Merry Christmas everyone!
It is that time of year again, where media companies slap the phrase Christmas Special onto bland, unoriginal content in an attempt to resuscitate something that is slowly dying. And we’re no different!
I remember when I first started watching anime. I actually documented my newfound discoveries here. One of the first things I did was write some pointers for the film-loving group that this blog was formed around who might be interested in watching anime, telling them what to prepare for. One of the things I wrote was this:
Opening Credits: Keep the remote with you, because the opening credits are usually way too cheesy to watch. I’m sure they mean well, but when you hear cheesy singing and read the ‘philosophical’ lyrics that barely make sense when translated to English, you can’t help but cringe. I’ve only seen one opening credits the whole way through, and that was for the first time only. Closing credits are usually the same.
Almost fifty shows later, and I will happily retract this statement.
While I will stand by the fact that reading the lyrics to the opening song of an anime is still cringe-inducing, I have seen some incredible anime introductions since I wrote the above statement. Anime is great because of its creativity, and the intro takes that to another level! There are some that are bland and forgetful, and some I’ve seen are actually atrocious plot-spoilers where you basically see the whole storyline unfolding in front of your eyes. However, some real gems feel like looking inside the creators head, personifying the emotion of the show with a dazzling amount of unbounded creativity.
I’m not going to rank these, I’m just going to highlight some of the original and engaging anime intros I’ve seen so far.
Honestly, whether you like anime or not, I urge you to watch all of these. I just watched them all back-to-back; it took five minutes, and watching all these differing styles one after the other really is a really cleansing experience.
Note: You may not see the intros if you’re viewing this on email. Click on the article title above to view via browser, and see all these awesome intros in one place!
Mob Psycho 100 (2016)
Best moment: Near the end, as you feel the tempo and emotion rising towards the big finish that never comes.
One of the biggest anime of the year, and a show we reviewed in our last Anime Pocket Reviews, Mob Psycho has received a lot of praise for its irregularity, and the intro above has to be one of the most irregular intros of all time.
I’ve seen it so many times, and I still can’t piece together everything. It is a strange drug trip. It’s as if the show was put into a blender, and a minute of content came out the other side. It sums up this strangely excellent show almost perfectly, and also has a really good soundtrack to boot.
Best moment: The vending-machine. A simple way of uniting more than a handful of characters over one meaningless item.
This is one of my favourite anime shows of all time, and it has an intro worthy of such a well-crafted story. Durarara’s charm is being able to watch this ecosystem of vibrant people interact with each other, and the intro really promotes this idea, giving every single character equal weight. Watching this intro, it would probably be difficult to work out who are the main characters and who are the really minor ones*. The intro also has a cool retro feel, with a simple but good soundtrack and simple yet effective ‘posters’ for each character.
Best moment: Not really a moment, but how that guy with the blue hair is constantly just there, smiling away in the background!
This is a show that is certainly light-hearted and fun, but Wagnaria’s introduction takes that and multiplies it by 100. With an awesome, feel-good soundtrack and really simple but effective uses of characters, this intro is absolutely guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Best moment: The build up to the big finish, something but you can’t help but feel flowing through your veins!
I haven’t actually reviewed this yet but – spoiler alert for APRs – I’m really enjoying this series. There’s a real cool and nostalgic feel to Cowboy Bebop, which aired in the late 90s, and that is personified by what has to be the coolest anime intro I’ve ever seen.
Reminiscent of the classic James Bond intros, this intro gives very little away about the show itself, but that only helps it stand out as a really cool piece of anime in its own right!
Best moment: The falling off the edge effect. Beautiful!
Another show from this year, and one that has only just finished. I don’t want to say much about it, because I will be reviewing it at some point over the next week, but it is an over-the-top, lightning fast mystery show, and that sense of general confusion comes out in this intro.
Yes, it’s all over the shop and to someone who hasn’t watched it, it’ll make little sense. However, This intro has a great collection of colour, intriguing characters and mysteries all of itself. What is that Christmas tree doing there, anyway?
Honorary mention: Re-Zero
I am writing Re-Zero in here also because, just as the above shows are set up perfectly by their intro sequences, I’ve seen very few shows that were as clever with their use of an intro sequence as Re-Zero. Most shows go through the routing of either starting with the intro (Durarara starts and includes a re-cap segment during the intro above) or doing a bit of set-up before going into the intro sequence. However, Re-Zero actually seldom used an intro whatsoever. They did have one, but it was only used a handful of times. Other times a still title-screen image showed up on the screen, and other times any sort of introduction was skipped over altogether!
A bad intro can’t really break a show. I’m not a fan of Attack on Titan’s intro sequences, for example. However, nailing it can really lift the series before its even started!
These are a lot of great anime intros out there, and I would be interested to hear some of your favourites!
And, of course, have a great Christmas.
Hey, wait! If you haven’t heard already, I’ve written a book, and it’s FREE on Kindle until the 28th December, so pick up a copy of Dreamscape right now!
P.S. A very special thank you from me to everyone who has brought a copy so far. I hope you’re enjoying it!