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Opening Monologue

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A (short) monologue at the beginning of the work (usually during the Title Sequence) to briefly explaining the show's premise. Their role is to provide the quick Exposition to help the viewer adjust to the changes in the setting, relative to the audience. The monologue can be delivered by any characters or even a narrator. Major characters who fulfill this job may be doing an Inner Monologue. When minor characters fulfill this job, that may be an indication they will act as a Greek Chorus for the work.

Frequently, the monologue can take place over a Montage, but this element is not required. The opening monologue may be paired with a closing monologue, or continued through the rest of the film by whatever character/narrator that began the story.

If the monologue describes a fantastical story around which the plot is based, it's also a Myth Prologue. See also Expository Theme Tune (for a theme song that provides the work's background exposition) and Opening Scroll (the exposition is provided in text on the screen). Sister Trope to Opening Narration (where a recurring work uses an opening monologue Once per Episode). Compare Private Eye Monologue.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing begins with a narrator explaining that the year is After Colony 195 and humans now live both on the Earth and in Outer Space. He also summarizes the causes of the ongoing war at the beginning of the series and occasionally provides in-episode explanation of terms the viewer might not be aware of.
    • This narrator has a tendency to repeat himself, and may go on for several minutes before allowing the plot to start.
  • The original Japanese version of Princess Mononoke places a brief text narrative at the beginning of the film; the English-dubbed version replaces it with a verbal narrative explaining the setting to viewers.

    Audio Play 
  • The Firesign Theatre parodied this trope, along with the entirety of dramatic radio, to devastating effect with their classic "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger", from the album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?:
    Narrator: Los Angeles: He walks again by night! Relentlessly...Ruthlessly...
    Narrator: Doggedly... (dog barks)... towards his weekly meeting with the unknown. At Fourth and Drucker he turns left. At Drucker and Fourth he turns right. He crosses Mac Arthur Park and walks into a great sandstone building.
    Nick Danger: Ow, my nose!
    Narrator: Groping for the door, he steps inside (phone starts ringing)...Climbs the thirteen steps to his office (ring)...He walks in (ring)...He's ready for mystery (ring)...He's ready for excitement (ring)...He's ready for anything (ring)...He's...
    Nick Danger: (picking up phone) Nick Danger, Third Eye.
    Caller: I want to order a pizza to go and no anchovies.
    Nick Danger: No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name...Danger! (hangs up phone)
    Caller: What?

    Fan Works 
  • Last Rights starts with an Infodump from the series' First-Person Smartass Captain Kanril Eleya, explaining why surface armies are still relevant in an era of starships that can glass planets (i.e. you need boots on the ground to capture and hold territory if you want it in anything resembling the state it started), which then segues into the actual story.

