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Action-Hogging Opening
A dynamic image... that never shows up in the actual show.

When the opening to an animated action show has more action than at least an entire episode. You see loads of dynamic scenes all crammed into that minute or so. The show itself has some action, but due to Limited Animation, there is no way it looks as cool as the opening.

There are a few ways to tell if it's not this trope:
  1. It has to be an action show, so even if a show has a dynamic opening, like Alvin and the Chipmunks, it doesn't count.
  2. It has to show loads of action. The opening of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) shows Prince Adam talking, the Transformation Sequence, and a few rapid shots of characters, so it doesn't count either.
  3. As a corollary to the second rule, dynamic but artistic openings aren't action, so the opening of Neon Genesis Evangelion doesn't count.

Note this is the Title Sequence, not the first act.

Compare Bait-and-Switch Credits, Fake-Out Opening, Detail-Hogging Cover, Animation Bump. Merchandise-Driven works will often make this a Product Promotion Parade, Action Prologue.

Examples

Anime
  • Akuma-kun had an absolutely kickass opening sequence featuring all the monsters our hero can summon displaying their powers or schticks, bad guy monsters attacking, the city going dark, and a blood-pumping musical theme by the Koorogi '73—and then the show itself was creakily slow, with just a little bit of action at the end of episodes in most cases.
  • Bakuretsu Tenshi.
  • Not only do several of the openings to Bleach show more action than the episodes within them, they tend to show fights that never happen or have no reason to happen (Byakuya against Renji past the Soul Society arc? What?).
  • D.N.Angel has an epic opening sequence drawn mostly from scenes from the final two episodes of the series, with some images from other parts of the series, and yet since the series is more of a ROMANCE COMEDY than an action-packed battle between two angels… most of the series is a lot less low key. There are episodes with that level of action, and other episodes devoted solely to romance or developing the characters, and thus falling far behind the opening in the action department.
  • The English dub of Dragon Ball Z has a pretty exciting opening, but most of the episodes that have fights seem to show them as the same four frames looping for a couple of minutes, or a Beam-O-War and obscuring dust clouds It should be noted that a fair amount of said opening was taken from the movies.
    • But that's nothing compared to the later remake, Dragon Ball Kai. Its opening is made in a streamlined, all-new style. Its footage is cleaned up versions of the same low budget beam-o-wars from the previous example.
  • The OVA opening for Fairy Tail shows a number of battle clips, but no OVA has had much fighting it. Even the one that did took place in a world without magic, and most of the fights were purely comical.
  • The fourth opening to the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist has a massive battle between the Elric brothers and Lust and Gluttony, taking place in the waterfall area leading to the underground city below Central. Yet Ed doesn't even go there until his brother is captured and one of the homunculi they're fighting in the opening is dead.
    • Oddly enough, this fight happens (although inconclusively) in the OVA short before leading to every state alchemist versus every homunculus.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex especially the second season. The openings mostly focus on Kusanagi and the Tachikomas going into heated battle, while the show itself is much more cerebral and talky, and action sequences tend to be quick and decisive. A couple of episodes have no action sequences at all.
  • Gintama is particular guilty with this, since all the openings depict a bloody battlefield in some manner or another, with Gintoki fighting against wave after wave of aliens. The actual show? Gintoki and Sorachi telling jokes and trolling the audience.
    • Though subverted once a while during serious arcs, typically involving Gintoki giving smackdowns to loads and loads of mooks.
  • Gundam:
    • G Gundam has a first-season intro which shows a chaotic battle royale involving at least a half-dozen Gundams fighting it out in outer space. Except that no one goes to outer space until the end of season two, and nearly every fight in the first season is one-on-one. Season two's opening, oddly enough, has barely any fighting at all, despite coming right at the point where the show's action kicks into high gear.
    • Gundam 00 is full of this due to the prevalent nature of the completely original footage of the Gundams. This sets it apart from its predecessor Gundam SEED which is made entirely in stock footage.
  • Several openings from Inuyasha.
  • The English dub of Kirby of the Stars does this probably due to American Kirby Is Hardcore. Most of the opening consist of scenes with Kirby battling the Monsters of the Week. These scenes usually occur around the last few minutes of the show.
  • The opening(s) to Lime-iro Senkitan/Lime-iro Ryukitan X promise one-tenth harem anime and nine-tenths Digimon-style action. It was exactly the other way around.
  • The opening sequences for the Lupin III television series tend to have Lupin and friends being chased all over the world by Zenigata. This chase sequence serves as a visual and action-packed shorthand for the character's roles. In the actual show, the crew's conflicts with Zenigata tend to feature fewer chase sequences and more clever trickery and disguises.
  • Mazinger saga: The openings of the trilogy -Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer- feature more action -featuring the titular HumongousMechas tearing their way through an army of enemies-, and a better animation than an average episode of their series -especially of Grendizer-.
  • The fourth Japanese Monster Rancher intro was much more action packed then the actual anime, and had much better animation.
  • The Naruto opening Haruka Kanata features a fictional strategic fight in the Chuunin exam Arc where everyone from Team 7 works together. Shown during an Arc where every fight is one on one and has farts as an high point.
  • Ninin Ga Shinobuden has among other things in the intro a fight against a dark Shinobu (which never actually happens), and that alone contains more action than just about any actual episode.
  • The opening of Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight features absolutely gorgeous animation and an award-worthy song. The show itself features far sparser action sequences, more still frames, and far more talking.
  • Red Photon Zillion: The opening featured gorgeous animation and fighting sequences at the tune of an epic Earworm
  • Saiyuki
  • Shangri-La. Let the rocking theme play. Let the dramatic and action-packed character shots roll. Let the acrobatic, Magic Skirt-wearing pink-haired legal loli Kuniko Hojo kick ass and cut tank cannons with a boomerang, making them explode. Then let the facepalms and tears flow when you find out the OP is actually better than the anime itself.
  • Tenkuu Senki Shurato: The opening was packed with action, and featured an absolutely gorgeous, detailed and fluid animation, considerably better than that one used in the series.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!'s second opening featured an adrenaline-inducing theme song set to Yugi and his friends gearing up for battle, and unleashing their monsters to fight the bad guys in the streets of a darkened city. While there is fighting due to it being a tournament arc, it's not the free-for-all the credits portray it as, and the fact that the monsters are holograms ensures that it won't be as dramatic as it seems.

