Posted by psgels on 15 June 2010 with categories: Top 10 Anime

Compiling this list was… annoying. At least with OPs, series take a lot more liberties to try something interesting. Most of the EDs however, just look and sound way too much like each other. There were a ton of the same ballads with dull images in front of them, but by far the worst were those moe show endings with those horrible J-pop songs. Standalone they may not be so bad, but when I compiled this list I had to listen to hundreds of these things. I was seriously glad when the pain stopped.

In any case though, there are also a number of series that showcase excellent EDs, and that’s what this list is about. Note that my taste in music is a bit weird for your average anime fan (I really don’t like most J-Pop and J-rock).

A great ED for me has first and foremost got to contain a good song. It may have great visuals, but those are no use if I’m poking my ears out. On top of that, I also like EDs that treat themselves as more than just an obligatory thing to show credits at: the ones that come with interesting ideas for a music video, or so to say.

#25: Hetalia Axis Powers ED1 (All Versions)

Okay, okay. I know that it seems a bit silly here, but this is just such a catchy collection of EDs. The reason I’m including it in this list is because of their total picture, not just one version of them. All of the EDs of Hetalia Axis Powers are full of those cheesy country-references that made the series infamous. I applaud the composers here of giving each country its own soundtrack on the same song and beat. When it was just Italy’s version at the end of every episode, it was indeed a boring way to close the series, but the fun began as soon as every major country got his own version.

#24: Boogiepop Phantom

This ED is on the list for its simplicity, but with such a sea of dull ballads and cheesy j-pop tunes, it’s a breath of fresh air to listen to such a catchy song that doesn’t try to hard at the same time. It hardly ever repeats any verses, and I of course love the use of electric guitars here. The graphics themselves are just recaps, but they serve their purpose here.

#23: NHK ni Youkoso ED2

There are some genres of music that I hate, yeah. However I also believe that for all of those genres, there are gems of exceptions. This ED is one such exceptions for J-Rock. It’s subtly sung and well composed without the annoying sugary energy that just all sounds the same to me with regular J-rock. The pictures shown make no sense, but they do create a very good atmosphere for the rest of the song.

#22: Excel Saga

Excel Saga was a series that parodied everything under the sun: all genres that were possible at the time, it poked fun at. So yeah, even the ED is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to close off every episode. The joke is probably lost on the people who haven’t seen the series and don’t know what Menchie (that dog) went through, but let’s just say that out of all the characters in comedy anime whose only purpose it is to be abused… Menchi was one of, if not THE best and most adorable.

#21: Hanamaru Youchien ED10

Hanamaru Youchien really took the cake with its EDs: every episode didn’t just have a different one, but they were all vastly different in style, soundtrack and narrative. The best of the bunch by far was the ending for episode 10, which suddenly turned into a horror parody which to be honest actually was quite scary, the way in which it used a character who in the series itself is always bright and cheerful, who suddenly gets chased quite genuinely by all of these weird creatures.

#20: GTO ED3

I really love Studio Pierrot’s sense of aesthetics. Ten years ago. This ED may just consist out of a bunch of footage from the TV-series, but it’s edited together very skilfully to give it a very interesting visual effect together with the music, which is a very good composition with excellent vocals. It’s not as good as the first OP, but it still packs a huge punch, and it’s exactly what a recap ED should be.

#19: Red Garden

This is just one of those rare anime EDs that are great to headbang on. I personally love the riffs throughout the song, and how it gradually builds up its intensity over such a short time as 90 seconds. It’s these types of songs that I’d wish were more used in EDs nowadays.

#18: Paranoia Agent

Ah, the simplicity. This ED only consists out of a few simple instruments and a very simple and childish tune, in front of pictures of the main cast just sleeping. But the effect it has is something that a ton of other EDs lack. It’s got a wonderful atmosphere, not to mention that the character-designs themselves are truly excellent to look at, just like with any other Satoshi Kon work.