    Films — Animated 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games Discovery Family broadcast is preceded by an additional scene of Sunset narrating the two previous movies and parts of "The Science of Magic" and "Pinkie Spy" shorts in a letter to Princess Twilight.
  • 9: "We had such potential, such promise... but we squandered our gifts, our intelligence. Our blind pursuit of technology only sped us quicker to our doom. Our world is ending. Life must go on."
  • The prologue to Disney's Beauty and the Beast establishes the Beast's situation.
  • Sky Blue begins with Jay meditating on how the world got so crap.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs opens with a bit of Fauxlosophic Narration that leads into A Minor Kidroduction, and finishes with a straightforward opening monologue that establishes the whole "Flint wants to invent stuff/Swallow Falls is in a depression" plot point.
  • Lampshaded/subverted in Hercules when Charlton Heston is interrupted in his opening narration by the Muses:
    Narrator: Long ago, in the faraway land of ancient Greece, there was a golden age of powerful gods and extraordinary heroes. And the greatest and strongest of all these heroes was the mighty Hercules. But what is the measure of a true hero? Ah, that is what our story is...
    Thalia: Will you listen to him? He's makin' the story sound like some Greek tragedy.
    Terpsichore: Lighten up, dude.
    Calliope: We'll take it from here, darling.
    Narrator: You go, girl.
  • Both How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and How to Train Your Dragon 2 begin with Hiccup's introduction: "This is Berk..."
  • The animated Felix the Cat movie opens with a laughably CGI version of Felix's head giving us one.
  • Yellow Submarine opens up with a brief introduction to Pepperland.
  • Coco: Miguel gives one in the beginning, explaining the exile of music in the Rivera family.
  • In Turning Red, the story begins with Mei talking about herself and how she does things. According to the DVD commentary, the opening was based around the concept of "How would Mei direct a documentary about herself?"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar When I was lying in the V.A. hospital with a big hole blown through the middle of my life, I started having these dreams of flying. I was free. But sooner or later, you always have to wake up..."
  • Casino Royale (1954)note  begins with Climax! host William Lundigan introducing the film and explaining what a shoe is.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982), delivered by Mako at his hammy best: "Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!"
  • Creepy Sci-Fi/paranoia movie Dark City had an opening monologue clumsily tacked on at the command of the producers, which is a Spoiler Opening for the film's central mystery. Happily, it's been removed from the recent Director's Cut.
  • The Departed: "I don't wanna be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." Hearing that in Jack Nicholson's gruff yet acidic voice sends chills up one's spine.
  • "A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then that it is the year ten-thousand, one-ninety-one..." Narration was used to insane levels in the Dune (1984) movie, in order to condense the plot of a six hundred page book down to two hours without confusing anyone. It didn't really help.
  • Equilibrium starts with a short opening monologue vaguely explaining the events that caused The End of the World as We Know It, and the start of the world "not as we know it", coupled with some historical documentary footage and reused footage from the film itself.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas memorably begins: "We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold..."
  • Freddy vs. Jason: Freddy gets one of these where he explains his origins, how he's been wiped from the collective memory of Springwood, and his plan to use Jason to return once again.
  • James Earl Jones picked up a paycheck to apply his distinctive voice to explaining the setting for the Judge Dredd movie. And to reading off the famous opening lines of Cry, the Beloved Country.
  • Kick-Ass: "I always wondered why nobody did it before me. I mean, all those comic books, movies, TV shows. You think that one eccentric loner would've made himself a costume. I mean, is everyday life really so exciting? Are schools and offices so thrilling that I'm the only one who fantasized about this? Come on, be honest with yourself. At some point in our lives we all want to be a superhero. That's not me by the way. That's some Armenian guy with a history of mental health problems. Who am I? I'm Kick-Ass."
  • Lady Galadriel's opening monologue from the first The Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, which lays down the creation of the Rings of Power, the One Ring, the war against Sauron, and the fates of the One Ring's previous bearers before Bilbo got hold of it. Plus, we don't actually meet Galadriel until almost the end of the movie. A good portion of this speech was cribbed from a speech by Treebeard in the book, but having a sentient tree-shaped being explain the plot in a very slow voice is possibly not the best way to pull your audience in. This monologue actually went through several narrators, including Frodo (rejected because doing so would reveal he had survived) and Gandalf. Galadriel was eventually selected as the person most suitable to giving out such information.
  • In Mad Max:
  • Kevin Costner's version of The Postman began with exposition by a female, who at the end is revealed to be his daughter, giving the story of his life.
  • The movie version of The Golden Compass Northern Lights does this.
  • Serenity starts with an opening monologue in the form of a class history lesson.
    • This marvelously catches up to the movie's "here-and-now" events in a nested Russian Doll fashion.
      • To elaborate, the actual first scene (the Universal logo) is nested in a class video in River's class, which is all part of a dream sequence when she's actually being broken out of the Academy, but then that's all actually a recording being watched by the Operative.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day opens with a monologue delivered by Sarah Connor. The third film, with one by John Connor.
  • Underworld (2003) begins with Kate Beckinsale's character expositing about the war between the vampires and the werewolves.
  • V for Vendetta: "Remember, remember // The 5th of November, // The gunpowder, treason and plot. // I know of no reason // Why the gunpowder treason // Should ever be forgot..."
  • The Warriors either uses or averts this: the theatrical cut opens with a Travel Montage and then drops us into the action. The Director's Cut has an Opening Scroll that drives home the comparison between the movie and Anabasis.
  • The intro to Wing Commander pans over space charts while playing a recording of JFK giving a speech about the Space Race, which segues into other radio broadcasts delivering exposition about the Pilgrams, mankind's invention of Faster-Than-Light Travel, and the disastrous First Contact with the Kilrathi.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    "For nearly forty years, this story has given faithful service to the Young in Heart, and Time has been powerless to put its kindly philosophy out of fashion. To those who have been faithful to it in return... and to the Young in Heart... we dedicate this picture."
  • X-Men Film Series: All are voiced by Professor Charles Xavier, except for Dark Phoenix.
    • X-Men: "Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward."
