Let’s get ready to start! Some Summer 2017 openings considered and reviewed.

Anime opening sequences serve the same purpose as the introductory blurb you’re reading here…  They get butts in seats, hopefully inform the viewer about the show, and get them interested in watching.  (In some ways, they’re a mini-PV.)  I also talk a little bit about some of the imagery and techniques used in creating opening sequences and how they’re used this season.

So, hit the jump and let’s take a look at the OPs for the shows I watched this season.

J-4 Screenshot (81)

A quick note, these reviews are in no way objective. Openings are meant to address the viewer on an emotional level, and I’ve taken them subjectively.

Konbini Kareshi

Stand Up Now Cellchrome (Lyrics)

A very catchy/bouncy pop tune, paired with a fairly generic OP sequence.  Like many OPs, it pops quickly through the main characters and settings of the show and gives some hints to their relationships.  On the upside, no significant plot spoilers.  On the downside, it’s a bit confusing because there’s many characters featured in the OP who play only minor roles in the show itself.   Konbini is part of a large multi-media franchise and the production staff no doubt anticipates that viewer is familiar with the franchise, the characters, and their relationships and history.

I watch it all the way through every other or every third week just because I like the tune.

End card – all the cast lined up at one of the show’s iconic locations.  Pretty much bog standard.

Love & Lies

Kanashii Ureshii (Sad and Happy) Frederic (Lyrics)

A serviceable OP, giving a quick overview of the main characters and some hints about the show accompanied by a fairly simple pop tune.  I sometimes watch it through.

There are a couple of parts in the OP worth bringing attention to though:

One recurring image in the OP is Yukari (the male lead) tangled up in a red string.  In Asia, this is a powerful symbol of an eternal and fated connection between individuals.  (More info at Wikipedia.)  This connection and it’s ramifications are one of the central themes of the show.

I’m not going to give spoilers…  But this image illustrates an interesting (and often misused) technique, foreshadowing the series in the OP.  Mysterious and odd – until a few episodes in, when it becomes pregnant with meaning.

love-and-lies

This shot illustrates a related technique…  Like the one above, semi-mysterious until a certain episode airs  and then it acquires it full meaning.  The difference is that this shot (and the short sequence it’s taken from) come directly from a scene in the show rather than being unique to the OP.

Done correctly, these are powerful.  Done wrong, they can be spoilers for the plot or Big Reveals/Big Events in the show.

Made in Abyss

Deep in Abyss Tomita Miyu and Ise Mariya (Lyrics)

On one hand this is a fairly straightforward OP, showing the main characters and a bit of their adventures.  On the other, it echoes one of the main themes of the show – Riko and Reg’s discovery of each other and their ensuing deep partnership.  The lyrics bounce between grim and hopeful, also echoing the tone of the series.

Simple and straightforward, used correctly, can be powerful.

This OP is sung by the VA’s for the main characters, Tomita Miyu and Ise Mariya voice Riko and Reg respectively.   This is pretty common for idol anime, unusual otherwise.

The OP’s end card has been related to the events of that episode.  Since Riko and Reg have ventured into the Abyss, it’s been locked to this one…  with a determined Reg and an excited Riko as they stride forward hand-in-hand.  As with the rest of the OP, a perfect fit for the show.

We usually watch it all the way through.

My Hero Academia

Sora ni Utaeba (If I Sing in the Sky) amazarashi (Lyrics)

About as forgettable an OP as I’ve ever seen…  On the other hand, it’s full of action and emotion and does a workmanlike job of showcasing the characters , focusing the viewer’s attention, and getting them pumped for the upcoming show.

I fast forward through it every time.

Princess Principal

The Other Side of the Wall  Void_Chords feat. MARU (Lyrics)

I have to say, this is flat-out my favorite OP of the season.  It’s been awarded that rare honor – it’s the only OP I watch through every time.  (Or maybe not so rare, as there’s almost always at least one a season.)

Anyhow, I love it to pieces.  The tune has a nice catchy beat and the animation has some nice action bits and showcases all the main characters without spoiling the plot.

The end of the OP is especially interesting.  The Princess’s world (a steampunk jungle) turns upside down and is shattered.  The scene shift to the rest of girls…  coming to her rescue?  As the car falls, the others stay with it while Ange takes off like a shot.  The Princess visibly relaxes was she sees Ange -and momentarily sees her as a Black Lizard.  Then when Ange grasps her (using her Cavorite device, so they’re no longer falling), they spin around and Ange levels her weapon at…  The viewer?  But behind the viewer is the rest of the team…

It’s not technically a spoiler (which openings sometimes are), but I think the staff is telling us about their relationship and potentially future events.   But why does the Princess see Ange as the Black Lizard?  That’s a question I haven’t been able to answer.

Sakura Quest

Lupinus (K)NoW_NAME (Lyrics)

If I had to describe this OP in one word…  I’d be stuck choosing between “bland” and “forgettable”.  It’s not bad per se, it’s just kinda… there.  The animation consists mostly of context-free clips of the main cast in action.  The song is a bouncy but forgettable ballad.

In discussing Abyss‘s OP, I spoke of how powerful simple and straightforward can be.  Sakura‘s OP occupies the other end of the spectrum, just a step or two above being basically phoned in.

