Idea inspired stolen from a video installation I saw in an art gallery more than ten years ago.  I don’t remember who the artist was or what the exact the piece was called, although I think it was simply “Top 25 Highest-Grossing Films of All Time,” or something very close to that.

Data taken from the all-time highest-rated AMVs list on animemusicvideos.org., which may look very different today if Youtube hadn’t siphoned away its future userbase down to almost nothing over the past decade. Not that the Org is completely dead, but it’s quite possible that a single day’s activity there on any day back in 2005 may have eclipsed the totality of AMV uploads and message board discussion that happens there now over the course of an entire month. Maybe.

1. Koopiskeva — Euphoria (2003)
2. Koopiskeva — Skittles (2007)
3. ScorpionsUltd — Whisper Of The Beast (2004)
4. alkampfer81 — Hold me now (2006)
5. istiv — Shounen Bushidou (2004)
6. Darius GQ — Spoil (2007)
7. Inertia — Sail On (2005)
8. Decoy — Naruto’s Technique Beat (2005)
9. Tyler_yj — Jihaku (2005)
10. Sierra Lorna — Phenomenon (Open Your Soul) (2005)
11. Nostromo_vx — Magic Pad (2007)
12. Tyler_yj — 罪人の火傷 – Tsumibito no kashou (2004)
13. AbsoluteDestiny — Do It Right (Shake It!) (2004)
14. MajinKenshinAMV — Toushi (2004)
15. Chiikaboom — Attack Of The Otaku (2008)
16. suberunker — Still Preoccupied with 1985 (2005)
17. silver_moon — From the Ashes (2006)
18. Einhänder — Naruto’s world (2004)
19. Nekoteo — Taivas – Skies On Fire (2007)
20. MousePotato — Nightmare (2005)
21. Zarxrax / various editors — AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture (2005)
22. *inverse* — Lost Soul (2005)
23. Nostromo_vx — FMA – Always Hardcore (2005)
24. Metro — true fiction (2005)
25. NetTroop — Another Half (2004)

I’m not going to explain this or assume that anyone is going to “enjoy” it, but it’s probably best viewed in a fullscreen display.

Here’s an AMV I made a year or so ago. Not sure why it took me so long to put it on Youtube, but here it is.

If I’m going to be honest with myself, The Noise Made By People is probably my favorite album in the world, or at least the one album I’d take with me to a desert island.

That’s a trite saying/thought exercise but the one thing people tend to overlook about it is that rescue isn’t likely and you’re probably going to die there alone, and when the inevitability of that sets in, the last thing you’re going to want to do is listen to OK Computer or Wish You Were Here or whatever, but by the time you figure that out it’s too late.

I can never get over the sensation that Trish Keenan is actually singing these words to me, from the heart, and that she knows something about what I’m going through and what words I need to hear and also what the best way to say them to me is right now.  And I’ve never quite gotten that feeling from anything else. And despite the fact that this album/compilation/whatever is like 15 years old now or something, and also bearing in mind the nasty reality of her unexpected passing away a few years ago, nothing about this music sounds dated or old or even particularly tied to memories in the past that I’m nostalgic for. Nor am I ever struck by the feeling that this music is shrouded in death like that of so many other artists I love who’ve passed away before their time, so to speak. There’s nothing sad about all this, actually.  Instead, I’m only left with the feeling that everything’s going to be okay. It really is. I could go on about my “relationship” with this music some more, but this is probably already really weird. All this only scratches the surface, though.

I think this song/series is a good combination and I know no one cares but I think this AMV turned out okay.

watamote
It’s been a long time since I’ve actually written much here, let alone anything about anime. I don’t have a plan for this but I think I’ll just ramble about as many titles as I can remember watching over the last few years, or at least the ones that I never wrote anything about on here.

Guess I better clarify that this only goes for completed series and not any of the ongoing shonen epics that have been sucking up my life for months/years on end.

