Anime didn’t interest me at all until my sisters insisted on introducing it to me with The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (Ironically I hate all the music from that anime, but I loved watching the show anyway!)
Since then, I have been an anime fan, regularly trying out new anime and rewatching old ones with family and friends.
The idea for this article came from the feeling of nostalgia I would get when playing anime-themed radio on Pandora. That familiar music made me feel happy, sad, or whatever emotion I associate with the anime.
And I was wondering, what is it that makes some anime music so good? The nostalgia? Or does seeing the anime paired with the music make me appreciate the nuances and skill in the way the song was made?
Either way, anime music is now a regular part of my playlist. Below I have listed my favorite anime counting down from #10 to #1.
At the end of the post, I have included links to the lyrics and the songs. Be sure to follow the links to listen for yourself!
#10 Odd Future by UVERworld
Part of the reason I like anime songs is because of how different they are from the other modern songs I hear everywhere I go, such as on the radio at the store where I work.
That’s because a lot of modern songs have the same rhythm. My dad told me that almost all new songs have a rhythm that matches saying “boots and pants” over and over. Try it sometime.
Odd Future is a song that doesn’t sound like any other song I’ve heard. The song is actually about keeping your ideals in a crazy, unpredictable world, and simultaneously expresses optimism and pessimism at the thought of the future.
I will say that I like the shortened, revised version of Odd Future used for the My Hero Academia intro better than the full version.
#9 Ft. by Funkist
Ft. is a spirited song by the band Funkist about not giving up on your dreams and persevering no matter what.
The first time I heard this song it got me excited for the next segment of Fairy Tail, because it had so much energy put into it. It fit the show so well that it had to make my top ten!
#8 Snow Fairy by Funkist
Snow Fairy is another one of my favorites for the anime Fairy Tail. It was fitting that they used a song that references fairies because the guild was named after the mystery surrounding whether or not fairies have tails.
The song is upbeat, optimistic and uses a lot of bright positive imagery. Often, Fairy Tail is light-hearted – despite the frequent drama and tragic moments.
#7 Tsuioku Merry-Go-Round by onelifecrew
Fairy Tail has so many good songs I just had to include another. This one is one of the first outros of Fairy Tail and was paired with a lot of chibi imagery.
The song is about someone who tried hard to be strong but failed, and is about separation from a loved one.
#6 Red Like Roses Part II by Jeff Williams
Okay, a quick disclaimer. Some people consider RWBY to be an anime, some do not. The people who do not consider RWBY an anime generally hold the position that all anime must be from Japan.
However, there is so much overlap in styles now, with western countries exploring traditionally Japanese styles, and Japanese companies exploring traditionally western themes. As a result, the line between what is anime and what is not has been blurred.
Furthermore, RWBY appears on the anime streaming service CrunchyRoll.
Personally, I will refer to RWBY as an American anime. If you disagree, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Red Like Roses Part II is about the tragic loss of a loved one and dealing with grief. It is a fast-paced rock song, and unlike the others in the list, this one is completely in English.
I love the imagery used in this song, such as describing blood as “red like roses.”
While glancing through the comments on Youtube, I found that many people could relate to the songs theme of loss, especially the line: “All the joy that I had known for all my life, was stripped away from me the minute that you died.”
The wonderful thing about the songs from RWBY is that they reveal more about the characters and create depth. They also are just good stand-alone songs even without the anime – the lyrics are relateable for many people even without the context of the show.
#5 Fairy Tail Sad Theme
This song wins the prize for least creative title. It is, however, probably the most iconic Fairy Tail Song. It comes on at all the saddest moments in the anime.
As a result, whenever it comes on, I automatically feel sad. A mark of good music, as well as a mark of good literature, is that it evokes emotions.
This song is the only one on this list that is entirely instrumental.
When I think Fairy Tail, this is the first song that comes to mind.
#4 Brave Song by Aoi Tada
This song is the outro to the anime Angel Beats. It is about a lonely girl who is struggling to be strong in the face of adversity. It ends with the realization that she will someday be left only with memories of her friends.
The song fits the anime well, which is definitely one of the saddest anime I have ever watched. The song seems to refer to Yuri, who has a tragic backstory that explains the brooding nature of this song.
I find myself randomly humming this song often.
#3 The Day by Porno Graffitti
I love the song, and hate the immature band name. The timing of all the parts of the intro with the rhythm of the song is perfect. Every time I listen to the song I can picture the intro easily.
In the song, the day has come that will bring about change. The lyrics suggest the singer is nervous about what decisions to make. The song is intense and energetic, which fits the show well.
When I think of My Hero Academia, this is the first song that comes to mind.
#2 My Soul, Your Beats (Original Version) by Lia
This song is a more upbeat song about going to ordinary days of school and feeling grateful for those days that were treasured even though they were simple.
I love that it includes the piano and enjoy the increasing pace as the song progresses.
The title is creative and only makes sense if you watch the anime. I won’t spoil anything.
#1 Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.) by Girls Dead Monster
This song is so incredibly sad and happy at the same time. I can’t say much more without spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that without explaining what the song is about. The English translation of the title is “My Most Precious Treasure.”
I fully recommend checking the song out because it is my absolute favorite. I can barely listen to it without tearing up.
Links to Lyrics
- Odd Future by UVERworld: https://shinitakashi.blogspot.com/2018/05/uverworld-odd-future-english-lyrics.html
- Ft. by Funkist: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/ft-ft.html-0
- Snow Fairy by Funkist: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/snow-fairy-full-snow-fairy.html-1
- Tsuioku Merry-Go-Round by onelifecrew: https://www.animesonglyrics.com/fairy-tail/tsuioku-merry-go-round
- Red Like Roses Part II by Jeff Williams: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jeffwilliams/redlikerosesptii.html
- Fairy Tail Sad Theme: no lyrics (instrumental)
- Brave Song by Aoi Tada: https://www.animelyrics.com/anime/angelbeats/bravesong.htm
- The Day by Porno Graffiti: https://www.animelyrics.com/anime/heroacademia/theday.htm
- My Soul, Your Beats! (Original Version) by Lia: https://www.animelyrics.com/anime/angelbeats/mysoulyourbeats.htm
- Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.) by Girls Dead Monster: https://www.animelyrics.com/anime/angelbeats/ichibannotakaramono.htm
Links to Songs
- Odd Future by UVERworld: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1YojYU5nPQ
- Ft. by Funkist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RipDkq0Pr10
- Snow Fairy by Funkist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC6s6ATi90s
- Tsuioku Merry-Go-Round by onelifecrew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbJtDRlsGEU
- Red Like Roses Part II by Jeff Williams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euuxPokAeIA
- Fairy Tail Sad Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_upMKUm16M
- Brave Song by Aoi Tada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn9jwsN68VQ
- The Day by Porno Graffiti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irANLGukF1I
- My Soul, Your Beats! (Original Version) by Lia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIFV8UUs1-c
- Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.) by Girls Dead Monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm7Xf9818FM
If listening to any of these songs has inspired you to watch the anime they are associated with, here is where they can be found:
My Hero Academia: This show is available on CrunchyRoll (with English subtitles) and Funimation (dubbed).
Fairy Tail: All the episodes are available on CrunchyRoll (with English subtitles and Funimation (dubbed). 48 episodes are available on Netflix (dubbed).
RWBY: All the episodes are available on CrunchyRoll and Amazon Prime.
Angel Beats: All of the episodes are available on CrunchyRoll (with English subtitles) and Netflix (dubbed).