Episode 113: Our Favorite Cartoon Themes

Big City

Rockin’ you like a hurricane!

Boy, this was a project in the works. Ben and I are joined by Kittyhawk and Pablo as we each deliver our top ten favorite animated themes of all-time.

What counts as a theme, you ask? Well, it can be an opening theme, a closing them, or even a music score. We lay it all out for you and give you a look into our personal musical tastes.

Come taste the podcast.

From now on, like your parents were…
The Old Cartoon Network: Sodomy Allowed!
Genndy got away with some shit!
Yu Yu Hakusho: The Brazilian Cut!
It’s like Whitney Houson on crack!
Nico Nico Douga: Still the craziest medley ever

27 thoughts on “Episode 113: Our Favorite Cartoon Themes

  1. Oh, Pablo. I too share your love for Beelzemon and his journey from being on a dark path to a righteous one. And you’ve also started something, a strange love for Macross that has begun thanks to that song you guys put in my ear. I can’t stop listening to it and I’m slowly being infected by Macross Frontier.

    I can say I really share the like you guys have for the rest of the songs you picked, although I love the Rockapella version of Carmen Sandiego’s theme. And Number One being stopped by Aizen is one of the great “Oh snap!” moments in shonen anime. Although years later, Ichigo returned the favor by stopping Aizen’s villain theme in their last fight.

  2. I agree with all of your lists (really surprise no one mention Pinky and the Brain)
    I do love the Digimon series, Tamers is the best. Hope you guys do a episode for it in the future (maybe a Pokemon Vs Digimon one?)
    Here is my list of my favorite themes
    Honorable mentions
    Earthworm Jim
    The Angry Beavers
    G Gundam – Flying in the Sky
    Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command
    Read Or Dead – Expect The Unexpected (another good anime series)
    Pinky and the Brain
    Trigun – All
    Here is my list
    10. Outlaw Star – Through The Night
    9. Big O – All of Big O theme are awesome
    8. Darkwing Duck
    7. Digimon – All Seasons
    6. Batman/Beyond/Superman/Justice League/Unlimited/ – All
    5. Yu Yu Hakusho – Smile Bomb
    4. Re: Cutie Honey – Cutie Honey (really wish they bring it over)
    3. Futurama/The Simpsons
    2. One Piece – We Are/Fight Together/Share The World/We Go
    1. Bleach – All the theme
    It really hard to choose which are my number one favorites, I love them all equally 🙂

  3. Big Guy and Rusty was awesome. I loved that show.
    That X-men opening blew me away. I had no idea what I was missing!

    Also, Rockappella is awesome. I will admit that Carmen Sandiego song is epic, but I will never think ill of the old Carmen Sandiego game show or its theme.

    You pretty much covered every song I would have had on my list, although I might add “Information High” from Macross Plus and the RayEarth theme (Japanese).

    You seemed to skirt around talking about “I’m a Pioneer” from Tenchi Muyo, but that’s OK. That song has been around enough.

    Good work on this podcast.

    • Macross Plus has a very solid score, of which Information High is one of my favorites. Rayearth´s theme in spanish got horrendously butchered…even changing to a male singer and dumbing down the lyrics to american sailor moon standards.

  4. I gotta point out the two ending themes to Outlaw Star. “Hiru no Tsuki” and “Tsuki no le.” The deep soulful sound got me through some rough times. The unique part is how they showed these artistic pencil drawings through the credits instead of show footage. So awesome.

  5. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but, “From now on, like your parents were…” I’m glad to see Pole Position’s theme might be discussed. I think it’s a cool theme, and that line alone makes it awesome.

  6. In American animation there is a good scientific formula to tell how good the cartoon is going to be. If a cartoon begins with a horrible theme song then the rest of the cartoon will be good. Transformers, Jem, Gi-Joe, He-Man and the masters of the universe, Animaniacs.
    If a cartoon begins with an amazing theme song then the cartoon will be horrible.
    Challenge of the Go-Bots, Defenders of the Earth, Thundercats, Jayce and the wheeled warrors,
    If a cartoon begins with an instremental theme song. That means the animation studio knows how to best allocate the budget for music, animation, writing, and so forth.
    Batman the animated series, Transformers: Prime, Justice League, Justice League unlimited, Powerpuff girls, Dexter’s labortory.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure I can agree with this principle, since I don’t really think that any of those themes in your first group are necessarily terrible. Just kind of bleh. The Transformers theme is classic. Much better than the Go-Bots theme.

