Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
It is time yet again for another column post. This one is from all the way back in the beginning of 2020, as most will probably be able to tell from the intro. At the beginning of COVID, I thought it would interesting to put out an explainer for AMVs and the community that surrounds them, so I did just that. I hope you all enjoy.
Welcome back, tourists. As many reading this are probably aware, escaping news of the ever-looming threat that is COVID-19 has become rather impossible, even for anime fans like myself. The deadly virus has already halted a number of upcoming anime productions, including one for the highly anticipated second season of “Re:Zero.” Funimation has also announced that it will be temporarily halting the simul-dubs of its upcoming seasonal shows in order to allow production members to work from home.
Many are people already feeling the effects of extended boredom from the recommended social distancing, but that does not mean they have to stay bored. After all, the anime community is much more than the shows people enjoy.
One of the more underrated but no less fascinating parts of the community are AMVs. For those uninitiated, AMV is an acronym that stands for anime music video, and it is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. People edit together clips from different anime, set it to music and create some pretty magical results.
While their large presence on sites like YouTube might suggest that AMVs are a fairly recent phenomenon, their origin actually goes back as early as the 1980s. Originally, anime fans would use VCR editing decks to take individual scenes out and edit them together. Now, however, the process has become a lot more streamlined thanks to the advent of online video sharing sites and editing software.
There are a lot of things that make AMVs cool, both directly and indirectly. For starters, good AMVs take advantage of all of the wonders of modern editing. Their purposefully used transitions and well-placed masking of certain scenes and characters make them incredibly addictive to watch. A good example of this is an AMV from 2014 titled “Hope of Morning,” named after the song that accompanies it.
AMVs are also really good storytelling formats. The ability of AMV creators to manipulate footage so precisely combined with access to tons of different music allows for a variety of different results. Creators can either recontextualize different anime in relation to music or create entirely new stories depending on the level of editing.
On top of that, AMVs are also great for finding new music and anime to watch. Despite anime’s reputation as a singularly focused medium, the reality is that there are tons of choices. This means that there are also tons of different AMVs to explore, and many of the creators in the community will leave the name of the song and anime used in the description of the video.
AMVs are a wonderfully unique and incredibly fun part of the anime community. For those on the outside looking in, there are definitely a lot of unexpected influences. Still, while I would be lying if I said that every AMV is equally as exciting, there are still plenty of great ones worth watching.
We are all bored at this point, and there is no point in trying to deny it. Rather than worrying about “being productive” or whatever that means in modern society, try taking some time to relax. This is a community that is worth being a part of.
How do you all feel about AMVs? Let me know in the comments. Feel free to also check out my column from last week which was an overview of the Winter 2021 season.
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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!