Anime opening themes can either be a two-minute waste of time that you skip past after the first episode, or they can stick with you years after the fact. These OPs from the 90's have staying power over 20 years down the line.
1. Tank by The Seatbelts - Cowboy Bebop
You can't write a list about 90's anime OPs and not include Tank. That'd be like leaving the Bronte sisters out of a list on influential Victorian authors - you just don't do it. Tank is performed by The Seatbelts and written by Yoko Kanno - truly formidable musicians. It's a big band jazz piece that perfectly pairs with the mood the series itself.
Also, here's a little-known fact - figure skater Kevin Reynolds did a routine set to Tank during the 2016 Canadian National Figure Skating Championship. He did this while cosplaying Spike Spiegel.
2. 7 O'Clock News - Kodomo no Omocha
Out of all of the OPs on this list, 7 O'Clock News is probably cited the least frequently. That said, it's a pretty killer OP. It starts off with a bat/rabbit hybrid knocking out a killer guitar rift, then moves on to a bunch of 11-year-olds dancing terribly in cringey 90's outfits. It's the perfect set up for a joyfully ridiculous anime, and the song itself is rockin'.
3. Duvet by Bôa - Serial Experiments Lain
Duvet is an atmospheric song featuring beautiful vocals and haunting lyrics. The visuals show Lain, a young girl, walking alone though a desolate city, being pecked at by corvids. It's just disturbing enough to hint at the themes of this complex anime, without going too far.
This is actually one of the few non-Japanese songs to be chosen as an anime theme - Bôa is a British indie band, with a large catalogue outside of Duvet.
4. Through The Night by Masahiko Arimachi - Outlaw Star
I am not an Outlaw Star fan. I saw two episodes fifteen years ago and decided it wasn't for me. Despite this, I've had not one, not two, but THREE separate dreams about the series. Why would I have so many dreams about a show I've never watched? Because the OP was just that good,
This J-Rock anthem was one of the few OPs now to be swapped out for a lukewarm English song slapped together by the dubbing company, and thank God. This is the kind of song that anyone can rock out to, anime fan or not. Plus, the video itself stays high-energy while including some great detail - I've never seen an anime character with realistic looking teeth anywhere but here.
5. Cruel Angel's Thesis by Yoko Takahashi - Neon Genesis Evangelion
What is the Cruel Angel's thesis about? It's a deep dive into the Representation of PTSD and Philosophical Thought in 90's Mecha Anime.
Aside from the title's potential for poorly crafted jokes about higher education, the song itself is a light, relaxing tune that contrasts beautifully with the emotionally devastating tone of the show itself. Originally, Hideki Anno actually wanted to use music from Borodin's Polovetsian Dances, but TV Tokyo thought that audiences would be confused - and thus, A Cruel Angel's Thesis was born.
What are some of your favorite 90's anime opening themes? Show off the mighty power of your nostalgia, and let us know in the comments.