Instead of doing the traditional single list of favorite OPs, I’ve decided to sort it by decade. Technically you can consider this my favorites of the 70’s and earlier, but the actual top 10 are all from that decade. (The older one that came closest to making the cut was the opening to Tiger Mask.)
10. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, “Gatchaman’s Song” by Masato Shimon and Columbia Yurikago-Kai
This is actually the second opening…and the same song as the first ending. For some reason, the first season of Gatchaman used the slower “Defeat Galactor” as the OP and “Gatchaman’s Theme” as the ED; later seasons switched them and the songs definitely fit better that way.
9. Yatterman, “Theme of Yatterman” by Masayuki Yamamoto
An appropriately goofy song for one of the most extreme cases of an anime’s influence exceeding its fame outside of Japan.
8. Mazinger Z by Ichiro Mizuki
A classic opening, and I love that moment when Doublas “traps” Mazinger’s arm only to get Rocket Punched. Also started the trend of the most iconic monsters of the week being the ones who are destroyed in the opening.
7. Space Pirate Captain Harlock by Ichiro Mizuki
6. UFO Robot Grendizer, “Tobe! Grendizer” by Isao Sasaki
5. Lupin III (second series), “Lupin the Third Theme” by Yuji Ohno
This one’s pretty iconic in terms of visuals.
4. Choudenji Robo Combattler V, “Theme of Combattler V” by Ichiro Mizuki and The Fressun Four
I’ve liked this one ever since hearing the SWR3 version of the song.
3. Cutie Honey by Yoko Maekawa
The fanserviciest OP on this list, though tame compared to modern ecchi.
2. Space Battleship Yamato by Isao Sasaki
And unlike a lot of 80’s and 90’s dubs, Star Blazers dubbed this (badly) instead of completely replacing it.
When I starting writing this post, I really thought Yamato would be number 1. But, I decided to look up the OP to a certain classic, and now…
1. The Rose of Versailles, “Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru” by Hiroko Suzuki
Hey, a song title that isn’t the series name. This one does not really sound like 70’s anime music. (And yes, I watched several other classic shoujo series OPs for comparison. There isn’t any.)