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Anime opening and endings are short video clips usually about a minute and a half long that are attached to the beginning and end of each anime episode. Many series have multiple openings and endings and the songs for these are usually done by famous Japanese bands and artists. Many video games also have animated openings. Due to the ease of being able to associate an opening/ending MAD with the anime, fans often try their hand at creating new ones or making derivatives.
Opening of Azumanga Daioh and Ending of Durarara
As an anime becomes popular, fans create tons of fan-made work. Among those are spinoffs and parodies of famous anime openings and endings.
The practice of parodying anime OP/ED as MAD videos started when video tapes became mainstream in 1980’s. Some of them had been already uploaded to the web around end of the 1990’s. These videos were mainly distributed among a few Otaku groups in universities and fans in the underground web culture.
The exact origin of when they were uploaded to the internet is unknown at this point, but Youtube re-uploads of MADs date as far back as 2006, which is when Nico Nico Douga was launched.
Typically a fan will either remake the content by swapping in different audio, edit the content to create a new video, live act the opening, or even completely redraw the entire thing to swap in characters from other anime. These are typically created by Japanese fans, posted on Nico Nico Douga, and then later re-uploaded onto Youtube. There are a wide variety of Ending/Opening MADs, but usually popular and/or easy to mimic series are targeted to become MADs.
Vocaloid-Themed Parody of the Opening of Azumanga Daioh and Yu Gi Oh-Themed Parody of the Ending of Durarara
Examples of this are the Azumanga Daioh opening (popularity) and the 1st ending of Durarara (easy to mimic).
- Azumanga Daioh
- Card Captor Sakura
- Death Note
- Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
- Kodomo no Jikan
- Lucky Star
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Ouran Highschool Host Club
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Generally any series that becomes popular will have several Opening/Ending MADs, but these are among the most common. Other than making the work centered around an opening or ending, these videos are not very different from the typical MAD video.
The Youtube search query for “anime opening parody” brings up 68,000 results and “anime ending parody” brings up 1,310 results.
There are literally thousands of these parodies, but typically they fall under one of three categories:
Character swaps are often done by the opening being completely redrawn to do a parody using characters from different series. Though a grand majority of these use 2D animations, there are some rare variations that use 3D models. These hand drawn remakes are also commonly known as “tegaki” (meaning hand drawn).
Upper Left to Bottom Right: K-On (Vocaloid Parody), Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Phoenix Wright/Gyakutan Saiban), Working!! (Axis Powers Hetalia), Lucky Star (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Live Action Parodies
Some particularly dedicated groups decide to make live action parodies of the openings. Though not as common as redrawn openings, these tend to be pretty funny. Youtube channel user awnglier has a bunch of side-by-side comparisons of live action parodies and the real opening.
Upper Left to Bottom Right: Card Captor Sakura, Full Metal Alchemist, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hokuto no Ken
These openings are usually done via making an AMV-like attempt at making a new opening or just switching out the actual opening song with another song that coincidentally matches up. Sometimes direct audio swaps are created to make fun of two anime series for being too similar. This is closer to the traditional meaning of a MAD.
Upper Right to Bottom Left: Gurren Lagann, Lucky Star (Death Note Parody), Code Geass R2 (Guilty Crown Parody), Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Star Driver Parody)