wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Don't be alarmed at the sound of my voice

So we have this 200GB external hard drive which houses all the AMVs for the Room Party Kit, and stuckintraffik has done most of the filling and organizing up to this point. This past weekend at AI I pillaged Ukyo's external HD for stuff we didn't have, although we didn't have a lot of stuff he was interested in on account of different tastes in anime - he and his kunoichi prefer comedy to drama and action AMVs, and we like to keep a little more of the latter on hand because some of the best AMVs are action and drama pieces. (Anyone who disagrees needs to review the work of Vic Bond and Kevin Caldwell.) Don't get me wrong, everybody loves comedy, and we could easily do 3-4 hours of Monty Python, Weird Al and AMV Hell a night, to say nothing of all the other parodies and oddball humor pieces. However, for sheer jaw-dropping technical excellence and emotional power there is nothing in the comedy genre to match Koopiskeva's Euphoria, Vic Bond's Larger Than Life (yes, done to the Backstreet Boys tune. Must be seen to be believed.) or local talent Apocalypse Incorporated's Hey Pretty. I was thinking it's not really fair to stuckintraffik to dump the responsibility for maintaining the AMV inventory on him, so I've been spending time this week leeching stuff off Kris McCormic's joint.

ZOMFG, there is some hideous, hideous crap out there. I've clearly been spoiled by the local talent: animeamiee, tokenfanboy, revolutionaryjo, willow_one and of course stuckintraffik himself all have done some fine, fine work, and it just amazes me that kids with good technology and detailed guides readily available on the Internet still manage to produce such awful combinations of music and video. The ones that are most frustrating, of course, are the AMVs that are almost perfect. Good case in point: a perfectly lovely Fushigi Yugi video which had some great scenes, wonderful timing, excellent quality...and subtitles in every second of the AMV that had nothing to do with the song. It drove me nuts. What was really appalling was that the video in question had a somewhat respectable rating, 3.5 or 3.7 on a scale of 5, IIRC. What kind of undiscriminating idiots would have given this thing a 4, much less a 5? Artistically it was superfine, but on technical merit it was fatally marred by those distracting subtitles. This happens over and over again...a good combination of music and video is ruined by one or more of the following:

1) Horrible source video, either downloaded or off a poor-quality VHS tape. Come on, kids. Kevin Caldwell showed you how to do it right with Engel. You have no excuse, especially now that you can rent anime for cheap or bum DVDs off your friends.
2) Subtitles. There are tools for getting rid of hard subtitles, and no excuse for not using the right settings to get rid of the soft ones, you lazy scum.
3) Channel IDs. If I had a nickel for every "Cartoon Network", "Adult Swim" or other cable network logo I've seen in the bottom RH corner of a third-rate AMV, I could quit my job at the Evil Banking Neighbor. Same comments apply as for subtitles.

These are all technical criticisms. I'm not going to slam somebody for employing the usual suspects anime in their AMV; if your muse came to you and inspired you to create something using Sailor Moon,Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Dragonball Z, or Naruto, fine. You better be really good to rise above the hundreds of fanboys and fangirls who have mined those particular veins of imagery, though. I'm also not going to rant about lens flare or some other FX; we are all trying to get a particular synthesis of music and image out of our heads and into reality when we do AMVs (and mine are coming, oh yes my precious) and if you think you have to use a ton of FX so be it.

Still...there are a lot of other series with mecha that aren't NGE, lots of shoot 'em up action shows that aren't Cowboy Bebop, and plenty of magical girls who aren't Usagi Tsukino or her four friends. It would also be nice to see an AMV contest without half a dozen Linkinball Z or Naruto Park entries. Which is by way of saying a little originality through use of little-known anime would be nice. Wouldn't it?
Tags: culture & politics, the bush of fandom
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