In the world of anime OP’s, there’s clever, then there’s insanely clever.
Crafting an OP that can present everything you really need to know in a way that you don’t realize you need to know, but make it entertaining at the same time is hard, I would imagine. When a show manages to pull it off, though, you end up with something is worth watching all on its own.
This weeks offering is one of those.
Released in 2016, this 25 episode series from studio White Fox (Steins;Gate) follows teenager Subaru Natsuki as he finds himself whisked away to a fantasy world. At first excited by this, and certain he’s going to meet a beautiful wizard all set to fall in love with him as he develops great heroic powers, Subarau instead learns he’s still just himself, and soon gets killed.
Only to wake up back at the exact same moment in time he entered this new world. Pretty fast, he figures out that when he dies, time rewinds and he gets another chance. This goes from comedic to full on horrorfest pretty fast, too.
Like, dear sweet God make it stop horrorfest. It gets intense, is what I’m saying.
The best thing about the OP is that it leans on this to sell the show. The opening bit of Subaru dying in reverse pretty much tells you that the rewind aspect of the show is going to be a major plot point. Having it be mirrored at the end tells you it’s going to happen a lot, which it does.
A whole lot.
The character intro part is done with a lot of heavy flickering, reminding me of Ergo Proxy, and for good reason. Nobody, including Subaru, is who they appear to be in this show. Everyone has an agenda, secrets, and will do whatever they have to in order to get what they want.
The brief bit afterwards, with Subaru and Emilia presents another major plot point, as keeping her alive is the entire reason he has the ability to rewind time. Which we get when she suddenly vanishes, and another Subaru walks up, letting the first know he’s got this. The first disappears, and the second takes over.
That’s pretty much the entire plot of the show, right there. Protect Emilia or die trying, then rewind and try again. Which is why we see a ton of Subaru’s walking around Emilia.
The last half is my favorite part, though.
Subaru, running towards himself, is a nifty metaphor for him learning just what he really is capable of. Finding the main cast of women instead reflects how he learns just who he really is because of them, which is a totally fair thing to say. Subaru really does learn just who he is, and what he can do, because of the women in his life after he arrives in this new world.
Then, that shadowy hand, the jealous witch, the most evil creature the world has ever known, Satella, dragging him back through the entire OP, to die in the reverse of the opening. Yeah. That’s just fucking cool, man. That’s who brought him here, who gave him the ability to rewind time, and who wants Emilia protected no matter what.
Everything you need to know going into this show is right there in the OP, and it’s a damn fine piece of work, taking all the plot elements and tying them together into a video worth watching just for it’s own epic coolness. Doesn’t hurt that the song, “Redo” by Konomi Suzuki, is epic as fuck.
If you haven’t seen Re:Zero, I highly recommend it, though really, this OP should be enough to sell it.