Hello readers! Today I will be discussing my mixed feelings with the DearS opening, featuring much nitpicking. Note that there may be minor SPOILERS as I relate the song to the show itself. Be sure to check out our review for DearS as well if you haven’t already!
Looking back, DearS was a show that I saw as quite flawed, and yet it had a certain charm that prevented me from absolutely detesting it. I didn’t really like it, but I still somehow had a good time overall. I have definitely seen worse ecchi (see Momo Kyun sword).
The opening for the anime is called “Love Slave” by Under17, a pop duo known for cutesy vocals.
Right from the start of the opening, the music had me quite interested. The use of dreamy 7 chords always wins me over, as I love the sound of 7 chords in general. The vocal harmonies make good use of the repeated two chords, and the spoken responses to the harmonies are, well, cute. Combine that with the very direct and sexual lyrics, and it feels like a fever dream of intimacy. The lyrics are somewhat awkward to listen to (the “I’m your slave” chorus is also a bit off putting to me), however that is just from my perspective. I acknowledge the possible language and cultural barriers that would probably make these lyrics work for others, and I will not fault the song for this. The strange underwater scene with Ren and Miu adds to this fever dream feeling, though I’m not sure how it fits in with the story… But it does serve as an announcement that more fanservicey things are on the way!
After the brief intro, the song kicks into gear, and I really like the feel. From the cool keyboard, to the guitar tone. It sounds pretty late 90’s to me, but I can see it coming out in 2004 as well. It gives the opening a style that shows its age, but has a definite charm to it that I personally enjoy. It may be part nostalgia, but I just love the style largely presented. The older animation helps with this a lot.
I for the most part like the main singer’s voice. It’s sometimes a bit grating to the ears, but I honestly appreciate its uniqueness and tone. I think the grating aspect is due to the melody being double tracked (two vocal tracks singing the melody at the same time). The two tracks sometimes clash with each other, and the relatively higher pitch of the vocals doesn’t help. The vocals are quite cute, and therefore fitting to the band’s legacy. Mix that in with the instrumental, and you get a pretty cool outcome.
The backing vocals on the other hand seem a bit on the cheesey side to me. It reminds me of the backing vocals on “Mr. Roboto” by STYX (a song that definitely takes the cheesecake for me). They’re not too bad though. Definitely not as cheesey as Kilroy’s song about having a secret (no offense STYX), and I actually grew to like them.
I really like the verse melody, but the first time I heard the prechorus melody, I wasn’t really a fan. It just felt a little weird to me. However the ascending vocal line on the latter half of the prechorus works quite well. Then there’s that vocal glitch (for lack of a better term) right before the chorus, which always feels a little out of place. I think it’s because the rest of the instruments don’t feel so augmented by studio sampling and tweaking (if that makes sense).
I also like the way it concludes, with what sounds like sustained guitar feedback ending in a conclusive final chord. I prefer it to the way the full song ends honestly.
Now, I’ve listed a few little issues and nitpicks, but I overall like the opening song. Most of the parts I like about the DearS opening is in the music. The more I look at it, the more I realize that my main issues with it are visual.
It feels like they directed this opening by means of a character checklist. Like they wanted almost every character to show up at least once, and then they just filled in the rest of the opening with fanservice shots and Ren either standing or floating. Because of this, some of the main characters are barely in the opening. Takeya isn’t in it much (and when he is he is either moving to the side or in that really annoying yell face), and Neneko only gets one shot. I felt that the relationship between Takeya and Neneko (and Neneko’s feelings for him) was a huge part of the show (or at least an interesting part despite not being part of the show’s gimmick), and could’ve been alluded to in the opening. But it unfortunately doesn’t happen.
This little screen time for main characters would be fine though if the rest of the opening had meaningful shots. But again, the rest of the opening is pretty much fanservice and shots of characters that either don’t honestly matter to the story or don’t even show up until much later in the series. I would’ve really preferred the opening to have less shots of the backing characters and more of the main characters. Focus more on what the show is actually about and give the viewers a better idea of what they’re getting into. It’s also not per se bad that they had fanservice shots (as the show itself is filled with it, and the shots aren’t too bad honestly), it’s just that they used shots that don’t provide any meaningful information or try to sell the show beyond “hey there are cute alien girls!”. Take for example the second shot of Ren and Miu floating towards each other, but this time with barely any clothing (because of course). What does this part really say about the show? It worked at the beginning as an abstract setup, but it doesn’t work at the end.
Some of the visuals are actually pretty cool, like the spaceship going crazy, the final shot of Ren in space, and Natsuki and Nia playfully dancing across the title. But for the most part, the visual direction of the opening feels very by the numbers “let’s get all the characters in, add sexual shots and call it a day” to me.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on the opening. I mean, it’s supposed to be a mostly comedic ecchi, so perhaps they decided to just make something fun (and show some ecchi parts). And like I said, the opening does have charm, and I would say it’s pretty fun (mostly because of the song and the visuals that worked). But even for a show that I thought wasn’t so amazing, I felt like it could’ve achieved much more with the given material. It’s kind of a shame to me, since the song itself is pretty good.
My viewpoint of the DearS opening almost mirrors my thoughts on the anime itself. The opening has some pretty big shortcomings, but the charm present in the song and some of the visuals save it. The difference between that and the anime is that the good qualities and charm of the anime mostly just kept it afloat and watchable, while the good in the opening actually makes it a rather enjoyable experience. Though I like parts of the DearS opening, I would say the good parts still outweigh the bad.
So what do you think of the DearS opening? Is there an opening you know of with good music and subpar visuals (or vice versa)? Let me know in the comments if you’d like.
Thanks for reading my rambling and ranting about this opening! I will soon post about my favorite anime closing, as well as a special summer post. Thanks again!
Oh yes, I forgot to mention the DearS closing. The visuals are for the most part really cute and the song is really happy, fun, and fitting. However, the full song has a very strange out of the blue rap break that maybe some people will like, but I cringe every time…