2012 Year in Review: Music

This year I decided to split up my year in review post into several smaller posts. First I’ll look at the music in anime this year. I hate J-POP with a fiery passion, so keep that in mind.

Worst OP / ED

This year had a lot of terrible OPs. But only one of them made me want to hang myself.

Congratulations, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion! Your music sounds nearly as good as scratching nails on a chalkboard!

Best OP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CeX76jKAS4

10. Eureka Seven AO — Escape
The pump-up song of the year that gets you set for the show to start. Nice long, held out vocals.

9. Nisemonogatari — Hakkin Disco
This one’s not on youtube unfortunately. But Shinbo sure can be stylish.

8. Morestu Pirates — Mugen no Ai
One of the most musically interesting OPs of the year. This one goes all over the place, and makes heavy use of distortion. This has one of the best songs, but the visuals are comparatively lame, especially when contrasted with the music.

7. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san — Taiyou Iwaku Moeyo Chao
Cheerful and ridiculous enough for a show like Nyaruko.

And as a bonus, check this out.

6. Space Bros — Feel so Moon
Rainbow drool, rockets, and Hibito drilling a hole in the moon with his hair. Plus a catchy tune. Makes you feel so moon!

5. Sakamichi no Apollon — Sakamichi no Melody
Catchy tune, great visuals. I love all the floating music notes in particular. Just because I liked it doesn’t change the fact that they should have used jazz though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weHebKG2qsk

4. Humanity has Declined — Real World
Dancing fairies, whooo! So bright and cheerful, just like the show!

3. Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… — Synchrogazer

Sorry, I couldn’t find this one with the visuals either. But this is some wild techno stuff, ready to get you totally pumped for the awesomeness that is Symphogear. Fits the show perfectly, and catchy to boot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HhSYWo5Dgw

2. Tsuritama — Tsurezure Monochrome
An extremely catchy tune, matching with equally catchy dance moves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsI3Cg_GVT8

1. Polar Bear Cafe — Boku ni Invitation
Again, the visuals are banned by youtube. 🙁 This one has great visuals, with the penguin rocket car, the dancing people and animals, and the spinning coffee cup. The music is extremely catchy and the singer has a nice voice. My favorite OP of the year.

Best ED

This list was much harder to rank. There were a bunch of excellent endings this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfK7NKqDPqk

10. Eureka Seven AO — Iolite
I like the lead-in with the snare rim shots. The rest is fairly generic J-Pop, but kind of catchy. The visuals are very minimal.

9. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san — Zutto Be with You
I want to hate this because of the terrible Engrish, the fact that it’s J-Pop, and the dull visuals, but the tune is just too damn catchy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcOMb5y6iUQ

8. Nichibros — Ohisama
The cast puts on a silly musical. Musically simplistic, with just a piano and drum set supporting the vocalists. As hilarious as the show itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjpCV6ilJKw

7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure — Roundabout
They picked an existing song that was actually good. Hard to screw that up. I’m surprised more shows don’t take this approach. Or maybe they actually think all those generic J-Pop songs are good. Also, this lends itself perfectly to an ending lead in, which they make great use of. The visuals are disappointing.

Click Here

6. Humanity has Declined — Yume no Naka no Watashi no Yume
I like here how the visuals actually tell a story, summarizing the entire show. Usually the ED just shows random things from the show, but here you could actually understand the ED on its own without much context. Musically it sounds influenced by classical Chinese music. The singer has a really high-pitched voice.

5. Tsuritama — Sora mo Toberu Hazu
This one’s banned from youtube as well. The song itself is a cover of a 1994 song by the band Spitz. The video above is the original version. It’s quite a catchy tune, and its relaxed feel fits in perfectly with Tsuritama. The animation of the paper sea adds to the feel.

4. Hyouka — Kimi ni Matsuwaru Mystery
Chitanda and Mayaka are dress up as detectives to arrest Satoshi and Houtarou, who are criminals. Most adorable thing ever. By the way, whoever made the first Hyouka ED must have been really high, what the hell were they thinking? It didn’t fit the show at all.

3. Polar Bear Cafe EDs — Especially Grizzly Rock and Bamboo Scramble
These are all just so creative. They’re entertaining in and of themselves, with very interesting animation made from composting photographs together. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be available on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VYZ1E-7B4

2. Shin Sekai Yori — Yuki ni Saku Hana
Once again blocked on Youtube. I love the start, with its sequence of short riffs and pauses between them, and how this is coupled with scene shifts in the animation. This series of pauses leads the climax with the duet and continuous instrumental support to become much more intense. The bstract, stylish visuals complement the music and show perfectly.

1. Space Bros — Kokuhaku
So catchy. Starts with just the vocals and electronica in the background. Then builds up with the introduction of the guitar. Then it goes wild with the drums. These match the stages of a rocket launch. Then it adds a second vocalist and the rocket starts dancing. A beautiful buildup, coupling the music and the animation.

