Top 10 J-Songs (anime related)

I’m on a never-ending quest to make people like the songs I listen to. I spam them at the workplace, in the hope that my colleagues end up liking them, and even show the PVs and OPs to create an imagery for them since they don’t get Japanese. All for the sake of popularising my favourite artistes/songs.

Now, in this country, not many people know Japanese. The scene is predominantly English and Mandarin based music. While there was a massive J-pop boom a few years ago thanks to Hamasaki Ayumi and Amuro Namie, I felt the majority of J-pop singers that reached people here were crap popsters. While pop isn’t a bad thing, I hate manufactured over-exposed pop that relies on pretty faces and snazzy MTVs.

That said, I also loathe a particular type of anime song – the sugary high pitched made-for-anime type that you would never dare to play in front of non-anime friends.

Anyway, here’s the list. In no order of merit. And I am heavily influenced by what I’m listening to right now, so you can be sure that any old song that makes it to this list is a mega classic.

Break the Cocoon by Yoriko/ ED2 of Speed Grapher

This could possibly be one of my favourite female Jap rock songs ever. Actually, it is my favourite. Yoriko, who isn’t exactly pretty, doesn’t rely on her face to popularise her songs. This slow, sentimental piece is so apt for Speed Grapher’s little loli Kagura. BoC may be 6 minutes long, but it’s 6 minutes of audio heaven.

1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou by Siam Shade/ ED7 of Rurouni Kenshin

I was a mere 13 year old when I heard this song and it was the one that got me into J-music in the first place. Ah, sweet memories of youth. Pity the lead singer, Hideki, sounds like a sissy. If that weren’t the case, I’m sure they would’ve been a lot more popular. Everyone pretty much knows this song, so I shan’t go into it. Btw SS have disbanded since a few years ago.

Sakasama no Chou by sNoW/ED of Jigoku Shoujo

Great song by yet another female that doesn’t sell her body and looks. It helps that the OP consists of the oriental goth loli Enma Ai in various intriguingly sexy poses. I like the lack of Engrish, melancholic semi-acoustic guitar, melody, chorus, verses. Isn’t that everything?

Shounen Heart by Home Made Kazoku/ OP3 of Eureka seveN

I didn’t like rap. But HMKU, along with Orange Range to a much lesser extent, changed my mind. HMKU’s Thank you!!, Home Sweet Home, and OR’s Asterisk and Hana are the songs that were the keys to my opening the door of Japrap. Japanese has only 5 basic sounds, A I U E O, as I mentioned in previous posts, and thus everything sounds fluent and rhythmic. Btw everyone MUST listen to HMKU’s new album, Musication. Oh no, I have said nothing about Shounen Heart at all. Ok, it’s typical HMKU style, with catchy chorus and rap verses, trumpets, bass and stuff. Being the OP for the would-be greatest 50 episode anime of the past few years helps too.

Nanka Shiawase by the Oystars/ OP of Flame of Recca

Dark horse! Or is it… this OP singlehandedly raised the profile of Japanese music, at least in my school and the entire South East Asian region. Back in the late nineties, FoR was the hottest thing around my area. A bit like Dragonball. So everyone was singing Nanka Shiawase, even the jocks who had no interest in anime before. The greatest pity is the retarded cut-short ending of the anime, and 90% of the people who did not know of the amazing manga. The ED 1 and 2 are good too, especially the second one.

Moon on the Water by Dying Breed featuring Koyuki or the Sowelu version/ ED2 and insert song of Beck

Everyone who has watched Beck will love this. Heck, everyone should love this. This song wins thanks to its integration into the story. As a fellow music lover and guitar player, I was really impressed by this series and the music. Too bad about the engrish, but get over it. The other songs were real good too. Yeah BECK!!

