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It’s probably best to just sit back and take this video for what it is and not to analyze it too closely, but of course that’s what these entries are all be about, so once again I’ll go ahead and suck the joy out of another AMV that I really like. I say “really like” because I don’t actually love this video. And unlike a lot of “flawed” AMVs on my hypothetical personal favorites list, I don’t think that its imperfections add to its character or give it a human touch or whatever. Tighter editing in general could have done this video a lot of good. But I could also say that about anything I’ve ever edited.

This was the only AMV that zenjamon ever made, and like a lot of first-time efforts, it’s a single-source video made up of a series of clips pulled from a narrow selection of scenes that play out in lengthy cuts. This approach usually doesn’t lead to surprising results, and whether or not it does here, I won’t venture to say. But like I said, I really like this video and despite its simple take on the marriage of pastoral fantasy with “chillout” music, I think it pulls off the pairing better than almost any other AMV that I’ve seen like it, not by digging deep into a source and juxtaposing clips from it in a complicated or unexpected way, but simply laying them out in a linear arrangement without too much fuss. I try not to use the word “lazy” for this approach (as I used to in the past) because it’s impossible to really know the mindset of an editor or how much effort they may have spent on a video, even after a careful analysis of the finished product. It’s also a misleading value judgement that shouldn’t exist; I can think of more than a few work-intensive, meticulously-composed AMVs that I strongly dislike and just as many simple and quickly-edited AMVs that I’ve found great pleasure in. I’m being totally honest about that, and yet… that video you just spent a whole 3 hours editing is something I’m probably going to view with hesitation, if I even watch it at all. I’m still hopelessly prejudiced against these kind of AMVs, which always need to “prove” themselves to me in a way that slicker efforts from more experienced editors really don’t.

I guess what I’m getting at is the feeling that a good “simple” AMV is the exception to the rule, which is surely some of the most commonly-accepted nonsense out there. I’ve had this AMV on a loop for a half-hour and am still enjoying it, and while I do honestly wonder how this video was made and how much time went into it, I doubt that knowing would change how I feel when I’m watching it. Don’t get me wrong, I did think about how it could have been improved with better-quality video. Little did I know I wasn’t alone: one editor decided to remake the entire AMV using HD footage. It’s largely a shot-for-shot remake, although a careful viewing will reveal small deviations, including new scenes and a somewhat loose interpretation of zenjamon’s original sync in terms of the exact position of the cuts. I’m not sure whether the slight changes improve the AMV or not, but the visual upgrade is undeniably marred by the skewed AR, which supplants the relaxing, healing vibe of the original AMV with a subtle sense of unease and discord. Few people in my life seem bothered by this sort of thing, so there’s a chance that most viewers won’t even notice, but I’m afraid I’ll have to stick to the original 144p Youtube version for now.

 

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