My favorite Anime Openings & Endings 2023


Ach ja, unlike the previous years, I actually watched a two-digit amount of anime from this very year. But before you applaud me for doing the utter bare minimum expected of someone writing about anime in their free time, this unfortunately still doesn’t corelate into me being able to talk my heart out about this year’s openings and endings. Beyond not having seen a plethora of anime with very promising looking OPs and EDs, those anime I did see somehow turned out to have relatively unremarkable ones, which sucks, because I would love to incorporate the context of the show into my takes on why I think a certain entry deserves the spotlight in this much distinguished and highly regarded end-of-the-year listicle.

As always, I will mix up the way I will talk about it all a bit again this year. For the sake of both clarity, structure and, if you are willing to believe bad tongues, not having that many “main” entries, I will start with the honorable mentions first, as well as expand them a bit to write something about them. Especially this year, there are some OPs and EDs, which don’t quite cut it to be prominently featured, but are still otherwise solid and worthy of at least a sentence or two.

With the obligatory preamble out of the way, here are my favorite Anime Openings and Endings of 2023.


Honorable Mentions

Boy, what a year for openings, which I like, but I either not know a lot about, or are just barely missing the cut… and let’s be honest here, it will mostly be the former.

The first season of Spy x Family gave us some Masashi Ishihama and Tetsurou Araki greatness and the new season’s OP effortlessly follows it up with Masaaki Yuasa doing what he does best: Whacky walks, kinetic car action and some pretty cool stylized imagery, all wrapped into a cute self-contained story. It’s also sung by Ado, if you need any more convincing. I can’t wait to watch this new part with my friends.

While I can absolutely understand being a bit let down by the decision to abandon the first season’s approach of foregoing a traditional opening entirely and using an insert song coupled with otherwise small sequences of additional world-building instead, the opening for the second season of Mushokou Tensei has some pretty striking ideas. Opening the OP with the image of an open birdcage is… definitely a statement, we still have windows and walls as a framing device for prior events and the idea of Eris, Sylphy and Roxy still being able to guide Rudeus to a better place feels very genuine, considering what the story is fundamentally about.

Undead Girl Murder Farce is one of those anime I should really get to, in part because the opening kind of fills me with confidence that this anime would be right up my alley. This is the power of a good OP, I suppose. Also, Crack-Crack-Crackle is low-key a banger?

And since I’m already talking about bangers: The Legendary Hero Is Dead!’s OP has no right to go as hard as it does, the OP for Hell’s Paradise almost convinced me to watch a shounen I most likely do not care about, Undead Unluck’s OP almost convinced me to watch a shounen I most likely do not care about and Jujutsu Kaisen doesn’t have just one, but two OPs to drag me back into a shounen I most likely do not care about.

Magical Girl Destroyer’s OP gets a shout out for being in part very much to my taste and partly to being very weird and not at all my case. The Attack on Titan’s actual final season’s OP isn’t really part of the episode, but still very fittingly encapsulates the whole of Eren’s journey. The OP of Skip and Loafer does something I initially thought impossible: It actually makes me care about the main couple’s relationship. They are very cute together and I wish them the best.

Lastly, I’d like to issue a formal apology. When the first season aired, I dismissed it as the one good chinese anime with a fun dance opening. Now that I have seen the OP for season two of Link Click, I have to take it back. I’m sorry, I was not familiar with your game and this is straight up nuclear.

Last Minute Edit: Does the TV version of the Kaguya-sama movie count? If so, Kaguya-sama obviously deserves a spot somewhere.

Heavenly Delusion Opening — “innocent arrogance” by BiSH

Starting off with a weird one, Heavenly Delusion’s opening kinda just fits in a way that is very hard to describe, especially since there is no clear imagery, character beats or plot points one could point at. Instead, it conveys a very specific feeling and mood that simply is Heavenly Delusion. Shots upon shots of beautifully rendered scenery framed in a slightly off and mysterious way, the two idiots of protagonists messing around and adventuring, until it suddenly shifts. Kiruko outrunning their own outlines, franticly looking around, only to end up with this sullen look on their face hurts the more you know about the story. Also, the visualization of Maru’s power really tickles my brain in just the right way, with the very technical look slowly transitioning into the leaves of a tree blooming. Great stuff altogether.

[Oshi No Ko] Opening — “Idol” by YOASOBI

Fun fact: YouTube Music told me “Idol” was my most listened song of 2023, which is funny, because I don’t really care much for the song itself, because this OP is LAYERED. And I mean layered layered as in it actually deserves a proper full analysis going through each shot individually and picking it apart, as we have got it all: Character introspection, foreshadowing, tons of symbolism and like five full frames of Producer Strawberry going fishing. No seriously, one could probably fill entire paragraphs only limiting themselves to the way eyes are (not) framed in the OP and what it means in the context of how the anime treats eyes and their respective meaning. Do the same with the star imagery sprinkled all across the 90 seconds and this OP really gives you the well deserved satisfaction of paying attention to it.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Opening — “Yuusha” by YOASOBI

If I had a nickel for every YOA- *gets shot*. Frieren’s OP gets more fascinating the more I see from the anime. I am still confused why you would go with such a modern sounding song, as opposed to something more classical, but what do I know about music? The visuals, though? Yeah, this is the good stuff. There are two main ideas present in the opening, with the first being Frieren’s isolation, or rather position as an observer when it comes to humans. There are several shots of Frieren simply being either alone or distant from other humans. The shot of her looking out of a window, observing Fern and Stark kinda makes it clear, but her standing in a field of silhouettes, as if these humans are simple flashes of the past to her, really drives it home.

