With the Summer 2022 season coming to a close, it’s time we look back on the best opening sequences from a surprisingly solid lineup of anime. While this season doesn’t live up to Spring 2022, it still managed to give us some of the best openings of 2022—and one or two of these might take you by surprise. As stated the last two times, this list will focus on the entire sequence—animation, music, composition, color design, replayability, etc.—not just one thing or the other. So without further ado, here are the top 10 anime openings from the Summer 2022 anime season.
10. Classroom of the Elite Season 2
It’s almost like this opening took the Tomodachi Game opening from the Spring 2022 season but put its own Classroom of the Elite twist on it. And much like Tomodachi Game, the opening isn’t anything special compared to the ones further down the list. However, the metaphoric artwork, clean transitions, and interesting color palettes in this opening are definitely enough to land this opening at #10. And even though there are a lot of still shots, the subtle foreshadowing in the opening and the theme by ZAQ just give it a feeling that fits what Classroom of the Elite is all about—deception, power, and control.
While Ippei Ichii doesn’t have the history of directing and storyboarding openings like others on this list do, there’s no denying he delivered with this one. It already has over 1.5 million views making it one of the most viewed openings of the entire Summer 2022 season. And what’s not to like? It’s a well-crafted opening from beginning to end with creative lyric placement and interesting use of varied color palettes.
ZAQ also performed the theme song for the opening of Black Rock Shooter; Down Fall, which aired last season. The opening barely missed the top 10 list due to a stacked lineup. But there’s no doubt that ZAQ has already been a major part of some of the best openings of 2022.
OP Director: Ippei Ichii
OP Storyboard: Ippei Ichii
9. Ao Ashi
Ao Ashi landed at #8 for our 10 best openings of the Spring 2022 season, and it’s back delivering yet another great opening. But this time around, Ao Ashi takes a drastic leap with its visuals. Only a few openings from this season can compete with this one in terms of artwork and compositing. Ao Ashi has become a major player in sports anime this year and this opening is reflective of that. While another theme song probably could’ve been better for the incredible visuals for this opening, it still deserves its place in our top 10 best openings for Summer 2022.
That being said, the beat drop at the start of the chorus is almost reminiscent of the Ace of the Diamond opening theme from season 2. This is one of the rare cases where you don’t skip the opening just because of the music, you don’t skip it simply because the visuals are so stunning. Atsuyuki Yukawa deserves all the praise in the world for his phenomenal work in storyboarding this opening. The shot at the beginning with the net (0:10) and the sky shots throughout this opening are as realistic as it gets.
OP Director: Atsuyuki Yukawa, Asuka Yamaguchi, Takayuki Gotou, Manabu Nakatake, Satsuki Aizu
OP Storyboard: Atsuyuki Yukawa
OP Animation Director: Atsuyuki Yukawa
8. Made in Abyss Season 2
It really is a breath of fresh air to see an opening with very minimal still shots. Thanks to wonderful camera work and art, this opening for Made in Abyss Season 2 really captures the beauty and vastness of the world the series presents. It’s nothing over the top, but the theme “Katachi” by Riko Azuna is a stellar choice. Made in Abyss is, above all else, an adventure story. And this opening encaptures everything that makes Made in Abyss fantastic—awesome characters, adventure, and an underlying twisted beauty.
It’s not the most hype opening. And it might not have the replay value others on the list have. But Takushi Koide directed and storyboarded one of the most eye-popping openings from beginning to end with this one. The lighter color palettes are a nice change of pace from this season while others on the list usually go for a darker tone. And let’s not ignore how the art and compositing work is downright mesmerizing that just leaves you saying “wow”. And now after 10 episodes, this opening holds a lot more weight.
OP Director: Takushi Koide
OP Storyboard: Takushi Koide
7. The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting
Ever seen a wholesome series that has an opening with a theme song that sounds like it belongs in a shonen series? Neither have I. And for Sho Takeyaki’s anime opening theme debut, he gives a fantastic performance. This opening for The Yakuza’s Guide To Babysitting took me by utter surprise when watching the series. In what’s arguably the most underrated series of the Summer 2022 lineup, Yakuza doesn’t just give us an incredible series, it gives us an incredible opening too.
While the composition doesn’t have that flare that others on this list do, the animation, artwork, and storyboard are all fantastic and fit the overall mood of the series by perfectly blending wholesomeness, comedy, and drama just as the series does. The soft colors during the wholesome moments and the desaturated ones during more serious moments are something that not just the opening has perfected the use of, but the series itself, especially in episode 10. The opening theme by Sho Takeyaki does a wonderful job of drawing you in from the start, building the hype up during the bridge that starts at 0:53 which leads to a chorus that leaves you finding yourself to be shockingly hyped for a wholesome series.
