Watching PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA, one of the things that sticks with me is the fact that the perky, happy, slice-of-silly-life magical girl intro has almost nothing to do with the story. The cast is recognizable, but none of the events depicted ever happen in the show, and— much more important— the tone set by the intro is totally at odds with what follows. Now, lots of anime (looking at you, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST) has horrifyingly awful things going on in its story, and then has happy, bouncy, popcorn-chompy end credits, the whole running-and-laughing type thing. It’s really jarring, but it’s the end credits. It doesn’t set the tone. MADOKA, on the other hand, is a total bait-and-switch. You think you’re watching another sorta basic magical girl story. Even bright and cheerful anime often has high-stakes themes or veers into WTF territory, but MADOKA definitely is playing with the viewer’s expectations. They want to crush crush crush your head.
THE DRAGON PRINCE is a Netflix Original. This means that, after the first episode, you don’t have to watch the opening sequence or end credits. This is a mercy from On High and I wish more streaming services did this. But through the end credits, there are pencil drawings that are funny and clever, suggesting little scenes of current or past events in the show. The showrunners say that these are part of the story. So far, my beady eye has not discerned any dropped handkerchiefs about underlying mysteries or future events… but that doesn’t mean there were none, or that there won’t be in the future.
It would be funny as hell to have slight (or even major) differences in each opening sequence, and/or major hints in the closing credits. Me, I’d be half tempted to leave the first ten seconds of both the same, and tell some wildly different part of the story each time. Like, write the opening sequence from a different person’s point of view every time, or have a puzzle in each end credit sequence. Or do each opener in a different style or aspect. This opener’s from a famous literary soliloquy, the next one’s in the actual words of the person the soliloquy depicts— for example, the first version depicted is the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s HENRY V, a famously rousing pre-battle drum-beater. The second version would be an attempt at recreating what King Henry might actually have said before the Battle of Agincourt. The third could be a fistfight between rival historians who’ve had a snootful at a university holiday party, I dunno. The possibilities are endless. The thought of getting away with this for a while until some viewer catches on is dee-licious.