In the U.S., the art of the opening credits has largely vanished, lots of shows hardly have a title card these days because they’d rather use that minute or two of introduction to play more commercials. However, that hasn’t always been the case, there are some great openings to older TV shows and it’s not just the U.S., in Japan, there are anime series that have some amazing opening credits, especially in the giant robot genre. I thought I’d present some of my personal favorites from the 80s.
Dancougar (1986) Second Opening:
It was hard to decide between the first opening and the second, both are excellent but I have to give a little edge to the second. The series is about four warriors who pilot the combining robot Dancougar and fight against the evil Muge Zorbados space empire.
in 2087, Earth is at war against the Giganos Empire, a breakaway lunar and space-based federation which aims to destroy everyone on Earth. When the Earth Alliance manages to steal three Metal Armors, which they plan to reverse engineer and use against their enemies, they are accidentally linked to three teenage boys who happen into the war zone and they are now drafted to protect the Earth and fight to win it’s freedom.
Gold Lightan (1981):
I had to do this because the concept behind Gold Lightan is so ridiculous. It’s got lighters that transform into giant robots. Yes, you heard me right. It’s the tale of a young boy named Hiro who finds a golden lighter that turns out to be a giant robot who has sworn to fight against the evil attacks of King Ibalda. Along with his other robot friends, they battled to save the Earth, with the help of Hiro and his “Bratty Rangers”.
In the Pentagona System, a young man by the name of Daba Myroad leads a rebellion against Pentagona’s leader, Oldna Poseidal. Daba’s not alone however, meeting a large number of allies along his journey and having in his possession the powerful L-Gaim, a white Heavy Metal left to him by his father.
This is my second favorite mecha anime series of all time. In 2065, the world is at war over the Space Elevator, a structure that allows people to travel into space quickly and easily. Kei Katsuragi and Olson Verne set a Space/Time Bomb to destroy the Space Elevator, but when it goes off, it blasts reality into multiple different overlapping dimensions, each with their own specific natural laws and peoples. Kei and Olson have to repair the damage they caused before the remnants of that explosion tear reality apart altogether. A truly great, if extremely confusing series. Highly recommended.
SPT Layzner (1985):
This is my favorite mecha series ever, bar none. In 1996, humanity has a base on the moon and has limited space travel. When a group of teenagers are visiting the Mars base, things are still tense between the United States and Russia, who are still fighting the Cold War. Suddenly, mysterious mecha appear and open fire on the base, it’s the Grados Empire, who has come to Earth to conquer it, seeing an easy victory since both the United States and Russia are tired from the long fighting, but there’s an ally, Eiji, who has broken away from the Grados and using his Super Powered Trancer, Layzner, he fights to protect the Earth.
Several hundred years in the future, Mars has become a penal colony, where criminals from Earth have been sent to serve their time. Joe Maya and his friends Mike Coil and Renny Ai dream of returning to Earth. One day, they come across a crashed spaceship which was running from the Zabo army and when they are attacked by ninja-themed giant robots, Joe and Mike find themselves pressed into service as they can mysteriously operate the robot lions in the hold of the ship. When another robot appears, it combines with Joe’s lion to form Beast Demon Kurojishi. They agree to protect Princess Romina as long as they get help reaching Earth.
Z Gundam (1985):
This is a great opening theme, the title is “Anime Ja Nai”, which translates to “This Isn’t Animation”. The chorus essentially says “This isn’t animation, this is reality.” True story here, after my anime club abandoned the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization back in the late 80s, we renamed ourselves “Anime Ja Nai” after this song. Nearly 10 years after Mobile Suit Gundam, AEUG (Anti-Earth Union Group) wages war against the Titans, the group given power by Earth to hunt down the last of the Zeon Empire following the original series. With a new war all but inevitable, a small group of rebels arrive at Side 7 to check out the Gundam Mk. II…
All of them!
This is where you decide if you’re crazy or not, this is all of the openings from all of the 80s mecha shows. Some are great, some of them aren’t, but I think most of them are enjoyable. If you watch this, what were your favorites? I know that it’s hard to know what they’re called, as they’re all in Japanese with no subtitles, but if you can describe it, I can probably put a name to it.