My Personal Top 5 Anime Theme Songs

It’s been a while since the last time I put a “Top 5” together. Tonight, it’ll by my favorite anime theme songs!

5. Tobira no Mukou e
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist
Artist: Yellow Generation

For some reason, I connote this song with the fall semester of my sophomore year at Cornell. That was I was starting out in my term as media director for Cornell’s Japan-US Association (where I learned to make a blog like this one) as well as when I first started learning Japanese. Incidentally, I had gotten to the point in Fullmetal Alchemist when this (the second of four) was the end theme. For that reason, Tobira no Mukou e has a special place in my heart, despite the fact that Fullmetal Alchemist had a very good soundtrack in general.

4. Tank!
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Artist: The Seatbelts

I don’t think a “Top 5 Anime Theme Song” list is allowed to even exist without Cowboy Bebop’s Tank!, which is arguably the single most famous song ever written by the much-revered Kanno Yoko. Cowboy Bebop was very much a manifestation of creator Watanabe Shinichiro’s love of American culture, and it really showed in the show’s classy jazz soundtrack. In fact, I have read that apparently Watanabe actually apparently liked the English dub more than the original Japanese language version of Bebop.

3. It’s Gonna Rain
Anime: Rurouni Kenshin
Artist: Bonnie Pink

It was from hearing “It’s Gonna Rain” as the end theme for much of the Kyoto Arc of Rurouni Kenshin that I decided to get my hands on Bonnie Pink’s Even So, which proved to be an excellent album. The Kyoto Arc was an interesting time musically for Rurouni Kenshin as that was the time a L’arc-en-ciel song was dropped after having been featured in a few episodes when it was found the band was involved in a drug-related scandal. I personally wasn’t a fan of “Heart of Sword”, which, thanks to it being used in the Toonami edit, is probably what most people associate with Rurouni Kenshin, so to me It’s Gonna Rain came at the right time.

2. Kirei na Kanjou
Anime: Noir
Artist: Arai Akino

After having started Noir, I fell in love with Kirei na Kanjou. Both because of that and the fact that I was already a fan of Arai Akino, I bought her greatest hits album Sora no Uta, which featured in The Pop Culture Historian’s very first post. Noir featured a very good soundtrack in general, and I felt Kirei na Kanjou was a very good feel-good chaser to the events that would have transpired over the course of an episode. I’ve said it then, and I’ll say it again: If you were to look up “beautiful voice” in the dictionary, you would find Arai Akino as the definition.

1. Yakusoku wa Iranai
Anime: Vision of Escaflowne
Artist: Sakamoto Maaya

While Kanno Yoko is known for her jazz soundtracks such as what featured in Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne was actually the anime that had I felt to contain the best Kanno score, and it’s almost entirely because of the title song Yakusoku wa Iranai. I will say that I think Sakamoto Maaya is definitely a better singer than she is a voice actress; she voiced Hitomi, the main series’ main character in addition to singing the theme song. However, that says nothing because her singing was just that good. What is most impressive is that she was only 16 at the time of recording.