Anime can live and die on the strength of their OP’s, I’m sure everyone reading this can agree, you could probably easily list off 5 of your favorite without missing a beat, Anime seems to put more prevalence into it’s openings as a medium than any other.
Obviously a good show can have a bad OP and a PLENTY of bad shows have good OP’s (would I have been able to slog through Psycho Pass 2 without it’s amazing one? Hell no). But I came across an interesting case recently where an OP actually damaged the show it preceded.
I had many time’s before come across an OP that enhanced the show to come, typically setting the tone with it’s music and visuals putting you in the right mood for the content is to come, but with this show it’s failure to execute on the feeling the OP (and first episode) set up left me more and more disappointed each time it’s opening visuals faded out and I was left with the show proper.
I want to explain why this was for me by looking at an OP that did enhance my viewing experience and then explaining why The Dusk Maiden of Amnesia’s OP detracted from it.
Jojo OP 2 – Bloody Stream
Jojo’s bizarre adventure is somewhat of an enigma to me. If you were to look at (excluding comedy’s) my 10’s on My Anime List you’ll find Psycho-Pass, Madoka, Monster, Koi Kaze and……. Jojo. It’s a distinct outlier, the only one without the psychological tagging, something which doesn’t toe the line of my usual preferences. One of the more flawed shows I’ve watched, it has plot holes, mostly surface level characters and not much in the way of overarching themes, all things I tend to dislike in shows.
And yet it’s the best fucking thing ever.
It’s very difficult to describe exactly what it is that makes Jojo appealing (which makes it perfect for this piece) but it is something you can feel, you just get it when you watch it, either it’s for you or it’s not.
So how does the OP convey this feeling to the audience?
This OP is the show
It’s as simple as that. Never have I seen an OP capture a show so perfectly that if anyone asked me should they watch the show, I’d tell them to watch this and if they like it to go for it.
This OP oozes the style that Jojo is all about, it walks on that tightrope between campy and epic that only it can. Every time you hear those jazzy trumpets come in you know the following 20 minutes will be filled with that same aura.
There’s not much more I can say about it just watch it.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia OP – Choir Jail
I have not completed this show yet. Part of the reason I wanted to write this piece was because of just how much this OP affected my enjoyment of this series. By the time episode 9 rolled around I was sick of waiting for the show to catch up to the expectations the OP set up.
Now I must explain that up until now the show has not been bad by any stretch, but just not what I signed up for. A show about a ghost girl haunting a school who is only seen as people imagine her, if they don’t know she exists, they don’t see her. If they think she’s beautiful then she is. If they think she’s a hideous monster, that’s how she appears to them, it’s an intriguing concept.
It’s a show that tries to do the slice of life comedy that is actually really dark thing, and at some points it succeeds but really it works more as a slice of life comedy with a darker edge. It can’t find that balance between it’s two contrasting styles the way a show like Gakkougurashi did. except for in it’s opening
This OP captures what the show wants to be way better than the show itself.
This OP is a fantastic representation of what this show wants to be. Wants to be. Not what this show (thus far) actually is.
It puts me in a state of slight unease, the instrumentation has a darker edge to it, but is played at a fast upbeat pace. I can’t ever pin down if the vocals are dark or uplifting in tone. It sets up that feeling of not knowing whether things are ok or not that the show strives for.
The visuals too do this. It has all these bright colours, like the leaves, but they seem to be slightly desaturated in some way once again permeating that uneasy tone, and the imagery too switches between it’s comedy and serious themes.
When the show failed to have this seem sense of constant unease, I felt that I didn’t want to watch it, that I’d much rather be watching a show that gave me that same feeling, despite the show not being all that bad, it’s pretty decent. But the execution of it’s theme was so much better in it’s OP that it failed to hold my attention past that.
A good OP can damage the show it precedes
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