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Opening Narration
aka: Saga Sell

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A short monologue at the beginning of a series (usually during the Title Sequence) that briefly explains the series's premise. These are typically vague and prosaic, sometimes falling into Fauxlosophic Narration, and are delivered either by a lead character, or by a Narrator. The content is similar to the expository type of theme tune.

Usually, these monologues do not change much over the course of a series, though some shows do revise them from season to season. The whole concept is probably an artifact from the days of radio, when, lacking title graphics, shows needed a memorable speech at the beginning to identify themselves to listeners.

Sometimes, a show's first episode will start with a "Cold Opening", another name for The Teaser, and in every episode thereafter the Opening Narration will take its place. This will only happen if said episode is a Welcome Episode or an Everyone Meets Everyone Premiere.

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Also becoming increasingly common in Animes is to use a clip montage of the respective episode with the show's main character(s) explaining the plot of the episode.

Especially common for Speculative Fiction; often because the assumption that Viewers Are Morons prevails.

Also known as a prologue or a "saga sell", an opening narration is often used to 'set the scene' at the opening of a show that might be confusing for first-time viewers (Joss Whedon famously used one for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as the show was initially a mid-season replacement and new viewers might not 'get' the concept). See Opening Monologue when this trope is used for standalone works or exclusively at the beginning of a series.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • During the three prologues of Soul Eater, the narrator, who is later revealed to be Lord Death, begins each episode with "Welcome to the Death Weapon Meister Academy, commonly known as the DWMA..." and about a minute and a half more of explanation of the goal of the DWMA, and the role of meisters and Kishins, and so on. Oddly, weapons are not mentioned. The narration is the same each time it is said.
    • Before each episode actually begins, Maka always says "A healthy soul resides in a healthy mind and a healthy body."note 
  • Best Student Council: "At Miyagami Private Academy, there is a group of beautiful girls, who have power and authority on par with the faculty members. Miyagami Academy Maximum Authority-Wielding Best Student Council. Or for short: Best Student Council!"
  • The first chapter of Delicious in Dungeon opens with a short Info Dump from the narrator which sets up the background of the story.
  • Shugo Chara!: "All kids hold an egg in their soul... the egg of our hearts... our would-be selves... yet, unseen..."note 
  • Early episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! had the "Long ago, when the pyramids were still young" speech in the dub, and the "History of Gaming" speech in the original Japanese (based on the opening "narration" of the first manga chapter).
  • Outlaw Star has a different Opening Narration before each episode which is used to deliver background information, set the theme for the following episode, or even introduce themes for the series in general.
  • The DiC English dub of the first season of Sailor Moon used them... spoiling half the series in the process.
    • The original version had a short summary of the episode at the start, as well as a more typical narration after the opening — Usagi explaining the plot of the series. The latter segment was upgraded at least once, with the addition of Mercury and Mars.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: "A butler is one who serves..."
  • Shakugan no Shana: "Infinite time stopped beating its heart, and humans burnt away without making any noise..."
  • Yakitate!! Japan: "There's German bread, English bread, French bread, but there's no Japanese bread, or Ja-pan. Which means there's nothing to do except to invent it..."
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: "Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost: that is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth."
    • In episode 37, a variant of this monologue is delivered by Riza Hawkeye in place of the ordinary pre-credits sequence.
    • In the final stretch of the series, it changes to: "The Philosopher's Stone: those who possess it no longer bound by the laws of equivalent exchange in alchemy. They gain without sacrifice, create without equal exchange; we searched for it, and we found it."
    • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had one of these for the first dozen or so episodes, where the narrator explained how alchemy is a science, not magic and how human transmutation is taboo.
  • Berserk begins every episode with: "In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control, even over his own will." It is only revealed in the final episodes that the ominous voice that gives this monologue is Void, the de facto leader of the Godhand.
    • The dub outtakes feature the narrator screwing up the intro repeatedly, including a Beavis And Butthead style intro and one where he talks about "tiny red objects", letting you know that he wasn't given much background on the actual series, but then getting really into his part as Void and starts demanding that the voice director can't make him go away even though the series is over.
  • In Detective Conan, all of the movies have Conan explaining the basic plot of the series. All of the Japanese episodes state that he's an adult trapped in a child's body.
