The program's opening credits promise wondrous things — its images of stupendous beauty, righteous butt-kicking, and noble heroes make it clear what's to come in the story. Except, once you get into the program, you never see those things again — and sometimes, you see the exact opposite.
A way of countering the Spoiler Opening trope. Sometimes a show will mix the two just to confuse the viewer horribly, or to create a dramatic or ironic contrast (a subtrope of Soundtrack Dissonance). Or sometimes they just want to create something really cool that will draw a lot of viewers, Canon be damned.
Note that extremely heavy symbolic content may sometimes resemble Bait and Switch, but only if the audience is too dense — or the creator too clever — for them to figure it out.
Compare Fake Out Opening and Action-Hogging Opening. For when a character prominently featured in the credits of an early episode suffers a shockingly rapid demise, see Dead Star Walking.
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In Soul Eater, the second opening, Paper Moon, starts out pretty basic... with just a bunch of pictures of the characters flashing across the screen in rapid succession. Until the very last shot, when we see Soul crying in anguish, holding a dead, bloody Maka in his arms. This never happens. If anything, it's Soul's near-death in the final episode that fuels Maka's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The one that reveals that she is a weapon.
The opening sequence of Neon Genesis Evangelion is fairly standard for a Humongous Mecha series — the smiles on characters' faces, the panoramic views, the heroic and determined figure of Shinji Ikari standing tall with the wind of a thousand cliches blowing through his hair. It also completely belies the nature of the actual series. You, however, will catch glimpses of the mopey female trio along with People Jars.
Another way to read the opening is it reinforcing the fact that Shinji is an angry passive-aggressive kid who will have to face the (end of the) world, like it or not. This interpretation is more common nowadays since fans look for signals towards a Gainax Ending (though it's debatable how much of said ending was intended from the start).
It's also interesting that the "wings" of Unit 1 in the intro appear nowhere in the series — but make a prominent appearance in The End of Evangelion.
You do catch a brief glimpse of a creature with similarly-shaped wings at the beginning of the series. It's arguably foreshadowing that the Evangelions have more to do with the Angels than we are led to believe.
There's a monstrous multi-winged creature at the beginning of the opening that looks like an Angel and is covered in all sorts of weird letters. You can spot it right behind the "Gainax" title. Nothing like it ever shows up in the series, whatever it is.
Apparently, the thing is a representation of Samael, or a Qabbalistic depiction of a seraph of some sort. So, toss that one in the same heap along with the sephira on Gendou's floor, etc.
It's worth noting that if one freeze-frames a lot in the last bit of the intro, there are all sorts of hints about much later events in the show. An OCD person who wanted to take the OP apart frame-by-frame could probably guess a lot about the series even before watching it. Like the fact that AT Field means "Absolute Terror Field", for an example.
The credits of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World show a number of things that never come to pass, most notably Makoto flying over the lands of El-Hazard (when flight is not the power he gains from the transit between worlds), and giggly pacifist nymphomaniac Allielle wielding a nasty-looking sickle as a weapon.
Baccano looks like a funny, lighthearted (albeit chaotic) romp about 1930's America; complete with a lovable, happy-go-lucky cast and a series name that means "big ruckus". Hell, theme-song'scatchy enough to get anyone revved up to laugh at some silly, old-timey antics and kick back with a show that's fun for the whole fami—SOMUCHBLOOD.
Also, despite being a main character, Claire goes unnamed in the intro to avoid spoiling the surprise — though he's there for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment.
The Mai-HiME opening presents the show as a light-hearted school drama with three Magical Girls thrown into the equation, as well as presenting Mai, Natsuki and Mikoto as a strong-willed, determined team (which is, of course, not at all as it seems). As the series gets darker, both the optimistic opening and the upbeat "Shining Days" theme song become progressively ironic, causing Soundtrack Dissonance.
Weirdly, the more sad sounding outro music is changed halfway through the season, just as things get dark, for another song, but they didn't swap the opening, making it seem deliberate.
Similarly, Mai-Otome, despite already foreshadowing the darker themes in the first opening, carefully tries to avoid any implication of conflict between Arika, Nina and Mashiro — instead, they are shown as happy with each other and enjoying their time together. Which is, of course, the exact opposite of their actual relationships.
Aversion: Mai-Otome's second set of credits show Mai turning into a comet of flame and destroying literally hundreds of Slaves in one zooming pass. While it has the look of precisely the kind of over-the-top "see how impressive this character is" footage that typifies this trope, not only does she actually do exactly this in one of the final episodes, the production team in fact animated it a second time rather than reuse the credits footage. (Although in the actual scene, Mai fights with Mikoto on her back, not alone as shown in the credits.)
Macross Frontier is an example of this. Nobody saw it coming, Grace being the big bad, given how the OP and first few episodes played her straight like a side character .
Then subverted later on, when the last episode use scenes directly lifted from both OPs during the climactic fight.
The opening sequence for Revolutionary Girl Utena shows Utena and Anthy in dark blue and red plate armor, respectively, riding flying horses in an implied battle against an unseen enemy. Needless to say, we never see anything like this in the series.
This was a result of changes to the author's original storyline rather than deliberate deception, not that someone watching the finished product has any way to tell the difference. Director Ikuhara later joked it was a scene he had thought up during his work on Sailor Moon and that it wouldn't make any sense there either.
Muteki Kanban Musume (Ramen Fighter Mikiin the English release) has exactly this kind of opening, making one think the series is a serious fighting or drama type of series, when it's actually an incredibly over-the-top physical comedy show.
Bleach is rife with these, showing characters in different costumes and situations than you would ever expect. The worst offender was the second opening, which promised many really cool battles in the Soul Society arc that never happened.
The eighth opening shows filler captain Amagai fighting his third seat, Kifune after the latter's Face Heel Turn. It's misleading because Izuru ends up fighting Kifune and also because Amagai is the real villain and was manipulating Kifune.
The 10th opening is similar, as it's essentially just a music video featuring Rukia, Orihime, and Rangiku dancing, with a few shots of the Shinigami and Ichigo just to remind us that we're watching the right show.
The last opening shows Ichigo fighting Tsukishima and Shishigawara alongside Ginjou. While it seems to be true considering how Ginjou subjected Ichigo to a Training from Hell to fight Tsuki, we later find otu that Ginjou was actually in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Tsukishima.
School Days has a very heavy one. It's light-hearted which matches with the mood the show starts with but slowly it starts to feel really out of place to hear this when most of the characters are having mental breakdowns. In the final episode things had gotten so dark that instead of showing the cheery opening the title came on with a slow piano piece and then the title screen shatters like glass so the makers could avoid a jarring Mood Whiplash.
Magical Pokaan's haunting OP implies something of gothloli drama/horror, despite it being a Gag Series. According to interviews, this was actually a mistake — the songwriters were given a theme of soul-searching creatures of the night, but weren't told it was a comedy — but they just went with it and created matching footage.
The first opening to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood gives a rather prominent role to Hohenheim, showing him as a teenager as well as providing two extended shots of his present-day self. Despite this, Hohenheim gets less than ten seconds of screen time until after the opening switches.