Canaan (2009)
Action series following the exploits of an assassin with extraordinary senses and physical skills. The title character, a tetrachromat who possesses a variety of synesthestic traits, allowing her to sense people and perceive the intent of their actions in advance, is a pretty interesting starting point for a story. Sadly, this isn’t utilized very often in service of the story — even when it is, you’re left with the sense that they’re pretty much making it all up as they go along — or even to make the action scenes much more interesting than any other girls-with-guns series that I’ve ever watched. Admittedly, that’s not very many, but maybe that’s telling in itself. I couldn’t shake the feeling that we’d already seen this before. The animation was really well done, at times there were some imaginative effects, and there’s careful attention to detail of scenery as the characters travel the globe and battle it out in some pretty fantastic settings. This was not bad, but it wasn’t very memorable, either.

WataMote (2013)
I tend to have a love/hate relationship with such blatant otaku-bait as this, but I also love socially awkward, dorky girls, so watching this was a no-brainer for me. I was apprehensive at first, because although I loved the first few episodes, I’d had a similar experience with Oreimo before it pulled a bait-and-switch after episode 3 or so. Thankfully WataMote never descends into such self-congratulatory nonsense and remains painfully cringeworthy from beginning to end, turning the wish-fulfillment fantasy of every other high school-themed anime of the 00’s on its head. Some viewers thought it went too far. Others thought it didn’t go far enough! Your milage may vary. Tomoko’s struggle to make friends, establish a charismatic identity for herself, stave off boredom and find a fulfilling outlet for her raging hormones results in failure after spectacular failure, her ignorance of social norms invoking our compassion and no small amount of sadistic schadenfreude. If this makes you uncomfortable, it’s a good sign that somewhere in your wretched soul, there’s still a sliver of humanity left that hasn’t been destroyed by shit like…

Guilty Crown (2011)
Absolutely one of the most derivative, pandering, manipulative series I’ve ever watched. Beautiful animation and exciting action sequences repeatedly build up a sense of promise that this is going somewhere special. Unfortunately, the story falls by the wayside time and time again for episodes that trot out and celebrate some of the most lazy cliches that have plagued anime for the past decade. Maybe if I’d watched this before Persona 4 (which aired a season or two after Guilty Crown), I’d be a little more lenient, but there’s no excuse for the depths that this willingly sinks to over and over again, or the way that fans mindlessly lapped it up without a second thought (the “beach episode” was bad enough, but how this actually happened without viewers storming the studio with torches and pitchforks, I cannot understand). Ripping off themes, tone, tropes and imagery from Evangelion, Code Geass and God knows what else, Guilty Crown copies and pastes lucrative archetypes onto an admittedly pretty canvas, confirming that viewers will gobble up anything as long as it’s emotionally cloying and thematically “epic” enough. Even the central protagonist, who I initially found very intriguing and empathetic, feels like a Gary Stu created to massage the deepest insecurities of its beta male fans. None of these are new complaints. What critics of the series don’t talk about is its constant, unceasing sexual objectification of its female characters, who are — I’m not making this up or exaggerating — treated as erotic objects or fantasy-fulfilling archetypes in literally every scene they appear in. Even when they’re portrayed as “strong” characters of their own agency, as they often are, they do so dressed in a series of fetish-appeasing outfits — school uniforms, swimsuits, rubberized (?) catsuits that fit their slender bodies several orders of magnitude tighter than Evangelion‘s plugsuits could ever compare to — which the camera lovingly lingers on, studying the nuances of impossibly-perfect adolescent anatomy in shot after uncomfortably long shot. They’re also sexually harassed and tied up in scenes that don’t exist for any reasons other than to lovingly linger on their helplessness and vulnerability in particularly nasty and demeaning ways (I suppose these scenes exist to anger and thus motivate our protagonist, the only character whose feelings or dignity is consistently considered in the slightest). There’s a certain kind of routine misogyny that’s all over TV these days, titillating viewers with the imminent thread of rape and sexualized murder, all the while masquerading as a condemnation of said act, and that kind of two-faced attitude about female (dis)empowerment is all over the place here. Even during their moments of independent action and free agency, the female characters are still dissected and ogled by the animators. Heck, the “Gainax bounce” is gleefully borrowed at will and features prominently in one of our heroine’s most dramatic scenes. I lap up fanservice as much as anyone else but the way it was handled here, not to mention to general incoherency of the plot, left an awful taste in my mouth and feels symptomatic of some kind of mental illness pervading the entire anime industry, to say nothing of the fandom that keeps it going.

