It’s no secret that anime has inspired musicians for decades, with artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert often bragging about their love for the Japanese art style. Sometimes our favorite musicians will take that love one step further and give us full collaborations with Japanese artists and anime studios, producing visuals for music-loving Otakus to obsess over. For this list, we have searched everywhere and compiled the best official music videos to receive the anime touch.
1. Twice, “Candy Pop”
TWICE is a K-pop group that has been making waves since their debut in 2015. In 2018, they released an anime-themed video for “Candy Pop,” their second single from their Japanese debut album. BDZ. The video has the perfect recipe for a typical shoujo, with bright and bubbly visuals, adorable poses, and transformation sequences. The upbeat electropop sound of “Candy Pop” sets the perfect tone for the animated imagery, which shows Twice going to great lengths to make a young fan happy.
2.Daftpunk, Interstellar 5555
We could have picked just one of Daft Punk’s cinematic animated videos, but why would we want to deprive you of the whole experience? After all, these 14 videos play like a movie, from the infectious “One More Time” to the concluding “Too Long.” The anime, officially named Interstellar 5555, was directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi. It’s a sci-fi story about a group of music-loving aliens who are captured and exploited by a greedy music manager. The concept was highly innovative for its time and is considered a timeless masterpiece by music and anime fans.
3. Pharrell Williams, “It Girl”
The colorful aesthetic of “It Girl” is everything you’d expect from rapper/producer VA Pharrell Williams, known for his eclectic style and unique, futuristic sound. The upbeat vibe of Kawaii’s explosive art style is perfectly in sync with the track’s infectious groove, which will have you jumping and rocking in your seat. “It Girl” was directed by Fantasista Utamaro and produced by Naz Animation Studio, the same studio that brought you the hit romantic comedy My first girlfriend is a girl.
4. Kanye West, “Hello”
In “Good Morning,” we see Ye’s mascot go through the wringer as he desperately fights through the streets of Universe City to make it to college graduation in time. The video was produced by Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., the artist collective led by legendary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The anime mixes Ye’s lyrics about graduation and the concepts of “moving to the next level” with the abstract, contemporary visuals that Murakami is famous for.
5. The weekend, “Snowchild”
Melancholy singer/songwriter The Weeknd is said to be a huge anime fan. So it’s no surprise that when he wanted visuals for his autobiographical track “Snowchild,” he sought out Japan’s first (mostly) black-owned anime studio: D’Art Shtajio. The video features dark and cryptic elements for which The Weeknd is known and chronicles his journey from his upbringing in Toronto to his current illustrious R&B career.
6. Matthew Sweet, “girlfriend”
Alternative rock star Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend” video is one of the first music videos to incorporate anime into its visuals. “Girlfriend” Switches Between a Singing, Guitar-Playing Matthew Sweet and Snippets From the 80s Sci-Fi Anime Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie. Fans on Youtube thank Sweet, not only for their catchy powerpop hit, but also for putting them on the greatness of Space Adventure Cobra.
7. Porter Robinson & Madeon, “Refuge”
The video for Porter Robinson & Madeon’s EDM track “Shelter” is authentic anime from start to finish. The 6-minute short was a collaborative project between Crunchyroll and A-1 Pictures, the animation studio behind Fairy tale and Sword Art Online. “Shelter” is a sci-fi fantasy that follows Rin, a 17-year-old who lives an isolated life inside a virtual simulation. At first, Rin seems content with her solitary life as we see her creating and manipulating her world using a tablet. But, as the sweet electronic song plays, the happy tale turns tragic as Rin quickly discovers the origins of his mysterious universe.
8. Yaeji, “Waking Up”
Korean house singer Yaeji has brought us a hilarious anime short for her single “Waking Up Down”. The visual, produced by Studio Yotta, shows an animated Yaeji as she tackles her grueling to-do list with the help of her adorable puppy sidekick. As the catchy dance floor unfolds, we’re immersed in Yaeji’s imaginative world as we watch her get her form by quirky characters like the kawaii Coach Bird and Worm and the intense chef Eggman. . As they take turns motivating Yaeji to complete his tasks for the day, you’ll cry with laughter at the hysterically overdone scenes that make anime one of the funniest art forms to watch (like the infamous anime crying face).
9. Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
The animated version of “Bad Habits” was produced by CALF Studios and illustrated by Rui Ikeda. It depicts a tragic tale of toxicity and deception as we see a famous pop star charm an unsuspecting woman into a false sense of security; what at first seems like a once-in-a-lifetime crush turns out to be a trap when we discover the male pop star in the video is actually a vampire! With its lively aesthetic and all-encompassing love story, you have to admit: the anime was better.
10. Linkin Park, “Breaking the Habit”
Linkin Park are a rock band who were the voice of a generation linked with their poignant lyrics of sadness and self-loathing. “Breaking the Habit” depicts several tragic stories of toxicity, abuse and self-harm through the lens of Studio Gonzo, the Japanese art studio behind animated films like Afro Samurai: Resurrection and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. The video won countless accolades and accolades and is still a fan favorite for Linkin Park.
11. Britney Spears, “Break the Ice”
Pop star legend Britney Spears is known for her groundbreaking music videos. In 2009, she made all our jaws drop with an anime-themed music video produced in South Korea. “Break the Ice” follows a superheroine, Britney Spears, as she kicks ass and takes names in an underground lab. The heroine, who is said to be based on a character from Spears’ “Toxic” video, has powers that include agility, hand-to-hand combat and a deadly kiss that paralyzes her victims.
12. Dua Lipa, “Levitation”
One look at Dua Lipa’s Levitation visual, and it’s clear someone is a Sailor Moon fan. The video oozes “Sailor Moon aesthetic” from its pastel color palette to its bright, spinning transformation sequence. “Levitating” takes us “on a ride” through a futuristic sci-fi galaxy, as the song suggests, as we watch an anime Dua Lipa put on a pop performance among the stars. If you’re a fan of the 90s anime art style, you’ll really enjoy this anime-themed video brought to you by the creative minds at NOSTALOOK.
13. Billie Eilish, “You Should See Me in a Crown”
The anime-themed music video for Billie Elish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown” is another masterpiece from contemporary artist Takashi Murakami. Much like you might think of watching a video of an animated Eilish dancing and singing, things turn dark as Eilish transforms from a human into a giant spider monster that terrorizes a town and turns its citizens into her spider-human creations. If that description sounds like a nightmare, that’s because it is. The video manages to be visually stunning while being downright terrifying.