Anime opening (OP) and ending (ED) songs are almost a genre on their own now, since most songs are written specifically for one anime. What genre do most songs currently classify as then?
There is no decided genre for all anime songs, even though the most featured genres are upbeat Japanese pop, rock, and ballads. Depending on what feel the anime production team is going for, the genre of music can vary greatly. Anime songs are also called anisongs.
There are specific reasons why anisongs generally consist of Japanese popular and rock, and why voice actors sometimes double as anisong performers, which we will talk about a bit later. Also, did you know that One Piece has songs performed by artists outside of Japan? Let’s dive deeper!
What are the most common genres of anime songs?
Anime songs are also called Anison (or Anisongs) for short and include all music made for anime, focusing on the OP and ED songs. Anisongs are normally written specifically to go with one anime and are advertised as such.
The most common genres for anisongs would be J-pop and J-rock ballads. The songs are created to be popular on the music charts of Japan, and possibly internationally. If a song becomes part of current pop culture, the associated anime also increases in popularity.
This does not mean that other genres are not common. If the anime production company wants a different image or “feel” for the anime they can choose a more hardcore genre like power metal, or maybe a softer genre like an instrumental ballad.
Some anisongs are performed by famous singers in Japan, which greatly adds to their popularity. An example of this is the song Homura, sung by LiSA, a famous Japanese singer. The song was a chart-topper in Japan for a record of 11 weeks!
It is worth looking into why J-pop and rock are the most common genre next. We will also mention some other genres of well-known anime later, with a list of top anime songs ranked. Keep reading to understand why you shouldn’t skip through the OP and ED scenes!
The reason for J-pop and J-rock anime songs
As mentioned previously, pop and rock in most countries tend to be the most listened to genres. If the songs associated with an anime becomes a hit, the anime also becomes a lot more popular. Vice versa is also true.
Anime gives entry-level artists a chance at more exposure to an already established audience of anime watchers.
Anime production companies also do not have to go through the process of buying an already existing song with licensing issues and costs. (More on how much it costs to produce anime here – we create a huge article on that!)
Another reason for anisongs being so close to the anime production is because many voice actors in Japan also perform as musical artists. Creating music for the anime they act in results in higher pay and exposure.
One very famous pop/rock performer and voice actor is Megumi Hayashibara. She is known for performing in countless anime and paved the way for many other voice actors to become singer/songwriters for anime in similar music genres.
In Japan, not all people listen to anisongs, even if they are popular on the charts. Only in areas like Akihabara will you hear anisongs playing in shops and in some businesses associated with anime. So don’t expect anyone you speak to know your favorite song!
Well-known anime and their song genres
Let’s look at some specific anime OP song genres, as well as examples of artists outside of Japan to perform anisongs:
1. One Piece
Arguably one of the most famous anime today, due to its long-running time, One Piece uses a K-pop group for two of the OP scenes. TVXQ is a well-known Korean pop group and their latest OP song Share The World for One Piece was a hit in Korea and Japan.
Many other animes have started using K-pop artists to create OP songs, which has resulted in a higher interest in Japanese anime in Korea and K-pop interest in Japan. See also Masayume Chasing, a K-pop OP song in Fairy Tail.
This internationally loved anime used a Western performer to create the OP song for the first season of Pokémon. American artist Jason Paige performed the song Indigo League to great success.
3. Samurai Champloo
A popular anime due to its unique storyline and characters, it uses a hip-hop song called Battlecry by Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes to open each episode. It’s a very different genre from most other anime.
4. Beck Mongolian Chop Squad & Serial Experiments Lain
Two lesser-known animes that use Western artists for their OP songs include Beck Mongolian Chop Squad that has an American Punk song (Hit in the USA) and Serial Experiments Lain that has a British Alternative song (The Race of a Thousand Camels).
These are just some of the different genres that can be found within anisongs. Since the songs are chosen or created specifically for the anime produced skipping over the intros and exists shouldn’t be done lightly. Read on for some more reasons.
Reasons why not to skip Openings and Ending scenes in anime
OP sequences are very important in anime since they can be described as a trailer for that anime and is seen as part of the episodes. The music for an OP scene is therefore very important in setting the tone for the episodes and chosen very carefully.
The ED scenes are also important, especially since many animes have small scenes only seen at the end of the credits. The ED songs are also chosen specifically to match the anime and end off episodes.
Skipping the opening and ending scenes of anime episodes is sometimes frowned upon since a lot of effort is made to create them and they do add to the experience of the actual anime. Some animes also change the OP and ED scenes depending on the current arc.
These changes coincide with changes in plot, characters, tone or different seasons. It is therefore important for any anime fan to pay attention to the scenes and music of these OP and ED scenes to ensure that the anime is experienced as the production team intended!
What is your favorite OP or ED scene? Do you have a favorite anisong or anisong artist? Tell us about it in the comments!