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Top 16 Best Anime OSTs: Music of the Heart

Let's explore what makes a soundtrack truly great by looking at 16 of the best OSTs that anime has to offer.

by 5camp
Dec 14, 2015 7:30 PM | 341,788 views

Best Anime OSTs

anime ost anime girl headphones
A great soundtrack can make an average anime good and a good anime great. Music gives life to each and every character, while guiding you through the emotional roller coaster of each scene!

Everyone is sure to have their personal favorite, but here are 16 of the best we've ever heard in anime.

Anime OST Playlist Below!

Cowboy Bebop

MAL Rated 8.83, Ranked #22 | Aired Spring 1998 | Produced by Sunrise

Cowboy Bebop complete soundtrack anime ost
Let's just get the obvious one out of the way right at the start. Unless you are literally physically allergic to jazz or blues, Cowboy Bebop has the best soundtrack of any anime ever made. Now you don't have to scroll down through the rest of this article to make sure I haven't forgotten it. The brilliant Yoko Kanno formed a band, Seatbelts, just to make the OST for this series! Kanno is also famous for Ghost in Shell: Stand Alone Complex's OST, another classic.


MAL Rated 7.81, Ranked #842 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Studio Pierrot

Naruto main theme OST
Let's be clear on thing: Naruto has OG status in the anime world. There's no use hating. This main theme is absolutely iconic and often played whenever Naruto was doing something really brave or cool! It's extremely nostalgic with fans to this day, having been superseded by Shipuuden's own original OST and not being featured in any recent Naruto production (with the exception of a legendary appearance in The Last movie).

Wolf's Rain

MAL Rated 7.95, Ranked #596 | Aired Winter 2003 | Produced by Bones

Wolf's Rain soundtrack anime ost
The best OSTs are those that best compliment the tone and mood of the anime. Wolf's Rain is a dark, grey, very mid-00's emo style anime and this is a soulful, lonely soundtrack that goes perfectly with it. Beautiful, moody piano pieces such as "Rakuen", and soulful English vocal pieces such as "Strangers" grace this OST.

Code Geass

MAL Rated 8.86, Ranked #18 | Aired Fall 2006 | Produced by Sunrise

Code Geass soundtrack anime ost
I picked this particular song because it was the one used for next episode previews in both seasons of Code Geass. It's the one they inevitably played after dropping some giant plot twist. In terms of ramping up your excitement with quick, dramatic music, it's pretty darn great. Kotaro Nakagawa, and Hitomi Kuroishi are responsible for this famous anime's equally good OST.


MAL Rated 8.79, Ranked #27 | Aired Fall 2005 | Produced by Artland

Mushishi soundtrack anime ost
It's how understated the soundtrack for Mushishi is that makes it stand out, ironically. Again this is all to bring out the mood of the anime in question, and the soft music of Mushishi produced by Toshio Masuda has that perfect way of lulling you to sleep...in a good way! Masuda is no stranger to using classical Japanese instruments and melodies, as his OST for the original Naruto anime was also heavily influenced by traditional Japanese music.


MAL Rated 8.43, Ranked #132 | Aired Fall 2004 | Produced by Madhouse

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad soundtrack anime ost
Look man, I know you might be a big fat dub-hater. I can respect that. But if you're going to watch Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, watch the English dub and don't let Engrish ruin these fantastic songs on the OST.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

MAL Rated 8.56, Ranked #76 | Aired Winter 2011 | Produced by Shaft

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica soundtrack anime ost
Wouldn't be a proper 'Best Anime OSTs' list without some Yuki Kajiura on there, and why not go for her most famous work. She'd made something of a name for herself with the soundtrack of *.Hack//Sign but it was the Celtic tunes of Madoka that propelled her name into common anime fan knowledge.

Ghost in the Shell

MAL Rated 8.34, Ranked #186 | Aired Fall 1995 | Produced by Production IG

Ghost in the Shell soundtrack anime ost
If you want the single most iconic pieces of anime OST, it would be...well, actually it would probably be Blue from the final episode of Cowboy Bebop, BUT after that it would be Making of a Cyborg from the opening sequence of the Ghost in the Shell movie composed by Kenji Kawai. That whole opening scene has inspired many creators since. Also notable on the Ghost in the Shell movie OST is "See You Everyday", which is sung in Cantonese Chinese by pop artist Fang Ka Wing.


