The premiere weeks are finally over and the 3-episode test discourse for the season will soon be upon us. In this twilight between optimistic beginnings and seeing what will stick for 12 episodes, let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the greatest things about anime. With the second episodes up, even the holdouts have finally gotten around to putting up their opening and ending sequences. We don’t skip them before the episode, so let’s not skip our opportunity to talk which series crafted the best mini-music videos to bookend their anime.
As you can see from the title, I’m gonna head off the most obvious point of discussion. Yes, JoJo fans, we know your anime does it best. Since that’s not a point of debate, lets ignore #1s and highlight a few of the other best openings and endings from Fall 2018!
Still reading? Great! I know I wrote “besides JoJo,” but, honestly, Zombie Land Saga has the greatest opening of the season. It’s really got everything. An anthem-y big band song, nonsensical throwback visuals, great animation with a unique look, and Michael Jackson moves. It’s just as insane is the series.
Easily my favorite Boruto opening so far. Gorgeously animated with some amazing uses of light and shadow both dramatically and playing with the sun and giant blocks of translucent ice. The flashback visuals are a surprising gut punch to contrast with the high energy action and the rock theme is serviceable alongside the 90 seconds of pure eye candy.
The opening of SSSS.GRIDMAN strikes the perfect tone for the anime; an awesome modern take on old tokusatsu. A retro, almost SMAP-y song--don’t look that up--with juiced up instrumentals and visuals showing off the wide variety of animation styles and Gridman builds TRIGGER has prepared. The perfect thing to get you hyped and anticipating what's to come.
I have some mixed feelings about this opening but the moments that it works, it works hard. The dark string opening sets a powerful tone. Not sure what the obsession with dice is for this anime unless they really want us to feel like it’s a tabletop game but the character focus moments really bring it back. Standing on oversized weapons in front of twin moons and the party appearing in the bolts of Goblin Slayer's shield are some mega standouts.
I had to look up LOL to see if they had done any One Piece or Fairy Tail openings before and was surprised to discover they hadn’t. They seriously nailed it. The music has some One Piece vibes and, coupled with some nice visuals, left me feeling nostalgic, which seems perfect for the show’s final season. Also, great dancing cat sequences.
Black Clover may have peaked in its openingswith Black Rover but this steals my top spot for endings. Most shonen make use of intense colors so it’s nice seeing Black Clover's black and white aesthetic really being put to work along with appropriate “heaven and hell” music. The funky pop beat is great and the playful screen splitting just has a nice feel to it.
I’m not sure if I can honestly call the Ulysses' ending a good one since nothing about it really speaks to the content of the anime, but it’s a great standalone. Maybe a callback to the old Outlaw Star and RahXephon endings that used beautiful static shots and melancholic female vocals. Come to think of it, that Outlaw Star ending one really didn’t have anything to do with the anime either.
It’s just a really good ending, ok? Songs with vocals from the voice cast are risky when it comes to quality, but the songs on both ends of this anime are a nice compromise with a more comedic theme. The ending in particular deserves some attention for some cute sequences showing the shows two leads getting along and not being creepy with some nicely-animated exercising.
Double Decker has a lot of personality and it probably comes across best in the ending. Although maybe technically a pretty simple ending, it’s a nice set piece with dramatic lighting that shows off all their 3D models from all angles. Probably the best part is the awesome garage rock song they have to go along with it. They better have an oversized model of the Seven-O just like this in the works...
I’m not sure if the ending theme to Hinomaru Sumo is a good song on its own, but it’s a REALLY good ending song. Hell, it’d be a good opening song too. Out of all the music on this list, this might be the song that feels best suited for the series its associated with. The visuals are pretty standard fare, but the sweaty close-ups were a nice choice.
That’s it, the best OPs and EDs from this Fall. Competition was tight this season so it’s far from a comprehensive list. If you want to add these or any others to your playlist, be sure to check the Crunchyroll Collection 2018 Anime Openings and 2018 Anime Endings playlists. Or, If you’d like to spotlight your favorite that wasn’t up here, go ahead and leave a comment below!
Peter Fobian is an Associate Features Editor for Crunchyroll, author of Monthly Mangaka Spotlight, writer for Anime Academy, and contributor at Anime Feminist. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterFobian.