Let’s preface this by saying there are a lot of anime shows out there; hundreds, possibly thousands. Not only that, but each one has an opening theme song and an ending theme song, which change every season if not multiple times within that season. So, will there be some songs missing from this list that might deserve to be here? Probably. But that’s one of the (many) awesome things about anime: It’s much more open to hard rock and metal than any other TV genre. These are some of the most noteworthy examples of the heaviest anime theme songs.
Throughout this list, you'll hear a variety of different bands for fans of Slipknot, Static-X, Atreyu, Evanescence and a few others.
Sanrio, the company that gave the world one of the most adorable icons in history in the form of Hello Kitty, got much edgier with the addition of Aggretsuko to their lineup. This show, made in collaboration with Netflix, is about a red panda who hates her day job and does heavy metal karaoke at night to blow off steam. The instrumental theme song is all rage, filled with blast beats, power chords and shredding. This sweet little panda could hang with Slayer any day of the week.
Attack on Titan is one of the bloodiest and most popular anime. This dystopian, World War II-inspired show is centered around an existential battle between humans and titans. It’s the perfect backdrop for a heavy song like “The Rumbling” by SiM. The Final Season Part 2 opening theme is a melodic metal banger with a slow build and a bit of symphonic flair. The style is reminiscent of bands like Atreyu and Trivium.
Death Note is one of the most beloved anime of all time. The intellectual competition between L, Japan’s best detective, and Light Yagami, a student who fancies himself a god thanks to his notebook that can kill whoever’s name is written inside, is second to none. This deadly game of wits is punctuated by a monster opening theme for the show’s second season. “What’s Up, People?!” by Maximum the Hormone is a headbanger with crunchy guitars and beastly unclean vocals. Fans of Slipknot and Drowning Pool will be all in on this one.
The lead singer of a wildly successful death metal band called Detroit Metal City is secretly an easygoing guy who loves to listen to Swedish pop music. You wouldn’t know the latter part if you were one of his fans and heard the song “Satsugai,” which is also the show’s opening theme.
If you like Static-X, System of a Down and Pantera, well, you’re definitely going to like this track!
If there’s one band avid anime watchers run into over and over again, it’s Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas. Named after the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, it’s fitting that this electronicore band would appear on Hunter x Hunter. The show is about a young boy named Gon Freecss who wants to become a hunter of monsters, like his father before him. The ending theme of the show’s first season, “Just Awake,” features an amazing dance beat, screams, high-pitched clean vocals and everything else a fan of Dance Gavin Dance, Chiodos or I See Stars would love.
Anime is a medium that allows the imagination to really run wild. Historical fiction, fantasy and sci-fi are common styles, and Nobunagan relies on all three. The protagonist must save the world using weapons inhabited by the spirits of warriors past. The name of the show’s opening theme, “Respect for the Dead Man” by Pay Money To My Pain, certainly makes sense in this context. Those who enjoy rocking out to early Bring Me The Horizon records will find a home in this song’s racing riffs and belligerent gang vocals.
A superhero finds out just how boring life can be when he’s powerful enough to defeat enemies with a single blow. Maybe some hair metal will entertain the protagonist of “One Punch Man”! The show’s opening theme, “The Hero!!” by JAM Project, is admittedly a lot of fun with its ‘80s style wailing vocals and charging chorus. So if you like Dragonforce (or Bon Jovi, since multiple band members look suspiciously like him), this one’s for you.
Tokyo ESP follows the story of a high school girl who gains the ability to pass through solid objects and becomes Tokyo’s new hero. The ending theme, “Kyuusei Argyros” by Teikoku Yousei, is a metal song that puts female vocals and operatic chants at the forefront in a style similar to Lacuna Coil or Evanescence. The character’s hair turns white when she uses her powers, which is referenced in the music video by the vocalist’s costume change.
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! or Watamote for short, is an anime about an awkward high school girl who has more gaming skills than social skills. That pent up frustration bursts forward in the show’s opening theme by Kiba of Akiba and Konomi Suzuki. (Fun fact: Kiba of Akiba have also collaborated with Babymetal.) Male and female vocals bring dimension to this exciting track, which features epic guitar soloing, an electronic breakdown, guttural screams, thumping rock beats and even a brief jazz interlude. Conclusion: Japanese artists are the ultimate genre benders.
In Vinland Saga a young viking sets out to become a warrior capable of killing his father’s murderer. The anime’s opening theme reflects this feeling of strife. “Mukanjyo” by Survive Said The Prophet starts off as purely melodic, then climaxes with unclean vocals which hit just at the right moment to create an emotional impact. Add this to your playlist if you listen to bands like Sleeping With Sirens, We Came As Romans and other post hardcore or melodic metalcore bands.