    • X2: X-Men United: "Mutants. Since their discovery, they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, even hatred. Across the planet, debate rages. Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain, or simply a new species of humanity, fighting for their share of the world? Either way, it is an historical fact: sharing the world has never been humanity's defining attribute."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: "The future: a dark, desolate world, a world of war, suffering, loss on both sides. Mutants, and the humans who dared to help them, fighting an enemy we cannot defeat. Are we destined down this path, destined to destroy ourselves like so many species before us? Or can we evolve fast enough to change ourselves, change our fate? Is the future truly set?"
      • It's paired with a closing monologue: "The past: a new and uncertain world, a world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes. Countless choices define our fate; each choice, each moment, a ripple in the river of time. Enough ripples, and you change the tide, for the future is never truly set."
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: "Mutants, born with extraordinary abilities, and yet still, they are children, stumbling in the dark, searching for guidance. A gift can often be a curse. Give someone wings, and they may fly too close to the sun. Give them the power of prophecy, and they may live in fear of the future. Give them the greatest gift of all, powers beyond imagination, and they may think they are meant to rule the world."
    • As mentioned above, someone else narrates the opening of Dark Phoenix: Jean Grey. This change was done to highlight her increased focus in the story. The monologue is as follows: "Who are we? Are we simply what others want us to be? Are we destined to a fate beyond our control? Or can we evolve, become something more?"
      • Just like X-Men: Days of Future Past, there is also a closing monologue, befitting of its Grand Finale status: "I know who I am now. I am not simply what others want me to be. I am not destined to a fate I can't control. I evolved beyond this world. This is not the end of me, or the X-Men. It's a new beginning."
  • The Agony Booth recaps describe some as "Obnoxious Patronizing / Shouting Narrator".
  • There's one in Transformers, where Optimus Prime explains about the Allspark. Somewhat unnecessary, since he explains again to Sam and Sam explains to the government agents and Optimus explains again to the other Autobots.
  • Hellboy — "What makes a man a man? Is it his origins, the way things start? Or is it something else, something harder to describe? For me it all began in 1944, classified mission off the coast of Scotland. The Nazis were desperate. Combining science and black magic they intended to upset the balance of the war..."
  • Spider-Man: "Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale, if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world... somebody lied. But let me assure you — this, like any story worth telling, is all about a girl...."
  • Looper: "Time travel hasn't been invented yet, but in thirty years, it will be. It will be instantly outlawed, used only in secret by the largest criminal organizations. It's nearly impossible to dispose of a body in the future. I'm told. Tagging techniques, whatnot. So when these future criminal organizations in the future need someone gone, they use specialized assassins in our present, called loopers."
  • Pitch Black opens with the crew of the Hunter Gratzner in stasis in deep space. The captured Riddick notes that his brain —or at least the animalistic side— is still awake, and asserts the situation in voiceover, surveying the rest of the crew and his plans for escape.
  • The opening to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie combines this with Opening Scroll as Dulcea tells the story of the group that would be known as the Power Rangers.
  • Oblivion (2013): Provided by Jack Harper while we get brought up to speed on the characters and situation and see a montage of Scenery Porn (The skies and some parts of the planet that look less wasteland-y), Scenery Gorn (the shot of the bombed-out Pentagon (with implications of it having been ground zero for a nuclear strike during The War) and the remains of New York and Washington, DC), Technology Porn (Tower 49, the Bubble Ship, the collector vessels, the guns and the Tet), Fanservice (Shirtless Scene and Toplessness from the Back) and some Irony in that most of the info is unwitting bullcrap on Jack's part.
  • Pacific Rim's prologue is narrated by the protagonist Raleigh Beckett, who explains about the war of Kaiju and Jaegers. He also briefly continues into the first action scene, to explain some key concepts like dual pilots and the Drift.
  • "...look for it only in books, for it is nothing more than a dream remembered. A Civilization Gone with the Wind."
  • "From the Treaty of the Treason: In penance for their uprising, each district shall offer up a male and female between the ages of 12 and 18 at a public "Reaping". These Tributes shall be delivered to the custody of The Capitol. And then transferred to a public arena where they will Fight to the Death, until a lone victor remains. Henceforth and forevermore this pageant shall be known as The Hunger Games."
  • The Hunt for Red October:
    "...But according to repeated statements by both the Soviet and American governments, nothing of what you are about to see... ever happened."
  • Sunshine: Starts with Robert Capa, Cillian Murphy's character, explaining the situation and how the protagonists got there and what their goal is, in a voice-over during the first minute. To summarize:
    Capa: [We're] ...eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb.
  • Thor: The Dark World: "Long before the birth of light there was darkness, and from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was blossomed through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction."
  • The Neanderthal Man: "In brooding beauty whose parallel one would have far to seek, stand California's high Sierras, fisherman's paradise and hunter's haven, where the defacing hand of civilization has fallen only lightly, and nature's vestments are displayed in all her rugged, primeval abandon."
  • Escape from New York: "In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once-great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: Once you go in, you don't come out." (The woman who does this sounds very much like Jamie Lee Curtis, but it's been claimed it's not her.)
  • At the beginning of Rags, Shawn narrates over some establishing shots about how the story is a Cinderella story that takes place in New York, and stars a boy named Charlie. Shawn also closes out the film with more narration.
  • Youth (2017): Suizi's opening narration introduces herself, the story, and two of the main characters.
    Suizi: My name is Xiao Suizi. Back in the 1970s, I was in the southwest part of the country serving in a provincial military arts troupe. I was a dancer. My comrades called me Suizi. The story that I'm about to tell is the story of our arts troupe. But in this story, I'm not the protagonist. It stars two people.
    [A soldier is seen assisting someone in a raincoat]
    Suizi: His name is Liu Feng. When we sung praises of overlooked heroes and lauded great standouts from the masses, we were praising people like Liu Feng. The girl in the raincoat is named He Xiaoping. A new member of our troupe whom Liu Feng was sent to fetch. Their fate decades later was set in motion on the day he brought her to the troupe.