Western Animation
  • Bionic Six is pictured above, and the intro is a beautiful hook with damn catchy music. The animation in the show proper, however, is not quite as stellar.
  • ThunderCats. Averted in Continuity Reboot ThunderCats (2011), where it forgoes the intro altogether in favor of a Title-Only Opening.
  • SilverHawks
  • The Transformers
    • Transformers Animated's English opening is not particularly action-packed, but when the show was dubbed in Japan, it received a new one that featured extremely fluid animation and plenty of fight scenes (Many of which did not occur in the show itself) . Indeed, the longer opening meant that the actual show had to have material edited out.
    • "The Rebirth" (aka the three-part "season four"), in which nearly the entire credits are made from commercial animation.
    • Season two of G1 crams in several, well-animated (and almost continuous) set pieces within the span of 30 seconds.
  • G.I. Joe might be another gray area.
    • G.I. Joe: The Movie has a theme song opening sequence that includes more actual frames of animation than an entire weekly TV episode. It is completely awesome, but must have taken up a disproportionately huge chunk of the budget. note 
      • Originally, that was going to be the climactic battle sequence of the entire film. Then the plot went in a completely different direction.
      • When Hasbro put out a "Best of G.I. Joe" DVD as part of a toy box set, the opening to the movie was included. Not the movie itself—just the opening.
  • The opening to the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon made it seemed accurate to the actual games, yet the actual episodes were nothing but standard Saturday morning fare.
  • X-Men, apart from its iconic Western opening, was given a new opening when it was shipped off to Japan. Suffice it to say, things were interpreted rather differently there.
  • Parodied in Aqua Teen Hunger Force: the opening (and end credits) feature a montage of the main characters fighting various enemies, none of whom actually appear in the show.
    • The following seasons received new action-packed intros that depict various genre settings (cop dramas, a heist, etc.) that do not have anything to do with the show.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series had a moderate amount of action, typically there was at least one sequence per episode, but if the opening credits were to be believed it would have been nothing but 30 minutes of pure ass kicking.
  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with Shredder appearing through a dimensional portal accompanied by vast armies of Foot Soldiers behind him. While it was an action show, there were a lot of episodes that didn't have very much fighting, and any time the Foot appeared it was usually in small groups, instead of being a vast horde.
  • Mighty Orbots
  • M.A.S.K.
  • The opening to the Super Mario World cartoon has dinosaurs crushing cities, Mario saving the Princess from Bowser, and Yoshi eating a fireball. The character designs are even a bit more game-accurate than in the actual episodes.
  • The openings of Inspector Gadget and Gadget Boy & Heather both show the titular characters being much more competent than they are on their respective shows. Gadget even comes close to catching Dr. Claw in his opening, which never happened on the show.
  • Dangermouse: DM dodges a bomb, avoids a heavily armed spider, rescues Penfold from being suspended over an alligator pit, dodges another bomb, then they leap into the Flying Car and drive off.
  • The educational program Dragons, Wagons and Wax had an exciting, action-packed animated opening featuring a dragon who gets stuck on a runaway cart! The actual show was live-action, intellectual and slow-paced.

Acme ProductsAnimation TropesAgony of the Feet
    Title SequenceAnd Starring
    Credits TropesAnd Starring
Action DadAction Adventure TropesAction Insurance Gag
    Saturday Morning CartoonAnd Knowing Is Half the Battle
Bionic SixImageSource/Western AnimationBlue's Clues

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