Home Japanese Fans Share Their Top Anime Songs Across Different Eras

Japanese Fans Share Their Top Anime Songs Across Different Eras

On October 7th, 2023 TV Asahi aired a program tallying votes of 10,000 people who chose their favorite anime songs from Reiwa, Heisei, and Showa, giving international fans a sense of Japanese tastes across different ages and generations.

TV Asahi is one of the largest broadcasters in Japan, and if the scale of the survey wasn’t seismic enough, the program ended up being a gathering of legends and some of the most iconic people in anime. Pitting the Showa era (25 Dec 1926 – 7 Jan 1989), Heisei era (8 Jan 1989 – 30 Apr 2019), and Reiwa era (May 1, 2019 — present) against each other, voices like Akira Kamiya (Kenshiro, Fist of the North Star), Yuko Miyamura (Asuka, Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Kikunosuke Toya (Denji, Chainsaw Man) were in attendance.

Pictured above and from the top left are Yurie Igoma (Ruby, Oshi no Ko), Kento Ito (Hirotaka Nifuji, Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku), Miyu Tomita (Chuchu, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, and Kikunosuke Toya (Denji, Chainsaw Man). From the bottom left are Akira Kamiya (Kenshiro, Fist of the North Star), Yuko Miyamura (Asuka, Neon Genesis Evangelion) Shiori Izawa (Pochita, Chainsaw Man), and Yuki Iwai (writer from the comedy duo, Haraichi).

Hiroko Moriguchi, performer of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam OP 2, “For Us to Decide”

The ranking from the Showa era (1926 – 1989) was as follows:

11985“Touch”TouchYoshimi Iwasaki
21979“The Galaxy Express 999”Galaxy Express 999Godiego
31974“Space Battleship Yamato”Space Battleship YamatoIsao Sasaki
41987“Get Wild”City HunterTM Network
51972“Mazinger Z”Mazinger ZIchiro Mizuki
61969“Sazae-san”Sazae-sanYuko Uno
71984“Ai wo Torimodose!!”Fist of the North StarCrystal King
81963“Astro Boy”Astro BoyKamitakada Boys’ Choir
91977“Lupin the 3rd Theme”Lupin the 3rd Part IIYuji Ono
101988“Anpanman’s March”Let’s Go! AnpanmanDreaming
111981“Lum’s Love Song”Urusei YatsuraYuko Matsutani
121983“Cat’s Eye”Cat’s EyeAnri
131984“Do you remember love?”Macross: Do You Remember LoveMari Iijima
=141986“Makafushigi Adventure!”Dragon BallHiroki Takahashi, Ushio Hashimoto
=141979“I’m Doraemon”DoraemonFujiko F. Fujio
=141973“Cutie Honey”Cutie HoneyYoko Maekawa
171976“Candy Candy”Candy CandyMitsuko Horie, The Chirps
181979“Fly! Gundam!”Mobile Suit GundamKo Ikeda
191985“For Us to Decide”Mobile Suit Zeta GundamHiroko Moriguchi
201983“Omoidegaippai/10% no Ameyohou)MiyukiH2O

The ranking from the Heisei era (1989 – 2019) was as follows:

11995“A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”Neon Genesis EvangelionYoko Takahashi
21989“Cha-La Head Cha-La”Dragon Ball ZHironobu Kageyama
31990“Odoru Ponpokorin”Chibi Maruko-chanB.B. Queens
41994“Sekai ga owaru made wa…”SLAM DUNKWANDS
51992“Moonlight Legend”Pretty Guardian Sailor MoonDALI, Sakura Sakura
61974“Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara”Kiki’s Delivery ServiceYumi Matsutoya
71999“We Are!”One PieceHiroshi Kitadani
81997“Mezase Pokemon Master”PokemonRica Matsumoto
91996“Sobakasu”Rurouni KenshinJUDY AND MARY
101993“Kimi ga suki da to sakebitai”SLAM DUNKBAAD
111997“Princess Mononoke”Princess MononokeYoshikazu Mera
121999“Butter-Fly”Digimon AdventureKoji Wada
131993“Anata dake mitsumeteru”SLAM DUNKMaki Oguro
141975“Rouge no Dengon”Kiki’s Delivery ServiceYumi Matsutoya
152016“Zenzenzenzense”Your Name.RADWIMPS
161996“DAN DAN Kokoro Hikareteku”Dragon Ball GTFIELD OF VIEW
171999“Magical Carnival”Magical DoremiMAHO-do
182001“Itsou nandodemo/Inochi no Namae”Spirited AwayYumi Kimura
192000“Secret of my heart”Detective ConanMai Kuraki
202013“Guren no Yumiya”Attack on TitanLinked Horizon

