Another season, another Top 5! This season was rather particular… Unlike the usual, there was no easy-to-find No. 1 and instead we just had a lot of very good opening themes that all seemed about equal in terms of quality. This made it extremely difficult to create a Top 5; first, we had to find what 5 opening themes were actually better than the rest. Then, we had to figure out which of those equally good openings would be higher up on the list. It was a difficult process, but we managed to come up with something that hopefully showed an accurate representation of the quality of each of these opening sequences. Without further ado, here are the 5 best opening of the Summer 2014 Anime Season !
Number 5. Sword Art Online II – IGNITE by Eir Aoi
As much as I enjoy Sword Art Online, its opening is definitively the weakest of this Top 5. During the process of looking up at all the opening of the season we realized that there were two conglomerate of opening with all just about the same level of quality and orignality. The 4 shows that were part of the better conglomerate are in position 1 to 4 of this Top 5, but then we had only one position left for the 5 other opening part of the weaker group. With all 5 opening being more or less equivalent, it was probably more because of our positive bias towards Sword Art Online that it got the 5th position. So know that if the opening you like isn’t featured in this list, it was probably one of those we considered just about as good as this opening.
So what makes this opening only “okay” compared to the others? Aside from the fact that the other themes are just too good to be compared to something like this, the main problem with it lay mostly in its quite weak opening animation and its lack of originality. The song is absolutely amazing, and the chorus is well done despite being pretty generic, but overall the opening just wasn’t as strong as the others. None the less, it remains a pretty darn cool theme.
Number 4. Aldnoah.Zero – Heavenly Blue by Kalafina
From here on out, we enter our Top 4. As previously mentioned, all opening themes from now on were all seen as equal at first glance. The difference between the first and fourth place is minimal at best. Only minute details sets each of these openings apart. So then, let’s start by explaining why Aldnoah.Zero made it in the 4th spot here.
The strongest point of Aldnoah.Zero’s opening is definitively it’s song. Heavenly Blue is a graciously beautiful song that gives both an epic and tragic feeling to the opening. The great rhythm is also well matched with appropriate visuals which enhance the music itself. All of this put together provides for a great auditory experience, which is probably one of the reasons Aldnoah.Zero made it among the best openings of the season. The reason it is the worst of the four best comes mostly from it’s lack of action and rather boring character introduction. While the visuals for the opening are beautiful and much better than SAO’s, nothing coherent or interesting is happening during that opening. The characters are introduced one by one and their personalities are well portrayed, but not so much the relation between the characters. Even worse, it is very difficult to pick up what the show is even about by watching this opening alone. There is a distinct gap between what we get to see in this opening versus what the anime is about, hence why this opening didn’t make it higher up our list.
Number 3. Re:Hamatora – Sen no Tsubasa by livetune
Re:Hamatora was a great example of how characters can be introduced while still having the introduction look interesting, what our Number 4 lacks. While the music selection for this opening was not as glorious as our number 4, the opening more than made up for it by having a much more powerful visual presence. Things were moving quickly, there were a lot of different effects in each shot to make everything more dynamic. It didn’t feel like the opening was simply a copy paste from scenes of certain episodes. The chaotic background gave the rebel look to the opening that fits the theme of the show. Re:Hamatora’s opening theme properly represented the feeling of its show and story, and that’s the most important part of an opening. By its dynamism and proper representation, this opening made it to the 3rd position of our Top 5.
Number 2. Zankyou no Terror – Trigger by Yuki Ozaki
Zankyou no Terror‘s opening had something that every previous opening didn’t…powerful symbolism and interesting transitions. This is where we start to see the difference between a wonderfully executed opening and one which had a lot of thought and time put into it. There is not a whole second of the opening of Zankyou no Terror where there isn’t some overlapping visual effects. You always have the main focus on the character with all the plot and relationships between the characters revealed through subtle hints in the background mosaic of effects. At 0-gate we love our symbolism and hidden meanings, therefore this very subtle yet vivid approach to tell a story is something that we really connected to. The song Trigger by Yuki Ozaki also helped mimic the atmosphere of the show into this opening. While this opening might be a bit too abstract at times, it was really well done and presented and it is why it ranked so highly into our Top 5.
Number 1. Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus – ENAMEL by SID
Finally unto our number one. The very best opening this season had to offer in term of Anime Opening themes. You might wonder how Zankyou no Terror didn’t get this position since we praised it so much for everything it did right. The difference between it and Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus was slim, but in the end it is Kuroshitsuji who won because it proved to be the most original and well thought opening of this Summer. While Zankyou no Terror created a clever and interesting abstract presentation of its story, Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus managed to do the same thing, just as originally, but without the need for any obscurity. The opening was really clear in its presentation and it immersed you into this new arc of Black Butler in an instant with the crazy circus art. Even better were the character presentation done through vintage camera film, both giving a real example of the relation and role of everyone in the show while helping you picture the setting in which everything takes place in. Heck, even the opening credits were portrayed in crazy and original ways throughout the whole opening theme. This opening has such a great presentation that it managed to distinguish itself from all those great openings as the one and only number one! (But we’re really kind of lying, because all these openings deserved to be Number 1)