Opening Week Day 6: The Wildcard Factor

May 11th, 2007

Because the relatively unique deserves acceptance and praise as well.

Everything put before now are rules of thumb… general things that openings should really pay attention to and try to use, but are in no way absolutes. There are plenty of other ways to make sure that your opening is interesting, or even to transcend the show itself.

Urusei Yatsura’s 1st Opening

Kodomo no Omocha’s Second Opening

If you put people dancing in your opening, it will be imitated, parodied, tributed and it will never disappear from the world. Your show has to sincerely be pretty terrible for this to not hold… I’m looking at you Popotan.

Frightening Evidence That Kodocha’s Dance Still Lives

Recently, people dancing in the opening has been somewhat rarer than you might expect. Those two don’t have quite the body of ‘literature’ that you’d think from something that immediately grasps the eyes of the world… until you remember that both basically predated the grand rise of the internet. Even with that said, with the travelled internetron folks that I’m sure the three readers of this are, you will have come across gifs of Lum’s dance… and she’s older than me, let alone the internet. Similarly, Kodocha was airing a couple years before 2chan was even a gleam in anybody’s eye and while 56K was still silly and excessive. Who needed all that much speed to check e-mail or visit a BBS anyway?

Galaxy Angel Rune’s Opening

Lucky Star’s Opening

A couple contemporary examples of throwing dancing into your show and look how they turned out. Just go to Sagubooru and search for Galaxy Angle 2 or Lucky Star and take in the swarms and swarms of parodies already done for them. At this point I also note that Galaxy Angel 2 was widely considered to be one of the worst shows of 2006 and had terrible ratings throughout its run, but the soul of its opening still burns.

Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu’s 1st Opening

Of course…. it helps if your dance actually looks like a dance instead of a spastic acid trip gone bad.

Vandread’s Episode 1 Opening

Vandread’s Episode 6 Opening

The important part to pay attention to is at about the 45 second mark. Each opening features clips from the episode to follow. This is pretty much the same idea as the next episode preview that you’d have gotten the week before, but so much closer to viewing the episode itself, it heightens the anticipation for the episode more than just stock footage would have. It also gives people a conscious reason to watch the opening besides “I like the song.”

Negima!?’s Episode 13 and 14 Opening

Negima!?’s Episode 19 Opening

SHAFT in particular among studios loves to switch up their openings and keep people on their feet all the time. Not knowing what to expect is a great draw to get people to pay attention. Tsukuyomi’s opening had in-jokes that switched every episode and occasionally the entire opening would change. Negima!?’s opening had about 6 different versions above and beyond the unique one they used specifically for episodes 13 and 14, that changed stills, vocals, color palettes, parts of the song it used, every two to three episodes or so. Episode 19’s in particular was twice as long as normal and was filled to the brim with injokes to the series. Add to this that the show eventually entered the world of the opening, and you’ve really got something that nearly defies categorization as to the impact on the show itself. 

There are other ways to keep things interesting than just being fancy with your graphics. Songs like Pink Floyd’s Money or Peter Gabriel’s Salsbury Hill use complex meters to mix up the drum beat and a fair amount of ska like Reel Big Fish’s Sellout or Take On Me (yes, I know it’s a cover) use tempo, and especially switching into half-time for the chorus to clearly demarcate sections of the song which has the effect of making the transitions stand out. 

Pita Ten’s Opening

The song does a lot of funky things with the percussion and beat patterns. The trick is to listen for the bass drum, which starts the song in a swing (elongated first beat, short second beat) switches to a straight 1/3 beat (normal rock) during the bridge and back to the swing beat for the chorus. This brings following the song by tapping your foot or hand or whatever out of the unconscious portion of the mind and at least for a moment, back to the conscious. It effectively reintroduces you to the song… which hopefully your song is worth the attention. 

Jubei Chan 2’s Opening

Careful, don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Openings… who needs ’em? Screw it, we’re going to just throw the money into the show. This is perhaps the rarest take on openings of them all, but many shows end up skipping the opening for an episode or two because of time factors. It does make things quite a bit more expensive if they do it more than once or twice since you effectively end up having to animate an entire extra episode (90 seconds * 13 episodes = 19.5 extra minutes), but I’m certainly not going to complain about getting extra content.

And that pretty much brings us to a close for everything that I wanted to say about openings. For the last day, we’re just going to do a little wrap up and I’ll get to post some of the best openings as openings that I’ve been holding back. I’m so happy I got through this without ever having to repeat myself or delve into them. Seeya on the flipside.

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