Pokémon Anime OpeningsThis is a list I wanted to make for a long while. A proper ranking of the Pokémon anime openings which consists both English and Japanese openings.
THE VERY BEST!
Was there ever any doubt? There can never be a better animé opening than the theme synonymous with the animé that defined the childhood of an entire generation. One line of this song is all it takes to pull a billion heartstrings. Nothing is capable of evoking such overwhelming nostalgia from fans, and this theme will always be known as THE Pokémon Theme song. But even if we throw nostalgia out of the window, it's still a phenomenal song. This theme is the most well-known anime theme in the world, and that's for a reason. Jason Paige's performance here was nothing short of legendary. If you watch his video where he sings the intro in the studio, take a moment to look at his facial expression and how he moves his entire face muscles, nose, eyes, cheeks, breath, etc. Dude was singing his heart out! I've never seen anyone in my life sing with such passion as this man. And it all works together. Singing like this with all of one's effort shows magical results. And he must be one proud man. But let's not forget to give credit to the lyricists of this song John Siegler and John Loeffler. They managed to produce some of the most motivational lines from our childhood and the perfect fit for the Pokémon anime. These lines perfectly encapsulates everything that the series is about: friendship, adventure, discovery and competition. And it also establishes the idea that Pokémon are more than just pet animals. They are trainers' true friend and a large part of their lives. All in all, there is no doubt that this is the best opening in the history of the Pokémon anime.
Here are some just some examples of the appreciations for the Pokémon Theme-
"What words can I even say, Jason? Nothing will ever be profound enough to explain what you've done for us all. Perhaps it may sound silly, it's just a song after all, isn't it? I don't believe so. It's truly so much more. A beautiful work of magic and artistry is the closest thing I can articulate. I have to apologize, as words fall short. We can tell you gave your all in this performance, let me speak for so many others when I say how much we appreciate it, your enormous effort to entertain us as children is not wasted on us. My fondest and clearest memories of my childhood is waiting for Pokémon to come on at my grandmothers after school. Had the beginning of the show not had this much power, emotion, and pride in your Work, I truly believe it wouldn't have had the same impact on the MILLIONS perhaps BILLIONS of people you've touched in our hearts. You had an entire generation singing with you. Your role in this show, and our lives is pivotal. I only wish I was able to articulate more clearly how much you've done. Your legacy is forever, we will see to it. I'm positive I speak for many when I say: From the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much."
- Travis Graves
"This is one of anime's most special theme songs because of it's unique ability to bring people together. It's not just a song, but a social glue that makes new friends and keeps old ones."
- Top 10 Anime Openings, WatchMojo
"There can only be one, because let's face it. You know this song. It follows you wherever you go... The very millisecond you hear this song, you'll stop whatever you're doing and will sing along."
- Top 10 Catchiest Opening Songs of Anime, Anime America
WHEN Pokémon WENT FULL SHONEN MODE!
Pokémon XY was the series when Ash had finally become a mature trainer and a badass protagonist. He had arguably his strongest team ever, and there was always a look of confidence on his face. He had a traveling companion who had a clear crush on him and a rival who was following in his footsteps. It was the time when the Pokémon anime began to feel like a top-tier shonen anime. The hype for XY&Z was already soaring, and Rica Matsumoto did not need to go so hard for the opening. But she did it- she did it for us. With breathtaking animation and fiery music, this is the most KICKASS intro in Pokémon history. And it's the theme that attracted Pokémon fans to watch the subbed version. This opening did a fantastic job of hyping up Team Flare and showing off the stunning choreography of XY battles as well as Complete Forme Zygarde. However, no discussion about XY or this intro can be complete without mentioning Ash's Greninja. Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear their tongue as a scarf. With visuals portraying the connection between Ash and Greninja, the growth of Greninja from a small Froakie to achieving the spectacular Ash-Greninja transformation, the lyrics of 'Iku Z!' are packed with Ash and Greninja's optimism and confidence. It did not take long for this theme to become associated with Ash-Greninja. And the moment when this theme played in the much-anticipated Ash-Greninja vs. Mega Sceptile battle in the Kalos League elevated this theme to legendary status! You may call it 'Iku Z!' or 'XY&Z,' but this opening will always be 'Ash-Greninja Theme with lyrics' to XY fans like me. Rica Matsumoto has been singing amazing theme songs since the first season, but none of them come close to this one. It's that good!
