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Anime Ichiban: Kyle’s Favourite ‘Fun And Catchy’ Opening Themes




In Anime Ichiban, we take a look at our writer’s totally personal, totally subjective, possibly biased, and possibly stupid opinions regarding anime associated affairs.

For our previous installment of Anime Ichiban, Harry covered a diverse array of openings, from thumping prog-rock to hip jazz. For this piece, I veer in the opposite direction and show just how much of a sucker I am for bouncy, upbeat JPop anime OPs.

Below, I talk about 10 OPs whose unceasingly bright tones and color palettes highlight all things fun, happy, and ?~kawaii~?. These cheery beats have bored their way into my skull, filling it with sunshine and smiles against my better judgment.

1. “SHINY DAYS” by Asaka (Yuru Camp?)

“SHINY DAYS” is somewhere between an uncomfortable copyright infringement and a charming homage to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”. The sweeping piano roll and up-strumming guitar create funky Motown instrumentals for the peppy JPop vocals. Yuru Camp’s opening perfectly captures the effervescent pastel wholesomeness of the show and its characters, reminding the viewer to find joy in the little things.

2. “Groovin’ Magic” by ROUND TABLE (Gunbuster 2)

Keeping in theme with OPs modeled after Western music, Gunbuster 2‘s opening is exactly what its name says. Funky bass, jazzy licks, and sparkling vocals intermingle to create a head-bobbing (gun)buster of a song. “Groovin Magic” abounds with a sense of hopeful, childish wonder and whimsy, traits that perfectly describe the show and its protagonist.

3. “Hyadain no Kakakata?Kataomoi – C” by Hyadain (Nichijou OP1)

From the get-go, Nichijou hits you full force with its OP’s unwaveringly wacky energy. Characters and colors fly by at top speeds, leaving you wondering “Was that boy riding a goat?” A brief lull in the high-octane zaniness lets you catch your breath to some 8-bit scatting, dreamy filters coating the vocals. Suddenly, the music picks up, explosions abound, and you’re back at it again.

Nichijou brings its offbeat humor to the slice-of-life genre, and its OP is your first-class bullet-train ticket there.

[Fun fact: all the vocals were provided by one guy]

4. “Kakushinteki?Metamaruphose!” by Aimi Tanaka (Himouto! Umaru-chan)

If you thought things were weeby, they’re about to get a whole lot weebier.

Himouto! Umaru-chan glorifies the potato-chip-eating, soda-drinking, video-gaming lackadaisical lifestyle through its little gremlin of a protagonist, Umaru. A well-mannered picture of perfection at school, Umaru turns into a greedy self-centered goblin the second she gets back home. Her voice actress performs the OP in-character as an anthem to Umaru: an incessantly catchy whirlwind of chiptunes, JPop, and spoiled brattiness.

5. “Aozora no Rhapsody” by fhána (Ms. Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)

Slightly stilted English never fails to be charming. Dragon Maid‘s opening cries of “Chu chu yeah!” and “Please me!” set the tone as characters pop and a violin sings. KyoAni fills Dragon Maid‘s OP with so many fun visuals, made even more entertaining by fhána’s inspiringly upbeat music. Each scene blends effortlessly into the next and takes the viewer on a soaring adventure of sight and sound.

6. “SOMEONE ELSE” by Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita and Eri Kitamura (Working!!)

I don’t know how ska got to Japan, but I’ll be forever thankful that it did. Working!!‘s OP comes straight out of a Reel Big Fish album. With its fast-paced syncopated guitar, bright trumpets, and trio of harmonizing female voices, “SOMEONE ELSE” could give the best skankers a run for their money. Working!!‘s huge cast of characters each have time to shine in the OP, showing their quirks and singing along with utter cheeriness.

