Home 10 Best Anime Openings of the Winter 2024 Season

10 Best Anime Openings of the Winter 2024 Season

The Winter 2024 season is coming to a close, so it’s time to reflect on what I think were the best 10 anime openings. After much time, I’ve come to find this season is much stronger than the Fall 2023 in terms of openings, so creating this list proved to be much more difficult.

As stated previously for other seasons, this list will focus on the entire opening, which includes animation, music, composition, color design, replay value, transitions, etc.—not just one thing or the other. So without further ado, here are the 10 best anime openings from the Winter 2024 anime season.

1. If the videos take too long to load, click on the series title next to each number to load the opening.
2. Creators’ names with hyperlinks are connected to their personal X (Twitter) accounts.

10. Shangri-La Frontier (OP2)

OP Director: ?
OP Storyboard: ?
OP Animation Director: ?

“Danger Danger” by FZMZ feat. icy

Shangri-La Frontier made the 10 best openings of the Fall 2023 season list and it’s back yet again with a banger metal track from FZMZ, this time featuring icy. There are a lot of amazing elements to this opening that back up the soundtrack, which I think is the best part. However, the red, liquified background that originally showcases the credits slightly derails any momentum—one of the reasons why it’s not placed higher on the list.

The use of aspect ratio is always appreciated and just gives the entire opening a more cinematic feel to it. That being said, what this opening lacks in creative transitions it makes up for in the theme song and the visuals within each sequence of animation.

The chorus is downright infectious and the sword sound effect @1:12 were a nice little touch to the song matching the visual itself—I always love it when an opening interacts with the song. This would’ve been higher on the list but the awkwardness of the quick cuts to where credits would be shown threw everything off just slightly and there’s no real fluidity to the storyboard here unlike others on this list. Still, it’s a great opening.

The sequence above was animated by Shunsuke Aoki, who also has key animation work for the number one opening on this list. If you’ve watched any big-name WIT Studio anime, you’ve seen Aoki’s animation work at some point, whether it was Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga, or Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. He also animated the sequence below in the latest Spy x Family / Street Fighter collaboration.

9. Ishura

OP Director: Takahiro Majima
OP Storyboard: Yuuki Ogawa
OP Animation Director: Youko Kikuchi

Theme song: “Shura ni Otoshite” by sajou no hana

Ishura has received its fair share of criticism and praises up until this point for the series itself. But one thing is for sure—the opening doesn’t fall under the former of that argument. This one has a generous amount of simplicity during the verse and bridge of the theme song. Once the chorus hits, everything is an adrenaline rush of action and character displays.

The opening was undoubtedly influenced by Ogawa’s storyboard, especially when we compare it to his work on the opening for Higurashi: When They Cry Gou. That’s in no way a bad thing. We can look below at how similar shots from Ishura (right) stack up to his work on Higurashi (left). Ogawa’s visually impressive storyboard work rooted in symbolism being uplifted even further with wonderful color design seems to be an ongoing theme with his recent works. This time around it he received a boost by Majima’s direction and Kikuchi’s animation direction.

The bridge of the theme song does nothing for me, also visually, until the final peak of its build-up to the chorus. So for that reason. it placed slightly little lower than I would’ve originally thought when I first watched it. However, the action is fantastic with seamless transitions between all the characters.

Having Kikuchi as the animation director for the opening, whose work as an AD extends all the way to the 1990s on projects such as Vlad Love, Arc the Lad, and Aika, was definitely one of the reasons this opening ended up being the ninth-best opening of the season.

8. The Witch and the Beast

OP Director: Takayuki Hamana
OP Storyboard: Takayuki Hamana
OP Animation Director: Hiroya Iijima

Theme song: “Soumonka” by Sokoninaru

In what I consider the biggest surprise of the Winter 2024 season, The Witch and the Beast not only delivered one of the best series of the season but also one of the best openings and possibly the best theme song. With heavily detailed background artwork and an interesting storyboard courtesy of Hamana’s experience spanning almost five decades, this opening deserves to be on this list—I might even be rating it way too low.

