I have talked about the main features of an OP and ED that make them exceptional. In this article, I shall be talking about a couple of details that puts the shine on them, with the help of two EDs from GJ-Bu, ED1 (youtube) and ED4 (youtube).
Aligning scene changes / actions to song lines
OP/ED sequences consist of the video and the audio, but they should be more than a sum of its parts. To achieve that, the action and the song must be entwined and complement each other. One basic rule is that the scene changes should be aligned to the start of a song line. Actions that are in sync with the rhythm or the singing will enhance the experience.
GJ-Bu ED1 is full of this effect. Referencing the youtube video linked, here are some of the better synchronized parts listed:
- 0:01: Cymbals with the pop background.
- 0:05: Repeat of the above, cymbals accompaniment of the background pop.
- 0:10: The characters jump along with the singing of ‘Yay’.
- 0:17: A new scene with Mao alone, and in this part of the song, Mao sings solo.
- 0:25: Megumi sings solo now, and the scene changes to that of Megumi alone.
- 0:33: Mao sings a line, followed by a line by Megumi. In the scene, Mao leads the way while Megumi follows behind.
- 0:51: The 4 stars land in synchronization with the 4 notes in the song.
- 1:14: Cotton balls land on Mao at the same rate as the drum roll, and Mao bursts through with the ‘Yay’ in the song.
- 1:23: Mao is animated to sing along in the last line of the song.
- 1:28: To finish off, ripples were animated for the closing drum beat.
As a whole, the OP/ED song should feel like it was made for the video sequence and vice versa, and not one for the other. Another example of a perfectly paired song/video is the first 20 seconds of Jinrui’s OP.
Credits inevitably have to be placed during OPs/EDs, but animators should not take the easy route and plop them right in the middle of the screen. In GJ-Bu ED1&4, we see deliberate efforts to place credits away from the action, and in the empty spaces. In the ED4 video example, the credits were shifted for the action that happens a whole 4 seconds after the credits appear.
To go a step further, there are also instances where credits were integrated right into the scene itself, like in SoreMachi.
Proper pairing of video sequences and song can make the OP/ED so much more enjoyable. Animators can put in the final touches by styling the credits away from the action, or integrate into the scene itself.