Updated: Oct 13
When it reaches the end of an episode of a show, sometimes we get the cut to black before a song plays. Sometimes, we get the beginning of the outro playing in the final moments. For those shows that slowly filter in the outro, any TV fan knows the pain of hearing the music and knowing the episode is coming to a close, often just when things are getting good. What eases that sadness is if the closing track is a good one. The word “good” is subjective of course and can depend on what type of show it is. Does it give fans one last chance to dance? Does it hold a somber tone that gives fans a moment to reflect?
Japanese animation, often shortened to the term anime, is a medium of entertainment we’ve seen grow in popularity as it becomes more accessible on streaming. When it comes to anime, the type of song chosen can vary by what type of show it is, but closing tracks (abbreviation EDs) are just as important as openings (abbreviation OPs). It’s important for studios to create eye-catching opening and closing sequences that are going to make people want to watch them and not just skip to jump right into the show. They also set the tone for the entire show. Having a song that fits perfectly with the show or is simply catchy will draw people to the show if it gets shared online.
Today, I want to highlight some of my favorite anime EDs (closing tracks). This is my own personal list, so it may not include closing tracks from any of the big Shonen classics. If you’re a huge anime fan or just starting out, I hope this curated list introduces you to a new closing song, and maybe even an anime I’ve convinced you to try out.
1.“Lost in Paradise” - Ali, Aklo
From: Jujutsu Kaisen
Of all the closing tracks on this list, “Lost in Paradise” is my absolute favorite. The reason is quite simple, really. It’s a straight banger. No ifs ands or buts about it. For those who aren’t familiar, Jujutsu Kaisen follows Yuji Itadori who joins his school's Occult Club for fun but soon uncovers a real Curse and the world of Jujutsu Sorcerers who can manipulate the energy between beings for their own use to eliminate curses.
Closing out the 2020 standout hit anime, this upbeat, jazzy track is so much fun. Songs meant to hype people up are usually reserved for opening tracks of anime, but Jujutsu Kaisen decided it needed a hype song at the end too. It’s a lot of fun to finish out an episode and transition to a whole new anime art style with the main characters in casual clothes dancing along. It can be a bit jarring of a listen when an episode ends on a sad note, but I would argue it was a good way to cheer people up after ripping their hearts out (insert gif of Pedro Pascal laughing then crying). You’ll have to give the show a try to understand what I mean, but you don’t need to know anything about the show to enjoy this high-energy track. It’s fallen in my top songs of the year on Spotify since 2020, and I have zero regrets about it.
Give it a listen.
2.“Comedy” - Gen Hoshino
From: Spy x Family
The closing track for Spy x Family (pronounced Spy Family) has such a cool groove to it that I cannot listen to the opening notes without bobbing my head along. Spy x Family was a huge hit last year and brought up one of the cutest “must protect” characters of the year. The anime follows a spy who has to "build a family" to execute a mission, not realizing that the girl he adopts as his daughter is a telepath, and the woman he agrees to be in a marriage with is a skilled assassin. To make matters even more interesting, the telepath daughter knows her “parents” secrets but doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to be found out either.
With such a fun premise, I think this ending track was a great choice. It has a light-hearted tone that helps wind down the show while showing one of the main characters, Anya (the must-protect character I mentioned above), wandering through various settings created by the animators including long steps, hand-drawn doors, and a crossword puzzle. By the song’s chorus, we get to see Anya come together with her “parents” and we watch her face break into pure joy. With them, she has a home and is loved. It’s extremely wholesome, which fits so well with the show that balances the wholesome themes while also being hilarious. I love this warm hug of a closer.
3.“Koshaberi Biyori (小喋日和)" - Fantastic Youth
From: Komi Can’t Communicate
Komi Can’t Communicate is another popular recent anime that I love. After premiering in 2021, it has become popular among slice-of-life anime lovers. The show follows Shoko Komi who despite being loved by everyone and revered by her classmates has extreme social anxiety and doesn’t speak to people. We watch her as she improves her communication skills and takes on the task of making 100 friends. It’s a very sweet show where we see Komi work on her social anxiety and grow thanks to the support of friends around her.
