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.
InuYasha OP 1
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.
Nurarihyon no mago OP 2
ef- Tale of Memories
Style and Character:
Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu:
Bakemonogatari OP 4:
Old Modern: Character and ATMOSPHERE
New Modern: CHARACTER and Atmosphere
Spice and Wolf:
Nichijou OP 2:
-Those were part of the created movie, but due to time constraints were not shown
The World God Only Knows