As a baby weeb watching Sailor Moon for the first time, I remember being enamored by the opening. You know, ‘fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight’ and then Usagi Tsukino would swoop in, engulfed in sparkles? It was the most magical thing I had ever seen. Other animated shows just weren’t doing it like anime was. But how did we go from quick cartoon-y tunes to long cinematic masterpieces of anime intros that are music videos in their own right?
Anime openings are pivotal, with their beautiful visuals and stellar music. They are your first glimpse into what the story would be like, setting the mood for whatever is bound to happen. It showcases what we are in store for.
In all honesty, a long opening helps animation studios save time as well but that doesn’t mean they are lazy placeholders. Anime openings in and of themselves are a piece of art. They are carefully curated to be the perfect accompaniment to an anime. They are the reason you get hyped whenever starting a new episode.
Anime openings are a huge part of anime, but it’s just one aspect. So, why do they tend to be so long? Let’s discuss!
Anime Intros Attract The Audience!
Listen, visuals sell. If you don’t have a good eye-catching opening to an anime, people lose interest quickly. I mean, remember the very first Attack On Titan opening? It was absolute fire.
I remember watching it play during a convention once and everyone jumped in to scream at the ‘Jaeger!’ part. One of the only reasons I picked up the anime was because a friend sent me the opening on YouTube and I was hooked!
Normally, battle anime isn’t even my thing but there I was, binging the series. Solely because all the shots in the opening looked so cool! Just goes to show you how important it is for an opening to be engaging enough and keep your attention.
The same thing works for older anime like Naruto Shippuden. I guarantee you if the opening for Naruto Shippuden’s first season hadn’t been something as iconic as Heroes Come Back? It wouldn’t have hit the mark as it did. You knew how epic Naruto Shippuden was going to be when they started with that banger of an opening.
Set The Vibe Through Anime Intros/Openings!
An anime opening greatly influences your viewing experience. It sets the mood for a person starting a specific anime. And if it doesn’t sound good or doesn’t match what the show will be like going forward, a viewer can lose interest.
For example, Spy x Family is pretty action forward and the opening matches that, with an upbeat tune. But it’s also really laid back and happy at the same time, echoing the comfy nature of the story. It’s very cute and poppy, but still has some thrilling footage sprinkled in.
Meanwhile, you have something like Tokyo Ghoul, where its first opening was a rock anthem. Full of anger, it highlighted the feelings of turmoil and anger Kaneki must’ve felt after being turned into a Ghoul. And it builds you up for the eventual emotional tidal wave that comes from watching the anime.
It’s Simply Convenient!
Okay so maybe a longer opening isn’t just for the fan’s benefits. But it makes sense for an animation studio to have a longer opening to extend the airing time and lessen the animating time.
See, an average anime episode has a run time of a little less than 30 minutes. But even animating those 30 minutes takes a lot of work and effort. So, to cut animation short, a long intro works perfectly, without compromising on quality.
Another bonus of this kind of opening/ anime intros is that it’s repeated, so you don’t have to keep re-animating something new over and over again. Saving the effort which can be focused on improving the story animation instead!