Sword Art Online (2012)
.hack//Sign (admittedly, the only series in the .hack franchise that I’ve seen) was an often-frustrating series for me, as the plot took a relatively long time to really get going, and characters would repeatedly balk at the chance to interact and produce any kind of meaningful action that would affect any change in the story. But it had its heart in the right place and eventually hit its stride, and by the end, all of the main characters had achieved something that mattered. I mention the series because, justifiably or not, it’s the easiest comparison at hand for Sword Art Online, which begins with a similar premise about strangers meeting in the immersive virtual world of a futuristic MMORPG. The fast-moving plot quickly sucks the viewer into the story, which is immediately more satisfying and pleasing than that other series (which I’ll try not to mention from this point on). Our likable protagonists’ lack of faults or any kind of complexity is perfect for the narcissistic audience this was surely made for. The misogyny of the second half of this series is truly something to behold but you’ll probably be too busy wondering what the point of it all is to be bothered by it. This is never quite as manipulative or pandering as Guilty Crown but still deserves a hearty spanking for privileging style over substance and indulging in a lot of tired and creepy clichés. I can’t recommend this in good conscience but I’ll admit that I enjoyed it in the same way that I’d probably enjoy seeing all those summer blockbuster films that I slag without ever having actually watched.

Accel World (2012)
I couldn’t tell you a single interesting thing about this other than the fact that I really enjoyed it in spite of its reliance on a lot of shonen cliches. Or… did I like it because of those cliches? I don’t feel like I’m ready to work that out just yet. A lot of really pretty animation here, but still not as pretty as…

Space Dandy (2014)
Speaking of hype, few series in recent years have arrived to such great expectations as Space Dandy, which seemed to confuse and offend viewers expecting a more straightforward, plot-driven story without any distracting nonsense like humor or actual science fiction. This is every bit the masterpiece that everyone had hoped, but in none of the ways that anyone was sure to expect. Every episode here stands alongside the best stand-alone episodes of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo and even raises the bar when it comes to its outrageously imaginative storylines and daring visual style, which are never predictable, consistently hilarious, and unexpectedly heartwarming. Did the first episode rub everyone the wrong way? It would be a serious tragedy if we don’t appreciate these episodes or the NEW SEASON beginning in a few weeks. This is the best thing I’ve watched in at least 5 years and never failed to cheer me up from beginning to end. I don’t understand why this was panned as one of the year’s biggest disappointments, apparently. I mean, I can venture to guess but instead I’d rather just recommend it with my whole heart and hope that you give it a chance.

Hold on, how did I go ten years without ever watching this AMV? Okay, I guess I didn’t actually watch Evangelion for the first time until about 9 years ago, but still…

If we must play the genre game, then I guess this is an action AMV. Kinda hard to call it anything else, what with all the fighting Evas and scenes of certain NERV pilots in dramatic scenes piloting said Evas. And as an action AMV, it’s really superb. But all that action is carefully arranged around a surprisingly thoughtful treatment of characters. Not every character that the editor could cram into a three minute video, just Shinji and Asuka, and that’s where it gets really interesting for me.

Interesting? This is an Evangelion AMV set to “Numb!” Fair enough. But while it highlights so many of their most dramatic moments in clips that you’ve seen in countless other Eva AMVs, this video never lapses into any of the predictable troughs that so many others like it regularly do. It never descends into mindless violence. It has a certain respect for its characters and never treats them as emotional punching bags or punchlines for cynical fans to mock. It’s really well-crafted and captures the emotional essence of the series without attempting to make it any more “epic” than it already is.

This is one of the best AMVs I’ve ever seen and it’s all done without any effects at all. I don’t want to turn this into a 00’s vs. 10’s AMVs bitchfest but I love the way this looks. The cuts are placed at specific cues according to the music, and that’s why it works. It is very simple. 480p never looked so good! And it’s absolutely a product of someone’s affection for the series. Remember when people used to actually like anime? Imagine that!

Also, “Numb” is a really good song and anyone who ever thought that mocking Linkin Park was a fasttrack to getting their cool kid badge probably has a superiority complex and lots of personal issues they’re afraid to deal with. I mean, I do too but at least I realize that Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION are the problem here, not the band that paved the way for them.

No attempt to write a convention report this year, this post only exists to note that yes, I went to Anime Central again this year.

We went to a couple of panels, watched some AMVs and walked around a lot. I wore new shoes and did my best not to step in anything with them.

Here’s some sushi. I couldn’t find my real camera so this was never going to be a decent photo.

sushi

Here’s a random photo of the hotel lobby, focused on nothing in particular at all.

hotel

I didn’t take pictures of any cosplayers, nor was I really compelled to this year. Sorry! Also, I bought almost nothing at all, save for this book.

It’s been roughly ten years to the day since my first convention, which was ACEN in 2004. Browsing some stranger’s photos online, in the vain hopes that I might spot myself in the background somewhere, I was expecting to notice a big difference in how much has changed, but on the contrary, it seems like very little has changed at all. I suppose this is reflective of my time at the convention yesterday. What once felt like a surreal and unique experience now feels comfortably familiar, not at all in a bad way, and while the popular cosplay of the year will always be different, something about the weekend feels frozen in time and eternally detached from everything else going on in the world and I don’t get the feeling that anything is changing here except for my age. I didn’t feel surprised this year. No, I don’t feel entitled to a totally novel experience every time out.

Kinda sorta planning on making a whole weekend out of it next year instead of the last-minute scrambling that barely fit the day in around our work on Friday-Saturday. ACEN 2015, here I come! Yeah right.

from the depths of my abandoned drafts folder:

For all the talk about how refreshing and unique so many “slice of life” anime series are, so many feel up to their necks in quirky, contrived characters so far beyond any of the relatable/every-day charm that they’re supposed to be particularly notable for that watching something like Naruto or Fairy Tail, by comparison, feels like a thoughtful study in actual human emotions and behavior. I’m not complaining about the elements of fantasy or magical realism that so often contribute to the story of such series, but the surfeit of characters in these series that are rarely developed beyond a set of traits pushed to extremes, and whose “complexity” rarely extends beyond some kind of cliche that their conformity to is apparently meant to be a kind of meta-commentary on. Or something like that. Anime fans would rather congratulate themselves for being in on the joke than to ever pause and ask why so many of the stories that they follow so closely are actually about people who could never exist in a world that even slightly resembles our own.

Anime fans hate reading this shit, just like they hated being lectured by a “grumpy old man” like Hayao Miyazaki whose comments about the anime industry a few weeks months ago stirred up a typically defensive reaction from most anime fans online, most of which had totally missed his point but were happy to point out how misguided and deliriously out-of-touch he really was. When it comes to “realism,” however you want to define it, the status quo is just fine thank you very much now would you please let us get back to our regular diet of high school sex comedies? Complaining about this stuff is so 2009!

This commercial for a by-mail cram school (correct me if I’ve misunderstood the nature of their business), directed by Motoko Shinkai, does not feature screaming tween sexpots in bunny outfits or male viewer surrogates unexpectedly caught in the middle of a harem of girls oblivious to how their behavior is leaving him horny and frustrated. What it does feature is some beautiful animation, a scenario that’s believable and heartwarming, and characters that are immediately likable and interesting.

I would absolutely watch a series like this, which will never come to be, but I’ve read a lot of other comments online from viewers who feel the same way.

I hate this AMV with all my heart.

Pity it’s so well done.

I’ve always loved this short film. Created by legendary cartoonist/animation pioneer Winsor McCay, Gertie the Dinosaur turns 100 years old today.

