The next episode of the anime you're binge-watching begins, and you have a very important decision to make. Do you fast-forward to the two-minute mark and skip the intro, or do you wait it out?
Mediocre songs get a swift drag on the playback bar. Only the most epic of anime theme songs are worthy of being listened to over and over again—like the ones we're about to highlight.
Here are our picks for the best, most epic, most hype anime theme songs and music of all time!
20. Tokyo Ghoul: "Unravel"
Unlike many other anime intros, this song starts out relatively slow and quiet. Its haunting tone leads into more dramatic instrumentals and vocals towards the end.
You might be tempted to hit the fast-forward button and dismiss the song as boring, but listening to the whole thing will let you appreciate its beauty.
19. Danganronpa: "Never Say Never"
Admit it: this song is bumpin'. And yes, this anime revolves around a talking teddy bear that forces students to kill each other.
Not surprisingly, the song is a lot more lighthearted than the show itself. But don't let that stop you from listening!
18. Dragon Ball Super: "Chozetsu Dynamic"
This song is awesome, just "Saiyan." All puns aside, the Dragon Ball series boasts some of the most beloved theme songs, like Dragon Ball Z's "Cha-La Head-Cha-La."
When you listen to Chozetsu Dynamic, I think you'll agree that it joins the high ranks of its predecessors.
17. Gangsta: "Renegade"
Manglobe produced both Gangsta and Samurai Champloo, so you can expect that Gangsta has a phenomenal theme song as well. Take a listen, Gangsta definitely stacks up! It combines three genres into one song: EDM, rap, and rock.
Since Manglobe has gone bankrupt, we might not see themes as good as Gangsta's and Samurai Champloo's any time soon.
16. Nana: "Rose"
Although Nana is a lesser-known anime, it still has a rocking soundtrack and an intro sung with passion.
The main character, Nana Osaki, has dreams of becoming a famous musician. This song, along with many other headbangers, are featured throughout the show.
15. Initial D: "Around the World"
Initial D has plenty of amazing 80s-style EDM tunes on its soundtrack, and its first intro song doesn't disappoint.
Its addictive guitar riff and fast-paced rapping will make you want to hop in your car and start drifting.
14. Attack on Titan: "Guren No Yumiya"
The Attack on Titan theme song has become iconic for its incorporation of German lyrics and chanting choir.
After enough listening, you'll soon have the words: "Sie sind das Essen und Wir sind die Jaeger!" engraved in your mind. It roughly translates to: "You are the prey and we are the hunters!"
13. Yu-Gi-Oh!: "Yu-Gi-Oh!"
"It's time to d-d-d-duel!"
This song symbolizes the days of owning other kids at school with a trap card, or (if you were like me) carrying around a deck of strange cards without having any idea how to play. Nevertheless, it still revolutionized a card game as a new way to battle.
12. One Punch Man: "The Hero!!"
You can't beat a combination of One Punch Man and screamo. The high-pitched "One Puuunch!" that opens the song just attests to the epicness of this show.
This song might seem to contradict the personality of the bald-headed protagonist, but it actually embodies his true unbeatable power.
11. Neon Genesis Evangelion: "A Cruel Angel's Thesis"
Few anime series were more influential than Neon Genesis Evangelion, which sparked renewed interest in the mecha anime genre.
While the show was characterized by epic battles and a confusing plot, its opening theme song was the perfect accompaniment to the story. Even its title—"A Cruel Angel's Thesis"—feels as dramatic and deep as the show itself.
The theme might feel dated by today's standards, particularly with its synthesized instrumentals and restrained vocals, but the heavy beat makes it one of the coolest and most epic anime openings.
10. My Hero Academia: "The Day"
Nothing lends itself better to an epic setup than a good superhero story, and My Hero Academia is the story of a young man who inherits the power of the world's greatest hero and must live up to his mantle.
To deliver on that concept, the team at Bones turned to rock band Porno Graffiti, who summed up many of the themes of the show in its first opening theme called "The Day."
Screeching rock vocals and a driving guitar riff are the highlights of this song, while the lyrics speak of a world waiting for a hero to help save it. "The Day" is perfect for injecting a bit of energy into your day.