  • The first few episodes of The Vision of Escaflowne began with Hitomi narrating: "Sore wa yume? Soredemo maboroshi? (Is it a dream? Or an illusion?)" while the episode title was shown. It stopped about halfway through, though.
  • The first few episodes of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou have Fuji-hime explaining the show's premise. In the first episode, this intro continues into the actual beginning of the explained events before finally showing the opening sequence.
  • One Piece changed this up each season. The first season's is by far the most famous: "Wealth. Fame. Power. Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates had seemingly attained everything the world has to offer..."
    • All the ones after season one were subversions:
      • Season 2 opened each episode with Gold Roger's last words, where he talks about the nature of freedom.
      • Season 3 starts with Gold Roger making a speech about the reasons pirates travel the seas.
      • Season 4 starts with Luffy telling us the premise, and getting all worked up over how awesome this week's adventure is going to be.
      • From season 5 on, the show dropped the opening narration altogether. Strangely, this resulted in the intro sequence getting longer.
    • The start of the New World Saga (which marks the series' halfway point) sees the return of the original narration.
  • "In matters relating to the world of the dead, there is an institution that judges the sins of the deceased, the Ministry of Hades. The Summons Section of the Judgment Bureau comprises a group supporting the ministry's operating functions by guiding the lost souls that wander the mortal world; they are also known as the Guardians of Death"- Descendants of Darkness
  • Tokyo Mew Mew "The Earth, an exquisite, blue planet with more than a million species living on it..."
  • Transformers Armada had three. The first, lasting until about episode 15, was Rad explaining the situation to the viewer. After that, a proper narrator took over, giving a more cosmic description of the premise with some variation from episode to episode. In about episode 40, this narrator switched to a third, Unicron-centric, spoileriffic monologue.
  • In the second and third season of Ranma ½ after the opening themes, there is quick narration of Ranma's arranged marriage to Akane and an explanation of Ranma's curse
  • Cat Planet Cuties, rather than having one of its own, starts borrowing and slightly modifying other shows' narrations from episode three onward.
  • Macross Frontier has a few different ones in the first half dozen or so episodes which would usually touch on the basic premise, then go into different aspects of the setting as necessary for the episode in question.
  • "This is the story... of the super force... of space explorers. Specially trained and sent by the alliance to bring back... Voltron, defender of the universe." (Both Lion and Vehicle versions)
  • Both the original GoLion and Dairugger XV have one each before the opening sequence proper.
  • Humanoid Monster Bem tells the origins of the trio.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena begins with the shadow play girls narrating a fairy tale about the girl (Utena) who was inspired to become a Prince.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: "This is the story of a man who has yet to realize his own destiny."
  • Slayers: Particularly the first season does this, but also the fourth and fifth. (The one from the first season is actually at the top of the show's page.)
  • Pani Poni Dash! didn't always do it, but when they did it would go along the lines of "Rebecca Miyamoto. Born of an American father and a Japanese mother. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the youngest graduate in the school's history. She then returned to Japan to become a high school teacher. However... she was only 10 years old at the time!"
  • Digimon Xros Wars implemented one of these in a franchise which hasn't used the trope before - Taiki delivered the narration for the first half, wherein it varied slightly in every episode, and a single stock monologue was delivered by an unnamed narrator in the second half. In the sequel, Tagiru delivers a single unchanging narration.
  • GaoGaiGar has this after the last line of the opening theme song: "This is the story of the brave men and women who protect the Earth."
  • "Meteoro" (the Latin-American Spanish dub of Speed Racer) uses one accompanied by an instrumental version of the original Japanese opening theme song.
  • "Battle of the Planets! G-Force, Princess! Tiny! Keyop! Mark! Jason!note And watching over them from Center Neptune, their computerized coordinator, 7-Zark-7..."note 
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, Kim narrates a legend relevant to the episode or talks about the Tree of Life at the beginning of every episode.
  • Ashita no Nadja: "A long, long time ago... about a hundred years ago... the story I'm about to tell you took place. It's about a girl... who opened the door to her destiny." This plays before the Title Sequence of the first few episodes, and is altered at the end of the final episode.
  • Transformers Cybertron: "Our worlds are in danger. To save them and the galaxy, we must find the four Cyber Planet Keys before the Decepticons can use them for evil. It is our mission. Hot Shot! Jetfire! Vector Prime! Landmine! Scattorshot! Optimus Prime! Transform and roll out."
