Anime Underground The 20 Greatest Opening Themes from Old School Anime  

Anna Lindwasser
715 votes 151 voters 1.2k views 20 items

Get ready old school anime fans, because it's time to get nostalgic. This list compiles 20 of the greatest opening themes from old school anime. That means music from 2001 and earlier, with a heavy focus on the late 80s and 90s.  

With such a wealth of great music to choose from, it's impossible to include everything that deserves recognition - but these 20 stand out. Some of them are songs that are well-known to the whole anime community - ask any old school anime fan to sing A Cruel Angel's Thesis or the English Pokémon OP and chances are they'll belt out a few lines. Others are a little bit more obscure, but no less deserving of attention - Great Teacher Onizuka's OP, Driver's High by L'arc en Ciel, is not to be missed.

Rock out to these old school anime intros, and vote up the ones that stood the test of time.

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Unless a list is called Best Anime OPs Excluding Tank!, you know that the Cowboy Bebop OP has got to be on there. The Seatbelts, which is a band put together by the inimitable composer Yoko Kanno, is a perfect introduction to the fast-paced space adventure.

81 10
Is this a great OP?
see more on Cowboy Bebop
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Yoko Takahashi's A Cruel Angel's Thesis does a great job of setting the mood for a mecha anime that's both existential and action-packed. 

62 8
Is this a great OP?
see more on Neon Genesis Evangelion
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Smile Bomb has both an English and Japanese version. If you're a dub fan of Yu Yu Hakusho, the version by Sara White is likely playing in your head right now. If you prefer the Japanese version, you have Mawatari Matsuko to thank for the song.

41 6
Is this a great OP?
see more on Yu Yu Hakusho
4 64 VOTES
Indigo League Opening Theme - Pokémon
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

If you were alive in the 90's, you've definitely heard this song - heck, you might have sung it at karaoke. You might not be as familiar with the original Pokémon OP, Mezase Pokémon Master - equally exciting, but harder for most American fans to sing along to.

53 11
Is this a great OP?