There are certain anime songs that otakus recognize immediately. They may not always understand what the singers are saying, especially when there is a language barrier, but at least they can get excited enough about the song to try to learn some of the lyrics. These are the songs that only need a few familiar words or lines for fans to sing or hum.
As a prerequisite, only songs with actual lyrics will be counted in this compilation. Maybe “You Say Run” by My Hero Academia go with everything, but you can not sing with full lyrics. Everything else is fine, including openings, endings, and insert songs.
“We are fighting dreamers” – De “GO!!” de Flow
When looking for anime songs that many recognize, it’s best to look at mainstream anime. The more familiar people are with a series, the better. One of those popular stories is Naruto, especially its first seasons.
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“Let’s go!!!” is one of the most popular openings of Naruto for several reasons. Besides being released in the US at the height of Naruto’s popularity there, it’s just a good opening overall. Having Flow play a fast-paced rock song while the main cast does cool stuff in the background is a great way to get fans excited to watch the accompanying episode. “We are fighting dreamers” sums up the youthful and energetic vibe the song gives off, which makes it such a fun way to get others humming. Also, this song has a lot of English phrases, making it easier for English-speaking fans to sing along.
Multiple Lines – From MAN WITH A MISSION’s “Merry-Go-Round”
There’s a bit of a recency bias to this opening, but it’s also a great way to make fans of My Hero Academia. Compared to the other openings, “Merry-Go-Round” is by far the one with the most segments in English. Whether it’s “wowo it’s alright/everything will be alright” or “the carousel goes up and goes down” or “no one, no one, no one else” or the obvious “merry-go-round revolvin’ around”, there are plenty stimulating lines to get English speakers singing along. Other themes of MHA like “Odd Future” and “Sora ni Utaeba” are good, but when it comes to understanding the lyrics and singing, “Merry-Go-Round” is the most inclusive song.
“Don’t Lose Your Way” – From Hiroyuki Sawano’s “Before My Body Is Dry”
This phrase has become so popular that many assume that it is the name of the song. The actual title is “Before My Body Is Dry”. The theme is one of the brilliant compositions made by Hiroyuki Sawano for Kill la Kill.
The song itself is apparently a direct take on the premise of its anime. Their story follows a girl searching for her father’s killer. Her quest pits her against a high school filled with students hoping to improve their social status by beating her. His only chance to win is a sentient sailor uniform that enhances his abilities with the power of his blood, hence the song’s title. The phrase “don’t lose your way” appears in the chorus of the song. In addition to its universal applicability, it is performed with such passion and such impressive background music that one cannot help but be moved by listening to it.
“You are the background and we are the soldiers!” – From Linked Horizon’s “Guren no Yumiya”
There are many anime songs that encourage English-speaking fans to learn at least enough Japanese to understand and recite the lyrics. However, it takes a really special anime song for the audience to learn a tertiary language. For anyone unfamiliar with German, this line is a real mouthful, but many true fans will try to learn it anyway.
“I want to be the best” – From “Pokémon Theme” by John Siegler and John Loeffler
4Kids has a reputation for altering and removing content in its English dubs for the sake of localization and adaptation to children. However, they have also created some catchy melodies to substitute various anime openings. The “Pokémon Theme” is one of his most popular substitutions, outperforming even the original opening.
This might be the easiest anime song for American anime fans to get their hands on. The song is in full English without any breaks, it has a great energy behind it and a lot of people grew up listening to it. This phrase is often included in a conversation about hoping to excel at something. Whoever knows the line will often chime in with the second half of the verse: “Catching them is my true test. Training them is my cause.” If the setting is right, this can lead to a full, spontaneous performance of the entire song.