Anime, Music

My Top Ten Favorite Anime Songs

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

Crunchyroll - Go Beyond, Plus Ultra with "My Hero Academia" Season ...
“Deku” from My Hero Academia

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. | Fairy Tail Wiki | Fandom
The Wizards from Fairy Tail

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

Kin Owen ] Snow Fairy Cover - Fairy Tail Opening #1 - video ...
Wizards from Fairy Tail

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 MEDLEY] ONELIFECREW - Tsuioku Merry-Go-Round (Fairy ...
Natsu from Fairy Tail

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

Ruby Rose | RWBY Wiki | Fandom
Ruby Rose from RWBY

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

Ur | Fairy Tail Wiki | Fandom
Ur from Fairy Tail

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

Brave Song FULL VER. - Lyrics and Music by Angel Beats ! arranged ...
Characters from Angel Beats

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

THE DAY | My Hero Academia Wiki | Fandom
Characters from My Hero Academia

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

Steam Community :: :: Angel beats
“Angel” from Angel Beats

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

Hideki Hinata | Angel Beats Wiki | Fandom
Yui and Hinata from Angel Beats

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

Links to Songs

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).

Board Games

My Top Ten Favorite Board Games

Since I became a board gamer, I have played dozens of board games with my family and friends. As someone who follows the board gaming community, I noticed the popularity of top ten lists and decided to share my own. Here it is:

#10 Agricola

Agricola Cover Artwork

Agricola is a worker-placement game where you play a small family of farmers trying to survive and thrive. At the beginning, you have only the farmer and his spouse as workers, but as the game progresses and more rooms are created in your house, the family will grow to include children.

There are a variety of strategies to use in this game and many aspects to focus on. For instance, you can focus on plowing fields, planting, and harvesting crops. Or you can focus on accumulating sheep, boars, and cattle and creating pastures for them to graze. The game rewards generalization, and you lose points if you fail to develop in any area – for example, if you don’t have any cattle.

There are also minor and major improvements such as building a furnace to make cooking more efficient or creating new rooms in your house, or improving existing rooms. There are a limited number of furnaces, so it is best to focus on getting the best one early in the game.

My favorite part of this game is developing each area of a farmer’s life, especially accumulating animals. It’s a fun game to play with family, and it is interesting to see that each of my family members takes on a different strategy.

#9 Castle Panic

Castle Panic Cover Artwork

Castle Panic is a cooperative board game where players work together to protect their kingdom from monster hordes. Even though players win or lose together, only one player can be the best monster hunter, and that person becomes the overall winner. This creates a friendly spirit of competition in this otherwise cooperative game.

This is one game that is fun even though the players frequently lose. This is either because there is particularly competitive person at the table or because the amount of monsters is just overwhelming. The game presents a real challenge and winning feels like a real victory.

Even though this is one of my favorite games, my family doesn’t play it often because they don’t like it as much as I do.

An honorable mention here would be My First Castle Panic, a simpler version of the game that I play with my 3-year-old sister. It is just challenging enough to be interesting even for older members of the family.

Castle Panic set up with the Monsters advancing.

#8 Wingspan

Wingspan Cover Artwork

Wingspan is a competitive game where the goal is to collect diverse species of birds on your wildlife reserve. The artwork in this game is stunning to say the least. It a very well-designed game thematically.

This is another game where you can take on a variety of strategies based on your preferences. You can try to broaden the species of birds on your reserve, accumulate eggs on your cards, and try to achieve your secret goals. Of course, it is best to do all of these things, but often one of these becomes the focus of your game. There are also objectives for each round you can complete to gain extra points.

This game is beautiful, enjoyable, and rewarding to play.

#7 Descent

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Cover Artwork

Descent is a sprawling, cooperative dungeon-crawling board game that takes 4-6 hours per game. Since when I play it with my family, we usually take breaks, it takes even longer. We have a tradition in my family to play it each year on New Year’s Eve.

In it, you take either on the role of a custom hero with their own story and attributes, or the role of the overlord whose goal is to destroy the heroes. The heroes must reach the goal in each given dungeon, whether it is to win a major boss battle, find a particular item, or something else entirely.

The character I chose for this board game is what I call a Tank character – one with high HP and moderately high melee ability. One of my sisters has a character who specializes in long-range attacks, and my other sister has one that has potent magic spells. My dad always plays the overlord.

I have a lot of fond memories of this game.

Descent + All 5 expansions

#6 Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven Cover Artwork

Gloomhaven is similar to Descent because it is another cooperative, dungeon-crawling game. However, it is shorter, so my family is able to get it to the table more often. While Descent involves more luck because of its dice-rolling, Gloomhaven relies on cards.