  • The English dub of Yo-Kai Watch has an Expository Theme Tune but also has a narrative beforehand. It's probably justified as most outside of Japan don't know what Yōkai are; in fact the children in-series don't either.
    Unexplained occurrences happen every day. But if you possess the "Yokai Watch" you will have the amazing and rare ability to see the illusive "yokai", invisible, spirit-like entities responsible for life's daily annoyances. But beware: When a yokai enters your life, things will never be quite the same.
  • The anime adaptation of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note has the following, followed by the summary of the previous episode:
    I'm Aya Tachibana. I couldn't have imagined that my encounter with four super-eccentric boys would change my life so much. This is the story of the exciting cases that we, Detective Team KZ, solve.
  • For a number of years now, the Pokémon movies have started with an opening narration explaining what Pokémon are and how they co-exist with humans, along with introducing us to Satoshi/Ash and pals.
  • The first few Wandering Son episodes end and begin with monologues.
  • The Urara Meirocho anime has this:
    The Narrator: Sometimes, people lose their way to their fate, or the crossroads of life, as they wander through the maze of their everyday lives. In those times, a diviner can present you with an arrow pointing you to the right choice. The magical power that points the way is sometimes panacea, sometimes poison. To possess that power, one must be a girl who has passed her fifteenth birthday. The girls in this fortune-telling town are sometimes goddesses, sometimes witches—
    Cast in unision: Urara!
  • Doraemon: The Disney XD opening has Doraemon explain that he helps Noby with his gadgets, but something always goes wrong.

    Audio Plays 
  • Erika and the Princes in Distress : The first episode of the audio adaptation opens with one, which briefly describes the world in which the story takes place.
    Narrator: Imagine a world... A world in which genders as we know them would be reversed, swapped around. A world in which women would be the dominant gender, and in which men would be a little more, let's say... weak. This story first starts in the Kingdom of Brutes. Ah, here! There seems to be a bit of action in the castle's courtyard.
  • Stan Freberg parodied the opening narration of the TV Show Dragnet in his hit audio sketch Saint George and the Dragonet.
    Narrator: The legend you are about to hear is true. Only the needle should be changed to protect the record.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics does the written version of this trope in the first page of its books:
    • The main example: "And there came a day when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, The Avengers were born - to fight the foes no single super-hero could withstand!"
    • These days usually combined with a Previously On….
    • A familiar example from the Bronze Age: "Cyclops. Storm. Banshee. Nightcrawler. Wolverine. Colossus. Children of the atom, students of Charles Xavier, MUTANTS — feared and hated by the world they have sworn to protect. These are the STRANGEST heroes of all! Stan Lee presents: THE UNCANNY X-MEN!"
  • Around the Turn of the Millennium DC Comics did this too, usually with a stylized caption on the title page of each story.
    • "I made a vow on my parents' graves to rid this city of the evil that took their lives. By day, I am Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist. By night, criminals, a superstitious and cowardly lot, call me... Batman."
    • "Rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet Krypyon, the baby Kal-El was found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent in Smallville, Kansas. Now an adult, Clark Kent fights for Truth Justice and the American Way as SUPERMAN."
      • Parodied in one issue as "Created out of the thin air by the magically empowered Joker (don't ask), this misunderstood backwards version of Superman came to Earth in a mysterious manner. (Yes, you find out in a few pages). Now fights for the knuckleheaded way as BIZARRO".
    • The Joe Kelly run on Action Comics used bullet points: "Doomed Planet Krypton. The rocket. A child. Journey across cold space. Earth. Smallville. Crashlanding. The Kents. Learns TRUTH, JUSTICE and THE AMERICAN WAY. Faster than a speeding bullet. Stronger than a locomotive. A man can fly. Believe."
      • There was also a Krypto variant in one issue: "Idyllic Planet Krypton. The visitor. Journey between dimensions. Earth. Fortress. Kelex. Learns LOYALTY, OBEDIENCE and RESPECT FOR PUBLIC PROPERTY. Faster than a streaking cat. Stronger than a comet. A dog can fly. Woof."
  • Books featuring superhero teams will often include a "team lineup" at the start of every issue. It usually involves headshots of each member, along with their name and a brief description of their powers. See Intro Dump for a related version of this.
