The Set List
Top 10 OPs of 2009

by Jacob Chapman,

Hooray, the ANN time machine has taken us back to 2009! America is in a recession! The swine flu is causing everyone to freak out! Transformers 2 is in theaters! Is it too late to go back to 2015?

Not to worry, there was plenty of great anime music to discover in 2009, and this week we'll be counting down ten of the very best opening themes the year had to offer. As always, only shows that debuted in 2009 qualified for the list, and the same is true of this week's poll, so keep that in mind while voting. I ran into an interesting hiccup with this year because not one, not two, but three big hits with a truckload of theme songs came out in '09, all of which seem better suited for their own Set List countdown. So I didn't feel comfortable including any themes from Bakemonogatari, Fairy Tail, or Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (especially since I featured it in the last countdown!) They'll get their very own Set List features all to themselves in the near future instead, and you can still vote for them in the poll.

Another oddity of the anison scene from five years ago popped up that I wanted to discuss in detail above the video. Perhaps because this was just after the anime bubble-burst, there's a striking amount of homogeneity in anime theme songs from this year, specifically in the omnipresence of a j-pop genre that is basically obsolete now. It was a sound defined by intensely overproduced layers of synth and processed classical instrument sounds, with a barely discernible melody and singers that may or may not be able to sing substituting melodrama for quality. It's a sound I can only describe as "bubblegum baroque rock" and while there are good examples of it in this week's countdown, a lot of it was samey at best and ear-melting at worst. For the best example of how this style of music evolved into a much better one, take a listen to the difference between today's Kalafina and their more "bubblegum baroque rock" roots as FictionJunction. So most of what I ended up sorting through was j-pop, j-rock, and j-punk in that synth-baroque style and even five years later, it has not aged well.

Still, even during this slightly awkward time in anime history, there's lots of musical treasure to be found. So with no further ado, let the music play!


Last Week's Poll Results

What were your favorite Fullmetal Alchemist theme songs?

  1. FMA Brotherhood OP 1: "again" by YUI (eps 1-14) 56.3%
  2. FMA (2003) OP 4: "Rewrite" by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION (eps 42-51) 42.0%
  3. FMA Brotherhood OP 4: "Period" by Chemistry (eps 39-50) 40.0%
  4. FMA (2003) OP 2: "Ready Steady Go" by L'Arc-en-Ciel (eps 14-25) 38.5%
  5. FMA Brotherhood OP 2: "Hologram" by NICO Touches the Walls (eps 15-26) 31.4%
  6. FMA Brotherhood OP 5: "Rain" by SID (eps 51-63) 30.4%
  7. FMA Brotherhood OP 3: "Golden Time Lover" by Sukima Switch (eps 27-38) 28.8%
  8. FMA Brotherhood ED 1: "嘘 - Uso (Lie)" by SID (eps 1-14) 26.8%
  9. FMA (2003) ED 1: "Kesenai Tsumi" ("Indelible Sin") by Nana Kitade (eps 2-13) 25.8%
  10. FMA (2003) OP 1: "Melissa" by Porno Graffitti (eps 2-13) 25.1%


This Week's Set List Poll

Didn't see your favorite song on the list? Cast your own vote in the poll below!

Pick as many or as few faves as you like, and in two weeks we'll have the results and a new poll ready to go. See you next time!


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