Let's start with the three most famous openings you will ever find:
Lucky☆Star OP: Motteke! Sailor Fuku! (Take It! Sailor Uniform)
This has got to be just about the cutest OP ever, except for maybe Usagi Drop and Clannad. The first time you watch this you will think 'wth?', but trust me: after you have watched about half of the episodes you'll be sitting with a huge grin while clapping your hands to this song. It's actually quite creepy.
The animation is very smooth, as expected from Kyoto Animation. The seiyuu don't deliver an incredible singing, but the cuteness in their voice makes up for it. I wouldn't listen to this song unaccompanied by the video on the other hand.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya ED: Hare Hare Yukai
This is done by the same studio as Lucky Star, and has the same lead seiyuu (note: seiyuu is Japanese for 'voice actor'). It would be no exaggeration to call this the best animated choreography I have ever seen. In fact, this dance has been initiated by literally hundreds of groups, proving its awesomeness.
The singing is very good, and the accompanying instruments deliver a very characteristic impact on the listener.
Kyoto Animation should be sued for turning so many people into weeabos/otaku.
Neon Genesis Evangelion OP: Thesis of a Cruel Angel
Eva must be one of the most influential anime around, and for that reason I wanted to include this OP. It is not a necessarily one of the best OPs around, but definitely one of the most famous.
The singing on this OP is quite impressive, but this OP fails on the animation and accompanying instruments in my opinion. On the other hand it does give me goosebumps on each listen, as it reminds me of the mind bending story of the anime. The same is true for the first Clannad ED.
Clannad ED: Dango Daikazoku (lit. Big Dumpling Family)
This is my all time favorite 1:30 video ever. The singing and animation (made by Kyoto Animation, so no surprises there) are just incredible; it pierces right through your heart. On top of that it gives me an instant reminder of the best melodramatic piece of fiction I haver ever experienced. All in all this ED gives me goosebumps literally every time I watch it, which definitely deserves some huge respect.
Cowboy Bebop OP: Tank!
I really like this opening a lot not only because it's very good, but especially because it's so different.
I don't really like the animation of this OP all that much, but the music is just plain epic. It's not as the title suggests bebop, though. The title 'Cowboy Bebop' refers to the fact that they are bounty hunters (cowboys) in a ship called the Bebop.
Toradora! OP: Pre-Parade
I really like this OP because of the sheer amount of energy it contains. Additionally the animation gives an excellent impression of the characters in the show. The singing is decent, but it's raped a tiny amount by the use of Auto-Tune and dynamic compression. The use of Auto-Tune is understandable, since the vocals have been sped up which would otherwise give all sorts of time domain and pitch problems. The instruments used are fairly generic, but still very nice. Would definitely have been better without dynamic compression.
Spice and Wolf ED: Ringo Biyori ~The Wolf Whistling Song
Again this is an ED I really enjoyed because it's different. The singing is very good, although she could definitely improve her English. This fits very well with the overall feel of the anime as an historical fairy tale. The instrumental parts of this song are very well done as well, most likely because this one isn't done by a Seiyuu, but rather by a professional artist.
Welcome to the N.H.K. ED: Odoru Akachan Ningen
While I felt the anime itself was a bit to shounen-like, I did thoroughly enjoy this ED. The musical qualities of the song aren't that great, but the animation is quite solid and it is very humorous. Not much more is to be said I think.
Angel Beats! OP: My Soul, Your Beats!
While the style is fairly generic, this is an OP that is particularly well done. The singing is absolutely excellent, and forms an excellent duo with the instrumental part. The animation is also excellent, but not very related to the content of the anime. I also feel that there is a bit too much emphasis on Tachibana which can come over as a bit of a spoiler since her role is only minor at the beginning of the show.
Usagi Drop OP: Sweet DropsLast but not least: the opening of the only josei anime I have ever watched, Usagi Drop. The singing is very well done, and the instrumental part is not bad. What is especially good about this OP is the feel that the art style and music give of, and how perfectly it fits the feel of the anime itself. Unfortunately dynamic compression has been used ruining the dynamics (duh). This is something I find especially sad in this case.
That's it for this article. I also wanted to include:
- K-ON! OP: Utauyo! Miracle.
- Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai ED: Secret Base
But I was unable because these videos are either very hard to find on youtube, or removed on a very frequent basis.