What makes an anime opening specifically "anime"?

You've phrased your question wrong.

As a previous comment said, the "anime" part of an anime OP is that... it's anime.

It's animated as the introduction portion to a Japanese anime series.

Try asking instead what the components of an anime OP are. You know what you want to find in your short film, so why don't you ask and look for those in the OP? Anime isn't a magical intangible substance.

Let's get super down to basics. An anime OP is "anime" - animated. And an "OP" - opening.

Anime: The shots are mostly hand drawn and show high quality stills or low frame rate motion. High frame rates and fluid motion are a rarity and used sparingly. Lots of oversized pictures (larger than the frame) that use zoom or panning to give the illusion of motion or to fill frames/time.

OP: The introduction to the series. An overview of the world and characters. An entrance from our real life into the anime world. Often a building of expectations and increase in anticipation and energy levels.

At the end of the day your project is going to be a cool or cute video that resembles but won't be an anime OP. There are literally anime OPs that have real life photos and don't adhere to the list of things I've mentioned that still are anime OPs because they are the OP of an anime series. Don't flip out if you make a video that isn't animated and doesn't introduce a series and it doesn't turn out exactly like an anime OP.

Make your cool thing and have a fun graduation! Good luck!

/r/anime Thread