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New AMVs don’t get a lot of love on this blog. That’s something I’d like to change but I still haven’t found a useful or enjoyable way to sort through the new videos that are being posted on Youtube every day to find new releases worth sharing. There’s no way around it; this would mean watching a lot of AMVs that I don’t have any interest in, which would be fine if I was writing this back in 2006. But what constitutes a boilerplate, run-of-the-mill AMV in 2016 is very different from what I grew accustomed to back in the mid-2000s, and I often find it difficult to actually sit through more than a couple videos of these before needing a break. I don’t like to rant about this because I know fully well how this kind of complaining comes across, and I really do believe that there’s a lot of creative work going on in the hobby that I’m completely unaware of that I’m writing off without a second thought. The last place I’d expect to find that would be a channel called Daily Chill (“your daily dose of various music“), but here we are.

It’s a frivolous matter to get hung up on, but is “Daily Chill” supposed to be a channel or an actual editor? Is there even a difference? With half of the videos on the channel being EDM/chillout tunes playing over a background picture or a looped gif — yes, this is a thing and I think it goes a lot deeper into Youtube than I’ve dared to dive —  it’s hard not to get the impression that it’s a music-focused channel. Maybe there are videos made up of clips taken from anime series, but is that just a means to an end to showcase the songs? No, it doesn’t matter and I’m trying not to care, but… I just hate vocaloid and J-Core and nightcore and how easy it has been for this music to thrive when paired with anime iconography in the laziest ways imaginable. Take away the background images on any of this stuff and it all goes away very fast. Daily Chill does not use any of this music — its videos feature tasteful, polished, laid-back EDM, with an irritating exception or two —  so what am I ranting about? Well, when I look at this kind of approach to pairing music and anime/manga and how it has become so ingrained in Internet culture, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s slowly absorbing everything around it, including AMVs, and becoming the well-accepted and celebrated default way to mix music with Japanese media. Even when it’s done well (as it is here), it’s hard for me not to feel suspicious about where it’s inevitably leading. If I try to explain this any further, it will have to be in a future entry.

Now that I’m done looking, sounding, and acting like the cantankerous asshole that I’m so set on never becoming, it’s probably a good time to talk about this video, which (so far) is the best thing on the channel. I haven’t seen many good Kyoukai no Kanata videos, which sucks because I really did enjoy the series. Even taken out of context, its scenes are beautiful to look at and seemed to have so much potential for good videos (whatever those would look like, I don’t know). And unlike some other light novel adaptations (go ahead, take your pick), I felt a real attachment to the characters and their relationships resonated with me and felt as believable as they can probably ever be when it comes to animated storytelling. I won’t speculate on why I feel that way, it’s a matter of personal taste and re-reading my long-abandoned draft of a review of the series (last saved apparently 2 years ago) gives me few clues about exactly how this series was a success where others only introduced me to realms of cliches I never knew existed. KnK was definitely packed with cliches, but it worked with them in entertaining and endearing ways and, most importantly, knew when to drop them in service of the believability of the scene and the characters. Ileia’s “Whoarriors” probably needs no introduction and has aged a lot better than the 2014 time-capsule that it could have been. “I See Fire” was another piece of solid editing and proof that you shouldn’t judge an AMV’s creativity by its title. And that brings me to this video, which may or may not have been inspired by an internet meme rooted in one of the most creatively-dead subcultures on the Internet, but succeeds in spite of its trappings.

The first thing you notice about”i doubt my love” isn’t the editing or the concept of the video, both of which are pretty straightforward, but the basic look of it, which I both love and feel hesitant to praise, maybe because it’s only a matter of time before a thousand other editors run their videos through the same scripts or filters to get the same effect (heck, this is probably happening already). This kind of 3-D color-blending (for lack of a better word, I really don’t know what any of this is called) isn’t really new, and it even shows up in a few of Daily Chill’s previous works, none of which felt like fully fleshed-out ideas, especially compared to how it’s employed here. One factor that makes this video involving and convincing in on a level that many comparable videos weren’t — to say nothing of a fun but ultimately confused concept like this — is how receptive KnK is to these effects. The effects are complimentary to the quality of the original footage and the result is both natural-looking and kinda hypnotic. Describing original anime footage as a “canvas” for effects would probably be the best way to describe everything that I think is wrong with AMVs today, but it’s a useful way to consider why some retro-flavored effects work better with certain anime than others.  KnK receives this treatment in a way that absorbs the effects into a homogeneous whole, or at least makes a convincing case for how analog-invoking effects can still work with shiny new digital anime.

