Opening Sequences; some people watch them every time they watch an episode, others will watch them for a few episodes, and other people skip them every single time. Yet every anime series I’ve watched has an opening sequence.
It’s easy to look at opening sequences and say “Yes they matter.” After all, if anime still has them then you’d think they’re important to the studio at the very least. However, is it now just tradition for anime series to have opening sequences?
If we look at other media, opening sequences vary. Films no longer have credits at the start and even TV series are getting away from having an opening sequence and instead have a title card with actor’s names showing over the action. Games, on the other hand, are going the other way. Immersive story games use opening sequences as a way to set the the tone and story of the game and it’s almost expected that when you first put that disc in, you’re getting some sort of cinematic introduction.
For anime, it would appear on the surface that openings are pretty important. IGN has awards, opening sequences are archived, and there’s always lists to find of the supposed “best” opening sequences. Yet, there’s suggestions that viewers don’t always watch them. It’s not hard to find forum posts asking whether people watch opening sequences and the most prevalent answer on any of them that I’ve seen is usually “depends”.
For me, I would place myself in the always watch them category. I usually put anime on at lunch, or watch it on my playstation at home, and I don’t like fiddling with controls to get to the right moment after the opening sequence. As such, a bad opening sequence can put me off an anime. Case in point, I started watching Hinako Note hoping it would be an anime of cute girls doing cute things. It probably is, but after I’d watched the start and then the opening sequence I was sick of it. I didn’t enjoy watching the opening sequence, it didn’t make me excited about the series I was watching, and I didn’t make it to the end of the episode before I turned it off.
I’ve found the anime I’m likely to enjoy are the ones where the opening sequence is enjoyable and memorable. March Comes In Like a Lion and Yuri!!! on Ice are the two best examples of that, but even where the opening isn’t memorable (Poco’s Udon World, The Royal Tutor, Tsuki ga Kirei) as long as I am happy enough to sit through it I can manage to get to the end of the series even if the actual show ends up disappointing like Chaos;Child did.
I might be relatively new to anime, but I cannot name one series where I didn’t enjoy the OP and have stuck with it. I’ve watched 9 anime series and am in the process of watching 6 more with 3 that I’ve dropped completely so I’m not against saying this may change in the future but it’s something I’ve come to notice about the way I view anime. Those people that select “depends” on the polls that you can find – I wonder if it’s solely down to their viewing habits. I very rarely watch more than one episode of the same anime in a row. I usually have time for one or two episodes of something a day but on those very rare occasions I sit down and watch multiple episodes of the same series, do I watch the opening sequence on that second or third episode? I actually don’t know, I believe I’ve skipped Attack on Titan‘s opening sequence before and I do think I’ve skipped March Comes In Like a Lion at least once so it’s possible that I also fit into that “depends” category. It depends if I’m watching a single episode or watching multiple on a row.
I still firmly believe that opening sequences matter, regardless of your reason for watching or not watching them; I don’t think an anime series would be the same if it didn’t have an opening sequence. The ones I’ve watched very rarely spoil events and instead, like a game, set the tone for what I’m about to watch and help me determine if I’ll enjoy the next 25 minutes or not.
What about you? Do you watch opening sequences, do they matter to you?