7. “CRY MAX Do-Heijitsu” by Fujirokyu (Space Patrol Luluco)

Despite being one of the shorter OPs I’ve seen, Luluco packs so much into a hectic 30 seconds. Fujirokyu’s slightly off-key sing-speaking holds an endearing quirkiness that blends wonderfully with Trigger’s fluid and crazy animation.

8. “Ren’ai Circulation” by Kana Hanazawa (Bakemonogatari OP3) 

Despite only appearing as Bakemonogatari‘s OP for two episodes, “Ren’ai Circulation” is definitely its most popular. The catchy trumpet, bouncy pastel visuals, and Kana Hanazawa’s criminally adorable voice make for a dangerous combination. The only things to rival the opening’s popularity are the memes and mashups that have spawned because of it.

9. “Q&A Recital!” by Haruka Tomatsu (My Little Monster)

My Little Monster‘s opening is shamelessly sweet and energetic, with a tinge of sadness to it. If “SOMEONE ELSE” sat more on the poppy side of Japanese ska, then “Q&A Recital!” sits comfortably in its punk-rock roots. The harmonizing vocals, up-tempo instrumentals and singing that borders on crying and shouting lead into a punchy chorus fit for moshing.

10. “Hanamaru Pippi wa Yoiko dake” by AOP (Mr. Osomatsu)

Osomatsu-kun first appeared in 1962 as a gag manga drawn by artist Fujio Akatsuka. Over fifty years later, Mr. Osomatsu has adapted the dysfunctional Matsuno brothers for a modern audience. The focus of Mr. Osomatsu is still in the gags and sketches, but similarities to its predecessor end there. The show has gained in popularity due to its adult humor and clever non-sequiturs, a far cry from its family-friendly roots. “Hanamaru Pippi wa Yoiko dake” encompasses everything fun, frantic, and non-sensical about Mr. Osomatsu.

Kyle grew up with a controller in one hand and a book in the other. He would've put something else in a third hand, but science isn't quite there yet. In the meantime, he makes do with watching things like television, film, and anime. He can be found posting ramblings on or trying to hop on the social media bandwagon @LikeTheRogue

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Anime Ichiban 24: Forecasting the Anime Awards

Matt and Kyle have some fresh hottakes on Makoto Shinkai’s newest film, Weathering With You.



Weathering With you

Matt and Kyle have some fresh hottakes on Makoto Shinkai’s newest film, Weathering With You. The Crunchyroll Anime Awards are also a thing happening which means it’s time for the crew to demonstrate once again how off their tastes are.


13:41 – Satoshi Konposthumously honored
18:14 – TRIGGER’s Brand New Animal project
28:20 – Netflix adds the entire Ghibli library to their catalog!… in some places
31-37 – Weathering With You impressions and thoughts
1:02:33 – Crunchyroll Anime Award Predictions
1:38:36 – Closing remarks


Intro – “Kiss Me” by Vo.Nai BrXX&Celeina Ann (Carole & Tuesday opening theme)
Outro – “Drown” by milet (Vinland Saga ending theme 2)

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‘Weathering With You’ Isn’t Quite the Storm It Wanted to Be

Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You delivers a gorgeous film that doesn’t quite resonate as much as it wanted to.



Weathering With You Hina

Climate change and global warming have been topics of concern and discussion for years now, with melting ice caps and rising ocean temperatures being some of many signs. Director Makoto Shinkai — acclaimed the world over for his 2016 work Your Name — aims to show just how at the mercy humans are to the weather with his newest animated film, Weathering With You. Although he presents a visually stunning depiction of Mother Nature in all her various moods, Weathering With You ultimately lacks the storming power it seeks to bear upon its audience.

Tokyo has been having a particularly rainy year, seeing precipitation almost every day and nary a sight of the sun or clear blue skies. It’s during this unusual time that high school boy Hodaka arrives in the metropolis seeking escape from the suffocating life he had on his island. The young teenager naturally has trouble finding his bearings on his own in the oftentimes unforgiving hustle and bustle of the city. It’s in these early scenes that Weathering With You has some of its strongest moments, depicting the uglier side of Japanese society not often seen in anime, while also highlighting Hodaka’s strength of character to make it on his own. 

