My Top 12 Anime Ending Themes
I present here my top 12 anime ending themes. Where the anime opening is designed to introduce viewers to the show they are about to watch and to excite them for it, anime endings are more about easing viewers out of the show. They tend to emphasize the credits a lot more than the opening does and where an opening theme might often sound exciting in one way or another, anime ending themes tend to be a bit more subdued. Perhaps that’s why they usually aren’t necessarily as well remembered as the openings—although that might also be because coming at the end of the episode, they unfortunately tend to be more regularly skipped than the opening. Even still, anime endings are every bit as memorable as openings are and here are twelve of my personal favorites.
12. Odoru Ponpokorin
Artist: BB Queens
Series: Chibi Maruko-chan (1st ending)
I’m willing to bet most people in the west don’t know what Chibi Maruko-chan is. Chibi Maruko-chan is an anime/manga written by Miki Miura under the penname “Sakura Momoko” and is a slice-of-life series loosely based on the author’s childhood. Set in 1974 in the former city of Shimizu (now part of Shizuoka City), the main character is an elementary third grader and an expy of Miura named Sakura Momoko who goes by the nickname “Chibi Maruko-chan”. The series is noted for popularizing the face fault of black, vertical lines appearing on a person’s face whenever they “don’t know what to say”, something that has become an extremely common iconography in manga and anime. Beginning serialization as a manga in 1986, the series became an anime in 1990 until 1992, and then relaunched in 1995 and is still running to this day. When the series first began in 1990, the first ending was the exceedingly popular “Odoru Ponpokorin” by BB Queens. So popular was this song in fact that 10 years later, new versions of the song were used as the series’ fifth and sixth openings, and have remained such to this day.
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (1st ending)
Looks like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood pulls through again. In fact, where my list for anime openings had one opening per series for each entry, for this entry there will be a few series that actually have two of their endings as entries for this list. That’s just the nature of the way endings go I case. Whichever way, Uso was a great choice for closing out the early episodes of the true-to-the-manga series FMAB. This is the ending for the first fourteen episodes which in essence are the sections of the manga that this series has in common with the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, before the latter deviated into its own thing. These episodes may seem rushed (because to be frank, they were already animated with the first series) they were still a necessary part for setting the story up.
10. NO, Thank You
Artist: Ho-kago Tea Time
Series: K-On! (3rd ending)
K-On! is a series about a group of high school girls who join their school’s “light music club” (“keiongakubu” in Japanese, hence K-On!) and form a band that is eventually given the name “Ho-kago Tea Time” (after-school tea time). The girls are Yui Hirasawa (lead guitar and lead vocals), Mio Akiyama (bass and backup vocals), Tsumugi Kotobuki (keyboard), and Ritsu Tainaka (drums). They are joined a year later by Azusa Nakano (rhythm guitar). Anyway, for the anime, all of the songs, whether they be the openings, endings, or performances within the series were actually performed the voice actresses themselves—hence, why “Ho-kago Tea Time” is listed as the artist. In terms of the characters, all of the opening songs are sung by Yui while all of the ending songs are sung by Mio, including this one.
9. Kimi wa Boku ni Niteiru
Series: Gundam SEED Destiny (4th ending)
Oh look, it’s my old guilty pleasure Gundam SEED Destiny again. Ultimately though, this song makes the entry mostly because of my overall familiarity with it. Whenever there is Gundam cross over featuring the various series, each one of those series usually gets some kind of theme song for their respective shows: for Wing it’s usually “Just Communication”, for Turn A it’s “Turn A Turn”, for 00 it’s “Power”, for Unicorn it’s “UNICORN”, etc. For SEED and SEED Destiny, “Kimi wa Boku ni Niteiru” tends to be the theme song. Or at least that’s the case with the video game Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3: maybe it’s just that. Then again, maybe it is with this song that the series ultimately concluded with, being the last ending of the series and all.
8. Anatadake Mitsumeteru
Artist: Maki Ohguro
Series: SLAM DUNK (1st ending)
More of the wonder of that is SLAM DUNK. I’m going to be blunt here and state that to be frank all of the endings of SLAM DUNK are contenders for this list. That’s just how awesome each one of these songs are. That said, Maki Ohguro’s songs tend to be a little generic: 90s style, deep pop songs that are great at getting audiences pumped at sporting events. One of her songs was used as the theme song for the Atlanta Olympics by NHK in Japan, after all. Of course, SLAM DUNK is a sports series so a long “Anatadake Mitsumeteru” is perfect as the first opening for this awesome series.
7. Hare Hare Yukai
Artist: Aya Hirano (Haruhi Suzumiya) , Minori Chihara (Yuki Nagato), Yūko Gotō (Mikuru Asahina)
Series: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (special ending version)
During the time The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya aired in the mid-00s, “Hare Hare Yukai” became an exceptionally popular fad. Seriously, just about everybody in Japan was performing the choreographed dance that was shown in the ending. It became a full blown internet meme and you can still find plenty of examples on Youtube of people performing this dance—honestly, just type in “hare hare yukai dance” or “haruhi dance” in the Youtube search and you’ll get plenty of results. As for the song itself, it is sung by Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara, and Yūko Gotō who are the voice actresses of Haruhi Suzumiya, Yuki Nagato, and Mikuru Asahina respectively. Naturally, in the ending it shows each of these characters singing their corresponding parts.