    Live-Action TV 

Keep in mind, this trope is for single-instance opening narrations. If it happens Once per Episode, it goes under Opening Narration.

  • House of the Dragon: By adult Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy, who's not seen in the series until the sixth episode of Season 1).
    "As the first century of the Targaryen dynasty came to a close, the health of the Old King, Jaehaerys, was failing. In those days, House Targaryen stood at the height of its strength, with 10 adult dragons under its yoke. No power in the world could stand against it. King Jaehaerys reigned for nearly 60 years of peace and prosperity but tragedy had claimed both of his sons, leaving his succession in doubt. So, in the year 101, the Old King called a Great Council to choose an heir. Over 1,000 lords made the journey to Harrenhal. 14 succession claims were heard but only two were truly considered: Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, the King’s eldest descendant and her younger cousin, Prince Viserys Targaryen, the King’s eldest male descendant. Rhaenys, a woman, would not inherit the Iron Throne. The lords instead chose Viserys, my father. Jaehaerys called the Great Council to prevent a war being fought over his succession, for he knew the cold truth: the only thing that could tear down the House of the Dragon was itself."
  • The first episode of Jejak Suara Adzan begins with Dimas telling the viewers about the various uses of social media, leading up to how he is trying to use it in order to become famous.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Once again, Galadriel does the honors:
    "Nothing is evil in the beginning. And there was a time when the world was so young, there had not yet been a sunrise. But even then there was light. We had not word for death. For we thought would be unending. We thought our light would never dim. So when the Great Foe, Morgoth, destroyed the very light of your home... we resisted. And a legion of Elves went to war. We left Valinor, our home, and journeyed to a distant realm. One filled with untold perils and strange creatures beyond count. They said it would be over quickly, but the war left Middle-earth in ruin. And would last centuries. Now, we learned many words for death. In the end, Morgoth would be defeated. But not before much sorrow. For his orcs had spread to every corner of Middle-earth, multiplying ever greater under the command of his most devoted servant, a cruel and cunning sorcerer. They called him Sauron. My brother vowed to seek him out and destroy him. But Sauron found him first and marked his flesh with a symbol one whose meaning even our wisest could not discern. And there, his vow became mine. And so, we hunted. To the ends of the Earth we hunted Sauron. But the trail grew thin. Year gave way to year. Century gave away to century. And for many Elves, the pain of those days passed out of thought and mind. More and more of our kind began to believe that Sauron was but a memory. And the threat, at least, was ended. I wish I could be one of them."
  • The first episode of Mimpi Metropolitan starts with a narration about the city of Jakarta and why people from all over Indonesia (such as the protagonists) come there to make a living.
  • In the Supernatural episode Swan Song, there is an opening monologue given by Chuck.
    Chuck: On April 21, 1967, the 100 millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville — a blue two-door caprice. There was a big ceremony, speeches. The lieutenant governor even showed up. Three days later, another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her. But they should have, because this 1967 Chevrolet Impala would turn out to be the most important car — no, the most important object — in pretty much the whole universe. She was first owned by Sal Moriarty, an alcoholic with two ex-wives and three blocked arteries. On weekends, he'd drive around giving bibles to the poor "gettin' folks right for judgment day". That's what he said. Sam and Dean don't know any of this, but if they did, I bet they'd smile. After Sal died, she ended up at Rainbow Motors, a used-car lot in Lawrence, where a young marine bought her on impulse. That is, after a little advice from a friend. I guess that's where this story begins. And here's where it ends.
  • The first episode of The Noddy Shop opens up with one by its' protagonist Noah Tomten:
    "Once upon a time, there was a magical shop in a town called Littleton Falls. When I was a boy, I knew it was magic because things moved on the shelves when no one was looking. Then I grew up and went to sea and sailed around the world, but I always knew I'd come back and run this shop someday. Oh, I forgot to tell you. My name is Noah Tomten, and this is the Noddy Shop!"