Going off information from Wikipedia, Gertie was shown as part of McCay’s vaudeville act for the first time at the Palace Theater in Chicago on February 8, 1914. I can’t find any information about the Palace Theater other than the address listed on this photo.  The famous Cadillac Palace Theater, which every Google search has pointed me toward, would not be built for another 10 years.

I don’t know about you but I laugh my ass off every time I watch this and if you don’t enjoy this then I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.

I don’t care how much you love this song, you don’t get to make this one yours no matter how much you identify with the handsome dudes who were cast to appeal to your sense of vanity and your not-so-secret desire to stab and machine-gun strangers to death.

Did Lou Reed know what Sony was going to do to his song when he signed the contract to this? Did he know that it was going to be completely recontextualized as an ode to violence, cloaked in superficial irony, to soundtrack a pretty blatant nod to the Columbine massacre fantasy that a whole generation of basement-dwellers kinda wish they could’ve got in on? (Don’t believe me? Skip straight to 0:44 and step straight into the mind of Harris, Klebold and Lanza as they saw themselves.) Did he care what they were going to do to it at all, or does standing on death’s door render such ideas as “artistic integrity” somewhat silly, especially when you’re facing one of the last chances to grab some cash for the loved ones you’re leaving behind?

Did the writer of “Candy Says” not understand (or simply not care?) that he was giving this song over to the most entitled, judgmental, misogynistic, homophobic, trans-phobic subcultures in the world? Was he okay with the possibility that one of his most personal songs could be recast as the soundtrack of male camaraderie as experienced by wealthy, frequently-racistmen’s rights-espousing fedora-wearers with fiercely tribal allegiances to companies whose underpaid employees work in some of the worst conditions in the entire world’s tech industry, and whose biggest passions center around the efficient mastery of increasingly-complex and realistic murder-simulation software?

Did Reed fully understand what Sony’s intent was in using his song in their advertisement? Did he know it would be sonically-butchered with new, out-of-tune vocals? Did he care that the demographic that his song would be used to hook are the most violent aggressors against any call for tolerance and sensitivity on the Internet, the same shit-eating bros who aggressively insult and threaten anyone questioning the status quo in any facet of “geek culture” that they feel remotely connected to? How could an artist whose work surveyed the lives of the down, destitute and disempowered think it was a good idea to give his song to a group of people who, indisputably on the whole, mock the very concepts of empathy and compassion?

Did he want his song to become the next “Mad World” or “Hallelujah”? Does he understand how the Internet and Internet culture have warped the meanings of those tunes and turned them into anthems for strangely-compatible nexus of Glee fans and self-righteous douchebags?

Lou Reed was never one of you and despite what Sony wants you to believe, his tumor-ridden liver was cooler than your whole toxic subculture. You don’t know what that means and never will but years of digesting cynical Internet memes have robbed you of the ability to realize that there’s anything in the world you don’t understand and can’t explain away in sentence fragments and image macros. Choke on your Doritos and fucking die already.

Tags: schoolgirls, sunsets, stars, smoke, flames, flower petals, pixie dust, blood, tears, leaping, falling, running, stabbing, slashing, schoolgirls, staring longingly into the distance from the edges of tall buildings and cliffs, dramatic pans, hi-nrg tracking shotz, zooms, flashes, overlays, zooming into a character’s eye OH SHIT zooming into another character’s eye, schoolgirls, trance, EDM, so profound, such emotion, no concept, no context, the death of AMVs, AMVs I despise, AMVs I enjoy despite myself, AMVs I secretly aspire to make

Twitter

  • The only thing I can tell for sure is that the right to decide when to hit women is REALLY important to some guys. 2 weeks ago
  • The frequency of "I would never hit a woman BUT..." posts on the Internet never ceases to amaze me. 2 weeks ago
  • A lot of men seem very upset by the mere idea that hitting women is something you should NEVER do. 2 weeks ago
  • More to the point: why didn't anyone tell me there was an anime where characters listen to Kaito while battling in flying robots? #Kompakt 2 weeks ago
  • Why did it take me this long to finally watch Eureka Seven? 2 weeks ago
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.