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Action-Hogging Opening

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"I mean they usually have ten times better animation than the actual show..."

When the opening to a 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 may have 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, Action Prologue. Merchandise-Driven works will often make this a Product-Promotion Parade.


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  • 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.
  • 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, which had much larger animation budgets than the show itself.
    • But that's nothing compared to the later remake, Dragon Ball Z 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, albeit in less gratuitous amounts.
  • 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.
  • Zig-Zaggged in Gintama, due to the Cerebus Roller Coaster nature of the show. Sometimes particulary 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 while the actual show is just Gintoki and Sorachi telling jokes and trolling the audience. Then subverted once in a while during serious arcs, typically involving Gintoki giving smackdowns to loads and loads of mooks, making the opening just fitting. Or inverted, when a darker episode or arc roll out at a moment where the show use a comedic or lighthearted opening, like the Yoshiwara arc with the 6th opening "Anata magic", which happen to not feature the usual action scene.
    • The third serie, Gintama°, only use each opening for a dozens of episodes, which mean they can make them closer to whatever arc take place at the moment. They still use the upbeat song "Beautiful days" for the Shogun assassinate arc, albeit with modified pictures.
  • 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: Right Back at Ya! 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 Humongous Mechas 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.
  • Ninja Nonsense 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 epically catchy song.
  • Saiyuki. Actual fights with demon packs happen pretty much Once per Episode, but they technically aren't the focus of the show and tend to be much less epic. This got even worse in the sequels due to the shift to a different tone and a more limited animation.
  • 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.
  • Legend of Heavenly Sphere Shurato: The opening of the anime is packed with action, and features an absolutely gorgeous, detailed and fluid animation, considerably better than the 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.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-'s openings are serious offenders, as they pack more fighting sequences than the entire anime. They even show Mokona of all people fighting enemies.

    Web Original 
  • Critical Role's openings for the first and third feature the players and their characters in action. As to the content of the show: it's friends playing Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Girl-chan in Paradise's opening is a parody of this, featuring actual fluid animation and a fight between Kenstar and Yusuke. The actual show is mostly Limited Animation where the characters stand in place and their lips flap around, and the rare fights are laughable anticlimaxes.

    Western Animation 
  • Bionic Six: The intro is a beautiful hook with damn catchy music. The animation in the show proper, however, is not quite as stellar.
  • ThunderCats features an intro with splendid animation and dynamic motions, using fairly detailed models of the characters. And non stop action. The show... does not have that. Repeated use of Stock Footage, Everybody Do the Endless Loop. Many fight scenes use static images of the characters with lasers shooting out of them (Lion-O in particular being a frequent offender). When the characters are animated, the models often bare more similarities to very cheap Limited Animation. Like most shows of the era, how good or bad the animation of the show proper is varies greatly, with the first episode for example being much more well animated compared to those that follow it. And this goes without saying that the action scenes in the episodes are far more spaced out than the intro implies.
  • The opening to Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) made it seem accurate to the actual games, yet the actual episodes were nothing but standard Saturday morning fare. An oft-raised point about the show is how Napalm Man, a tank-like robot bristling with cannons and missile launchers, appears for a few seconds in the intro and nowhere in the show itself.
  • 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, though "Time Lincoln" eventually appeared in the movie.
    • 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 Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has Tony Stark examing footage of some of his fellow Avengers (corresponding with lyrics in the theme tune), before armoring up to join the others in battling the forces of HYDRA. The closest the series gets to that is in the episode "Hail, Hydra!", but even then there's a ton of differences (AIM's involvement, the Cosmic Cube, Avengers who had joined since)
  • 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.
  • 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 & 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.
  • The opening titles for The Dreamstone give the implication of a far more dramatic action series with Zordrak. Most episodes themselves, while still having some good animation, are a laid back Harmless Villain formula with the Urpneys (the guys introduced last).
  • Mike Tyson Mysteries does this deliberately. New viewers might be caught off-guard to find how laid-back the show is compared to its over-the-top intro.
    • Played with in the Clip Show episode "My Favorite Mystery", where they reveal that all the events in the opening did happen.
  • The intro to The Wacky World of Tex Avery is much more fluidly animated and crazier than anything featured in the actual show, the intro was animated by Animasia with Glen Kennedy founder of Kennedy Cartoons as it's lead animator.
  • The intro for the first season of The Transformers features the two factions of the titular characters hastily rushing to battle with each other. Other seasons' intros still showed some action, but not as badly as the first season's opening.
  • The opening of Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch shows Sabrina battling Enchantra directly, while the actual show usually just has Sabrina dealing with mundane problems and she's oblivious to Enchantra being evil.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) intro hypes up the action that the show would have, but the series would overall be a Slice of Life comedy with very few action moments.