      Since you brought up the Powerpuff Girls, theme, that reminds me of the Amen Break. That should have been an honorable mention all by itself. Look it up some time. The Amen Break.

      • I see where he’s going with this, but I don’t agree either. Thundercats had an awesome theme, though it was very simple.

        Animaniacs had a great opening, but not because the song was good. Great writing; great animation; but a great song? It’s a simple polka at best.

    • It´s a very broad generalization, with plenty of exceptions and subjetivity, so I wouldn´t rule my life by that one (or Ben´s “coattail series sucks, movie rocks” and viceversa).

    • You could not have picked the worst examples for bad intro songs. I get the gist of what you’re saying, but those aren’t good examples of it. I mean, Animaniacs a bad theme song, the show was dependent on good song writing. Transformers, who doesn’t know that song? GI Joe, a real American Hero, G.I. Joe is there? You’re naming songs that most people could complete the words to on just hearing the first 5 seconds of.

  7. Some other great themes (at least to me):
    Trigun – H.T (opening theme). I also like the end song, but this sets up the action quite nicely

    Dirty Pair – Russian Roulette. An underrated opening song for a decent anime.

    Ruroni Kenshin – any song. I really enjoyed this anime, and I bought one of the CD soundtracks for the show. The songs from the Kyoto arc were the best, in my opinion.

    Urusei Yatsura – original opening theme. What can I say, it was my favorite anime show. I also liked the songs by Stephanie Borges, which were featured in season 10 (and movie 3)

    Darkwing Duck – A decent American series with a good theme.

    Kodomo no Omocha – News at 19:00. Manic opening song by the band Tokio. Fits the series vibe.

    As for honorable mentions, I have the various covers of Fly Me to the Moon from Neon Genesis Evangelion (and I started to hate that series about half-way through it), Boa (as featured in Serial Experiments Lain), and Gilbert O’Sullivan (featured in episode 24 of the series Maison Ikkoku).

  8. Hey guys, I agree with a lot of the choices here, so my list is gonna be similar(2 brownie points to Mr.Neil for Fist of the North Star. HELL YES that’s manly)

    Here’s my list:

    G1 Transformers Season 2 OP
    – For me, it feels epic every time I see that. Gets the blood pumping a bit before the show starts.

    Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs
    – Another case of a US opening that’s better than than the Japanese version

    Fist of the North Star

    X-Men anime 1st season Op
    – SHOOOOOCK! Too bad the 2nd anime op isn’t as good.

    The Sakura Wars Theme
    – Oh God, you’re making me want to watch the entire series by just playing THAT theme. Aside from that, NO explanation needed.

    Batman: Under the Red Hood opening score.

    Justice League Opening score.

    Megas XLR
    – Of course we all dig giant robots. Giant ROBOTS.

    Gun X Sword op
    – It’s kinda a strange score that might not be for everyone, but personally it stands out because of it.

    I think that’s it for now. I think there’s more, but can’t remember.

  9. Heavy on the anime theme songs BUT, good suggestions for personal tastes none the less. There are some Good American animation theme songs out there too. How the theme to Ducktales skipped the list, I don’t know. The original theme for Johny Quest. (I never personally liked the cartoon, but gotta admit The original Smurfs theme was catchy). The U.S. Robotech intro? The original Thundercats theme. Love it or hate it, the original Pokemon theme (US version) is very rememberable. Mighty Orbots? Heck, Original Ranma 1/2 song. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends theme (Or better yet, 60s Spider-Man theme song). Digimon Tamers (Japanese version).

    And so on and so on, but then, it’s not a list of the best theme song, just the hosts’ personal favorite theme songs. At the very least you all have introduced me to some intros I never heard. Props for the Cutie Honey call back and F yeah, Voltron (Third hosts’ list definitely my fav).

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