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Top 10 Favorite Anime Ending Themes

From Mirai Nikki
Yes. It’s another musical list written by none other than yours truly, ringwormsherm. What can I say, I’m a huge music geek and music from anime is no exception. Now, as previously stated in our other musical lists (you should also check out [my Top 15 Soundtracks](http://www.animeinspectors.com/top-15-anime-soundtracks/) or [addmanrcace’s Top 5 Composers](http://www.animeinspectors.com/top-5-anime-composers/)), we the Anime Inspectors believe music in anime to be relatively overshadowed on a basic level by the art, actual show, and other amenities; so I’m here to offer anime music the love and recognition it deserves. Branching off of that, the recognition anime music gets, like other types of aural media, is hugely unbalanced. Most of the time it’s the openings to anime and select pieces from the soundtrack that are lofted onto a pedestal as true works of art and examples of what anime music can be and should be. The whole soundtrack to an anime can also be regarded as a masterpiece if it’s lucky enough and is composed well. But what about the ending theme to an anime? You don’t often see critics or fans praising the ending theme of an anime for a multitude of reasons: A) they honestly don’t care, B) they don’t watch/listen to the ending theme and skip automatically to the next episode, or C) it may actually just be a mediocre theme.  On most occasions, I think it comes down to A, B, or a combination of the two. Ending themes are grotesquely overlooked even in regards to anime music alone. If done correctly, ending themes can close out a good episode perfectly and set just the right tone for future episodes. So, time to finally give some of the better endings a little love.

Before you read further, know that even though this is a list of my personal top 10, the list isn’t ranked. For this list, I feel like it’s more important to grant readers with my personal opinions of great ending themes than to try and rank one over another. This list is about recognizing good themes and giving them what they deserve; this is not a competition. However, as it is with all lists, this is my personal list and is not representative of the opinions of the other Anime Inspectors. This also means that these are only themes of shows that I have personally seen and I definitely haven’t seen everything. Like always, feel free to disagree and please feel free to tell me which ones you believe I missed because even though these are my top 10, that doesn’t mean that these are the only quality themes out there. But I’m rambling now. Onto the list!

**The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya– **And beginning things is probably the most controversial one on this list. People are either going to love me for including this or hate my ass for doing so. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame those who hate me for slapping it here. “Hare Hare Yukai”  is an interesting song to say the least. To be blunt, it’s pretty annoying and it’s super gimmicky. That being said, it’s disgustingly catchy and it gets wedged in your head easily. But where this ending does really well is in the dance. Yes. The dance. Sure, the Hare Hare Yukai dance makes you look super fucking stupid if you try to perform it in real life. In spite of that, I have to give credit where credit is due. Kyoto Animation did what they do best and animated this dance brilliantly.

Damn this dance!
The animation is the same quality of that used in the show and the movements are insanely fluid especially for a choreographed dance done by all five main characters.  Kyoto Animation has become pretty well known for these types of endings thanks to Haruhi Suzumiya and Lucky Star. Thankfully (sort of), the quality of these endings hasn’t dropped and the dances haven’t become any less dumb. Anyway, this ending is the prime example of a well-animated, well-directed, and catchy ending which a lot more anime could use…just without the stupid dance.

**Ergo Proxy- **No more stupid dances, thank the lord. Actually, the animation has nothing to do with most of the following endings, this one included. I don’t know who on the staff of Ergo Proxy picked their opening and ending themes, but I want to give them a massive hug. “Kiri” by MONORAL was the ideal fit for Ergo’s opening sequence and I didn’t think they could do better or equally as good with the ending, but they did. The ending theme is “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead and it fits Ergo Proxy perfectly both in title and in tone. The softer, acoustic sound of the song is a great way to finish off one of Ergo’s thrilling and chilling episodes. It’s like eating ice cream on a hot, muggy day. Maybe being a Radiohead fan has me being a little biased. You listen and you decide.

**Great Teacher Onizuka ED2- **I’m so glad that I get to mention GTO in this list because I love this show a lot. Though the musical score for the show didn’t leave a substantial impression on me, the endings to the show did. This is one anime that I can wholeheartedly say has endings of superior quality than its openings. The predicament I found myself in with GTO’s endings, however, was that it was a grueling task to figure out which ending I wanted to put on this list. I love the hip-hoppy vibe of the first ending, but I inevitably decided to roll with the second ending. The second ending is a song named “Shizuku” by Miwako and it’s lovely. The initial piano really gripped me and I believe that the pop/soft-rock sound encapsulates both the whimsical and comedic aspects of the show while also accurately representing the less superficial parts of the show such as the important and relevant take-aways at the end of every few episodes. Plus, I just happen to like the vocals in this ending more.

**Madoka Magica- **Ok. There are some endings that should just be assumed made it onto this list. Madoka Magica’s ending is the perfect example. Madoka is known for being a deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre of anime that happens to be deceivingly darker and bleaker than many would have originally taken it for being.

Kalafina is the shiz.
While sporting a rather cute and fluffy opening theme, the ending juxtaposes it by having a sound that is more representative of the ominous and foreboding tone of the show itself. The ending is called [“Magia”](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwquipMpsiQ) by the elite female  trio, Kalafina. The beat of the song is dark and driving while Kalafina’s vocal harmonies are almost haunting. There is also an eerie, high-pitched violin in the background that only adds onto the thick, dark feeling that the song presents listeners with. Somehow, the ending still presents itself as a beautiful piece of music and that’s what I think is so remarkable about this ending; it is eerily gorgeous and fits the true tone of the show consummately while also creating a dichotomy with the opening.

