Anime Ending Song Highlights
We all remember openings. They're near the beginning or start the anime episodes we're about to watch. I've found over the years that I don't skip anime openings as much, thus making them stick out more for me. But endings can also be just as important. They're a reprieve, the bow that ties everything together. You'll know a good ending when you hear it, and if it really sticks out, you want to seek it out just so it can settle under your skin.
When I first started this blog, I would briefly talk about openings and endings in my reviews before I dived into the Japanese and/or English tracks when I wrote about Sound. I stopped around early 2015, and the only place I discussed openings would be my year-end best lists. However, I haven't talked about endings since, and I think that needs to change. Today, I'm going to go through most of the completed anime I've watched (with one exception) and pick out the ending songs that have been mentioned in the past, or haven't been mentioned at all, and give brief reasons on why I like them. Like with my year-end list for 2020, if TV cut versions have been uploaded by licensors in the States, I will link them in the song's text. We've got a great mix of old favorite and newer gems, so feel free to take it all in. It's going to be fun.
I'll be going in alphabetical order, starting with:
"Ichiban no Takaramono" (specifically the LiSA version)
How to get Jack to bawl that isn't school-related: Step 1.
"Pieces of Treasure" by Jun Fukuyama and Tsubasa Yonaga (under their characters, Liberta and Nova, respectively)
I've blacked out most of this adaptation by now (except Debito), but this ending's pretty cute.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo
"Camellia no Hitomi" by Aiko Nakano
Even though this show was undoubtedly mediocre, both the opening and ending kicked major ass. I love Nakano's opera-light voice and the gritty guitar strumming in the background.
The Asterisk War
"Waiting for the rain" by Maaya Sakamoto and "Ai no Uta -words of love" by Haruka Chisuga
I love the contrast of the heartful electro ballad and a straight-forward electro bop. Both are also sung beautifully.
"Raspberry Heaven" by Oranges & Lemons
Like Oranges & Lemons' opening for this series, this puts me in a good mood whenever I think about it.
"Kimino Shiranai Monogatari" by supercell
It's fairly simple by this point; I hear yanaginagi sing, and I'm bound to stick around. I also really like the dreamy production.
"I'm ALIVE!" by Becca, "Kagayaku Sora no Shijima" by Kalafina, and "Aoki Tsuki Michite" by AKIRA
"I'm ALIVE!" always hits the emo rock lover in me (a genre I'd love to explore in 2021, honestly). While I've grown a bit to Kalafina's first ending for the show, their ending that plays in parts of Season 2 is more haunting. I also enjoyed "Aoki Tsuki Michite" from my first listen because AKIRA's voice chills me to my bone. It makes the haunting elements of that ending's framing incredibly unsettling.
Blade Dance of the Elementalers
"Blade Dance" by Kneesocks (comprised of Ibuki Kido, Kana Yuuki, Shizuka Ishigami, Saori Oonishi, and Ai Kakuma under their respective characters)
This was the song that made me realize I'm a sucker for most group songs. The fiddle also adds something special here.
BlazBlue: Alter Memory
"REINCARNATION BLUE" by Aira Yuuki
This is a light, breezy song to shoulder shimmy to.
"Life is Like a Boat" by Rie Fu, "Thank You" by HOME MADE KAZOKU, "Life" by YUI, "Hanabi" by Ikimonogatari, and "Hitohira no Hanabira" by STEROPONY
It's hard to pick a favorite from these five endings when they all hit differently. "Hitohira no Hanabira" is the newest out of the group that I've heard (as in Spring 2019; it was on the road trip playlist for a con I went to), but I played it so much on Spotify that it made my Top 100 Songs of that year.
Bungo Stray Dogs
"Namae wo Yobu yo" and "Kaze ga Fuku Machi" by Luck Life
Both songs slap. The TV cuts were also special to me because Yasuomi Umetsu storyboarded them.