9. Death Note: "The World"
I don't know about you, but this song gives me flashbacks of my emo phase. The sinister sound of "The World" sets the diabolical mood of Death Note, serving as a precursor to all the twists and turns that follow.
Here's a helpful hint: if you listen to this song enough, you might be able to erase the Netflix original Death Note movie from your memory. Oh, if only we could...
8. Darling in the Franxx: "Kiss of Death"
Darling in the Franxx isn't a great anime by many standards. The plot is confusing, the quality is inconsistent, and many characters are plain unlikable. But the opening song is incredible!
"Kiss of Death" is one of the most epic anime openings ever, partly because of well how it sets the stage for the show. This story—about children who pilot sexually charged mecha—is both dramatic and dangerous, and this song perfectly embodies all that.
The lyrics describe risking everything for something as simple as a kiss, all to one of the best instrumental tracks of the time. This is a remarkable example of an anime opening that's markedly better than the actual anime itself.
7. Sword Art Online: "Crossing Field"
When Crunchyroll was first transitioning from pirated streaming service to legitimate source of anime in the West, one of their biggest shows was Sword Art Online.
Its first opening, called "Crossing Field," remains the best that the show ever provided, thanks to the incredible vocals of J-pop star LiSA.
This epic anime theme song is perfect for getting you up and moving; it's almost impossible to remain still while listening to it. It's a song that feels like it pushes you forward with every beat, making it perfect for any workout or running playlist.
6. Durarara!!: "Uragiri No Yuuyake"
As if a show centered around a headless motorcycle rider can't get more awesome, its intro song makes it even better. The singer, Taiji Saito, uses his gravelly voice to drag out certain lyrics, intensifying the song further. Simply put, it's a must-listen!
5. Demon Slayer: "Gurenge"
Demon Slayer was already on its way to becoming one of the best-selling manga of all time when the anime adaptation was released, so it needed a suitably epic theme song to go along with it.
Tanjiro's story of protecting his younger sister Nezuko and avenging his slaughtered family is ultimately one of tragedy and fear, but also one about finding the strength to go on.
"Gurenge" is another incredible song by J-pop icon LiSA, who features more than once on this list. We love this song for its soaring vocals, driving beat, and passionate lyrics. Few artists could have done this song justice, but LiSA more than manages it.
4. Samurai Champloo: "Battlecry"
If you don't sing along to this song every time it plays, then you're a liar. Maybe you don't know all the words to the song, but at the very least, you've probably bobbed your head and chimed in with "Battlecry" during the chorus.
Whoever thought to combine hip hop with samurais should have genius status. This song's chill beat and intense lyrics make you actually want to listen to it at the beginning of every Samurai Champloo episode.
3. Naruto: "Go!!!"
We could've filled this list with just openings from Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, as both series have given us some of the most incredible anime openings over the years.
Even so, "Go!!!" stands out from the rest thanks to the incredible talent of Flow. They've done openings for Bleach, Code Geass, and Eureka Seven, but this song for Naruto still feels the most epic.
The key here is the rousing chorus that kicks off the song. The chant of "Fighting Dreamers" feels like a summation of Naruto's early episodes, while the lyrics talk about setting off on a journey with your friends.
It's no surprise that "Go!!!" managed to stay in the Japanese charts for a remarkable 22 weeks after it was released.
2. Assassination Classroom: "Seishun Satsubatsuron"
This is such a fun and catchy song if you don't know how to speak Japanese. However, just one look at the English lyrics reveal a much darker undertone.
The students happily sing: "Young people's discourse on bloodthirst," as the first line in the song. I guess when you have to assassinate a teacher that's planning on destroying the Earth, you have to be upbeat about it, right?
1. Cowboy Bebop: "Tank"
It's hard to overstate how iconic "Tank" has become in the anime community. It perfectly encapsulates how fun and cool Cowboy Bebop is with its blaring horns and epic beats.
This is Yoko Kanno's masterpiece and is consistently cited as one of the best anime theme songs of all time, so it shouldn't be a surprise that this jazz-infused jam tops our list of epic anime openings.
Jazz, just like Cowboy Bebop itself, is more than the sum of its parts. No single section of "Tank" stands out from the rest, but everything comes together so perfectly that, by the end, you're left with a seamlessly remarkable song that simply screams epic.