  • The Six Shooter has an opening monologue describing the hero and ending in a Title Drop:
    The man in the saddle is angular and long-legged. His skin is sun-dyed brown. The gun in his holster is gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl, its handle unmarked. People call them both 'the Six Shooter'.

    Tabletop Games 
  • "In the Grim Darkness of the far future, there is only war." Enough said.
    • The novels have their own longer variation:
    "It is the 41st millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die."
    "Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the Warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomicon, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor's will. Vast armies give battle in His name on uncounted worlds. His soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defense forces, the ever-vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all of their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse."
    "To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the Grimdark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods."
  • What with Rocket Age being written in the style of old pulp serials, every adventure has a monologue that can be read out if the Games Master so wishes, preferably in melodramatic style to match the text.

  • When A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was in touring before the Broadway opening, the audience was not sure how to take it. So a monologue and opening number ("Comedy Tonight") was added to tell the audience that this was a comedy and not to be taken seriously. The monologue was:
    Playgoers, I bid you welcome. The theater is a temple, and we are here tonight to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy. Tonight, I am pleased to announce, a comedy. We shall employ every device we know in our desire to divert you.
  • Naturally, the plays of William Shakespeare have numerous examples, including:
    • As You Like It starts out with Orlando giving a whopping As You Know speech containing more or less the entire backstory of the play.
    • In The Comedy of Errors, Aegon gives most of the show's exposition about the backstory of the twins in a single very long monologue in the play's first scene.
    • The exposition for Henry IV, Part 2 is delivered by Rumor, personified as a character "full of tongues."
    • Richard III begins with our Big Bad title character covering most of the exposition with his "Now is the winter of our discontent..."
    • Romeo and Juliet and Henry V each feature a famous opening monologue delivered by an anonymous narrator, the so-called "Chorus" (the name being a holdover from ancient Greek theatre).
  • Chicago opens with an audience advisory from a member of the Ensemble:
    Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery — all the things we hold near and dear to our hearts.
  • The Turn of the Screw (Benjamin Britten's opera) adapts the novel's prologue into an opening neo-Baroque recitative for tenor and piano, explaining how the Governess's story was discovered and how she came to reluctantly accept her position. There is no further narration, leaving the tenor free to double as the villain, Peter Quint.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The first Devil May Cry opens with the narrator's monologue explaining Sparda's rebellion against the Underworld.
      Narrator: Two millenniums ago, there was a war. Between the human world and the other... the Underworld. But somebody from the Underworld woke up to justice, and stood up against this legion, alone. His name was Sparda. Later, he quietly reigned the human world, and continued to preserve harmony, until his death. He became a legend. The Legendary Dark Knight, Sparda.
    • The second game starts with a narrator's recap of Sparda's legend and a brief introduction to his son, Dante.
      Narrator: In a time, long since past... In an age of darkness, when the Earth was overrun with demons... and humans were powerless under their rule... Humanity's hope... lived in a demon, named Sparda. With a spirit unlike any other, and wielding the sword that bore his own name... Sparda eradicated the demons... And now... the Legend of Sparda, has been inherited, by his son... The demon slayer... Dante!
    • The third game, meanwhile, begins with a monologue from Lady, first explaining the legend of Sparda, then about how she never believed it until she met his two sons. This monologue is spoken over a Battle in the Rain between Dante and Vergil.
      Lady: You've heard of it, haven't you? The legend of Sparda? When I was young, my father would tell me stories about it. Long ago, in ancient times, a demon rebelled against his own kind for the sake of the human race. With his sword, he shut the portal to the demonic realm and sealed the evil entity off from our human world. But since he was a demon himself, his power was also trapped on the other side. I never believed it. I thought it was just a child's fairy tale. I discover that the so-called legend wasn't a myth at all. Sparda existed. How do I know? Well... I met the sons of Sparda - Both of them. Though the same blood of their father flow through their veins, the two battled each other fiercely like arch enemies. It seems as if they drive some twisted pleasure from this brotherly fighting. But in the end... only one was left standing.
  • MechWarrior 3 opened with a short explanation so that people would know just enough to get the opening cinematic. Meanwhile, the cinematic that shows how your task force ended up in its exact situation explained a lot more of the plot than would be necessary for someone about to drop into a war zone and who would theoretically know at least basic history.