  • Asterix: "The year is 50BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely... one small village of the indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium..." Underwent severe Memetic Mutation in France, where the opening narration is sufficiently recognisable to be used for Stock Shout-Outs, and is printed in full on a plaque on the old headquarters of Pilote magazine.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: Most (but not all) annuals begin as follows: "Earth is dead. Those who once might have called it home are long scattered to the endless stars. But in that scattering, on a thousand different worlds, by a thousand different ways... Earth's greatest legends live on."
  • Star Trek: Early Voyages: The opening narration is a slight variation on that of Star Trek: The Original Series: "Space... the final frontier. Before James T. Kirk, before Jean-Luc Picard, there was Christopher Pike. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before..."

    Fan Works 
  • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, every chapter except for the prologue and the first chapter of the inner story begins with stock narration based on that in The Book of the Thousand and One Nights: "The next morning... and then she began to speak." There is some variation, most notably between weekday and weekend.
  • The Dragon Age: Inquisition series Twice Upon an Age is littered with notes from Varric Tethras, who is credited as the editor of the series. The side volume Agents Acquired, however, opens with the longest one of these in the entire series, to give Varric room in which to explain just why the story exists and how annoyed the author is with him for insisting that they write it.

    Literature 
  • Every Captain Underpants book starts with a paragraph introducing the reader to George and Harold and describing them, concluding with the words "Remember that now". The second part of the two parter expanded upon this by introducing the other side characters and the book's villains who were currently chasing them.
  • Every novel in The Wheel of Time opens with an introductory passage saying: The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend Fades to Myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
  • From the second Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel (The Ripped Page Knows) on, the first chapter (titled Aya Tachibana's Monologue from the third novel on) of every novel would include a brief summary of the premise, including what Soccer Team KZ is, how she get to know them, then followed by some materials that are different in different novels. The spinoff series Yousei Team G Jiken Note is similar, with the opening chapter called Tennen Character.
  • All the Sector General novels use exactly the same paragraph of exposition describing the setting on the third or fourth page. The effect makes it seem very similar to a TV series having an Opening Narration between The Teaser and the main body of the episode.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign has each volume begin with a prologue by the White Queen, explaining the theme of the volume.

    Podcasts 
  • The first episode of Mystery Show started with A Minor Kidroduction. All the subsequent episoders started with its Opening Narration:
    Starlee: "I'm Starlee Kine, and this is Mystery Show. Every week, I solve a new mystery. Mysteries that can't be solved online. Mysteries you can't solve yourself. Up until now, there hasn't been anyone to help with this. That person is now me."

    Puppet Shows 
  • Thunderbirds: "Five... four... three... two... one! Thunderbirds are go!"
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: "The Mysterons: sworn enemies of Earth... leading the fight, one man whom fate has made indestructible! His name: Captain Scarlet."
  • In the American adaptation of The D.J. Kat Show, after D.J. does his Theme Tune Rap, the narrator gives a different opening narration that is specific to each episode, followed by a Title Scream. He then gives a different introduction for D.J.'s human assistant "Elizabeth!"note  (season 1) / "Jennifer Davis!"note  (season 2).
  • 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!"

    Radio 
  • On the radio, Our Miss Brooks always began with a narrator introducing Miss Brooks as an English teacher at Madison High School. The narrator would often note something about the day's plot; often cuing some wry remarks by Miss Brooks herself in response, this in turn leading into the episode proper.
  • "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"
  • On radio, each episode of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar began with the announcer declaring "Time now for...", followed by a telephone ring that would be answered by the leading man saying "Johnny Dollar". This was used to great effect following a Cliffhanger in which Dollar had been shot: the phone rings several times before a heavily medicated Dollar answers the phone from a hospital bed. The first season included an extended opening narration afterward, noting that, "When it comes to insurance investigations, he's simply an expert; when it comes to padding his expense reports, he's an outright genius."
  • The Lone Ranger - "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear..." It wasn't always the first line though. Usually, it was: "A fiery horse with a speed of light, a cloud of dust, and hearty 'Hi-o Silver!' (The Lone Ranger rides again!)".
  • "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".
  • The radio version of Gunsmoke had a real classic:
    Announcer: Around Dodge City and in the territory out west, there's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that's with a U.S. Marshal and the smell of...Gunsmoke! (theme music starts) Gunsmoke, starring William Conrad. The story of the violence that moved west with young America, and the story of a man who moved with it.
    William Conrad: I'm that man. Matt Dillon, United States Marshal. The first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful...and a little lonely.
