There’s a lot of aspects in anime that fans can take for granted, simply because it’s not in the forefront of the news. Anime songs are one such topic.
We expect to see 90-second song sequences that herald the start and finale of a given episode. Many of these songs are produced just for the series, feature lavish animation, and can even contain foreshadowing to a story.
However, music producer Akihiro Tomita thinks that this model is coming to an end. While speaking at an industry event, Tomita remarked that online binge-watching is becoming more popular in Japan — which is causing producers to rethink every aspect of a series.
One example he gave was centered around opening and closing sequences. Tomita points out that Netflix and other streaming platforms tend to cut closing themes short, and most automatically skip the opening theme altogether. This seemingly minor change can add about an extra 180-seconds of story content to an episode — and reshape an entire industry.
The anisong industry relies on opening and closing sequences to promote artists, music producers, and of course, the song. Up until now, opening and closing songs can become an iconic part of a series, but the rise of binge-watching is forcing them out.
It’s not all doom — Tomita believes that insert songs will have a more important role in the future. Insert songs are pieces of music that play during key moments of an episode, such as “God Knows” in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Tomita, who has worked with ClariS and Maon Kurosaki, finished his presentation by commenting, “The logic of TV broadcasting no longer applies to the streaming age.”