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When I think of anime songs (aka anison) there are some anime series that stand out for having many good songs be they openings, endings, character songs, or insert songs. the best anime series for music are those that have many really good songs over only a few seasons.

Five great series for anison

Here's a list of 5 of the best and why:

  1. Haruhi Suzumiya series (2 seasons and a movie)
    The first anime series to have massive mainstream popularity with its songs. Before Haruhi, many series had great openings and endings, but they didn't spawn the kind of craze on places like Youtube with such a viral impact around the world.
    Openings
    • Bōken Desho Desho? was near upbeat Jpop perfection.
    • Super Driver! was another very memorable rockin' JPop tune. If you didn't like Bōken Desho Desho? because it was too pop, you probably still liked Super Driver!.
    Endings
    • Hare Hare Yukai was for a time the most dance covered ending ever. It might still be! It has a fast, catchy tune and a great dance to go with it.
    • Tomare! was completely overshadowed by Hare Hare Yukai, but it was still a good fast rock tune.
    Insert songs
    • God knows... is a guitar-shredding, girl rock masterpiece. Still one of the sop anison karaoke tunes. Some consider it the best anime song ever.[1]
    • Lost my music is a great rocking bookend for God knows... and they are often played back to back as in the anime. Nearly as good as the former, but not quite as popular on the karaoke circuit.
    Character songs
    They aren't the greatest, but you get a ton (16 singles released)[2] with many side characters getting singles and many would say that as a group their character songs are in the top 5 all time.[2] You also get to discover the dramatic difference between how Yuki Nagato's voice actress (Minori Chihara) voices the character and her completely different (and really good) singing voice!
    Here are some standouts (mostly according to Youtube view counts):
  2. Katekyō Hitman Reborn! (many seasons)
    This long running series has great openings, ending, and character songs of all varieties. Based on quantity and quality you can't go wrong.
    Openings
    Endings
  3. Monogatari series (many seasons)
    Another long running series has some of the best female seiyu openings and so many! From Stable Staple to Renai Circulation they have great melodies and memorable lyrics.
    Openings
    • staple stable by Chiwa Saito (Hitagi Senjougahara) from Bakemonogatari
    • Kaerimichi by Emiri Katou (Mayoi Hachikuji) from Bakemonogatari
    • Ren'ai Circulation by Kana Hanazawa (Nadeko Sengoku) from Bakemonogatari
    • Hakkin/Platinum Disco by Yuka Iguchi (Tsukihi Araragi) from Nisemonogatari
    • Kogarashi Sentiment by Chiwa Saito (Hitagi Senjougahara) and Shinichiro Miki (Deishu Kaiki) from Monogatari Series: Second Season
    • mathemagics by Marina Inoue (Sodachi Oikura) from Owarimonogatari
    • terminal terminal by Emiri Katou (Mayoi Hachikuji) from Owarimonogatari: 2nd season
    • dreamy date drive by Chiwa Saito (Hitagi Senjougahara) from Owarimonogatari: 2nd season
    • dark cherry mystery by Kaori Mizuhashi (Ougi Oshino) from Owarimonogatari: 2nd season
    Endings
  4. Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront and Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond)
    Thanks to the jazzy, melodic compositions of Taisei Iwasaki along with some great vocalists, there are so many good songs on the soundtrack which doesn't even count the great opening Hello, world! by BUMP OF CHICKEN and the karaoke favorite ending, Sugar Song to Bitter Step by Unison Square Garden.
    Openings
    • Hello, world! by BUMP OF CHICKEN from Kekkai Sensen
    • fake town baby by Unison Square Garden from Kekkai Sensen
    Endings
    OST
  5. Samurai Champloo
    From the same folks how gave you the great music of Cowboy Bebop, but Samurai Champloo goes funkier with more hip hop and jazz vocal stylings especially from Nujabes feat. Shing02 and MINMI. While Cowboy Bebop had lots of great tracks, you couldn't really sing along. Overall the soundtrack was super chill and includes much more instrumental music.
    Openings
    Endings
    • Shiki no Uta (Song of the Seasons) by Nujabes feat. MINMI
    • Who's Theme by Nujabes feat. MINMI
    • YOU by Nujabes feat. kazami
    • FLY by Tsutchie ([SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS] & fat jon?) feat. Azuma Riki
    • San Francisco by MIDICRONICA
    Insert songs
    • STYLE of the Rising Sun by FORCE OF NATURE feat. SUIKEN & S-WORD
    • Obokuri-Eeumi by Ikue Asazaki