THE OP THAT WAS RUMORED TO END THE ANIME!
'Spurt!' almost sounds like a song from a totally different anime. While the majority of Pokémon openings are case studies on how to make a pop song as catchy and exciting as possible, 'Spurt!' is something completely different.
It's definitely still a classic anime opening, but the vocals are way more intense and passionate, and the music is much more dramatic. It feels like it's just bursting with tons of energy. The video for this opening was absolutely incredible! It starts with all of Ash's Pokémon rushing towards an epic battle. After montages of May, Drew and Harley and shots of Ash's Pidgeot, Larvitar, Butterfree and Lapras, we get a series of fast-paced battle sequences with a lot of explosions! It effectively sets the tone for the final season of the series, as if it's preparing fans for the climax of the story. Apart from being hyped for the Frontier Brains, we're treated to a spectacular card scene in which Delia Ketchum and Misty are portrayed as Queen of Hearts and Team Rocket as Jokers. From start to finish, this intro is pure excitement! This theme is so epic that Japanese audiences of that time felt the Pokémon anime was about to come to an end.
THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL Pokémon OPENING!
'Battle Cry' does everything 'We Will Be Heroes' does but better. It's just as wholesome as the later but much more inspirational. It has a great melody, Eric Bowman's beautiful voice as well as some amazing guitar tunes. It does a wonderful job of pumping up the viewers for the battle against Team Galactic and Hunter J. But what truly made it stand out are it's fantastic lyrics and its beautiful message.
It starts with a phenomenal line, "Sometimes it's hard to know, which way you're supposed to go". This is a situation almost everyone has faced in some part of his/her life. But this song inspires that no matter how hard the situation is, the heart will lead to the correct path. On top of that, it wonderfully conveys the spirit of friendship.
It's great to have friends, but it's even better when you have friends whom you can bring into a battle with the confidence that you'll win - Season 12's theme song gives you that feeling. It was at a time when Ash, Dawn, and Brock had been established as a trio, so we were all in. The theme had a battle-like feel to it, but one that reminded you to keep your friends close.
THE ASH KETCHUM THEME SONG!
This theme is an absolute banger by David Rolfe. From the very first moment I heard it, it's been one of my favorites and still holds a high spot on the list of my favorite songs to this day! Not only is this one of the catchiest songs of the bunch but the adrenaline rush from the moving lyrics as well as the sick electric guitar is epic like nothing else. But besides being an absolute banger, this song is the best representation of Ash's ambitions. Don't get me wrong, the first Pokémon theme perfectly captures the essence of the Pokémon world, but when it comes to Ash, his goal isn't to 'catch'em all.' Ash's greatest aspiration is a 'master quest' to become the very best, which is eloquently reflected by the lyrics as well as the incredible scenario of him climbing the staircase to the Pokémon League. With his personality mirrored by the beat and his ambitions portrayed by the visuals and lyrics, I call this opening the perfect 'Ash Ketchum Theme Song'. Aside from that, this opening brought an ocean of hype to the anime. There was a sense of grand plans set in motion surrounding the Johto League, but the biggest one was the full battle between Ash and Gary. Yes, folks. After 5 years in the making, it is finally happening!
Furthermore, hearing the full version for the first time during the water race in Pokémon Heroes was a 'once in a lifetime' experience. And did I mention that this opening is an absolute banger?
SAME AS TOGETHER, BUT SLIGHTLY BETTER
This is pretty much exactly the same as the 2007 version. The same heartfelt lyrics and wholesome video is mixed with an even jollier melody.
COULDN'T ASK FOR A BETTER INTRODUCTION TO SINNOH!
