Read or Die: OP

By Shamus
on May 18, 2006
Filed under:
Anime

I really disliked Read or Die, although I seem to be in the minority on this one. This is a popular series. One thing I will say about it though: The opening credits are outstanding.

The music is great. It captures the best of the Bond-movie vibe, and it really gets the show rolling. Najica Blitz Tactics tried the same thing, but the music wasn’t nearly as good. The ROD music is heavy on the bass guitar and strings, and goes easy on the horns. Najica goes for broke with the horns and the result is a bit grating.

The technical aspects of the art are impressive. In one shot, we see the city reflected on the side of a building. If you look closely at the the screencaps you can see that the windows are not perfectly coplanar, meaning they reflect at ever-so-slightly different angles. This looks impressive enough as a still picture, but the camera is moving in this shot and the results are wonderful. I imagine this is hard to pull off. In another shot, they do the classic “time lapse” view of a city intersection, where the cars rush past in a blur as the daytime shadows slide over the buildings. We see this all the time in live-action movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done with animation.

The art style is great as well. The characters are like the classic Bond / Avengers protagonists of old: Reserved. Cool. Stylish. It’s light on the action shots (although there are a few) and mostly focuses on showing them standing around in dramatic poses. It works. The first time I saw them, I was looking forward to meeting the characters and seeing them in action.

Finally, the big eye catcher in the opening is the naked girl with the writing all over her. This is unrelated to anything we see in the series. She doesn’t even seem to be any of the main characters. She’s just there for the same reason James Bond movies have all the curvy silhouettes in the titles: They are there because the animators know who their audience is. (It also makes it seem like the show is going to be very racy, but it isn’t. In terms of fan service, the show is very mild.)

Sadly, this OP shatters my long-held belief that any series with a good OP will in turn be good. There are plenty of shows with terrible OP’s that are good anyway, but this is the first show where I loved the intro and hated everything after it. This is the ultimate counter-example to the theory: It’s one of my favorite openings and one of my least favorite shows.

Steven left a comment here about ROD the TV series, saying:

[…] the OP promises much that the series doesn’t deliver. (In fact, it shows a lot of action scenes which look like they’re probably from the series, but don’t turn out to be.)

This opening for the OVA has the same effect. It makes the show look and feel cooler than it really is. Very few of the images in my montage here are part of the series itself. The OP feels like it belongs to another, cooler show from which this one was derived. I think it oversells what it has, and might have been one of the reasons the show annoyed me so much. I kept expecting the show to live up to the excitement and intrigue promised in the opening, and it never came.

By contrast, the closing credits are quite boring. White text. Black background. Forgettable music. It’s just as well. They would have to come up with something pretty impressive to keep up with the opening credits.

For those who haven’t seen it, you can watch the Read or Die intro here.

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3Three comments. 33% of them are the most recent.

From the Archives:

  1. R.O.D. The TV’s OP is outrageous, with great music and fantastic visuals. If I’d seen the series that the OP promised me, I’d have been wildly enthusiastic about the series.

    Problem was, the only episode that lived up to the OP was the first one. It was all downhill from there.

  2. Don liked the OVA, which just goes to show you that tastes vary.

  3. jdhays says:

    I believe the “naked girl with writing on her skin” is from a type of advert that get passed out in the street, for soap houses and such.

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