There were many great anime series in the 2000s. Whether you were into action, romance, comedy, horror, or any other genre, you had countless great shows to choose from – as well as many incredibly catchy anime OPs and EDs!
One of the best parts of this boom was the new music many anime fans got introduced to through openings (OPs) and endings (EDs) of their favorite shows. People outside of Japan were getting exposed to great J-Pop and J-Rock they would’ve never known to listen to before. Many people’s favorite theme songs of all time come from this decade.
Here we will go through some of the best anime OPs of the 2000s.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist Season 2 – Ready Steady Go by L’Arc-En-Ciel
The list of anime OP won’t be complete without either a L’Arc-En-Ciel song or something from Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA). This band and its singer, Hyde, were popular at home and abroad. They were the first Japanese band to play Madison Square Garden in NYC. FMA was also one of the most popular anime of this decade especially before its remake was released.
This is one of the quintessential OPs of all time. It has every trope you can imagine – and while it might not have invented all of them, it perfected them. Main characters running with nowhere to go? Check. Quick camera pan to the sky? Check. Every other important character coming into frame and doing some wacky pose for no explainable reason? Check – and check out those muscles on Armstrong! Hot dang!
2. Lucky Star – Motteke! Sailor Fuku by the main vocal cast
Speaking of Lucky Star, it’d be a shame to not include this song in the list as it was everywhere in the anime world for a while. Love moe or hate moe, by the time Lucky Star came out, it was everywhere and this song was its essence.
You couldn’t go to an anime convention without hearing this song at some point or seeing someone do a performance or parody of it at a cosplay event. Similar to the Haruhi theme, Lucky Star’s OP is sung by the main vocal cast including Aya Hirano.
3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Bouken Deshou Deshou by Aya Hirano
Before moe overtook KyoAni studio’s and anime-as-a-whole’s entire world for a long while, there was a wacky high school student named Haruhi who wanted to befriend aliens, ESPers, sliders, and other supernatural beings.
Aya Hirano, the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya, does the opening song. It adds a bit of extra personality to it. Before being turned on by many of her fans for having a romantic life and not being a living moe anime girl herself, Aya was everywhere and even voiced a female otaku, Konata Izumi, who was a big fan of Haruhi in KyoAni’s next big hit of the decade.
4. Fruits Basket – For Fruits Basket by Ritsuko Okazaki
It’s time for some mother loving romance with Fruits Basket at number four on our list. This show is almost guaranteed to be at the top of any top shoujo anime and manga list, so you bet your sweet booties it’s going on this list. Just try not to turn into an animal while listening – but feel free to check out all the best shoujo anime.
Ritsuko composed much of the music for Fruits Basket as well as other popular shows like Princess Tutu and Love Hina. She unfortunately passed away in 2004 at the young age of 44.
5. Code Geass Season 1 – Colors by FLOW
Most non-Japanese speakers are familiar with common words and phrases like kawaii, ohayou, and suteki. If you were a Code Geass fan, though, you were also familiar with JIBUN WOOOO. These are the first two words sung in the opening to this twist-filled alternate history mecha anime.
FLOW is our third band and we are three-for-three for anime song superstars. This band has also done openings for Naruto as well as other shows like Beelzebub, Seven Deadly Sins, and Boruto. If Colors doesn’t make you want to rebel against Britannia, you’re not a true blue Eleven.
6. Bleach Season 1 – Asterisk by Orange Range
Bleach season 1! Back when the show was mostly a monster-of-the-week Ghostbusters-esque anime. Before there were bankais, Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and more filler than your average street vendor hot dog, there was a simple top 3 shounen with a colorful, catchy opening theme. If you’re an anime nerd over the age of 30 and you weren’t on some old school message board with an avatar from this OP, you’re a liar. Okay, maybe that was just me.
Orange Range is another one of those bands that has done several anime songs over the years – including one for Naruto! Their unique blend of pop punk and rap sets them apart from most of the other Japanese bands of their time. Try not to have this song stuck in your head for the next week – I dare you!
7. Naruto Season 2 – “Haruka Kanata” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION
Whether you loved the brightly colored ninja dude or despised him, you can’t deny the powerhouse of an opening Haruka Kanata was. The first track on AKFG’s first major studio release, Hokai Amplifier, this song melts your little ninja headband right off your head.
This band’s music was pretty prolific in the anime world in the 2000s and 2010s. They did several other openings. While this TV edit commits the grave sin of omitting the killer bass intro, it is still their strongest opening song as its high energy gets you hyped to watch one of the top three most popular shounen shows of the decade. Don’t forget to check out what to watch after finishing Naruto, too!