Summer 2011 OPs – part 3
July 10, 2011
Part Three of the 2011 OP (opening credit) collection is coming your way. For those who missed them, here are links to part 1 and part 2. This time we have more of a mix of genres, including some action shows as well as more RomComs (because anime is like that). Before we get to the music, I do want to point out that I depend on others to upload these to YouTube, so if the show hasn’t aired, or nobody has uploaded the OP, or if Viz Media blocks the OP, because they think they can squeeze a few extra pennies out of a show, I can’t provide the link here.
The shows covered in this post are presented in alphabetical order (not personal preference!):
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 2
- Kamisama Dolls
- Mawaru Penguin Drum
- Nekogami Yaoyorozu
- No. 6
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 2
For a light, poppy song, this isn’t too bad, and this kind of high-energy song is appropriate for a RomCom. The visuals make an effort to do something different than just lift scenes from the series, which I do want to give them credit for. I like the idea of using the graphical symbols, but the posterized, limited palette character shots seem harsh, and don’t appeal to me at all.
This is more like it! In my opinion, this is the first great OP of Summer 2011. The music is quite good, and unusual by having a Latin feel. Visually it has a strong sense of style, but shows the various characters one would (presumably) meet. The use of the different angles moving across the portraits to cause different compositions was very cool. I’ve been leaning away from checking out this show, but this OP is just the thing to get me leaning back towards it.
Mawaru Penguin Drum
And another winner! This has great music, and incredible visuals. Musically the song has a Trip-Hop feel; it has a drum kit driven orchestral underpinning, with signature throaty vocals provided by Etsuko Yakushimaru. The song is apparently named “Nornir”, after the Norse goddesses of Fate, who rule the Destiny of gods and men. There is so much imagery in this OP, just like the show, that I am tempted to say something, but my main point would be that it is a rich and creative visual experience. I like it a lot.
Honestly I don’t think this is a very good song. When it started, I thought it had good energy and sounded catchy, but as the song went on, it sounded more like a lame J-pop number. As I said in part 2, mindless, but catchy, Bubble Gum Pop can be fun, but this got boring. Boring isn’t catchy. Boring isn’t fun. Visually it looked like we might be seeing scenes lifted from the series, except for a tiny bit at the very beginning and end. It did give a strong sense that the show is aiming at the comedy genre, rather than slice of life. In that sense I guess you could call it effective, since it made me think it might be amusing.
I like the visuals on this a lot. It has the look of showing off the characters, and suggesting a Science Fiction setting, without being literal. It also has some creative treatment, particularly the patchwork superimposition over the characters’ faces (first seen at about 00:30). Musically it is kind of interesting, but not great. Honestly the verse of the melody sounds like “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer, which I liked fine the first time, but doesn’t sound as original when it is pretending to be a different song.
I think these ecchi harem RomComs require so many seiyu, that one of the key ways they get the talent is by promising a spot singing in the OP. As a result, you get these unremarkable J-pop numbers that are designed more to fulfill the contractual obligation than for musical expression. Anyway, I don’t care for this. There is nothing (musically or visually) that surprised me.
The OP for Kamisama Dolls (which I believe translates to “Incomplete Combustion”) is better than anything I listed in parts 1 or 2. The song was so interesting that I tried searching for more information on the artist, guessing that it was “Alice from Japan”, because I could read that while the OP was playing. First, it turns out that “Alice from Japan” is not the same as “Alice Japan”, which turns out to be a porn company. o.O Also “Alice FROM Japan” turns out to be a production company that probably worked on the OP (they also did the PV to the upcoming Carnival Phantasm). The musical artist is actually Chiaki Ishikawa, who is quite talented.
The OP for Mawaru Penguin Drum is also a great song. Is it better than “Incomplete Combustion”? I can’t say after only hearing them both a couple of times. On the other hand, though both look great, the visuals for “Nornir” are so inventive, and rich in imagery that, I think I enjoy it as a complete OP experience more.
We still have a few shows left, including Manyuu Hikenchou, destined to be the bust out hit of the season *snicker snicker*, so I’ll be posting at least one more OP collection some time next week.