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Foreign languages have been used in anime songs since around the eighties, just to add a little bit of flavor to the lyrics, but back in the 2000’s, there was an authentic boom of anime songs fully composed in foreign and made-up languages. And of course, English is a favorite, as most of the world can understand or at least translate it with ease. So, let’s get on board to remember some great anime openings and endings in English! Turn up the volume of your headphones and get your ears and voice ready for the ride!
10. Why or why not - Ending “Higurashi no naku koro ni” by Oshima Hiroyuki feat. Katakiri Rekka
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 5 to Sep 27, 2006
This is a mystery story based on a popular game produced by 07th expansion. The year is 1983, and a nice guy named Keiichi Maebara moves to the small town of Hinamizawa. Here, he will make new friends and be involved in the strange case of the murders connected to the annual festival for the village god. Will Keiichi and his friends survive to tell the tale? Or will they succumb to terror and paranoia? Watch the anime and perhaps you will find out 🙂
Higurashi’s ending is an enchanting and soothing melody, in contrast with the tense atmosphere the show usually has. It goes more into the lines of the end of summer, as the story is set in that season. The lyrics are full of existential questions, and the voice of the singer also complements the volume of the music well by being slightly more vivid. In short, this is the perfect song to end a horror filled anime like Higurashi.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni ED
9. You won't see me coming - Ending “Gankutsuou” by Jean Jacques Burnel
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 6, 2004 to Mar 30, 2005
Welcome to an interstellar version of the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This story has everything to please the audience: revenge, adventure and lost love. Its protagonist, Albert Morcerf, meets a mysterious Count that turns out to be his mother’s former fiancee and his father’s former friend. So, the young lad will be just in the middle of conflicts born in the past, when three men betrayed the Count on his wedding day.
Rock is a rhythm you would not see coming when talking about classy Europeans from centuries ago. But hey, this time the action is in a futuristic outer space, so rules can be broken. Truly speaking, the music and harsh voice of the singer fit perfectly with the Count’s psyche. And let’s not forget about the lyrics. Revenge sounds so sweet!
8. Into the sky - Opening “Gundam Unicorn: Re 0096” by Sawano Hiroyuki and Tielle.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Apr 3 to Sep 11, 2016
Gundam Unicorn: Re 0096 is part of the Gundam Franchise. We get to see an intergalactic war, internal conflicts, good character development and romance in this anime. Audrey, a rebel trying to stop the imminent war, literally falls into the arms of Banagher Links. He is a student of the Anaheim Industry Technical School in the colony "Industrial 7", where the story takes place. Together, they will get involved with the factions that are for and against war.
We found it thrilling to put Gankutsuou’s and Gundam Unicorn’s music together on this Top Ten, as the stories have different portions of historical influences and space opera mixed together. The result, of course, is completely different. And the music also reflects the difference. Sawano Hiroyuki is an expert on electronic melodies, and with this opening, he pulls us directly to outer space.
Gundam Unicorn: RE 0096 OP
7. The sore feet song - Opening “Mushishi” by Ally Kerr
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 23, 2005 to Jun 19, 2006
Although the anime is short, the story is based on a 10 volumes manga finished back in 2008. The Mushi are the basic units of life, but exactly what they are, how they operate and why they exist are some of the questions a lot of people in this anime are constantly wondering. These people are called Mushishi. Thus, our story follows a Mushishi named Ginko, who is travelling around the world in search of answers about the Mushi.
Just by looking at the title of this song, we can see that it fits with Mushishi. The story of a wanderer researcher is well reflected in the tranquil pace of the guitar and the voice of the singer. But this does not mean the tone is sad. The lyrics could be mistaken for a love song, but once we know what is the show about, we notice it talks about the Mushi. There is tiredness reflected on the music pauses, followed by swift quickenings from the guitar. All in all, it is a happy and calm tune, worth listening.
6. Over Night - Ending “Le Chevalier D’eon” by Aya
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul 2, 2006 to Feb 23, 2007
We have another anime full of mysteries here! Plus, it has zombies. Everything starts when Lia de Beaumont is found dead, floating down the Seine river in a coffin with the word “Psalms” inscribed on it. Her brother D’eon vows to find out what happened, but Lia’s soul is far from peaceful. So, D’eon will have to deal with her and the zombies, in the middle of a chain of events that will provoke the French Revolution.
As Le Chevalier D’eon is an anime full of action, the song provided is a ballad instead. Still, the combination of electric guitar interchanged with soft parts prevents it from being too slow. We also get lyrics that question what is going on and begs for guidance, which fits with the era that had strong links with Christian religion. In short, this is a song that builds up to a powerful end.