Classroom of the Elite
Although I've known Minami for up tempo music, this was the first song I've heard her on with a lower BPM. Her voice also suits songs like this.
"Anti Clockwise" by After the Rain
I never expected electronic and rock to be blended together so seamlessly, but here we are.
"Mosaic Kakera" by SunSet Switch
Once those starting notes kick in, I'm sold.
Code:Realize: Guardian of Rebirth
"twinkle" by Saori Hayami (under her character, Cardia)
This piece is incredibly beautiful. The key change destroyed me on first listen and still hits every subsequent time.
"Hey! Calorie Queen" by Ayana Taketatsu
This is the cutesy ending I need sometimes.
Dance with Devils
"Mademo★iselle" by PENTACLE★ (comprised of Soma Saito, Wataru Hatano, Takashi Kondo, Subaru Kimura, and Daisuke Hirakawa under their respective characters)
I've also blacked most of this show out, but this ending is still fun. All the seiyuu work well together, and I love how the production makes this creepier than it is. The lyrics are creepy enough.
At least I got introduced to Subaru Kimura (who plays Mage, the man on the far right of the GIF), who is now behind one of my favorite anime characters of all time:
All hail the Miracle Boy!
"BOWIE KNIFE" by GOATBED
This song is groovy. Whenever I hear it, I feel like I'm a space elevator.
"Shinai naru Yume e!" performed by DearDream (comprised of Soma Ishihara, Kentarou Tomita, Takuya Mizoguchi, Kaoru Masaki, and Masaki Oota under their respective characters) and "ALL FOR SMILE!" (speficially the version with both DearDream and KUROFUNE (comprised of Kimito Totani and Hideaki Kabumoto under their characters, Keigo Kazama and Yuuto Kuroishi, respectively))
Both get the job done for idol songs and also make me grin whenever I hear them. They're so optimistic.
"Kimi wo Mamoritai" by Aika Kobayashi and "Sekai wa Kizu wo Dakishimeru" by Konomi Suzuki (the latter link is restricted for anyone under seventeen)
I remember when I first heard "Kimi wo Mamoritai." I played the TV cut fourteen times that day and knew it would be a forever favorite. Even today, I go back to it and still think it slaps. Suzuki's ending is just as good, although in a more emotional way.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
"Kimi ni Fuku Kaze" by Mikuni Shimokawa
Every time I hear this, I feel like it's for the first time. It slaps. That's it.
"Yoru no Kuni" by Annabel
Although all I can remember from Gangsta now is how the anime ended (not well), this ending had a special place in my heart. It's kind of magical how the production works so well with Annabel's vocals. The TV cut was also storyboarded by Yasuomi Umetsu, and you can tell.
"Marutsuke" by given (lead vocalist is Shogo Yano under his character, Mafuyu Sato) (I would link the Crunchyroll upload, but it's the piano version)
This is when I knew Yano was going to blow me away. He did.
"Watashi no Kimochi" by Marina Inoue (under her character, Yozora Mikazuki)
Yozora may be a bully and give no fucks, but this song shows a more vulnerable side to her, courtesy of Satomi Arimori, who wrote songs for Ikki Tousen and Maria Holic.
"Tenchi Gaeshi" by NICO Touches the Walls, "LEO" by tacica, "Climber" by Galileo Gaililei, "Mashi Mashi" also by NICO Touches the Walls, and "Kessen Spirit" by CHiCO with HoneyWorks
All of these are jams and satisfy some part of me, but "Climber" took me by surprise and is easily my favorite. It's an emotional odyssey that never lets go.
Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere
"Kanashimi wa Dare no Negai Demo nai" by Aira Yuuki
I feel like once I knew what this song was, I cheered whenever it was the ending in the second season. Yuuki shows off more of her range here, and I love the glitzy production. It may be what music critic SpectrumPulse calls "percussion over melody," but I enjoy it anyways.