  • "From approximately coast to coast, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding present the CBS Radio Network."
  • "Lights Out brings you stories of the supernatural and the supernormal, dramatizing the fantasies and the mysteries of the unknown. We tell you this frankly, so if you wish to avoid the excitement and tension of these imaginative plays, we urge you calmly - but sincerely - to turn off your radio...now."
  • "And now, another tale well-calculated to keep you in...Suspense!"
  • "Tired of the everyday routine? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you... Escape!"
  • "From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Street & Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, present... X...Minus...One!"
  • "Welcome to Just a Minute!"
  • The Guy Noir sketch on A Prairie Home Companion: "A dark night, in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the twelfth floor of the ACME building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir... Private Eye."
  • (sung) J-E-L-L-O! Don Wilson: The Jell-O Program, starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingston, Rochester, Dennis Day, Phil Harris and his orchestra, and yours truly, Don Wilson! The orchestra opens the program with (song title)!
  • You Bet Your Life (Groucho Marx's radio comedy quiz series), involving a Title Drop:
    George Fenneman: Ladies and gentlemen, don't tell a soul, but the secret word tonight is <word>. W-O-R-D.
    Groucho Marx: Really?!
    George Fenneman: You bet your life!
  • "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman)!"
    • The radio show was the origin of this famous intro, and was later carried over to at least three other adaptations.
  • Dragnet would open with a similar disclaimer to the one used on TV ("The story you are about to hear is true"). Then, announcer Hal Gibney would intone:
    Dragnet, the documented drama of an actual crime. For the next thirty minutes, in cooperation with state, federal and local authorities, you will travel step-by-step on the side of the law through an actual case history, transcribed from official police files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Dragnet is the story of your police force in action.
  • The original radio series The Green Hornet:
    He hunts the biggest of all game: public enemies who try to destroy our America... With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the Underworld, risking his life so that criminals and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of the Green Hornet!... Ride with Britt Reid as he races toward another thrilling adventure! The Green Hornet strikes again!
    • Early versions of the narration had it as "He hunts the biggest of all game: public enemies even the G-men can't touch..." Legend has it that was changed at the behest of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who did not like the implication that there were any public enemies that his Special Agents (the "G-men") couldn't apprehend.
  • In New Dynamic English, both New Dynamic English (as "a basic English language course and an introduction to American people and culture.") and Functioning in Business ("as an intermediate level business English course with a focus on American business practice and culture") have opening narrations.
  • Every episode of The Men from the Ministry opens with the nameless narrator explaining something about Ministry and/or it's workers.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Fallout games always (until the fourth game) began with Ron Perlman's voice saying, "War... War never changes..." followed by some exposition about the nuclear war that leveled America (along with most of the rest of the planet).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • All the in-game movies in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri are a CG animation or montage, with a background voice reciting something, usually a fictional quote from the faction leaders, sometimes a passage from a book. Also, the opening sequence also features a montage with a narrator at the end, explaining the events that happened before the game.
  • The famous opening text from Civilization became an Opening Narration in Civ 4 thanks to Leonard Nimoy.
  • Eternal Darkness begins with a narration by Dr. Edward Roivas, whose narrations also precede all in-game chapters save one.
  • Most RPGs by Square Enix in the 80s and 90s open with a legend. The most famous are the blue screens in Final Fantasy with Prelude playing. However World of Mana and SaGa also featured this with their themes of "Morning Sun", "Fear of the Angels" and the "Legacy" for SaGa.
  • Played with in that it's not opening narrations but Previews of the next episodes, but this is done in Asura's Wrath for those previews.
  • Persona 5: After a This Is a Work of Fiction disclaimer, the Big Good of the Persona series, Igor, explains that those who would stand against perversions of the law and other societal corruption are sometimes called "Tricksters", and that you shall take the role of one such Anti-Hero rogue. It's only after this that you take control of the player character to being the game in earnest.
  • EarthBound Beginnings has one in plain white text against a black background, telling the story of a "dark shadow" crossing over the small American town of Podunk, as well as the mysterious disappearance of the protagonist's great-grandmother and great-grandfather, George and Maria, 80 years before the game itself begins.
  • The little known laserdisc game Laser Grand Prix has one done in Surprisingly Good English by an obviously Japanese announcer (albeit with a very light accent):
    "Ladies and gentlemen, Taito welcomes you to challenge the race of all time! Insert coin, turn on the ignition, sit back, and get ready for the thrill of high speed racing!"
