If you were brave and decided to ignore all the warnings about Tik Tok by sending your information to China and you are also a fan of anime, surely you have come across the AniTok community, the space in the app dedicated to Japanese geek culture.
It is here that in recent months there has been a trend to join pop songs to the opening sequences of the series, obtaining results like the one we saw with ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ by All Time Low and ‘Boku no Hero Academia ‘.
This event has been repeated again with ‘Montero’de Lil Nas X y el primer opening de’Shingeki no Kyojin’, which made us wonder why these songs fit like a glove.
For this we will have a whole journey in which we will discuss origins, music influences, an opening structure and the past of what we see today as one of the most prolific trends.
Origins of the main themes
To understand this phenomenon we need to go back in time, specifically 50 years in the past, and although it seems like a lot to treat a simple case of virality, it is necessary to attack all points.
The 70s are the main source of what we know as incredible anime openings today, with main themes that have remained for the history of series such as ‘Lupine The Third’ and ‘Ashita no Joe’.
Both pieces coincide with the heyday of jazz and blues in the United States and its composers, strongly influenced by American culture, who injected the rhythm, inflections and instruments that dominate the genre.
Of course, no opening is faithful to the letter to these genres, even the popular ending of ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’, which is a version of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ by Frank Sinatra, does not meet all the criteria, but the influence is evident.
That which separates them
Saxophonist and anime fan Patrick Bartley exposes that what separates J-pop and anime music is the mixture of the optimistic rhythm of jazz with the melancholic melody of Blues, creating a song that easily reaches young people.
This combination speaks to us of facing problems, of being at our lowest point, but always with the assurance that the future will be bright, something that defines the average shonen protagonist very well.
Of course, nowadays the use of these genres is no longer so evident and that is because animes have mutated to fresher ramifications of jazz and blues, such as funk, R&B, rock and punk.
With this in mind, we can see why the songs of certain groups or singers can be more relevant with an opening, depending on a genre that shows similar inflections.
The tempo that defines everything
Of course, genre is not everything to fit in, especially when we want to see that shocking effect where the song changes just when the animation shows a great moment.
This is where the tempo of the musical piece comes into play, that is, the speed of the underlying rhythm in the song that is usually set by the drums and that varies, not only by its genre, but also by the song.
Currently the best way to measure it is by BPM or Beats per minute, which means that a tempo of 60 BPM sounds exactly once per second, while a tempo of 120 BPM would be twice as fast, with two beats per second. .
Each genre has a BPM scale that characterizes it and each song by itself has a personal BPM that in openings usually oscillates between 90 and 180 beats per minute.
How do you create an opening?
When creating an opening and if the studio is affiliated with a label, the team chooses from a library of samples that has an initial melody and the vocalization of the song.
With this sample, the team begins to work on the sequence, taking into account the amount of BPM to accommodate the transitions, while the rest of the composition is worked by the artists.
A good example is the creator of the lyrics of the Evangelion opening, ‘A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’, which after seeing in the study what the series was about, listening to the music and the vocalization, created the lyrics in 5 minutes, for more later be left in the hands of Yoko Takahashi in his interpretation.
Of course there are bands that work more closely with the production, such as Man on a Mission, who performed the main songs of the first season of ‘Log Horizon’ and ‘Vinland Saga’, but the procedure is very similar for the creation of the kinematics.
Let’s uncover the magic behind perfect timing
Now that we have all the bases we can finally talk about how different songs combine with the openings and it is all thanks to the genre of the song and the coincidence between the beats per minute.
In the case of ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’, it replaces the opening ‘Day’ with a video created based on 180BPM, if we add to that a compatible genre and luckily, the lyrics combine very well, we have this result.
The same song works with openings that have the same tempo, like the opening of ‘Highschool Of The Dead’ and the same happens even with cases like the opening of ‘Tokyo Revengers’ and ‘Faith’ by George Michael.
Of course, this is not an infallible method, for something it is a viral moment, it is as if all the pieces of a puzzle fit into another miracle game, so surely there is still much more to explore in this field.
What’s your favorite mix of pop song and anime opening song? Tell us in the comments.