7 Anime Openings That Get Me Pumped Up

Who doesn’t love rocking out to their favorite anime openings? I love to memorize (and translate) the lyrics so I can sing along. It’s a great way to learn Japanese.

What are some of my favorites themes? Here are some on my “upbeat” playlist, in no particular order.

1. “On My MiND” — Nana Maru San Batsu (a.k.a. Fastest Finger First)

Who would have thought a show about trivia would have a high-energy opening you’d hear in an action series? Quizzes are intense, okay?

2. “Pop Team Epic” — Pop Team Epic

Someone on YouTube called this song the first joke in Pop Team Epic. Why? Because it’s too good for this show. This show doesn’t even deserve a two-year-old banging on a toy xylophone for 90 seconds.

Instead, it got a catchy beat and deep-sounding lyrics about Big Brother watching you, the cycle of creation and destruction, and remaking the world. All attached to a show about two teenage girls with cat mouths who like to flip people off. Yep, the first joke.

3. “Kimi Ja Nakya Dame Mitai” (trans. “I Guess It Has To Be You”) — Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

I’ve gotta watch this show again. (Poor Chiyo.) Anyway, this was my favorite anime opening for a while, but “Pop Team Epic” beat it. Still love it, though.

4. “Uragiri No Yuuyake” (trans. “A Treacherous Sunset”) — Durarara!!

This is still my favorite Durarara!! opening. The later themes are good — especially “Day You Laugh” — but I love how this song makes you feel uneasy. That’s how you feel when you’re watching the show: on edge, uncomfortable, waiting for something to happen or watching everything erupt into chaos. If the first theme is supposed to set the tone for the show, this song did its job.

5. “Mission! Ken – Kō – Dai – Ichi” (trans. “Mission! Health First”) — Cells At Work

The other songs on this list are bold and have pounding beats. This one is…perky. Does it still pump me up? Yep! Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell are working hard to keep me healthy! (So are the Platelets. Yes, they’re cute.)

6. “DiVE!!” — Digimon Universe: Applimonsters

This is my new favorite Digimon opening theme. The season itself? Not my favorite, but I still liked it. Fingers crossed that it gets dubbed!

7. “Database” — Log Horizon

This song was so good, they kept it for season two. Good call. 85 percent is in English, so it’s the easiest opening on the list to sing along to.

That’s my list. Next time: anime openings that help me relax.


Something I Just Noticed In The “Pop Team Epic” Opening

In today’s episode of “Blink and You’ll Miss It — Or You’re Just An Idiot…”

I can’t count how many times I’ve watched the Pop Team Epic opening, and somehow I still missed this. Just proves you have to watch something two, three, four, or even four hundred times to catch every detail. In this case, I didn’t miss the scenes. I missed the point.

The first ten seconds or so is a montage of shots of a teenage girl. We see her Pac-Man-esque pigtail:

Her bow:

Her bust (because anime 🙄):


And finally her skirt (also because anime 🙄).

Then Popuko and Pipimi dash toward the scene shooting us the bird:

I just thought the girl in the pics was just a cliché anime schoolgirl. Today, I finally realized something. It’s two girls: Popuko and Pipimi themselves! Gasp! 😱

The bow is Pipimi’s, and the hair and eye belong to Popuko. It’s so obvious! What’s wrong with me? 😑

When the girls flip us off at the end, it’s like they’re saying, “Gotcha!” Expected cute moe girls? You’ve been Punk’d!

It’s not the only time they play this trick. In episode 10, we see the backs of a blond girl and a dark-haired woman bathing.

A cloud of steam drifts over the dark-haired woman. When it’s gone, we see that she’s actually Pipimi (of course).

Now why didn’t I notice this in the opening before? Who knows? Maybe I was too focused on the song itself (which I love). I bet most people who read will think, “Well, duh!”

“Cells At Work” — Ep. 8 Mini-Review

“One, two, three, four! We are cells at work!”

Sorry for disappearing again.

This is the latest anime I’ve been watching, and I love it. I never thought edutainment anime could be a thing, but why not? Animation is just a tool. It can be used to tell any kind of story, regardless of the country it come from.

Cells At Work (Hataraku Saibou) centers around the lives of anthropomorphic cells. The main characters are a white blood cell and a red blood cell who, despite there being trillions more of them in the human body, keep running into each other because “destiny” (a.k.a. plot convenience). I’ll accept that excuse in this show because it’s the only way to make the story work. Otherwise, we know they wouldn’t see each other as much as they do.

Each episode, we watch them do the jobs they were created for. Red Blood Cell carries oxygen and nutrients to other cells. White Blood Cell kills germs to protect the body from disease. That’s basically the show. Some germs try to invade, White Blood Cell and other cells kill them, and Red Blood Cell happens to be nearby so she can watch.

Last week’s episode is different, though. It was called “Blood Circulation.” Red Blood Cell’s character quirk is she’s always getting lost. She’s tired of being a burden on everyone, so she tries to prove she can do her job without asking for help.

After watching her almost get killed by a germ and fall out of the body, White Blood Cell gets worried about her. He follows her and helps her in secret. When she gets back, he pretends not to know how her day went and asks her to tell him about it.

Even though this episode was about Red Blood Cell, I think White Blood Cell stole the show. His antics to avoid getting caught were funny and more interesting to watch than her attempt to be independent. I almost wish he had left her alone. That way, the focus would have really been on her. Maybe we could have cut now and then to White Blood Cell thinking, “I wonder if she’s okay.” We still would have known he was worried, but he wouldn’t have taken up as much of her screentime.