However, some rather simple decisions are used in this one such as the low, panning shot as the main characters Ashaf and Guideau walk in the fire (0:20 – 0:24), which is a technique we’ve all seen in plenty of anime openings. Hamana almost did this same exact cut in his work on the opening for Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Chaos in Urbanrama as well. The flame transition at 0:55 is also similar to the one Himana uses in Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Battle of Kimluck. So he definitely carried over some techniques he likes to The Witch and the Beast.

I’d say a very underrated aspect of this opening that didn’t catch my eye at first was its ability to focus the viewer’s attention on different parts of the screens and then transition from that point on. Take for example the sequence above (0:24-0:26) and look at how the bubble forms then transitions to the spotlight on Guideau.

It’s quick, but it happens again with Ashaf’s eye to the crow’s eye from 0:34-0:35. Then that same crow flies away with a flock that leads to the moonshot at 0:39 which transitions to the dark sky in the center of buildings wrapped around that spot at 0:40 right before the chorus hits, so the fluidity of the storyboard is admirable in comparison to Shangri-La Frontier and is a reason why it placed ahead of it on this list.

It does a fantastic job of capturing that dark fantasy theme of the series with beautiful background art and also provides a complete feel for it. even if someone hasn’t started watching yet. There are no rainbows and happy smiles everywhere that fool the viewer into thinking what the series is—no. It’s a dark opening with a grim theme to it all because that’s what The Witch and the Beast is. This opening tells a story by leaving behind a trail of visually enticing breadcrumbs.

7. The Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse (OP2)

OP Director: Maki Kodaira
OP Storyboard: Maki Kodaira
OP Animation Director: Youichi Takada

Theme song: “Your Key” by JO1

I would say there’s nothing necessarily outright mesmerizing about this opening, there’s also nothing negative about it either, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best openings of the season. The colors pop as soon as the opening begins. JO1’s style fits surprisingly well with the fantasy theme of the series. It amplifies the adventure feeling of the series along with the “sha-la-la-la-la” refrain that gets stuck in your head after a few watch-throughs. too.

I will say the opening does pander to how it showcases its characters by them being stationary in their own respective settings. Opening directors such as Toshinori Watanabe (Edens Zero) and Nobutaka Yoda (Dr. Stone) also tend to do this with their openings. That’s well and fine so long as the artwork isn’t flat. Luckily for this opening, the art is crisp, the action looks fantastic, and the transitions are also well done.

The action during the chorus holds some of my favorite animations from this entire list. I can’t get tired of watching it, especially the fireball. It’s chock-full of transitions and consistency that ends with an explosive impact frame at 1:04, which I’d love to credit the animator/s for if someone can find them. Some could argue the music doesn’t match the tone of the action, but it shockingly does for me. I think it’s another great opening added to the Seven Deadly Sins catalog.

6. Sengoku Youko

OP Director: Kagetsu Aizawa 
OP Storyboard: Kagetsu Aizawa 
OP Animation Director: Yousuke Okuda

Theme song: “HIBANA” by MindaRyn

Sengoku Youko isn’t one of this season’s most well-known anime, but it certainly delivered one of the best all-around openings. Stellar transition and storyboard work by Aizawa showcased why he’s a veteran who has been in the industry since the late ’80s.

The visuals from the ending of the verse leading to the bridge and throughout the entire chorus are a cornucopia of clever transitions, framing, and animation, making it a drastic step up from his previous work on the openings for Oreshura and Yurikuma Arashi.

Even though the quick cuts at the beginning take me aback, it’s a style anyone can find of Aizawa’s in previous openings of his, and this time it’s full of symbolism and transitions. The artwork still hits home with elegant details and raw emotion poured into it. On top of it all, the compositing is solid with some sakuga showcased as well.

Aizawa wastes no time at all in making sure every sequence has a proper transition to the next without re-using certain elements all while playing to the theme song of “HIBANA” by MindaRyn.

The mpact frames look absolutely stunning, The vibrant color design fits the mood of the theme song at every point. The bridge stands out in both song and visuals. The chorus is extremely hype. And the entire animation team that worked on this opening deserves their flowers.

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