Weathering With You Hodaka and Hina

As Hodaka gradually carves out his own place in the city, he eventually has an encounter with a young girl named Hina. Matching her sunny and cheerful disposition, Hina has the ability to make it stop raining and have the sunshine in very localized spots by praying to the sky. In a place where the rain never ceases, it’s easy to see why Hodaka latches onto Hina to use for the greater good (while also making a little pocket change along the way).

“The hand-drawn rain is downright mesmerizing in all its forms — fierce and calm — while the sunshine that follows seems to hang in the air caught by the leftover humidity.”

Gloomy skies and damp grounds can take their toll on one’s mood and psyche, which someone who lives in such a climate can surely relate to. Even the briefest moments of sunshine revitalize us and give a glimpse of the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Hodaka and Hina’s “100% Sunshine Girl” services to those in need of that light boldly underscore that fact, and make for a strong argument for how the weather affects us all beyond its objective physicality, along with providing some much-appreciated levity to the story. 

That power of weather is beautifully illustrated by CoMix Wave Films’ stupendous animation efforts. The hand-drawn rain is downright mesmerizing in all its forms — fierce and calm — while the sunshine that follows seems to hang in the air, caught by the leftover humidity. Tokyo itself isn’t to be outdone either, with its streets running the gamut between peaceful neighborhoods to grimy and dark back alleys with dilapidated buildings. The animation is punctuated by the return of Japanese band RADWIMPS, who create numerous memorable tracks to complement the wild swings in mood that weather can elicit.

That makes it all the more unfortunate, however, that the greater narrative is so weak.

The progression of Weathering With You is made painfully obvious right from the outset of the story — so much so that it’s hard to wonder if it’s actually the set-up for a bait-and-switch. As a result, much of the first half of the film is simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, making it difficult to really settle in and become intimate with its characters. 

Weathering With you Hodaka and Hina

This would be less of an issue if the cast had smaller interactions that were a delight to watch, but they fall short in that regard as well. All of the characters have a charm to them for sure — with Hina’s younger elementary school brother, Nagi, putting modern playboys to shame being a particular standout — but the story never quite makes a compelling case as to why they are as close as they are, especially Hina and Hodaka. They’re fun enough to watch be together, but don’t quite make that emotional attachment with the viewer that the story wants to create.

That lack of an emotional connection is distinctly felt in Weathering With You’s second act, when unnecessary confrontations and bizarre plot directions converge to create an artificial sense of stakes amidst a central conflict that would have been fine on its own. What’s meant to strengthen the impression of the characters’ bonds instead cheapens it, undermining the already faulty progress the first half did make. The result is a narrative that’s hard to care about, although its ending does leave the viewer with some potentially interesting questions to ponder.

Weathering With You is far from a bad movie, however. It has a clear direction and vision with a message to say about our climate crisis. The characters are endearing enough, and there are a handful of heartfelt scenes because of that. It also cannot be understated just how drop-dead gorgeous the animation is. The story, however, is simply too straightforward for its own good, resulting in an experience that is at times enjoyable, and at others plain boring.

And that’s only when being judged in a vacuum on the movie’s own merits. When compared to Shinkai’s recent masterpiece that is Your Name, it’s hard to see Weathering With You as anything but a disappointing follow-up. That’s perhaps the film’s greatest weakness, but fortunately, it’s one that Shinkai’s next work won’t have, and we can still look forward to it because of that fact.

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How Rimuru Tempest Changed the Game for Isekai Protagonists

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime shines within the vast sea of generic isekai thanks in no small part to protagonist Rimuru Tempest.



that time i got reincarnated as a slime

The core premise of the isekai genre–a character being transported from their everyday life on Earth to a parallel universe–has become wildly popular for a reason: it’s an immensely appealing fantasy. Just as audiences everywhere fell in love with the seminal Spirited Away in the early 2000s, it’s still exciting to fantasize about discovering a new world and going on all manner of crazy adventures. However, the incessant flood of new isekai every season to capitalize on this trend has resulted in some of the most generic, overly-manufactured protagonists in any genre.