I know the joke is Red Blood Cell didn’t really circulate by herself, even though she thinks she did. But where will this lead? Will she have more confidence in the future, or will she go back to being hopeless again?

Given how character quirks tend to work in anime, I doubt this episode will change her character at all. She’ll be just as klutzy and confused as before by next episode. It’s part of her charm, after all. Why lessen it?

I still liked this episode, though. My favorite part was the ending when White Blood Cell sat down with her and listened to her talk about her day, even though he already knew what happened. It emphasized even more how much he cares about her.

They’re so cute together! Wait…am I actually shipping blood cells? Anime is weird. (And I hate shipping now. I never wanna support any couple in any series again.)

Anyway, this is a fun show, and you actually learn stuff! If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you do. Here’s the opening (which I referenced at the beginning):

Confession: I’ve Never Seen “Cardcaptor Sakura”

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of those quintessential anime it seems like everyone has seen. Except me. I’ve never watched it — not even back when the Cardcaptors dub was on TV.

I could never get into it. I love magical girl anime, but one of the things I love about them is the transformations. Sakura doesn’t transform. She just puts on cute costumes her friend Tomoyo makes for her. And she doesn’t use magic in the way that most magical girls do, either. She just summons the Clow Card spirits to do everything for her. It’s not as interesting.

Why am I saying this like you don’t know? This series has been around since 1996!

Anyway, with the Clear Card arc airing right now and bringing the series back into the spotlight, I decided to give it another chance. I’m on episode 21. That’s farther than I’ve ever gotten before. Just 50 episodes and two full-length movies to go…

“Laid-Back Camp” — Exactly What It Says On The Tin

My brother said this anime made him wanna go camping someday (in the off-season because it’s not as hot). I was shocked. What kind of anime could make my hermit of a brother wanna brave the outdoors? It had to be good.

I watched the first episode today, and…I feel like I just got hit with a tranquilizer dart.

Some slice-of-life shows strike a good balance between gentle and exciting (but not too exciting). This one was all gentle — except for a slight jump scare about midway in:

Oops, I just spoiled it. So much for that.

The rest of the show was exactly what the name says it is: a laid-back anime about camping. After the theme song, we got about three minutes of our secondary lead, Rin, biking to the campsite, passing by some well-painted scenery. That’s one thing that stood out to me. The settings looked gorgeous — so much so that the characters didn’t blend well with them.

Anyway, once she got to camp, she set up her tent, gathered firewood, started a fire, read a book — you know, camping stuff. I don’t know why I expected more, but I did for some reason. But…that was it. It was literally just a girl camping, which later became two girls when she bumped into the main lead, Nadeshiko.

I don’t know how I feel about this girl. She’s your typical weird, klutzy, friendly girl, and I’m not sure if I find her charming or annoying. But if she was supposed to be the thing that broke up the peaceful mood, it didn’t really work — at least not for me. I was just as bored watching her slurp curry ramen as I was watching Rin sip hot chocolate earlier.

The ending made no sense to me. The girls got to see Mount Fuji together under the moonlight. Wow! I guess Nadeshiko decided that means they’re friends now. After calling her sister to take her home, she gave Rin her phone number and said they can have a proper camping trip next time.

Um…they just met! They’ve known each other for about an hour! Why would Rin wanna go camping with a stranger, especially since she likes camping by herself? I know we’re leading up to “a group of girls go camping together, and hijinks ensue,” but you don’t have to rush it!

Geez! Anime friendship takes as long to make as that cup ramen!

Overall, I can’t say I liked this show as much as my brother does. Granted, it was just the first episode. I’ll give it one more and see how I feel after that.

At least the theme song was cool. It made me think of the Jackson 5.

“A Place Further Than The Universe” — Ep. 8 Mini-Review

Ep. 8 Title: “Howling, Maddening, Screaming”

Remember how I said I wasn’t feeling the “four high school girls go to Antarctica” plot? I’m feeling it now! This episode changed my mind.

The girls found out what life on an expedition boat is like. Helping out with dinner prep for the whole crew. Running the full length of the boat and lifting weights each day to build stamina. Having to wash their clothes at specific times of the day. Bathing in seawater.

But that was the easy stuff.

Thanks to the constant rocking of the boat, they were stuck in a cycle of eating and puking. The rocking got worse closer to Antarctica. The girls nearly fell out of their beds. Poor Kimari got tossed against a ladder.

This is anime, so of course, the girls decided not to give up. (Not like the boat could turn back around, anyway.) They chose to do this. Kimari put it well at the beginning of the episode:

I don’t know what this trip will mean in the end. We’ll be taking time off from school, missing tests… It might even affect our entrance exams. But as of now, we are no longer high school students who can never take a step forward. We are not seventeen-year-olds and sixteen-year-olds who try but accomplish nothing. That’s enough!

The last scene showed the girls getting used to the boat and catching a glimpse of the icebergs of Antarctica.

I loved this episode. The theme song makes it look like the girls are going on vacation. They’ll get to see penguins, play jump-rope, and take funny selfies!

This episode was a nice reality check. They’re on an expedition, not a Carnival cruise. It won’t be easy.

I bet this is just the beginning. Once they get to Antarctica, they’ll have new challenges to deal with: sub-zero temperatures, intense winds, limited supplies, and the threat of getting lost in an endless landscape of ice.

How will these sixteen- and seventeen-year-old girls handle it? I can’t wait to find out.

Bonus: the art in this show is just gorgeous!