My Top Ten Favorite Anime OSTs

I will be excluding movie soundtracks, or else this would have way too many Ghibli soundtracks. 

Again, the top three are my favorites, and can switch places regularly. 

10. Monster, Kuniaki Haishima:

Standouts: What Do I See, The Seeds of Time, Cannot Hear:

Haunting is a word for this soundtrack. While some tracks sound too over the top for this subtle and dark series (which is why this is in 10th place), there are pieces that stand out and give you chills, as well as anxiety. But it also balances the darker parts with lighter pieces of music: like the anime, there are light spots in the darkness. It isn’t just sadness and fear. And there are quiet songs that just stuck with you.
9. Durarara, Makoto Yoshimori:

Standouts: Their Aspirations, The Legend of the Strongest Man in Ikebukuro, Ikebukuro West Exit Five-way Intersection 

City music. That is the best way I can define this sound. It has electronic beats, instruments, and often a steady synthesized beat as an undertone. It can be fast paced, funky, and fun, like with the aforementioned songs with the word “Ikebukuro” in the, (they are such long titles!), but also have slower, more istrumental songs, like Their Aspirations. It can be subtle, insane, or loud, but always fun. 

8. Psycho-Pass, Yugo Kanno: 

Standouts: Psycho-Pass, Dominator, Makishima Shogo

Like others on this list, Psycho Pass had a great balance between computer generated music and actual instruments, but it often has a more electronic sound, which makes sense for the world. It is also very fast paced, matching the more action packed sequences nicely. However, it also has more subtle sounds in the background for the quieter scenes, and the scenes with strong instrumentals were made more memorable by their rarity; usually it sounds more electronic, so the instruments make a strong impact.

7. Noragami OST, Taku Iwasaki:

Standouts: Lurk in the Dark, Misogi, Shadow Dancing

Noragami may not have my favorite soundtrack, but objectively, it deserves a spot here. While I do love some tracks, for the most part, there aren’t many I’d want on my iPod (Lurk in the dark and Misogi being the main exceptions). But it is here for its sheer originality. It sounds totally different than most anime. It sounds distinctly modern with a steady electronic rhythm and beat underdone, but at the same time. It mixes with more oriental, traditional music and voices, making for a unique sound and meeting of modern music and traditional melodies.

6. Steins;Gate, Takeshi Abo:

Standouts: Gate of Steiner, Believe Me, Christina 1 and 2

This may not sound like the Person of Interest soundtrack, but my reasons for putting it here are similar. This balances out the science fiction and the time travel with a very human feel. As much as this is about time travel, it’s also about the characters’ relationships with each other. This has strong electronic songs, like Gate Of Steiner, but even that is associated with one of the most emotionally powerful scenes in the anime. This also has strong piano songs, like in Beleive Me and the Christina themes. It’s a very balanced soundtrack that has a strong punch.

5. Tokyo Ghoul, Yutaka Yamada:

Standouts: TG Symphonie, Verzerrte Welt, Licht Und Schatten

In some ways, this reminds me of Hiroyuki Sawano’s work mixed with Danny Elfman. It has great use of electronic music for the action scenes, then the sweeping orchestras and choir, and then there are the gothic sounds that feel like they’re straight out of a Tim Burton movie. This balances the action, fantasy, and horror aspects of the series very well. Even the action music sounds unique with the orchestra and choir in the background, like with my favorite track, TG Symphonie. This also has quiet songs that play during the sad moments, like Licht Und Schaten.

4. Puella Magi Madoka Magica OST, Yuki Kajiura:

Standouts: Sis Puella Magica, Salve Terrae Magicae, Surgam Identidem, Credens Justitiam 

How could I not include at least one Kajiura album here? That woman makes the best fantasy songs I’ve heard. Anyway, PMMM is notorious for being one of the darkest Magical Girl anime, and I think the soundtrack helped play a big part in that. It balances the lighter, more sweeping songs, like “Credens Justitiam” and then darker songs like “Surgam Identidem” so well. It can make you feel hopeful, then just sad. It also has a distinctly medieval sound, like in “Salve, Terrae Magicae”. And the show’s most recurring song, “Sis Puella Magica”, is at once haunting and beautiful with its choir. 

3. Attack on Titan OST, Hiroyuki Sawano:

Standouts: Attack On Titan, YouSeeBIGGIRL/T:T, Call of Silence, Xl-Tt, 

Did you really not think I wouldn’t include both seasons of AoT in here? No way! Part of Attack on Titan’s fame is for its music; Sawano has an incredible range with the type of sounds. There are it’s action songs with epic vocals and blaring orchestra with some computer music. Then there’s also the more vocal-heavy, almost quiet songs that ramp up in intensity, like both seasons’ versions of Vogel Im Kafig. There are also tracks without any vocals whatsoever, but are no less amazing. But one cool thing is that most of the background songs with vocals, like “The Reluctant Heroes” and “Call of Silence,” are sung in English. 

2. Death Note OST, Hideki Taniuchi and Yoshihisa Hirano:

Standouts: Death Note Theme, L’s Theme, Low of Solipsism, Kyrie 

This was the first anime soundtrack to truly hit me. It was in the second episode, where Light and L have their first ‘confrontation’ without seeing the others’ face. It was a great scene in general, but the track playing in the background (L’s Theme) was what made the scene one of my favorites in the series, with it’s catchy piano and guitar. Anyway, this soundtrack is still one of my favorites. While some tracks were overplayed in the show, that doesn’t completely reduce my love of them This has amazing orchestra and choir, like in “Low of Solipsism”, “Death Note Theme”, and ,Kyrie”, but this is one of those rare soundtracks where the character themes (L’s Theme, Light’s Theme, and Near’s Theme are my favorites) all sound amazing.

