Nisekoi OP2 (not to be confused with Nisekoi S2 OP) first aired on the 15th episode. The OP was directed by Watanabe Akio, and his distinctive style of smooth geometric transitions is as always a pleasure to watch. In addition to that, the OP was animated by studio SHAFT, which is known for their artistic creativity. Full OP Youtube link.
Nisekoi OP2 is unique in its storyboard. Usually in OPs, we get random events 2-5 seconds long which are stitched together. However, in this case, the entire length from start to end is a sequence of continuous events which tells an actual story.
In particular, I loved the sequence from 00:15 to 00:53, and I will be describing how it was well-made, section by section.
First, we see Chitoge inviting Raku to a summer festival, and the two of them approach Onodera in the library to invite her as well. There, Marika shows up and grabs onto Raku’s arm, to the surprise and anger of Onodera and Chitoge. I loved this particular transition where it circles out the 4 protaganists’ head profiles and neatly transitions into the title call.
Next, there are a few transitions in the style of phone swipes, depicting a scene where the four of them are in a cafe, discussing about the plans for the summer festival. After the day has gotten late, they leave the cafe, as the animation of the doors of the cafe closing behind them is shown. I like how the animators manage to depict the door closing, whereas other studios/animators would probably cut to a scene with the doors already closed behind them.
This section is by far the best part of the OP. The three girls then leave in different directions, and the animation neatly splits into three independent sections. Their expressions change into their respective characterization, Marika with the cheeky look, Chitoge with the ‘unwilling to back down’ look and Onodera with the dreamy look. The animation then pans down to their legs, and we see Marika breaking out into a run, and Chitoge follows suit, while Onodera continues walking. This is brilliant way to juxtapose the three different characters roles that they play: Marika as the enthusiatic girl who dares to initiate, Chitoge who does not like to lose out and will accept any challenge, and Onodera prefers to be passive.
The three girls reach their home, we pan up to their room, and the girls open their door, followed by their closet door. The animators put in a delibrate timing difference for the opening of the door, in the order of Onodera, Chitoge and Marika. This possibly represents the entrance timing of the characters into the show.
The girls change into their casual clothing and strike their characteristic pose once again. Except this time, Marika has a shy pose instead, which signifies her innate meekness. In the show, we learn that Marika is originally a shy, meek girl, but learns to be bold in order to claim Raku for herself. The animators thoughtfully portrayed these two facets of Marika in this sequence.
The girls break through the frames and the scene transitions into them looking out a train, while the song syncs up with Raku failing to catch the train and falling. I felt that the frame break was a really innovative way to bring the three characters back into the same scene.
Past the 00:53 second mark, unfortunately, the animators seemed to have mostly run out of creativity at this point, and we have an overly long sequence involving one of the minor characters, Tsugumi. At this point, without eye-catching animations, the vocals of Claris also starts to jar on my ears. There are still two more short sequences which are interesting enough to point out.
I like how this sequence symbolises the story, which is Raku trying to reach for the girl in his memories, and it transitions to the 3 candidate girls in the show.
Finally, right at the end, we have something courtesy of studio Shaft. Shaft loves to include artistic abstraction, and here we see a drop of blood transforming into a spider with 3 fireflies caught in its web. From watching the show, we can infer that the spider represents Raku, and the 3 fireflies represent our 3 heroines, who are tangled up with Raku, unable to free themselves.