There is no denying that a soundtrack can make or break a scene in an anime. The right background music adds an extra punch, while the wrong choice can ruin the vibe entirely.
Over the years, anime has produced unforgettable music pieces that fans listen to on repeat. But some OSTs (original soundtracks) stand above the rest thanks to their beautiful composition and ability to elevate key moments.
So, in this article, we will be counting down the top 15 best anime OSTs of all time. From emotional piano ballads to epic openings, these are the anime soundtracks you cannot afford to miss.
Best Anime OST
Disclaimer: This list might offend a lot of you guys by not including your favorite anime ost. We apologize for that in advance but you have to understand that music is different for everyone and as they say - to each their own ...right? In fact, we have a surprise for you at the very end of this article so, stay tuned 😲.
15. Uragawa no Sonzai by Nordex – Given
Given is an Anime series that went under the radar of many. Nonetheless, the anime’s soundtracks elicit an immensely gratifying sensation. The series follows a shy boy named Mafuyu who is struggling with his identity and tragedies from the past when he’s invited to join a band. Together with his friends, Mafuyu makes some amazing music while romance develops between the different band members.
The music in Given is absolutely beautiful while having both upbeat and soulful songs that touch the heart. It completely opens fans to a new world of music and leaves them craving for more.
If I had to choose one, I will say the best soundtrack in the anime is Uragawa no Sonzai by Nordex. Just give it a listen!
14. Colors by FLOW – Code Geass
The hyper-energetic rock song “Colors” by FLOW perfectly encapsulates the rebellious spirit at the core of Code Geass. As soon as I hear those driving guitars and upbeat vocals, I’m transported right back into the chaotic world of political strife and mecha battles.
This opening theme pumps you up every time with its relentlessly energetic tempo and lyrics about casting judgment on the world. FLOW’s vocalist rapidly fires through the lyrics while the guitars wail – matching the intensity of the clashes between Lelouch and Britannia.
Even during the show’s quieter scenes, “Colors” stands out as a snapshot of the unrestrained, defiant energy pulsing through Code Geass. The song embodies the passion and drama behind the anti-empire uprising.
Certain OSTs remind you instantly of pivotal show moments, but “Colors” is more of a thematic embodiment of Code Geass as a whole.
13. Cha-La Head-Cha-La by Hironobu Kageyama – Dragon Ball Z
No anime opening is more nostalgic for me than Dragon Ball Z’s “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” by Hironobu Kageyama. Those first playful lyrics instantly bring me back to my childhood, getting home from school and eagerly awaiting the start of DBZ on TV.
Even now, this absurdly catchy theme song never fails to infect me with child-like enthusiasm. The surf rock vibes combined with the iconic animation of Goku powering up make this the quintessential anime intro.
Multiple generations have nostalgia hardwired for “Cha-La Head-Cha-La.”
12. To Give a Marionette Life by Yoshihisa Hirano – Hunter x Hunter
While Hunter x Hunter doesn’t necessarily have the biggest soundtrack, it most definitely has one of the best. Made by the brilliant Yoshisa Hirano who was also responsible for the haunting Death Note OST, the series has a diverse collection that goes from the happy jolly mood at the start to the emotional and tragic pieces towards the end.
Overall, the Hunter x Hunter OST is a masterful piece of work that perfectly complements the show’s themes and characters. Its memorable tracks will stay with fans long after they finish the series.
11. Click by ClariS – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
“Click” by ClariS is the opening theme for the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which premiered in 2011. The song’s cheerful and upbeat melody might give the impression of a typical magical girl anime filled with fun adventures.
The song’s brilliance lies in its ability to surprise and emotionally impact the audience. This contrast adds depth to the characters and their struggles, making the series all the more compelling and unforgettable.
“Click” is not only an exceptional piece of music but also a powerful storytelling device that enhances the overall experience of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, solidifying its status as one of the best anime openings in history.
10. Avid By Hiroyuki Sawano – 86
86 is a newer and extremely underrated mecha anime that deals with several themes such as loss and sacrifice. One of the most important reasons why the anime is so moving is its brilliant soundtrack made by the amazing Hiroyuki Sawano.
Be it the intense robot fighting scenes or the slow moments depicting emotion, there is the perfect song choice for everything with the vocals only adding to the background score. It manages to accurately capture the atmosphere and even if fans have not watched the anime itself, they should definitely give the soundtrack a listen.
9. Blue Bird by Ikimono-gakari – Naruto Shippuden
Naruto has one of the most recognizable OSTs in anime which is ever present through the journey of our loveable Ninja. With amazing openings such as “Blue Bird” and emotional pieces such as “Sadness and Sorrow” in the series which leaves us in tears, it has become iconic for good reason.
At the same time, it also has a good mix of its hype fight scenes and the extremely popular ninja background sound which gives everyone a sense of nostalgia. It’s the perfect inspirational OST to accompany Naruto’s journey toward becoming the Hokage. With the amount of depth and emotion behind every track, Blue Bird has earned its place on this list.
