With the Fall 2022 season coming to a close in the coming weeks, it’s time we look back on the 10 best anime openings from an out-of-this-world stacked lineup. Yet, surprisingly enough, this list was somewhat easier to make than the ones in the past. As stated the last three times for the Winter, Spring, and Summer seasons, this list will focus on the entire sequence—animation, music, composition, color design, replay value, etc.—not just one thing or the other. So without further ado, here are the top 10 anime openings from the Fall 2022 anime season. (*Note: If the videos take too long to load, click the YouTube link provided to watch the opening if you haven’t seen it before)
10. Bocchi The Rock
Director: Keiichiro Saito
Storyboard: Keiichiro Saito
Animation Direction: Kerorira
So many people could, and probably will, make the argument that Bocchi The Rock is a top 5 opening from this season just from the amazing theme song alone. And, truthfully, I see the argument they make. Bocchi The Rock not only burst onto the seam with it just being an overall great series, but it always kicks off every week with a fantastic opening that’s impossible to skip, and many thanks to is credited to Keiichirō Saito. So take away the music for a second and where does that leave us? Well, let’s look it over.
At first glance, this opening looks rather simple when it comes to the art level. But it’s the composition of the opening that really stands out to me. While we’re so drawn to Bocchi and the others, it’s easy to ignore the actual real-life settings in the background of the opening and all of the layers that go into making it. And let’s not ignore that this opening has some of the best transitions of any opening I’ve seen all year. And anyone that knows me by now, knows I have a weakness for incredible transitions. However, the next nine openings on this list go a little further above and beyond. If this was Saito’s first go-around directing and storyboarding an entire opening, then I can’t wait to see what more he has in store.
9. Blue Lock
Director: Tetsuaki Watanabe
Storyboard: Tetsuaki Watanabe
Animation Director: Kenji Tanabe
If you’ve ever seen the Irregular At Magic High School Visitor Arc, then you know this opening was definitely the work of Testuaki Watanabe. The two openings of Blue Lock and Visitor Arc are so similar at the beginning that it’s almost mind-boggling. Originally, this opening didn’t make a good impression on me at first. If I were to make this list after the very first week of the Fall 2022 season, it probably wouldn’t have made it. But watching it over and over I begin to realize how amazing it is and how it’s such a piece of Watanabe’s directing and storyboarding that’s more than deserving to be on this list.
It’s a perfect opening for a sports anime and it hits all the tropes perfectly (shots of opposing teams, close-ups of more important opponents, etc.). But the color design and camera work in this opening are what caught my eye the most. Some of the transitions are genuinely stellar, but the details like Isagi turning into pieces of a puzzle are such a great little nod to the series. This minor detail reminds me of the broken bits of glass from the second opening of Summertime Rendering, which also made the top 10 list for the Summer 2022 season. It’s those little details that can really make a good opening great.
My only gripe with this opening is that the bridge from 0:44-0:55 starts off like it’s the chorus of the song and then fades into the actual chorus. It still throws me off at times, but when that chorus hits, it’s nothing but hype and glorious spoilers. But it’s the type of spoilers you don’t catch on to until they actually happen.
7. Arknights: Prelude to Dawn
Director: Yuuki Watanabe
Storyboard: Yuuki Watanabe
Animation Director: Yuuki Watanabe
Arknights might have the best opening of this entire list. It truly feels like I’m watching a trailer for a war-torn, heartbreaking anime with, and I can’t stress this enough, beautiful cinematic shots that you just aren’t finding anywhere else on this list either. And unlike other OPs on this list, Watanabe not only directed and storyboarded this opening, but he was also the animation director as well.
There’s genuinely nothing to knock on with this opening. It’s a work of art from beginning to end and I seriously have no idea why I put it at #8. So if you want to comment and say this should be top 5 at the very least, I’ll probably agree with you. The composition is beautiful. Animation, especially between 1:00-1:17, is just downright mesmerizing. The fade-ins and fade-outs at the beginning are timed perfectly. This is also the only opening on the entire list to use letterboxing to keep everything in the frame. The only reason it’s not higher is the replay value. I never found myself going back and wanting to watch this over and over again like the next seven openings on this list. But that’s not to take anything away from the opening, it’s still one of the best out of the entire year, not just the Fall 2022 season.