#17: Shikabane Hime: Aka

I must say that Angela surely showed that she has an amazing voice with her OPs and EDs for Shikabane Hime. The second ED stood out for all the wrong reasons, but the first was a very good upbeat song which allowed Angela to show a wide variety of her voice, which really worked well in the end.

#16: Yukikaze

The entire ED of Yukikaze just screams nostalgia. It fit the OVA perfectly, and it’s such a gentle way to close off each episode. In an OVA that’s full of confusion and eye candy, it’s the perfect song to just be straight-forward and make sense of what just happened. It’s very catchy too.

#15: Now and Then, Here and There

Like the OP of this series, this ED is fantastic in its simplicity. Horrible things happen in every episode in which a bunch of kids are in a completely different world from which they grew up. This ED is here to remind us of that. There’s a safe environment waiting for these children, which is where they belong, instead of what this series does to them.

#14: Ie Naki Ko Remi

Indeed, Ie Naki Ko was one of the more rushed and unrefined World Masterpiece Theatres, but it did have the best soundtrack. I’m really sorry that I couldn’t find any footage of the actual ED, but it’s just so damn obscure that I couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s a wonderful song to end the series with though, and the full version shows this even more: the singer is truly excellent and together with the rest of the instruments she really builds up this song with an increasingly impressive atmosphere, and at the same time it’s also something that kids are gonna love due to the few gentle and playful parts.

#13: Bokura no ED1

Another excellent voice from Ishikawa Chiaki. Her voice is haunting and unique and it’s among my favourites of the tons and tons of ballad EDs that have been released so far. Her voice is restrained, yet powerful, and the images really focus on what’s important in this series: the children, and nothing more or less.

#12: .hack//Liminality

The one thing that I’ve noticed with Bee-Train’s series is that their OPs and EDs are often inferior to their actual soundtracks. But yeah, when Yuki Kajiura writes an ED for them, there’s no way to go wrong with that. It’s got some amazing vocals and background choirs, and she really managed to work her magic here. It’s by far the best ED I have listened to from Yuki Kajiura.

#11: Wellber no Monogatari: Sisters of Wellber Zwei

Another example of how a recap ending should be done. Sure, the series itself was cheesy as hell, but it had some damn good ideas for its OPs and EDs. Showing all of these recaps alongside each other definitely makes an interesting watch, plus, the disco-ish song itself also works very well to go with the tension and atmosphere of the rest of the series.

#10: Paradise Kiss

I have absolutely no bloody clue how the creators got the licensing rights from Franz Ferdinand here, but it worked really well. I’ve said this before: back when I watched this series I still wasn’t much into slice of life series, and pretty much the biggest reason for me to keep watching this series was because it had such an awesome OP and ED. Instead of slapping a bunch of recap shots behind this, the creators actually created quite an amusing set of animations, especially for those car chase scenes.

#9: Kare Kano

Without a doubt the best ED to a shoujo romance. The use of life action is unconventional, but it works surprisingly well in showing that this takes place in a high school. On top of that it’s got to have one of the catchiest melodies of any of the EDs I’ve had to listen to. The simple use of vocals and guitar complement each other really well throughout the song, and it’s another reason why today’s shoujo series need to look to the past for inspiration to get out of the stale state they’re currently in.

#8: Tegami Bachi

I don’t quite understand why OPs are tracked down very hard on youtube… while uploaded episodes are just left alone. I think that an OP or ED is actually a very good promotional material for especially the older series, especially if they’re good. In any case, Letter Bee. When I first saw this ED, I really was amazed with how incredibly good it was. The visuals here were absolutely beautiful, you could really see that Studio Pierrot put a ton of imagination into it. The recap at the beginning is a bit annoying, but after that just everything fits. The way that one scene flows into the other, to the colour scheme. For me, it was the sign that Studio Pierrot had not lost the talent that it had ten years ago.

#7: Wings of Rean

The ED of the Wings of Rean is also based on a great visual idea, to have all these strings with wings flying upwards, with ever-increasing impressive patterns. It’s just so fascinating to look at, it’s something that I didn’t experience with any other ED so far. The song is also excellent here: well composed and with a great vocals.