"Heavenly Visitor" by TRIGGER (comprised of Soma Saito, Wataru Hatano, and Takuya Sato under their respective characters)
To bounce off her, I love how this song goes hard and the seiyuu compliment each other really well. It makes for a lush experience.
Jitsu wa Watashi wa
"Ienai Ienai" by Hilcrhyme
Not only is this song's production cute, but when reading an English translation of the lyrics, I can tell this is from the point of view of Asahi. One day, he'll need to tell Youko how he feels. Will it be today?
"Laterality" by yanaginagi
It shocks me how Elements Garden can go from something more peppy to something more grandiose at the drop of a hat. This may be one of a few examples on this list (Dance with Devils is one), but the edgy guitar and frolicking piano work so well with Nagi's voice.
After an episode jampacked with action, you need a dance break. "Keshin no Kemono" fits the bill, helped by Tomiko Van's vocals.
"Don't say 'Lazy'' by Sakuragaoka's Light Music Club (comprised of Aki Toyosaki, Yoko Hikasa, Minako Kotobuki, and Satomi Sato under their respective characters), and "NO,Thank You!" by Houkago Tea Time (the same group, but with the addition of Ayana Taketatsu as her character, Azusa Nakano)
C'mon. These are classics. I haven't seen the second season yet, but since I've already heard "NO,Thank You!" so many times over the years, I can count it here.
"LAYon-theLINE" and "AlegriA" by D-selections
These two tracks are bops. "LAYon-theLINE" makes me feel like I'm the dance floor, dancing my ass off, and while "AlergriA" is softer, it doesn't hold back, either.
Kamigami no Asobi
"REASON FOR..." by Miyo Irino, Daisuke Ono, Yuuto Uemura, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Hiroshi Kamiya, and Yoshimasa Hosoya (under their respective characters) (one of the anime production companies uploaded the TV cut, but the quality's too low IMO)
The TV cut animation was one of those things that made me realize I was more into men than I was telling myself...
One of the lighter cuts from Elements Garden, I really like how the seiyuu harmonize, and the glinting keyboard guarantees another shoulder shimmy.
"Kamisama Onegai" and "Ototoi Oide" by Hanae
I still can't believe I wasn't keen on Hanae's voice initally. It gives these songs the dreamy quality they deserve.
This song always brings back good memories.
Katsugeki Touken Ranbu
"Hyakka Ryouran" by Kalafina
This song brings the drama Katsugeki Touken Ranbu brings out of its back pocket for 80% of the show.
From Mari Okada's detail-heavy lyrics, to powerful vocals, and even nice accompaniment, "Hajimari no Sokudo" is a breath of fresh air after things start to get tense in Kiznaiver.
Kuroko no Basuke
"Start it right away" by Hyadain, "Catal Rhythm" and "WALK" by OLDCODEX, "GLITTER DAYS" by Fo'xtails, and "Lantana" by OLDCODEX
These endings takes me through so many emotions, but "Lantana" is both hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time. Tatsuhisa Suzuki's voice conveys some great emotion.
P.S. We're getting an English dub soon for Season 1. I'm curious to hear how it sounds.
Madan no Ou to Vanadis
"Schwarzer Bogen" by Hitomi Harada (FUNimation uploaded the TV cut, but the audio's off-sync)
From what I've heard thus far, I think Harada is a better singer than actress. Her signature belting strikes again with more classical instrumentation and a cinematic swell.
"Please kiss my heart" by ArtiSTARs, comprised of Yuuichiro Umehara, KENN, Wataru Hatano, Takuya Eguchi, Shouta Aoi, and Yuuki Ono (under their respective characters)
I always enjoy an otome adaptation group song. It helps when each seiyuu is charismatic and the production is as bubbly as this. I'm still crossing my fingers the full version of this will drop on Spotify soon.
The Morose Mononokean
"Tobira no Mukou" by Yuki Kaji and Tomoaki Maeno (under their characters, Hanae Ashiya and Haruitsuki Abeno, respectively)
Okay, but Kaji and Maeno's voices complement each other so well?