The second Brotherhood opening shows King Bradley fighting in a heated battle against Ling, Lan Fan, and Fu. However, not only is it a Curbstomp Battle in the episodes that feature this fight, Lan Fan is unconscious from the word go and Fu doesn't even show up due to helping Maria Ross in Xing!
The fourth Brotherhood opening features Major Miles and a column of Briggs tanks going head to head with Sloth and Kimblee. This of course, doesn't happen, awesome as it would have been. There's also a brief shot of Fu and Lan Fan fighting Envy, but that doesn't happen either, though it did spoil their return.
The fifth and final Brotherhood opening features Winry turning into Truth, which has no relation to any event in canon and was probably a Red Herring to the realspoiler of Edward's Gate of Truth dissolving.
In general, almost none of the fight scenes in Brotherhood's credits actually happen between those characters. About the only one that does, Ed vs Scar, happens at night in the credits and in broad daylight in the show!
The third opening of the 2003 anime version features Edward and Alphonse fighting some dragon-looking monsters in a swamp. This never comes to pass in the series. Indeed, nothing even remotely close to these creatures appears in the series proper until the very end, when Envy transforms into a very similar dragon on his way into the other world. He later appears, still as a dragon, in the movie.
The fourth opening of the 2003 series shows Ed and Al vs. Gluttony and Lust, and Ed and Al vs. Wrath, Envy and Sloth. Ed and Al do fight Sloth and Wrath, but Lust is on their side in that fight and she and Sloth die in the fight while Wrath escapes. Envy abducts Al, preventing him from getting into any more fights, and Ed fights Envy in the finale, but loses, dies, gets better with Al's help and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Al at the cost of being brought to the real world.
The fourth ending of the 2003 series shows Ed facing off against Envy and the rest of the homunculi except Greed and Pride in a graveyard. See the above spoiler for why this is a case of bait and switch.
The opening sequences of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny are mostly composed of scenes that never happen in the show. Also, the main characters taking their clothes off for no clear reason. A particularly noteworthy sequence shows the Freedom and Destiny Gundams joining forces to battle a Destroy Gundam — when in fact, the Freedom and Destiny never once fought on the same side, even in "temporary truce for convenience" fashion.
The first opening to Victory Gundam is pretty upbeat and optimistic, with only a reaction shot or two from main character Uso to even hint at the bleak tone and setting of the series. The second opening is even more upbeat which furthers the separation as the end of the series gets even darker and bloodier.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 lies constantly in its openings. Most fans attribute this to the show's near-constant on-the-fly rewriting due to the production committee's ever-changing demands. Some images were also meant to be figurative but taken literally by most fans. Some of it was old-fashioned misdirection.
2nd OP: The intro shows a big battle between Celestial Being and the combined military forces of all 3 prominent nations using their respective mobile suits, with almost each Gundam Meister squaring off against a rival mobile suit. The last part of the intro also shows the presence of three ominous-looking Gundams that the original Gundams from Celestial Being fight in space. In the actual show, each Gundam Meister instead falls into a trap, are separated from one another by each nation that focused on targeting one of them at a time, and the three nations, despite cooperating with one another, were still opposed to working as one lumbering force. As for the three new Gundams that appear in the intro, not only did Celestial being not face them in space (or in Allelujah's case, at all), but they were not even the true antagonists for either the first season or second. In fact, in their first appearance, they rescue the ambushed Gundam Meisters from certain death. The true antagonists were absent from the intro.
3rd OP: This OP shows the mobile suits Arios and Cherudim engaging Louise on Earth, Seravee against Ali and Patrick in space, and Setsuna clashing blades with Mr. Bushido in space. In the actual show, Arios and Cherudim never directly faced off against Louise (while Louise does a real bait and switch herself; she's eventually piloting the stronger mecha in the same scene). When Mr. Bushido finally encounters Setsuna in space its not until after the 4th OP premiered and he's piloting a different (superior) suit to the one seen here.
4th OP: This OP shows a naked Tieria who regained his Supernatural Gold Eyes indicating the recapture of Veda, the 00-Raiser shooting the Regnant to bits showing Setsuna's Co-pilot Saji reaching for the Regnant's pilot Louise in agony and Seravee Gundam battling Arche Gundam in space, ending with both mobile suits clashing blades as red beams again appear from Seravee's backpack. In the actual show, Tieria not only regained possession of Veda, but he also merged with it as Ribbons killed his physical body. Although Setsuna did shoot one of his comrade's girlfriend, it is not Saji's girlfriend Louise but instead Lyle's Manchurian Agent girlfriend Anew Returner. And the first and only time anyone battled Arche Gundam in space was in the 23rd and 24th episodes, where it was Cherudim that fought against it. The red beams shown emanating from Seravee's backpack was shown to be from Seraphim directly, when it first activated its TRIAL Field, an ability that was strictly Seraphim's own that needed Veda.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's very first opening ends with a climatic battle between Heero and Zechs in outer space. That does eventually happen very late in the show, but not in the way portrayed here. Also there's a shot of Relena walking around a destroyed city, where no cities were really destroyed during the series at all. The second opening doesn't have any misleading details like this, so the errors of the first OP are often attributed to rewrites that happened during Wing's troubled production.
Ninin Ga Shinobuden shows a dramatic battle involving most of the main cast against Shinobu's evil counterpart (see example image). Most of the final episode is in fact the characters complaining about this trope, as they scramble to end the show in a satisfactory way.
A half-example with the second OP for Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, as the series delivered Powerprof, Dynamo Z and the bit with the volcano, but didn't get round to the Beach Episode or the Super Zero costumes.
The opening to Paranoia Agent consists of brightly lit shots of most of the ensemble cast laughing insanely as they look directly at the "camera", and even as things like mushroom clouds (in direct defiance of the Nuclear Weapons Taboo) appear in the background. Throughout the series, said characters rarely if ever smile, much less laugh, and the song that plays over the credits is also loud, tribal, and cheerful, albeit with lyrics that mix cheerful and apocalyptic themes — the combination is surreal and twisted, more so once you've seen enough of the series to realize just how wrong it really is.
According to an interview with the director, Satoshi Kon, the tone of the opening theme was because the show was to appear on an unusually late time slot. He wanted a theme that was loud and bombastic so that it would wake the viewers' brains up a little bit.
Although the general wackiness of the openings fit the theme of the show, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo includes the character Battleship among the main cast, yet after his run as a villain he disappears, except for occasional appearances, usually knocked out by the current villain. The same occurs with Suzu in the second opening, who only joins the main crew for one arc, and doesn't really do much. But then again, it's Bo-Bobo. It may have also been an attempt to subvert the Spoiler Opening.
Super Robot Wars Original Generation Divine Wars shows Latooni battling in her Elegant Gothic Lolita outfit. She only uses that outfit for two episodes (and only one battle) and most of the time is given a regular uniform and glasses.
This is a shout-out to the original game series, where Latooni in fact wears said outfit the entire second game. Of course, in the remake that the TV show borrows from or vice versa, she always wears a normal uniform.