The ranking from the Reiwa era (2019 – present) was as follows:

12023“Idol”Oshi no KoYOASOBI
22019“Gurenge”Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no YaibaLiSA
32020“Homura”Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen TrainLiSA
42022“Mixed Nuts”SPY x FAMILYOfficial Hige Dandism
52021“Zankyosanka”Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba — Entertainment District Arc Aimer
62022“KICK BACK”Chainsaw ManKenshi Yonezu
72023“Utsukushihire”Detective Conan: Black Iron SubmarineSpitz
82022“New Genesis”One Piece: Film RedADO
92020“Niji”Stand by Me Doraemon 2Masaki Suda
102019“Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?”Weathering With YouRADWIMPS
112021“Cry Baby”Tokyo RevengersOfficial Hige Dandism
122022“Dai Zero Kan”The First Slam Dunk10-FEET
132020“Kaikai Kitan”Jujutsu KaisenEve
142021“One Last Kiss”Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A TimeHikaru Utada
152022“The Blessing”Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from MercuryYOASOBI
162023“Where Our Blue Is”Jujutsu KaisenTatsuya Kitani
172019“Inferno”Fire ForceMrs. GREEN APPLE
182023“Kizuna no Kiseki”Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no YaibaMan with a Mission, milet
192023“Mephisto”Oshi no KoQueen Bee

Many of the current Reiwa era inclusions are unsurprising, as hits such as YOASOBI’s “Idol,” Man With A Mission & milet’s “Kizuna no Kiseki,” and QUEEN BEE’s “Mephisto” all ranked in Anime Corner’s first-ever Best Opening and Ending Theme Songs of Anime Spring 2023 poll. Additionally, “Where Our Blue Is” topped the recent Summer 2023 edition which dropped on October 9. Despite this, there were notable omissions throughout the eras. Some of the most popular anime adaptations, such as Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Ranking of Kings, and Mob Psycho didn’t feature at all, while One Piece‘s only inclusions are its first and more recent theme songs.

To document international differences, TV Asahi also conducted a random street poll of 151 foreigners in Japan about their favorite anime songs, and the top 8 were quite surprising when compared to their Japanese counterparts:

12008“Blue Bird”Naruto ShippudenIkimonogatari
21999“We Are!”One PieceHiroshi Kitadani
32023“Idol”Oshi no KoYOASOBI
41995“A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”Neon Genesis EvangelionYoko Takahashi
52019“Gurenge”Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no YaibaLiSA
62014“unravel”Tokyo GhoulTK from Ling tosite sigure
=72022“KICK BACK”Chainsaw ManKenshi Yonezu

YOASOBI’s “Idol” quickly went viral both Japan and in abroad, owing greatly to the easy accessibility to anime that fans now have. The Deputy-in-Chief at Shonen Jump+ shared this sentiment in his statement via X (formerly Twitter) while announcing recent overhauls of their international MANGA Plus platform:
Instead of a series gaining popularity abroad only after becoming popular in Japan, or a manga becoming recognized after an anime adaptation, we are entering an era where when an interesting new serialization starts, readers around the world can enjoy it in their preferred language, leading to worldwide popularity right from the beginning.

The success of “Idol” meant that YOASOBI quickly put out an English version of the song which soon topped the charts. Like newer anime, such as Oshi no Ko and Chainsaw Man, Naruto served as one of the earliest introductions to anime for many abroad, suggesting that while things can and often do go viral at the same time, what remains iconic to viewers, and the subcultures of anime that grow as a result of separate histories may slightly differ.

Source: TV Asahi, Oricon
Featured image: Oshi no Ko © Akasaka Aka x Mengo Yokoyari / Shueisha / Oshi no Ko Production Committee

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