Hello and welcome to the Battle of the Ops, where I take two anime openings and pit them against each other in the most objective way I can think of. Two openings from the same show, or from different shows that I consider similar, will be pitted against each other in 11 rounds. Each of these rounds judges the opening on different criteria. Only one can be the winner.
Today, in the first corner we have the op to one of the most popular reverse harems of all time Ouran High School Host Club, written and performed by Chieko Ochi, from the anime that got me into anime, Sakura Kiss!
In the other corner is the op to another reverse harem Kami gami No Asobi , this one based off a visual novel/otome game of the same name, written for and performed by the voice actors themselves, we have Til The End!
Two Openings! One winner! Who will be victorious? There is only one way to find out. Lets Battle!
The first Five Rounds will judge the ops based off of their images
Round One: Color and lighting
Sakura Kiss presents us with a simple color pallet that seems to consist of three main colors in total; pink, blue and yellow. Looking carefully the judge notes that when pink is more prominent that blue is present and vice versa and yellow seems to be scattered about in various locations. Whether one considers it pleasant to the eye or a bit too much one has to admit that it is consistent.
It looks like Til the End doesn’t have any creative regard towards its colors or lighting consistency. The time of day and the colors present in shots seems to be entirely sporadic. There is one thing of note that has been pointed out. If one watches the shots that contain sky one might at first believe the colors to be inconsistent, but an upward pan near the beginning shows that this is indeed the same sky, changing in color depending on its orientation to the horizon and this is being looked at favorably.
The winner is Sakura Kiss, I’m afraid the shot of the sky wasn’t enough to compete.
Round Two: Narrative
Upon first glance Sakura Kiss seems to be completely devoid of narrative, but the Judge has encouraged the viewers to take another look. It seems the way the main character, Haruhi, is interacting with the rest of the cast shows how their relationship changes throughout the series, beginning with aloofness and annoyance to acceptance with a sigh to outright embracing their zaniness. It’s in the eye of the beholder, is it enough?
Til The End is now presenting us with a similar progression of ideas, our main character shown literally entangled. A group of ordinary boys in various locations, the twist being these boys aren’t ordinary as is seen in the next moment when their god like forms are revealed, but they are then shown to be ordinary again. While it seems Til The End isn’t going to convey why we are then shown that the boys are all focused on our main female character. It’s a progression of ideas regarding the shows plot if not so much a narrative.
The winner is Til The End for being initially clearer on its progression of thought, rather then just appearing completely sporadic upon initial viewing.
Round Three: Character Establishment
Sakura Kiss seems to be going for character establishment based on character relationships. Shown initially in order of what could be taken as being the most important first and then being shown together in various groups, conveying which individuals have a closer relationship, such as the twins or Mori and Hunny. One could also devise how each of the boys regards Haruhi near the end of the op from their actions, such as Mori’s head rub.
Til The End is also going at an angle that is establishing the character various relationships, and it’s establishing their godlike status, but not only that it’s going so far as to show hobby preferences and weaknesses. It conveys Tsukito’s preference for learning, Balder’s love of nature and later his clumsiness, Takeru’s is shown with a Katana and Hades’ with a telescope. (This series apologizes for any confusion regarding character’s that are unfamiliar to the reader)
The winner is Til The End, for showing us a bit more about the characters then just establishing relationships
Round Four: Tone
Sakura Kiss goes for Flowers and bright colors, characters sliding around smiling with their actions and the op’s quick shift from one thought to another all of which convey a high energy. It’s entire presentation shouts funny and happy and romantic, all of which are present within the series itself.
Kamigami no asobi presents us with an op that is much more sobering by comparison, with what appears to be more sullen characters and a less happy location. It shows hints of romance mixed with angst all pointing towards a somewhat more devious anime. There are of course happy moments too, with characters getting along and enjoying themselves
The winner is Til The End for showing a more diverse set of tones as opposed to just one. Sakura Kiss should have added a moment of depth.
Round Five: Shot Transitions
Sakura Kiss shows us some incredibly quick and smooth transitions, never slowing down for an instant. It’s main strength seems to be in it’s smooth illusions of camera movement, panning in and out or over. Disolving to a new image is often covered by a flower or is done only partially, keeping a framing device to ground the change.