1. Fate/Zero, Yuki Kajiura:

Standouts: Point Zero, On the Battlefield, This Day and Never Again, Back To Zero, If You Leave

 I swear, this didn’t get to be so high because I’m currently watching it! While Kajiura’s work on PMMM stuck out particularly, I feel as thought Fate/Zero has a more impressive sound, as well as being more diverse. This has the epic medieval music, but it also has a surprising amount of guitar, and even has music that sounds Middle Eastern. I guess it’s the diversity that makes me love this. This also has one of the best orchestra and choir combos I’ve heard, like with Death Note. But this sounds more fantasy, and sometimes the choir even has a near operatic sound without going overboard. I also associate certain songs with points in the show. One of them is Point Zero, where I remember the summoning of each of the Servants, which is one of the scenes to give me the most chills. This a stunning, beautiful soundtrack, with a perfect medieval and fantasy sound.

19 thoughts on “My Top Ten Favorite Anime OSTs

  1. Oh man, you’ve listed some of my favourites as well: Psycho-Pass, Noragami, AoT, and Tokyo Ghoul. I haven’t seen the other anime (yet! Most of them are on TBW), but I’m sure I’ll probably love those OSTs as well. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

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      1. Heck yes, I love both of them! DRRR is very, very, bizarre. It’s based off a light novel series, so maybe after watching the first season try to find them! I found them at my local Barnes and Noble, which is awesome. And Death Note is just all around amazing. It isn’t perfect, but it’s still really good, especially when put into consideration how popular it is.

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  2. Yes! Noragami made the list! πŸ˜„ I’ve heard great things about Tokyo Ghoul’s soundtrack (still need to watch the anime) and I’m glad that you like it too! Even though you excluded movies from the list, I agree that Ghibli has the best soundtracks!! (A lot of songs are punch in the feels, and other are just fun to listen to.)

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    1. Noragami had one of the most interesting soundtracks I’ve heard. I thought it hit the perfect match of modern music and more oriental sound. Tokyo Ghoul had such an amazing soundtrack, that my parents actually bought it for me! We found out why it was so pricy: not only was it an import from Japan, it had TWO disks rather than one. It was a good surprise.
      If I had put Ghibli on this list, it would’ve taken up at least half. That’s why I didn’t put it here, even though I love their soundtracks! But if I put one on here, it would’ve had to be Castle in the Sky.

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      1. I feel the same way! There’s a lot of modern rock types in there, but they have a unique sound that’s very appealing. And that’s a good surprise! I don’t own any soundtracks, but if I did, I’d probably be P5 just because its jazzy and all. πŸ˜‰
        I love their soundtracks too! I can’t decide which is my favorite, but I do really like the one for Spirited Away! πŸ˜„ Castle had a great soundtrack too!!

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      2. Noragami’s soundtrack overall was one of the most unique parts of the show. It made sense for Japanese mythology on the modern world. I’ll have to check out P5 then. πŸ™‚
        For me with Ghibli, it’d have to be either Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, or Howl’s Moving Castle.

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      3. I kinda guessed it was for Persona. And thanks for the link, I’ll check it out when I can! I also like to listen to soundtrack music while doing homework.
        My mom’s favorite Ghibli is also Spirited Away. It is a very hard movie to best, though probably not the best for first time viewers, haha πŸ˜‚

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      4. No problem! I either listen to soundtracks, or just chill music that I’ve made playlists for. (I’ve kinda been getting into electro swing for some odd reason.)
        And I can believe it. πŸ˜‚ It was one of the most high ranking anime movies out there; I’m pretty sure it was number one for awhile, but now I think Your Name is. (I’m not definite though.) Also I agree that it’s probably not going to make a large impression for first timers. I think it was the third film I watched, and I liked it a lot better when I watched it for the second time.

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      5. I have a varied taste in music as well.
        In fact, Spirited Away was the highest ranking anime movie in Japan, but then it was replaced by Your Name. (I still want to see that so badly!)
        I saw Spirited Away when I was…five years old? Let’s just say, that was not the brightest idea my mom had, haha. πŸ˜‚

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      6. I thought so, I just didn’t confirm it. I want to see Your Name so badly too! I’m hoping to get the DVD if I ever see it!!!
        Oh gosh! That scene where No Face ate all those other people would have scared me to death if I seen it when I was little. (And I used to be afraid of the movie Milo & Otis. It’s an animal movie, but I haven’t watched it since. πŸ˜…)

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      7. Same here! I just want to see it so badly. It looks gorgeous.
        No Face and the pig scene frightened me so badly as a kid. I refused to really rewatch it until I was in middle school. (Haha). I’ve actually never seen Milo and Otis, but I’ve heard about it.

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      8. I really does! I hear the animation was done spectacularly! I have a poster for it, even it I haven’t watched it yet, lol.
        The pig scene too, I forgot how terrifying that scene could’ve been.
        And I was afraid of one scene where the cat was alone in a dark place. I felt really bad for the cat, and never watched the movie again because I had gotten scared of it. πŸ˜…

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      9. The trailers just look jaw-dropping beautiful.
        Yep, that’s the scene that traumatized me as a kid πŸ˜‚ I was so used to Disney movies..
        Haha, that’s okay. Cats are too cute, I’d have probably gotten scared too. Kinda like with my dad’s old 50s horror movies; I’d probably laugh at them now, but they freaked me out enough as a kid that I never want to see them again πŸ˜…

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      10. I’ve seen the trailers too! They looked so good! ❀️
        I grew up with Ponyo, but I was always concerned about Lisa (I’m sorry again for spelling, if that’s wrong) after she went off to the senior center towards the end. I used to think that she probably drowned. πŸ˜…
        And oh gosh, those movies sound like they would scare me too.

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