#6: Zone of the Enders: Dolores, i

Arranged by the excellent composer Hikaru Nanase: when she really hits a good idea, it shines beyond belief (just listen to the Noein Soundtrack if you want proof). This song rocks in the way that it combines all sorts of instruments with the unconventionally high-pitched voice. It always was an awesome way to close off such an awesome series and amongst the best of Hikaru Nanase’s wide variety of different songs.

#5: xxxHOLiC ED2

This is one for the fans. Sure, the song is excellent and all, but what really made this ED so memorable was seeing Maru and Moro playing air guitar. It’s a terrific idea that especially works for the fans of the series like myself. It just screams awesome in every single way.

#4: Guin Saga

MommoHDGuin Saga ED
I’ve talked about this ED before. It was my absolute favourite of 2009, simply due to that voice. Kanon is an amazing singer, and the entire ED just screams ‘epic’ like the series it’s based on.

#3: Starship Operators

An incredibly powerful song, which the series knows and makes use of very well later in the series. The artists did a great job of not limiting themselves to the series’ rather limited character-designs, but instead drew the characters with some pretty interesting ideas in mind. But yeah, the song is what really sold me here. Especially the full version’s vocals are haunting beyond belief.

#2: Red Garden ED1

Something that the more creative EDs often like to pull is to put the cast into a completely different context. By far my favourite attempt of this is Red Garden’s first ED, and yeah, I know that I already included them once in this TOP, but their EDs are just so damn good that I couldn’t resist to put them in twice. What the creators did here was put the entire cast, and made them visit a rock concert. What makes this one different is that while the mood is different, it’s not like usual in which the creators just changed genre. I mean, I could totally see this to have been some sort of school festival for everyone to have let off some steam from what happened throughout the Red Garden series. The music behind it is also ridiculously addictive. it’s a bit cheesy with the “Rock the LMC!!!” over and over, but it worked really well for me.

#1: Mushishi
link
I didn’t have to think long to decide my number one for this top. I mean, Mushishi had a different OP for every single episode. Every single one of them was just absolutely stunning in its simplicity. The way it used its sounds to give a nature-ish atmosphere is truly unrivalled, and I’ve never listened to another ED that had such a strong atmosphere as its EDs. They’re all wonderfully composed, and that makes it such a shame that they’re near-impossible to track down. Only after a ton of searching did I find a version that was at least listenable to. In any case, it remains a wonderful series of EDs, even with such a bad quality.

24 Responses

  1. Pafiume says:

    Dang, I was half hoping to see Gag Manga Biyori on the list~ My personal favorite’s not up here, but I do love a few of ‘em. Makes me want to re-watch a few series.

  2. ves says:

    I’m surprised that Eden of the East didn’t make it to the list, I thought the visuals were really interesting.

    That Hanamaru Youchien ED wasn’t my favourite one out of their EDs because I managed to guess the ending and took away some of the excitement, but it was still funny seeing her reaction ^^ And yeah, the Hetalia endings were all catchy no matter who sang it lol.
    Even though I didn’t watch all the shows on your list, but Bokura no’s ED made the most impact for the ones that I’ve never seen before.

    Not sure whether you’ve watched Honey & Clover already, but I liked how the episodes transitioned into the EDs.

  3. Omurqi says:

    I approve of this list! Out of the few I haven’t heard before, I loved Red Garden’s 2nd ED, there DO need to be more like these.

    I guess you made a typo in your last paragraph though. Mushishi had multiple ED’s, not OP’s ;)

  4. quixoticmoon says:

    I’m so happy that you included both of Red Garden’s endings. I remember never skipping those as I usually do with most eds.

  5. Loki says:

    Interesting list, anyways I was expecting Kaiba ED :) … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qf7gUBGwSo

  6. Denizen says:

    No Gankutsuou or Ergo Proxy? I love those endings.

  7. Sapphire says:

    What about the ending of Wolf’s Rain, sung by Maaya Sakamoto? ^^

  8. jpmeyer says:

    Heart of Sword!