**Gosick ED1– **Here is the first actual show on this list that I didn’t care for all too much despite how much everybody else in the community seemed to. In light of my torn feelings for the show, I can say candidly that this ending was a wonderful surprise. The song used in the ending is “Resuscitated Hope” sung by Lisa Komine.  To be frank, I’m not entirely sure what I like so much about this ending. The rock beat of the tune infused with some melodic violin and piano just seems to fit the show so well for some reason. I think it embodies the show as a whole only in a musical format; it’s light and friendly at times (piano and violin) while subsequently housing some darker, deeper, and depressing undertones (bass and vocals). Not to forget, some well-animated and appealing visuals accompany the music which is just a nice bonus.

**Wolf’s Rain- **If there is one thing that Wolf’s Rain will always have in it’s favor, it’s its music. Luckily, Yoko Kanno composed this soundtrack with a great deal of tact and the ending only amplifies how near-perfect it is. The ending song is “Gravity” done by none other than the previously mentioned Yoko Kanno herself. What I love especially about this track is that it has only two components: vocals and a piano (this makes sense because Kanno is a pianist)…and a touch of violin. The piano lays down elegant, yet somber chords while Kanno’s voice resonates with emotion. The lyrics to the song are in English and fit well with the plot of the show while the entirety of the song echoes the solemnity that Wolf’s Rain tends to portray. The song also does so in a way without being sad or aggressive which I greatly commend. Also, the animation changes every episode, whether it be the moon size or the season, which I think is really cool and creative. Overall, this ending is brilliant.

**Anohana– **Ahhhhh. I love Anohana. For more reasons than one. It has beautiful storytelling, great character development and depth, and a compelling narrative that resonated with me. Anohana also has a fitting musical score that goes along with its weighty content and no song represents this better than its ending theme, “Secret Base – Kimi No Kureta Mono“, which is performed by three of the Japanese voice actresses that appear in the series: Ai Kayano (Menma), Haruka Tomatsu (Anjou), and Saori Hayami (Tsuruko). The song is light and poppy in terms of sound and has some surprisingly good vocal harmonies toward the end. It wouldn’t be the type of music I’d go and listen to by myself, but it has another reason for making onto this list. Not only does it fit well with the series as a whole, but the theme is also is played during more emotion-heavy sequences of the series. I eventually just unconsciously associated it with a happy sadness – if that makes any sense – and I’m sure others who have watched the series have the same association, too. Just watch the series and watch the ending and you’ll understand.

**Welcome to the NHK ED1- **Here is a show that I don’t talk about all that often. It should be more talked about because it’s a fantastic series, but I’m veering off topic. NHK is a dark comedy. It’s an amusing show and makes light out of relatively dismal situations.

Be glad I didn’t pick Puru Puru Pururin.
What I like about this ending is how it utilizes the same methods that the show uses. What I mean by that is that this ending theme is a grinding rock groove that is balanced out with fast, melodic piano and some wacky, almost nonsensical vocals. It covers up it’s darker parts, i.e. the hard rock aspect, with the lightness of the piano and the funky vocals. The song is called [“Odoru Akachan Ningen” recorded by Kenji Ohtsuki and Fumihiko Kitsu.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikFGCQJbHoM) The song manages to be hard rock in sound, yet is melodic and easy to listen to. Overall, I think it flows exquisitely well along with what the show is trying to accomplish.

**Clannad- **“Dango Daikazoku” is the name and matching the overarching tone of a series to a ‘T’ is the game. It’s funny to think such an upbeat and bubbly song can eventually become associated with heartbreak. This song is the epitome of the notion that endings should match the tone of the show they’re paired with. Clannad (for a majority) is an adorable and fun show that is bursting with comedy and sweetness. “Dango Daikazoku” is like the sugary candy coating that envelopes Clannad. Seeing that it is also sung within the show at some of the more warming and touching moments and is also credited with being Nagisa’s theme, this song appears abundantly throughout the show. Since it is Nagisa’s theme song, I see it as being more than fit for the role as the ending theme. The music box notes creating the melody, the beautiful vocals, and the playful lyrics and background art do nothing but slap a huge, stupid smile on your face. Personally, this song really resonates with me because it becomes associated with so many powerful emotions. I can only hope it does the same for you.

**JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure ED1- **YES! I hope at least some of you caught how both literal I was being with my exclamation just now. The ending theme to the 2012 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series is a little tune called “Roundabout” by the rock band, Yes back in 1971. The song is groovy with a catchy main guitar riff and lead vocals. Even though the song was written long before the manga even began, the vibe that one gets from Roundabout just melds with JoJo’s cool attitude unbelievably well. Not to mention, the song always got me singing along to it and made me pumped for the following episode…not like it’s hard to get pumped for JoJo in the first place, but it still helped! Anyway, this song is just flat-out awesome and JoJo deserved nothing less than an awesome ending theme.

**Other Really Good Ending Themes: **Great Teacher Onizuka ED1, Daily Lives of High School Boys, Durarara!! ED1, Claymore, Shinsekai Yori ED1, Death Note ED2, Excel Saga, Fooly Cooly, Noragami Arogoto, and others!

Aaaand, that’s it for my top 10 ending themes in anime. I hope you enjoyed it. I cannot reiterate enough that I would love to hear you express what you believe to be the finest ending songs anime has to offer and which themes you think I missed…especially if I haven’t managed to watch that series yet.  So until next time, sayonara!


Greg is a 23 year-old from Traverse City, Michigan. He likes catching frisbees, drinking coffee, and driving over the speed limit. His favorite anime is definitely not School Days.

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