Anime is an amazing medium because of the way things flow and look on screen, like when action sequences suck us in with amazing animation and quieter scenes can stun with captivating visuals. Perhaps one of the least appreciated parts of anime, though, are the amazing dance sequences that can pop up in our favorite shows and even in their opening and endings. Dance can really be an amazing medium on its own, and with the right animation and music, anime dances can seem almost magical! But which ones are the best? I’ve gathered what I think are the 10 best overall anime dance sequences, and I’m ranking them based on their style, choreography, and their overall ability to stick in our minds. If you’re looking for a new dance to try out with your friends at a cosplay gathering for this year’s con circuit, or maybe you just appreciate a good dance as much as I do, hit the dance floor and get ready to show off some sick moves!
10) Kill Me Baby Ending Dance Sequence
Coming in at number 10, I’ve got the dance from the Kill Me Baby ending theme “The True Secret of Our Feelings.” This unique duet encapsulates the odd mood and style of the series, with a unique blend of comedy that is wholly its own. While it is a unique and quirky dance, that’s the reason I found it so memorable! Seeing this dance at the end of every episode was a great way to cap off any episode, as well as a great little bit of music and dancing that captured what Kill Me Baby was all about: weird, cute comedy! One of the things I really appreciated about this dance was the way that the moves keep specific timing with the beat, which really showed a level of though similar to the sometimes subtle punchlines of the show.
9) Sgt. Frog Ending Dance Sequence
Fittingly at number 9 spot is the 9th ending song of Sgt. Frog, “Spinning, Turning, Once Around!” When this song hit during the anime’s broadcast, it became a huge sensation online, spawning lots of people doing their own group renditions of the dance. At first it might seem like the song is more memorable and catchy than the dance, which is why it’s a bit lower on our list than others, but the dance itself is quite fun and actually very subtle! Much of it is focused on specific, timed movements between a group, and keeping up that manic pace as the song’s tempo increases is part of the fun. The parody videos people have made are almost as entertaining as the original (especially to see how people interpreted Tamama’s entrance into the ending!), so for that reason alone I knew I had to put it on this list.
8) Free - Iwatobi Swim Club-'s Ending Sequence
Free! -Iwatobi Swim Club- certainly made a huge splash (sorry, not sorry) when it hit the scene a few years ago, and people were instantly sucked into the sports and non-sport drama of the swim club boys. But perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the series was it's absolutely off the wall ending sequence, featuring cast members alternating between dancing in a night club and an Arabian themed hunt for an oasis! While some might argue that certain viewers were more interested in the amount of abs on display in the ending, I’ll say that while that was great, the oddball dance sequence and fun visuals of the ending are what really caught our attention. Free! itself seems to have owned up to the silliness of the first ending, as the recent movie had the guys creating a themed recruitment video in something of a fun callback to the original season’s ending visuals. The night club scene was so popular, it even inspired some neat merchandise for fans to buy! And while fans will probably argue over who the best Free! boy is, I have to say that Haru’s hair flipping to the beat in this ending is pretty show stealing!
7) Carnival Phantasm's Opening Dance Sequence
The TYPE-MOON series Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime have spawned countless fans between all of the various versions of anime spin offs from the original games, but none perhaps captured the madcap silliness the fandom had invented better than the Carnival Phantasm series. A selection of comical shorts featuring characters from both the Fate and Tsukihime series, the show kicked off each episode with a high energy and catchy theme song that was accompanied by the main characters of each series dancing along in time. Seeing Saber, Rin, Arcueid and many others dancing cutely was enough to get this on our list, but the huge group dance scenes in between those really helped cement this one in place. Carnival Phantasm was filled with callbacks to events in both series, their anime, and even long-time in jokes, and the opening copied that as well, with odd little easter eggs for careful viewers to spot. Although Carnival Phantasm never got an official release outside of Japan, the opening song was popular enough to inspire some fan reactions. If you take a look at it, let us know if you can spot the Assassin cut-out…!
6) JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Opening Dance Sequence
As much as I would like to put this next entry on the list with “Koichi pose” and leave it at that, there’s definitely more to be said about this one. Our number 6 spot goes to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable’s first opening song, “Crazy Noisy Bizarre Town,” featuring cast members dancing along to the song as they introduce themselves. Diamond is Unbreakable really exuded a specific bouncy charm and vibrancy to it that made it different from previous JoJo seasons, and this opening song really helped to sell that mood. Starting off with Josuke, Koichi, Jotaro and Okuyasu on a stage like a boy band, the song kept up that high energy throughout, making it a catchy tune with somewhat even more memorable dance moves. Although it isn’t as thoroughly choreographed as some of our other entries, it would be hard to really forget certain scenes here, and the way it fits the series is a huge plus to us.
