Japan has had an enormous effect on the worldwide entertainment industry. Even Star Wars has been influenced by the legendary Akira Kurosawa. Their music has been huge as well, however, Japan is mostly known for manga and anime when it comes to recreational activities. With anime being one of the biggest entertainment markets in the world, combining it with music makes perfect sense. Many action-packed shows also hype the audience up with a metal introduction. Rather than another top 10 list, I decided to share 5 I think XS ROCK readers will enjoy. God bless anime and metal!
Dragon soul- (Dragon Ball Z Kai) Takayoshi Tanimoto
5. Dragon Ball Z became notorious for filler episodes. Much of the unnecessary talking and buildup scenes could be cut entirely. That is where Kai came in. Takayoshi Tanimoto manages to add a bit of old-school rock, elements of power metal, and symphonic metal in Dragon Soul. The track is uplifting, catchy, and most importantly, fun. Today it is one of the most well-known openings with many covers easily available on YouTube, several members of the English voice cast actually covering it. While there are heavier versions, the original can be considered a soft metal performance.
4. What’s Up, People?!- (Death Note) Maximum The Hormone
A suspense/psychological anime deserves an intense opening. The lyrics match the theme of the show, which makes it even better. Both deal with crime, stress, and anxiety. This single is often associated with anime in pop culture as well. While many can debate the greatness of the anime, the song that accompanies it has nothing to prove. These two will always go hand in hand in bringing great joy to this controversial anime’s fanbase.
3. The Hero- (One Punch Man) Jam Project
It starts off with a now-iconic guitar riff. From there, it builds up when the lyrics “one punch” is screamed. It’s a beautiful pairing. The song also describes the plot. Saitama doesn’t want money or fame, he just wants to fight his enemies for the thrill of it, like a saiyan. Unfortunately for him, one punch always kills the enemy, no matter how powerful they are. The song is so great because anyone who understands it automatically realizes the entire story!
2. Aggressive Girl- (Aggretsuko) Sources Vary
This intro highlights the premise of the anime. The suffering of a kind silent girl who has to behave. She has to deal with the drama, issues, and unfairness of the world behind a smile but wants to explode on the inside. Not only is this plot ridiculously relatable, but it’s also what the theme is about! It is the perfect match for the main character’s innermost turmoil and true feelings. Different sources credit different people with the song with it ranging from Richaad EB, to Natsumi Tabuchi, to Hanae Nakamura, to Harold Orte. The song got VERY relatable to me while trying to find out who to credit.
1. Gurenge- (Demon Slayer) LiSA
As if singing the iconic opening to the groundbreaking isekai Sword Art Onlone wasn’t enough, LiSA had to outdo herself. It starts out calm, before getting chaotic and heavy, much like the series. The anime helped make the song even more famous, and the song helped make the anime even more famous. This song was used in the 2020 Olympics, performed by a Japanese Ambassador, covered to a ridiculous amount on YouTube and the number one song in Japan, winning several major awards and going Platinum. It has sold over 1 million digital copies in Japan and is credited with over 100 million streams. It beautifully blends many different styles of music into a single powerful performance that took the world by storm.