Namu Amida Butsu! Rendai Utena
"Ruby" by Chippoke Oohashi
This is one of those tracks where an acoustic guitar, a keyboard, and an electric guitar fuse together and it's sublime.
Nanatsu no Taizai
"Season" and "Iro Asenai Hitomi" by Alisa Takigawa
These two tracks bring out the emotional sap in me. Takigawa's voice is powerful.
"Rokutousei no Yoru" by Aimer
Same with this track, TBH. The glistening piano and keyboard notes stick with me every time I listen to this.
"Taiyou to Tsuki no Cross" by TWO-FORMULA (comprised of Kaori Sadohara and Saeko Zougou)
Now here's a show I haven't really thought about for a while. Though I don't think I'd like it as much now, this ending is still special for me. It's J-rock with an electronic twist.
"Maze" by savage genius featuring Tomoe Ohmi
I could never help singing along to this whenever it ended an episode. It's such a catchy song with some sinister lyrics.
This is the only full song I'm linking because this is an alt rock classic and deserves to be heard at least once.
Speaking of Franz Ferdinand, maybe I should give their discography a chance this year?
"Gravity" by ClariS, "Yakusoku -Promise code-" by GARNiDELiA, and "clever" by ClariS x GARNiDELiA
All three songs sound great and work perfectly where they're placed in the anime. If I had to pick a favorite from the three, it would have to be "Yakusoku." MARiA is a presence behind the mic, and she offers another layer to the song that isn't shown in the production.
Riddle Story of Devil
"ACROSS THE FATE" by Haruka Yoshimura (as her character, Koko Kaminaga), "Doutte koto nai Sympathy" by Fumiko Uchimura (as her character, Haruki Sagae), "Mayonaka no Toubou" by Yuka Ootsubo (as her character/s, Mahiru/Shinya Bamba), "Tenshi no Smile" by Azumi Asakura (as her character, Isuke Inukai), and "QUEEN" by 10-nen Kurogami/Class Black (comprised of the five above and Ayaka Suwa, Hisako Kanemoto, Yoshino Nanjo, Mami Uchida, Sachika Misawa, Miho Arakawa, Chika Anzai, Manami Numakura, and Yuki Yamada under their respective characters)
I briefly touched upon these endings in my review, but these go HARD.
Rosario + Vampire
"Dancing in the velvet moon" and "Trinity Cross" by Nana Mizuki
The former is another example of Elements Garden going for something darker, and we get something that kicks major ass. And despite not planning on watching Capu2, "Trinity Cross" still holds its own as a special ending to me. Both are thematically pleasing and show off Nana Mizuki's range as a performer.
The Royal Tutor
"Prince Night ~Doko ni Ita no sa!? MY PRINCESS~" by P4 with T (comprised of Keisuke Ueda, Yuuya Asato, Daisuke Hirose, Yuuto Adachi, and Shouta Aoi under their respective characters)
This song is always so much fun. I even linked the version they play in Episode 7 of the show with the seiyuu in costume to promote the stage play. It's very iconic.
"Now on dream!" by Sanrio Danshi (comprised of Takuya Eguchi, Soma Saito, Jun Ootsuka, Hiroyuki Kagura and Yuuma Uchida under their respective characters)
Like some of the best moments in this show, this ending is adorable and will make you want to cheer when the seiyuu do.
"VICTORIOUS" by Katsuyuki Konishi (under his character, Shingen Takeda), "Moonlight Beam" by Daiki Yamashita (under his character, Yukimura Sanada), "Seigiron" by Kosuke Toriumi (under his character, Kenshin Uesugi), "Kouran Romantist" by Yuuichiro Umehara (under his character, Masamune Date), and "Gegga no Toki" by the four seiyuu listed above, but also including Natsuki Hanae and Toshiyuki Morikawa as their characters Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Oda Nobunaga, respectively
Although Yamashita isn't the best vocalist, these are the collection of endings I think are produced the best and are the most memorable.
