at number 19 on the Oricon singles chart.
Colors (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
Colors is a song performed by the Japanese band FLOW and is used as the opening theme to both Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I-Initiation.
The week after it was released, the song peaked at number 2 on the Oricon and stayed there for sixteen weeks.
With its terrific lyrical composition and opening sequence, Colors captured the entire series experience with a running time of a minute and a half.
The Hero!! (One Punch Man)
Performed by the JAM Project, The Hero!! serves as the OP song for the anime adaptation first season of One Punch Man.
Battlecry (Samurai Champloo)
In all 26 episodes of the anime series Samurai Champloo, the song Battlecry by Nujabes and Shing02 was used as the opening theme.
Being the OP of one of the legendary anime series of all time, Battlecry is also indeed deemed legendary by anime fans.
Inferno (Fire Force)
Inferno is a song by one of Japan’s sought-after bands Mrs. GREEN APPLE.
It is used as the opening theme for the anime series Fire Force.
Renai Circulation (Monogatari)
In the age of Internet domination, Renai Circulation by Kana Hanazawa has been the subject of several memes, parodies, and even song covers, making it a popular anime song.
This cute song is the fourth opening theme of the anime adaptation of Bakemonogatari.
Related Article: Motivational J-pop quotes to boost yourself
So, what do you think?
Did your favorite anime song make an appearance on this list?
Are there any soundtracks that you would add or subtract?
Let us know on Discord!
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to some of these amazing tunes.