>In case you’re wondering, I was going to publish the entire anime openings list before the new year. Then my XBOX 360 machine distracted me and I lost my focus.
This time, I’m back for good. I’ve written everything down before the new year, so let’s start with the most disturbing one on the list:
10. Paranoia Agent opening
I’m amazed at how director Satoshi Kon took people through a mind trip with this one. All the people in this video are laughing, even when they’re about to die a horrible death.
Paranoia Agent’s opening is a remarkable satirical video that symbolizes how the post-modern Japanese workers and children are trying to make the best out of a hopeless environment. It visually represents of a whole range of social problems, all arising from forces that even the protagonists cannot even control.
The opening song, “Dream Island Obsessional Park,” is almost as alarming to listen to. The techno drum machine, the barking choir and the synthesizer combine in a disturbing explosion of loud, polyphonic sound. The composition was designed to make people as uncomfortable as possible, to hit them with all these stunning cultural issues.
Honestly, it’s almost too difficult to describe this masterpiece with all its computer enhancements and visual tricks. For the record, let’s just settle this by posting it at number 10. I’m still waiting for an anime publisher to re-release this series.
9. Eureka Seven – Second opening
Unlike the Paranoia Agent video, this one gels together because it makes people feel good. This isn’t any ordinary montage of characters standing in place with a heavy wind blowing across their face. This is a video that easily summarizes the beauty of wonder of this series in one-and-a-half minutes.
Everything in this opening is bursting with color and movement. From the cool surfing robots to the large headshots of the women, everything looks eclectic. The song from Home Made Kazoku is really the foundation of this entire music video. Somehow, these rappers arranged an entire rap that explains the entire philosophy of the ideal shonen anime hero. More importantly, they made this anime incredibly hip.
8. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig opening
Ghost in the Shell was one of those unique action shows that somehow mixed together philosophical and political messages, without ever looking boring. The second season, however, really took the show to a whole new level with a political struggle that impacted every viewer who saw it.
The opening sequence is a powerful sequence. The shadowy montage of the main characters sets the mood for anime viewers to enter a tense world of governmental upheavals and mass destruction. Yet, the lineup of the characters against a white background is really what catches everyone’s attention. The director was literally asking for us to pay attention to these tough policemen in the video who are taking a stand against political oppression.
7. Revolutionary Girl Utena
After watching all the old shoujo anime openings again, Utena is probably the only one that bowled me over. This is still one of the best displays of hand-drawn animation I’ve ever seen in an anime show. This one-and-a-half minute clip somehow makes single cels look like Victorian masterpieces in a twisted fantasy tale.
In the opening montage, the still shots of the girls rotate against a background of a rose, as if to show that someone was trying to spin them into a romance that is too good to be true. Then all the characters show off their bravado by making their flashiest-looking sword slash with quick, fluid animation that jumps out of the screen. By the time people reach the upside-down castle and the girls on flying horses, anyone will want to watch the show just to make sense of it all.
This is another one of those shows that still needs a re-release. Shoujo fans still love watching this series, so anime publishers should at least look into re-releasing it someday. Otherwise, the price for the entire series is going to stay at $300 on ebay.com, which isn’t very enticing at all.
6. Gundam Wing, first opening
It opens with a simple montage of shots with the protagonist, Heero Yui, with his hand outstretched towards the camera. After a few measures of the thumping dance beat, the camera zooms out to show the massive Gundam robot. Once the opening title appears with the awesome old-fashioned anime cha-ching sound, robot fans know that they’re in for a treat.
Sure, the teenage boy pilots look classy and sexy. However, we’re really watching this to see those awesome robots blow stuff up. This sequence has tons of marvelous explosions and battle sequences to please the fans of robot fighting. The vocals from Namie Amuro sound amazing as well.
Look forward to the final part of my best anime openings list in a week or so.
Images courtesy of photobucket.com