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Episode Title Card

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After the Title Sequence, but before the first act, many shows will put in an intertitle displaying the episode's title. For some shows, the title will be animated and a character from the series will read the title to the audience (mostly prevalent in anime, while western cartoons that use this are usually aimed at preschoolers). On the other hand, some shows might have the title be on-screen text displayed with the opening credits over the beginning of the first act. It is also common for the title to never be shown and the name of the episodes only found from episode guides.

These days, one tends to see episode titles only on non-primetime animated programming, although even then there are many exceptions to this. (For example, 4Kids' Saturday morning block didn't use episode titles on screen at all, regardless of whether the original versions of the shows had them.) Most other kinds of programming eschew from explicitly titling the episode on screen, with most exceptions being hourlong sci-fi (Heroes, Star Trek, Doctor Who) or (for some reason) the Aaron Sorkin dramas The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Newsroom.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach has an interesting variant, the episode titles are only numbers. The episodes do have titles, but those titles are only found in outside sources. In the 15th opening, there is a montage of earlier title cards.
  • Code Geass has one at the start of each episode (called stages in R1 and turns in R2).
  • Most episodes of Excel♡Saga don't have them, but episode 7 does a title card in blood, since the episode is done in the style of horror anime.
  • Loosely inspired by Ultraman 's opening sequence, Digimon Adventure and its sequel feature title cards featuring the silhouette of the episode's main Digimon. This was dropped in the Saban dub in favor of just showing the episode's name at the start of the episode, without a jingle.
  • Fushigi Yuugi begs to differ. White screen, black kanji and hiragana, music. That is all.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has a short screen with the episode title in English, a secondary title in vertical Japanese, and a novel like description of whatever action happened right after that episodes opening scrolling up the left in (usually) decent English. In the first season, these title cards also mention whether the episode is "Stand Alone" or "Complex" (aka, part of the Myth Arc)
  • Inuyasha has a character reading the episode's title.
  • Kamichama Karin has the episode title cards read by Shii-chan, complete with her Verbal Tics added to the title.
  • Pokémon has a character (usually Ash) reading the episode's title.
  • The first two Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series have her reading the episode title while it's shown on a red sphere (ostensibly her Raising Heart pearl), with the same music bed used in both seasons. StrikerS has a more dramatic music bed and no title read, presumably to reflect its more serious nature, with the title put over an i-ching pattern.
  • Each episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion has two episode title cards: one with a Japanese title, usually shown near the beginning of the episode, and one with an English title, shown after the commercial break. This tradition has even carried over to the Rebuild of Evangelion movies.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • In Futari wa Pretty Cure, a book will flip to show an animation of Nagisa/Natalie and Honoka/Hannah running. Nagisa will trip, and the frame freezes to show the title.
    • Smile PreCure! has chibis of the five Cures fly into a book, which then opens into a pop-up, which the title is displayed over.
    • In Go! Princess Pretty Cure, Cure Flora's wand blooms from a flower, and she picks it up, making petals fly over the screen. When the petals disappear, the titular is displayed over a stained-glass background.
    • Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure starts with bubbles featuring the Cures' faces, before Kururun leaps at the screen, thus revealing the title.
    • In Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure, Yui presents a meal to the audience. The topping splits open and spills all over the dish, and the title appears over top.
  • Pui Pui Molcar uses Potato as a screen transition before showing off a cartoon-style title card.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal's card has a reverse painted silhouette of The Hero Usagi accented by pastel roses, (two of which are in her hair) and pink ben-day dot ribbons. Her long pigtails frame the episode number and title at right.
  • Serial Experiments Lain has a man reading the episode's name then laughing creepily.
  • Doraemon: The 1973 anime has Doraemon holding the title card, while both the 1979 anime and the 2005 anime have a few variations over the years.
  • In Tamagotchi, a specific template is used for the title cards for most of the series, with a moving pattern consisting of the silhouette of a specific character important to the episode being used as a background. In GO-GO Tamagotchi! (the show's fourth and final main story arc, consisting of Seasons 10 and 11), it's changed so that CGI renderings of Mametchi, Memetchi, and Kuchipatchi appear at the bottom of the screen and wave at the viewers.
  • On YuYu Hakusho, after the opening and introduction, there is a title card read aloud by Yusuke.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: After not having official episode titles for two seasons and five episodes, the show starts displaying a title card from "Mr. Baga Ga's Service" (season 3, episode 6) and onwards.
  • Boonie Bears: The episode titles are displayed on a simple black screen. Starting in Season 3, a character says the name of the episode.