This closing song fits that cozy vibe perfectly. In the closing animation, we see Komi’s class at the end of the day, sped up as they all take their leave. It’s drawn in a watercolor-esque animation style that’s very pleasing to look at. At the first sequence, we see Komi leave alone. In the second, we see the same beginning full of the unique cast of characters, but this time, Komi doesn’t leave alone. It captures the anime’s message and feeling perfectly, and its soft vocals from Fantastic Youth tie everything together well.
4.“Koi no Yukue” - Akari Akase
From: My Dress Up Darling
Like many other anime on this list, the ED is a chance for the animators to play with a different style, to put the show’s character in a new setting. The closing sequence from My Dress Up Darling is one of my favorites that plays with a new animation style that is so different from the show’s style yet still matches the show’s vibe perfectly. My Dress Up Darling follows high schooler Wakana Gojo, whose obsession with making Hina dolls makes it hard for him to make friends. But after the school's most popular girl, Marin Kitagawa asks for his sewing skills to help her make a cosplay outfit, his life completely changes.
This show’s premise can seem a little dicey on the surface, but it manages to create a really cute and wholesome romance along the way. This ED captures that cutesy energy really well. This is one I very rarely skipped after finishing an episode, and it’s on a couple of my Spotify playlists.
5.“Dream On” – Mamoru Miyano
From: Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan
This is probably the most jarring EDs on this list, but honestly, that’s probably intentional. Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan is that anime made for people in their late 20s, early 30s who were told the world was open to them, only to be hit by the reality that is the corporate machine and had to make concessions for the sake of making a living. Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan is a comedy series that revolves around the daily life of Uramichi, a 31-year-old ex-gymnast turned children's program personality. Working with kids, he’s expected to be cheerful on camera, but sometimes, he cracks, revealing his jaded and cynical nature. It’s absolutely hilarious, and they balance the humor with the darkness with dazzling expertise. The ED “Dream On” is super chill and a nice song to drive to late at night. It has this calming groove to it that I love. With the closing animation, it’s comforting as we see the characters who just experienced terrible days at work get to just be themselves at home, smoking their cigarettes, walking their dogs, or looking up at the moon. After the dark humor of the show, it is a sharp cut to this chill song, but I do think it has a good purpose behind it. It’s a reminder that once the workday is done, we can experience life’s beauty, even if it’s for just a moment.
6.“Bibbito Love” - CHiCO with HoneyWorks and Mafumafu
From: Science Fell in Love So I Tried to Prove It
My second favorite in this list is “Bibbito Love.” I discovered this anime and thus this song last year, and I loved it so much, it became one of my top songs of the year on Spotify. Science Fell in Love So I Tried to Prove It is such a blast to watch. It takes the romance formula we’re used to seeing and tries to apply science and reason to the idea of falling in love. Researchers Shinya Yukimura and Ayame Himuro use data science in their studies, but when Himuro confesses to Yukimura that she might be in love with him, they both agree that they need to test the love’s validity through scientific experiments including measuring their heart rates in romantic situations. It’s so much fun to watch these two characters very much in love refuse to acknowledge their feelings without scientific proof.
If I had to choose one word to describe this song I’d go with fun. It’s simply so much fun. Another high-energy closer that is so much fun to listen to and close out the show. It matches the upbeat humorous feeling that the show offers viewers, keeping that fun energy going. It’s also a nice touch that the closing animation has the characters singing along to the song. I think anyone who loves upbeat pop songs will love this ED.
7.“Kamisama Onegai” – Hanae
From: Kamisama Kiss
When I spoke in the beginning about how you can sometimes hear the beginning of the ED before the episode has even finished, Kamisama Kiss was one of the big ones I had in mind. There’s something so comforting about hearing the song’s beginning, “ah ah ah ah” signaling that the episode is coming to a close. It has such a romantic, chill vibe that is unlike any other ED I’ve heard.