Honorable mentions

  1. K-On!
    Rockin' moe grrls! This one probably should be in the top 5, but Samurai Champloo just beats it out, because it is more unique musically and has more variety. Also, despite many great songs, the openings and endings weren't particularly great. Hokago Tea Time is a great band, but they still count among the gajillion girl groups that dominate anime and lacked variety for the most part.
    Notable songs
    • Fuwa Fuwa Time - first insert song of the anime and a good one; Yoko Hikasa sings the first version and Aki Toyosaki the second version
    • Pure Pure Heart - another good song of the anime
    • Tenshi ni Fureta yo! - a slower insert song of the anime
    • Utauyo!! MIRACLE - somewhat frenetic second opening of the second season
    • Aozora no Monologue - good character song by Mio (Yoko Hikasa)
    • Dear My Keys ~Kenban no Mahou~ - good character song by Tsumugi (Minako Kotobuki)
    • Seishun Vibration - another good character song by Mio (Yoko Hikasa)
    • Yuuzora à la carte - slower character song by Ritsu (Satomi Sato)
    • Hello Little Girl - yet another good character song by Mio (Yoko Hikasa)
  2. Fairy Tail (many seasons, OVAs , and movies)
    Lots of upbeat openings and endings with a decent number of good character songs. Another top candidate for the top 5, but doesn't quite make it due to the dilution of such a long series (almost 280 episodes alone!).
    Notable songs
    • OP6 Fiesta by +Plus
    • OP8 The Rock City Boy by JAMIL
    • ED1 Kanpeki gu~no ne by Watarirouka Hashiri Tai
    • ED6 -Be As One- by w-inds.
    • OVA ED1 Nichijou Sanka: This Place by Aya Hirano
    • S2 OP1/ED9 MASAYUME CHASING by BoA
    • S2 OP6 NEVER-END TALE by Tatsuyuki Kobayashi and Konomi Suzuki
    • S2 ED4 Don't let me down by Mariya Nishiuchi
    • S2 ED5 Never ever by TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE
  3. FLCL (3 short seasons)
    FLCL, also known as FoolyCooly is pretty much all the band the pillows all the time, but they are such a great band, they have almost no bad songs on the FLCL soundtracks.
    Notable songs
    • OP1 ONE LIFE by the pillows
    • OP2 Instant Music by the pillows
    • ED Ride On Shooting Star by the pillows
    • Little Busters by the pillows - insert song use multiple times
    • Hybrid Rainbow by the pillows - Ep2 insert song
    • Beautiful Morning With You by the pillows - Ep2/4/6 insert song
    • PATRICIA by the pillows - Ep5 insert song
    • Funny Bunny by the pillows - Ep6 insert song
    • Last Dinosaur by the pillows - Ep6 insert song
    • Progressive ED spiky seeds by the pillows
    • Thank you, my twilight eye by the pillows - Progressive insert song
    • Non Fiction by the pillows - Progressive insert song
    • Fool on the planet by the pillows - Progressive insert song
    • Third eye by the pillows - Progressive insert song
    • MY FOOT by the pillows - Progressive insert song
    • Alternative ED Star overhead by the pillows
  4. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
    Classic jazz music in anime FTW!
    Notable songs
    There are mostly instrumentals, but these have vocals by Japanese singers or seiyuu.
    • Sakamichi no Melody by YUKI
    • Altair by Motohiro Hata meets Sakamichi no Apollon
    • But not for me by Masayoshi Furukawa (Junichi) featuring Shinpei Ruike
    • My Favorite Things by Yuuka Nanri (Ritsuko)
    • Lullaby Of Birdland by Aoi Teshima
  5. Working!! (3 seasons and spinoff)
    Ska music in anime FTW! This series has lots of fun upbeat music with good openings, endings, and characters songs.
    Notable songs
    Depending on what you like, the other OP/ED are pretty good too.
    • OP1/ED3 SOMEONE ELSE by Kana Asumi (Popura Taneshima), Saki Fujita (Mahiru Inami) and Eri Kitamura (Yachiyo Todoroki)
    • ED2 Golden Day by Saki Fujita (Mahiru Inami)
    • Junjou PUNCH character song by Saki Fujita (Mahiru Inami)
    • Wagnaria Sanka ~ a day of Inami Mahiru character song by Saki Fujita (Mahiru Inami)
    • Colorful Days character song by Eri Kitamura (Yachiyo Todoroki)
    • Wagnaria Sanka ~ a day of Todoroki Yachiyo character song by Eri Kitamura (Yachiyo Todoroki)
    • Matsuge ni LOCK character song by Daisuke Ono (Jun Satou)
    • Wagnaria Sanka ~ a day of Sato Jun character song by Daisuke Ono (Jun Satou)
    • S2 OP1/ED1 COOLISH WALK by Kana Asumi (Popura Taneshima), Saki Fujita (Mahiru Inami) and Eri Kitamura (Yachiyo Todoroki)
    • S3 ED2 Matsuge ni LOCK by Jun Fukuyama (Souta Takanashi), Daisuke Ono (Jun Satou), and Hiroshi Kamiya (Hiroomi Souma)

References