Complaining about text in AMVs is just beating a dead horse at this point, so I won’t do it here. I didn’t mind the text in this video, which refreshingly breaks from simply narrating song lyrics and is either . The video is “dedicated to someone special” but the messages we read are a confusing clash of gratitude (“i’m lost without you”) and spite (“i didn’t lose you, you lost me”), which requires a whole new reading of KnK to even remotely apply to Mirai and Akihito.  Dropping these kind of lines into videos is kind of a Daily Chill trademark, although I was never really intrigued or moved by it in any of his (her?) previous works. Is the editor quoting dialog from these series (many of which I haven’t seen)? Are these intensely personal works created to exorcise emotions from a broken relationship? Are these phrases worked into Daily Chill’s videos solely to give them an air of world-weary heartbreak or ambiguous mystery? Who knows? The very fact that I’m left curious enough to wonder about it at all probably proves that it was far from a vacuous creative decision.

Up until now I really haven’t said anything at all about how this video was actually edited. There’s little here to really dig into. It’s very simply edited, with cuts landing on simple drum beats, rarely breaking from the 4/4 rhythm, and just enough moments of internal sync that pair up with interesting little parts in the track to keep things interesting. If this is a video that indulges in effects up to the point of excess, its actual construction is very restrained and unsurprising. Simple, however, does not imply that it’s ever predictable or boring, but that’s a matter of personal taste, isn’t it?

Potentially pretentious hallmarks all considered, something about this video just makes me want to give it the benefit of the doubt and buy into the world that it’s selling us, both because of a ton of intangible factors (get me into a good song I’d never heard before and you can probably get away with anything) and the fact that DC really does get better, even if only in increments, with each and every full-length video they put out. Much of the latest content on the channel has been in the form of short snippets of AMVs, which may be collaborations and/or iron chef-style videos. Technically, those are interesting enough, but I look forward to more full-length videos to see just where this editor is going next.

I just read CrackTheSky’s latest post about Studio Ghibli AMVs and it got me to thinking about these kind of videos, how I view them and emotionally respond to them and how that’s changed over time. “Miyazaki at Night” is one of my favorite Ghibli-themed AMVs and possibly the last one that left any kind of special impression on me. While there’s nothing flashy or especially surprising about how it’s edited, it establishes a unique tone and identity for itself through its unconventional choice of music and scene selection and refreshingly patient pacing, giving it an appeal that sets it far apart from other videos working with the same material. I love this video for what it is and find it interesting on its own terms, not necessarily just because of how it compares to other Ghibli videos. BUT comparing it to other such videos is an impulse I can never completely drop given how, consciously or not, so many of its predecessors tend to follow the same patterns or aim for the same emotional targets. The way these films subtly reference and recall one another, not to mention the special strain of sentimental nostalgia that Ghibli/Miyazaki films tend to invoke, practically invites this approach to editing. The first “Ghibli AMV” I ever saw, which both typifies and perfects this approach, was dwchang’s “Here Comes the Sun.”

I should probably note that I’m not claiming that this video was the first of its kind. “Memories Dance” — infuriatingly not on Youtube, as most Ghibli-content is automatically taken down from the site sooner or later, fair use or not — was released nearly three years before “Here Comes the Sun” and shares the same reverence for Studio Ghibli and many of the common themes and visual motifs that appear throughout many of its different titles. Others may have come even before that. But “Here Comes the Sun” was not only the first time I’d encountered such a concept, but also one of those formative viewing experiences that was so novel and pure and — have your favorite emesis receptacle ready for this one — real that I truly wish I could go back and re-watch it again for the first time. Mind you, this was at my first anime convention in 2004, in a packed contest screening that we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to be allowed to enter (which is probably when Eva Bebop was shown) and where watching fan-edited videos in a dark room on a big screen implanted some nebulous sentiment in my head that I’m still trying to shape into something that’s productive and enlightening and not merely obsessive or fruitlessly nostalgic.

Countless editors have been bitten by the Ghibli bug since then. Even when they’re done very well, these kind of videos have a hard time really getting through to me anymore. I guess the concept simply doesn’t carry the same sentimental weight for me that it used to, not even as newer films (Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Wind Rises) continue to expand the universe of cross-referencing characters and scenes that make these videos so emotionally provocative. There’s still endless potential for editors to make tribute-style AMVs that break this mold, which I really want to see more of, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with the impulse to create a traditionally epic, sentimental and optimistic video that mashes together shots from Kiki and Porco and Totoro and Mononoke. Who wouldn’t want to do that? But anyone who does would be doing themselves a big favor by watching this first. Either they’ll discover that the great AMV they want to make already exists… or they’ll hopefully be inspired to put their own twist on it and come out with something completely unexpected.

Or just throw a bunch of clips together with a random song and text all over the screen. It literally doesn’t matter, people will watch it.

I’d originally planned on posting something about Elcalavero’s newest AMV, which I’m actually a much bigger fan of than the one I’m posting here, but why post something so accessible and entertaining when you can continue to alienate potential readers instead?