It’s no wonder why I was so impressed—Itsurou Kawasaki was in charge of the storyboard. The fighting taking place during the chorus is extremely similar to Kawasaki’s storyboard work on the opening for Bakumatsu Rock. And for those of you who don’t know, Kawasaki also directed the iconic second opening from the first season of Psycho-Pass.
I also break down one of the transitions in this opening that details possible foreshadowing in a very creative way.
OP Director: Shouta Imai
OP Storyboard: Itsurou Kawasaki
6. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean Part 2
In what ended up landing in the top 35 of the top 100 openings from 2021, Stone Ocean comes back this season with part 2 giving us the same opening throughout but with a different final 15 seconds. But that doesn’t matter because this is undoubtedly one of the best anime openings of the season and one of the best of the year entirely (again). You can check out the new opening in its entirety at the start of episode 15 on Netflix.
The colors never stop to amaze and the transitions make it feel like it’s a continuation rather than a scene or setting changing with multiple cuts. It reminds me of the movie 1917 which was filmed completely with single-shot coverage. The flow of the opening is arguably the best of the entire list and the camera work and its use of 3D space are impeccable. And shockingly enough, it’s taking me this long to even talk about the insane and creative use of transitions throughout the entire opening. So much so that you actually have to rewind and slow down the video just to see how it all came together.
While the theme song “Stone Ocean” by ichigo from Kishida Kyōdan & The Akeboshi Rockets doesn’t hit as hard as some of the others on this list do, the overall opening is still more than deserving of being on this list if not even higher.
OP Director: ???
OP Storyboard: ???
5. Orient Part 2
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the biggest shock of this entire list and possibly the entire year. This opening for Orient Part 2 is absolutely incredible from start to finish. I just want to scream to the heavens how there is not a single thing about this opening anyone can outright hate. The music is arguably the best on this entire list. The chorus drop gives the viewer goosebumps. The animation and artwork both look great. The composition is solid. And the duo of the four-octave voice of Sota Hanamura (from Da-iCE) & Lil’ Fang (from FAKY) force you to smile and make you feel hyped for a series most of you probably haven’t seen.
This is the type of opening that, after you watch, makes you want to go and check out the series. The opening gives uplifting Deca-Dence vibes and is truly incredible work by Hiroaki Tagaki (OP director and storyboard) that has everything you could want. The only reason it’s #5 on this list is that the next four are only slightly better. But despite having numerous still images, especially at the beginning, it’s how those still images are used that separates good use from bad use. Having an introduction to characters matching the guitar in the beginning and also using still shots for transitions throughout fit the theme to a T. Again, it’s just got everything you could want in an anime opening.
Best believe, Orient fans, this is an opening from start to finish that deserves praise and recognition and will undoubtedly be on the “Best Openings of the Year” list come December. Let’s hope we get to see more work opening work by Tagaki, and more collab theme songs between Hanamura and Lil’ Fang, in the near future!
OP Director: Hiroaki Takagi
OP Storyboard: Hiroaki Takagi
4. Summertime Rendering
In perhaps what is the most underrated anime series of 2022 in both ratings and poll numbers, and maybe even this list itself, Summertime Rendering delivered one of the best openings of the year to kick off the second part of the series. A giant leg up from the first opening of the season in both visuals and music, this opening delivers a hard-knocking theme song by Asaka with incredible visuals portrayed in a way that’s only unique to Summertime Rendering. And that’s all thanks to Satoshi Nakano’s fantastic directorial and storyboard work.
The multiple-face glitch seems to be a more popular effect choice in openings recently. An opening that had this effect recently was Tomodachi Game, which came in at #10 on our Spring 2022 openings list. The transition from the chalkboard to the broken glass at 0:24 had me rewind and watch it a solid dozen times at this point. Not to mention, if you pay attention to the broken glass pieces, you’ll even see that everyone has memories in the pieces while one specific (important) character doesn’t. This doesn’t even cover the vast amounts of symbolism embedded throughout the opening that only fans of the series pick up on.
It’s little details like that that really separate good openings from great ones. Not only because of its little details, but for the fact that those kinds of little details are not an easy production feat to pull off, especially when we consider that Summertime Rendering didn’t take a break in their 24-episode season as many others do. The overall theme, action, and meaning behind everything that’s taking place definitely take this Summertime Rendering opening above and beyond the #10 spot.
OP Director: Satoshi Nakano
OP Storyboard: Satoshi Nakano
3. Lycoris Recoil
Very few openings from the Summer 2022 lineup really give you that excitement for the episode to come like this one for Lycoris Recoil does. It starts off strong straight out of the gate and the anticipation that the bridge of the theme gives us leading to the banging chorus is what makes an anime opening theme song fantastic. “Alive” by ClariS is truly the perfect theme for this opening and series as a whole.