Diamond and Pearl is arguably the best season of the Pokémon animé. In many different ways, this series was quintessential! Other than XY, this is the season where Ash had the best growth in character. And 'Together' was an amazing intro for this phenomenal series.
It starts with Ash and Pikachu standing on a cliff while gazing at the horizon marking the dawn of a new era. Next, Ash, Dawn, and Brock are on top of a tree witnessing the wonderful new Pokémon in the Sinnoh region. That gets followed by some beautiful habitats of Pokémon as well as shots of Professor Oak, Delia, Professor Rowan, Johanna, Nurse Joy, Pokémon Contest judges, and more. The new legendary Pokémon Palkia and Dialga were also introduced in a monumental way. Besides that, the lyrics is filled with clever references to the Diamond and Pearl games. The song is arguably the most soft-toned in the franchise with the most cheerful melody and wholesome lyrics you'll ever find. But that doesn't take anything away from the excitement. This song also introduces Ash's new rival, Paul who is unarguably the best rival Ash ever had. The face-off between Ash and Paul along with their Pokémon can be described in one word- EPIC!
Overall, 'Together' perfectly encapsulates the vibe of that era of Pokémon. Out of all the theme songs in Pokémon, this is arguably the one that induces the most nostalgia. There is no way the list of the best Pokémon openings can be completed without it.
THE NAME SAYS IT!
Hands down, there has never been a cooler song in the Pokémon franchise than this one. 'Unbeatable' plays similar to the other Hoenn intros, but what it brings is the rush of adrenaline to the system.
It is the last theme from the David Rolfe era, and the moment I first heard it, it instantly became my favorite. The Gen 3 intros are the most hype in the franchise, but this song outshines them all. It starts strong and stays that way the entire time. And the video clips in this intro are among the best in the series. There are montages of Ash and his Pokémon battling the Regi trio, May and her rival Drew, Brock proposing girls with a bouquet, throwback to past companions and professors, and Team Rocket getting chased by a group of Arons and Lairons. There were also snippets of Kyogre and Groudon's battle, Mewtwo in a dark alley, Lucario and Mew, and a slew of other legendary Pokémon. With an image of the Frontier Brains with only Noland visible and the others as silhouettes, this opening also riled up the next season. But the best scene has to be the Pokémon of the land, sea, and sky. The vast area filled with so many Pokémon interacting is probably the most magnificent presentation of the Pokémon world. The song gets even better with the full version from Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
In short, the blend between an upbeat track, a fantastic singer, and exhilarating lyrics made this the most exciting theme song we've ever had.
Note: I was about to place it in #2, but the only reason I didn't is that Ash isn't actually 'Unbeatable.' But it's to this song's credit that we got the impression that Ash is finally on his way to becoming an OP trainer.
INTENSE THEME WITH FAST-PACED MUSIC AND ANIMATION!
'This Dream' does not waste any time in delivering a strong burst of energy. It had the same intensity as the other Hoenn intros, but it was much more succinct, giving us the entire gist of the season in just a few seconds. The exciting animation and the fast, intense, and upbeat track were complemented by lyrics that not only reflect Ash's mindset terrifically but can also serve for boosting motivation to keep pursuing one's dreams.
THE JOLLIEST OPENING OF THEM ALL!
Rika Matsumoto once again comes back to sing another OP and instead of being accompanied by another trainer, she sings along with Pikachu's voice actor Ikue Otani. The song is extremely catchy, features a group of children singing backup vocals, and, of course, Pikachu's voice is instantly recognizable. On top of that, it has one of the most addicting choruses ever!
WHOLESOME, INSPIRATIONAL AND FULL OF OPTIMISM!
This song creates a comforting atmosphere while simultaneously getting us excited for the adventures our heroes are about to embark on. It instilled in us the belief that everyone on the stage, not just Ash, was destined for greatness. It also brings focus on the Pokémon who help Ash in his quest. It was a fitting touch, especially since Diamond and Pearl did an excellent job of making all of the main characters share the spotlight.
This song made you feel as though you were wrapped in a warm hug, and the soundtrack never went all-out in a burst to ruin the wholesome mood it created. For those few seconds, you're tempted to imagine that one day you, too, will be a hero.
