What’s in a good Visual Novel OP & PV? – VN Ramblings


Hello friends, back again and pretty soon
for once. Here’s another Visual Novel Ramblings. VNR’s are discussion videos where I talk
about a VN related topic that I thought would be interesting to dive into. Today’s topic is all about what goes into
an Opening and a PV. I put these two together because many times
what Japanese VN companies like to do is put out the opening as the main PV for the game. There will be plenty of different openings
playing in the back, some of which you’ll probably recognize and perhaps plenty you
might not have not. At the end I’ll be covering specific openings
in detail which we’ll be watching together. As always the opinions here will be just that,
opinions. Feel free to disagree with them and perhaps
explain your own opinion down below. To start off, lets go over what exactly is
an opening or a PV. As a heads up, PV is short for promotional
video, like the ones for console games that show in-game footage or a tailor made movie
demonstrate how cool the game is. The opening of the VN is essentially the hook
for potential new readers. It is the “hopefully” highly budgeted
video product meant to showcase the game in all its glory, to make it stand out from the
bunch and get readers looking to check it out. Sure there are reviews for the super popular
well-known visual novels floating around now-a-days, but for the new japanese releases and especially
for the international community, the only source of information you have is usually
the VNDB description page, and the PV released by the makers themselves. These PV’s tend to mainly be an announcement
video, followed by a preview of the opening. Also, visual novels have to rely on this opening
more than any other medium because as I mentioned in the last rambling, they really can’t
use gameplay to show off the VN. Because whether you love visual novels or
not, you have to admit, looking at other people clicking through dialogue doesn’t exactly
make a doorbuster. For me personally, when I’m scrolling around
for new VN’s to pick up, the openings is one of the first things I look up. Visual Novels with their generally lower budgets
don’t usually put up more then 2 PV’s, one that is the opening, the other one that
is more akin to an announcement trailer. With that in mind, the opening is the main
source of advertisement. That is precisely the reason why many of the
visual novel openings you are familiar with likes to follow the classic formula of Heroine
with name tag → one or two CG scenes, next heroine repeat and repeat until you cover
all of them. They are essentially using their opening as
a character introduction. This is fine and all, but for a good VN opening
I like to set higher expectations. Just like any other product, you can easily
infer the quality from the game just from the opening itself, this isn’t a hardline
100% guarantee, but I’d say it’s accurate at least 95% of the time. I would like state that I’m not bashing
visual novels with lower budgets, but rather saying that the end product will objectively
be of lower quality. Whether that will be in lack of dynamic sprites,
very few standing poses, amount of CG’s, effects in game, or just an overall lack of
polish. Because if the studio can’t afford to put
money into what is essentially the headliner for their game, how can we expect the visual
novel itself to be of any better quality? This is especially apparent because due to
Visual Novel studios generally lower budget, they are not quite as able to frontload a
really high budget opening, then have a low budget visual novel, unlike say an Anime where
they sometimes start cutting corners after the first few episodes. So, what do I like for in a good Opening and/or
PV? There are a couple of keypoints I would like
them to hit. For one, by the end of the opening I would
like to know what kind of Visual Novel I’m jumping into. Is it horror? Is it a mystery? Is it a comedy? Is it a romance? Is it a genre I’m currently interested in
checking out, or can I not tell because your opening is a jumbled mess? Some obvious things to look for, and is heavily
opinionated is, do I like the art style and the look of the characters? I’m going to be staring at these sprites
for a while so I wanna like them. Can I tell if there is a wide variety of faces
and dynamic expressions, or am I going to be hit with a bunch of static faces appearing
on screen one after another like every other Visual Novel. After art style, the next biggest thing is
quality. And when I say quality, I mean many different
factors ranging from the song used, to the typography and transition effects. Does the opening movie look like it has some
money put into it or does it look like some guy went to windows movie maker and slapped
it together in like an hour. Is the song used in the opening an absolute
blast to listen to, and is the opening synched with it to make a great viewing experience,
or does it feel like a generic low effort song cobbled together with an opening that
is just kinda playing in the background like a terribly made AMV. This one is big in that if a VN maker is smart,
they’ll hire a singer or music maker to craft a piece that is meant to go with the
opening of the game, and if they don’t have the budget, then you can tell whether they