7. Urusei Yatsura (2022)
Director: Shingo Yamashita
Storyboard: Shingo Yamashita
Animation Director: Sunao Chikaoka
I’m completely convinced at this point that Shingo Yamashita could be given the task to make a completely new opening for SpongeBob and he’d make it incredible. Seriously, every opening he directed and storyboarded over the past two years have been nothing but amazing. Imagine being given the responsibility to make an opening that’s focused on a remake of an iconic 1980s anime series but you have to modernize it as well. This entire opening screams the late 1970s and 1980s with modernized color design and composition and my god it’s incredible on all fronts. Is the theme song the best on this list? No. But it’s perfect for Urusei Yatsura and that’s what matters the most. It’s one of the most viewed openings from this season for more reasons than one.
The CGI work in this opening is great. The number of 70s and 80s references is off the charts. And the opening theme constantly gets stuck in your head the more you listen to it. It almost feels like an entire story is told with this opening and that’s a rarity with openings this season. Take it from the very beginning that references the classic Space Invaders game where all the girls are actually going away from Ataru then at the end is nothing but Lum’s going after Ataru. And to add even more to that, Space Invaders was released the same year (1978) that the Urusei Yatsura manga began serialization.
All-around amazing work by Yamashita, Animation Director Sunao Chikaoka, Studio Colorido Art Dept. for their work on the background art, and CG Director Ken`ichi Shirai.
6. Golden Kamuy Season 4
Animation Director: N/A
If ALI is performing an opening or ending theme for an anime, best believe it’s going to be a banger from beginning to end. And you’re absolutely right that it’s enough to carry Golden Kamuy Season 4 to #6 on this list. The replay value is off of the charts and the lyrics fit the entire opening to a T. Unlike other openings on this list, the animation here is nothing to write home about. Rather, it relies on its stellar art and composition and gives us that mix of humor and seriousness that only Golden Kamuy fans everywhere can appreciate and understand to the fullest. And if you know what has happened in the anime beforehand, the lyrics behind this opening hold a lot more meaning and emotion.
In what is possibly the utmost underrated series of the entire Fall 2022 season, despite a stop in production due to unfortunate news, Golden Kamuy Season 4 delivers not only a stellar anime series but one of the best openings of the year. Using the tattoos as layered transitions is genius. The old film shot of Shiraishi, Tanigaki, and Ushiyama acting like they’re rapping was another wonderful nod to this season (see episode 41). This opening is proof that you don’t necessarily need anything to be over the top to make a good opening. A good script with great direction and a banging theme song are the prime components of a great opening and this one for Golden Kamuy Season 4 hit a 10/10 on all three of them.
5. Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun Season 3
Animation Direction: N/A
I’d love for anyone to find a more infectious theme song from this season than Giri Giri by FANTASTICS from EXILE TRIBE. Completely different from the previous openings of Iruma-kun, this season brings a lot more serious tone with that sprinkle of Iruma-kun charm we can’t get enough of. This is what an opening is all about. The animation is crisp. The colors are arguably the best of any other opening on this list. All the characters are shown in a way that’s unique to them and them only. And it gives you that little bit of “I wonder what’s going to happen this episode” and “I need to see [insert character name] go off!”. making it a great all-around opening that anyone can appreciate whether they watch the series or not.
Unlike others on this list, you don’t need any emotional attachment to any of these characters to appreciate everything in this because it’s just simply a fantastic opening. It leaves you hyped for the episode, it immediately puts you in a good mood, and you can’t help but sing that chorus—admit it. It’s truly a shame there are no direction or storyboard credits for this opening. We can always make presumptions based on how directors for the series sometimes direct the opening as well, but with no proper crediting, it’s best to not say. But I’d love to point out how magnificent the storyboard for this is, especially from every frame onward after the chorus hits at 0:57 and all the way to the end. When you watch closely, your eyes are constantly focused on the center of the screen transitioning and leading your eyes to the next character. Then when Junko shoots her arrow up at 1:11 it transitions to Ameri leaping up, coming down for a kick, then looking off in the direction of the entire Misfit class. The flow of this opening is absolutely incredible and unlike any others from this list.
4. Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War
Director: Tomohisa Taguchi
Storyboard: Tomohisa Taguchi
Animation Director: Michio Hasegawa
When you create an opening of this caliber, you don’t need complex coloring and OP Director Tomohisa Taguchi proved that. This opening continues the trend of Bleach not having a single bad opening and I couldn’t be happier for the series, Tite Kubo, and Bleach fans everywhere. And to top it all off, Tatsuya Kitani gives us a song that couldn’t have fit this opening better than it did. It just feels like a Bleach opening through and through. The animation is stellar. The fight choreography is the best on the list. And it’s just a wonderful blend of everything you could love about an opening.
