Winter 2015 was a good season for theme songs. Yuri Kuma Arashi had a novel-sounding OP and a very catch ED, Rolling Girls used old songs by a non-anison band for both its OP and ED, Koufuku Graffiti had an OP written by Swedish house musician Rasmus Faber and sung by Maaya Sakamoto(one of my favourite anison singers), and the OP of Death Parade was, well, different. I’m also a fan of ZAQ, so the OP of Junketsu no Maria was totally my thing.
In comparison, Spring 2015 is not nearly as interesting. I’d like to say that it’s because all the theme songs sound exactly the same this season, but there is actually a nice amount of variety. The new Kiniro Mosaic OP is much like the one from the first season, so it feels different from all other cute OPs this season. Similarly, the OP of Yuki-chan evokes memories of Hare Hare Yukai, which makes it stand out. The singing in the OP of Shokugeki no Soma sounds like its sped up, which in my opinion is an example of uniqueness not being an inherently good thing. The OP of Knights of Sidonia S2 is painfully obviously trying to replicate the OP of the first season. It totally fails at doing that, but I kind of like it anyway.
That said, none of songs are sticking with me. I remember the ED of Kekkai Sensen standing out in some way, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it sounds like. The same goes for the ED of Punchline. And I remember that the OP of Yamada-kun has a really nice art style, but I can’t even name the genre of its music. In reality there’s only a handful of theme songs that have actually made a lasting impression.
OP of the Season: Owari no Seraph
X.U. by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Gemie
Bizarre title and band name aside – no, actually, those are both relevant. As the name implies, this is a song composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, and it shows in the song itself. Deep bass, lots of synth that leads into more metal sounds, soaring vocals with English lyrics that don’t fit the melody, it’s all there. The fact that Sawano’s style is so easily recognisable is in itself enough to make the song stand out, but it’s also really catchy(like most of his other songs that have English lyrics). It actually gets stuck in my head, unlike all other OPs this season, with the exception of the OP of Kyoukai no Rinne, which is possibly even more catchy. Rinne definitely deserves an honourable mention for that.
I might even argue that the OP of Rinne is better, if it wasn’t for the visuals. I couldn’t possibly state an opinion on the OP as a whole without mentioning the visuals, could I? And Seraph actually shines in this respect as well. It has bright colours, cool transitions and pretty impressive explosions and fire effects. It actually reminds me of Attack on Titan in all the good ways. The visuals of Rinne, on the other hand, left no impression. The only other OP that left a comparable visual impression is Euphonium. Unfortunately, the KyoAni magic is dulled a bit by the fact that the OP is a bit too busy for my taste, but it too deserves an honourable mention.
ED of the Season: Arslan Senki
Lapis Lazuli by Eir Aoi
There was much less competition in this category compared to the OPs. I guess the Yuki-chan ED is notable for being sung by Minori Chihara, but that’s about it. The only ED that actually gets stuck in my head is the one from Arslan Senki. I’m a fan of most of Eir Aoi’s works, but I think this is her best song so far. The bass beat is satisfying and the chorus is a brilliant showing of just how much power she can put into her voice. It’s like a more pop-y evolution of Memoria, and I mean that in the best of ways.
The visual side of this ED is not the most impressive thing ever, it being mostly a slideshow, but the music is at least nicely synced with the slideshow. And the images in the slideshow show off the most interesting parts of the series, the environment and setting. If characters riding camels on sand dunes under starry skies, at the exact moment that the chorus of the song starts, is not memorable, then I don’t know what is. No honourable mentions in this category, unfortunately. Nothing else really stuck with me in the same way.