THE BEST INTRODUCTION TO A NEW REGION!
If there was one theme song that captured the sense of wonder and delight that came with the Pokémon franchise, it was this one. The Johto Journeys theme song was so happy and cheerful in its presentation that it made you want to dive into all of the Pokémon mythology you could find. And the lyrics of this theme encapsulates the idea of going to a new location to perfection. Even if it is a whole new world with a brand new attitude, you still gotta catch'em all.
This opening could get by on just its amazingly catchy tune and the 'do-do do-do, do-do's, but has some incredible animation to go along with it. The group continues to explore Johto, and it really gives you a look at the scope of the wide world of Pokémon.
This song wasn't much about completing the challenges but more about having fun and enjoying the open world brimming with fascinating new Pokémon of all shapes and sizes. A delightful track like this can easily entice new fans and keep interest from old ones fresh.
GETS STUCK IN THE HEAD AND STAYS THERE!
The second English theme song had too large of a shoe to fill, and quite understandably, had little chance to create the same atmosphere as the first. As a result, this intro is often overlooked. But on its own, it's an awesome opening. It may not be the best in terms of pure musical principles, but it's arguably the catchiest Pokémon opening of all time. And, despite the abundance of exciting scenes, the animation puts a lot of focus on Ash's growth since the beginning of the series, which is fitting for the season. And there are so many callbacks to past characters as if we're looking through Ash's memories.
This song, performed by Russell Velázquez, the same artist that performed 2.B.A Master, radiates a retro vibe like no other. When the second generation was announced, fans were ecstatic, and this theme helped to fuel that excitement. On top of that, this is the easiest song to bop to out of all the Pokémon openings. We may not actually live in a Pokémon World but if you can arrange a bunch of Pokémon fans to scream this song together, it will be a time of your life! This 'fire' intro is a true hidden gem.
CATCHY, EXCITING, FUN!
XY was the season when Japanese music truly began to take off. In so many ways, this song is wonderful. It's a fast-paced energetic song with some feel-good lyrics and an incredibly upbeat and cute background melody. The video begins with some really cute scenes, such as Bonnie dressed in a Tyrantrum costume, Ash pulling Clemont into the air, and the Kalos gang having good times together. It's as if having a second family. When we rewatch it now, the moments evoke a strong XY nostalgia that makes us cry. The focus then shifts to Ash's gym battle against Clemont. We had known from the very beginning that Ash vs. Clemont is happening, but this song amps it up to another level. The introduction of Sawyer is another fantastic feature of this song. We saw this new mysterious young trainer following Ash's footsteps and couldn't wait to see what would happen next. The only issue with this song is that the build-up verses are so good that the main chorus feels a bit underwhelming. I'm not even sure if it's a bad thing or a good thing.
WELCOME TO HOENN, THE LAND OF TRUMPETS!
Advance Adventure stands out from most of the Pokémon openings. It begins with a trumpet, which is always really unexpected in a pop song, and while it's very high tempo and incredibly 90s pop, the horns in the background give it a fun retro feeling as well. But what truly grabs our attention is the magnificent scenes of the new Hoenn region.
THE ONLY SONG THAT MAKES UNOVA FEEL INTERESTING!
This song is pretty catchy and perfectly encapsulates the idea of the end of a journey. And the visuals were really something special. Not only does it hold some gorgeous animation with some smooth transitions, but there were three different versions of this theme. All of the same song but different visuals to go along with the running story arc. It only clocks in at 30 seconds but the upbeat tune and glimpses of the Unova League, N and Team Plasma or the cruise back to Kanto are enough to make this opening pretty memorable.
The melody is much more child-friendly than the others, and you may be tempted to believe that Pokémon are becoming less adult and more directed toward children, but it's only when you embrace the song that you realize the meaning behind it.
When Ash went into different regions with companions that weren't well-known to the general audience, it's about bringing new friends in the same way one might carry older friends. There's a definite sense of camaraderie that can be felt in this song, and you feel safe with the tune.