Anime opening and ending songs are often the presentations for whatever show you want to watch for the first time. They try to convey the tone and themes that the story will explore in the best way possible. However, some creators are sneaky and like to sucker punch their viewers by making them believe their show is nothing like it really is.

When it comes to scary, gory, or unsettling anime, this tactic is especially effective. You can deny it all you want it, but there is nothing more hilarious than deceiving your friends by watching a series, starting by showing them a lovely opening or ending song, and then watching them crumble as they realize what they really got into.

10. “Light Before We Land”- The Delgados- Gunslinger Girl opening song

“This opening has always brought me this odd sense of comfort.”

While the scenes with girls shooting guns like pros kind of give away the fact this show is not for kids, it conveys little of what is coming next. For example, a soothing song like this does not represent something like Henrietta going absolutely berserk in the first episode.

9. “Evening Shower-Shigeo Suga”- Boogiepop Phantom opening song

“Boogiepop Phantom. The funky fresh, pimp walkin’ entity that’s gonna take your soul.”

This song invites you to have some whiskey in the rocks while you see people being eaten alive by a certain creature. The opening visuals may be blurry and less interesting, but the music is smooth as hell. I want to be in that city at night! It does not matter if a flesh-eating alien is around.

8. “One Room Sugar Life”-Akari Nanawo-Happy Sugar Life opening song

“This is a happy anime. Family-friendly, make sure to watch this with your parents, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, kids, friends”

At first glance, “One Room Sugar Life” checks all the boxes for a cute aesthetic opening. You get sweets, a lot of pinks, dancing cute girls, sparkly lights, and three gift-like bags that definitely do not seem to contain human remains. Despite some dark imaginary here and there, a casual viewer wouldn’t understand why some call this show “Unhappy Salt Death” instead.

7. “Connect-Claris”- Madoka Magika opening song

“Top 10 anime betrayals: 1. this OP”

Nothing like good ol’ Madoka: a clear example of the cunning application of cuteness, used to take us by surprise. It is well known by now that this show is not the right choice for some magical girl anime wholesomeness. Yet, for the ones who watched it when it came out, it was incredibly shocking to see that things went deeply south as everyone started to lose their heads.

6. “Innocent Blue”- DeviceHigh- School Days opening song

“This looks like a perfect anime to watch with my children”

Bland MC walking here and there, the two main female leads blushing when they see him, some subtle nudity to remind us this is an ecchi show and voilá: you get the most generic harem anime opening ever. No questionable sex encounters, knives, and nice boats in sight- until the final episode.

5. “Shiroi Oka Maromi no Theme”- Suzumu Hirasawa- Paranoia Agent ending

“See, this show is very kid-friendly. All the characters are all jolly and laughing all day, so they get worn out and go to sleep. Awww, how cute.”

A bunch of random characters are seen sleeping cozily in a meadow, while a giant dog plushie keeps an eye on them? I bet nothing weird happens in this show!  If you show someone the ending I bet they do not think anything of it. To viewers who know what it’s all about,  the idea of having Maromi around while you try to get some sleep isn’t so comforting.

4. “Friend Shitai”- Gakuen Seikatsu-bu- School Live! opening song

School Live! is a perfect slice of life where not a single thing goes wrong”

This opening is nothing but cute girls doing cute things at school, so it is the perfect trap for the naïve who are looking for a slice of life anime. However, as you go through more episodes, the opening changes.  Remember the nice-looking school? By the end, you have some lovely zombies waiting for you. Remember the cute doggie at the beginning? Well, there’s a reason why he is not there to catch his toy bone 🙁

3. “The Sunday Sun”- The Neutral- Narutaru opening song

“A funny and sweetheart anime about the adventures of a group of children and their fantastic friends”

As we have talked before here in The Yurei, Narutaru is no Digimon. With some cute Crayola-style drawings, it introduces us to Shiina and her friend who are not completely unhinged at all. What about the cheerful tone in the song? Pay attention to the lyrics and research a bit. They are about someone lamenting that their friend ended his life on a sunny Sunday morning.

2. “Tabi No Hidarite Saihate No Migite”- Miyu Tomita and Mariya Ise- Made in the Abyss ending song

“What a happy song. I think I’ll watch this anime. It doesn’t look like it has any sadness or trauma.”

Look at those cute, paper-like cutouts of Riko, Reg, and Nanachi! I bet they have the best time exploring the abyss and not getting mortally wounded or being traumatized at all! Do you see those creatures in the background? I bet they are friendly.

1. “Flyers”- BRADIO- Death Parade opening song

“Discovering this anime through the opening is the worst way to discover it.”

At first glance, this opening seems to be all about people having a blast in a supernatural bar. Even if you mention that it takes place in the afterlife, an unsuspecting viewer would think that death does not look too bad with all the dancing, games, drinks, and upbeat song. Unfortunately, Death Parade is actually a psychological drama that explores trauma and regrets without sugar-coating it.

Like every entry in this list, all is fun and games until you get to the end, and you are in a pool of tears, or disgust. Still, it is fascinating how, despite the deception, we love these openings and endings because they slap no matter what and they are a great addition to our playlists.

More in Anime

Anime Retrospective: Elfen Lied

Fancy a retro anime review about a kawaii magical girl with an absence of clothes but an excess of psychic killing powers!? Of course y’do! Can you guess what show…