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I’m really of two minds about this one.

I mean, there’s no denying that this is a pretty amazing piece of work. Has anyone out there has ever proposed a more ambitious AMV and then actually followed through to completion like this? Even if it were nothing but a bunch of pretty effects, it would still be interesting and notable but instead what we have here is nothing short of a totally cohesive piece of work, probably fully-storyboarded and everything, with each sequence flowing so naturally into the next that you have to keep reminding yourself that it’s one person’s personal project and not the work of some studio or advertising company. Heck, if only it was! This video is legitimately cool in a way that almost nothing else in this socially out-of-touch hobby is anymore.

On the other hand, it’s certainly emblematic of the ultra-competitive spirit that’s overtaken the hobby, in which the goal is no longer to show an appreciation for the subject but to show off the technical abilities of the creator. And the possibility that this could be the new standard by which all other AMVs are judged, as produced by someone who obviously has a background (if not lots of training, too) in art and/or video production, it really puts the future of this once-DIY hobby into question. Seriously, if Kevin Caldwell returned to the hobby under a pseudonym, I’ve no doubt that his new videos would be ignored or laughed at.

Either way, this is worth watching. The creator, who goes by the handle Qwaqa, also made this Evangelion AMV, which is unbelievably creative. As a fan who’s tired of the “LOL Shinji, such an emo wiener!” reaction that the series gets more often than not in the Internet age, I also found it provocative and insulting. But I guess there’s something to be said for making a video that actually gets a strong reaction out of people.

I’d be remiss to keep on blogging about AMVs here without posting what’s surely my favorite AMV of all time. So without further ado:

Although I’m a big Evangelion fan, I actually don’t love every Eva AMV out there. But I’m pretty sure that this one deserves all the attention it’s gotten over the years (it’ll turn 10 years old this August!). I especially enjoy it as a character profile video that doesn’t reduce its subject to a one-dimensional stereotype. Watching this, you get the sense that the editor appreciated the complexity of Rei and wanted to distill it down to a video-length montage. This is accomplished, in no small part, by a dazzling use of effects that leave her every bit as manipulated and torn apart as she finds herself throughout the series. Maybe you’ll have to watch it a few times to see what I mean.

While other notable Eva AMVs have framed the series in huge, epic terms, I feel like this one more accurately communicates the feelings of confusion and disconnect that run throughout it. I’m gonna seriously reach here but stick with me for a second: Evangelion set itself up as a traditional giant robot series, only to flip the whole genre on its head and upset most of its viewers’ expectations along the way. Likewise, this is a pretty safe, Christian rock song that not only gets an gets a “club” remix by another group (and becomes a hit!) but then gets turned inside out in this unexpectedly glitchy recut. Even if you don’t know the original (and I think few listeners do, relatively speaking), it’s hard to deny how effective the subtle, proto-laptop pop tweakings it receives serve to bolster its sense of melancholy. This suits the theme of the video extremely well and gave the editor a lot of opportunities to play off the music in truly interesting ways that’s still extremely impressive today. Even at a time when we’re totally inundated with effects-driven videos, it’s remarkable to watch this one with a critical eye and see what’s being done and why.

I guess you can’t really talk about this AMV without mentioning the editor by name and how much of a legend he is or something, but I think that’s sort of silly and I won’t try to do it until I’ve seen more of his videos (a few of which always rank at or near the top of this list).

Fun fact: I once helped set up the stage for a Plumb concert at college. No idea if they played “Damaged” or not since I don’t remember if I stuck around to actually watch it. Wish I would’ve, maybe it would have saved me the confusion I’ve had since then, laboring under the misconception that Plumb and Plummet were actually the same people (or at least two different names for projects by Tiffany Arbuckle Lee). Not since Orbital and The Orb or Pan-American and Fly Pan-Am have I been so mixed up.