Best Soundtrack

This final category is for the music during the show, excluding the OP and ED.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jftmXemXzKU

5. GIRLS und PANZER
No explanation necessary.

4. Symphogear
Singing gives these girls battle powers so they’d better have a good soundtrack. The music is what makes this show. There’s nothing like blasting monsters while you listen to epic techno music.

3. Sakamichi no Apollon
It’s a show about jazz. How can they not have a good soundtrack? Although that’s what I said about the OP and ED too…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_zGQBvKPQ

2. Shin Sekai Yori
Creepy percussive noises, mystical chanting, bugs and slimy things in the background, contemplative orchestal arrangements… Shin Sekai Yori knows how to use music to amp up the tension and build atmosphere.

1. Tsuritama
The whimsical music of Kuurecorder Quartet fit perfectly for this series.

What did you think the best music in anime for 2012 was? Feel welcome to leave a comment and share.

15 thoughts on “2012 Year in Review: Music

  1. YES, you nailed the OST list. That song you picked for Shinsekai gets me every time – the fact that they played it in the trailer accounted for about 2/3 of my interest in the show from the start.

    Most notable omissions as a whole are JoJo and maybe Psycho Pass from the OP list.

    As someone who normally doesn’t care much for EDs, I was really surprised by how many good ones there were this year.

    Overall, a great list, and I will likely be referring back to it for reference sometime in the future when I get that urge I sometimes get to just sit back and watch/listen to some good anime songs.

    1. Shin Sekai Yori really does have a great soundtrack. It’s really important when you want to scare people— which is part of the reason Another failed so atrociously.

      As someone who normally doesn’t care much for EDs, I was really surprised by how many good ones there were this year.

      Yeah, I usually ignore them as well, much more than I do the OPs, but this year seemed to be the opposite.

      1. When I realize late at night that I’ve just been watching my favourite anime OP’s and ED’s on constant rotation for more than an hour I know it’s time to go to bed 😉

  2. Best OP of the year for me would be either Platinum disco or Joshiraku.
    Your ED list shows a disturbing lack of Joshiraku and Inu x Boku SS
    OST of the year is easily Horizon S2, it features incredible variety with silly 8-bit sounding electronic tracks followed by a track fitting pirates of the caribbean or song for an old-fashioned ball. It also has some brilliant battle themes.

    1. Oh damn I completely forgot Inu X Boku SS! Yes, those endings should have been pretty high up there— my favorites were the one with all the food and the S / M one. I knew I would forget something. Joshiraku had a good OP and ED too, it would have fallen in the next five.

      Horizon did have an interesting soundtrack, regardless of what I thought about the rest of the show.

  3. My favorite ED was that of Psycho-Pass. The drum-n-bass with the great vocals were definitely different from the others…although it was probably tied with SSY.
    Also, the improv session at school in SnA was my favorite of all 😛

  4. Why is Shin Sekai Yori featured on your list even though it continues in 2013? Anyways, here’s my lists, featuring continuing series, as well:

    Worst OP/ ED: Tari Tari ED, not for the music but for the cheap looking visuals. The loops w/ the students sitting on that bench and moving to the music are just ridiculous!

    Best OP: Hakkin Disco. I’m glad that you as a Nisemonogatari-hater appreciate it, as well! I also agree on Nyaruko-san’s and Mouretsu Pirates’ OP’s. On my list would also be the OP’s of LE II, of Tonari (for Natsume jumping!), of Kamisama Hajimemashita (for Nanami’s dresses, in particular this awesome skirt: http://bit.ly/XD0lV6 ).

    Best ED: Nisemonogatari, but there are some close contenders: Psycho Pass, Shin Sekai Yori (for the visuals), Chihayafuru (for the song), Tonari, Nazo no Kanojou X.

    Best thing ever: Psycho Pass episode 3 starting around 00:20 – Dominator action — silence — the OP kicks in — Akane’s pale, wide-eyed face.

    Best soundtrack: Psycho Pass

    1. Why is Shin Sekai Yori featured on your list even though it continues in 2013?

      Huh good point. I decided not to include it for the best characters one, but I hadn’t thought of what to do for carryover shows yet at the time I wrote this. Oh well, it will probably win next year too. 🙂

      Tari Tari ED did look pretty bad.

      Best OP: Yeah, I hate Nisemonogatari, but even I have to admit it had a pretty good OP. Same with Moretsu Pirates, not the best show, but damn was that OP cool. And you are really starting to make me feel I have to watch Kamisama Hajimemashita…

      I wasn’t a big fan of the PSYCHO PASS OP or ED, but this new OP is pretty good. I noticed this week’s episode had an excellent soundtrack as well, they did a similar trick where they had this strange music playing and then it suddenly stopped. Kind of jarring.

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