A Separation of Series and Song

What do you do when an anime series you don’t particularly like happens to have a great OP or ED?

Picture this.

You decide to stick with a show to the very end despite not really being into it. You’re dissatisfied with your experience regarding that show as a whole (but you also realize that’s just your subjective opinion and you shouldn’t shout down people who disagree; this is not really relevant to this topic but I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page here).

At any rate, you remain somewhat sour towards the series, but you actually like the OP or ED a lot.

So what do you do when you have to deal with such a conflict of interest?


I’m speaking for myself here, but I like to listen to anime music when I’m at the office. And sometimes I feel like listening to “Departures ~Anata ni Okuru Ai no Uta~,” which is the first ED for Guilty Crown which was a series I disliked immensely. At times I’m in the mood for “Crossing Field,” even though I’m quite lukewarm towards Sword Art Online as a whole. Mili is one of my favourite bands ever and I think “NENTEN” is a great song for a series that is… well, I’ve mostly heard bad things about Bloodivores but I haven’t actually watched the series (nor do I plan to)…

What I’m trying to say is that sometimes there’s a bit of a disconnect between the song and the series. Even though you love the song, you don’t feel the same way towards the series in general. But is that really something to be considered or resolved?

This issue, if it is indeed one, is a lot easier to ignore when you have the video of the OP or ED open in another tab. The OP or ED then becomes just a song that happens to be associated with a show you didn’t particularly care for. But that particular detail happens to be both out of sight and out of mind.


It’s a bit different if you’re watching the video of the OP because you love how it’s animated and how the song fits what’s being shown on-screen and the series as a whole. You’re watching all these characters parade and bounce around and you might be left feeling melancholic since you’re reminded of how some characters became incredibly annoying for various reasons or how some side characters remained at the sidelines.

To wish for a character to have acted differently or be more developed would usually result in changing the anime into something entirely altogether, but you get caught up on in the “what-ifs” as you watch a two-minute video that’s over far too quickly.

Seeing an OP / ED you loved despite the fact you cared little for the accompanying show hurts, but you still enjoy listening to the song. You still remain fascinated with the animations. Coming to terms with something you care about is attached to something you don’t is difficult. Or maybe it isn’t since no one is talking about this.

Okay, I’m lying here since Jenn from anirambles posted a great article last month on this particular topic. Go read it, please.

On that note, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Is this much ado about nothing?


Thank you for reading.


35 thoughts on “A Separation of Series and Song

  1. If I like the OP and/or ED but not the show it’s from I add it to my collection and leave it at that. I understand the notion of feeling bad that a song someone loves so much comes from a show they cared little for and the feeling that disliking it kinda hurts the studio staff and all their hard work.

    The thing is I am a very simple person…Hmmm…let me rephrase what I’m trying to say. I’m not the kind of internet reviewer or someone who goes “I wanted to like this show/game/comic etc. I really did. But I just couldn’t”. If I dislike or care little about something I usually don’t give it a second thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whenever there has been a series I’ve not liked but loved the opening or ending. It’s not made me reminisce in a bad way my experience from watching whatever series did not enjoy. Shangri-la was a series where the opening was so addictive but the show itself I’ve always felt mixed over with its flaws. There are few anime I actually don’t like or hate. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For my case, I’d pretty much disconnect the song from the show (which I will probably forget after a while, unless I really didn’t like it), and appreciate it in its full rawness just from the meaning of the lyrics itself.
    It’s sometimes easier to do that if the songs are not original works but those adapted from older J-songs, or if the songs don’t evoke emotions too strongly (like they are just fun catchy songs).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m incredibly ironic in the fact I love J-Pop/japanese music as a whole but usually brush over openings and endings as a whole. Like, I absolutely hate the opening for the new Houshin Engi anime but I love the band Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas. In fact, I love the song when its NOT coupled with the opening animation.

    I guess for me, I’d never watch an anime solely for the music if the plot/animation/overall it’s bad. I’d probably look up the artist and listen to their music that way. It’s served me well and saved me a lot of time lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t really watch shows I hate, and I rarelly listen to anime songs outside of their natural habitat, but there are shows I’m lukewarm on. Good openings are great, since they lift your mood up and carry you into the show for while, but good endings suck, because if the particular episode is particularly boring or irritating, you keep wishing the ending were on already… (I never fast forward, though I space out sometimes).

    Good opening/lukewarm show? Dragon Crisis.

    Most recently I was neutral about Princess Principal, but the show had an outstanding OP/ED combo. As a result, I remember the show a little more fondly than I otherwise would have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OPs and Eds do some heavy lifting when it comes to the enjoyment of shows, don’t it? I know I’ve felt that way about EDs, before. Glad to hear you don’t skip!