did the best they could, or if they just failed miserably. If I can tell your transition effects are
corney and your typography is both terrible and inconsistent, that means they look cheap
and that makes your opening look incredibly bad, which in turns makes it so I really don’t
want to play your finished product. Finally last of all, and definitely not least,
and the only real question even if it doesn’t meet expectations in all other areas is, am
I hyped as all heck to play the game after watching the opening, excited to see these
characters and what story they will experience, or am I just praying that what I just saw
wasn’t representative of the game itself. While every opening doesn’t have to be a
headbanger, I want to at least be anticipating what happens next. Whew, with all that talk out of the way, let’s
get to the fun part. I’ve selected a couple of Visual Novel openings
and PVs from a wide spectrum, some of the best I’ve ever experienced, some of the
worst I’ve ever seen, and some that just kinda exist. Let me say again, while I’ve selected one
of the terrible ones with help from the subreddit, the rest are ones that I’ve personally seen
and I like them based on personal opinion and according to what I talked about just
previously. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean when I
talk about presentation, and all that jazz. We’ll be starting from the bottom of the
barrel all the way to the top so pull up a seat and relax, and get ready to see some
real gems from both sides of the spectrum. this one is a doozy and one I took as a suggestion
from a user in the visual novel subreddit. This is the localized OP for Visual Novel
Kemono Michi -White Moment-. One I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard
of because I sure as hell haven’t before making this video. It suffers from probably every problem you
can imagine, for one what is this random footage of a helicopter complete with stock sound
effects, with the eye background, neither look like it has anything to do with the game. Earlier I talked about presentation and this
is what i mean by awful typography. Aside from the fact that the font choice just
looks plain bad, why does every line have a different transition effect? It’s not cute, it’s cheap and it cheapens
the product you are trying to sell. The rest of the background is
the same random real life b-roll. It clashes with the anime artwork they’re
going for, and worst of all I highly doubt any of this random footage has anything to
do with the game. Worst of all, this theme song doesn’t even
feel remotely connected to what’s showing screen, none of the highs or lows correlates
to anything that is happening. Cross Channel is actually a pretty solid visual
novel, one that this PV does not do any justice whatsoever. I pick this over the actual opening because
the opening for the game is for the most part, not good either but not as hilarious. So, if I were to be perfectly honest, this
opening in terms of quality is fine for the time. You get a good view of all the characters,
some nice CG’s, it’s got an upbeat music that is timed well enough with the video. Now, if I were to tell you this game was a
psychological thriller, would you be able to tell that in any way? Now there’s something to be said about tricking
your audience into thinking your psychological thriller is a school rom com, that said when
the market is flooded with these generic type of VN’s you would at least want to HINT
that something is off, so that those with a keen eye will feel like they discovered
a secret gem. If they had placed relatively obvious hints
that something is entirely wrong backed by this cheery music, now that would pique my
interest. By the end of this OP, if I didn’t already
play the game, I would still think this is a dumb rom com. Which is a shame since Cross Channel is pretty
good Here’s a relatively recent opening that
to me is the definition of alright. Through the opening they introduce all the
characters well enough. Transitions from the switching logo is good
and respectable, the music is upbeat and energetic. They show off some chibi artwork, but they
use the same ones here in the beginning, and at the end which makes me feel like they don’t
have too much of it in store. These lines that introduce the character are
incredibly confusing and move way too fast to actually read it. I have no real complaints, although I will
say I have nothing amazing to say about it either. I have no idea what the game is about aside
from School Romance with a emphasis on School Council? I don’t even know if the main character
is the student council president heck. Nor do I even know if there is going to be
any drama, is it comedy focused? Is it just a slice of life? It’s cute though This is probably one of my earlier games I’ve
ever played, and also I think a great older example of a perfectly adequate opening. Fonts are all consistent, transitions don’t
look cheap and flow well with the opening. Kotoko is quite a well-known artist, and her
songs are alway solid. The song itself is paired decently with the
game, with the drop occurring in time for the scene change. The song lyrics themselves support and make
you understand what kind of game you are picking up. You get introductions all the characters,
and you have an idea of what the game is about with this incredibly mismatched family living
