24 February 2012

scraps: a minute of your time, katsucon 2012

Below is the list of anime OPs shown during "A Minute of Your Time: Anime Openings- Style and Symbolism," which was presented at Katsucon 2012, Friday from 3:30-4:30. This was a collaborative effort with Zhao Chen of Animechanics (my cohort from "We Con, Therefore We Are).

The goal of this panel was less to show anime OPs we personally liked, and more to trace how the openings have changed since the 1960s. As such, we compiled a huge list of openings, and eventually had to edit it down. This scrap will contain all the openings we showed, some substitutions, cut clips and extras in case anyone wishes to see a more complete vision of the panel.

A Brief History of Anime Openings, 1963-2009
Astro Boy: Aside from the classic nature of the show, it is a good representation of the minimalist nature of early OPs. Choral vocals related to song, focus on Atom as protagonist.
Speed Racer: US version. Minimalist, but in full color. US version rather iconic in its own right ("He's a demon...")
Lupin III Season 2, OP 2: A solid mix of European 70s flavor, James Bond-style imagery and a flair for the blaxploitation funk of the era.
Urusei Yatsura "Rock the Planet": Aside from being Rumiko Takahashi's first series, it has the same flavor as Lupin III, just with 80s culture. Also reminded me of the opening to Jem.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: First "modern" mecha OP- strong characters, action and peppy song.
Dragonball Z: Only fitting that the blueprint for the bombastic 90s opening was released in 1989. Quite possibly the best example of the 90s intro ever made.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Solid 90s style OP in a similar vein to DBZ, but with more imagery and female-centered characters. Differed from other "shoujo-themed" fare like Sailor Moon.
Outlaw Star: Didn't break the mold, just made it bigger. Guns and Roses in space, structured like a music video, and extremely over the top. Aged better than the show it introduced.
Gundam SEED: Early example of CG models/backgrounds in anime. Fitting it was attached to the first Gundam series of the 21st century.
To Aru Majutsu no Index: Like DBZ in the 90s, a blueprint for the modern anime era.  Good flow, rich colors, relatively low action content (when compared to older shows) even though Index is shounen action. Characters featured prominently, even though there are a lot. 

Space Battleship Yamato
Galaxy Express 999
Dirty Pair
Beast King GoLion
Fist of the North Star
Sailor Moon
Mobile Fighter G Gundam
InuYasha OP 1

Musical Influence
Cowboy Bebop: Creating a sleek and stylized mood centered around jazz in the near future.
Samurai Champloo: Hip hop samurai. Makes perfect sense, especially given the art style, attitudes of characters, and Forest Whitaker.
BECK Mongolian Chop Squad: Watch this intro, then watch a 90s alt-rock music video.
Baccano!: Prohibition setting, prohibition jazz. Fits with the setting perfectly.

Symbolism and Imagery
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Let's throw as much imagery at you, as fast as possible, and see if you can keep track.
Death Note: Tries to do Eva, and actually does it. No questions about context or motivations- there is no doubt they intended every image they used.
Eden of the East: Modern Eva. Lots of symbolism, applied liberally, with not a whole lot of context.
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou: Best iteration of the "hidden world" of youkai I've ever seen. The fact it repeats and adds the monsters in the second third only makes it sweeter.

Elfen Lied
Nurarihyon no mago OP 2
ef- Tale of Memories

REC: Older style, jazzy feel, with darker colors. Good attempts on emphasis on character, but plot elements are not completely filtered out. Opening sung by female lead.
Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu: Happy feel, abstract backgrounds with very soft colors. Nothing exists in this opening but the characters. Opening is sung by the voice actors.
Bakemonogatari OP 4: Perhaps one of the best representations of what defines "modern anime." Single character, entire opening is sung by her, soft colors, romantic undertones, understatement, a song that highlights what the character is like above anything else.
Kannagi: The opening takes the characters in the show and puts them in irrelevant yet still sensible (in regards to their characters) roles. The opening itself is basically a doujinshi.

Old Modern: Character and ATMOSPHERE
Hell Girl: Intricate character designs, symbolism, rather depressing colors. Focus on the separation between the main character and the world, but that world feels tight and cramped and still plays a noticeable part in the opening.
Higurashi:Use of symbolism and general eeriness to promote a tense atmosphere. Abstract backgrounds help this along, and so do the prominent use of very unsettling minor keys in the song. 

New Modern: CHARACTER and Atmosphere
Spice and Wolf:  very lush colors, beautiful world, but a world noteworthy for how empty it feels. Still, the lushness and emptiness of the world only serves to make the characters all so much more prominent. 

Oriemo Comparison: Ability for an OP to change based on episode, to fit the episode.
Nichijou OP 2: Awesome production value, awesome OP.
-Those were part of the created movie, but due to time constraints were not shown

Madoka OP
Azumanga Daioh
The World God Only Knows
Hanasaku Iroha
Usagi Drop

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