Though this sea of formulaic main characters is vast, it makes it all the easier to recognize when one bucks the typical conventions and actually proves that there’s room for unique takes on the genre. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime adheres to a few cliches, but it also manages to set a new bar for what a captivating isekai protagonist can be.

Rimuru in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Breaking the Mold

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is as wholesome and optimistic an anime as they come. The tone can be deceptive at first; when Satoru Mikami is suddenly stabbed when trying to protect his junior, his dying wish is for his computer’s hard drive to be destroyed. But after being reincarnated as a slime–and gaining the new name Rimuru Tempest–his true desires become clear: world peace and a simple, comfortable life with friends.

What’s immediately striking about Rimuru as the main character is that he starts off as an average 37-year-old man. He spent his life working hard and appeasing his higher-ups to climb the corporate ladder. Shady hard drive aside, he lived a respectable and long life compared to the vast majority of protagonists in the genre. This significant age difference is evident in nearly every action and major decision Rimuru makes; he looks at situations practically before jumping headfirst into conflict.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

When Rimuru gets a drink poured on him by a noble in a bar, for instance, he quells his anger in consideration of the bar and the friends around him. When someone asks for his aid in an impending battle, he pauses to go over all the available information and reaches a consensus among everyone before agreeing. And when protecting a goblin village from a pack of wolves, he doesn’t just mindlessly slaughter all the wolves; he looks for the way of least resistance (killing the leader of the pack) before ultimately integrating them with the goblins as equals. Though his human form looks young, it’s the wisdom behind his actions that makes those around him respect his leadership.

This is especially impressive considering just how overpowered Rimuru is. His transformation into a slime came with resistances to fire, cold, electric currents, pain, paralysis, and the ability to absorb, analyze, and take the form of anything he wants. In other words, he could go down the path of the typical shounen protagonist and solve his problems with his fists, but he never lets his overwhelming power dictate his decision-making process.

Rimuru meeting with his commanders.

Leading a Nation

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is as much about Rimuru’s adventures as it is about the rise of the independent monster nation he helps establish. Instead of running off in search of adventure, the little slime decides to nurture the goblin village he protected at the outset. He helps the goblins and wolves “level up” by naming them, shows them sustainable ways to gather food and build makeshift defenses, and even brings back dwarves to introduce blacksmithing and carpentry.

Through expansion, industrialization, and conflict, Rimuru manages to orchestrate the creation of his country in a way that’s genuinely believable. His ambitions for a peaceful and integrated world play out in his willingness to accept other goblin tribes, ogres, lizardmen, and even friendly humans in his country. Being able to rationally read situations makes forging alliances and negotiating with neighboring nations possible. When a major calamity threatens all life in the forest, Rimuru wastes no time in holding a summit and allying with other forest dwellers over a common interest.

None of this would be possible without the uncanny, Luffy-like ability to inspire a sense of trust and reliability in those he comes across. Just like the members of the Straw Hat Pirates follow Luffy out of respect and loyalty, Rimuru’s commanders follow him because of his sound judgment and dedication to seeing everyone in his nation be happy. It’s satisfying seeing members of Rimuru’s guard take personal offense when others talk poorly of him because it’s clear that he’s earned the respect he’s given.

If isekai is to continue growing in popularity and thriving long-term, room must be made for different types of protagonists. Be they depraved, refreshingly honest characters like Kazuma or upstanding yet easygoing leaders like Rimuru, both demonstrate how valuable it is to shake up the formula and try new approaches to the genre. If the constant barrage of isekai has bittered your tolerance to it as a whole, That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime is well worth giving a shot.

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