As time has gone on, the boundaries between video games and other forms of media have started to blur somewhat — particularly when it comes to titles from our friends out east.
In particular, it’s not at all unusual to see anime-style “OP” opening videos at the start of Asian video games and visual novels — and these always help bring a sense of drama and occasion to your gaming time.
With that in mind, here’s five of the best from over the years. Be sure to let us know some of your favourites, too!
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Everyone knows how stylish Persona 5 is by this point — and this is clear right from the moment you boot up the game and enjoy this opening video.
Persona 5’s opening video strikes a great balance between introducing its characters, hinting at some broader themes of the story and simply providing something that draws the eye; it’s hard to look away from this once it gets rolling, and it plays a big part in establishing the game’s distinctive and memorable tone.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash
As the last mainline Senran Kagura game we’ve had to date — we’re still waiting for any news on whether Senran Kagura 7even still exists — this is a somewhat bittersweet inclusion, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a solid opening video that captures a lot of what Senran Kagura is all about.
It’s a delightfully joyful opening video that highlights the fact that this wonderful cast of characters has effectively become a large group of “virtual idols” by this point, transcending the original context of their games to become something much more. Plus if you like big jiggly boobs there’s a lot to enjoy here too, of course.
The fact that the narrative of the game as a whole ends up somewhat subverting the expectations set by this opening video is just the icing on the cake, of course.
Falcom’s action RPG series has a consistently astonishing soundtrack, and Ys Origin is one of the places where this is most apparent. The opening theme “Beyond the Beginning” is combined with some beautiful art, animation and direction to get you in the mood for what comes next.
This opening video does a good job of introducing the various characters you’ll encounter in the game and hinting at some of the plot points without spoiling them. Truly a textbook example of a solid video game opening video.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed
With the new Akiba’s Trip game on the way, it’s a great time to revisit this underappreciated little gem — and it also just happens to have one of the best anime-style opening videos you’ll ever see.
Everything about this is absolutely perfect, from the opening “tinkly piano” to the delightful fight scenes between the various characters. I love Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, and this opening video is a huge part of why.
Atelier Escha & Logy
There are quite a few great opening videos throughout the Atelier series, but Atelier Escha & Logy, second of the Dusk trilogy, stands out due to its heavily stylised nature — both in terms of its visuals and the unusual music in the background.
Atelier Escha & Logy’s opening video eschews the usual pop-inspired theme tunes you might expect from colourful video games — particularly those as cheerful as the Atelier series tends to be — and instead provides a rather more moody track to enjoy that is in keeping with the melancholy feel of the Dusk series. Nonetheless, there is still energy here — Escha and Logy are protagonists who get things done, and this opening reflects that very nicely indeed.
The Labyrinth of Grisaia
All of the Grisaia series of visual novels have great opening videos, but a personal favourite is the opening to second installment, The Labyrinth of Grisaia. This opening video does so much with relatively little; it eschews anime-style animation in favour of simply using the in-game assets in various, creative and stylised ways.
It’s also synced perfectly with the music, which makes it immensely satisfying to watch and listen to — and the perfect thing to get you in the mood for Grisaia’s many, many mysteries.
Probably the least well-known title on this list, LAMUNATION! is nonetheless a visual novel that is well worth your time if you’re yet to experience its utterly chaotic charms — and its opening video gets across its delightfully cheerful energy perfectly.
To describe too much about LAMUNATION! is to spoil part of the joy of it, but suffice it to say that this is a genuinely hilarious visual novel with one of the best localisations you’ll ever see — and some spectacularly memorable characters. Make sure to play the 18+ version for the true experience.
What are your favourite anime-style opening videos from gaming and visual novels? Let us know in the comments or via the usual social channels!
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