Even though art and storytelling quality is what brings us to anime, there’s no denying that anime is full of music too, some tunes being solid and memorable, others being average and forgettable. While we all have our favorite anime openings, endings, BGM, and other songs, I thought I’d go beyond those today and think of the anime music that’s most “unforgettable” to me – not necessarily favorites of mine, but tunes that are so unique and catchy to my ears that I won’t forget them even if I haven’t watched their respective anime in years…
While I don’t indulge in the opening and ending songs of every anime I watch (I’ll typically listen to them once and then skip them each time I watch an episode – unless I really like them), and background music even less so, every now and then there’s a tune in anime, whether it’s an actual song or just an instrumental piece, that I can’t get out of my head. Even if it’s been years since I’ve watched that anime, I’ll always be able to recall that melody. Sometimes they’re songs I really like and listen to a lot, but sometimes I don’t even like them that much…they just happen to have a tune that I can’t forget.
So here are my ten most unforgettable anime tunes. Again, they’re a mix of both songs and instrumental pieces, and I’m judging them purely on their memorable value to me in terms of melody (not other things like lyrics or accompanying animation). I apologize in advance if any of the YouTube links get taken down. If that happens I’ll try to replace them as soon as I can (I also have Hoshiko to thank again for the post idea :3)
10. Tank! (Cowboy Bebop opening)
The opening song for Cowboy Bebop stands out because it’s not only one of just a handful of anime openings that are instrumental only, but the jazz melody it coveys is unique and one I can easily recall despite not having watched the show for a long time. The part that sticks in my head the most is the beginning, which starts right off with a few loud notes before falling into a steady jazz beat, and how it ends, with a few long trumpet notes before a final clash. It’s a classic :3
9. Inuyasha’s theme
I probably wouldn’t have had this tune on my list if I wasn’t a huge Inuyasha fan back in the day. But even though I haven’t watched it in years, I can still recall this awesome piece of music. I’m not sure of its exact name since various remixes of it are used throughout the Inuyasha anime and on CD releases, but I believe it’s basic name is “Inuyasha’s Theme.” But anyway, it’s an appealing, action-packed tune that I won’t soon forget.
8. Catch You, Catch Me (Cardcaptor Sakura opening 1)
Even though this was the very first Japanese song I ever heard, it was never really a favorite of mine – but gosh, that chorus with all the “catch you, catch me, nice to meet, kitto~” So catchy XD
7. Azumanga Daioh eyecatch
The Azumanga Daioh opening is pretty catchy too (everything about the show is catchy honestly XD) but for some reason the short little tune that’s played for the show’s eyecatch is just irresistible. Actually, Oranges & Lemons, the band that performs the AzuDai opening, has an OST with an actual song using this tune called “Kaze Iro March.” But yeah, one of the most catchy anime tunes I’ve ever heard.
6. Dango Daikazoku (Clannad ending)
I think this one is memorable to a lot of people not only because of that sharp “da~ngo, da~ngo…” at the beginning, but because the music itself can’t help but bring to mind the little dango characters hoping around :3
5. Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku (Utena dueling theme)
I remember when I first heard this song when I watched Utena many years ago and thought it was a tad…creepy. But when I listened to it more (it’s played in just about every episode of the anime) I got used to it and it became really catchy. I still felt something disturbing about the chanting and the kinda harsh singing, but it sure is poignant and powerful – and that’s what makes it so memorable.
4. SOMEONE ELSE (Working!! opening)
I haven’t listened to this song much compared to a lot of other anime openings, but I will never forget those incessantly catchy first few notes of “Someone Wan Wan, Someone Wan Wan, Someone Else~!” It’s funny because the rest of the song is kinda forgettable to me, it’s just that part I can’t get out of my head XD
3. Moonlight Densetsu (Sailor Moon opening)
I’ll have to admit that maybe my nostalgia goggles are interfering here, but the classic Sailor Moon opening simply has an unforgettable melody. It’s used as the opening for most of the anime’s 200 episodes and 3 movies (with different animation footage each season) as well as for the English opening I used to watch when I was little. I haven’t watched Sailor Moon in a long time, but like the others, I won’t forget the tune of this lovely song. Even my mom hums it from time to time and she only watched a little bit of Sailor Moon with me years ago…so it must be very memorable XD
2. Pokemon battle theme
Like the Sailor Moon opening, this one might also have to do with my own personal nostalgia. Lots of tunes in Pokemon are catchy to me because I’ve heard them so much over years of playing the games and watching the anime. Many Poke-tunes that have been reused all these years will never leave my head, but I decided to pick the Pokemon battling theme because it’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Pokemon music. It’s been remixed countless times in the games and anime, but no matter, I’ll never forget it XD
1. salvos nos (theme from Noir)
Out of the thousands of anime tunes I’ve been exposed to over the years, “salvos nos” from Noir is the most catchy in an eerie, haunting way, and because of that it stands out to me more than the light, fun tunes we usually associate with catchy melodies. I enjoy Yuki Kajiura’s music, but a lot of it does sound the same after a while – except for “salvos nos.” This tune alone made the entire Noir anime more memorable, and it’s certainly one of the most unforgettable pieces of music I’ve ever heard.