Looking Back: 5 Amazing Anime Openings that Ended 2016



The fall anime season traditionally caps off every year, and it’s often the case that  fall is when a lot of studios put their best foot forward. This year, however, feels even more impressive, particularly when it comes to the beauty and impact of opening animations. Here are my top 5 for  Fall 2016, and why I think they’re worth watching every time.

 

“History Maker” by Dean Fujioka

The passionate story of Yuri Katsuki, a pro figure skater in the twilight of his career, and his coach Victor Nikiforov, a legendary figure skating champion turned trainer, has taken the world by storm. The sheer technical challenge inherent in animating a series about ice skating is impressive by itself, but the entire cast of characters oozes charisma and makes the series a joy to watch.

The opening to Yuri!!! On Ice, “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka, is the perfect setup to every episode. Inspirational lyrics (in English!) and exquisite animation of the three main characters of the series dancing work together to provide an immediate hook. Also prominent is the way the art switches between a brush-like quality for the line work and one with a more pencil-like texture.

“Heart o Rock!” by Plasmagica

Show by Rock!!, a series about an alien planet of cute animal-eared people in bands, comes from the minds of Hello Kitty creators Sanrio. While the opening from the first series was delightfully catchy, the opening for the second anime, Show by Rock!!#, is downright addictive.

The jigs from the Plasmagica girls at the start of the intro lead wonderfully into twintail tsundere Retoree’s bass. Cat-eared heroine Cyan’s adorably invigorating dance as her band mates sing backup is downright hypnotizing. Skipping this opening is never an option.

 

“Rage of Dust” by Spyair

The recent entry in the historic Gundam franchise features a refreshing portrayal of the sense of camaraderie formed by friends and allies confronted with a lifetime of adversity. Its portrayal of interpersonal bonds amidst war and strife feels both right at home in Gundam and also just a bit unfamiliar.

The second opening perfectly encapsulates this sense right from the beginning. As pilot Mikazuki is pushed upwards in a low-gravity environment towards the cockpit of his Gundam, his hand meets his friend Orga’s, who lifts Mikazuki up, showing the deep and enduring connection they have with each other.

 

“Adazakura” by Renka

This short anime about a ninja in the employ of famed Japanese unifier/conqueror Nobunaga Oda is mostly gags, but the opening is surprisingly memorable.

The cute style contrasts with both the soulful vocals and the fact that Chidori skillfully assassinates a group of enemy soldiers, their blood spewing forth like beautiful trails of ink.

 

“Hikari Are” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES
The shounen sports opening takes many forms, from quiet expressions of emotion to adrenaline-filled montages, and the latest Haikyu!! is very much in this category. What makes it really stand out, even more than the prior Haikyu!! intros, is the overt bird vs. bird imagery. Karasu means “crow,” while Shiratori means literally “white bird,” and the opening plays this up to the nth degree.

A snowy mountain peak transforms into a white falcon, representing the odds that Karasuma must overcome. Karasuma is depicted as a murder of crows, while Shiratorizawa is a single large bird of prey. This shows how the former is a team that thrives on teamwork while the latter is founded on cultivation of individual players.

 

While the Fall 2016 season had an unusually high number of very strong intros, there were many more from throughout the year. Do you have any favorites? Let us know!

Image sources: Crunchyroll

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