  • Awesomenauts has one during the game's intro theme video.
    "The year 3587. Conflict spans the stars. Huge armies are locked into an enduring stalemate. Only one force can help them now: the Awesomenauts!"
  • "Hey, hey, hey! Are you ready to have some fun? I've got some kickin' music, and I'm ready to see you drive! Get those coins out of your pocket, throw them in the machine, and let's get started! Crazy Taxi!"
  • Toy Pop has one in Gratuitous English:note 
    "Pino and Acha are going to Majyo's castle to save friend."
  • Ninja Gaiden (original NES gamenote ):
    Ryu Hayabusa: "With whom did my father have a duel and lose? For what reason did he fight and die? Even I don't know for sure."...
  • Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja has another Gratuitous English example:
    "Rampant ninja related crimes these days.. Whitehouse is not the exception..."note 
  • Road Blaster (the laserdisc arcade game by Data East) indirectly does this during the Attract Mode in the form of a radio DJ's broadcast:
    "Hi! How are all you fans out there? Yeah, this is radio D-A-T-A with the hottest hits today! Bright and sunny out there. You all having fun? You all know about the gangs busting up the city? Geez, I wish someone could blast them! Hey, here's some good news for you. You all seen that red supercar running around? Yeah, that's the one. He's our man. Yup, he's blasting them sky high! Hey, red supercar, can hear me out there? The gangs are running wild again. Hurry, man. We need you. We need you fast!
  • Reunion intro is 11 minutes long. It starts with Raygun Gothic lineart slideshow narrated with a thick Hungarian accent. In the middle it switches to colourful A New Hope-inspired animation of rebels taking over an orbital station, then returns to lineart slideshow.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the second season of Gargoyles (though not in the first or third seasons), Goliath recalls how he and the rest of his clan of gargoyles were trapped in the forms of stone statues 1000 years ago, until they were freed in the modern day to continue fighting evil. It famously ends with:
    ...We are the defenders of the night! WE ARE GARGOYLES!
  • Sky Commanders is another series that didn't add an opening narration until its later episodes.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender features a brief description of the world, bending, the Avatar, and the War with the Fire Nation by Katara, with a longer version in the first episode.
    • Katara's son Tenzin is the narrator for the opening credits for the sequel series The Legend of Korra. His narration is basically a more generalized version of Katara's, using the same description of bending and the Avatar but omitting any mention of specific story details; this is presumably because the show doesn't have a central, overarching conflict like its predecessor.
  • The talkie season of Æon Flux ran the opening titles under a dialogue between the two lead characters.
    Trevor: The dream to awaken our world.
    Æon: You're out of control.
    Trevor: I take control... whose side are you on?
    Æon: I take no side.
    Trevor: You're skating the edge.
    Æon: I am the edge.
    Trevor: What you truly want, only I can give.
    Æon: You can't give it, can't even buy it, and you just don't get it.
  • Raf from Angel's Friends, explaining a topic either the angels and devils or the humans will go through in the episode. Once an Episode.
  • Reboot: "I come from the Net - through systems, peoples, and cities - to this place, Mainframe..."
    • This one changed several times according to various plot developments, although kept the same basic scheme.
  • Samurai Jack has two different opening narrations:
  • The Powerpuff Girls: "Sugar, spice, and everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls..."
    • Separate episodes also often start with a monologue from the Narrator, always starting with "The city of Townsville..."
  • "He has become the ultimate supercop—RoboCop!" From the 1988 Robo Cop The Animated Series.
  • "...And so, the battle continues in a new place and time with Dino-Riders!"
  • "We used to be four ordinary teenagers—until one day, we met some new friends from out of town. They were called —Dinosaucers!"
  • "...The honor-bound protector of the innocent! Rambo -- the Force of Freedom!" From the 1986 Animated Adaptation.
  • "I am Adam, Prince of Eternia..." from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). The revival series subverted this by having Adam begin this narration only to be interrupted by an enemy attack and the theme song.
  • "The alien world of Mer is being devoured by dark water! Only Ren, a young prince, can stop it, by finding the Lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule! At his side is an unlikely but loyal crew of misfits; at his back, the evil pirate lord Bloth, who will stop at nothing to get the treasures for himself. It's high adventure with... The Pirates of Dark Water!"