Would more color have made this opening better? Absolutely. There’s no denying that some of these shots could’ve been lifted a little bit by proper color design. But that’s not to take away from the extensive amount of wonderful camera work and animation. Perhaps that was the intent? Either way, Bleach is back in a major way and one of the reasons is this phenomenal opening. The song is infectious. The composition is mesmerizing. The fight transitions between each fight taking place are perfectly timed and executed. Simply put—Bleach hits the bullseye with yet another opening.
3. Chainsaw Man
Director: Shingo Yamashita
Storyboard: Shingo Yamashita
Animation Director: Kazutaka Sugiyama
I can sit here and talk about the movie references everyone has already pointed out, but I rather just watch this opening for the 100th time and appreciate the time and effort that went into making this instead. There is not a single frame in this opening that isn’t incredible in its own way. The lighting is perfect. The camera work is unbelievable. Shadow movements are fluid and on point. Even the different textures used throughout looked great. And the chaotic nature of the entire opening when the chorus hits couldn’t have been more aligned with the entire Chainsaw Man series as a whole.
Yamashita lands yet another opening in my top 10 this year and I’m just expecting whenever his name is on the directing and storyboard credits for an opening, it’s going to be amazing. Whether it’s Ranking of Kings from the Winter 2022 season or Urusei Yatsura and Chainsaw Man from this season, every anime fan has loved at least one of his openings from this year. And that’s not to mention the incredible staff and animators for the opening as well. The only gripe with this opening I can’t get over is the first 35 seconds of the theme song, but I can appreciate its uniqueness with the movie references that just screams “Fujimoto”. But when that bridge hits at 0:38, it’s all uphill from there. The constant fade-ins over each layer when scenes transition during the chorus is marvelous. And the entire sequence from 1:01-1:06 might single-handedly be my favorite out of all the openings on this list—amazing work by animator Tam Lu.
2. Mob Psycho 100 III
Director: Takahiro Hasui
Storyboard: Nobutaka Yoda
Animation Director: Yoshimichi Kameda
What do you get when you fuse the creativity of the director of Mob Psycho 100 III and the man who also storyboarded the Dr. Stone and Bungo Stray Dogs openings? A psychedelic mash of epicness with an unreal composition that only a Mob Psycho 100 opening can obtain. And let’s be honest, when that beat drops we’re all doing Reigen’s turnaround and point. I mentioned in the Summer 2022 best openings list that I’m a huge fan of when an opening utilizes negative space with the lyrics of the song instead of just relying on subtitles at the bottom of the screen and this opening used this technique to perfection. And that quick shot at 1:12 with all the characters felt like such a nod to the series and a giant thank you to all of the fans for watching (since this is the last season).
That infectious drum beat during the bridge of the theme song is undoubtedly the best of all openings on this list and gets you hyped for the chorus better than any of the other themes. And it might be a hot take when I say this, but I think this is the best opening theme Mob Choir has done for the series. Studio Bones really wanted this series to end with a bang and it’s safe to say they succeeded. And if I tried to talk about every single frame of this opening, I wouldn’t be finished until the end of next year. But seeing the cool little details like Dimple’s shape outlined in lightning at the beginning or Mob growing up in front of Reigen at the end are such cool little details, without the need to mesh a bunch of stuff together, that I love most about this opening.
1. Spy x Family Part 2
Director: Tetsuro Araki
Storyboard: Tetsuro Araki
Animation Director: Kazuaki Shimada
Words won’t do this opening justice. This opening for Spy x Family Part 2 is a top 3 opening of the year and it might not be 2 or 3. I think the only two openings that compete with this one are the second opening for Ranking of Kings and Mob Psycho 100 III. It’s those three, then it’s the rest. Others from this year have definitely been top-of-the-line without a doubt. But this opening for Spy x Family Part 2 is a 10/10 on every single level. Transitions? 10/10. Artwork? 10/10. Animation? 10/10. Composition? 10/10. CGI? 10/10. Music? 10/10. Direction? 10/10. There is nothing about this opening that isn’t a work of art and every single shot is downright breathtaking. In my best Homelander impression, “Everything was perfect down to the last minute detail.”
But what else could we expect from Tetsuro Araki? This is the same man that brought us openings from Attack on Titan, Death Note, Guilty Crown, High School of the Dead, and was the creator of WIT Studio’s latest film Bubble, whose composition aligns more with this opening than the former series named. Just seeing Araki’s progress from the very first Attack on Titan opening that was released over 9 years ago to this masterpiece for Spy x Family Part 2 only makes me wonder how much higher he can raise the bar at this point.
Your Favorite Anime Opening From Fall 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!
Featured image: © TITE KUBO / SHUEISHA, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot