Every Anime Opening Ever Made

This would be funny… if it weren’t so true:

Edited by Derek Lieu


  • Tak

    Anime!
    Follow the Formulae for Mediocrity!

    • big bad balloon

      3 blind sheep…erm I mean mice.

      Anime offers some amazing works of art. Just have to put forth a hint of effort. Good luck! :)

      • Tak

        Yeah b.b.b. I know… there really are some great works of Japanese Animation out there, both past & present. But if you ever say you like anything “Anime” you kinda damn yourself to the tidal-wave of crap work that also carries that title.

        “Never go Full Anime!”

      • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

        One reason I like anime (although these days I read manga WAY more than I watch anything animated) is the medium is used to tell a much wider variety of stories than western animation. Here in the west, there aren’t a lot of pure dramatic stories, or sport-based stories or romances. It’s almost entirely humour and/or action, and if you do get a romance (like many of the Disney films) it’s always a musical, and often part-comedy or part-adventure like Tangled. How much animated mystery or horror gets produced for the North American market? Damn little, I guarantee it.

        So stuff like Hana Yori Dango or Prince of Tennis or Hikaru no Go or Sasameki Koto or Hourou Musuko or Monster doesn’t happen here. But it DOES happen there, so I’ll go where I can get it.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Of course if you even try to go there in western animation, you get pushed back by the ol’ “why can’t you do this in live-action?” bit.

      • Anti

        American cartoons has just as much cliched themes nowadays, in fact most are overlapping.

        For example: Danny Phantom, Robot Boy, Fairly Oddparents, etc.
        - Bullied kid
        - Special powers (Magical, scientific, by proxy through friends or tools)
        - Saves the world
        - Rich kids going to public school
        - Trying to get the most popular girl

  • Eric P

    I certainly won’t argue that all of those cliched scenes do indeed seem to precede pretty much every anime I have ever watched, but what else is left? Should the camera simply focus on the lead characters sitting in their underpants scratching themselves and eating Cheetos in a lawn chair? And just off the top of my head neither Mushi-Shi or Elfen Lied use any of those scenes in their intro (except for nudity since Elfen Lieds opening is kind of an homage to Gustav Klimpts ‘The Kiss’).

    • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

      I would watch that anime.

  • Jay Sabicer

    One thing left out– All major cast members, leaping into the frame, in different poses, heroes and villains alike and pose absolutely still for the show title.

    I know the anime DVD market has tanked along with its western-style animation counterpart here in the States, but what is the market status of Japan (and the rest of the world), in regards to anime?

  • Crystal

    Don’t most cartoon themes go like “This is the main characters and they’re gonna do this!” I actually kind of like how most anime themes (which I guess you can’t tell from this video) have songs that fit the show but stand on their own by not mentioning specific characters or terms from the show, although I guess the opening from the Boondocks and credits song from Adventure Time do a pretty good job at that.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      The real problem these days is one of promoting groups and records in Japan that has led to themes songs being the way they are when they’re not too directly related to the show itself (and filling the pockets of companies like Nippon Columbia, King, Victor and the others). It’s certainly all about selling the CD at best. The same can’t really be said here unless there was a push into that direction.

    • http://rubikunsreviews.livejournal.com Rubi-kun

      And of course The Boondocks’ opening is a pretty direct homage to Samurai Champloo’s.

  • http://www.greasypigstudios.com Arvin

    You know, I really wanted to jump into defensive mode against this montage’s apparent cynicism, especially since I for one love the cliche of anime openings (and the many other anime cliches…), but yeah, that’s pretty much spot-on.

  • http://www.zoomgroups.com/group/jivetoonzcomix William Joseph Griffin

    I didn’t see Astro Boy…or Speed Racer…or Cutey Honey…or LupinIII…or Yatterman…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      The earliest clip in this comes from Dragon Ball (1986), but most of the material is within the past 20 years of when the video was produced, most anime fans don’t always look back at the genesis of anime’s history since I’m sure it doesn’t reflect what they want to see it in anyway.

      • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

        Weird, I always thought Secret of Blue Water was older than 1990. Learn something new every day, I guess.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        You do!

        The only other 80′s anime I spot is Ranma 1/2 (1989) and that’s about it. If only they had highlighted other 80′s classics like Macross.

    • Ryoku

      Older animes weren’t quite as cliche as recent offerings.

  • Hank

    Well, a certain ( albeit repetative) sense of “style” over substance seems to be the way with 98% of Japanese kid’s cartoons. It’s easier to do than creating strong characters or stories.

  • Toonio

    TIL why anime characters run from right to left most of the time.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Same as their comics!

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      Japanese read from right to left, so it’s an ingrained direction for most of people’s lives.

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

    I can’t believe that there are common images used in opening title sequences! Thank you for exposing this inconceivable practice, Jerry!

    Seriously though, so what? I imagine you’d find something similar happening in any medium where opening theme sequences are common.

  • droosan

    Even a ‘formula’ OP sequence is preferable to a ‘clip reel’ of shots from the series’ first few episodes. Or worse yet — no OP sequence at all; just flash the title, and fade into the show.

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      Note that a lot of the openings, like Cowboy Bebop for instance, aren’t actually as cliche as the out-of-context clips suggest. “Characters move right-to-left” isn’t really a cliche, and if you want to show them in action (in a culture where right-to-left is common) there really aren’t THAT many options.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      No doubt the new thing these days to prevent people from one more bathroom break.

    • Jacob

      That’s what I remember from my youth. Most western animation had openings that were just a collection of clips from the show itself. Even anime that aired on TV here was adapted with the same kind of montage intro.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I’ve seen relatively few shows that resort to the montage approach for an opening or closing sequence (one that comes to my head at the moment is “Sherlock Hound” perhaps).

      • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

        When I was a kid, the most outstanding opening sequence going was for the original Thundercats.

        …the opening sequence of which was done in Japan.

      • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

        Why can’t I like you comment more than once?

  • Spot on

    Every industry has their own formula or people forget that every pixar/disney (from the 90′s to today) are just the same …”be friends of everybody,the bad guy gets whats he deserved,save your neighborhood/friends.happy ending” etc,etc..,or dreamworks is all about funny gags and pop culture just let them be

  • Doug

    That may well be the longest four minutes and twenty-four seconds I’ve ever spent in my life — which backs up why I think this genre has become so trite over the years.

    • Um…

      Would you really consider anime a genre? Isn’t that analogous to saying every French film is in the same genre?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Anime’s not a genre.

      • oOo

        I will reply to this the same way I replied to another similar comment: Why not? Anime has made itself a genre. Most media that shares cultural motifs and heritage can to an extent still be distinguished from each other by the untrained eye. Anime however nearly universally falls into the same definitive style that has preceded it since the late 70′s. Not only that, but as evidenced by the video above there are clearly many widely shared motifs/expressions that anime employs to get the point across. If the US for example had chosen to universally apply the Peanuts cartoon style to every storyline it had, then maybe “American” would itself be a genre of animation the way anime is. The definition of genre is as follows: A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter. Anime is obviously a genre, just as much as 40′s rubber hose animation is a genre.

    • hitface

      saying anime is a genre is like saying cartoons are a genre.
      its just animation, it has shit and it has great stuff.
      and just because there are lots of typical anime cliches doesnt mean anime in of itself is totally awful and bad. just like with anything else you have to look for the good things.

  • big bad balloon

    A video like this could be made for any genre – horror, action, martial arts, romance, porn…so what’s the point?

    Oh right, to bag on anime. AWESOME.

  • Killskerry

    You guys should check out the opening credits to Jellyfish Princess. Its a breath of fresh hilarious air.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJoeGEEu5L4

  • harland

    those cliches are found in most anime openings, however there are still many inventive openings. This is a video by the same guy but with unique openings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILN1rV2CGPA

    • http://billdunnanimationpaint.blogspot.com/ William Joseph Dunn

      …and Cowboy Bebop is in both videos.

      O.K., whatever. This “all anime is the same” premise is just stupid. I would be curious about how much 2D animation Japan produces vs what the U.S.produces. I would guess that Japan produces more and I think that is noteworthy when you are about to throw stones at another animation community (because it’s not genre).

      • big bad balloon

        Agree.

        Sailer Moon, Grappler Baki, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust – all anime, all different.

        It’s easy to say anime all looks the same when you’re too lazy to explore it and just watch what’s spoon-fed to you.

    • Jim Lahue

      I like how parts of Cowboy Bebop, Black Lagoon, GTO and Welcome to the NHK were used in both videos. So, the openings are both unique and not unique.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/spacezoomer Jack

    You know what? I absolutely love anime. But I cannot help but agree with these comments that every anime is the same. It’s kind of true. Look at these openings. This is one case where you CAN judge a book by it’s cover. Or, in this case, a crap cartoon.

    Although, to be fair, some anime produced in the past 20 years actually do break from this banal tripe. Like Tatami Galaxy, and other Masaaki Yuasa works, just off the top of my head. In fact, most anime of a weird or experimental nature seems to break away from this.

    Getting back to Tatami Galaxy, (yeah, I really like that anime) practically the whole intro is a POV shot of infinite Japanese hotel rooms. The rooms just go on and on and on.

    It would be nice of more animes could do things like that. But I think I can speak for everyone who reads this site that that is just not going to happen. But hey. It doesn’t hurt to dream.

    • big bad balloon

      good god. if you “absolutely loved anime” you’d definitely know that every anime is not the same.