The loving interaction between Kurau and Christmas dressed in cute summer attire in the opening credits of Kurau Phantom Memory doesn't appear anywhere in the anime.
Given the amount of stuff that has actually come to pass from it, the opening for Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuuutsu is probably an exception. What were originally simply random, half-second images took on new meaning the further we got through the story; furthermore, a few clips are direct from the Light Novels or interpretations of what happens on drama CDs. Maybe the entire thing is a Spoiler Opening...
In the second season of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, Hanon is shown with Nagisa, Rina with Hamasaki and Lucia with Rihito. The first two couples get together, but Rihito shows little interest in Lucia and, in fact, supports her reunion with loving amnesiac boyfriend Kaito.
Perhaps not a bait and switch as such, but the opening credits of Wolf's Rain place the characters in a modern (Japanese?) city that doesn't appear in the series Until the end of Episode 30, after the world has been destroyed and reborn. Furthermore, in the credits show actual rainfall — something that also doesn't happen until Episode 30, where it allows the lunar flowers to germinate and regenerate life on Earth..
Trinity Blood: The ending credits hint at a romance between Abel and Esther, which never happens. Also, the opening credits seem to give the Crusnik way more screen time than he gets in most episodes.
Both openings to Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge, fitting to the Widget Series nature of the program, are really only true in the protagonists' minds. Kaoruko and Aimi never destroy anything that poses an actual threat to the city, and the Gedou Otome Tai never summon an army of demons to wreak havoc on the city.
Dragonball Kai (the new director's cut of Z) also has a bait and switch. The end credits feature Launch, a character who was prominent in Dragon Ball but who has barely any appearances in Z...and the one sequence she does appear in was cut out of Kai.
The first opening of Code Geass shows Lelouch riding a white horse, something that never happens in the show. The show's creators have said that the scene is metaphorical, but what exactly it means they didn't say. The first opening for the second season has a similar scene, which differs in that it ends with Lelouch glaring at what appears to be a coastal military base — again, something that has yet to happen.
This opening also makes it seem as though Prince Clovis would be a major villain, as the credits end with him smirking at Lelouch and Lelouch glaring back. He bites it three episodes in.
That's actually Schniezel, but this is misleading for a different reason; he doesn't become a major villain until R2.
Additionally, the show's last opening shows the Black Knights attacking Schneizel's flying fortress Damocles, when in the actual series, Schneizel manipulates the Knights into betraying Lelouch/Zero, meaning that they fight to defend Damocles.
Also, it shows the Ganymede armed with the same kind of nuclear sakuradite weapon from the end of the first season and the Sutherland Sieg in what seems to be space (?) shooting a barrage of missiles. These, of course, never happen.
Then there's this pic◊ showing C.C. hanging with Lelouch's friends, though Nina, Milly and Shirley never meet her.
Both of The Tower of Druaga's opening credit sequences seem to suggest some sort of Slice of Life show about school children, with subtle references to what actually happens in the show and most of the characters cleverly hidden in plain sight. The only things in the credits for The Aegis of Uruk that are at all reliable are the character pairings and various posters in the background, which show the truth of the show.
The first Pokémon opening featured a Blastoise, Venusaur, and Charizard...of which only the latter was ever acquired by Ash, and shows him using a Pidgeot, which didn't happen until near the ending of the season. It also features several legendary Pokemon that he either never sees, or ends up seeing them in completely different seasons.
Heck, Ash didn't even acquire Pidgeot until the episode the opening changed in Japan.
A worse offender is the tenth opening, which starts off with a group shot of just about every Pokemon Ash has ever owned — more than half of which don't appear again in the show. It goes on to show a series of battles of which only one (Pikachu vs. Aipom) actually happen in the show. This all makes sense when you realize it was made to celebrate the franchise's 10th anniversary.
The opening credits of Monster center on a man with scraggly hair and a hunted look. He glances around as if afraid of being followed; in one shot he's holding a gun. This man is the hero of the show. (The real "monster" does appear, but only for a second.) It's a sneaky example because it's not dishonest — Dr. Tenma is a murder suspect on the run, and his quest to kill Johan takes a constant toll on him.
The opening of Magical Project S makes the show look like a fairly standard Cute Witch style of Magical Girl show, with Sasami actually appearing happy about her powers and Misao being in on the secret. Then you get to the actual show, which is a Magical Warrior show with Sasami not caring for her role and Misao most definitely not in on the secret. Since the show is meant as a parody of the Magical Girl genre, this was intentional.
Virtually every opening for Naruto features activities of characters who really aren't doing anything at the time.
Especially during the filler seasons, when almost all the openings featured Sasuke and Orochimaru, despite neither of them making any appearance besides cameos.
The openings in Part I (especially the first and fourth ones) give the impression that Sakura often fights alongside her squad, but she's often set aside and forced to serve as a (somewhat ineffective) last line of defense for the people who need protection.
The second version of the fourth Shippuden opening features members of Team 8 fighting the Quirky Miniboss Squad (Hinata vs. Gozu, Kiba vs. Kigiri, Shino vs. Nurari, Sakura vs. Rinji, and Sai and Naruto vs. Guren). Only the ones with Kigiri, Nurari and Guren happened.
The sixth ending Features Sakura prominently, and makes the show look like it's a romance.
While the ending after that is only Hinata and makes it look like a Slice of Life!
The seventh opening to Shippuden is the worst, though. It features (in increasingly level of inaccuracy) Choji and Kakashi vs. Preta Pain; Ino, Hinata, and Sakura vs. Konan; Sai vs. Asura Pain; Kiba, Lee, Tenten, and Neji vs Deva Pain. In actuality, Choji and Kakashi actually fight together against Deva Pain (and Asura Pain, sort of), Hinata tried to fight him later on, Ino didn't fight because she was working with her father getting some information, Sakura spent the battle treating the wounded and defending a hospital, Konan fought Shino and some other members of the Aburame clan (mostly off-panel in the manga, more is shown in the anime), Kiba fought Preta Pain with his mother (briefly and it was a bit longer in the anime), and Lee, Tenten, Neji, and Sai never fought because they were out of the village at the time (for the first three until after most of the fighting was over, for Sai the entire arc) so none of those things ended up happening.
All those have nothing on Shippuden's tenth opening, which features, in increasing order of implausibility/absurdity:
Naruto, Sakura, and Sai fighting Madara, Kisame, and Zetsu—all six of them flying around—, and unleashing an All Your Powers Combined jutsu.
The scene of Naruto embracing his "shadow" self transitioning from him about to do...something to Sakura.
The Elder Toad shown alongside the villains.
The revived Akatsuki zombies sliding into each other while their containers comedically topple in the background
The OP for the first season of Hidamari Sketch shows Yuno walking in on Sae on top of Hiro in a suggestive manner, but the scene where it comes from (sadly, a Not What It Looks Like moment) isn't shown until the second season.
Subverted in Gate Keepers. The OP depicts Megumi Kurogane apparently firing an energy blast from her hand. This is supposed to be impossible in-universe, as her power is to create walls... then you notice that Megumi was using her barriers - to block said blast.