MAL Rated 8.05, Ranked #458 | Aired Spring 2000 | Produced by Gainax

FLCL soundtrack anime ost
The FLCL OST turned The Pillows from an obscure Japanese indie rock band to a temporary household name with anime fans across the globe. There were rumours ages ago that they were trying to get The Pillows together with Gainax again for a Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer anime adaptation, but unfortunately the whole project fell through. Now that would have been something.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu (Legend of the Galactic Heroes)

MAL Rated 9.10, Ranked #8 | Aired Winter 1988 | Produced by Artland

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu soundtrack anime ost
Some may argue that it's cheating to include an anime where the soundtrack is just classical music, but it comes down to how you actually use it that matters. The genre is called space opera after all. It wouldn't feel right to have these giant space battles without Beethoven blaring the in background.

Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki's Delivery Service)

MAL Rated 8.26, Ranked #244 | Aired Summer 1989 | Produced by Studio Ghibli

Kiki's Delivery Service Majo no takkyuubin soundtrack anime ost
Honestly you could include the soundtrack of any Ghibli movie here. Joe Hisaishi composes the OSTs for most of Ghibli's works, and there's nobody better at making the childish fantasy epics comes to life than him.

Guilty Crown

MAL Rated 7.88, Ranked #699 | Aired Fall 2011 | Produced by Production IG

Guilty Crown soundtrack anime ost
Look, Guilty Crown may have failed in a few areas such as the story, the characters, the writing... OK maybe it failed in a lot of areas, but there were two areas in which it definitely succeeded. It looked great, and it sounded fantastic. Supercell provided the opening and ending, and Hiroyuki Sawano of Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan fame composed and produced all of the tracks in the OST.

Samurai Champloo

MAL Rated 8.50, Ranked #100 | Aired Spring 2004 | Produced by Manglobe

Samurai Champloo soundtrack anime ost
Can't have Bebop without giving a mention to its excellent sister series. You can just imagine director Shinichiro Watanabe suddenly waking up and yelling "BREAK-DANCING SAMURAI" and designing an entire anime and soundtrack around that concept. The combination of the two make for a truly unique and excellent OST.

Shigatsu wa kimi no uso (Your Lie in April)

MAL Rated 8.93, Ranked #14 | Aired Fall 2014 | Produced by A-1 Pictures

Your Lie in April soundtrack anime ost
One of the most popular OSTs from the past year or so. If you're going to make an anime about music, then you better make sure you have your soundtrack up to scratch. Aside from the classical performances by the musician characters in the anime, the original soundtrack also features beautiful poppy and ballad pieces.


MAL Rated 8.38, Ranked #163 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Kyoto Animation

Clannad soundtrack anime ost
I may personally have some serious issues with the Key writing style, but they are experts on the musical side of things. They have a habit of making music that gets under your skin and stirs up your emotions. Jun Maeda not only writes the scenarios for the visual novels, but also produces the music as well! Singers Riya and Lia (unrelated, though they have similar names) provide the vocals for many Clannad (and other Key) songs.


MAL Rated 8.35, Ranked #181 | Aired Fall 2009 | Produced by Madhouse

Redline soundtrack anime ost
You want to break some speed limits and get your first speeding ticket? Put the Redline soundtrack on in your car and find yourself swerving around corners. What's particularly impressive about the way Redline uses the OST is its clever use of "fade in" and "fade out" for when cars are airborne, giving you that same sense of weightlessness the drivers themselves are feeling. Redline's OST's producer James Shimoji makes heavy use of bass heavy electronic music sounds in the soundtrack.

Want more anime music? Check out the below articles as well!

25 Best Anime Opening Songs of All Time
25 Best Anime Ending Songs of All Time
Top 9 Anime Series with Piano Music That Will Tug At Your Heart

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