The OP sequence ends on something of a trope, the main cast all asleep in the grass.

I fast forward through it every time.

Re:Creators

(I couldn’t find a video of the actual OP, so one of the full song will have to stand in.)

sh0ut SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Tielle & Gemie (Lyrics)

I couldn’t find a video of this OP, but in some ways you aren’t missing much.  The majority is pretty generic…  a mix of static shots and short clips of the main characters in action.  I’ve watched it a couple of times, but usually fast forward through it.

The character posing in the foreground with a related image in the background…  How many times have we seen this?  Way too many times.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due…  There are three nice sequences among the drek.  The OP starts with an arresting sequence of Altair’s hand reaching out and crushing a beating human heart.  Near the middle, Altair and Shimazaki appear together… and after Shimazaki vanishes, Altair reaches out for her with a look of pain on her face.  At the end of the OP, Altair is walking across a sea of cracked and dried mud.  Coming across a pond with a single white water-lily (a symbol of resurrection and enlightenment) floating in it, she stoops and picks up the blossom.

Some powerful symbolism in those three sequences.

Tsurezure Children

Aimai Moko (Ambigiuous) Minase Inori (Lyrics)

Clocking in at just a minute the shortest OP on my list.  But fast intros are par for the course for short form anime.  It does a creditable job of giving us a quick overview of the characters and some insight into their personalities and relationships.

It’s not a bad OP, sometimes we watch it.

Minase Inori performs the song and also voices a character in the series as well as voicing Meteora Österreich in Re:Creators.

And there you have it!  What were your favorite (or not) OP’s this season?  What cool techniques have you seen used this season?  Drop a line in the comments and let us know.

11 thoughts on “Let’s get ready to start! Some Summer 2017 openings considered and reviewed.”

  1. It’s not always the case that the best shows of the season also have the best OPs, but it is this time (Princess Principal and Made in Abyss). Both are great stylistic fits for their respective shows and are super well constructed – the moment in the PriPri OP where Ange catapults out of the car is exhilarating every time.

    I much preferred MHA’s tournament arc musically and visually; the teal monochrome is an interesting idea that doesn’t really pan out thanks to uninspired visual pacing. Likewise, the music for the new Re:Creators OP is terribly disappointing after how bumping “gravity wall” was (i.e. Sawano at his best).

    I’ve had a soft spot for Inori Minase since she voiced Hestia in Danmachi, so it’s nice to see her reappear with the super pleasant Tsuredure Children OP. Not special, but well-suited to the show imo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tbh, I never caught Ange catapulting until I was stepping through and trying to catch a shot of the Black Lizard. Once I did, that changed (amplified) my whole interpretation.

      No, the Tsuredure OP isn’t particularly special, but I think I was a bit harsh on it. Not as good as Abyss‘s, but certainly a case of “simple and straightforward works”.

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    1. You’re talking the bit about :15 in, where Inaho is reaching out for something after the Princess appears before him and then vanishes? Thematically it appears very similar. (Though I can’t quite recall the relationship between Inaho and the Princess.)

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  2. For me, the best OP/ED combo easily goes to Princess Principal this season, but Made in Abyss is also pretty good. Both shows go for the same strategy, here, with a near-neutral opening focussing on a prominent character relationship, and with a cutesy wind-dwon ending.

    I really like the Koi to Uso opening, too. I think it’s fairly well done, and you’ve done a good job highlighting how.

    About the openings from shows you didn’t discuss, two stand out for me:

    Gamers

    A competent collage of different game types, foreshadowing plot-function of the characters in highly abstract and iconic images, while getting the feel right (Parodius, Mario, and Street Fighter 2 are the ones I know best). The music has 8-bit gaming elements, not too foregrounded but noticable, and the arrangement varies with the visuals. I’m not fond of the grand fantasy party finish; they could have gone for a MMORPG feel here, I think, but other than that it’s pretty good.

    <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS4KsjGvLQA>Aho Girl

    Here we have an example of the minimalist opening. The title in huge letters and the characters walking on is all you get. But the motor-mouth song and faux dramatics make the thing work out beautifully. It’s a hoot. Plus, they vary the opening every week, which is easy to do, since the walk-on parts are very easy to replace. I like version 4 and special mention goes to the summer vacation episode, where they don’t show up, because they’re on vacation.

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    1. The OP for Gamers, plus what I’ve heard of it from you and others, really makes me wish I’d had time to pick it up this season… The animation is nicely done, though I find the song a bit irritating. It would definitely end up in the “watch occasionally” category because of that, and it deserves better.

      Multiple OP’s a very unusual because of the added cost. I think you’re right though, with a fixed background and a minimalist foreground it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to swap the foreground out.

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    2. I was going to mention that I thought Gamers had a good opening too. I actually showed the first two episodes to my anime club yesterday, and my teens were having a lot of fun with that opening, calling out all the games they recognized. According to TV Tropes, the fantasy RPG in the last part of the opening is actually a riff on Tales of Phantasia, with the cast all playing specific characters from that game. I’ve never played any Tales game, so I’ll have to take their word for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I recognized the genres of most of the games, if not the exact game… I’ve never been much of that type of gamer. 4x, turn based strategy, and simulations are more my speed.

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