  • The first episode of The Transformers opens with a narration to introduce us to the eponymous machines.
  • Three Delivery has one, narrated by the Titular Trio, Tobey, Sue, and Sid: "Years ago, our Nana was trained in the ways of magic..."
  • "...Whatever the challenge, they are ready — the Centurions!"
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers combines Opening Narration with an Expository Theme Tune.
    • The Sunbow G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series as well — "its purpose: to defend human freedom against COBRA, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world!"
    • And the Conan the Adventurer animated series.
    • Before either of the above shows, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids did the same thing:
      "This is Bill Cosby coming at you with music and fun, and if you're not careful, you'll learn something before it's done. (So let's get ready, okay?) Hey, hey, hey!note 
  • Count Duckula had one of these and an Expository Theme Tune, oddly enough.
  • El Tigre: "Miracle City! A spicy cesspool of crime and villainy..."
  • The Wild Thornberrys: "This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donny; we found him, and Darwin? He found us..."
  • Beast Machines: "This is Optimus Primal, and he has returned to Cybertron. With no memory of how he got back, and none of his friends the Maximals to be seen, he is attacked by a new enemy - the strange Vehicons. Whilst on the run he manages to find his fellow Maximals. Deep in the heart of Cybertron they find the Oracle computer, which transforms them into a new kind of Transformer. But they still have a lot to learn about their new bodies... and who is out to get them?"
  • The Trap Door: "Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions where nobody goes stands an ancient castle..."
  • "In the great hall of the Justice League, there are assembled 4 of the world's greatest heroes, created from the cosmic legends of the universe: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and...those three junior Super Friends, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog! Their mission: to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind!"
    • Subsequent seasons later had different ones.
  • Laff-A-Lympics:
    Snagglepuss: "Heavens to hilarity, this is it, sports fans! Participants, even!..."
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: "Our world is in peril! Gaia, the spirit of the earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet..."
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: "It is a legend no one will forget! Everyone thought King Koopa had left the Mushroom Kingdom..."
  • "Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids..."
  • Tugs explained to us that "The tugboat, for its size, is the most powerful craft afloat. And the Star Tugs are the power behind the docks and waterways that make up the Bigg City Port. This... is Tugs."
  • "Ever since the late Stone Age, there have been unique individuals who solve problems. This is the story of three such heroes: Alfe, Roba, Horace, The Problem Solverz!"
  • "And now, here they are...the most daredevil group of daffy drivers to ever whirl their wheels in the Wacky Races, competing for the title of the World's Wackiest Racer."
  • "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, starring those seven rollicking rescuers, the Anthill Mob, their courageous car, Chuggaboom, and that villain of villains, the Hooded Claw..."
  • The first season episodes of Exo Squad started with JT Marsh's narration that summed up the backstory of the show and about a half of said season (golden age of mankind, creation of Neosapiens, their rebellion, fall of the Homeworlds) and ended with a Title Drop.
  • The Raccoons: "This is the Evergreen Forest. Quiet, peaceful, serene... that is, until Bert Raccoon wakes up! Luckily, he's got some friends to help him along. Life would be simple in the forest, except for... Cyril Sneer! And his life would be simple except for... The Raccoons!"
  • The first season episodes of The Snorks has a random man narrating about a mythical legend about mysterious underwater sea creatures rescuing Spanish Navy Captain Ortega who's log is housed in a library at a Caribbean Monastery.
  • "But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil! He is Thundarr the Barbarian!"
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, they became The Avengers!" (used only in season 2).
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has Chiro retelling the story of himself coming across the Super Robot and becoming leader of the Monkey Team. It eventually leads to a Title Drop of the series' Wham Episode.
    Chiro: ...the Robot Monkeys were awakened, and I, Chiro, made their leader. On a quest to save Shuggazoom City from the evils of the Skeleton King.
  • "From now on, like your parents were, you are the secret force of Pole Position!" Subverted in that it was spoken by Uncle Zachary to Dan and Tess themselves.
  • "I have a very special secret. I'm the only one who knows about tiny people living in our walls called The Littles." This was replaced in seasons two and three by an Expository Theme Tune, which differed between the two seasons.
  • "A thunder of jets in an open sky, a streak of gray and a cheerful 'Hi'! A loop, a whirl and a vertical climb and once again you know it's time for Rocky And His Friends!" (Changed to "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends" for the DVD releases)
  • Fantastic Four cartoons from both 1967 and 1978 begin with a narrator listing off the names and powers of each member.