But that’s not to take away from the visuals which are beautiful and impactful throughout. The detail in the environment artwork throughout the opening is jaw-dropping and arguably the best on this list. And every single frame from 1:01 onward is so crisp in every single aspect that you just don’t see in any other openings on this list at any given time. The rotating camera between Chisato and Takina only to end with flashing symbolic imagery through the use of motion graphics was a stroke of genius none of us picked up on until later on.
Shingo Adachi’s work can be felt from beginning to end in both directorial work and composition, especially when Takina and Chisato kick each other at the end being extremely similar to how Kirito and Arthur ended the opening for Sword Art Online: Alicization. It was a nice little nod to let us know that it’s a piece of his work.
OP Director: Shingo Adachi
OP Storyboard: Shingo Adachi
2. Call of the Night
There seems to be a trend going on with vampire anime and funky opening themes. The Vampire Dies in No Time (2021) also had a jazzy-funk theme to it and Call of the Night delivers as well with an incredible, well-rounded opening that has now grossed over 5 million views, making it the highest viewed opening of the Summer 2022 season. By using the environment and characters’ clothing for the lyrics, instead of just the credits like many others are starting to do more often, Call of the Night gives us not only one of the best openings of the season but without a doubt one of the most unique ones of the entire year.
While it could be said the pause in everything toward the end of the opening throws people off, it’s a nice change of pace. The creativity and randomness of making a first-time viewer think the opening is over just as the characters did is Tetsuya Miyanishi’s style to the core, especially for those of you who enjoy the randomness of the openings from The Case Study of Vanitas, which he also directed and storyboarded. And it’s that absolute randomness that gives Miyanish a distinct style. And then once that chorus hits, it’s hard not to lose yourself in the beautiful visuals of the opening and the rhythm of the beat that just makes you want to get up and dance. It’s an opening you just can’t bring yourself to skip whether it’s for the music, the visuals, or both.
Fun fact, “Daten” is Creepy Nuts’ very first opening theme song for an anime! And it’s safe to say all of us Call of the Night fans want to hear them give us more performances going forward.
OP Director: Tetsuya Myanishi
OP Storyboard: Tetsuya Maynishi
OP Animation Director: Sagawa Haruka
1. Dr. Stone: Ryusui Special
This is the clear-cut favorite for the best opening of the season. The Dr. Stone: Rysusui Special opening was the perfect way of saying “Dr. Stone is back!” And what better way for one of the most popular and highest-rated shonen anime of the past five years to come back than to have Burnout Syndromes give us an even better remix of their original song “Good Morning World!” from the first season? Changing the feeling of the theme with a more orchestral approach rather than hard rock uplifted the original opening theme by 10 billion percent.
It’s not just the music or the downright mesmerizing compositing throughout the entire opening that just makes this one special. It’s also the significance of everything. The little nods to the original opening. Nobutaka Yoda (OP director and storyboarder) and his use of old shots by creating them into new ones with different meanings. The subtle difference in colors depending on the characters shown. Re-using old frames from the previous openings. The fact the Dr. Stone manga came to an official end the day this special was released. Everything about this opening just brought wonderful memories from previous openings that it was truly difficult to hold back tears. The pure joy and excitement of watching the opening with my speakers on full blast was unmatched and was a chef-kiss-perfect way to hype up the special even more.
If you’re a Dr. Stone fan then “Nobutaka Yoda” should be a name you’re familiar with. Yoda was in charge of the storyboard for the opening as he was for all of the previous Dr. Stone openings as well. So it’s only right we see the nods to previous openings in the Ryusui Special, especially from the first opening. What I love most about Yoda’s work is the perfect use of vibrant scenery and having his openings end on a gorgeous sunrise, or sunset, with the main character/s in the foreground. And his blatant love of using the rule of thirds is impossible to miss in his work.
But whether it’s Dr. Stone (all OPs), Bungo Stray Dogs (Season 2 and 3 OP), or Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina (OP), Yoda’s creative touch will undeniably be admired for years to come. Here’s to hoping we see more incredible work of his for the upcoming seasons of Dr. Stone and Bungo Stray Dogs during the Winter 2023 season!
OP Director: Nobutaka Yoda
OP Storyboard: Nobutaka Yoda
OP Animation Director: Yuko Iwasa
Your Favorite Anime Opening From Summer 2022?
So what was your favorite opening this season? Did yours not make the list? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to vote for your favorite anime in this week’s poll! Reminder, you can vote for more than just one series!
Thumbnail image: ©︎Keigo Maki, Kodansha/Shikimori-san Production Committee