Each turn, you choose two cards from your hand that constitute your actions for that turn. The deck of cards you have to choose from gets smaller over the course of the game, so there is a limit to the amount of time you can spend in the dungeon before running out of actions. This adds to the tension of the game but does not take away from the enjoyment.

In this game, you play through many scenarios and have choices about which missions to undertake. It is like a stream-lined version of Descent with an interesting story line and several gameplay differences, which is why it’s my #6.

All the components that I could fit on the Essen…

#5 Mechs vs. Minions

Mechs vs. Minions Cover Artwork

Mechs vs. Minions is another cooperative game that plays campaign-style. In it, you play one of four possible Yordle characters whose primary objective is to keep minions from overrunning the base and creating an assortment of problems.

One of the most creative aspects of this game is that you pretty much program your movement with cards. Each turn you add a card to your programmed movement. When you get hit by a minion, you have to add a damage card to your programmed cards, which can really mess you up.

When this programmed movement goes right, it can allow you to skewer or trample a lot of nasty minions. When it goes wrong, it’s hilarious.

For example, I once did a 90 degree turn to the left, then turned back 90 degrees to the right. Following that, I shot randomly while striking nothing, spun around, and ran into the side of the board. All while hordes of minions were approaching.This game is enjoyed by me, my sisters, and my dad.

Honestly, the programmed movement is my favorite part of the game and why this game made #5.

Mission 2 - There is a good reason there are 100 minions in the box!

#4 Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep Cover Artwork

Lords of Waterdeep is a worker-placement game. In this game, you play as one of the Lords of Waterdeep, each of which has a secret objective. No one but you should know who your Lord of Waterdeep is.

You gain points by completing quests, and can sabotage your opponents or get ahead of the game with Intrigue cards. You can also build shops that give you bonuses when other players shop at them.

To complete quests, you must use cubes which represent people and influence. Completing quests usually is the most important way to gain points and win the game.

I like this game best with its expansions, which create an added element by offering a corruption track. You can take profitable actions if you are willing to gain corruption, but it can have disastrous consequences at the end of the game if you don’t find a way to remove the corruption.

#3 The Quacks of Quedlinburg

The Quacks of Quedlinburg Cover Artwork

The Quacks of Quedlinburg is a Push-Your-Luck board game. To be honest, I dislike most games that have luck or risk as a major factor in who is the winner. This one is a definite exception because the game play is so enjoyable.

In Quacks of Quedlinburg, the players act as potion makers, using various ingredients that provide different bonuses. You start out with a bag of chips, and choose randomly from that bag to put ingredients in your pot. Cherrybomb chips have a negative effect when drawn, making your pot more likely to blow up. As the game proceeds, you have the opportunity to buy new chips with more powerful effects.

Winning is a matter of pushing your luck to the limit while blowing up as few times as possible. If your pot blows up, you must choose between earning points or buying chips that round. It’s not the end of the world if it happens, but it’s best to avoid it.

Out of all the times I have played, I have only won once. It’s a testament of how good the game is that I had so much fun playing it even when I frequently got last place. (My luck is terrible).

#2 Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game Cover Artwork

Dead of Winter is a zombie game, and I hate zombies.

Why do I still love the game? Well, it’s a tense cooperative game with an awesome thematic design that even I can appreciate. The scenarios presented by the game pose actual moral dilemmas that make decisions difficult. That is why it is called a Crossroads Game.

Furthermore, like Castle Panic, everyone either survives or dies together, but even if you survive, the real winners are the ones who complete their secret objective. Last of all, there is occasionally a hidden traitor, whose goal includes causing the others to lose the game.

Sometimes, just making it through the round and managing to feed everyone is the best you can do.

Each player controls a faction of survivors that can scavenge, contribute to the stockpile, clean up camp, and complete other actions to progress the game. What actions you can take is based partially on the luck of a dice roll, which makes sense because even survival is based partially on luck.

As you might guess from the title, Dead of Winter is set in the middle of winter. Thus, in addition to infections from zombies, players risk frostbite in they venture from camp.

Overall, this game is well-designed, tense game of survival.

One of the days from Dead of Winter...

#1 Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars Cover Artwork

My absolute favorite game ever is Terraforming Mars. Part of that is the theme – it’s such a cool idea. Preparing Mars for settlement by gradually making it possible for life to inhabit the red planet – genius! The board and cards are well-designed, and some of them are even humorous.

You can take actions such as civilizing the board with cities and greeneries and using space event cards, action cards, and general cards. The strategy you take on depends partially on your corporation – for example, you might focus on making investments in titanium or megacredits, the currency of the game.

The reason I love this game so much is that even when I lose, I feel that I have achieved so much that it doesn’t even matter – it’s still a ton of fun.

Out of the expansions, I can only recommend Prelude. I have the other expansions, but I cannot say they improve the game at all. They simply make things more complex.