While some shows are sleeper hits or just overlooked, sometimes you don’t watch a show because it’s bad. You know it’s bad, everyone else knows it’s bad, nobody bothered to watch it - except us, of course. So we’re here to let you know about some good songs you might’ve missed because of horrible anime.
This is part 1 of a mini-series, as we’ll be doing a similar article for ending themes at some yet-undetermined later date. (Stan asked us to fill in and, as usual, we have way too much material. This time we’re actually splitting it up. We’re learning!) Part 2 will be Endings, and parts 3+, if we get that far, will be a mix of both.
Since Stan used MAL viewership to determine ‘overlooked’ shows, we followed his example and used MAL ratings (below 7.5) as our primary determination for a ‘bad’ show in this list, except when one or more of us had personally seen a higher-rated show and knew it was actually garbage. The determining factor for a ‘good song’ was, of course, purely subjective on our part.
We’re sorting it by air date, so let’s break it down from the start of the decade:
Season: Winter 2010 | MAL Rating: 7.05 | Title: Oshichau zo! | Artist: AyaRuka
That thumbnail tells you all you need to know. This is an awfully cute opening for a pile of harem trash. (“Harem Trash” will be a fairly common theme for these articles.) It’s basically about puppy love, which is a little incongruous considering the catgirl lead female and the fact that rather than growing up together, they’ve been separated for a decade, but whatever.
Season: Summer 2010 | MAL Rating: 6.75 | Title: Now Loading... Sky! | Artist: Sphere
Harem trash... WITH ALIENS. Alien catgirls. Yes, really. What a waste of a Sphere song.
Season: Spring 2011 | MAL Rating: 6.69 | Title: Stone Cold | Artist: FictionJunction
Sacred Seven was supposed to be the start of a massive multimedia franchise. Huge production values, massive budget, ad pushes, the works. Instead it fucking bombed and the entire thing was scrapped after the anime. At least the song is good, and the full version is pretty long.
Season: Summer 2011 | MAL Rating: 7.08 | Title: Fukanzennanshou | Artist: Ishikawa Chiaki
Harem trash, with incest, rape, and phallic kokeshi doll mecha. Gross. The song is a serious earworm though, if mildly repetitive.
Season: Summer 2012 | MAL Rating: 7.61 | Title: ZONE//ALONE | Artist: Chihaya Minori
Somehow they got the same artist to do openings for two shitty harem shows in the same season, with completely different flavors. This is probably the better of the two, both as an anime and as an opening. The show was complete and utter nonsense, not to mention incredibly pretentious. It’s a light novel adaptation and we have no idea how it got a second season, let alone such a great song.
Season: Summer 2012 | MAL Rating: 6.65 | Title: Self Producer | Artist: Chihaya Minori
High school harem trash with ‘incest’. Even dumber than it sounds. The song is way more upbeat and cheerful than the show deserves.
Season: Fall 2012 | MAL Rating: 7.51 | Title: No Pain No Game | Artist: nano
This show was a dud. We expected it to be a banger as soon as it pulled the pin, but instead it blew up in our faces. As least the song is a blast. (No, we’re not sorry for any of those.) As you’ll see in parts 2 and 3, nano has an unfortunate tendency to make amazing songs that get attached to terrible shows (and trashy-but-enjoyable ones).
Season: Winter 2013 | MAL Rating: 6.70 | Title: Alteration | Artist: ZAQ
Incest trash. We’ll spare you the actual opening animation, because it’s borderline hentai. Like nano, ZAQ has been attached to several trash fires, and several bad shows we liked.
Season: Spring 2013 | MAL Rating: 6.98 | Title: Take Your Way | Artist: Livetune
We half expected them to reuse the game’s opening theme, but instead we got this. Both are far better than the show deserves, which is to be left on the cutting room floor alongside the vivisected remains of its plot.
Season: Summer 2013 | MAL Rating: 7.17 | Title: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui | Artist: Kiba of Akiba feat. Suzuki Konomi
No matter how we look at it, it’s the show’s fault that the song isn’t popular. Suzuki Konomi will show up again later on the list, on her own.
