Common Anime Features – Evolving Credits

Wow, what an image-heavy post!

(Spoilers in this post

If you want to be really reductionist, the OPs and EDs for anime series are just a way for a studio to list credits. Oh, wow, we get to find out who did what for our favorite shows!

But the OPs and EDs in anime are so much more than that these days. Viewers demand some sort of animation to grab our attention as names of individuals and groups and corporations eventually flash onto the screen.

And a way for such a title sequence to really stand out, in my opinion, is for it to change or “evolve” over the course of a season. Such updates are meant to reflect major happenings within the series. Not only is it a means to avoid including major spoilers in the OP/ED, but it’s also a way for viewers to become engaged.

Yes, I usually don’t really talk about the animation of an OP or ED in my series reviews (and am only really talking about its musical chops whenever I do bring up OPs or EDs), but I do pay attention. Being encouraged to sit up and notice the changes is rewarding for me and I am sure others feel the same way.

The OP for Gakkou Gurashi! is a wonderful example to illustate my point. The reveals slowly trickle in for the viewer episode after episode and they’re subtly expressed in the OP. I’ll try to list each change that caught my eye and give an explanation.

I’m well aware this probably won’t get that many views (since the show is several years old) and that someone else made a video for this. So what? Not like I watched it. I feel like I gotta get this out here anyways. Here goes!

Episode 1

This is the original baseline. Very sparkly, huh? No further comments about this one.


Episode 2

The true state of the school is now shown.
Notice the cracked window.
More shattered windows.
There’s no class being held here. The flower vase makes more sense after episode 3.
Now a clear silohuette with a blue outline, Yuki runs through the school ruins.

Episode 3

No more additional changes as far as I can tell.

Episode 4

No more additional changes as far as I can tell.

Episode 5

Kei, Miki’s best friend, left their shared safe place out of desperation and despair. Doesn’t look good for her, does it?
A little darker than how it’s been for the last 4 episodes, huh?
That doesn’t look good.

Episode 6

No more additional changes as far as I can tell.

Episode 7

Now it’s an orange sunset (?) as opposed to bright blue skies. Also more zombies, more problems.
What a transition screen!
No more Megu-nee.
She’s gone, folks.
No more flowerly transition screen here, either!
She’s really gone.
More somber images now.
The notebook background actually got dirtier and dirtier as they ran.
We purple now.
That really doesn’t look good.

Episode 8

No more additional changes as far as I can tell.

Episode 9

No more additional changes as far as I can tell.

Episode 10

It’s RED. Also Taroumaru is all by himself now to reflect that he started wandering alone all by himself in the previous episode.
Current status: MIA
Megu-nee: in the flesh!
There’s blood on her hat now!

Episode 11

No dogs. No girls. Just chaos.
Now it’s red.

Episode 12 didn’t have an OP.

That’s all, folks.





34 thoughts on “Common Anime Features – Evolving Credits

  1. Great job noticing those changes. It must have taken a lot of time. But I must say, I love this anime. Watched it and enjoyed it. The episode 1 by itself is explosive. It started by being a lovable, cute and cuddly anime (almost say, not again) then suddenly turned into a dark one. Perfect! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yo good catch! I respect anyone with that kind of eye for detail. I haven’t seen the show, but I can already tell I would have most likely missed the subtle changes. I’m a big fan of image heavy posts, so I loved this. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Mmm it’s always a treat when they sneak stuff like this in there. Hard to notice and all but it was fun trying to spot the changes.

      Yay, I like image-heavy posts, too. Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well….lol…that’s where you are wrong, as you can see from the responses: there are a lot of people that enjoyed this post, myself included 😀 I did the same as D though, skipped a bit over the latter episodes as I am currently in the middle of watching it. I had noticed a few changes, but not as much as you are now pointing out. Great stuff. I promise to go back to this post, as soon as I have completed watching the series, to see the rest of the changes 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having just finished watching this, I can honestly say I didn’t notice the opening changing at all. Then again, I kind of rushed through the viewing of the final six episodes and the story kind of had my full attention. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve got one hell of an eye for detail, Remy. I spotted some of the obvious ones like Kei and the school’s state but the finer changes slipped past me completely. In short, this is a damn cool compilation (though I did skim the latter ones because I’m only as far as episode 6. R.I.P, Megumi though.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know that evolving OP’s are a growing trend, this is only the third that I know of. (The others are *Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru* (Yuki Yuna is a Hero) and *Madoka Magica*.)

    Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My policy on TV Tropes is generally not to click unless I have plenty of time, and to curse the person who posted the link… 🙂 This time I managed to avoid the temptation to click on links on that page, so you escaped with only a few minor curses. 🙂 🙂

        While list is impressively long, compared to the number of anime coming out per annum what it shows that evolving credits aren’t all that common. Doubly so when you toss out the “swapped credits” on that list. SAO II appears on their list as evolving credits because of the Phantom Bullet/Mother’s Rosario change – but that’s actually swapped credits. (And actually they entirely miss a third set – the OP for the Calibur min-arc.)

        That’s actually a general comment on TV Tropes… The body is usually pretty good. The examples are… not so much, and can be very hit or miss.

        IMO: “Swapped credits” are wholesale replacements of the entire OP sequence, all but always involving a change in the OP song. “Evolving credits” are where the song and the basic sequence remain identical, but details are added, subtracted, or changed.

        They also list together two things I’d separate, the OP and the ED, as they fill different roles. The OP sets the tone, and so evolving credits are of particular interest there. My favorite example being YuYuYu’s “No Spoiler” OP. ( No character’s magical girl form appears in the OP until after she formally joins the group and her henshin is revealed.

        /argumentative /pedantry

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is fair. I humbly accept your curses.

          I can agree with what you’ve typed as well as your definitions for the terms.

          It’s kind of common and kind of uncommon. Last year had Ao no Kanata’s ED, Bakuon!!’s OP, Girlish Number’s OP, Kemono Friend’s OP, Long Riders!’s OP, and Stella no Mahou’s OP off the top of my head.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a really growing trend, right? I remember seeing small changes every once and a while with EDs (ex. Angel Beats) in the past, as well as OP’s that would sometimes change (ex. while it isn’t quite the same, Bakemonogatari had maybe four or five entirely different openings in its 13 episodes), but nowadays it doesn’t feel unexpected anymore. Shows are moving this way, giving the animators a chance to reflect more of their artistry during these portions of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It happens from time to time. Some shows stubbornly stick with a more static OP or ED, however. It definitely is a way for the animators to flex muscles and all.

      I wish it was more of a trend. Unexpected or not, it’s a pleasant surprise whenever it occurs.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve been meaning to! Heard it’s great.

          Oh, I knew about the little Line conversations that happens in the background of the ED but I didn’t know the OP had that going on, too. Thanks!


          1. The OP shows a preview of the episode, which annoys me so I actually skip it, but I think some find it charming. The show is worth a try! It’s my favorite this season.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Holy mother of God. What is this?!
    Not only that it grabs my full attention, while I really want to watch this (because really – I die for this kind of extra mile efforts), I’m shit scared to even dig into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm. I would recommend it. Will probably write a series review later.

      You won’t be baited like I was 3 years ago, though, since you read this post!

      Also yes I’m also a fan of this extra attention to detail.


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