My favorite OPs (and EDs) – Tales of the Abyss OP1

I’ve been thinking about doing a post about my favorite 5 or so OPs and EDs, but then I thought, why limit it to 5? It changes as new shows come out, and as I check out older shows I’ve missed out on. So I figured I’d just make it an ongoing series.

Anime OPs and EDs are pretty unique. No one anticipates checking out the latest opening of the new season of 24. The same thought and effort just doesn’t go into picking songs on “regular” TV, that they do for anime.

I think OPs should have one goal: Basically, set the mood. If it’s an action show, it should pump you up. If it’s a psychological thriller, it should get you thinking. If it’s a comedy, it should pick you up and put you in the mood to laugh and have fun.

I don’t really know what EDs are supposed to do. Ideally, it should get you thinking or reflecting on the awesome episode you just watched (Gundam 00’s second ED, and Haruhi’s ED come to mind), or maybe cause you to forget that you just watched a crappy episode. But it seems like too many shows end with a slow song, playing over an uninteresting static or barely animated montage of images. It’s like they realize it’s their one shot at fitting in as many Ken Burns effects as possible. I don’t know, maybe it’s supposed to put you to sleep. Clearly, if you’re a musician, you want that opening slot.

So the songs I end up picking are by no means a be-all, end-all list of what’s good. It’s just a subjective review of what I like, based on my pretty general criteria above. So onwards we commence.

I love the Tales of the Abyss OP. It’s a song called Karma by Bump of Chicken (odd name, but whatever). There’s an instrumental version that’s played in the OP in the game, but it’s the lyrics and vocals that give it an extra bit of shine.

It helps that Karma is really a great song, but I like how they kick it off with the opening camera pan over Luke and Baticul, and the way they introduce the images of Asch and Luke, then show the rest of the heroes kicking ass. To digress for a second, I assume Baticul was based off of Minas Tirith, which may have been the coolest looking city ever. Then you get a little montage of scenes from the upcoming episode, before going to the bridge, which is my favorite part of the song. I think the lyrics, sound and the visuals just match up perfectly. I always get chills when the song eases out as Luke walks out into Tear’s garden and then goes back into overdrive, dropping us into the inevitable battle between Luke and Asch. The ending where they’re sort of just cycling through the bad guys loses its punch a little, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the whole. It’s animated well, it pumps you up, and gives you some hints of what’s to come.

If I were to grade it, I’d give it 4.5 stars out of 5.