  • "I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?" The monologue delivered near the beginning of BioShock by said Magnificent Bastard is one of the most eloquent and well done speeches in any game.
  • Half-Life 2 gives us the well spoken and Well-Intentioned Extremist Doctor Breen who, over the course of the game can be heard giving various speeches addressed to the Combine, citizens, and even the One Free Man himself, all in a lulling and intelligent manner.
    "Welcome, welcome to City 17."
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia begins with an explanation about the eponymous order and its duty to combat Dracula.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a narration and montage explaining the origins of the darkspawn and the Grey Wardens, followed by a narration specific to your character's origin story.
    "The Chantry teaches us that it is the hubris of men that first brought the Darkspawn into our world..."
  • Ben's classic monologue in Full Throttle.
    When I think of asphalt, I think of Maureen. That's the last sensation I had before I blacked out: the think smell of asphalt. And the first thing I saw when I woke up was her face. She said she'd fix my bike. Free. No strings attached. I should've known then that things are never that simple. Yeah, when I think of Maureen, I think of two things: asphalt...and trouble.
  • The narrator's monologue in the third installment of Star Control.
  • The creators of Total Annihilation didn't have enough money for much of a story, but what little story (and money) they had was put into an opening video with some narration.
    "What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machines escalated into a war which has decimated a million worlds. The Core and the Arm have all but exhausted the resources of a galaxy in their struggle for domination. Both sides now crippled beyond repair, the remnants of their armies continue on ravaged planets, their hatred fuelled by over 4,000 years of total war. This is a fight to the death. For each side the only acceptable outcome is the complete elimination of the other."
  • The opening speech by Kratos, in Tales of Symphonia.
  • "Dragon's Lair, the fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight..."
    • "Space Ace, defender of truth, justice and the planet Earth..."
  • "In the year 2291, in an attempt to control violence among deep-space miners, the New Earth Government legalized no-holds-barred fighting. The Liandri Mining Corporation, working with the NEG, established a series of leagues and bloody public exhibitions. The fight's popularity grew with their brutality. Soon, Liandri discovered that the public matches were their most profitable enterprise. The professional league was formed: a cabal of the most violent and skilled warriors in known space, selected to fight in a Grand Tournament. Now it is 2341. Fifty years have passed since the founding of Deathmatch. Profits from the tournament number in the hundreds of billions."
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: "Some people think time is like a river, that flows swift and true in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you... they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am, and why I say this. Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard."
  • Modern Warfare: "Fifty thousand people used to live it's a ghost town."
  • Mega Man Legends has one that starts with "In a land covered with endless water..."
  • Bayonetta has the most awesome opening narration sequence ever. The naration is going while the player is fighting off a horde of angels on pieces of a destroyed clocktower that's plummeting down the side of a cliff. And the game only gets more awesome.
  • Zero Wing: "In AD 2101 War Was Beginning..."
  • Star Fox 64: "Corneria, fourth planet of the Lylat System. The evil Andross turned this once thriving system into a wasteland of near extinction. General Pepper of the Cornerian Army was successful in banishing this maniacal scientist to the deserted, barren planet, Venom....
  • NieR begins with Kainé giving Grimoire Weiss a piece of her mind about his helping the Shadowlord . In the form of a screaming, obscenity-laden rant.
    Kainé: Weiss, you dumbass! Start making sense, you rotten book, or you're gonna be sorry! Maybe I'll rip your pages out one by one, or maybe I'll put you in the goddamn furnace! How can someone with such a big, smart brain get brainwashed like a little bitch, huh? "Oh, Shadowlord, I love you, Shadowlord! Come over her and give Weiss a big, sloppy kiss, Shadowlord!" Now pull your head out of your goddamn ass and START FUCKING HELPING US!
  • Chrono Cross: "What was the start of all this? // When did the cogs of fate begin to turn? // Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now, // From deep within the flow of time... // But, for a certainty, back then, // We loved so many, yet hated so much, // We hurt others and were hurt ourselves... // Yet even then we ran like the wind // Whilst our laughter echoed, // Under cerulean skies..."
  • World of Warcraft has an opening narration when you create a new character specific to race. They were updated after the revamp of the old world during Cataclysm; even the races whose starting areas and quests, the Blood Elves and Draenei, were not radically changed got a new version.
  • Badlands uses this in Buck's case:
    Buck: Badlands. We were living a quiet life, when one day, for no reason, my wife and my children were killed in cold blood! And I was wounded, unable to help. Why this? Why us? Why? I won't let them get away with it! I'll get every last one of them!
  • Homeworld has a rather epic one.