6. HEART OF SWORD-Yoake mae-
Artist: T.M. Revolution
Series: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (3rd and 5th endings)
Anything from Rurouni Kenshin is at least worth noting, except the anime fillers but that’s another story altogether. Anyway, by the time “HEART OF SWORD” became the ending theme Rurouni Kenshin was just about ready to enter the Kyoto arc, meaning that the series had truly found its stride. As such, it probably isn’t a coincidence that “HEART OF SWORD” became exceedingly popular, though the fact that it’s performed by T.M. Revolution probably helped. Anyway, when you’ve got a song as exceptionally popular as that the following ending song better be able to live up to its predecessor, and the fourth ending failed to do that so miserably that they almost immediately brought “HEART OF SWORD” back, with the same graphics as the fourth ending. At least, that’s what I’m assuming since the original fourth ending only lasted four episodes. Quick trivia, the name “Kenshin” means “Heart of Sword”.
5. Mienai Chikara-Invisible One-
Series: Jigoku Sensei Nūbē (1st ending)
Here’s a series that’s probably a bit more obscure in the west. Jigoku Sensei Nūbē (translated as Hell-teacher Nube) is about an elementary school teacher Meisuke “Nūbē” Nueno who works on the side as an exceedingly powerful excorcist. Nūbē and his students, as well as a number of supporting characters regularly combat various ghosts, yokai, demons, and other forces of the occult. Nūbē’s most powerful weapon is the oni no the (oni’s hand), an oni that has been sealed within his left arm. As for the song, there was a time years ago when B’z was regarded as one of the top singing groups in Japan, and for good reason. I do believe it is a treat to hear a performance from B’z, even in the context of an anime closing.
4. Shunkan Sentimental
Series: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (4th ending)
Told you that some of these entries would come from the same anime series. Anyway, “Shunkan Sentimental” is the fourth ending of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which in essence makes it a sort of companion piece to “Period” from my earlier list. And if you’ve read my previous list, you would know how high I rate that. Anyway, “Shunkan Sentimental”is definitely fitting as one of the closing songs of FMAB. I’ve got to admit, a lot of the songs for FMAB really are great because each and every one of them truly captures the heart and soul of Fullmetal Alchemist. It’s all so wonderful.
3. 1/3 no Junjou na Kanjo
Artist: SIAM SHADE
Series: Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (7th ending)
“1/3 no Junjou na Kanjo” (translates as “1/3 of a pure feeling”) to me represents a sort of “what could have been”. For those of you not in the know, with Rurouni Kenshin, after the highly beloved and exciting “Kyoto arc”, the manga went into the extremely dark “Jinchu arc” where the previously alluded past of Himura Kenshin was finally fully explored. The anime however, never made the “Jinchu arc”. Instead, after the “Kyoto arc” the anime went into a continuous loop filler arcs. Viewers who continued watching fully expecting the “Jinchu arc” to begin were continuously met with disappointment as filler arc just lead into filler arc and on and on. Eventually, viewers just grew fed up with the fillers (myself included), ratings plummeted, and the show ended up being canceled. Looking back, I’m willing to bet that the animators may have thought that the “Jinchu arc” was too dark for an anime which a lot of children were watching and probably tried to delay it as much as they could. But the thing is, “1/3 no Junjyo na Kanjo”, the ending that followed the “Kyoto arc” heavily implies that originally they were planning on animating the “Jinchu arc”. Hence, “what could have been”.
2. Get Wild
Artist: TM Network
Series: City Hunter (1st ending)
Here’s an absolute classic—City Hunter is the story about Ryo Saeba, a “sweeper” who works at cleaning up the messes left on the streets of Tokyo. Except the sort of “messes” he cleans up are the sort of “messes” left behind by the criminal underworld. By writing the letters “XYZ” on a blackboard at Shinjuku station, clients can get in contact with the underworld private detective code named “City Hunter”, an underground jack-of-all trades operation. While he may be a lecherous pervert, Ryo is still very much a true man who really defines what it means to be a “good man” (usually). And the first ending “Get Wild” is definitely a song that really exemplifies a lot of what City Hunter is all about.
1. Sekai ga Owaru made wa
Series: SLAM DUNK (2nd ending)
I think I just might tear up watching this ending. I have already thoroughly gushed about just how awesome SLAM DUNK is, as well as how awesome all of its songs are. So for me to declare that “Sekai ga Owaru made wa” (“By the time the world ends”) as the best song of them all (with maybe the exception of “Kimi ga suki da to sakebitai”) has got to count as something, right? Seriously, “Sekai ga Owaru made wa” is a prime example of an excellent anime closing. I consider this ending to be the gold standard for which all endings songs should aspire to be. That’s just how highly I rate this song.
So there you have my list of anime endings. Like it? Hate it? What favorite endings do you have? Let me know in the comments. Until then, see you all later.