Le Chevalier D'eon ED
5. Wind - Ending “Naruto” by Akeboshi
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: Oct 3, 2002 to Feb 8, 2007
Does this anime need more introductions? The adventures of the headache of the Konoha village have become a timeless classic. Naruto, who holds the spirit of the mischievous Nine tailed fox inside of him, dreams of becoming a great Ninja and the chief of his village. He will meet foes and allies alike, and he will learn from his defeats and his victories.
Being a great story, Naruto needed great music. And that is exactly what we get on its very first ending. Wind is the perfect fusion of violin, piano, japanese flute and a cool beat. This is musical minimalism at its finest, which makes the vocals (and their superb message of courage) stand out more.
Naruto ED Wind
4. Vacancy - Ending “Bounen no Xamdou” by Kylee
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul 15, 2008 to Feb 4, 2009
This story starts in a different world called Sentan Island. One fine day, the protagonist, Akiyuki Takehara, is delivering lunch from his mother to his father when a strange explosion penetrates his arm. Invasion brakes havoc! But surprisingly, Akiyuki transforms into a strange creature called Xamdou, who is ready to fight to save his friends… when he is stopped by a girl called Nakiami, who demands Akiyuki to come with her and live, or stay and turn into stone. So, em… we can just guess which option he chooses, right? And this is just the start of the adventures! You will have to watch the series to find out what happened next.
A story with such a fast pace definitely needs rock in its life. Vacancy is an ending that starts a little bit slow, then turns epic and strong. The lyrics might be too sentimental if not for the music, actually. So, no sins here, we have a good musical balance for an anime full with action and discovery.
Vacancy - Bounen no Zamned ED
3. Kiri - Opening “Ergo Proxy” by MONORAL
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Feb 25 to Aug 12, 2006
In this anime, humanity has finally succeeded in making our planet inhospitable. Life is only possible in domed cities, and it is precisely in one of such cities called Romdo where the events of Ergo Proxy start. The investigator Re-l is trying to find out the truth behind the mysterious Cogito virus, which is infecting the AutoReivs (androids) of Romdo. At the same time, an AutoReiv technician called Vincent gets caught in surreal events occurring around him, linked to powerful creatures called Proxies. Re-l and Vincent will eventually clash and initiate a journey to find out what is really going on beyond Romdo itself.
We can say that Kiri was composed with Vincent on mind, as he is very impressed with Re-l since the first time they meet. That explains the lyrics. The song also tells us about Vincent’s desperation to understand what is going on, but not in a chaotic way. Vincent has a gentle and kind side afterall. So, all of his characteristics are brought on an upbeat rock ballad that functions as a great introduction to the anime:
Ergo Proxy OP
2. Duvet - Opening “Serial Experiments Lain” by BoA
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 6 to Sep 28, 1998
Lain is a normal teenage girl who gets curious about the suicide of one of her schoolmates. Apparently, the girl is somewhat still alive and invites Lain through e-mail to find the truth in the world of the Wairdo (the internet in this anime’s world). Lain will discover that reality can be very complex… and that her own existence might be linked to the Wairdo itself. And what is all this about a God of the Wairdo and the Knights?
Serial Experiments Lain is the anime for computer fanatics, which tries to juxtapose reality and virtuality in an era where the applications of the internet were still underdeveloped. So, can we expect an opening with electronic sounds and the like? Nope, Lain opts for a rock ballad by South Korean singer BoA. This song goes for the human side of things, and we don’t wish for anything better to reflect Lain’s search for the truth.
Serial Experiments Lain OP
1. Stray - Opening “Wolf's Rain” by Steve Conte
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jan 7 to Jul 29, 2003
Here we have an anime in a pre-apocalyptic world. Legend says that when the world ends, the gates of paradise will be opened and only wolves will be capable of crossing it. But wolves have been extinct for a long time, or are they really? Actually, our protagonist Kiba is one of them, but wolves now disguise as humans. They start to gather, as they can smell Lunar flowers, which are said to be the key to finding the paradise gates. But others will do whatever it takes to reach the promised land first.
Wolf’s Rain became a legend in the realm of anime due to its excellent storytelling, music and character development. Its opening goes into the lines of epicness and the wolves spirit. Stray is the best for adventurous and courageous people who want to be in touch with their basic instincts! Plus, we have a hint of hope in the lyrics. It is simply the best!
Wolf’s Rain OP
What did you think about our selections? It was hard to rank so many good songs, and even harder to leave a bunch out. Anime in recent years gave us too much music and great shows to pick from. So let’s wait to see how many anime English songs the future brings. It looks promising 🙂
But do tell us, which are your favorite anime songs in English? Don’t forget we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!