  9. Kalandra says:

    No Hare Hare Yukai?

    Ok I jest, don’t throw things at me. But surely Gunslinger Girl season 1 ED deserve a mention. After all, it captures the tone of the show.

  10. treble89 says:

    My No.1 ED has to be “Sagittarius” from Nodame Cantabile, I mope a few tear each episode ends, same goes with Honey & Clover 2 ED “Split”. It’s sort of weird Mushishi at first place, but I can’t agree more, each EDs was such depth. Glad to see Welcome to NHK ED2 in the list, the song is nice.

  11. AuroraFlame says:

    Hanamaru ED10 was my favorite as well.
    I find all of Mushishi’s endings to be really haunting, especially when preceded by those “life goes on” slow fades to black.

  12. dm says:

    I think that part of the effect of the Mushishi ending came from the fact that you’d been quietly hearing the theme throughout the entire episode, and that it only moves to the foreground as the credits roll. This seemed to me to create the effect of letting you slowly withdraw from the atmosphere of the episode in a thoughtful fashion.

  13. Watcherzero says:

    Guin Saga was my favourite Ed in years, good Enya/Clannad soundalike. I would of put Heroic Age in the list, great music in that series.

    Oh and the Amazing Black Lagoon Ed, how could you miss that? Great visuals and the way they fade it in at the end of the action every ep rather than cutting to it.

    Couple of more honorable mentions, 08th MS team as it tells a story, Gundam Seed Ed See Saw again because they fade it in and its very sweet singing.

    Dai-Guard Ed, very light hearted and goes with the light comedy series. School Rumble, again light hearted.

    All the Initial D eds, first time id seen live action in anime 2nd in particular for featuring a live action Sprinter Trueno

  14. Bill says:

    “There were a ton of the same ballads with dull images in front of them, but by far the worst were those moe show endings with those horrible J-pop songs.”

    In Japan, most anime songs aren’t considered J-Pop. Even mainstream listeners dislike the sugary tunes and the high pitched, exaggerated voices, so it’s regarded as a genre all by itself (sold through exclusive anime record labels and aimed purely at anime otaku. No one else listens to it).

    The exception is when a mainstream artist/band is contracted to perform an opening or ending song. However, in that case, they provide their signature sounds rather than conventional anime music.

  15. Nick87 says:

    What happened to GITS SAC 2nd GIG’s Living in the Shell? or Lithium Flower?
    WHR’s Half Pain by Bana? Kagayaita or Signal from Ginatama?
    This isn’t the best list, but I like some of the songs that are on here :-)

  16. aquagon says:

    And none of my favorites (such as Inori no Kanata from Tales of Symphonia: Tethe’alla-hen, or Kaze no Mahou from Popolocrois) showed up here, either.

  17. Reltair says:

    Starship Operators was really long ago for me. So I didn’t remember the ED being this good. Thanks for sharing!

  18. tomtom says:

    I like most the songs on the list, pretty good choises. Black lagoon and basquash ending 1 should have made it, though.

  19. Renren says:

    Menchiii!!!! I love that song. Thanks for reminding me about it! XD

  20. p-kun says:

    As I scrolled down your list, I was wondering why Mushishi ending was not in the list. And there it was on no #1. XD. Excellent!

  21. him61 says:

    How did the Fantastic Children ED not make this list?

  22. Sywen says:

    my favourite ED is “Moonlight” by Katsumoto Yukari from Kurau Phantom Memory.

    mood and frame of the song fits perfectly with the anime

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWgcFhT35IY

  23. Kurisu says:

    “I have absolutely no bloody clue how the creators got the licensing rights from Franz Ferdinand here”

    I guess they didn’t and just downloaded it with LimeWire…No wait, I’m sure they sucked cock…Or maybe they licensed it just like any other song is licensed in the entertainment industry? No that would be too simple!

    Denizen: Ergo Proxy? Are you serious? That obnoxious misfit of a Radiohead song ruins the complete OST. The BGM is just incredibly atmospheric and congruent, the opening song stands out too from it but it’s okay. However, “Paranoid Android” just sucks. It doesn’t even sound professional.

