Long before I spoke my first coherent sentence in Japanese, I was already rocking out to Japanese music thanks to anime. And with this season’s 35 new anime—not to mention returning anime—there are a ton of excellent new theme songs. Here are 10 of my favorites for your listening pleasure.


Anime: Aldnoah.Zero
Song: “&Z”
Artist: SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki
Why Do I Love It? This is a peaceful yet powerful rock ballad with visuals that, instead of focusing on action, showcase the characters’ losses and emotional pain. From there, it goes on to show the heroes and villains in their downtime—the rare moments of waiting for the inevitable battles to start again.


Anime: Assassination Classroom
Song: “Hello, Shooting Star”
Artist: Moumoon
Why Do I Love It? With little in the way of instrumentation beyond drums and guitar, this light little song reminds me of Jewel songs from the mid-90s. It’s calming and catchy—one I could listen to for hours while relaxing.


Anime: Death Parade
Song: “Flyers”
Artist: BRADIO
Why Do I Love It? Death Parade is not a happy anime, but its opening theme would sure make you think otherwise. It’s wall to wall smiles as people drink, talk, and dance—instead of playing games with their immortal souls on the line. It is also full of symbolism that gives hints about the anime's world. The song itself is an insanely catchy tune that is one part J-rock and one part disco—an unexpected flavor on my musical palate but one I wouldn’t mind trying again.


Anime: Durarara!! X2
Song: “NEVER SAY NEVER”
Artist: THREE LIGHTS DOWN KINGS
Why Do I Love It? This fast-paced tune perfectly fits the over-the-top action of Durarara!! X2. Moreover, auto-tune is used to great effect with the male vocals and makes for a song that’s just fun to listen to.


Anime: Fafner in the Azure: -EXODUS-
Song: “Exist”
Artist: Angela
Why Do I Love It? This opening song has not only a soprano capable of belting out the high notes but also an operatic chorus to back her up. It all comes together to make quite an epic-sounding song.


Anime: Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Song: “Shiawase ni Tsuite Watashi ga Shitteiru Itsutsu no Hoho”
Artist: Maaya Sakamoto
Why Do I Love It? This opening just screams cuteness. The upbeat J-pop track comes courtesy of Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning, Maaya Sakamoto, and is woven together perfectly with the cooking-meets-Alice in Wonderland visuals.


Anime: Kancolle
Song: “Miiro”
Artist: Akino from bless4
Why Do I Love It? This fast-paced J-pop theme builds to an excellent chorus complete with an awesome soprano belting out the lyrics with power and passion.


Anime: Tokyo Ghoul √A
Song: “Incompetence (Munou)”
Artist: österreich
Why Do I Love It? The visuals for this opening are both simple and symbolic. It is a single shot of Kaneki, the main character, as a pair of ethereal hands mask him only to have another pair of hands once again remove the mask—i.e., a foreshadowing of his character arc over the series. Meanwhile, a haunting, and at times almost discordant, melody permeates everything, creating one of the most memorable theme songs of the season.


Anime: Yatterman Night
Song: “Kyokugen Dreamer”
Artist: SCREEN mode
Why Do I Love It? This theme is a soaring song with visuals to match. It gets you pumped up for the fights to come and makes you hopeful that this time, the “villains” of the story can win the day.


Anime: Yuri Kuma Arashi
Song: “TERRITORY”
Artist: Miho Arakawa, Yoshiko Ikuta, and Nozomi Yamane
Why Do I Love It? Sung by the voice actresses of the three main characters of the series, this song has a beat that just makes you want to dance. And while the ending animation is little more than a static scene, the tiny dancing bear in the corner more than makes up for it.


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