Sunday by Babystars/ ED1 of Yakitate Japan

Great, super addictive pop song. I actually bought the Babystars album, which is kind of rare. I don’t buy music lol. I’m cheap. I spend all my money on figurines. The PV for this was a girl skipping along, and you could only see her skirt and legs. Pretty cool. I listened to this song for 6 months…

Himitsu Kichi by Takadu Kozue/ ED1 of Eureka seveN

In case you haven’t noticed, I love all the E7 songs except for Days by Flow, the first OP. This is, however, up there with Shounen Heart and Taiyou no Mannaka e. Female non-rock singers should be like this, instead of the whiny generic faces they normally are. Slow, with decent lyrics unlike 99% of Japanese songs that employ excessive metaphors of love, wings, sky, dreams, hands, heart, light, darkness, running. Btw I’m pretty sure Himitsu Kichi aka Secret Base, does have the above words, but the main focus of the lyrics were pretty much about growing up, if I remember correctly.

Love Somebody by Fukui Mariko/ Insert song/ ED2 of Taiho Shichauzo aka You’re Under Arrest!

This is the greatest love song for anime. Ever. If I ever get married, I’ll want this to be playing in the background. The scene where Natsumi and Toukairin meet at Narita Airport, I’ll remember forever together with Love Somebody. Remember, this is the greatest. But listening to it on its own doesn’t have the same effect of following the entire series to see your beloved character finally finding a man who’s destined for her. While this song’s playing in the background. Have I mentioned that this is the greatest anime love song ever? If not, I’ll say it again – this is the greatest anime love song ever.

Lithium Flower by Scott Matthew/ ED of Ghost in the Shell: SAC

I like the bass, weird lyrics and how it fits the series. One of Yoko Kanno’s creations, this song gives the really cool dark sci-fi vibe which is my favourite.

Did I say top 10? I must have missed out a tonne of legendary music. Please leave some comments and suggestions on what else should belong in the realm of anime music heaven. And high-pitched whiny songs are banned.

20 Responses to “Top 10 J-Songs (anime related)”

  • I personally liked the first ED single of Speed Grapher, Break the Cocoon was somewhat…. noisy, for me, but it OK.

    I so agree on Himitsu Kichi as well, it’s easily one of the best songs I’ve heard in a while. The lyrics are totally touching and nice to listen.

    I still remember most of the Rurouni Kenshin OP and ED’s, which IMO one of the rare great things about that anime, which really got me into anime songs. Heck, in fact, my whole music folder is only filled with classical and anime music, somehow, I kinda hate mainstream English songs :P .

    Love Somebody was also really memorable and you’ve reminded me of the part where the special remixed Love Somebody was playing when Natsumi was rushing to Narita. That was really powerful, and actually moved me to tears, with the great accompaniment by the song. Too bad the 2nd season of YUA sucked :P .

    For other good songs, I recommend KOTOKO and anything by I’ve. They’re easily one of the most talented singer/songwriter groups in Japan now. Nana Mizuki also sounds nice as well ;) .

  • Hmm, only one i have heard from this list is Break the Cocoon. And yes, listen KOTOKO. She kicks ass. =)

  • Out of those 10 I know 4 and don’t particularly like them, so the following might represent a different taste.

    An anime song top list without Takahashi Youko and Hayashibara Megumi? What’s wrong with you? The’yre both ugly and can really sing, which makes me forgive some high-pitchedness. Sakamoto Maaya is neither ugly nor very talented, but produced by Kanno Youko she did nice work for Record of Lodoss War, and I somehow got attached to Pocket wo kara ni shite from Escaflowne. Another Kanno affiliate is Arai Akino, who probably has the longest career in anime singing and recently did the great Aquarion opening. To close this list of artists (how did it become one?) let me recommend angela’s vocals for Stellvia.

    I also consider omitting Bubblegum Crisis (eg Chase the Dream) completely unforgiveable ;-)

    Hmm, no men in the above, so let’s throw in Surface with Saa for Mamotte Shugogetten.

    This is getting long for a comment, so finally my personal all time favorites: Kaze ni asobarete by Okui Aki (Mahoujin Guruguru), Pink by YUAMU (Seikai no Senki), Tooi kono machi de by Kaitani Naomi (Cardcaptor Sakura).

  • Not bad list. If I made a list, I’m sure it’d be an entirely different list, but I’m also a fan of Shounen Heart… Off the top of my head, I’d have Rewrite- Asian Kung-fu Generation, Carnival- Pillows, Waltz- Spitz, and I’m not sure if this counts: Hit in the USA- Beat Crusaders because we all know Beat Crusaders is usually mostly engrish. Just to name some.

