2020 was filled with lots of incredible anime, most of which had equally incredible opening themes, but which ones were the best? Here are my top 10 anime openings of 2020. Minor spoilers for each anime ahead!
10. ‘I Got It’ by Mia REGINA from Appare-Ranman!
The upbeat high-octane opening to Appare-Ranman is perfect for this crazy-racing anime. The opening gives a fair share of screen time for each of its main cast, showing off their unique personalities in contrast with their rowdy speed machines. The opening hints as integral plot developments, such as the identity of Gil the Snake. Mia REGINA’s vocals match the roaring instrumentals perfectly.
9. ‘Koi no Uta (feat. Tsukasa Tsukuyomi)’ by Yunomi from Tonikawa: Over the Moon For You
A show as wholesome as Tonikawa is deserves an opening as heartfelt as “Koi no Uta.” “Koi no Uta” opens with Tsukasa alone in the dark, shedding a single tear before Nasa appears. This sequences perfectly represents the relationship between them, while foreshadowing Tsukasa’s past. Suddenly, the opening is filled with light, featuring a white background with editing matching the beat of the music to show Nasa and Tsukasa’s life together. Despite its simplicity, Tonikawa‘s opening is able to present the core conflict of the show and the personalities of each member of the main cast.
8. ‘Kakai Kitan’ by Eve from Jujutsu Kaisen
I’ve been a fan of Eve for a couple years now, so you can imagine my surprise upon hearing him singing the opening for Jujutsu Kaisen. Mappa’s beautiful animation is all this opening needed to sell Jujutsu Kaisen to the audience. The brief action animation is incredibly fluid and eye-catching. I especially love the shot of Yuji Itadori staring at the window of the train before it suddenly goes dark, revealing Ryumi Sukuna possessing Itadori’s body. However, the stand out shot for me is the breathtaking two seconds of water animation. It almost looks like a painting. Mappa did a phenomenal job animating this opening.
7. ‘Navigator’ by SixTONES from Millionaire Detective – Balance: Unlimited
Millionaire Detective – Balance: Unlimited is easily one of my favorite new anime to come out of 2020, so it should not be a surprise that its opening is so high on this list. SixTones’ “Navigator” pairs incredibly well with Cloverworks animation. The dark silhouettes demonstrate how little most of the cast knows about why Daisuke Kambe became a police detective. Everything from his clothes to his shiny, expensive car exemplifies how detached he is from the rest of the world compared to his partner, Haru Kato. The whole opening has a James Bond feel to it, complementing Millionaire Detective‘s tone. “Navigator” is just as rich musically as Daisuke is monetarily.
6. ‘Realize’ by Konomi Suzuki from Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World
Re:Zero‘s openings are always filled with symbolism and “Realize” is no different. The opening introduces this season’s story by showing Subaru walking away from his past, as he left everything behind when he was summoned to Lugnica. We then see several cuts of Subaru walking past each of his deaths from the first season, teasing the moment when Echidna shows how events would have played out afterward if time kept moving. This whole opening is built on showing Subaru his greatest fears, as evidenced by him biting his lip so hard it begins bleeding upon seeing Emilia’s dead body. As the chorus kicks in, Subaru attempts to force his way toward the future, only to fail and die constantly. Konomi Suzuki’s singing further stresses the endless pain Subaru goes through during the first half of the season, adding to the dark visuals.
5. ‘Mr. Fixer’ by Sou from Id:Invaded
The strange and out-there visuals represent the unique design NAZ brought to the series. The minimalist visuals are given life to the color, odd character positioning and “Mister Fixer”s bombastic instrumentals. When combined with Sou’s calm voice, it gives off an eerie vibe before transitioning into a true treat for the ears as he stretches his vocal cords more. The piano and drums add so much momentum to this opening, with the action shots of Sakaido moving through the id wells representing just how crazy the world of Id: Invaded is.
4. ‘I Believe What You Said’ by Asaka from Higurashi When They Cry – GOU
Higurashi When They Cry – GOU‘s opening screams horror thanks to its dark atmosphere and haunting instrumentals. Every single frame of the opening is meant to make you feel uneasy, despite how young the main cast is. ‘I Believe What You Said’ also acts as a thematic pressure point for this season, as Keiichi does his best to believe what his “friends” tell him. The demonic undertones are explored further with image of Rika and a demon, likely the one controlling the people of the village. The rest of the horror elements are up to speculation, as “I Believe What You Said” hides more than it shows despite the myriad of connections GOU has to the original anime. This opening delights in the horrors of Higurashi.
3. ‘DADDY! DADDY! DO! (feat. Airi Suzuki)’ by Masayuki Suzuki from Kaguya-sama: Love is War?
Masayuki Suzuki returns for Love is War‘s second season and he did not disappoint. This opening tells a short story of Kaguya making Shirogame lunch to make him fall in love with her. The chorus picks up as we see the rest of the main cast slowly walking toward the student council room, following the heart-shaped clues Kaguya has left in her wake. It all ends as expected, as Kaguya slips up, only for Chika to ruin the moment, adding to the awkwardness that was already present. “DADDY DADDY DO”‘s loud musical presence adds to the drama of this opening, while making the comedic moments stand out even more. This opening showcases each of the characters’ dynamics in a natural, yet hilarious way, representing how Love is War balances the seriously silly moments.
2. ‘G.P.’ by Yutaka Yamada from Great Pretender
Yutaka Yamada’s entire score for Great Pretender is absolutely brilliant, but the shining star is easily “G.P.” The vibrant colors along with the heart-pounding jazz sell how eccentric Great Pretender‘s cast is. We quickly see each of the first three cases, with Edamame constantly being placed into further concerning situations by the rest of the group (especially Laurent). It is not often that we get purely instrumental openings for anime, and “G.P.” is obviously inspired by the openings for Lupin the Third, the original heist anime. I can’t imagine Great Pretender without “G.P.” as it is easily the best piece in the whole score. When combined with the artwork, Great Pretender‘s opening quickly became one of my favorite openings.
1. ‘Wild Side’ by ALI from Beastars
As amazing as Great Pretender‘s opening is, Beastars’ is the one that steals the number one spot. ALI’s “Wild Side” starts out haunting and slow, matching the dark visuals as Legoshi chases Haru across their school campus. The stop-motion animation focuses on the innocence of Haru’s white fur and the sharpness of Legoshi’s teeth, creating a clear contrast between predator and prey. However, once Legoshi catches Haru, night becomes day, revealing Legoshi’s true intentions. We see the two begin to dance, showing that there is more to them than just their appearance. They are more than the labels society has given them. The sheer amount of effort put into the stop-motion animation of this opening is more than enough to earn it the top spot.
Is there an anime opening from 2020 that you love that didn’t make my list? Comment below!