The second one is looking both back and forwards in time. I mean, this one is basically a given, as Frieren as a whole is about this very idea, as well as it being not only limited to Frieren herself, but to the majority of the cast. I really love the last shot with the splitscreen of both her present and past companions coming together with Frieren in the middle, now leading the party, instead of following behind. If you want to summarize Frieren in general, this is the shot.

One Piece Opening 25 — “The Peak” by SEKAI NO OWARI

Damn, people weren’t lying. One Piece was indeed cooking and since I have finally caught up with the Manga, I am now fully able to indulge in the greatness that is the anime adaptation of Wano. However, much like the ED, it is actually in a rather weird position, with the Wano arc being essentially done and just in need of some wrap-up, but the OP uses this weird in-between state to the fullest, by being portrayed as the end of the arc both in-story, as well as meta-textually.

The opening frames prior story beats and elements as a testament to what happened in Wano. First by remembering the past and how it all came to be, with the room itself becoming darker, as the allegory night consumed the land of Wano, until the arrival of Nikka finally brings the respective dawn. I do not particularly care about the few action cuts, impressive as they may be, but am utterly in love of the fast-cut montage of Wano celebrating the defeat of Kaido. The circle motif is just beautiful and the way it parallels the beginning is genius.

Lastly, we see that all these events are viewed through the eye of Momonosuke and thus, it is revealed that the book from the first shot is the very journal of Oden. Just like his father, Momonosuke is now documenting the exploits of the future king of pirates and what Luffy and his crew achieved for the people around them. What a perfect way to go full circle in every possible way. Truly the peak of One Piece. I do not doubt we will get a new OP in times for Egghead, but what a beautiful goodbye it is for the most ambitious arc of One Piece we have seen to date.

The Apothecary Diaries Opening — “Hana ni Natte” by Ryokuoushoku Shakai

As one might have noticed, I love me some well-executed ideas presented in a visually striking way. Now, if I either had the ability to recognize flowers or knew anything about their associated language and meaning, I would most likely have a field day with this opening. Alas, I do not. I am, however, capable of of seeing some nice contrast and parallels and boy are there some. All those pretty flowers blooming in the beginning, a dead forest being reflected as a verdurous one in the water surface, only for all those pretty flowers to slowly rot and reveal a small unremarkable one hidden in the forest going into full bloom, just as Maomao undergoes the same transformation. Simple, effective and even me, who has not seen anything from the anime, gets it. Good storytelling in a nutshell.

Also, *slams desk with a little too much force* Maomao is so fucking pretty. The flower petals in the background like fireworks, while she is dancing and the dress turning black? The looking down, winking and licking her lip? Yes, slay or poison or whatever, my queen. I will be there someday.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead Opening — “Song of the Dead” by KANA-BOON

Why did we ever stop doing fun things with zombies and stagnated into nihilistic pulp of humans being the real monsters? I mean, Thriller ruled, right? Anyway, such a fun and energetic opening. From the character introduction, that follows each one closer into the bathhouse, the stylized blood, to the dancing, of course, there is so much to love about it. It also got some fun commentary, like the evolutionary line-up going from overworked office worker to literal zombie, or the zombies still tapping wildly on their phones while riding the train. If “Living life to the fullest or rather get eaten by a zombie” has a vibe, this OP is it. Also, by the time this post actually releases, the last episodes should hopefully be out of hiatus hell.


Honorable Mentions

A lot of anime with great openings also have fantastic endings this year. I guess this would normally make sense, as an impressive staff has no reason to only cook with the OP, but this didn’t happen the last years, so… yeah. Not that I would ever complain and if I were to rank all the OP’s and ED’s for this year, the endings would rank probably higher on average. Anyway, here is everything that didn’t quite make the cut.

The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You’s ending is very adorable and cute, considering how raunchy the anime can be at times. Again, while technically not part of the actual episode, Attack on Titan is such a beautiful farewell to this truly epic story. Heavenly Delusion is still a vibe, just in a completely different direction and equipped with some very subtle foreshadowing and the ending for Magical Girl Destroyer would probably make the list, if only I know what the actual show is about.

In terms of just feel good endings, Spy x Family still has this covered with some adorable Anya focus and Dead Mount Death Play has a shark (and later pencil) dancing. Lastly, while it is technically just a song over the endcrawl, Sawano finaly brought another banger to the Fate franchise with the Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn special.

KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! Ending — “JUMP IN” by Rie Takahashi and Aki Toyosaki

The KonoSuba endings are surprising in the most charming way. They showcase this beautiful tranquility in this otherwise fantastical world and intense anime. The Megumin Spin-Off somehow achieves the same effect by completely opposite means. The song sounds like Megumin and Yunyun just messing around and the visuals are way more focussed on character interactions and little silhouettes, instead of a small self-contained story… and it just works with the characters in question. You only need 90 seconds to get to understand them all. From Megumin and Yunyun’s half rivalry, half genuine friendship, to their friends or even Komekko and Chomusuke. There is arguably not much depth beyond these simple observations in this ED, but it really grew onto me while watching the Spin-off and actually takes a top spot for me this year, while the OP was otherwise rather lacking, unfortunately.

One Piece Ending 22 — “Raise” by Chilli Beans

After 800 episodes, One Piece finally has an ED again and overall, I have the same things to say, as the opening, down to my assumption, that it will be replaced when we get to the new arc. Kaido and Orochi may be defeated, but the land of Wano is still devastated. But just like the night, the rain too will eventually yield to a clear sky and nature is allowed to heal, while the people can enjoy life again.

It’s also just filled with great moments: Yamato leaving an offering at the shrine, Luffy and Kid fighting over food, only for Law to take it or Otama now being able to show a genuine smile again. Even Momonosuke gets the chance to say his goodbyes to the strawhats. And after everything is said and done, it ends, just like the beginning of Wano itself: With the gentle waves on the shore of Wano, while a small crab makes its way.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End Ending — “Anytime Anywhere” by milet

Now we get to the two big hitters. Frieren’s ending is, in every sense of the word, breathtaking. To get the obvious out of the way first, it is easily one of the most beautiful looking pieces of media I have seen the last couple years, with the way everything is rendered either via different flowers directly, or utilizing their floral patterns.

And now to the nitty gritty of things: In my honest opinion, the ED is arguably way more effective in communicating the themes of Frieren, than the OP is, despite the latter being pretty upfront about it already, with the ending having a way better grasp on the passing of time. From Himmel coming into the world and taken out of it again in only a few seconds, to him being remembered, or Flamme getting older and the seed, that was dropped in the beginning, eventually growing into the giant tree after her death, or even the one shot of the day turning into the night and revealing the moon. This is the good stuff.

I also simply adore how the flowers either represent certain characters, or are arranged in a way to recreate the characters hair in such a recognizable manner. And then there is the shot of the flowers blowing in the wind creating the image of Frieren’s face for a moment? I rewound this scene so many times, you wouldn’t believe. And her going through all the seasons or past her former comrades? And ending it on the shootings stars she wanted to see with them one last time? It even comes full circle again, with her eye opening in the beginning and then closing again at the end. *slams desk again* This is a 10/10 ending and I am very grateful for it not being qualified for the next Crunchyroll Awards, because I would have the hardest time choosing between it and the last entry on this list.

Additionally, you know how I said in my Apothecary Diaries section, that I would have a field day, if I were to know flower language. Yeah, this but quadrupled at the least, because I have no doubt this would add layers upon layers for me.

[Oshi No Ko] Ending — “Mephisto” by QUEEN BEE

I was seriously considering whether I should just write a full three thousand word analysis or keep it at the words “Perfect ED”. Alas, too lazy for the first one and not jaded enough for the latter. I have to talk at least a bit about the symbolism here.

The red thread of fate coiling around the bunny plush associated with Ai, eventually killing her and leaving a trail of blood on her face is such a creative way to sum up her initial role in the story. Then there is the whole dualism of how Aqua and Ruby deal with the loss of their favorite idol and mother, through which the rest of the ED is framed: Aqua descending down the stairs, face covered and full of guilt, while Ruby goes them up confidently, aspiring to be an idol. Aqua being obsessed over the memories of Ai in order to find her killer, as opposed to Ruby using them to make the best of her new lease on life.

Then there’s Aqua being surrounded by the supposed killer of Ai, with the little touch of their eyes having the same star highlight as himself, mirroring his feelings of being responsible for her death and his obsession eventually leading him to the same place as Ai, with the red threads dragging him even deeper than the end of the stairs from the beginning. On the other hand, Ruby was finally able to leave the confines of her hospital room. However, despite their different views on the purpose of their new life, at the end of the day, both Aqua and Ruby still try to grasp the morning star they saw together with Ai when younger. Yeah, visually fun and interesting ways to represent specific parts of a story never fails to be engaging for me.

Beyond all this, damn, Mephisto really do be a banger. How did this not top my YouTube Music Rewind?

And that about wraps it all up. While the number of main entries might be smaller than from last years, this was by no means a bad year for anime openings and endings. As always, I wish I could talk more in-depth about some, especially about the anime I haven’t seen, but it is what it is. I also thought about adding a whole section for openings and endings based solely on the songs, but these posts are already a huge time investment and maybe it is for the better to not superficially inflate them any further. Anyway, we will see us again next year for more of my bad taste ^^.

local_offer Opening & Ending
folder Anime Lists
calendar_today 2023