  • "Clutch Cargo and his pals Spinner and Paddlefoot, in another exciting adventure: (insert title of episode here)" note 
  • In the early 1980s, there was a short animation that aired on Spanish language television in both Spain and Latin American countries featuring (and actually called) "Casimiro", a friendly monster who reminded viewers that it was time to go to bed. Unlike most other "bedtime PSAs" however, this one has an opening narration:
    "Y ahora, presentamos un mensaje de nuestra estrella nocturnanote : ¡Casimiro!"
  • "...To restore her royal name, the princess and her friends must find the crystal of... Gawayn"
  • "...and it was on that day I made The Snowman."
  • Noggin the Nog begins with this trope, to great effect. "In the lands of the north, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long..."
  • The short lived Project G.e.e.K.e.R. cartoon had this. "That's me, Geeker" "And that's me!"
  • "But his best friend was a bear called Winnie-the-Pooh, or Pooh for short."
  • "Colonel William Guile, one of the greatest martial artists in the world, travels the global tournament circuit, using it to conceal his mission as leader of an elite group of international crime fighters, known only by their code name: Street Fighter! The heroic man-beast, Blanka. Hard-kicking fighting machine, Chun-Li! And, a team of the most amazing warriors ever seen joins forces with Guile to combat the criminal empire of Shadaloo, and its superhuman leader, Bison. They have their own code of honor: Discipline, justice, commitment! And together, they will triumph against the forces of evil! Strrrrrreet Fighter!"
  • "The Cat in the Hat note  presents Dr. Seuss on the Loose: A three decker consisting of 1. The Sneetches, 2. The Zax, 3. Green Eggs and Ham."
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo:.
    Vincent Van Ghoul: This is a warning to all living mortals, that whosoever opens this Chest of Demons will unleash thirteen of the most terrifying ghosts upon the face of the earth! (later, to our heroes) Only you can return the demons to the Chest!
    Shaggy, Scooby: Why us?
    Van Ghoul: Because YOU let them out!
  • "We interrupt this program to bring you... the Courage the Cowardly Dog show, starring Courage, the Cowardly Dog!"
  • "C.O.P.S. - Central Organization of Police Specialists: fighting crime in a future time. Protecting Empire City from Big Boss and his gang of crooks."
    • "The Case Of [subject of episode]: C.O.P.S. filenote  [file number is given, followed by expository information on what will happen in the episode]. Here's how the caper came down."
      • Each episode (with two exceptions) also has a closing narration which ends with Bulletproof repeating the episode name and file number followed by "Case closed".
  • "Set free by the Teen Angels from his prehistoric block of glacier ice comes the world's first superhero, Captain Caveman!..."
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    Zelda: This is the Triforce of Wisdom, Link. The evil wizard Ganon has the Triforce of Power...
  • "John Blackstar, astronaut — is swept through a black hole — into an ancient alien universe..."
  • "This is Sealab 2020".
  • "Ladies and Gentlemen, Garfield and Friends."
  • "From out of the pages of DC Comics comes the world's newest and greatest superhero, Plastic Man!..."
  • "Goldie Gold, the world's richest girl...and Action Jack, daredevil reporter for Goldie's newspaper, the Gold Street Journal..."
  • "Who's the sassiest, brassiest, classiest cat? (Heathcliff!!note )..."
  • The opening of the Hanna-Barbera version of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures:
    Rufus: I had been selected for a most important journey. I was to help fulfill the destinies of the two Great Ones—Bill and Ted.
    Bill, Ted: Wyld Stallyns rule!
  • KaBlam!:
"Action League! Now!.."
"What you are about see is top secret. It is a video tape recorded 900,000 years ago by an alien using a remote-controlled camera. It shows his attempts to educate a caveman. They have been code-named The Prometheus and Bob Tapes."
  • "That's me, Fred the House Cat. When my family leaves for the day, I don't just sit inside watching the world go by. I become... Nature Cat, backyard explorer extraordinaire!" (cue Expository Theme Tune)
  • "...My name is Home-Base, I'm the house they live in. And this is The X's."

 
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Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opens with Galadriel narrating the forging of the twenty Great Rings, including the One Ring of which the Dark Lord Sauron forged for himself, as well as Middle-earth's resistance against the dark lord.

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