5) Blood Blockade Battlefront Ending Dance Sequence
Blood Blockade Battlefront was a series that dripped style from the way it was animated to the character designs, and the ending theme, “Sugar Song and Bitter Step,” had an amazing segue of dancing scenes that really helped cement that in our minds. Much like Sgt. Frog, the ending of Blood Blockade Battlefront spawned lots of homage videos from fan artists and cosplayers recreating the dance steps with their own unique takes on it. Perhaps one of the most memorable bits of the whole sequence, though, is the way in which it helped sell character interactions and relationships even in the ending song; watching the various ways Zapp interacted with people, for example, or the little cues to season one’s major plot points in various parts was a hidden treat that rewarded keen viewers attention. The song itself matches the jazzy dance steps and costuming as well, making it an overall catchy and fun sequence to watch over and over again!
4) Uta no Prince Sama Ending Dance Sequence
Considering that it’s a series about handsome idols doing amazing song and dance routines, it probably doesn’t surprise you to see Uta no Prince Sama’s “Maji Love 2000%” make it onto our list at number 4. The dance is so fluid and stylish that you could easily see a real idol group easily perform something similar, and the accompanying fan screams during specific moments really made the whole scene amazing. Plus, as the pay off to a tense and dramatic season finale, the whole dance really felt like an amazing reward for viewers to see. I’ll be honest with you all: there are a few scenes in this dance that I enjoy quite a lot, and it probably isn’t hard to figure out why! If you like your idols handsome and with good rhythm, you should consider checking out Uta no Prince Sama!
3) Vegeta's Bingo Dance from Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods
This next dance caught us so off guard when I first saw it that I think you’ll agree it deserves a high place on our list: Vegeta’s bingo dance! First seen in the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods movie and then again in the Dragon Ball Super anime adaptation of it, Vegeta’s desperate attempt to distract Beerus from destroying Earth was perhaps never so apparent as it was in this madcap dance sequence. Vegeta’s improvisational song and dance are pretty amazing on their own, but perhaps the most memorable thing about them is what it meant for the Dragon Ball series as a whole: a marked shift in Vegeta’s character and personality. Super really focused heavily on Vegeta’s growth early on, letting us see his change from the cold hearted and distant “Prince of all Saiyans” of Dragon Ball Z into a man who, while still surly, really cares for his family and other people enough to throw away his pride and put on a ridiculous dance to save the day. I love Dragon Ball Super and I love Vegeta, and this dance really just put a big bow on why!
2) Torture Dance from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
A relative newcomer compared to the rest of the list, our number 2 spot goes to that torture dance scene from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind! One of the best things an anime adaptation can do is take things that it’s source material did, and give it a unique spin that only an animated series can do, and David Production really knocked it out of the park with this! Changing a single page set of panels into a minute long visual trip was amazing! It also gave us a little fun insight into the relationships of the Bucciarati gang; we see goofball Narancia start off, only to have the slightly more serious Mista join in, followed by the extremely high strung Fugo working together in perfect harmony as their torture target suffers in the background. The original song, “Canonzi Preferite,” created to go along with the dance is another great touch, as are the trippy visuals between dance steps. It’s a real treat to watch this dance scene over and over again, and it’s something that really helped me find my love for Part 5 immediately!
1) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Ending Dance Sequence
If you’ve read this far and asked “Where is it?” you’ve probably already predicted what's in the #1 spot: the famous “Hare Hare Yukai” dance from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya! It may be hard to imagine that it’s been over 13 years (ohmygod, it’s been THAT LONG?) since this song first hit the anime world like a tidal wave, and it’s dance soon became a convention staple for groups of cosplayers! It’s hard to deny the memories of seeing fan renditions of the dance pop up on the early days of social media, and the enduring popularity of the dance sequence really says all there is to say about why it’s my number one pick. Even if we discounted the history now attached to the dance, it’s hard to argue that there’s a stronger contender on our list; the song is matched perfectly by the movements of the cast, and it gives off an air of natural movement that’s hard to match! Many other dances on our list are broken up by other strings of animation stills or cut aways, Hare Hare Yukai got an entire minute of pure dancing down the line, with impressive choreography considerations for its age. It’s pretty hard to deny: Haruhi is still on top when it comes to dancing!
And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this collection of amazing anime dance sequences, and if you feel so inclined, maybe you can dance along yourself at home or at your next convention outing. Just remember to limber up, practice, and dance like the blinds are closed; after all, dancing is about having fun, so hit the floor and get to it!
Have a dance that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!
Nicole is a features and a social video script writer for Crunchyroll. Known for punching dudes in Yakuza games on her Twitch channel while professing her love for Majima. She also has a blog, Figuratively Speaking. Follow her on Twitter: @ellyberries