The opening credits of the Ah! My GoddessOVA series briefly show Mara but she never actually appears in the series itself. This was apparently due to the animators being unable to animate her hair correctly.
The opening credits show a lot of characters from the original manga that do not appear in the OVA. This includes Banpei the robot, Yoko the ghost, etc.
They also show Demon Belldandy spreading dark wings over the city, while her friends watch below. That never happens. Instead, Belldandy's pureness turns the demon into an angel within minutes.
Ran and Midori from Telepathy Shoujo Ran never fly around in the series as they do in the opening credits. Bummer.
Ryuusei no Rockman Tribe. Fans were disappointed in the lack of Ninja and Dinosaur transformations.
The girls from Diamond Daydreams are shown in the opening credits as if they form a group of close friends. Although this would have offered some interesting possibilities, only some of them meet up shortly in the last episode.
The credits of Darker than Black shows falling stars scene and Amber cradling Hei's head, in the second version Hei fighting against several clones of himself — neither happens in the series. In other respects though, the clones scene is pretty similar to one in the OVA.
I always felt that scene was a flashback to the Heaven's Gate War.
The cake goes to the second season OP, which barely has Hei in it at all, prominently has the schoolkids from the first episode playing at the beach, and has Suou travelling alone, save for her absurdly cute pet... squirrel... thing. It took a lot of flak for those reasons.One classmate gets turned into a Contractor very early on and kills another one, the rest have their memories of Suou and said Contractor friend erased, Hei is still the real main character, Suou very rarely travels alone and that squirrel is actually Mao from S1 Back from the Dead.
The eighth opening of One Piece shows the Straw Hats relaxing, going shopping, enjoying themselves on the beach and acting out covers from the manga, making it seem very relaxing. This opening plays during the Enies Lobby arc, where they're attacking one of the most heavily defended government installations in the world, to save Robin from being taken away from them forever.
The eleventh opening becomes a bit of a retroactive bait and switch, since the Straw Hats don't even appear or take part in the current storyline after the Wham Episode, save for Luffy.
However, in the animewe still see them a lot because of filler episodes adapted from covers showing what the Strawhats besides Luffy where doing.
The twelfth opening pulls this too. The first half of it is devoted to the Straw Hats having crazy adventures together, then it abruptly cuts to the current storyline, which features Luffy alone.
The fifth opening also has a misleading moment where Nami pulls out a gun. While it is in the anime, it's during an incredibly calm moment where Nami's seeing if they're prepared for attackers, and the gun is never actually used. Very disappointing.
There's an extended sequence throughout the thirteenth opening showing Luffy reuniting with Ace amidst the ruins of Marineford. Not very likely given that arc in the manga has already ended with Marineford left intact and Ace dead shortly after being released.
Sonic X is guilty of this. The second opening shows Super Sonic and Super Shadow fighting. They do fight midway into the Metarex saga, but it's nowhere near as spectacular.
Also, though Shadow is featured decently prominently in the first opening, he doesn't even appear until after the second opening has appeared. And I don't remember the ARK exploding...
The second Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S opening seems to set up a fight between Subaru and Nove, which was also hinted at when Nove said she wanted to get revenge on Subaru for severely injuring Cinque. In the final battle, Teana ends up fighting Nove with Wendi and Deed, while Subaru fights her Brainwashed and Crazy older sister Ginga.
Until the Kyoto Arc, the opening sequence to Rurouni Kenshin made it seem like some kind of Rom Com (the peppy theme song in which the female singer waxes poetic about an unrequited love don't help).
... it kind of was.
Don't forget — the opening only shows Sanosuke with his Zanbatou, even in the final crowd shot. He loses the Zanbatou more or less one episode after his introduction, and fights with his fists from then on. Similarly, the opening shows Kenshin fighting... chain-wielding... farmers? Well, they never show up. Unless you consider it Foreshadowing to Elite Mook Akamatsu who would figure in a later arc.
Witch Hunter Robin's opening made it look like Robin had a crush on Amon but no such relationship ever materialized.
There was Unresolved Sexual Tension there. Not much, what with here being really young (15?), but there was definitely subtext.
The intro in general makes Robin seem like a depressed person in total despair, and the lyrics to the opening song support this, but nothing in Robin's backstory is ever revealed to be anything close to this and she seems to always have at least one person she can rely on throughout the show.
The fifth Gintama opening makes the show seem a lot more serious and dramatic than it actually is. (For the first several episodes, it did accompany a comparatively serious story arc, but the key word here is "comparatively.")
All Gintama OP qualified. How many times did it showed Gin engaged in epic battles? All the time. Does it ever happen? No. Then again, it's a Gag Series with a Trolling Creator, so is it a surprise?
Two openings of Neo Ranga features all three female protagonists in white Stripperiffic outfits, having mysterious symbols painted/tatooed on their bodies and wielding stone weapons. None of this happens.
In the (rather lovely) opening sequence of Aoi Hana, Fumi and Akira are depicted as a cheery, loving couple, complete with full nudity. Sure, the girls are extremely close, but never get this far in the series.
Hikaru no Go has a scene at the end of its last ending sequence which shows Hikaru and Sai playing against each other as equals, implying that someday Hikaru will reach Sai's level and be able to play against him in a fair match. Though Hikaru wants to do this, it never happens, and he's nowhere near Sai's level when Sai disappears permanently.
Red Garden has an opening that would make you think it's basically Sex and the City. The show's content goes in a different direction however. The ending falls under this as well; it's an upbeat rap song with the characters having fun at a concert.
Ren and Miu start the DearS opening off with an intensely Moe kiss. Ren in-series is completely fixated on Takeda and Miu doesn't particularly like her, though there's a moderate amount of Les Yay available.
The opening for Welcome to the NHK features a cheery sounding duet for the theme, with pastel-colored, brightly lit scenes of cute girls frolicking, which gives the impression of a lighthearted romantic comedy of some sort. The series is actually about a young man with extreme social anxiety struggling to deal with his psychological issues and addictions, being helped by a Blithe Spiritthat's actually as screwed up mentally as he is. There are some hints of the darker, Black Comedy tone of the show in the opening—the few times the main character is shown he's almost always shown having some sort of panic attack, the main heroine is shown looking lonely as she leans against a wall, and the other women in the opening are faceless (a probable nod to the issues the main character and his friend have with women)—but it still seems a little too upbeat.
Durarara!!'s second opening introduces five new characters, three of which showed up briefly in the first half of the series. This means they're important, right? Not really. Only one was actually important, three of the others played bit parts, and one didn't show up at all.
Keroro Gunso uses this in episode 150. After spending the entire episode getting ready to leave (He'd been promoted) Giroro gives a heartfelt (for him) goodbye at the train station. Cue a special ending sequence, complete with sad music and a "Goodbye Giroro" card...only for Giroro to literally shoot through them and grab Keroro by the neck. That promotion letter? Turns out it was a month old. Cue the regular ending sequence.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The opening? Standard cute Magical Girl song, images (including references to Sailor Moon, CCS, and even Pretty Cure), the works. The problem? Gen Urobuchi is writing — The series is a rather savage deconstruction. The monsters aren't harmless, people can (and do) die, the aspects of a bunch of young girls fighting horrific Eldritch Abominations are fully explored... and oh yeah, the cute mascot appears to be Faustian. Notably, the first two episodes didn't have an ending sequence, episode 3 was a Wham Episode and is officially horrifying from the climax on, culminating in the main character floating in the mask of Mephistopheles during the ending sequence (which is not remotely a standard Magical Girl song).
