Anime OP: Part 1.5

You can read about part 1 here. I originally promised only 2 parts but I want to list some OP that is not on my all-time anything list. I think they’re nonetheless interesting examples, if not stellar ones. Or okay, at least educational. Maybe. Definitely if I removed more SHAFT crap in there.

Again, this is sorted roughly by age. And again, these are just here for your references [/butthurt disclaimer].

ef-memo OP1 OP2 ef-melo OP1 OP2

I think what’s remarkable about this … line of OP is how it works as a narrative device in the show, just like a pan or a dutch angle shot or the ED whiplash does to add dramatic tension and be just entertaining. Nothing is sacred. And if there’s one thing attractive about SHAFT x SHINBO, that is it: there’s nothing sacred on the visual field. I think Oomura took it to heart but judiciously applied it, with the results that we have.

I also admitted to cheating by listing 4 items under one. But it’s in the weirdness that the difference between the two OPs is a narrative device that makes this shebang remarkable. I mean, isn’t it beautiful? It’s like telling a story about our differences, and it is that difference that we have come together to celebrate, which is totally not ordinary and yet convincing. But yes, it is also weird. And I don’t really know of another example of this in anime.

Paranoia Agent OP

It’s the only OP Satoshi Kon did, and it’s, well, really good. What can I say? I guess for something relatively stiff it conveys such a sense of motion and momentum that probably overpowers one’s expectation of the show to some degree. Maybe that’s not so good given how the show was a bit of a mess, but hey, it looks pretty cool.

It’s also a good, pictorial example of trauma. And the more I talk about this, the fact he is no longer with us sinks in just that much more. *sniff*

Tsukuyomi Moon Phase OP 1 (any version)

It’s slim picking, and admittedly most of the strength comes from the surprisingly catchy song (Before Renai Circulation there was [insert thing]). I like the subversiveness of the visuals and that it is basically the show in a nutshell. It is probably the only time, as well, that I’ll confess to liking one of Shinbo’s lolipedo baits–as far as a tool to develop character, Shinbo’s OP do a great job here.

I’m also just struck at how timeless this thing is. The notion of moe traces back to the likes of Nausicaa and the magical girls of yore, but something so shamelessly cute is a benchmark of otaku pandering that later works will be measured against.


The music video aesthetics is always a crowd pleaser, like the GTO TV openings or the K-ON endings. I always thought that the Bebop movie OP would be memorable because of that, but damn, if something other than big jazzy intros can be catchy. I mean, it’s hard for that sort of tune to be catchy–it’ll be very annoying well before it can be catchy, as you’ll see in Part 2 of this post. BECK, instead, deploys some corny Japanese rock bands and the effects are pretty spot-on. Even if it was made to hit in America and fail at it.

The visuals and animation is some of Kobayashi Osamu at his best. It really works well with the style the show/manga has going for it.

Dokuro-chan OP 1 and 2 (but mostly the first)


It’s one of those shows where the OP literally is everything you need to know about the show. Believe it or not that’s much rarer than one would expect, but a typical anime OP is a lot more serious than this. The catchy gag vocals aside, the animation is nothing to write home about, and conceptually the animation follows the song almost to a tee. Thankfully the song is great, and it has a much more sinister take in which we see in its glory when animated. Fact of the matter is, you just don’t see OP like this anymore. Today’s shows just overshoot this sort of thing.

The second OP is a powered-up version of the first, but it doesn’t work by itself, so the first one is the one you want to watch. I mean, the second OP is almost the same thing; same song different verses.

Pani Poni Dash OP1

This one is a doozy. Any of the three OPs are good but I think OP 1 wins every time. And it’s really the first time that Shinbo did an OP where we get up and up on rhythm and less on animation, where the presentation becomes a thing we want over substance. I mean, in the end, anime OP are a mode of presenting the rest of the show. So it works. You can probably plot a chart where on-beat cuts per minute for each op and it’ll be kind of a straight line for every one of these, from Pani Poni Dash to Nisemonogatari.

I guess I should laugh at the metronome in the OP.

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