This AMV was made a couple of years ago and isn’t the strangest Serial Experiments Lain AMV I’ve ever seen (and never could be) but it goes beyond ditching plot and characterization more than most Lain videos ever dare to, which is saying a lot. It’s also one of the best ambient AMVs I’ve ever seen, which is a subjective categorization but most of us give genres a bit of leeway when it comes to AMVs.

I don’t have much to say about this. Stuck on writing a few different posts right now so I wanted to knock something out before the end of the month. These posts get shorter and shorter…

I don’t have any strict criteria for what AMVs or editors I choose to write about here. There’s little reason to celebrate the usual suspects that don’t really need the attention, which is why most of this “series” has been devoted to editors who haven’t gotten a lot of credit, and to the weird and/or virtually unseen AMVs that don’t fit in with the award-winners and/or videos that rack up views in the six-figures. I guess I’ve gotten wrapped up in the idea of how cool it is to find something awesome that’s been widely overlooked or unnoticed… as if those videos aren’t popular solely because they’re just too damn uncompromising or cutting-edge for mass appeal. But along the way I’ve also posted about a few really well-known AMVs, not because I felt like they needed yet another champion — I’m not so deluded to think that I hold the kind of influence for my posts to actually impact the popularity or reputation of anyone’s works — but because they just resonated with me in some weird way that I had to say something about. And those responses haven’t always been the most eloquent or insightful, nor have they always been positive — these days, I question whether or not a lot of those hate-posts really served any purpose — but I always wanted to put them out there anyway because I can’t stand the idea of this stuff just existing in a vacuum of nothing but Youtube comments that may as well be posted by spam-bots. Whether or not someone’s work is “important” doesn’t really matter, if it’s left an impression on me that’s unique or different or weirdly sincere or whatever, then I just want to acknowledge it outside of its element and hopefully Google will eventually help someone stumble across my rambling sentiments and discover a cool video that they never would have otherwise found.

This is one of those AMVs that doesn’t really need any help or extra hits. Heck, it’ll probably be one of the AMVs that people remember most from this year. It’s possibly the most ambitious AMV I’ve ever seen, packing in more visuals and effects than anyone can actually take in in a single viewing. At least that’s true for me; even after having watched it a half-dozen times, I’m still spotting things that I’d missed the first few go-rounds. I can’t begin to imagine how much time and work must have gone into the making of this… which in itself doesn’t make this a masterpiece or anything, just to be clear. But if that’s not worthy of a pat on the back, I don’t know what is. Some people don’t care for this video at all, and I definitely understand where they’re coming from. It’s funny how coming across a single dissenting opinion like that, even if it’s the only negative criticism in a sea of likes and upvotes, actually makes me want to watch it more than I would if literally everyone was fawning over it. There’s so much crap on the Internet that it’s become a challenge to artistically offend anyone who’s spent enough time knee-deep in it, so for anybody to take the time to object to anything, let alone something this well-produced, does more to pique my curiosity than steer me away from it.

At first glance, this isn’t the kind of AMV that I usually seek out. It’s actually the kind that I’m quick to be extra-critical of, either because I’m generally not a fan of these kind of effect-heavy videos, or because I’m gradually growing less and less amused by the whole meta-AMV approach to editing (in particular, this is a complicated response on my part that I don’t know how to unpack without getting into self-contradictory territory, stay tuned). But I can’t help but feel really impressed by its seamless merging of live action and animation. It’s surely not the first AMV to explore this territory (or the first in 2015), nor will it be the last, but the interaction between the two modes of video is intrinsic to the concept of the AMV to an inseparable degree that’s probably unmatched. It’s quite a ride and it never goes more than a few seconds without doing something to surprise you, which you really can’t say about too many other AMVs.

I can’t write this entry without adding that, normally, the second I see you include Trollface in your AMV is the second I turn it off and never come back. Maybe that’s a little unfair but just because I’m on the Internet right now doesn’t mean I’m here for the fuckin lulz, okay? Obviously, I stuck around to watch the whole thing. Getting the song stuck in my head for a few days kept me thinking about it, much more than I expected that I would. And all the while, I couldn’t stop asking myself, is this really a good AMV? It wasn’t a masterpiece (right?), but it was still definitely good. Maybe it was very good. If nothing else, I felt like it was certainly worth watching, if only to have an opinion about — whether or not I’ve actually formed one at this point, I don’t know — and for the purposes of being able to talk about AMVs in 2015. Was it anything? The only thing I’m sure about is that it’s definitely something.

So I actually heard this song playing in a pub last night and took it as a sign, as good as excuse as any to post this AMV, which I guess was sort of controversial back in its time or something. Nothing to say about this one that won’t take the fun out of it for anyone who’s never seen it. Maybe “fun” is a relative term here.

If you love Big Big Truck’s “Failed Experiments in Video Editing” and are craving another classic pre-Youtube meta-AMV, XStylus (who apparently never made another AMV after this one) has got you covered. I know that watching a 6+ minute AMV is a daunting task but you can do it!

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.

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.