Kamisama Kiss follows Nanami Momozono, a high school girl living an average life until after helping a strange man in a park, he offers her his shrine to live in while he’s away. Homeless and desperate, she agrees and soon discovers she inadvertently agreed to become the new God of the shrine. A lot of this show follows Nanami growing up and becoming emotionally stronger, it also follows one of my favorite romances of all time. This ED captures the romantic feeling between the two perfectly. I knew hearing the beginning of the song meant the episode was ending, but I couldn’t be upset about it because the song is so darn catchy. It’s been months since I watched this anime, and the song will still randomly pop into my head. It’s just that good.
8.“Haru Urara” – Genic
From: Fruits Basket
This ED is absolute perfection, to put it simply. It is the ultimate perfect closing track for Fruits Basket, especially since it was used as the ED for the final season. I love every ED for Fruits Basket, but this one is my favorite. Fruits Basket follows recently orphaned Tohru Honda who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that 13 members of the Sohma family are cursed. As she grows closer to them, she becomes determined to help them break the curse. As the show continues, we see all the characters grow and heal from their traumatic pasts. By the final season, fans are not ready to say goodbye even though they know they must.
“Haru Urara” was written specifically for the show, and it shines through when looking at the translated lyrics. This ED featuring the phrase “Arigatō sayonara” (which translates to “thank you” and “goodbye) hits different when you know the show is coming to a close. And don’t get me started on how bittersweet it is to hear it that last time on the final episode, almost like the show is saying goodbye to you, the viewer. It’s beautiful. It’s devastating. It’s so very Fruits Basket.
9.“Tenchi Gaeshi” - NICO Touches the Walls
Anyone who read my list going over my favorite OPs will have read about how much I love Haikyuu. It’s the anime that kickstarted my love for the medium. If not for Haikyuu, I would not be making this list. That said, for anyone unfamiliar with the show, Haikyu!! (usually written as Haikyuu in conversation) is a volleyball anime where we follow Shoyo Hinata, a short orange-haired spitfire determined to be a successful outside hitter, and his team the Karasuno Crows who are determined to work as hard as they need to make it to Nationals. There are so many great closing tracks to choose from when it comes to Haikyuu, but I decided I wanted to highlight the very first ED that played through my days with this show as one of my only lights during the height of the pandemic. This song starts off with a bang, featuring an animation of Hinata running before he makes a jump up to spike. I know it’s only been 3 years since I started this show, but this song already feels nostalgic. I was just at the beginning of my anime journey when I first heard this song. For that, it’s always going to be special. It’s also just a really fun upbeat track. NICO Touches the Walls have done a couple of Haikyuu tracks and never let me down. They understand the assignment, and I love them for it.
10.“Sugarless Kiss” – Suzuko Mimori
To finish out this list, I wanted to highlight the fun, upbeat closing track from Odd Taxi (often stylized as ODDTAXI). This is another ED that can be very jarring to hear going from a dark ending or revelation in the episode. Odd Taxi is a mystery anime that follows Hiroshi Odokawa, a walrus who drives a taxi for a living, and through it, he meets several unique characters. Odokawa's life is pretty simple until he gets caught up in a case of a missing girl, and the police believe he’s a suspect. There are so many fun twists and turns to this story but there’s nothing funnier than being told something super dark and then jumping over to this bubblegum sweet closer. I love that they chose this song, not only for the drastic change in feeling but also because the story features pop idol groups. I like to picture the idol group in the show singing this which makes it extra fun.
Give this one a listen if you want a short little fun track to boost your mood.
Here are just 10 of many EDs from anime that I love. I really tried to focus on the songs and less on my personal feelings about the anime this go around, but if you preferred the route where I gushed about the anime, let me know in the comments! I have a lot of passion for this medium of entertainment, and I’m always looking to have fun conversations about it. I hope my personal list reminded you of a great closing track. And if you’re not an anime watcher but still gave this a read (first of all, thank you), I hope I made you interested in giving one of these shows or at least their songs a try. Did my favorite make your list? Let me know your favorite in the comment section! I look forward to talking music with you in our next post. Until then, ありがとう、さようなら(Thank you and goodbye 😉)
Written by Kristen Petronio