"Shissouron" by Hitomi Harada
My point on Harada still stands, but to draw on it a little here, there's something about rockesque production that really suits her.
Seraph of the End
"Orarion" by yanaginagi
This brings the perfect amount of drama to this arc of Seraph of the End, plus Nagi's voice glides across this track. You can tell she's in her element here.
"Aka no Seijaku" by Yoko Ishida, "Triangle" by Mami Kawada, "Sociometry" by KOTOKO, ""Sense" by Mami Kawada, "All in good time" by Mami Kawada, "I'll believe" and "ONE" by ALTIMA
All of these are special to me in some way, but "Sense" knocked me out of left field. The fact that it was only used in the final episode of Season 2? The disrespect.
Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai
"Welcome to our diabolic paradise" by Mia REGINA
This is a song I had in the back corner whenever I needed something sensual in 2017. Mia REGINA's voices are seamless together, and they're elevated by Demon Kakka's unsettling chants that weave throughout the song.
"MY OWN LIFE" by Zwei
"MY OWN LIFE" has such a gritty edge to it. The production and the vocals join forces here to make this track memorable. It was most likely a highlight of this series for several people.
"Daydreamin" by Kisho Taniyama
Not only was this produced before Taniyama and Masaaki Iizuka formed GRANRODEO, but within the first five seconds, listeners are taken back to mid-2000s Avril Lavigne/emo music. With moody instrumentation and the lyrics discussing the narrator wanting to find their partner one last time, it feels right at place with Sukisho.
"EGOISTIC EMOTION" by Mikako Komatsu and Chika Anzai (under their characters, Bluesy Flueszy/Izzy and Touko Ichinose, respectively)
Here's another ending that's peak drama and embraces it. Komatsu and Anzai work really well here to bring this yearning love song to life. I'm also a big fan of that gritty guitar line and the pounding drums.
Fun fact: The lyricist, Shio Watanabe, also wrote the openings for the Date A Live franchise and a Ban character song for Nanatsu no Taizai.
The Tenchi Muyo franchise
"Tsuki no Tragedy" by Ai Orikasa, "Ginga de Chokuritsu Hokou" by Ai Orikasa, and "Yamerarenai Yamerarenai" by the Tenchi Muyo cast
With the first two songs, you can tell how much of a Ryoko stan I was at thirteen...
Unbreakable Machine Doll
"Maware! Setsugetsuka" by Utagumi Setsugetsuka (comprised of Hitomi Harada, Ai Kayano, and Yui Ogura as their respective characters)
This may be one of many on this list, but this really. Goes. HARD. Trust me.
"BLUE TOPAZ" by Rui Tanabe
Whenever I think about this song, I think about how young Tanabe was when she started. For her breakout role, Cecil showed off her potential, and by proxy, this song does as well.
Yuri on Ice
"You Only Live Once" by YURI!!! on ICE featuring w.hatano (otherwise known as Wataru Hatano)
Producing a dance banger as the ending for the anime that broke 2016 was a great choice. Considering there's plenty of sex jams in modern day electronic music, having the lyrics lean sentimental was the best fit for Yuri and Victor's budding relationship (that the ending storyboards totally foreshadowed). This wouldn't be out of place at a club or dance festival, TBH.
Zombie Land Saga
"Hikari e" by Fran Chou Chou (comprised of Kaede Hondo/Brina Palencia, Asami Tano/Caitlin Glass, Risa Taneda/Bryn Apprill, Maki Kawase/Amanda Lee, Rika Kinugawa/Stephanie Young, and Minami Tanaka/Sarah Wiedenheft under their respective characters)
"Hikari e" sounds like a graduation song, and I'm highkey here for it.
Before I sign off, here are a couple endings from shows I didn't finish you might enjoy (and watched more than an episode of):
"Wired Life" by Meisa Kuroki
"Kage ~shape of shadow~" by Rio Asaba
"once more again" by Aki Misato