By the time the series ends (and the viewers know what's really going on), it becomes obvious that it's a subverted trope. It's especially obvious each time the OP gets shifted to the end of the episode; it's the exact same song, but because of the episode we just saw, a new meaning is revealed.*
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds does this with openings 2 and 5. In the second version of opening 2, we see Jack facing off against Dark Carly in a ground duel, whilst the episode they duel in is a Riding Duel. Opening 5 does this at the very end by showing Yusei using Junk Warrior to attack Z-ONE. Junk Warrior is never used in that duel, but he pops up in 154 to deal the finishing blow to Jack
The third Slayers opening (Slayers TRY) has a humorous shot of Lina's sister, Luna, with a sign pointing at her reading, "sorry, opening only!" As for the song itself, it is less energetic and more mellow than the previous two openings, citing for a darker story, but while the overarching plot darkens later on, the overall tone of the show is as comedic as it had always been, creating some poorly timed Mood Whiplash during the comedic filler episodes. Also, in that opening, Filia is portrayed as some demure prophetic waif/Distressed Damsel, but in the show proper, she's an obnoxious, prissy, and loud (and very dead-on) variant of Holier Than Thou.
The opening of the Shamanic Princess OVA is standard, pastel-toned romance fanfare. The series itself is a dark tale of a powerful Cute Witch and her rivals as they try to search for a holy item from their world, which turns out to be an Elditrich Abomination holding the sister of the protagonist's former love interest.
Twin Signal'sopening shows scenes of a futuristic city, with the title character battling a slew of super-powered robots, running from Combat Tentacles, and several unusual characters including what appears to be a fairy. The actual OVA is set in a sleepy town in the countryside, is comedy-oriented, and about half the characters in the intro don't even appear in the show proper.
The Noozles does not involve dancing on rainbows with stars. The show does feature exciting adventures, but these get darker as the series progresses. While the credits might make you think you are watching your typical "child has magical adventures and must hide them from parents" show, the show's actual plot is so strange that a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer is often involved when describing it.
Elfen Lied's opening does have some elements of the heavy fanservice featured in the show, but is played over a soothing Gregorian chant about divine justice and Art Nouveau-inspired Moe imagery, most likely meant to convey innocence rather than sensuality. The ending is also a pop love song that may match the show in the lyrics, but not in tone.
Done with the second opening of Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom. While the 1st opening is not one of these as it was very dark and melodic fitting the tone of the series, the second one is a huge contrast and gives the series a Slice of Life appearance, showing Reiji and Eren happily living their day to day life in Japan and hanging out with friends while Drei, a violent girl with a death wish in the series, is shown being happy and carefree in the opening.
The credits sequence for Di Gi Charat Nyo! is perhaps the king of Bait and Switch Credits sequences, showing the cast participating in multiple genres that the series very much isn't. Almost certainly a parodic use of the trope, but it still wins for sheer volume of misleadingness.
ZZ Gundam, neither Char Azanable or Amuro Ray appear in the story. Instead, we get a Char Clone Glemy Toto.
Uta Kata's opening suggest the series is a fluffy shoujo story. It's a seinen series, and things get very dark later as mature issues are explored in detail.
As a bonus, Ichika's Magical Girl costume in the opening does not appear in the show at all. Actually, it does, kinda...Palette Swap it to black, and it's her twelth and final transformation's costume.
While Kotoura-san still has a significant amount of comedy moments, don't assume the Downer Beginning (which proceeds the opening credits at the first episode) is just a buildup for a Romantic Comedy as the opening credits suggested. It's just the first bump in the road. (It would be slightly less of a Bait and Switch if the ending theme Flower of Hope is considered as well)
The Sky Girls opening is a bit of a lie in two ways: first, it suggests an action story, while the series is mostly a slice-of-life story (with some action, but not as much as suggested); second, it features a monster that's never battled (mostly because the footage is from the Sky Girls OVA, which follows a different storyline).
In Shingeki No Kyojin, the OP shows people heroically fighting and killing Titans - most of the fights with Titans don't go that way, and a lot of people die in every fight. Also, one part of the opening specifically shows Eren, Mikasa, Annie and Jeanne fighting a Titan together - this never happenes.
Almost every Western of the classic era begins with an opening montage of wild west themed paintings. These paintings routinely feature epic western landscape and charging wild horses. These things are almost never found on a Warner Brothers backlot, where the film was actually made.
The film of A Series of Unfortunate Events began with an animated opening to a movie called The Littlest Elf, before stopping mid-stride (complete with Record Needle Scratch) for the narrator to tell us that the movie we'll be seeing will be far more depressing. Of course, this is a hilarious Mythology Gag for the people who have read the books.
The opening credits for the (non)hit b-movie Cave Dwellers. Two men in loincloths run around the screen doing weird things — you never see the men in the opening credits during the movie, nor do you see any action sequence similar to what they were doing. This is because the clips are from the 1963 Italian sword-and-sandal film Taur, the Mighty. When Film Ventures International purchased what became Cave Dwellers for a 1990 re-release, they couldn't use the original credits or film title (Blade Master); this allowed them to license the remainder of the movie as a film clip.
There are a few of these in the MST3K canon — the calling card of Film Ventures International, all "featuring" music by Karl Demer — including Master Ninja I and II, Stranded in Space, Pod People, and Space Travelers. The FVI credits footage for Pod People and Stranded in Space are egregious in how not from the repackaged film they are (Pod People takes its opening credits footage from the 1985 film Galaxy Invader; the source for the Stranded in Space credit footage is the 1983 film Prisoners of the Lost Universe).
The Master Ninja credits are actually fairly representative of the "movies" themselves — Lee Van Cleef somewhat halfassedly pretending to be a ninja. It's the score and film-negative effect that make them stand out...
The beginning of the movie Return Of The Killer Tomatoes shows a group of attractive teenager girls in skimpy bathing suits romping on a beach, with a voiceover announcing "You are about to see the movie Big Breasted Women Go To The Beach And Take Their Tops Off" (complete with a Beach Boys-style theme song containing those words), until the screen goes black, the voiceover apologizes for showing the wrong movie, and the title for "Return Of The Killer Tomatoes" appears.
This is brought back at the very end of the movie, after the denouement. During the course of the movie it's explained that the Mad Scientist's machinery can turn tomatoes into beautiful young women, and the final scene features one of the secondary characters taking them all to the beach, whereupon the footage plays again — only now, it (properly) refers to them as "Big-Breasted Tomatoes".
Minor example: Ghost Ship starts with cheesy lounge music and the title in a cheerfully 1950s-style font, and zooms in on the ship's passengers happily dancing the night away and then a tightly wound wire slices through the crowd.
