Often overshadowed by much more catchy and spectacular opening themes, anime endings get the short end of the stick when it comes to judging a show’s musical merits. While openings are usually zestful, energetic, and accompanied by striking visuals that set the mood for the entire series, endings are much more subdued and soothing.
Signifying the episode’s conclusion, ending themes are meant to pull the audience out of the action, so most of them lack the energetic tempo and richness associated with openings. However, some of anime’s most iconic ending themes break their melodic conventions, pulling the audience in one final irresistible dance before the curtains close. These dynamic anime endings are guaranteed to make any fan fail a Try Not To Dance challenge.
10/10 “SPLASH FREE”‘s Underwater Dance Is Unforgettable
Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club
Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club’s first iconic ending theme, “SPLASH FREE” by STYLE FIVE, is addictively energetic. Performed by a group formed by the seiyuu of five main characters, this ending feels like a genuine party between the show’s cast.
The visuals depict the main characters wandering the desert in a South Asian-inspired environment as well as dancing underwater in the Taj Mahal pool illuminated by vibrant neon lights. The addictive pop tune of “SPLASH FREE” makes every viewer want to give the boys’ iconic dance moves a shot.
9/10 “LOST IN PARADISE” Feels Much More Relaxed Than The Show It Comes From
Both Jujutsu Kaisen’s first opening and ending took the anime community by storm, getting added to everyone’s playlist. “LOST IN PARADISE” by ALI feat. AKLO broke the series’ dark and sinister aesthetic with a vibrant bang.
The zestful sketch-like visuals match the groovy funk spark of “LOST IN PARADISE” perfectly, giving the audience a moment to catch their breath and enjoy the more laid-back versions of the show’s cast. It’s incredible how an ending theme can transform the show’s energy, bringing forward otherwise muted fun aspects of its characters.
8/10 “Namae No Nai Kaibutsu” Transports The Listeners To The Cyberpunk Future
Notorious for its dark futuristic setting and thrilling psychological plot, Psycho-Pass wouldn’t be the same without its iconic ending theme. The alternative J-Pop hit “Namae no Nai Kaibutsu” by EGOIST, a pop duo famous for their work with Supercell on Guilty Crown, starts off with somber melodic vocals, only to gradually erupt into frantic electronic mayhem.
The buzz of electric guitars and cybernetic, artificial-sounding beat adds a futuristic quality to the song, organically fitting into the cyberpunk world of Psycho-Pass. “Namae no Nai Kaibutsu” is one of the rare anime endings that no one wants to skip.
7/10 “Destiny”‘s Cheerful Beats Make The Audience Want To Jump Around
Over its 367-episode run, the legendary gag comedy Gintama had plenty of memorable theme songs and iconic, unforgettable endings. From melancholic emotional ballads like the show’s twentieth ending, “Nakama” by Good Coming, to frenetic rock anthems like the fifth ending, “Shura” by DOES, Gintama always managed to find the perfect theme to match the series’ ever-changing tone.
Its twenty-third ending, “Destiny” by Negoto, stands out as the most upbeat song in the show’s impressive soundtrack, encouraging the audience to dance along. This energetic pop hit is addictively catchy, combining an almost nostalgic electronic sound with cutesy, zestful vocals.
6/10 “Don’t Say “Lazy”” Feels Like A Professional Music Video
Being a series focused on following the day-to-day lives of a school music club, K-ON! puts extra effort into the show’s soundtrack. Every ending of the series looks and feels like a full-blown music video, starring the in-show band Ho-kago Tea Time.
“Don’t Say “Lazy”” is rightfully considered the most iconic K-ON! ending theme, sung by Mio Akiyama’s voice actress Yoko Hikasa and stylized as a high-end performance production. Seeing the usually timid Mio confidently rocking on stage infects the viewers with her energy, dragging them into a tireless dance.
5/10 “Futari No Kimochi No Honto No Himitsu”‘s Dance Has A Bizarre Charm
Kill Me Baby
The bizarre gag comedy series Kill Me Baby has a fittingly unorthodox ending theme that matches the show’s surreal energy. “Futari no Kimochi no Honto no Himitsu,” sung by Chinatsu Akasaki and Mutsumi Tamura, is a weirdly addictive upbeat pop song with unsettlingly dark lyrics.
Despite its depressing meaning, the ending itself is incredibly zestful and rhythmic, featuring the main characters, Yasuna and Sonya, performing a series of silly yet charming dance moves. Despite the ending’s questionable choreography, the audience can’t help but want to try out the girls’ bizarre maneuvers.
4/10 “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” Is The Quintessential Moe Dance
As the ultimate celebration of early 2000s otaku culture, Lucky Star couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create their own iconic dance sequence, a staple of moe anime at the time. While technically featured most prominently in the opening, the “Motteke! Sailor Fuku” dance routine had everything an energetic anime ending should have.
The cutesy cheerleader performance of Lucky Star’s adorable cast that capped off the series was memorable and extremely fun to sway along to, capturing the uniquely compelling energy of old-school moe shows. To this day, slice-of-life fans reminisce about this legendary ending with fondness.
3/10 “Sugar Song And Bitter Step” Got More Popular Than The Show It Comes From
While opening themes usually surpass the endings in popularity, the opposite can also be true in some odd cases, such as Kekkai Sensen’s iconic ending, “Sugar Song and Bitter Step” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN. Even fans who have never seen the series recognize this unforgettable catchy song, as it reached far out of the series’ fan community.
“Sugar Song and Bitter Step” is a timeless classic featuring a funky choreographed dance that somehow still captures the unique personalities of each character. Everyone who had the pleasure of watching this ending undoubtedly wanted to join this adorable group of misfits on stage.
2/10 “Chikatto Chika Chika” Got Every Fan To Dance Along
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
The trend for ending sequences featuring cutesy anime dances seemed to be a thing of the past, virtually dying down in the early 2010s. Yet, Kaguya-sama: Love is War brought this trend back in the ending of its third episode, “Chikatto Chika Chika,” performed by Chika Fujiwara’s voice actress, Konomi Kohara.
The now iconic Chika dance exploded in popularity, with fans recreating its moves and singing along to the catchy song. This ending was a revival of once fan-favorite anime dance trend, proving that some staples of anime culture never get old.
1/10 No Anime Dance Is As Iconic As The “Hare Hare Yukai”
The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya
No discussion about iconic anime endings would be complete without mentioning “Hare Hare Yukai,” a staple hit from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya performed by the respective voices of Haruhi, Yuki, and Mikuru. Haruhi Suzumiya’s unpresidential influence can be seen in how much of a cultural phenomenon the “Hare Hare Yukai” dance became.
Frequently performed at cons and referenced in media even twenty years after the show’s release, this ending features the most iconic dance in anime history, and the temptation to move along the familiar beats of “Hare Hare Yukai” is irresistible for any old-school anime fan.
NEXT: The 10 Greatest Musical Performances In Anime