Season: Spring 2014 | MAL Rating: 7.01 | Title: Brynhildr in the Darkness | Artist: Tokisawa Nao
If the show was as devoid of words as the opening, it might have sucked less. (But not by much.) Note that this is the first opening of the show; it switched to a screamo song for the last third of its run, which is about when we devolved into screaming at it ourselves.
Season: Spring 2014 | MAL Rating: 6.54 | Title: Cupid Revue | Artist: Yuuki Aoi
The show could’ve used some of the cynicism inherent in the song. Instead it dived up its own asshole and discovered Matrix malware, while taking itself entirely too seriously. Yuuki Aoi even voiced a character in this. What a waste of all of her talents.
Season: Fall 2014 | MAL Rating: 6.82 | Title: Le Jour | Artist: Satomi Sato
We’re still searching for the plot the show lost. This is perhaps one of the most amazing songs on this list, and it’s stuck to a profoundly stupid time-travel harem VN adaptation.
Season: Winter 2015 | MAL Rating: 6.68 | Title: Absolute Soul | Artist: Suzuki Konomi
Action Shounen Harem Trash. It’s an Absolute waste of a great song.
Season: Fall 2015 | MAL Rating: 5.92 | Title: Comet Lucifer ~The Seed and the Sower~ | Artist: Fhana
Protonstorm would probably say that Fhana deserves better. We’re not sure humanity does.
Season: Fall 2015 | MAL Rating: 5.91 | Title: Guren no Tsuki ~Kakusareshi Yami Monogatari~ | Artist: JAM Project
They brought back JAM Project, since they were behind the opening of the first season. Unfortunately, they forgot to make the show anywhere near as good as the first season.
Season: Spring 2016 | MAL Rating: 5.49 | Title: Disorder | Artist: Yousei Teikoku
This show is one of the all-time Slaine champions. Also, this is another artist who’ll be back in later parts of this series; they seem to stick pretty much exclusively to bad anime.
Season: Summer 2016 | MAL Rating: 6.60 | Title: Brave Freak Out | Artist: LiSA
This show is the worst thing to happen to LiSA since SAO. It really needed some qualidea control.
Season: Winter 2017 | MAL Rating: 6.49 | Title: Uncontrollable | Artist: Itou Kanako
The unwanted child of Chaos;Head. Sadly, Itou Kanako will be returning in later parts of this series with an even better song attached to an even worse show.
Season: Winter 2017 | MAL Rating: 6.23 | Title: Our Sympathy | Artist: Alfakyun
The worst read-the-manga ending ever, in a way. That crushing depression at the start of the opening animation was how we felt the entire time we tried to watch this show. It certainly crashed, crashed, crashed.
Season: Winter 2017 | MAL Rating: 5.56 | Title: One Hand Message | Artist: OxT
The sound of one hand clapping is all the opening theme this show deserved, so where did this great song come from?
Season: Spring 2018 | MAL Rating: 6.54 | Title: Changing Point | Artist: i☆Ris
That shattered-glass effect over the entire opening animation is just the right level of edge for this garbage.
Season: Fall 2018 | MAL Rating: 5.46 | Title: Liberation | Artist: Mai Fuchigami
The lowest-rated show on this list. We were incredibly relieved to be liberated from it ourselves. The song is good but not amazing, but it’s still one of the largest quality discrepancies between show and song - at least for this list.
Season: Winter 2019 | MAL Rating: 7.22 | Title: Kawakiwo Ameku | Artist: Minami
Much like the girls in the opening, the animators got left hanging by the writers. And much like the guy in it, the song is drowning in the sea of trash this show wallows about in.
Season: Summer 2019 | MAL Rating: 6.53 | Title: FLARE | Artist: Void_Chords feat. LIO
Like everything that happens in the show, the sax comes out of nowhere in this song. Seriously, was a continuous flow of time too much to ask? Or even basic coherence? Fuck Arifureta.
You’ll notice several (most) of these shows have featured in the Golden Slaine Awards. It’s probably a safe bet that the shows listed here from years we haven’t hit yet are gonna get Slained, so you can consider this a mini-preview of things to come from us.
We’ll see you in part 2, as soon as we know when the hell part 2 is coming.