  • Thanks for the comments, guys!

    As we all know, everyone has different tastes and I did miss out on a lot of great songs. Hit in the USA, Aquarion’s OP etc. Unfortunately, I’m very biased against female vocalists. 90% of my playlist are songs with male vocalists. I haven’t really found any KOTOKO song I liked as much as those I have listed above.

    I like Hayshibara Megumi as a seiyuu, but don’t like her songs all that much. And finally, yes I like noisy songs very much.

  • Hi. I was wondering if you had or knew a place where they had the lyrics for Himitsu Kichi. I love that song ^_^

  • I have noticed a lot of google searches for Himitsu Kichi lyrics being directed to this site. Since I’m nice, I shall do the lyrics and translation and post them. perhaps later or tomorrow.

  • HI.. ^^

    can u send me the translated ver. of (jigoku shoujo OP)sakasama no chou by snow??? I can’t seem to find it on the net >_

  • Love Somebody by Fukui Mariko/ Insert song/ ED2 of Taiho Shichauzo aka You’re Under Arrest!

    It sure is ^_^ … I remember this one during the last few episodes of the series. I even record the show so that I can listen to the song. ^_^

  • hi
    thought the 3rd op of blood+ was fantastic: UVERworld’s ‘Colors of the Heart’

  • OMMFG YOU DONT LIKE DAYS???????? THATS A TOTALLY AWESOME SONG!!! also try listening to the first and second openings of code geass. and if you havent seen code geass, ur missing out! tho u probably havent seen it cuz im the only one whos uploaded it to youtube so far!!! well heres a link, everyone kept telling me i should put it on private so i wouldnt get banned so ull have to add me, but trust me thsi anime is awesome! i dont have all of them up yet cuz ive got a virus on my computer, hope to fix it soon

  • niji- denki groove- eureka seven
    diva- mark mancia- blood
    season’s call- hyde- blood
    velveteen- ilaria graziano- ghost in the shell: standalone complex
    shinkirou- loveholic- black blood brothers

    those are only a few songs i love. loveholic is actually a korean band, ilaria grazlano is italian, mark mancia is a european composer, and denki groove originated in italy i think… but all are from great animes.

  • Lots of memories there. I just love these songs. Back then I didn’t have access to these songs. I didn’t even have a PC.

    I used to record these songs on audio cassettes by using a headphone plugged into the microphone jack of my TV. The quality wasn’t very good, but that was all I had. AWESOME SONGS!!!

  • I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to Niji, by Denki Groove. It appeared in the last episode of Eureka 7, and it was refreshing to hear such an old song used in such a nice way.

  • I don’t have a list of songs to post right now…but I just wanted to say GLORY HALLELUJAH to you for speaking out against those high-pitched whiney songs. I’ll admit, I’ve listened to [and even *cringe* learned the words to] a number of those songs, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Is it just me, or is this music REALLY grating on the ears?!” I’m glad I’m not the only anime-lover out there who thinks that…['cuz my friend is WAY into that whineysong crap, and I don't really know how to tell her it's irritating].

    Oh, and yesterday I stumbled across a korean band called LOVEHOLIC, and I’m liking their stuff so far. I don’t know how their lyrics rate because I can’t find any romaji-type of things…but the sound is generally great.

  • Isnt shounen heart the eureka 7 2nd op. Haha . I can recognise most of the songs on your list and i agree some are beyond addictive. I like stuff by Arai Akino like Voices from Macross Plus and Kirei no Kanjou from Noir. Yuki Kajiura collaborations like Fictionjunction Yuuka’s Akatsuki no Kuruma made me buy the CD even though I dun really like the whole Gundam Seed series.

    I totally agree about KOTOKO. Her songs can be very addictive. her song ‘Being’ is still on my playlist for sometime.

  • Can I ask why you hate “Days”?

  • Resplendant Oni

    I can relate to what you say on alot of those songs, especially about Eureka Seven.
    About the only one that i can’t is that last one, something about Lithium.
    I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • I prefer these songs. :)

    blue bird – ikimonogakari (naruto)

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