  • X3: Terran Conflict: "Almost a millennium has passed since the last great plague of human kind had been wiped out from the solar system and its precious blue pearl planet Earth."
    • Its predecessor X3: Reunion set the narration up as a news bulletin. Watch it here.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir doesn't start with this; first you build your party aboard the Vigilant. When you go belowdecks, Volothamp Geddarm narrates an opening montage.
  • The game adaptation of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (but not the original short story) opens with AM's rant about how much he HATES, HATES, HATES humanity, performed with maximum ham by Harlan Ellison himself.
  • Super Metroid: "The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace." Then a log entry by Samus, and the game begins.
    • The initial European release and all subsequent versions of Metroid Prime released thereafter open with a narration about Samus.
  • Space Pirates and Zombies has a fairly long one, narrated by The Cynical Brit.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II's premise is explained in the intro by an unidentified narrator — "The troubles all began three years ago, with the passing of the old king, Lord Ironfist...".
  • "Inspired by his never ending quest for progress, in 2084, man perfects the Robotrons, a robot species so advanced, that man is inferior to his own creation..."note 
    • It's storyline sequel Blaster (a first person shooting game, but not necessarily this kind) also has onenote : "It is the year 2085. The Robotrons have destroyed the human race..."
  • "The year is 1999.note  Television has adapted to the more violent nature of man. The most popular form of television remains the game show. One show in particular has dominated the ratings. That show is Smash TV, the most violent game show of all time..."
  • Yet another Attract Mode on-screen variant occurs in Rastan, which is given in English.note 
    I used to be a thief and a murderer, otherwise I could not survive in such difficult times. Sit beside me and listen to my story of days full of adventure.
    • In the Japanese version, there is also an additional opening narration that occurs before the first stage.
  • "The era and time of this story is unknown. After the mothership "Arkanoid" was destroyed, a spacecraft "Vaus" scrambled away from it. But only to be trapped in space warped by someone........"
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: "Why do I... know? Why... Why do I know... These things?"
  • Virtue's Last Reward: "Why do people betray one another? If you can't trust anyone then everyone should DIE."
  • Saints Row IV opens to narration provided by Jane Austen concerning the Third Street Saints' rise to power and stardom, as well as what it means to be a hero.
  • "In another time, in another world... The Blue Crystal Rod kept the kingdom in peace / But the demon Druaga hid the rod and the maiden Kinote  in a tower / The prince Gilgamesh weared gold armor and attacked monsters to help Ki in The Tower of Druaga"
    • "...The world is waiting for The Return of Ishtar"
  • "The police cannot stop the street gangs... As a vigilante, you must defend your people's turf!!!"
    • "The Skinheads have taken Madonnanote  hostage. Take the lawnote  into your own hands!"
  • The first installment of The Chaos Engine series starts with a few screens of text describing the titular machine's rise to power and short presentation of six mercenaries who were sent to destroy it.
  • Esh's Aurunmilla has two narrations, which are one narration with a narrator with a low voice and one with Don Davis as the narrator.
  • "A Kung-Fu Master Thomas and Sylvia were attacked by several unknown guys (Sylvia was kidnapped by them)..."note 
  • One of these begins The Binding of Isaac:
    Isaac and his mother lived alone in a small house on a hill. Isaac kept to himself, drawing pictures, and playing with his toys, as his mom watched Christian broadcasts on the television. Life was simple, and they were both happy. That was until the day Isaac's mom heard a voice from above...
  • Each Operation in Medal of Honor: Vanguard begins with Keegan narrating over stock footage of World War Two, giving the context to the respective Operation.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon's campaign begins with an opening monologue narrated by Admiral Amelia:
    It is the golden age of exploration, solar-powered light ships fly the Etherium of deep space, bringing colonists and trade to every corner of the galaxy. But even a golden age has its dangers, some natural and some decidedly less so...
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 both begin with this, giving the basic rundown of the respective games' world and situation.
  • The Distant Prologue of Reunion (1994) is 10 minutes long. There are about 4 minutes of Raygun Gothic lineart slideshow narrated with a thick accent, followed by 4 minutes of colourful A New Hope-inspired animation of rebels taking over an orbital station, then 1.5 more minutes of narrated lineart slideshow, and finally the same voice telling the game objectives — to reconquer Earth and reunite.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert begins with the protagonist giving a cursory backstory to Amanda and himself: Lainie dying while giving birth to Amanda, the protagonist making a meal for Amanda which would eventually become her favorite food, the protagonist always drumming one important life lesson into Amanda, and the protagonist opening a diner to teach Amanda the value of hard work.
  • Melody begins with one in which the protagonist explains that everything happens for a reason, and that a misfortune ended up leading him to true love.