Til The End’s strength is in keeping similar types of images near each other, but these images are often much too similar and make no dynamic change. The most common transition is the basic cut. There is of course one clear moment that is worthy of note. Going from Yui laying in her bed to having all the god’s starring at a singular location, undoubtedly the individual in the previous shot.
The winner is Sakura Kiss, for its overall more creative and beautiful choice of transitions.
The next three rounds will judge the op based off of the song choice
Round six: song tone
Sakura kiss’s upbeat song conveys the same happiness and energy as its images’, capturing pretty much exactly the same tone and thoughts. There is no real change of tone within the song, unless one wishes to call the bridge slightly more thoughtful sounding.
Til The End’s song also seems to have a sobering tone by comparison, but it also has a high energy. The happiness here sounds more half hearted then what is conveyed in the images and seems to be capturing more of a single tone.
The winner is, Sakura Kiss for being a little more clear in its tone overall.
Round Seven: Lyrics
Sakura Kiss going full throttle on the romance here, it’s lyrics singing about a boy falling in love with a beautiful maiden. While these lyrics might fit a more typical romance, it doesn’t seem like it will work as well with the zaniness of this reverse harem.
Til The End has the uniqueness of being sung by the male characters themselves, specific lyrics being sung by each one. These lyrics have been carefully examined and it is determined that they are singing about love and revealing feelings. Once it is brought into consideration that these are gods that have withdrawn from the love of humans and they must again open up to human kind, one could wonder if them singing about love and pain is because these god’s need to be loved and worshipped to mean anything. One way or another, they will exist until the end, loved or not.
The winner is Til The End, for being more subtle in its lyrics about love, so it could be applied in a more fitting manner.
Round Eight: Matching the animation
Sakura Kiss’s similar unchanging tone in both animation and music match up practically perfectly together. Individual moments of movement and transitions matching up with syllables or drum beats. The short moment of possible thoughtfulness, mentioned earlier, in the music even matches up with the moments when blue is the prominent background color.
Til The End matches up fairly well the music and the animation, nothing particularly seems to stand out as being in contrast, but nothing is particular stunning either. It’s a nice match up, but not spectacular.
The winner is Sakura Kiss for being spectacular in comparison.
The next three rounds are measured via personal bias
For these rounds I’ll stop talking like a announcer and level with you all, since these ones are based off my completely biased opinion. I had to address it somewhere, even if it is more prevalent above then I wish it to be.
Round Nine: Stuck in my head
Sakura Kiss’s high energy and upbeat song is the type of song I inadvertently start humming in the car, without my conscious knowledge. I’ve had people at work ask me what I am humming, only for me to realize it is this song.
Til The End might seem catchy, but I honestly have a hard time recalling it unless I have recently listened to it, which I find to be unfortunate, since I can’t start humming it out of the blue. There is something about it that makes it easy to forget.
The winner is Sakura Kiss for being so catchy and because Til The End winds up being forgettable for some reason.
Round Ten: My eyes are glued to the screen
With all of Sakura’s Kisses high energy and creative movements, I have a hard time not watching the op in fear that I’ll miss something I haven’t seen before. Of course, after having dissected it, I don’t think I’ll worry so much.
Til The End is pretty bland in my opinion. I know what all the characters look like and seeing them doing normal tasks or just showing themselves off isn’t very entertaining to me. Though it is hard not to enjoy their looks.
The winner is Sakura Kiss, for its creativeness keeps me entertained.
Round Eleven: I like it the song better
Sakura Kiss is a great song and a great opening, but it’s not my favorite type of song in the whole world and I’ve never really looked up anything else by the artist.
I love the sound of Til The End. My ears melts when I hear all the voices singing and I really enjoy the style of music, even if I have a hard time remembering it well enough to hum it. My greatest sadness is that there is only one more song by these seiyuu, the shows ending theme.
The Winner is Til The End, for making my ears melt.
Sakura Kiss: Six Rounds
Til The End: Five Rounds
The winner of the battle is… Sakura Kiss!
Feel free to tell my if I totally goofed in my verdict and that I’m a complete fool for claiming Sakura Kiss as the winner, or tell me this was pretty good judging! Whatever you have to say feel free to put it in the comments below, no matter what it is. A little friendly debate is awesome and I’m open to suggestion. (Though don’t expect my style of judging to change any time soon, I have these prescheduled.)
Until Next Time, Always make your heart rainbow!