Top 5 favorite theme/songs opening:
1. Bleach Opening 1 - Asterisk
Now admittedly it panders to the Orihime/Tatsuki friendshipper in me with the bit with them spray-painting the screen, but this is really a phenomenal opening. Timed perfectly with the incredibly music, provided by Orange Range, it quickly introduces us to the characters and tone of the first part of the manga, shifting from bright colors to washed out greys, from upbeat tunes to a hollower, tragedy-tinged sound. It also gives us a chance to admire Tite Kubo's amazing fashion sense.
2. One Piece Opening 6 - BRAND NEW WORLD
Now, One Piece has eight (count 'em! eight!) incredible openiongs (and one that sounds like it was shat out the rear end of a deformed synthesizer), so picking just one of them was incredibly difficult, but in the end I went with BRAND NEW WORLD for a number of factors. First, the fanservice. It spends about twenty seconds near the beginning showing villains, mentors and other supporting characters who haven't been seen in ages and won't be seen again in ages. It was a nice inclusion, and although most One Piece opening feature this to a certain extent, I think it was particularly well done here. This opening's also a lot more arc-specific than most openings; the preceding one comes close, but this one contains a lot of Enies Lobbies footage, giving hints at what's to come: Franky vs Fukurou, Gear Second, and a tantalizing glimpse of Monster Point Chopper. Second is, of course, the song, which is fast, upbeat and catchy.
3. Baccano! - Guns & Roses
There really isn't a lot that needs to be said for this one; it's got an awesome jazz song, visuals that clearly transition from character to character, introducing them, and it even has a few little easter eggs tucked away for people who are paying attention. Also impressive is how they included recaps as part of the opening, by extending the song and putting them in, with the opening overlayed over top, and then flowing back into the opening seamlessly once the recaps were finished.
4. Hellsing - Logos Naki World
Creepy, atmospheric, stylish...three words that define the song, the animation, and the show itself. The animation flows seamlessly from one shot to the next, always maintaining an unreal, horror-filled atmosphere. It also uses the music exceptionally well, both in dynamic peaks and lulls, putting the right shots in the right places at the right time.
5. Soul Eater Opening 1 - Resonance
There's little that can be said about this that hasn't already been said, aside from Maka/Soul OTP and best use of arrows as a transitionary device.
Top 5 favorite fights:
1. Darker than Black - Hei vs Wei Zhi Jun
There's no subs on this so the middle and later sections may be confusing, so let me quickly synposize this: Hei and Wei Zhi Jun fight. WZJ has this ability that basically lets him destroy objects with his blood by spilling it on them and then snapping his fingers. At the end of the fight, it seems that he's won after a narrow confrontation with Hei's electrical powers; he got blood on Hei's mask and snapped his fingers, and Hei plummeted, seemingly to his death. But a whole bunch of other stuff later, just as Wei is about to kill poor Saito, Hei bursts in through the window and takes him by surprise, and then fries him with electricity conducted through all the blood on the floor. The blood on the mask was Hei's own; a fakeout intended to get him out of a disadvantageous situation and enable him to come back and surprise him.
2. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure - Dio Brando vs Jotaro Kujo
The entire fight between Our Heroes and Dio is, seriously over three hundred pages long, so it would be difficult to find a single link that really sums it up, but here's a good one: some clips of the fight as depicted int eh anime adaptation.
And the conclusion of the fight:
That said, though, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a long string of fights that are sufficiently awesome to find placement here. It was really a tossup between this, and the fight between Giorno's group and Cioccolatta which, after 147 pages of careful thinking, lengthy planning and frustration for the characters, culminates in seven pages of punch spam. No, really. It's that awesome.
3. One Piece - Luffy vs Bellamy
(yes, I know YouTube mangled the subs)
It's perhaps unfair to even call this a fight; it's a massacre, is what it is. Bellamy thinks he's tough shit, he insults Luffy, insults Luffy's friends, insults Luffy's dreams, thinks he's king of the world...and then finally, Luffy hits back, and all his anger comes out in a single punch that sends Bellamy right through the floorboards, leaves a fist-shaped indentation in Bellamy's skull, and leaves Luffy's hand dripping with blood--Bellamy's, not Luffy's.
4. Cowboy Bebop - Spike vs Asimov Solensan
(I could absolutely not find this clip on its own; so have it as part of the full episode with soem spanish subs. Starts at about 3:16)
I just love the footwork, the use of the table, everything about this fight. It was the very first episode of the series, and already it was off to an awesome start.
5. Kill Bill - The Bride vs Elle Driver
This fight is...really something else. It is a brutal close-quarters fight, with everything and everything in the environment used as an improvised weapon while they fight over the only real weapon - TV antennas, spitoons, toilets, everything. This is not a pretty fight. It is a knock-down, drag-out brawl between two women who absolutely hate each other.
Top 5 favorite characters:
1. One Piece - Monkey D. Luffy
Luffy just...is. He's really a character who defies simple description. He's a massive idiot, but he can also be surprisingly profound. He's a strong man who willingly admits his weakness. To put it one way, Luffy is all about the happy go lucky fun times...until he suddenly becomes deadly serious.
The single most important thing for him is his nakama, his friends, and he will protect them through to the end. He and his crew raid one of the mmost heavily fortified Marine fortresses int he first part of the Grand Line, and pits himself against enemies who just chapters ago defeated him casually, because one of his friends is in there and he can bring her back.
2. One Piece - Nico Robin
I'm going to here break my tradition of avoiding using more than one character fromt he same fandom, because goddamn, RObin is just that awesome. She's so awesome, in fact, that I wrote a fair-sized essay on the topic of how awesome she is.
3. Eyeshield 21 - Hiruma Youichi
It is a rare and uncommon thing that someone could combine the traits of a nice guy and a total asshole, a hardass and a complete softie, a yelling, cursing swearing control tower and the sensitive guy who protects other people's pride, into one person, diminishing neither side of the equation. Certainly one side's more visible that the other, but that's because he deliberately makes it so. Hiruma is a walking mass of amazing contradictions.
4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Simon the Digger
How do you go from timid wimp to epic, manly hero in a believable manner, and without abandoning your original personality altogether? By being Simon the Digger, that's how. He starts off the series drilling holes, and he ends the series drilling holes...in time and space, piercing the heavens and creating a new future for mankind. He's a sympathetic character right from the start, and he gets put through the wringer, but emerges stronger than ever, now able to stand on his own two feet...and it's all uphill from there.
5. Final Fantasy VI - Cyan Garamonde
Oh Cyan. Oh, Cyan. What a heartbreaking tory. And yet, he soldiers on, and in the World Of ruin manages even to move past his loss, delivering one of the most uplifting speeches I can recall from video game history.