The opening credits to the 1958 version of The Blob written by none other than Burt Bacharach (no, I'm not kidding) sound like a fun, beach-rompy movie (lyrics notwithstanding).
Taken to the logical extreme with Tropic Thunder, which opens with fake trailers and commercials starring almost all of the lead "actors" of the film-within-a-film. The parodies are so spot on that some in the audience thought the previews were still running.
The opening song to The Rocky Horror Picture Show promises that we will "see androids fighting Brad and Janet". There's nothing in the film that could be described as an android except just possibly Rocky, who never touches Brad, and what he does to Janet is... not called fighting. Put a comma there and continue to pretend Rocky is an android and it almost works. We see at least one "android" fighting, and we see Brad and Janet. This is one hell of a stretch, admittedly.
More a Thematic Theme Tune, since the lyrics are actually about Science Fiction B-movies in general.
Peter Weir's first feature The Cars that Ate Paris opens with what appears to be a cigarette ad featuring a couple taking an idyllic country drive. Then things go horribly wrong. The sequence is part of the film narrative (though stylistically distinct) but the original cinema audience wouldn't have realised it until the very effective 'punchline'.
The live-action Popeye movie starts out like one of his old cartoon opening, then, where the title of the short is, Popeye sticks his head up and says, "Hey, what's this? One of Bluto's tricks? I'm in the wrong movie!" and we enter live-action.
The Mr. Magoo film, which is live-action, starts out with an animated Magoo, going through his usual near-sighted hijinks before we enter the main plot and live-action.
Some editions of start out with several minutes of the 1961 film Dentist on the Job (starring a young Bob Monkhouse). This goes on far longer than most credit gags, to the point where one wonders if there was some bizarre mix-up before the projectionist sleepily grumbles about having put in the wrong reel and the credits proper start up. (This gag was carried over from the original cinema release.)
The opening credits are actually the full credits, run at the beginning to set up an elaborate joke on the viewing audience. At the intermission, music begins playing and goes on just long enough for viewers to think it's a real intermission and get up, only to have the movie abruptly reappear, forcing them to return to their seats. At the end, an apparent fourth wall break causes the movie to cut to the same intermission music, but this time it runs for more than ten minutes before the movie simply ends without credits, leading viewers to sit in their seats (having been tricked by the intermission) until it runs out and then be puzzled why there are no end credits - specially as the ending is abrupt and weird.
The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers has an Animated Credits Opening covering the first stretch of the credits set to "What's New Pussycat?" and featuring loads and loads of animated Peter Sellers gadding about. It's inspired by the opening titles of many of Peter Sellers' actual films...but it's also light and funny to deliberately contrast with the mostly-miserable story of a mostly-miserable man that follows.
Live Action TV
Red Dwarf had something like this in the first two seasons, with a slow sweep across the Red Dwarf, and portentous music which led many first-time viewers to expect something serious and dark. Eventually the production staff decided this was just silly and switched the opening music to guitar rock and the visuals to a Title Montage.
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace parodies this: the opening shot of Darkplace's title sequence shows Rick Dagless running from an exploding ambulance, holding a baby in one arm. The actors (in-character) state on the DVD Commentary that this single shot was so expensive it used up the entire budget and couldn't be used in the show itself.
Monty Python's Flying Circus loved this trope, particularly in later seasons when they frequently set out to subvert not just the structure of the typical comedy sketch, but also the structure of television programmes themselves.
One episode had the opening at the very end of the show, followed by the credits. Another ran the opening credits at the beginning of the show... followed immediately by the closing credits.
Episode 25 begins with fake titles and credits for a historical epic called The Black Eagle, whose opening scene is interrupted by the realTitle Sequence. The scene nevertheless goes on for long enough that early audiences were probably scrambling for the week's Radio Times, wondering if there had been another last-minute schedule change.
Episode 39 took this still further by opening with the Thames TV identnote Well known to international viewers of such programmes as Danger Mouse and Count Duckula and a fake continuity link delivered by actual Thames continuity presenter David Hamilton, perhaps fooling early viewers into thinking their television was tuned to the wrong station until Hamilton announced, "But right now, here's a rotten old BBC programme!"
One step further in the program for Spamalot. The main section of the play booklet describes a Finnish play that sounds like torture to the audience. Among the notes in the playbook are "There will be three intermissions — one every two-and-a-half hours" and warnings not to speak Swedish in the theater. After this five-page section comes the real opening.
Police Squad! made the bait-and-switch a Running Gag, introducing and then instantly killing off a "Special Guest Star" during each episode's opening credits. There's also a scene where Abraham Lincoln (played by and credited to Rex Hamilton) foils his own assassination by pulling out a gun and shooting back. Obviously, that never happens in the show. There were plans to show Mahatma Gandhi wielding an assault rifle if the show had been picked up for a second season.
The Vicar of Dibley credits open with a sweeping view of the English countryside and singing of the 23rd Psalm, but end with a humorous scene poking fun at village life. However, when a major character died, this montage was played straight.
The opening of the recent Spike TV reality show Murder shows car chases, the host firing weapons, CSI-style graphics, and contestants observing what appear to be car explosions. The show is actually about contestants investigating realistic crime-scenes, and episodes mostly consist of people discussing the case in a conference room.
The first episode of Saul Of The Mole Men opens with the credits to STRATA, ostensibly a show about the adventures of intrepid underground explorers. Then within the first minute, nearly the entire "STRATA Action Team" is gruesomely killed, the only survivors being the Robot, Johnny Tambourine, and the titular Saul, a mere geologist who didn't even merit a mention in the STRATA opening. (The actual opening is an Expository Theme Tune that would spoil the plot of the first episode if it were run up front.)
The show Mr. Bean uses this and then subverts it at the same time, by starting with a solemn choir...and then apparently, beaming down Mr. Bean, as if from space. He gets up and wanders off. Towards the end of the credits, he wanders back into the picture, then off again in the opposite direction as before.
Lampshaded and subverted by the animated version, in which Mr. Bean is taken aboard a flying saucer populated by Mr. Bean lookalikes — but of course just when he thinks he's found his place in the universe the aliens reject him and beam him down in an exact facsimile of the live action opening credits.
The solemn choir isn't all that solemn either, if you translate it back from the Latin. Ecce homo, qui est fava: Behold the man, who is a bean.
The first season of the War of the Worlds television series was basically a sci-fi paranoia thriller set in the 80's (and shot in Toronto, Ontario, Canada). By the end, audiences were expecting more of the same thing for the next season. The second series then opened with a radio broadcast detailing how soldiers were rioting and shooting people (as a result of the paranoia?). Of course, once you watch the second season, you find out that the whole premise is a team of people living underground in a sewer system, and launching covert attacks against the aliens. There is no army to speak of. They're disregarded as an ally in the second episode.
Power Rangers Time Force was about time travelers from the future, and clips in later versions of the opening showed the characters in different eras like the Wild West, feudal Japan, or prehistoric times. The actual show, however, mostly took place in the present day (where the time travelers were stuck); with only the prehistory clip being from a legit time trip. The rest of the clips came from either Mirai Sentai TimerangerStock Footage, which was never put into the American version, or from an episode where the characters were trapped in various movies showing off different time periods.
