The first anime of 2017 are well underway, and all have had a chance for their respective openings to demonstrate the show’s best qualities and draw an audience to watch it. So all of the openings can be compared to each other to determine which is the best of the season.
As with previous top anime opening lists, the only anime considered are new shows in their first season. Ongoing shows like “Naruto” and sequel, prequel or reboot shows like “Rewrite 2nd Season” are not eligible because the opening may rely on information from the previous season or seasons.
If an opening changes during the run of the show, the changes will not be considered for this list.
This list does not judge the content of the anime, only the quality of the opening.
elDlive’s opening has two main positive points: the song and the character designs. The song is energetic and fun to listen to, fitting the lighthearted tone of the show in general. The characters range from ordinary humans to animal people, like a purple catgirl with green hair or the muscular crescent moon whose lower half is purple for some reason.
However, none of the characters interact with one another, so we know almost nothing about their personalities, and the supposed bad guys are only briefly shown, so we have no idea what the conflict of the show might be. An exemplar of this is that the main character seems to have an alien cat growing out of his chest. It is a unique design, but we are not given any indication of how or why they’re fused together.
- Schoolgirl Strikers
The editing at the beginning of this opening helps to set it apart, using television static to transition to different scenes for the main cast to meet. Afterwards, it quickly becomes another “team of high schoolers transforms to fight monsters” opening. However, the lack of color in the dimension where they fight is a nice contrast to their colorful transformations. The opening shows that there are likely either rival schoolgirls or alternative squads at the ready, which draws more interest than if the show only had the main cast as the superpowered schoolgirls.
- Urara Meirochou
Streaming on theanimenetwork
The main thing this opening does well that the previous entries did not is that it shows the characters interacting with each other. Through short cuts of animation, we get to see how the main character is different from the rest of the cast, like how she perches on top of a branch like a frog while everyone else is still struggling to get on the branch at all, and glimpses into the main cast’s personalities through their interactions, such as which ones are more easygoing while others seem a bit more random or freaked out.
The opening also plays with reality, as clouds form arrows pointing them in the right direction, followed by them looking at figures of themselves at the start of a long and complicated maze.
Unfortunately, like with “elDlive,” there is only ever a small glimpse of the potential danger, so the show seems like it is just young girls doing cute things, but with a layer of magic on top as they study to become the top is this like a witch? .
- Gabriel Dropout
This is the first of the openings that gets points partly for how insane it is. The sheer cacophony between the various characters arguing is enjoyable to watch, but unfortunately this anime has a weaker song because of the resulting whiplash of emotions. However, it also clearly demonstrates that one of the main points of the show is seemingly going to be characters with different viewpoints clashing against each other.
The visuals also show us that the main character is an angel girl who came to Earth but does not care about whatever her job is at all. The three other main characters are all significantly more invested than her, the aforementioned cacophony of sound shows some of their personalities.
The opening is enjoyable to watch, but it seems to make sacrifices in order to give more weight to specific aspects of the show instead of making a well balanced presentation.
- Akiba’s Trip The Animation
The main reason that this opening made it so high on the list is because of the song. It starts out energetic and fast, and fast, then speeds up even further to match the visuals.. The sheer energy of the instruments and the vocals make for a very fun opening.
However, the characters also help to make the opening memorable. From the blond in a sky blue dress skipping while carrying several times her body size in boxes to the main character’s glowing blue hair, every character sticks out from the crowd, especially when the equally bright monsters start showing up.
- Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
“Dragon Maid” includes a sequence where the main character is typing “Dragonmaid” on her computer multiple times, the text begins scrolling out of the computer in the shape of the dragon maid character’s face, and as it nears the window, the opening cuts to random people floating in the air as they spin with their arms stretched out. At another point, the titular dragon maid runs across the screen multiple times, leaving rainbow afterimages in her wake.
Utter insanity aside, the song is one of the catchiest from this season, albeit not matching the energy of “Akiba’s Trip.” The opening hints at setup for two different worlds interacting, the magical one where dragons come from and the mundane world where the main character goes to work. The dragon’s provide insanity, while the mundane gives stability.
- Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil)
This is one of the stranger openings on the list. Between the slightly stylized art representing the main character’s youth, to the heavily synthesized music set against near constant war imagery, it stands out in an instant. Additionally, the synthesized sound helps to underscore the madness of the main character as she fights through World War II.
So what drags the opening down? The lack of character interaction means that the audience knows nothing about any of the cast outside of the main character, and even Tanya herself has little character outside of “young, angry and in charge of the other characters.” Also, the music may fit the war theme surprisingly well, but at times it becomes too overbearing and borders on grating.
- ACCA: 13-ku Tansatsu-ka (ACCA: 13-territory Inspection Department)
Thus we reach the most memorable opening of the season. While “Tanya” had slightly stylized art to emphasize faces more, “ACCA” has the most overall stylized art of the season. It also has potentially the best song of the season. The song does not have the energy of “Akiba’s Trip,” or the thematic relevance of “Tanya,” but it is an enjoyable listen that remembers to change occasionally to prevent boredom, while still working with the flow of the opening throughout.
Unfortunately, the reason that “ACCA” is not the top opening overall is because of the visuals. While the stylized look and bold colors make it stand out, the majority of the visuals are still images and the characters never actually interact with each other in any meaningful way. As a result, we know nothing about the conflict of the show, the personality of the characters or much anything else that would normally invest an audience in the show. “ACCA’s” opening is nice to listen to and look at, but it does little to truly draw the audience in.
- Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish)
Streaming on Amazon
This is one of the most balanced openings of the season. The visuals look nice and are slightly stylized to look more hand drawn than the standard anime, the song is pretty and fits the energy and tone of the opening well and the characters are put in scenes where they do not directly interact with each other, but rather their reactions or thoughts are shown through either their own or someone else’s facial expressions.
This is also one of the few openings to make heavy use of metaphorical imagery. In a show about high schoolers attempting to reconcile not being able to be with the ones they love, and settling with being with each other, it is difficult to not understand why there are rose petals everywhere and the opening ends with the main cast all on a bed.
- Masamune-kun no Revenge (Masamune-kun’s Revenge)
The main reason why “Masamune” is above “Scum’s Wish” is because for all of the good points of “Scum’s Wish,” the opening told us very little about the characters. “Masamune,” a show about a boy who was made fun of for being heavy as a child and so began working out and taking supplements to change who he was, gives several of the major characters multiple instances to show off different aspects of their personality.
The seemingly main antagonist, the girl who made fun of the main character when they were children, is a model with her own personal underling, but also eats lunch alone in the dark. Near the end of the opening, the main character appears to be in a standoff with another student who is somewhat overweight, but also confidently smiling. Together, the opening seems to indicate that the show might try to tackle body image or self acceptance issues, as each character needs to deal with what they want to be like versus what society or their peers want them to be.
“Masamune’s” opening is the best of the season because it gives a glimpse of what the show as a whole might hold by slightly developing the main cast. It may not have the best music or most memorable visuals, but it draws the most interest with the smaller details that only last a second of screen time.