“You Won’t See Me Coming”
—Jean Jacques Brunel (Gankutsuou:The Count of Monte Cristo)
A dark but energetic techno tune with sinister vocals by former Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Brunel that foreshadows the many machinations of the mysterious Count.
“Hikari To Kage O Dakishimeta Mama”
--Naomi Tamura (Magic Knight Rayearth)
I’m not too into magical-girls shows, but I love this song. It’s like a lost 70’s bubblegum hit you can’t get out of your head.
--HALCALI (Mr. Stain on Junk Alley)
Another song that really sticks in your ear, this hip-pop song with a Latin/Ska beat makes me want to dance every time I hear it.
“Ready Steady Go”
--L'Arc-en-Ciel (Fullmetal Alchemist)
This anthemic pop-punk song perfectly represents the innocent but determined spirit of the show’s Elric Brothers.
--The Seatbelts (Cowboy Bebop)
A jazzy 60’s –style instrumental is perfect for this retro-futurist series that is full of references to 60s and 70’s Japanese and American television.
--Juno Reactor (Texhnolyze)
A dark techno-industrial tune sets the mood for this dystopian science fiction anime.
“Yume no Shima Shinen Kouen”
--Susumu Hirasawa (Paranoia Agent)
Off-beat electronica with unidentifiable World-Beat influences (Tibetan? Finnish? Bulgarian?) sets the stage for a thought-provoking anime.
“Cruel Angel’s Thesis”
--Yoko Takahashi (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
A techno number so upbeat it starts to sound sinister as the anime gets darker and darker.
--Akino Arai (Windaria)
An oldie but goodie, this yearning ballad perfectly conveys the tragedy of the anime’s star-crossed lovers. Not recommended for people with low 80’s pop tolerance (I can’t get enough, myself).
--John Sykes (Black Heaven)
A show about a former Metal guitarist whose music saves a whole planet needs a kick-ass opening tune like this one from former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes.
Bonus worst anime theme song: “Stray”–Steve Conte (Wolf’s Rain)
The Wolf’s Rain soundtrack is by anime soundtrack goddess Yoko Kanno, who also did Cowboy Bebop, but this opening theme song just annoys me. It’s so mellow and middle-of-the-road, more for a dentist’s office or a romantic TV-movie on the Hallmark Channel than a dark and thoughtful science-fictional adventure. The first time I heard it, I was already tired of it.