The Magic of Anime Openings
Look, I hated Distance. It’s a song by Long Shot Party. It’s borderline ridiculous, borderline campy, and borderline way too loud. The first time I heard it, I immediately turned the volume down and stared at my screen like, this, THIS, is the follow-up to the bad ass, make you get out of your seat, Hero’s Comeback???
But after 25 episodes of hearing it, it became one of my favorite. I rock OUT to Distance, okay? I mean I get it. I GET IT. Repetition is the breeding ground for adoration. I get it. It would be remiss of me to not get it. Anime openings are a unique thing. While American cartoons usually have this overarching background instrumental, one opening fits all, what you see is not what you’re going to get because it always stays the same opening, Anime openings are flexible, they are fluid, and most of all, and they are intrinsically in tuned with pop culture. On top of that, they actually keep the watcher aligned with what’s going on in that particular arc (or season depending on what show and what era you are watching. For example, Sailor Moon gives you openings depending on the season. With the season, you’ve got the same song, Moonlight Densetsu, but a different visual opening letting you know what is going on and who’s going to be added to the cast this season. Note: This changes with the last season where Sailor Stars Song (Makenai) is used instead of Moonlight Densetsu.)
So what’s so magical about them? It’s multifaceted.
- As mentioned before, with each new opening, you’re getting a glimpse of what’s to come. Anime had a drastically different look than most cartoon styles. This goes double for their opening (and endings). They are cinematic in a sense. There are a lot of moving parts, symbolism and opportunities to zone in on what little foreshadowing hints they give. Hell, sometimes it takes thirty views to catch everything in an opening AND make it make sense to what’s going on.
- They are just flat out entertaining in themselves. There is a lot of energy put into these openings. The openings are crafted so well that there are times you can watch it thirty times in a row and enjoy it just as much as the episode. (This counts for the endings as well.) I find myself mourning not seeing a particular opening again while battling my excitement to watch the new one.
- Music is emotional. So, back to when I said I hated Distance at first. While Hero Come Back was this happy, moving, embattling, echoing war cry welcoming our hero back as he grew from small child to battle hardened teenager. Distance on the other hand highlighted the reunion of Team Seven. The new Team Seven, consisting of Naruto, Sakura (and Sai), meet their old their old teammate in a very emotional run in. Distance captures all of that (and the connection that Naruto and Sakura will have to Sasuke the ENTIRE rest of the anime) with a simple “YOU ARE MY FRIEND.”
So with that said, my emotions (which mirror Team 7) are tied into hearing Distance. Hearing the song, (which I love now) triggers, one, flashes of the actual opening—Naruto and Sasuke slowly drawing towards each other, not with a look of hate in their eyes but…fate? IDK), triggers whatever emotions I had WATCHING the arc, and three one of the main theme of the series, FOILS AND FRIENDSHIP.
Although I’m using Naruto as an example, the same could be said for (picks an Anime series out of a hat) Inuyasha…Bleach, Fairy Tail, One Piece, ect, ect. There is magic (and marketing—just imagine what having your song continuously play as an opening of a popular anime does to sales…whoa) in this.
Speaking, and I’m probably speaking for everyone when I say that, Anime Openings (and Endings) should be a complete genre of music.
Here are a few of my favorite openings (randomly because the list is in the hundreds)
Haruka Kanata – Asian Kung Fu Generation (Naruto)
Ichirin No Hana – High and Mighty Color (Bleach)
One Half – Makoto Kawamoto (Rurouni Kenshin)
Sailor Stars Song (Makenai!) – Kae Hanazawa (Sailor Moon)
Brightdown – Tamaki Nami (D.Grayman)
Tell me whats YOUR favorite Anime opening? Matter of fact, tell me one you hated and eventually ended up LOVING! I promise, I won’t judge.
Jade Brieanne is a Durham, North Carolina resident from Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is a cultural arts blogger on ToySldrs.com and a vlogger with ToySldrsTV and Jade, Please Youtube channel. She is also the author of THE HALO OF AMARIS, the first in the HALATION trilogy.