    Web Comics 
  • Apricot Cookie(s)! opens with the eponymous character practicing her opening monologue in case someone makes a comic about her.
  • The first Level 30 Psychiatry comic has a narration that turns out to be Roll reading aloud a flyer for the titular business.
  • The second and third Electric Wonderland stories begin with an explanation describing the comic's futuristic Cyberspace setting and (vaguely) the four main characters. In the third story, characters' word balloons obscure large parts of the opening narration, and it is never used again.
  • Parodied in the first episode of Everyday Heroes.
  • Girl Genius starts with a storyteller (an Author Avatar of Phil Foglio) telling a little tale to kids - presumably he's telling the Girl Genius story itself.
    Now, this isn't a Heterodyne Story like your mama tells you when she tucks you into bed at night ... well, not exactly.

    Web Original 
  • LG15: the resistance: "The fountain of youth is real, and it's in the blood of dozens of girls across the world..." This is shown over a montage of all the natural trait positive characters to appear in lonelygirl15 and KateModern.
  • Doom House:
    My name is Reginald P. Linux, and ever since my wife died I've been very depressed. This is why I've been searching for the house of my dreams, but as a philosopher once said, "Be careful what you dream for because you JUST... MIGHT... GET IT."

    Western Animation 
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog has one, provided by the Nowhere Newsman.
    Nowhere Newsman: We interrupt this program to bring you...Courage the Cowardly Dog Show, starring Courage the Cowardly Dog! Abandoned as a pup, he was found by Muriel, who lives in the middle of Nowhere with her husband Eustace Bagge! But creepy stuff happens in Nowhere. It's up to Courage to save his new home!
  • Futurama seems like it's starting with one of these, then it zooms out to reveal that Fry is just playing a video game and providing his own commentary. It perfectly sets the tone for the show.
    Fry: Space. It seems to go on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you.
  • Mighty Mouse begins his Bakshi episode "Mighty's Wedlock Whimsy" note  on a stage thusly:
    Today kiddies, we're going to tell an imaginary story. Y'see, it never really happened. It's what we call a cautionary tale.


Video Example(s):


Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II

The campaign for Dawn of War II opens with the introduction of Sub-Sector Aurelia, where the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines have been fighting relentlessly to defend their recruiting worlds against the invading xenos forces. Among these Space Marines is the player character, who has recently been promoted to Force Commander to lead the Blood Ravens to victory.

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Example of:

Main / OpeningMonologue

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