    Nick87: When I listened to the GITS soundtracks for the first time, I was surprised how few of the songs I liked and I virtually remembered none of them. A couple of them have grown on me but I don’t think the ending songs are good at all. Somehow I tend to dislike English songs in anime. It’s a bit like a culture shock for me everytime it happens.

    Kalandra: I definitely remember that. A very sentimental and moving ending song. The animation is simple – a gun in the rain – but absolutely fitting.

    I find it difficult to remember ending songs although I rarely skip it unless it’s just too annoying. Off the top of my head I remember a few songs that impressed me but not really any outstanding – albeit nice – ending animation. Well, Sayonara Zetsubou Zensei had creative and frequently changing ending animations and it’s almost a trademark of SHAFT but I seldom really like the songs that go along with them.

    Cowboy Bebop has certainly one of my favourite ending songs but the animation even if just pictures is clever too. It tells the background story of Spike and Julia, so these are not screenshots from the show itself.

    Utena had several great ending songs (Kiss in the Dark, Truth), although the animation was just the typical non-impressive repeated animation.

    Texhnolyze has an absolutely beautiful and melancholic ending song by Gackt with a simple but wonderful animation (Rans face fades into a flower). They replaced the animation in some episodes with a stupid CGI animation featuring Gackt. That annoyed me quite a bit.

    Captain Harlock’s ending song makes me feel very nostalgic.

    Talking about nostalgia: Kimagura Orange Road is full of great music – good old-school J-Pop – and the ending songs are no exceptions.

    City Hunter (first season) has “Get Wild” by TM-Network as ending song. I absolutely love this song. Another example of great old-school J-Pop.

    Gungrave has some great ending song and better than average animation with some cool film effects making it look almost real. I just love how they run toward the sun. It’s rather uplifting with a bit of melancholy.

    How could one forget MONSTER? Each ending animation is different. It’s telling a story from a picture book that is later part of the story. I prefer the first ending song “For the love of life” by David Sylvian. It’s as simple as beautiful.

    The first ending song of “Legend of the Galactic Heroes” called “Across the Bridge Light” is especially beautiful and a very pathetic song quite fitting the tone of the show with its harsh happenings. Almost makes me cry each time.

  24. Taxy says:

    Yeah, Mushishi on No. 1! I scrolled down the list and the more I went to No. 1, I thought “OMG, he had forgot Mushishi!” What a joy to see it on No. 1! :))

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  • joesan
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 03:39 AM)
    Glad ps is back. Hope he keeps his motivation up. Reading his previews really helps me sort out whats new each season.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 03:14 AM)
    @Emma: Are you talking about the Charles Burns Black Hole or the anime?
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 03:10 AM)
    Are you guys familiar with the Ayakashi offshoot Mononoke directed by Kenji Nakamura? If not then I highly recommend this creepy miniseries, but it is better to watch the Bakeneko arc of Ayakashi 1st so you become familiarized with the badass simply known as The Medicine Seller.
  • Raggers
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 02:53 AM)
    @Emma: I know the name only because I ran into it while dling Bakemono (early in my anime life) and thought they may be related. It’s been in my archives for ages.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 01:40 AM)
    @Ninja: Flay I believe was meant to be antagonized, specially pass the 2nd act. As for Makoto, I never had the displeasure of watching School Days.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 12:56 AM)
    Does any one remember Utauwerumono on here? I can recall some of its arcs were quite watchable, had an actually intelligent, adult male lead. Animation could have been alot better if I recall correctly, ending was a mess however.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 12:50 AM)
    @Emma: ooooh Velvet Glove looks trippy! Will do, thx.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Bam: Try Black hole and Like a velvet glove cast in iron.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Sep 22. 2014 12:12 AM)
    @Realist: I believe so yes as far as I remember she hated the co-ordinators, she was pretty much an outright racist and representative of that theme in the show.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 11:48 PM)
    @Emma But do you think Flay was intended to be hated?

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