Podzilla 1985

Monday, August 06, 2012

Greatest Anime Openings Ever

Music is probably the single greatest thing in the history of life. Where have you ever seen an art form that could create so many emotions, recall so many memories, or span all generations and demographics. From the richest socialite to the poorest hobo, music brings us together so we can argue endlessly about the whole damn thing. Since the dawn of humanity there has been a song in every persons heart, and it is a medium that will forever transcend time and space.

Anime, on the other hand, is an art form that draws a line that divides the normal nerd from an even more socially awkward super nerd. Created in Japan as a way to remind kids about the horrors of the atomic bomb, anime is the second only to cigarettes when it comes to causing cancer.

I kid, I kid.

Anime is that popular kind of cartoon that you've no doubt heard about, even if you didn't want to. Though homegrown in Japan it has made its way to foreign soil and become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. It covers the full spectrum of genres, from nonsensical comedy to painful drama and all up the way up to mindless violence and gore. It has captured the imagination of the United States and has rooted itself in our own pop culture.

Both music and Japanese animation are forms of art that have divided friends, established cliques, and defined generations.

And they do it with style.

You know that feeling you get during the opening riffs of “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria? How about the intro to “More Than a Feeling” by Boston? To me, it's the beginning that has always captured the minds of the people.

Like the intro of a great song, the opening to an anime program draws you in and keeps you there. A great introduction can make a poorly dubbed script of vapid drama set against eye popping animation seem like a damn event.

So what happens when this irresistible force meets the immovable object? Well sometimes, just sometimes, you get pure magic.

I present to you, as decided by myself and maybe by that girl I'm marrying, a list of the greatest anime openings that I've ever seen.

It's a more recent anime, but it captures the spirit of the art that originally captivated me as a youth. It all works here. The guitar shreds, the fast paced images, the sense of adventure, dread, action, and a healthy bit of sexuality combine to make this intro memorable and a great set up for an awesome series. I can forgive them for being sexually repressed, as the creators gave me a series that I absolutely adore, and an opening that I can watch over and over.

Speaking of bad ass guitar riffs. Trigun was one of the first anime series I had ever watched, during that magical time when Cartoon Network played decent stuff and not reruns of DBZ and Ed Edd and Eddy all the time. Loved the show, and when I saw the Japanese opening I honestly think my face was shredded by the relentless guitars. It adds to the in your face bad assedness of the Vash character, and the visuals do a great job of conveying the silliness of the series that eventually gave way to some serious drama and misery. It's a great evolution that I did not see coming. Great stuff, even if we ripped off Spawn a bit there with that damn coat...

This is the one that started it all for me. I didn't know there could BE great openings until I saw this one. This is the one that inspired this whole article! You have the amazing intro crash that just grabs you, the smooth jazzy feel, and the character movement is so fluid and stylish that it's no wonder this series garners such high ratings. This is the epitome of what a great introduction should be.

SAILOR MOON S (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubQnp4N5MpM)

You didn't really expect a list without Sailor Moon did you? You're lucky you didn't get two. Though I kind of prefer the opening to the Stars season more, the S season always stuck out in my mind as the definitive opening. You've got the classic “Moonlight Densetsu” song with its haunting opening bells, all of the soldiers together showing off their moves, the holy grail, and the mysterious little girl who would become Saturn way down the road. This is the series that helped start the revolution in the United States, and everything about this introduction is classic. I only hope the new series can live up to the legend.

I have a thing for anime horror. This was probably the first in the genre I ever saw, and it was always one of my favorites. It kind of reminds me of Bebop, as it has this cool aura that surrounds it and helps define it. The music is slick, the character art is great, and that multi eyed dog always kind of freaked me out.

NEW DOMINION TANK POLICE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEE9SQ3IDg4)

Behold anime, in all of its 80's cheesy greatness! One of my introduction series, NDTP really captured my imagination as a kid. The series wasn't particularly great, but I still liked it. And the opening was just plain cool. Slow motion gun fights, giant tanks, the hot twins, and that great guitar made up for a series that has been long forgotten by today's new gen fans.

One of only two English openings you'll see on this list. This 1 minute clip defined a damn generation. Pokemon fever was going crazy and the anime, which could have been a cheap tie in to help sell product, was fun and entertaining. The English intro captured that sense of adventure and youth better than it's original counterpart, and it did a hell of a job. The song is catchy, the animation is bright, and you really get the sense of adventure and friendship. Of course, it probably should have stopped after like the second season, but let's not allow its unwillingness to die take away from the moment.

I'll admit up front that I've never seen this series. I was given the suggestion by my roommate and I find the opening to be both mesmerizing and chilling. It has nudity, but it isn't sexual. It conveys a sense of maturity and sadness, accented by the beautiful vocals. I find this opening to be lacking in its bad assness, but that's what makes it so good. It is sad, lonely, and makes me want to know what happens to these characters.

I had reservations about putting this one on the list. I have a bias against it because I loved the series so much until the end, and the infamously controversial ending left a bad taste in my mouth. Plus, Shinji is a little bitch. But that shouldn't stop me from pointing out how great this introduction is. It starts slow, and has that ominous choir music like beginning. But once it gets going, it does not let you go. Images and characters flash by, you see the titans, words pop up on screen, my darling Asuka is there, it's almost like an amusement park ride. It's a classic opening, no doubt, and a series that should be mandatory.

Yeah..... Let's just end it here.
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