  • Happy Heroes has title cards at the beginning of its episodes. The title cards generally show the characters doing some action, usually something related to the episode's premise, before the title itself is shown.
  • Noonbory and the Super 7: The first season has the title appear over a screenshot of the episode, which has a bright, colourful border around it. The second season simply displays the title on screen over the episode.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf's earlier title cards show the characters doing some action before the title itself is displayed. Later seasons usually have an idiosyncratic title card style not showing characters doing anything.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A subversion of the character reading it is usually done in tokusatsu with the narrator reading it usually in a menacing voice. The late Tōru Ōhira was especially fond of this, being the voice of Darth Vader in the Japanese dub of Star Wars, he sometimes liked to read titles in a villain-like manner.
  • In 100 Things to Do Before High School, after the main characters discuss what their new thing is going to be, CJ puts it in her phone, and then shows it to the camera. That leads to the theme song.
  • In The Beiderbecke Trilogy the episode title is always the first line of dialogue, and appears on screen when the line is spoken.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer used title cards in two episodes. The Musical Episode "Once More, with Feeling" used it as part of its theme, while "Conversations with Dead People" used it for no particular reason.
  • Unusually for a talk show, Conan O'Brien's show Conan has episode title cards, though they're fake titles ("Baa Baa Blackmail," "Murder, She Tweeted").
  • Dark Angel didn't use title cards in season one but it did in season two.
  • Doctor Who, as mentioned above. Notable incidents:
    • Before and during "The Gunfighters", each episode would have an individual title, which led to some confusion later when the process was abandoned in favour of naming the current serial instead, usually after one of the episodes in the serial but occasionally arbitrarily. For instance, one serial was called "The Mutants" by the writer, and consisted of episodes called "The Dead Planet", "The Survivors", "The Escape", "The Ambush", "The Expedition", "The Ordeal" and "The Rescue", but the title used by the BBC today is... "The Daleks" (partly because "The Mutants" was reused for a later serial after the introduction of overarching titles).
    • A Character Name and the Noun Phrase title card got used accidentally, twice — "Dr. Who and the Savages" and "Doctor Who and the Silurians". This would not be odious if the character's name was "Dr. Who" (it's not). (In the early years the scripts were in fact routinely titled "Doctor Who and..."; these longer titles persisted through to the Target novelizations until the late 1970s, but the "Doctor Who and" was (almost) always removed for the onscreen title cards.)
    • Some late William Hartnell stories dealing with technology went through a phrase of using idiosyncratic title cards — notably "The War Machines" (which made the text flash line by line as if a computer was printing it out) and "The Tenth Planet" (which made the titles appear over bundles of Matrix Raining Code meant to evoke listening stations).
    • Idiosyncratic title cards occasionally showed up later on as well, such as the title for the Second Doctor story "The War Games" being interspersed with footage of explosions and guns being fired, and the title for the Third Doctor story "Inferno" being displayed over footage of an erupting volcano. Another Third Doctor story seemed to be titled "The Ambassadors"... until after a few shocking seconds of episode footage the title card came back to hilariously add "OF DEATH" to the story name. The melodrama of Who story titles was already the subject of affectionate ridicule, but this one kicked it up a notch.
    • The DVD releases of some early Hartnell stories with individual episode titles have story title cards added at the beginning, due to BBFC rules demanding that the overall title of a work be prominently stated at the start. This was dropped after the introduction of audio-described menus for the blind to the DVD range, which included a loud audio announcement of the story title before the menu screen appeared.
  • Donkey Hodie uses the same shot of Someplace Else with the episode title appearing over it while Donkey reads the title. In "A Donkey Hodie Halloween", however, it was shown over a shot of a autumn-themed backyard.
  • The Doodlebops had title cards superimposed over a pan through the Doodlebops' clubhouse. Beginning with Season 2, the title card is now spoken aloud and the clubhouse is presented as a 2D animated image before it changes to live-action when Deedee and Rooney appear.
  • The Get Down graffitis its episode title onto one of the subway cars that rolls through frame during the Cold Open, and uses the appearance of the subway to cue the theme music.
  • Heroes is well known for working in the titles in creative and sometimes bizarre ways.
  • iCarly and Victorious rarely have title cards except for extended episodes (like the former's "iShock America" — or "iShock The World" depending where you are) or on rare occasions a regular-length episode (like the latter's "The Breakfast Bunch"). On the other hand, their joint spinoff Sam & Cat uses title cards on all its episodes except "#Pilot."
  • Imagination Movers has its title cards show up in the middle of the screen near the beginning of the episode, as it is read aloud by one of the Movers.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Each episode is preceded by its title in red font over a black background.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia does this in every episode, as a hilarious transition from the Cold Open. It usually plays out either like this:
    Charlie: We're gonna go America all over their asses!!
    Title card: Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass
    • or this:
      Frank: I'm just pallin' with the guys! How's anyone gonna get hurt?
      Title card: Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire
    • And this one just because it's hilarious:
      Sweet Dee: We've got big dreams Mac, and we're gonna go follow them!
      Mac: You guys have nothing without this bar.
      Dennis: Don't worry about us Mac, we'll be just fine.
      Title card: Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare
    • Or a claim:
      Dee: Cause Sweet Dee just beat the system.
      Title card: Sweet Dee Gets Audited
    • A notable example:
      Charlie: Who knows? I might even rule the world one day.
      Dennis: Rule the world, huh? If that happens, I'll blow myself.
      Title card: Charlie Rules the World
    • Or:
      Mac: I'm gonna save my dad.
      Title card: Mac Kills his Dad.
  • Not done for most of Legends of Tomorrow, but season 3 episode 17 has a sneaky example: the episode title, "Guest Starring John Noble", appears on screen during the Opening Credits.
  • The very same format as NCIS (below) was used in just about every episode of JAG too, save for the Pilot and a few continuations of MultiPartEpisodes.
  • The Australian drama love is a four letter word played with this as part of its style: we would begin with a cold open, which ended with a Whip Pan and fast zoom over to the word, which was (usually) four letters long. Other such pans in the series would have captions telling us that the word either was or was not a four-letter word.
  • Every episode of NCIS goes Cold Open, Title Sequence, then the action continues while the name of the episode is briefly displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • Odd Squad has its title cards in the form of a folder (manila in Seasons 1 and 2, blue-green in Season 3). The episode titles are always read by Oprah, who opens the folder to reveal a photo from the episode before the camera zooms in and the episode begins. This is due to the fact that, in-universe, episodes of the show are known as cases to Odd Squad themselves.
  • The Outer Limits (1963) has very distinctive title cards; the episode title, and the names of the episode's stars, come right at the viewer, accompanied by the sine wave and (after the first few episodes) the piercing electronic whine from the Title Sequence.
  • Steven Conrad's Patriot and Perpetual Grace LTD both have distinct title cards for each episodes.
  • Police, Camera, Action!, a co-production of ITV and Optomen, had no title cards for the first two episodes Danger Drivers Ahead! (mid-1994) and the generically titled Police Camera Action (late 1994/early 1995), then a background of thermal-imaging camera footage with the episode title in BLOCK CAPITALS between 1995 and 1996. No episode title cards were used for the 1996 special The Man Who Shot O.J about the OJ Simpson trial. From 1997, the title cards were a blue background and white text, with text Like This (capitalised beginning of sentence).
    • From 1999 onwards, a stylized background with BLOCK CAPITALS was used. The title cards were not used for the 2000 special episodes Crash Test Racers or Highway of Tomorrow. The background was changed in 2002 to police footage, and then again in 2007 for the new series presented by Alastair Stewart and Adrian Simpson. The 2008 special episode, listed as "Drink Driving Special" had no title card, but the new 2009-2010 season is likely to have them again.
  • Parodied in Police Squad!, where the Episode Title Card never agrees with the spoken episode title.
  • All Skins episodes are named after their featured character(s); the character featured in any given episode is always the very last person highlighted in the title sequence.
  • Star Trek: Most series in the franchise feature episode names (Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise). However, they're missing for Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. As noted above, in The '60s, when TOS originally aired, nearly all dramatic series displayed episode title cards; TNG and its successors merely kept up this precedent despite it being a product of its time.
  • Star Wars: Both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett display the title of the current "Chapter" after the series title card.
  • Season 2 only of Taina used title cards at the cold open of each episode, in different fonts per episode.
  • In The West Wing, instead of coming after the title sequence, the title card comes right after Previously on…. It is followed the The Teaser, then the Title Sequence.
  • Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? had three different title cards for it's five season run, all of which were announced by the Chief:
    • In Season 1, the title card was displayed before Greg was introduced.
    • In Season 2, the title card was displayed on a book before the Chief introduced the episode's crook and what they had stolen.
    • Finally, for Seasons 3, 4, and 5, the title card capped off the Chief's explanation of the episode's theft.

    Video Games 
  • Asura's Wrath has these, though they can be played around with in some instances. The first episode title appears at the the very end of the episode, and a lot of the other times, the episode title pops up during each episodes opening credits. The same is done for the name of each set of episodes.
  • Rakenzarn Tales uses a blank white one to indicate the start of a new chapter in the game. When the game's creator started work on Rakenzarn Frontier Story, he began using fancier screens showcasing characters or events from that chapter.

    Web Video 


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