The OP Factor

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I've gone over the change in episode previews recently, and now it's time for another quick post on another thing we take for granted in anime: the opening sequences.

Opening sequences is featured in pretty much every episode of every anime, ever, excluding intro episodes and extremely epic episodes (that need every second of screentime). The animation is usually canned, with the intro being the same every time after time after time - occasionally an anime will mix it up a bit with the final episode's opening (see: DNAngel, and on a lesser note, Cardcaptor Sakura), but in most cases the last episode looks exactly the same as the first.

Usually there's not a lot of content per se in the opening sequence. Each character, depending on the scope of the series, will get anything from a quick flash in the intro to maybe a 15 second piece of things. Some spoiler content may be inherent in either the pictures, or, in special cases, the lyrics, but you probably won't get it until it's too late.

Oh, and there's somebody singing in the background, of course. I don't think I've ever heard of a fully instrumental OP sequence, although feel free to prove me wrong.

So, again, the question is raised about OP sequences. Are they necessary? Or would it be better to have another minute of animation, and perhaps just have a still frame or the like of the title at the beginning?

Personally, I'm one of the few that watches the OP sequence every time. Even if it does get a bit stale watching the same thing over and over, it provides a bit of a break, a chance to relax and enjoy the music and animation. A lot of times I'm working hard when watching anime, whether screencapping or taking notes on the anime itself. Watching the OP gives a bit of a breather, and time to decompress as well - to think back on what happened last time and get prepared, as in most of the dramatic anime I watch, to get rocked. Like a hurricane.

For some reason, I also find OP sequences to have a great affect on the anime I watch as well. They're a good barometer for how much I like the series. Perhaps this is a side effect of overassociating things, but I find that if I like the OP sequence, I'll like the anime as well.

Kanon's 'Last Regrets', Shuffle!'s 'YOU', AIR's 'Tori no Uta', even now sola's 'colorless wind', all great songs to complement fascinating anime. Sometimes I wonder if it's just association, that the songs call back memories of uguu~ and Yaka and, yes, boxcutters.

The animation may not be the same, though. It looks good but the music very much stands on its own, unlike the animation. Although, the animation is entertaining, in the more spoilerific one, where one can try to find all the deeper meaning in the intro - where one can look at the spoilers and say 'So that explains it!' Some of Kyoto Animation's work, for lack of better examples (is there a word for Kyoanitard? My face is probably there.), defines this. Mikuru on the clock in the Haruhi intro, some of the scenes in the Kanon intro (like the Nayuki one pictured below), the dinosaur getting hit by the waves in AIR, they all correlate directly to events that happen in the anime themselves.

It's neat things like that that make the OP worth watching, for me. Not to mention the music of course, as well, whether it be an energetic song or a relaxing one, it gets you into the mood for the show, doesn't it?



"I don't think I've ever heard of a fully instrumental OP sequence, although feel free to prove me wrong."

Ghost Hunt, Twelve Kingdoms...duh, Cowboy Bebop.

Cowboy Bebop has spoken text in the beginning of the OP, Ghost Hunt's OP does have vocals.
Haven't seen 12 Kingdoms yet.

A small bit of spoken text, and "wailing woman" doesnt really classify.
If THATS what you call vocals...

Ah, my short term memory and lack of anime knowledge strike again.

But even now, thinking of it, Lunar Legend Tsukihime is essentially lyricless as well, and that's something I'd almost watch. (if not for the whole 'what Tsukihime anime?' thing)

Well, that's my mistake there - although, I wonder how memorable those songs are in comparison, speaking as one who has not heard them...

Moonlight Mile has an instrumental opening. I think the Xenosaga anime had one too?

how about Maria-sama ga Miteru (all of them) ?

I get really disappointed when the opening animation is just (or mostly) clips from the first 1 or 2 episodes (see Stellvia). Occasionally they start out this way but then re-animate it later, such as in Wallflower and Rocket Girls.

Haibane Renmei has a beautiful instrumental opening.