    • http://www.cementimental.com Tim Drage

      you love animes

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    Am I missing something? There was a lot of different looking stuff there. I totally miss the ‘funny if it wasn’t true’ aspect of those clips. I am pretty sure a compilation of ANY film clips (romantic comedies, thrillers, action flicks, period dramas etc) would reveal similar basic direction techniques peculiar to their respective genres.

  • Sarah J

    In anime’s defense, what else should they do? I certainly prefer the energetic and action-packed opening themes over a simple tune and a flash of the title.

  • A Morrice

    I’ve never really got into anime.

    • http://www.cementimental.com Tim Drage

      thanks for letting us know

    • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

      Anime forgives you :P

  • Luke Menichelli

    A cheap shot.

    • oOo

      Why? If you like anime, then have you really not noticed how ubiquitous certain aspects of it are? Why not embrace it? The creators certainly have.

  • John

    It’s a humorous observation of common cliches used in anime intros. It’s nothing to get in arms over nor is it something to judge the actual shows themselves.

  • Billy Batz

    Funny how the Anime title sequences used are from the 90s. Gotta use the titles from 1962 onward, hit the books! Oh, yeah, the pre 1990s openings don’t fit the EVER statement.

  • Was My Face Red

    ‘Meet Yogi Bear the Flintstone, he’s the most tip top.’

  • Haruna

    Anime must be stopped

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      The square button on your DVD player should do the trick.

      • Ryoku

        Great comeback!

  • Haruna

    Japan is a bastion of corrupt

  • Haruna

    But it is equally unwise
    to imagine the snarling animal
    a friend and offer your hand
    as Jerry does.
    Perhaps you would have us climb a tree. Miyazaki is my brother by sacred oath.
    I know his heart. He is my friend
    and a faithful son of the Japan.
    And until anyone proves that he is not,
    I will never betray him.

  • http://www.benlevin.net Ben

    It just makes me want to watch more anime.

  • Van

    Even if the clips have very similar elements, they’re quite dynamic in execution and a lot of them have appeal…and I’m not only talking about the nudity. Call me crazy but sometimes I don’t fast forward through the openings just to see how well some of these intros are animated.

  • Billy Batz
  • Spoder

    The ending to Mouretsu Space Pirates strikes me as the animators saying “look, our character models are *not* just the same face with different hair, dammit”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-OsJBTaXZA

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      Ow! Right in the weakness for rough sketches!

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

    Couple of things that didn’t get pointed out, did anyone notice that while there are obviously common images, every single one of those shows expressed it so individually you could instantly tell one show from the other, despite the same imagery (like the eye zoom) being used?

    Also, while again there’s common imagery, I can safely say that if you saw each opening IN FULL, most would be dramatically different from each other. Which gives lie to the “they’re all the same” argument Jerry seems to subscribe to.

  • Ryoku

    Cliches or not, I’d rather watch an anime than any of the recent animated shows from here in the US.

    In fact, if I get enough people in favor of it I’ll make a video that shows cliches of US cartoons through out the years (rubber limbs, celebrity impersonations, pointless freak outs, GI Joe style action scenes, more rubber limbs).

    • Chris Sobieniak

      DO IT!!!!

      • Ryoku

        Alrigh alright, I’m working on it right now. If you can, please lend me any suggestions or advice.

        • Fernando Garcia

          Has it been done by now?

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com tony mines

    Anime may have devolved into little more than such tropes this last 10 years, but I don’t know that the above video fairly describes ‘EVER’.

    Unfortunately, in pursuing all the repeat elements, the editor has left out the most important staple of anime opening titles; the ‘protracted piece of dynamic full screen action animation employing a grasp of motion, volume, anatomy and effects physics that no animator outside of Japan has the first clue how to negotiate to such standards and which some bloke did on his own’.

    That’s a good staple.

    Most anime titles, particularly from the 70s through the 90s, are all works of unique individual film making, such as still don’t really have president elsewhere in the televisual world. Maybe only UPA type commercials from the early 60s.

    Deserving of better commentary anyway.

  • Ryoku

    I used to have a distaste toward most anime, seeing it as “a bunch of cliches” and “up-skirt shots”, praising how older US cartoons were so much better.

    After actually watching more cartoons of both, the gap has narrowed and I appreciate modern animes now. Cliches or not, they don’t have nearly as many as American movies, cartoons. comics, music…

  • Joe Schmoe

    “Anime” is still shorthand for soft-core kiddie porn. Always has been. I fail to see the fascination.

    • Chris

      Wow, you act like a snob while openly showcasing your ignorance. That’s quite a talent.

      Also, what the hell kind of anime are YOU watching? Says more about you than it does about most anime.

  • Hakura

    Otaku are scumbags in Japan see Otaku the video movie

  • Ness

    It’s funny because it IS true!

  • Bel Riose

    Aria the Animation and it’s successor series are a rare example that have none of these cliches. Every opening was different. The opening titles and music would start about 30 to 60 seconds after the episode began without a break in the action.