The opening credits for Dexter are an Affectionate Parody of this trope. The viewer sees shots in extreme closeup which appear to be violent and bloody amusing and wrong because Dexter is a methodical serial killer...but turn out to be Dexter only going through his morning routine and having his breakfast.
Something similar happens during the credits of Quincy, M.E. — you see the main character (a forensic pathologist) examining what you think is a dead body, but it turns out to be a young woman in a bikini with whom he his sharing drinks on his houseboat. These credits became even more of a B&S after the character evolved as a more of an "everyman" type rather than a playboy, and it became even weirder when he got married.
Kamen Rider Den-O begins its opening sequence with the narration: "The time-traveling train, Denliner. Will its next stop be in the past or the future?" The answer to this question is ALWAYS "the past." At no point in the TV series does Denliner visit the future.
The opening of Ally McBeal promised a smiling and happy woman most of the time. However, during the episodes she was depressed/sad/angry nearly the whole series and only rarely seen in a happy mood.
It was one of Joss Whedon's long standing dreams to give an actor initial credit and then kill him or in this case her off in that episode. In Buffy the Vampire SlayerAmber Benson is credited for the first and last time in Seeing Red and at the episode's end rather unceremoniously killed - by a stray bullet no less.
Joss wanted to do this for the pilot with Jessie but it was shot down.
You Can't Do That on Television episodes almost always started off with a title card for pre-empted shows that were cancelled, usually pop culture parodies related to the theme of the episode. For example, the episode, "Wildlife and Animals":
"'Wild Wild Kingdom' will not be seen at this time. In its place, we present a program in which people act like animals."
This concept was swiped wholesale from the first six seasons of Saturday Night Live. ("'Charlie's Angels Get The Syph' will not be seen tonight...")
Peter De Luise mentions this is in commentary track for one of the episodes of the first season of 21JumpStreet. The credits feature a bunch of gunplay and a car flipping over. However the series was mostly about undercover work and centered around sedate dialog-driven scenes. The car flipping over was one of the most expensive scenes shot for the series, and was really the only one of its kind.
The fifth season opening of The Wire contains at least two things that appear to be spoilers but in context were misleading in a rather ironic fashion: various newspaper covers mentioning a Serial Killer of the homeless with a possible sexual motive which McNulty and Freamon made up to get the Police department more funding, and a picture of McNulty laid out as if it were part of a wake which was really just a mock-wake held as a send-off before he was taken off active police work.
Torchwood pulls a fast one on viewers in its first episode. The opening credits to the pilot includes Indira Varma, who plays Suzie Costello. This was done to make it look like she was a regular cast member. She wasn't, and her character was dead by the end of the episode.
The opening credits of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode "The Muttiny" suggested Rita Repulsa would remain as the Big Bad. Then we got caught by surprise with the debut of Lord Zedd and that Rita was working for him all this time.
The opening credits of the Power Rangers in Space premiere indicated Divatox would remain as the main villain, and didn't credit Andros. Sure, Astronema had already made an appearance in the Batman Cold Opening but nothing concrete to that point indicated she'd take over.
BBC children's comedy series Out Of Tune, which opened with a title card showing the church in the background, and accompanied by some beautiful choir singing, suddenly transitions mid-music into off-key wailing. The on-screen title begins to collapse as well.
During its title sequence, the Japanese-humor-filled comedy adventure game Touch Detective 2 1/2 features music and scenes that imply that it's in the mold of serious detective anime. Fortunately, the prominently featured dancing mushroom and corn-husk-masked villain should keep anyone from being genuinely fooled.
The original game, Touch Detective had a very similar intro, except slightly more believable; then, of course, the dancing mushroom appeared.
The opening to Disgaea 3 shows Master Big Star as an antagonist working (or at least hanging out) with Salvatore. In the game itself Master Big Star is a good guy who has a war with Salvatore, and is one of the more saner members of the cast.
At first, Time Hollow seems like a story filled with the player spamming his ability to create time rifts, after it shows multiple prominent plot points in the character introduction part of the intro, as well as some parts of the story nicely animated. Your character cannot stop things already in motion in-game (like the treehouse once it's already on fire — the player needs to stop the firebomb from burning the tree in the first place), and we never get to see Ethan diving and catching Kori, or Ethan saving the place his parents were trapped in from blowing up. Instead, in the story, the place blows up anyway, and it's actually Ethan's uncle who saves the girl from falling off the school building — and even then, they don't even manage to prevent that — instead, the uncle and the girl fall a few stories to the ground. Also, there's even a direct contradiction in the opening to actual fact in-story — a Hollow Pen user cannot go through a Hole without losing their ability to use the pen — or even see or hold said pen.
This was simple necessity. For a point-and-click game, especially one with no running timer or similar restriction, showing what you actually need do would constitute a MASSIVE spoiler. Plus Rule Of Cool.
The Wild ARMs series seems to run on this trope. Every game has an animated sequence that plays when you continue from a save file featuring the characters of the game. Almost none of the things shown in those sequences actually happen in the games.
Used and lampshaded in I Wanna Be The Guy. The title screen features a scrolling story card and shows the game's items in a fashion taken directly from the first Legend of Zelda, complete with Link at the end. Link himself, however, is holding a card reading "Most of this shit does not appear in this game"
Eversion has an adorable, sugary-sweet title screen that's a tad misleading. The quote and warning do hint at what's to come, though.
One particular scene in the opening to Atelier Iris Eternal Mana heavily implies that Norn is much more mysterious and important to the plot than she appears. Not so in the actual game.
Metal Gear Solid 2 did this rather infamously. The demo and subsequent real game opening showed a lot of scenes involving Snake, with a brief moment by Raiden. How little we really knew back then.
Jay's Journey starts with a scrolling crawl giving some backstory about a hero from a thousand years past defeating a demon... that, as the scroll eventually admits, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of the game, "but it's still a pretty cool story, don't you think?"
Suikoden is guilty of this in a few videos. The most poignant would be the opening video of Suikoden III, which has, among other things, Geddoe slicing up some flying creatures from a cliff-side, and Hugo fighting against Hallec, an ally who joins him without any sort of fight in-game.
Warriors Orochi 2 treats us with the opening consisting of Cao Pi, Date Masamune, Saika Magoichi and Tachibana Ginchiyo kicking the ass of Orochi army. Come to the game, however, you find out that Masamune still remains with Orochi, not even thinking about joining the heroes.
Bait and Switch Credits seem to be a staple of the Warriors series in general, as you never quite get to play out the scenarios depicted in the opening sequences. (At least the Warriors Orochi opening was more of a How We Got Here prologue.)
The opening to Eternal Eyes, in addition to prominently featuring Shillay (a character with maybe 5 minutes of screentime), also shows the main characters fighting Big Bad Vorless in a number of places that don't exist in the game, with strange Beam-O-War skills, and what the heck is that glowing blue skull anyway?