      Ooohh those are good songs!


  6. My anime playlists are littered with OP and ED songs from shows I didn’t care for – it’s never been a problem for me to separate the two. My go-to example has always been “Tori no Uta” from Air, which is one of my top 5 or 10 favorite openings ever (I even bought the song off iTunes) even though the show itself is one of KyoAni’s worst. Jenn mentioned Elfen Lied, too, which is another one I’d agree with. “Lilium” is a gorgeous song, but I hated that series, what I could stand to watch of it anyway.


    1. Both are very good songs!

      Mmm I don’t really seem to struggle with this, too, so high-five! I just note “ah this song from that bad show” and proceed to enjoy the song. I imagine you do the same or something similar.


  7. Hmmm… the dilemma is real.
    Music does have this annoying way of bringing up all those annoying memories of the show too doesn’t it nii-san?

    But a good tune is worth more than a bad show just like a good taste is worth more than a bad arrangement I guess? (I always dish out these food analogies on your posts hm…)

    (I swear to god that pun was unintentional.)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Honestly, it has to be a VERY strong OP for me to really notice it before I drop the series… Which has basically never happened.

    OTOH, I once kept watching a series I kinda meant to drop because the OP put me in a good mood every time.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. THIS IS SUCH A DILEMMA. It can be the most annoying thing sometimes when a *crap* show has a bomb OP or ED. I almost feel as if the show is trying to convince my brain that “Yes, we DO like this show—be consumed by my catchy OP.” Still, a song is ultimately just a song, which is why I’ll still rock out to the Arslan Senki ED “Lapis Lazuli” even if the show was so mediocre in my eyes.

    As a side note, isn’t it even weirder (and more depressing) when a show that you really enjoy has a “meh” OP?? Such is what I’m going through with FranXX this season. (To be fair, it is growing on me.) Interesting discussion point Remy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Both sides drive me nuts!! I wish I had touched upon a good show having lackluster music because that makes me so disappointed.

      Thanks Takuto! Sorry to hear about the different issues you have with Arslan Senki and FranXX.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Short answer to your question: I don’t think I really have an issue with this. If anything, a good OP/ED makes me like the show more than I probably should have. *cough*Torikago

    Long answer: The closest I’ve come to feeling the way you’ve described in this post is with “Wagamama Mirror Heart,” the OP to the truly disappointing “Masamune-kun’s Revenge” and “NAKED dive,” attached to the widely panned “Myriad Colors Phantom World.” Both were shows I desperately hoped would be better than they turned out to be. Both shows I watched all 12 episodes of because I needed that OP /one more time/

    I had a post very similar to the one you linked from Jenn at anirambles planned out, but because I’m garbage at blogging I never got it off the ground. Guess I don’t have to anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooohh you really did like that ED. It was amazing so I can relate there.

      It’s like a drug, isn’t it? I did love those OPs, too, but the show themselves….

      Awww don’t say that. You’ve been busy. Nothing stopping you from still doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve never had a problem with listening to music from shows I hate, I’ve got 700+ anime OP’s and ED’s on my iTunes and plenty are from shows I dislike. Doesn’t make a lick of difference to me! For example I adore the ED song from Unbreakable Machine Doll even though the show sucks.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. totally agree. music should influence our opinion of a show, but there’s no reason for our opinion of a show to influence our opinion of the music. all three of the songs you mentioned are still on my playlist despite my relative dislike for each show.

    the difference between BGM and OP/ED is kinda interesting, though. OP/ED songs seem a lot more self-contained, so i think it’s easier to distance them from a series. i still listen to OST songs from guilty crown, kabaneri, and sao despite not really liking the series, but i cant think of any other series where that’s the case. makes me wonder if a large part of listening to background songs can be influenced by the memories they evoke. i know ive been listening to the violet evergarden soundtrack this week and it’s been making me remember a lot of the scenes i liked in the show.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure. Glad to hear you also like the aforementioned songs.

      Hmmm great point about BGM /instrumental OST. Usually the OP/ED is not written for the anime, right? I doubt that the BGM is the same. Bur what do I know? Great point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. given that some series use songs that were released before the series was announced, id assume that’s the case, but i wouldnt know any better. i guess OP/ED just has an easier time removing context.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting. I generally listen to anime OP’s/ED’s and OST’s more than anything else anyway. I don’t believe I ever even thought of that. Off the top of my head, the only experience I’ve had with this (at least in recent member) was Re:Creators. I wasn’t at all a fan of where that anime wound up going and ultimately became. But I loved the OP and the OST. Still, I can probably name several more cases where I’ve loved the anime and not been a fan of the music. Nice post!

    Liked by 2 people

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