The opening has always been an important aspect of a whole series itself. Time and care are placed into deciding how the opening will turn out because it introduces characters and the general theme of the anime. It is considered the point where it can hook viewers with either its art style, music, or storyline. The importance placed on openings will not go away, and many of the songs used are to become famous. The same can’t be said for endings, but here are some really nice ones to check out.
An example of a classic opening would have characters gazing into the distance with the wind ruffling their clothing and hair. Additionally, the setting of the main character waking up and getting ready for the day is used frequently. The characters running with each other is unforgettable as well. Bonus points if they’re running on a field of grass!
Konosuba! 2’s opening makes fun of the “characters running” trend with the other three characters being unable to keep running for so long.
There have been other similar patterns as well, one being the character turning their head to look at the viewer. With these common elements, what makes certain openings stand out as something good?
The main reason for liking an opening would be because of the opening song. It’s easy to remember, even after several years if you get the slightest bit attached. Music tastes differ among everyone, but generally, songs are either just liked or not liked. A favorite among the community for producing OSTs as well as catchy opening songs is Hiroyuki Sawano, who has done work for Re:Creators, Attack on Titan, Blue Exorcist, and others. Notable singers for anime opening songs include Choucho, ClariS, or Unison Square Garden! Sometimes, the opening is an original piece sang by the show’s main voice actors. It is a nice touch, but often the music is lacking in the songwriting department.
The visuals are what really need to shine in a good opening. Great visuals will draw the viewer in and keep their eyes on the screen. Though it is more work for the studio, atmospheric backgrounds are much more preferred than having a character against a patterned background.
Both images give a very different vibe, and openings like the bottom image will tend to be cheerful in its tone. Compare it to the top, which is visually more pleasing but in an undoubtedly serious mood.
Other openings go for a stylish attempt at showcasing the characters with a unique approach. These tend to be praised for its art and are always really refreshing to see!
The next frame blurs out the character with a camera and the effect in motion is pleasing to look at. This is from ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, and the song is amazing to go with the art for the opening.
Kakegurui’s opening has a faded out look with desaturated colors to hint to the viewer that it isn’t a happy and full of rainbows show.
In openings, it is essential to display the characters as it is most likely the first time they are seen. There isn’t much variation with this, as the different ways to showcase them can only have so many routes to take. In action-heavy shows, the characters will be shown with fast movement and keep you entertained.
When starting a new series, the opening gives a lot of information away, and it is generally advised to watch it to get an overall sense of the anime. They encompass the tone and genre. Some tend to skip it right away and not get the full experience of the show in some cases. There are also the people who believe that an anime that doesn’t show the opening until the second episode is somewhat better than others because it uses more time to show the plot for the first episode. One other trend is not having the opening appear in the last episode.
Originality in the opening is decisive when there are so many familiar and overused components of a typical anime opening. Imouto sae Ireba ii. played around with theirs a number of times, wherein one episode the song was completely muted and in another episode, the opening played 10 minutes into the episode. A bad opening does not necessarily mean the anime itself is bad, but it definitely leaves a better impression if the opening is good.
If you are one of the people who has not paid any attention to openings before, try watching them more carefully and seeing what it does for you!