Many great animes and cartoons have amazing opening themes. Many characters from these shows are also associated with songs because of YouTubers making AMV videos. Many of these songs are metal with Skillet and My Chemical Romance being among the most popular artists used. This list counts down ten amazing songs that could work in this role. Each artist on this list is allowed only one appearance, however, and the same applies to each character and show. The songs can represent the show itself, or a genre, as well as several characters.
10. Paranoid- Black Sabbath (Total Drama Island)
Trent and Gwen seemed like an obvious couple to many on Total Drama Island. The groundbreaking original show was a hit and both characters ended up dating. Trent became obsessed, however. This came to the point of insanity. They broke up as a result as Trent made Gwen, and everyone else paranoid. Yes, it is a bit of a stretch but if I can add Black Sabbath to a list, even on just a technicality, shouldn’t I?
9. Southtown- P.O.D. (Black Lagoon)
If you have ever seen Black Lagoon, you know what a messed up place the “heroes” of the story live in. Crime is rampant, murder is rarely shocking and it seems by the series end that no one leaves the place unscathed. Southtown is about a place with a lot of crime where kids don’t play. The streets are dangerous and you have to hold all you love close and pray to make it day by day. Praying to God just to survive matches the atmosphere of the anime. That perfectly describes the setting of the story and the personal turmoil of many of the characters.
8. Crazy Train- Ozzy Ozbourne (Naruto)
Naruto lives in a crazy world. The young protagonist also worked hard for peace with Sasuke. Originally this now familiar cultural icon was an outcast, similar to Ozzy’s departure from Black Sabbath. Despite things often going wrong for Naruto, the hero maintained a positive belief throughout. I also had to include that ridiculous solo! It’s a message of love and peace in a divided world, which is familiar to Naruto. It also applies to today’s world.
7. I Hate Everything About You- Three Days Grace ( Konosuba )
This sums up the entirety of the relationship between Kazuma and Aqua. They hate each other but are best friends. They are completely unreliable but rely on each other. They genuinely do care for each other and believe in each other when it matters most. These two put each other through hell, both accidentally and intentionally. They mock and torture each other. Yet why do they love each other?
6. My Immortal- Evanescence (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood)
Colonel Hughes had one of the most tragic deaths in anime. The Colonel’s passing revealed how dark the show could get. The demise of Hughes as well as the brutal offing of Nina and Alexander serves as a loss of innocence in the series. My Immortal can point to the kindness of Hughes and the realization of Maes being gone. The heart-breaking funeral scene only adds to it.
5. My Last Words- Megadeth (Kakegurui)
With Yumeko Jabami being a gambler this makes perfect sense. The song is literally about playing Russian roulette! It’s intense and energetic like the anime. Both the music and character go hand in hand with taking risks. Yumeko can gamble with confidence. Yumeko’s willingness to take on high stakes is one of the anime’s most defining traits. It’s a wild and crazy combination full of fun. This adrenaline rush had to make the list.
4. Welcome To The Black Parade- My Chemical Romance (Batman)
Imagine the pressure put on you by a parent, whether by their legacy, their words, or their demise. Bruce Wayne becoming an orphan gave the young billionaire a new outlook on life and death. It turned Bruce’s world dark. The vigilante became a hero for the broken. Whenever something happened, Batman had to carry on, no matter the pain, trauma, and loss. Death was always just around the corner as well. Scary, yet beautiful and artistic with an acceptance of death, but a will to fight until bitter the end describes both. The Singer, Gerard Way is also a comic book writer, creating Umbrella Academy. This just seems like a natural fit. Time for this list to carry on.
3. Caught In The Middle- Stryper (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Banished Prince Zuko went through a lot throughout the series. Zuko’s story helped make Avatar: The Last Airbender one of the most compelling American animated shows of all time. Zuko always did as the young prince felt would best help the Fire Nation, including speaking out against a general. Eventually, the prince’s spiritual and emotional struggle with personal beliefs versus right and wrong forced a decision. In this song, Stryper does the same with lyrics referring to you not knowing what the hell you believe in. It is about a spiritual and emotional struggle within, which the band had at the time. Being a Christian metal band, they were openly persecuted on television by televangelists to the point where they released an album as a middle finger to the televangelists and judgemental fanatics that literally blasted them with bullhorns. In the end, both Stryper and Zuko regained their honor.
2. Holy Diver- Dio (90% of Isekai Anime)
For most entries on this list, there is a character or two that applies to this. Holy Diver is an exception. If you ever watched an Isekai, the premise of the song should be very familiar. A hero goes to another world and saves the day from a great evil. There is also a lot of medieval imagery in most isekai anime, as well as in the music video. In fact, Dio is widely credited for being the first major artist to popularize medieval imagery in metal! Holy Diver applies to many great shows. Just imagine this playing as the main hero walks through their long and tiring journey, and then fights an enemy, similar to the music video. If I wanted a single to describe isekai anime, this would be the song that comes to mind.
1. Monster- Skillet (Any Show or Comic with a Good VS. Evil Narrative)
We all can think of a show where a hero becomes a villain, or where someone has a dangerous power they can’t control. This ranges from Hulk to Sasuke, from Jekyll and Hyde to Light Yagami. Evil has consumed many great heroes in both film and literature. This song is about being powerless against the nature of sin, and how we can’t overcome it ourselves. The song is about needing Jesus to overcome personal demons. These characters that match the song also can’t save themselves. The single is one of the most popular for animated music videos and is Triple-Platinum in the United States. Countless cartoons and animes can use it for an opening, or a character theme. It makes sense that a song with over 3 billion global audio plays would find its way on this list. It takes the number one spot because everyone who watches cartoons and anime can think of at least one character that this song describes perfectly.
Article written by John Ward