8. Cruel Angel’s Thesis by Yoko Takahashi – Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Single by: Yoko Takahashi
- Album: Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Language: Japanese
- Released: October 25, 1995
Created by Shiro Sagisu, Neon Genesis Evangelion has one of the most influential soundtracks of all time. Right from its opening, “Cruel Angel’s Thesis”, to its instrumentals and background scores, it manages to perfectly dive into the psyche of its protagonist Shinji, while showcasing his despair and descent into depression.
The series also has no shortage of fighting and explosive scenes where the orchestra music brings out the grand scale as well as philosophical themes.
7. Tank! by Yoko Kanno – Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop’s opening theme “Tank!” is the ultimate jazz-fueled showcase of cool. I get goosebumps The moment I hear that swinging beat and bold brass.
The song perfectly captures the vibe of the show. The swaggering drums and ascending brass riffs will take you on a musical bounty-hunting adventure across the galaxy every time.
Composer Yoko Kanno nails the attitude and essence of Cowboy Bebop with “Tank!”. The brisk tempo and brassy flair oozes confidence and style. For any fan, this theme is the first song that comes to mind when thinking of this legendary anime.
Even years after first watching, those iconic jazzy opening notes instantly bring me back to the Bebop. “Tank!” is musical shorthand for everything that makes this show a masterpiece.
6. Unravel by TK – Tokyo Ghoul
While the Tokyo Ghoul anime doesn’t have the best reputation due to its inaccuracies compared to the manga, the Soundtrack was one blessing that fans received from it. Right from the extremely popular “Unravel”, its composer, Yutaka Yamada, manages to completely engulf the viewer in its world.
The melancholic rock ballad “Unravel” still gives me chills every time I hear TK’s emotional vocals come in alongside the haunting piano melody. This song truly captures the trauma and inner turmoil of Tokyo Ghoul’s protagonist, Ken Kaneki, as he struggles to retain his humanity after becoming half-ghoul.
The series has its fair share of chilling music, but “Unravel” stands out for adding emotional depth. With amazing instrumental pieces that are present to make scenes even more powerful, there is very little that one could find fault with about its soundtrack.
5. Bloody Stream by Coda- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of those animes where the importance of music is made apparent and the tracks are constantly used and heard through different forms of media on a daily basis.
With an unforgettable trumpet riff and high-energy rock sound, “Bloody Stream” immediately grabs your attention as the perfect opener for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Coda’s powerful vocals coupled with lyrics like “The endless possibilities that seep from my heart” capture the spirit of creative brilliance and unwavering confidence that defines JoJo.
With the amazing Yugo Kanno and Taku Iwasaki working on it through its many seasons, the soundtrack assists in increasing the intensity of the battles and staying catchy throughout.
4. Again by Yui – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s “Again” is a beloved anime opening with a powerful impact. Its meaningful lyrics speak of resilience and new beginnings, sung passionately by Yui. Yui’s soulful and passionate vocals breathe life into the song, beautifully reflecting the characters’ emotions and struggles.
The uplifting music adds another layer of brilliance, setting the tone for the show and creating a memorable opening that leaves an indelible mark on fans’ hearts. A perfect blend of emotion and energy that defines a great anime theme song.
3. All Bleach
Ever since its release, Bleach has been a fan-favorite series due to its extremely unique OSTs which borrow from several different cultures across the world. With each arc having a theme such as the Spanish inspiration for the Espada saga and the German one in The Thousand-Year Blood War, the background music also adjusts itself to the setting.
The series itself also has a running theme of using English songs but also manages to not stray too far from its Japanese origin. With all these facets, it is no surprise that the Bleach Soundtrack has managed to stay relevant even to this day.
2. Your Lie in April
In an article ranking anime soundtracks, it might not be a shock to many that one of the best music animes out there is the runner-up. Your Lie in April follows the journey of Kousei Arima as he struggles to outrun his abusive past and rediscover his love for music, and in specific, the Piano.
With several instruments being featured in the series, it is a delight for the senses while perfectly portraying the melancholic mood and feeling of loss. The OST by Masaru Yokoyama is a masterpiece in every sense of the word and is a testament to the power of music in storytelling.
1. Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon – Attack on Titan
The Best Anime OST to be released and is flawless in every track (according to me at least) is the phenomenal Attack on Titan ost Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon. The intense opening for Attack on Titan starts quietly beautiful before unleashing into a rock bombardment – mirroring the constant tension between calm and outright chaos in the story. Having become absorbed in the savage world, the driving melody and lyrics stick with me long after each viewing.
Linked Horizon’s vocals switch between guttural and emotional as the iconic crimson Scout Regiment flag unfurls – igniting my passion to join the survey corps and fight Titans!
Yamanaiame was also amazing. Hiroyuki Sawano cements his place as one of the greatest composers ever with this as he manages to take the intensity and drama of the series to another level with his craft.
The tracks are energetic and feature powerful vocals while highlighting the epic nature and proportion of the events taking place. It is bound to leave the listener with chills and should be experienced at least once in everyone’s life.
Now, that we have reached the end of our top 15 best anime OSTs I will really like to know which one is your favorite OST.
And just in case your favorite didn’t make it to the list doesn’t make it a bad OST. In fact, if anyone of you can convince us why your favorite ost should be on this list in the comments, we will update the article to include the same.
So make your voice hear and show us what you have got!