The best, most memorable anime songs get stuck in your head and won’t let go. They’re super catchy, even if you’ve got no idea what all those Japanese sounds mean.
Next time you’re at karaoke, queue up these songs and get your friends addicted to kawaii anime tunes. We’ve tried to include a mix of anime intros and endings for you.
Neon Genesis Evangelion – Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis (A Cruel Angel’s Thesis)
A.k.a. the karaoke ‘right of passage’ song in Japan. We’ll let you in on a secret. We have never – never ever – been to a Japanese karaoke party where this wasn’t sung. It’s compulsory. People who have yet to watch a single Neon Genesis Evangelion episode know how this song goes.
It’s amazing that a song written in under 3 hours became the iconic anime theme song.
K-On! – Cagayake! Girls (Shine! Girls)
Bang Dream is everywhere now, but we can’t forget that K-On! existed. For such a short time: 2 seasons, 3 specials and a movie didn’t feel like enough. Somehow, K-On gave us 50+ brand new anime songs. We’ve gone with the original opening theme for the first series.
Plus ‘Houkago Tea Time’ is a great band name. Relaxing with a cup of tea after school beats sports clubs by a mile, for us. It’s the only way we’re gonna beat anything by a mile, we don’t have the energy.
Dragonball Z – CHA-LA-HEAD-CHA-LA
This song’s got a lot of long, high, and strong notes. It’s a challenge for even the seasoned karaoke pros. Maybe that’s why someone chose to sing it on Thailand’s version of The Voice. We won’t tell you if anyone turned around – you’ll have to watch it yourself and find out.
Hey, remember when Hirano Aya nearly tore her vocal cords trying to sing this on Lucky Star? (Warning – turn down your volume. If you’re using headphones, definitely turn down your volume!)
Yeah. We get that she was in character as Konata the whole time, but that was still painful. Should’ve downed one of those karaoke voice drinks first. And then again afterwards.
Youkai Watch – Youkai Taisou Dai-Ichi (Phantom Gymnastics #1)
We hope you know how to yodel. ‘Taisou’ can mean ‘gymnastics’ or ‘physical exercise’ in general. As you can see in the video, it’s like a workout. For your body and your voice. The puns in the lyrics are also fun, if you get the Japanese.
HeartCatch Pretty Cure – HeartCatch Paradise
Change! Change! Chance! Chance! Dance! Dance! Pretty Cure is like Power Rangers – feels like there’s always a new series. We’re still waiting for Pretty Cure Dino Thunder. (That’s never gonna happen, is it…)
This song’s inspired loads of Pretty Cure fan dance covers on YouTube. We like this one – and we’re not alone, this clip’s had over 100,000 views and counting. Shuffle! Colourful! Beautiful!
It’s not too hard to learn – J-idol dances rarely are. That also means they’re easier to make into MikuMikuDance (MMD) videos. Back when the tech wasn’t as advanced, the simpler dances looked better when rendered.
Inuyasha – Change The World
The first time we heard someone belt this tune out in a karaoke room, it changed our lives.
The great thing about anime opening theme songs like ‘Change The World’ is their upbeat optimism. See also: ‘Yuuki 100%‘ from Nintama Rantarou, ‘Through The Night‘ from Outlaw Star, and ‘You Get To Burning‘ from Martian Successor Nadesico.
Attack on Titan – Guren no Yumiya (Crimson Bow & Arrow)
Well, we recommend this one up to the end of the first chorus, where the Attack on Titan anime OP ends. And what a badass opening sequence it is. Let’s take another look:
‘Guren no Yumiya’ has to be catchy, because the anime version at Japanese karaoke places doesn’t show the lyrics on screen. So after the first 2 minutes, we’ve got no idea what to sing. We have sheepishly pressed ‘skip song’ at that point more times than we want to admit.
Lovely Muco – Suki!Suki!Suki!
They say it’s great owning a dog, because it’s always happy to see you, right? Muco takes that to the extreme. Maybe you’ve never seen the Lovely Muco anime. Maybe you’ve never heard of it before. Good luck getting this song out of your head once you’ve listened to it.
Keeping up with a hyper happy song like this isn’t easy. Props if you can do the whole thing without fainting. Hey, you know who’d be really good at this? Hirano Aya…
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Just Communication
This should be obvious from all the other songs we featured, but anime music is rarely complete without random English. Although, the translation of ‘Just Communication’ makes the Japanese lyrics sound weird. Being bitchslapped by heavy rain’s unlikely to put us in the mood for wild beat communication tonight, YMMV.
Add to your dream anime music playlist
We know, we know we’ve skipped loads of other great anime themes. Tell us your faves in the comments. And let us know if we introduced you to a song you hadn’t heard before!