in a house. Now, as to why I don’t think it’s super
fantabulous, well I think the later transition is a little messy, and the earlier part where
they flash several lines spoken by the character in the game I feel go way to fast to read
any of it, which I mean, why are you even showing it then. That said for the time it’s good, and maybe
someone who likes Slice of life Dramas would really enjoy this opening. ReLief: Shinai Naru Anata He: Finally, we’re
getting to actually great openings, like this one for ReLief, unlike White Moments, you
can see the whole sound effects cut into the opening done well, and it’s also a great
foreshadow to what kind of story you are going to experience, with the MC saying “Lets
try again one more time” where you can infer either a previous incident happened… or
it’s a story involving repeating timeframes. Aside from the music being great in it’s
own right, it is synched really well with the opening, cuts are in line when the music
swells or drops. Also look at all that budget, from the CG’s
being oh so subtly animated, all the way to even having an animated portion in the middle
(although I’m guessing it’s trailer only, or rarely in the game). I always mention having consistent fonts and
transitions, but honestly just having does wonders for your presentation. Makes you feel like your opening is a cohesive
product rather then a jumbled up mess. Also might I add that the ending of this OP
booksends it really well with the beginning of the OP, with it having a very similar scene,
but with the main heroine smiling instead which maybe foreshadows some sort of time
element. Heeyyyy now we’re getting into the kinda
openings I’m into with Soukou Akki Muramasa . Unlike previous ones, this opening from
the getgo with the tone and pace really tells you more than anything what kind of story
you might be getting into. Giant samurai robots having epic battles. Also might I add look at those custom transition
effects, I don’t know if it is actually, but it looks like it is custom made for this
opening, and that is what you call going above and beyond. For once, this opening completely ignores
the whole lets introduce every character one by one, instead we just get quick flashes
of the main characters, and two separate probably opposing factions. We can also clearly see whose the leader just
from positioning. Which I think is a breath of fresh air, and
grants more time for the real stars, the MC and their badass robots. Heck, we even get several animated sequences. Probably my only real complaint is that the
CG is kinda rough? But that’s both due to it’s age, and heck,
I think it has alot of charm (but then again I also really like giant robots so…) Nitroplus knocks it out of the park with this
OP, perfectly introducing a visual novel that is equally as amazing And I couldn’t make a video about Visual
Novel Openings without talking again about my favorite series, and Rance 10’s amazing
opening. I think this opening more than any highlights
my final point, that an opening is meant first and foremost to get you wanting to play the
game. That said quality is great all across the
board, music, fonts, transition, are all matched really well, probably the best out of the
ones we looked at today. If you look closely, nearly every scene in
the opening is animated, matching well with the high energy music that doesn’t let a
beat until the end. It’s an OP made for fans, and certainly
not newcomers to the series. All the majin introductions might seem like
a little much someone not familiar with the series, but for those who do know it, you
get hyped as all heck seeing all these legendary characters who have been hinted throughout
the series. Also so many fan favorites pop up back and
forth gahhh. Whew, with all that fanboying out of the way,
I think even non-fans can still appreciate just the energy of the opening. You can tell just from a glance that this
game is probably chock full of exciting action. You might wonder, are these what I considered
THE BEST EVAR, the answer is, no (well maybe Rance might be but), these are just some of
the openings I either really enjoyed, or I think are great representations of the aspects
I was talking about earlier. As a whole I think openings are super important
to visual novels, they represent both as a way for doujin groups to advertise their game,
as well as the main source of information for someone looking to jump into the game As for whether to play these visual novels
or not, hey if people are interested in hearing more about any of them throw me a comment
down below and I might do a primer on them. That said no need to ask me to do Rance X,
I’ll probably do it far in the future when I feel ready, as that one will require a ton
of work. If you enjoyed seeing me talk about visual
novel openings for a while, and want to see more of that feel free to tell me down below
as well. As always if you enjoyed watching the video
the like button is down below. If you wanna support me and stay updated to
when the next video comes out, hit the subscribe button and the bell icon that appears, and
finally my twitter handle will appear on screen in a sec, with that I’ll see you next time! Oh right right, here are also links to other
videos I’ve done, like my main introduction series to visual novels and so on.

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