Anime music (anisongs) has increasingly been growing in popularity thanks to the infusion of catchy J-Pop. While most series will have their voice cast sing the opening and endings as their characters, some projects enlist the help of established musicians to perform the songs.
Here are some of the most popular J-Pop acts to perform various anisongs!
ClariS began as a pair of first-year junior high school students who would share their covers of anime songs on Niconico. Their covers gained the attention of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, and the label would sign ClariS in 2010.
The duo’s debut single “Irony” was used as the opening for Oreimo and the single would reach #7 on the Oricon charts. ClariS has become a mainstay in anisong ever since.
Notable series: Oreimo (OP) / Madoka Magica (OP) / Nisekoi (OP) / Nisemonogatari (ED) / Tsukimonogatari (ED) / Qualidea Code (ED1) / Eromanga-sensei (OP)
Lia is a singer-songwriter whose career began in 2000 after singing “Tori no Uta” for the Air visual novel. She frequently collaborates with Jun Maeda and is best known for singing the opening for Angel Beats!
Notable series: Angel Beats! (OP) / Charlotte (OP) / Clannad (OP) / Little Busters!: Refrain (ED)
3Kenichi Maeyamada (Hyadain)
Kenichi Maeyamada, who also goes by Hyadain, is behind some of the catchiest anime songs. He is largely a composer and lyric writer, but he has lent his vocals to songs for Nichijou and Bakuman. We’ll list songs Kenichi has performed and composed.
Notable series: Baka to Test (OP composer) / Nichijou (OP composer & performer) / Hunter x Hunter (ED3 composer) / Kuroko no Basket (ED1 composer & performer) / One Piece (OP 11 composer) / One Punch Man (OP composer)
Yoko Takahashi became a sensation due to her performance of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” for Neon Genesis Evangelion. She has released 15 studio albums, but Takahashi will forever be linked to Evangelion.
Notable series: Neon Genesis Evangelion (OP) / Cross Ange (OP2) / Ah! My Goddess (ED2) / Pumpkin Scissors (OP) / This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (OP) / Shakugan no Shana (ED)
EGOIST has a massive following that causes legions of fans to go crazy whenever their name is attached to an anime. The duo consists of Supercell songwriter Ryo and vocalist Chelly, who originally came together to form a one-off band for Guilty Crown. They proved popular enough to become a full-fledged side-project.
Notable series: Guilty Crown (OP2 & ED1) / Psycho-Pass (ED1 & ED2) / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (OP) / Harmony (OP)
LiSA began her as the vocalist for an indie band called Chucky, but they quickly disbanded in 2005. Not letting the early failure get in her way, LiSA traveled to Tokyo to pursue a solo career and caught her first big break sing insert songs for Angel Beats! as the character Yui. She has spent a majority of career collaborating with Aniplex for their anime projects.
Notable series: Angel Beats! (insert songs, OP2 & ED2) / Fate/Zero (OP) / Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (ED ep12) / The Irregular at Magic High School (OP) / Nisekoi 2nd Season (OP) / Sword Art Online (OP1) / Sword Art Online II (OP)
Aimer is a little newer to the anisong scene, but she has been making waves lending her vocals on Aniplex produced anime.
Notable series: Bleach (ED29) / Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season (OP) / Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (ED) / Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 (ED 2) / Natsume Yuujinchou Go (ED) / Terror in Resonance (ED)
JAM Project is a supergroup that was formed in 2000 specifically to perform J-Pop and J-Rock inspired anisongs. Hironobu Kageyama (known for various DBZ songs) and Masaaki Endoh are the only active founding members, but their current lineup has been active since 2002
Notable series: One Punch Man (OP) / Garo: Crimson Moon (OP) / Mazinkaiser (OP) / Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (OP)
Nana Mizuki’s career began as a voice actress in 1998. Her music career began in 2000, and ever since then, she has maintained a successful dual career as a singer and voice actress.
Notable series: Cross Ange (OP1) / This Art Club has a Problem! (OP) / Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (OP) / Symphogear (OP) / White Album (OP)
Konomi Suzuki has quickly become a fan favorite thanks to her performances on No Game No Life and Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World–. Suzuki’s career is a little unorthodox as she got her start after winning the Animax All-Japan Anisong Grand Prix in 2011. She never released music before winning the contest.
Notable series: No Game No Life (OP) / Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- (OP1) / The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (OP2 & ED1) / WataMote (OP) / Chaos;Child (ED)
Ikimono-gakari is J-Pop rock group that has only contributed to a handful of anisongs, but their few songs have made a lasting impact on anime fans! That’s not to discredit their non-anisong contributions, which are insanely popular. However, the group is going on indefinite hiatus.
Notable series: Bleach (ED7) / The Seven Deadly Sins (OP1) / Naruto: Shippuden (OP3 & OP5) / Big Windup! (OP2)
Who are your favorite J-Pop artists that have worked on anime songs?