In retrospect, the Spring 2015 season was pretty good as far as theme songs went. Yuki-chan, Shokugeki, Rinne, Owari no Seraph, Kekkai Sensen, Kinmosa, Euphonium, Sidonia and Yamada-kun all had OPs and EDs that I really liked, and Arslan had a great ED.
Then the season changed, and because Shokugeki, Rinne, and Arslan are multi-cour shows, so did their OPs and EDs change. My opinion of these changes happens to reflect my opinion of the Summer 2015 season as a whole: Shokugeki’s new OP and ED are nice but forgettable, Rinne’s new theme songs are both awful, and I can’t even remember what Arslan’s sound like. Basically, I just can’t bring myself to care about most of the OPs and EDs of this current season. Note, however, that the main reason for this may be that I’m watching so many shows, not necessarily that an unusually large amount of theme songs are forgettable this season.
The exceptions are few, but they are interesting. Especially when it comes to the short-format shows. Wakaba Girl has an extremely catchy OP, whereas Wooser has a visually impressive ED. I also really enjoy the Miss Monochrome OP even though I usually don’t care for vocaloid music. The only other really memorable theme song is Speed and Friction by Amazarashi, which is the OP of Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace. I was originally planning on choosing it as my favourite OP of the season, but after hearing it a few times I realised that it’s the kind of song that I’d rather listen to just as regular music, not as an anime OP.
Ok, enough dilly-dallying…
OP of the Season: Ushio to Tora
Mazeru na Kiken by Kinniku Shoujo Tai
So far I’ve liked all of Kenji Ohtsuki’s other compositions for anime, namely the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OPs as well as the first ED of Welcome to the NHK. He also wrote the lyrics for the Prison School OP, which is catchy but not really to my taste. All of these songs share a common element, which is comedy. In the case of SZS and NHK, the comedy is the kind of absurdist that I really like, while the Prison School OP just kind of has fun with the prison theme of the show.
The Ushio to Tora OP is different, though. There may be some jokes hidden in the lyrics(I haven’t been able to check that yet), but it already sounds different in terms of melody. It sounds serious, it sounds cool. And, best of all, it sounds like it fits the show. There’s something very nostalgic about Ohtsuki’s brand of metal. I wouldn’t necessarily call it characteristic of the same era as the manga, but it’s not the most modern of sounds, at least not in my opinion.
Which, when combined with the visuals and the story of the show, is a great way to start each episode. It gets me pumped up in a way that no other OP does this season. I’m really going to miss it when it eventually gets replaced after this season.
ED of the Season: Ushio to Tora
HERO by Sonar Pocket
The ED of Ushio to Tora is in no way reminiscent of the OP. This is synthpop, it’s not menacing metal like the OP. It’s not constant fast motion like the OP, it’s composed of some very old-looking CG(the beginning bit) and still images, albeit with some cool filter and particle effects. But the ED is still exciting. The deep bass and the rhythm of the chorus pump me up more than the OP. I’d almost call it funky.
Visually, the ED feels somewhat unique. The pencil sketches and larger stills remind me of 80s OVAs such as Gunbuster(which had similar illustrations in its ED), but the character cutouts and the sort-of-parallax, sort-of-depth-wise scrolling feels fresh. It’s not interesting enough to carry the entire ED by itself(ED visuals rarely if ever do), but combined with the music, it’s just a great experience overall.