So the first episode of Tokyo Ravens was really solid. I’ll have a better idea of where it actually is as a show in 3 or 4 weeks, but right now, it’s clear to me it’s going to be fighting Kyoukai no Kanata for the seasonal belt of best show of the season with a mid-major battle premise.* And similar to KnK, it also packs the OP that launched a thousand ships; one that teases gobs of potential while looking really freaking cool. I do have some comments on it, but I recommend just watching it first. Make your next 90 seconds a fine bunch:
Among the really interesting things this OP does is that the title comes in 40 seconds in, and isn’t punctuated by the up-tempo swinging of the song. This is something 95% of anime OPs don’t do; usually there’s a matchup between the title card and music for easy symmetry. But here they’re cracking that convention for effect, keeping the music relatively steady while bookending the title card with two strong visual moments (the sliding splitscreen image of the cast and the MC punching the screen), and it definite gives the OP a bold, ambitious feel.
But really, it does so many slick things, including the TVs-within-TVs imagery that leads to the MC punching the screen halfway in, the hovering/sliding credits, and the glasses that turn into a moon on fire. It only sometimes relies on super-framerate animation, also mixing in rapidly shifting camera angles and doing the Utena thing where it drops something ostensibly important and obviously cool-looking for half a second before flashing away. The whole sequence from 36 seconds to 75 seconds is so jam-packed with stuff like this that it’s near-impossible to break away from. The content it’s teasing intrigues me as much as the OP itself, but I’ll have more time to write about that as it actualizes its potential over the rest of October.
*Not in sales or overall popularity, certainly, but when I want to write about numbers I’ll write about numbers. My stance on them is that they correlate with a show’s quality and they’re really important when it comes to understanding trends in the type and number of anime produced, but they only correlate with moderate strength against a show’s true entertainment value. Advertising and the fact that some people easily dismiss shows on superficial things like artstyle play into that, but they’re far from the only reasons.