Homestar Runner promoted a new short supposedly starring the King of Town. Clicking the link showed a title sequence for "The King of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show"... but at the end of the title sequence, an announcement said "The King of Town's Very Own Popular Cartoon Show will not be seen tonight. Instead we bring you: Strong Bad's Very Popular Cartoon Show, already in progress." Then it cuts to the Strong Bad email senior prom.
Also, the email theme song shows a couple potential title sequences for the Strong Bad Emails. The one with the "inspirational" Theme Tune by "some kind of Neville" contains scenes not even remotely similar to anything in the actual toons, such as Strong Bad in a tank or Strong Bad in space. Strong Bad claims, "Of course, the best clips are from the un-aired pilot you'll never see."
The Season 3 DVD of Red vs. Blue opens like this, with a lot of violence and explosions, and the scene cuts to some of the characters saying outright that the new season isn't going to have any less to do with standing around and talking than usual.
The opening credits of Aqua Teen Hunger Force portray the titular trio heroically fighting bank robbers and space aliens, which doesn't come close to anything that occurs in the actual series.
The first season did follow a similar format to what the credits show (although instead of having them as "heroes", they were just... well, themselves), but it was quickly abandoned. They didn't change the credits simply because they worked within the logic of the show.
Lampshaded by Master Shake in one episode: when asked by Frylock why they didn't fight crime anymore, Shake tells him that 1) it wasn't making the Aqua Teens a lot of money, and 2) they spent most of their budget on the kickass credits they used to play themselves up.
The closing credits shenanigans with Lincoln, the wooden rocket and (presumably) Neil Armstrong obviously never happened in the show either.
The original Scooby-Doo cartoon credits showed all manner of supernatural menaces, while of course the episodes centered on proving that mysterious events have a mundane explanation.
There is no way to tell if the supernatural menaces in the opening credits are real or not. Conversely, later incarnations of the show did include real supernatural elements.
Finally fixed with "What's New, Scooby-Doo?" opening, which has unmasking of three monsters.
The opening to Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law depicts a typical dashing hero-type lawyer show with romance, dangerous investigations, action scenes, etc. However, the show is actually a parody of legal dramas, and nearly everyone at the law firm of Sebben and Sebben is crazy and/or stupid.
Except for the fact that he's Birdman, which is a bit of a giveaway.
A rather different example might be the Mega Man cartoon made in America. The title sequence was pure awesome with its detailed Japanese-style animation, only a short time before it became mainstream. The actual cartoon was rather blander and, well... cartoonish to the eye, more in line with traditional early-'90s American animated action fare. Apparently an episode was done in each style, and test audiences preferred the American one.
This is justified, if the series was anything like the opening the series would have been 5 minutes long with Megaman dead from all the massive explosions.
The Expository Theme Tune of George of the Jungle has the line "while Fella and Ursula stay in step", accompanied by Ursula splitting into two dancing look-alike women in the Title Sequence. Many viewers misheard the line as "Bella and Ursula" and wondered where the heck Bella got to. "Fella" was in fact George's pet name for Ursula, because he's just that dumb. This was even used in the live-action movie: he refers to her as a "funny-lookin' fella."
The movie does change the line in the theme tune, though, making the line all about Shep the elephant.
Possibly as a nod to this, in one episode George hits his head walking out of his tree-house (he forgot that he and Ursula live in a tree), and subsequently addresses Ursula as "Fella". Other character: "Fella?!" Ursula: "George is a simple man." "Nearsighted, too."
The Title Sequence for The Ren & Stimpy Show consists of clips from the pilot episode, "Big House Blues." When shown on the series, the episode had scenes cut, including Ren realizing that he had been kissing Stimpy in his sleep and washing his mouth on the toilet afterwards — scenes that feature prominently in the opening. (The uncut cartoon eventually aired on Spike TV and was released on DVD.)
The Japanese credits to X-Men feature Cable as a member of the team, but on the show he was a guest character who only appeared in five or six episodes total. It also features a final shot of Cyclops angsting while Krakoa looms over him. Krakoa never appears ever. Not to mention the opening's inclusion of Magneto summoning the Brood out of the earth itself.
The Western opening for the show has Magneto leading a group to fight the X-Men which never happens in the show. Two of them (Warpath and Gremlin) don't oppose the X-Men throughout the show, Gremlin not even appearing in it.
Cable is nothing! The second opening features Iceman as a member of the team. Iceman only appears in one episode.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has a minor example of this — the credits seemingly frame Captain K'nuckles as a free-spirited adventurer and Bubbie as a stuffy, almost-antagonist figure who opposes adventure or risk of any kind. In the actual series, Captain K'nuckles is a lazy, shiftless, and greedy Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist who manipulates the eponymous Flapjack's idolization of him to further whatever ill-advised and self-serving plan he's currently trying to enact, while Bubbie is the perpetual voice of reason and resident Reasonable Authority Figure.
One popular fan interpretation for the art shift and the out-of-characterness is that the opening is showing the world from Flapjack's (rather skewed) way of seeing things.
The first episode of Back to the Sewer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' seventh season, plays the intro for Fast Forward, the series' sixth. While it makes sense in context — the episode is a transitional one, taking the characters from one premise to the next, with the actual opening played in the end to reflect the change — the fact that both seasons feature different characters, settings, premise, and art style, and that 4Kids had actually organized a contest to let the fans vote for the new theme song made the bait and switch very surprising — and disconcerting.
The opening credits to the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons in The Simpsons promises that 'they fight and bite' over animation of the two hitting each other with weapons. In fact in the vast majority episodes they don't fight at all: Scratchy is minding his own business when Itchy brutally attacks and kills him for no reason at all.
The Japanese opening of Transformers Animated barely features Lugnut while prominently showing minor characters Arcee and Ironhide apparently on Earth and fighting alongside our heroes - indeed, Arcee is shown fighting Blackarachnia underwater (which, it should be noted, she is physically incapable of doing in-universe, since she is part organic). It also shows various fight scenes around the world, when in fact all the scenes on Earth take place in an around Detroit. Despite all that, it's stillfull of spoilers( Longarm Prime, anyone?).
Supposedly the inspiration for Bart Simpson comes from Matt Groening being dissapointed by Dennis The Menace (US), as in the show Dennis is not the whirlwind of disruption he is depicted as being in the credits.
During ReBoot's opening Bob mentions that he intends to learn about the User and why it plays dangerous games. In the actual show Bob doesn't even attempt to learn anything about the User at all. That line in the opening is removed in later seasons as the plot shifts away from dealing with the games.
Episodes from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Season Two begin with an Opening Narration creating the impression that the Avengers consist enitrely the "Big Three"-Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor- and the Incredible Hulk. More often than not the succeeding episode will actually feature only one, two, or three of those heroes, fighting with help from some Avengers who would probably seem unfamiliar to viewers who neither read the comics nor saw the first season. (Moviegoers would at least recognize Hawkeye.)
In the Animated Adaption of Anne of Green Gables, Anne is shown in the opening credits wearing her iconic straw hat, which she does not wear at all in any episode (though it is seen hanging in her room on occasion).