Of all the myriad ways I’ve been introduced to anime over the years, I recently found myself thinking back on the times when I could thank (or blame) an AMV for turning me on to a new series. Maybe I already had my eye on that show for a while and just needed that extra nudge to finally go watch it, or maybe I had never heard of the show at all before an AMV came along and introduced me to it. A long time ago, Derek offered to let me write a guest entry here if I ever felt like it, and I decided it would be fun to take him up on that offer and share some of my favorite AMVs that have led me to try new anime.
Hey folks, Derek here – just wanted to thank long time reader and commenter WingKing for his work in creating the Lounge’s first ever guest post! (And hopefully not his last.) If anyone else is interested, hit me up via the Contact link. With that, I’m going to get out of the way – take it away Wing!
So grab your All Might action figure and get ready, because it’s time to watch some AMVs after the jump!
“Confession to the Dancefloor” (JadeCharm) | Remedy (Little Boots)
Got me to watch: K-On!
I first ran across this when I was hunting for AMVs to show at the anime club that I run, and it became an instant favorite. “Remedy” is a very catchy pop song, and I love the way the whole is put together. It feels a lot like a classic music video to me, right down to the band playing over the chorus. Beyond that, though, this is probably the most important AMV I ever watched because it introduced me to K-On!, which (as incredible as it sounds) I’d literally never heard of before I saw this. I missed the original K-On! craze thanks to being immersed in Naruto at the time, and then I didn’t watch much anime for a couple of years after I burned out on Naruto in 2011. But after watching this video only heaven knows how many times, I decided to give K-On! a try one late December evening in 2013. It was the perfect cure for my Naruto hangover and just what I needed to get excited about watching new anime again, especially the slice of life genre I’ve come to enjoy so much. Without this AMV, who knows if I’m even ready to catch the streaming anime boom in 2014 and all the shows I’ve enjoyed since.
“Fate Matrix” (GuntherAMVs & Shin) | Tell Me (Clock Opera Remix) (Au Revoir Simone)
Got me to watch: Heaven’s Memo Pad, Anohana
As much as “Confession” remains a personal favorite, I’ll confess that my favorite kind of AMV is the kind that takes all that footage and tells an entirely new, original story with it. “Fate Matrix” has one of the most creative original stories I’ve ever seen from an AMV. It stars Alice from Heaven’s Memo Pad, and like a digital age guardian angel she watches over the city’s residents from her banks of computers and gently nudges their fates in the right direction at crucial moments in their lives. It’s a beautiful concept that’s gorgeously executed, and “Tell Me” with its galloping piano melody is a wonderful musical accompaniment. This AMV inspired me to try two new anime and rewatch a third (Toradora). I can’t really say what it was that drew me to Anohana, other than finding the brief clips here very striking, but I loved that series once I saw it. And while it’s no mystery why I had to try Heaven’s Memo Pad after seeing this video, that series unfortunately bored me to death, so I ended up dropping it halfway. I found this Alice a much more interesting character than the original version.
“Change” (Heartilly) | It’s Not My Time (3 Doors Down)
Got me to watch: A Certain Magical Index
“Change” is another AMV that tells an original story, this one starring Touma and Misaka from A Certain Magical Index. “It’s Not My Time,” a song about not giving up and staying strong in the face of hardship or loss, is a great match for the theme of the video, and the story is pretty easy to follow. I watched the first few episodes of Index soon after I found this video, but then I got away from it for a long time. Writing this post actually pushed me to go back and finish the first season, and after all these years it was fun to finally see the clips from this video in their original context.
“2 Dollars” (sideswipe147) | Oh No You Didn’t (The Wojahn Brothers)
Got me to watch: Gunslinger Girl
Gunslinger Girl is another series that’s become a personal favorite. I don’t know if I would have picked it up without this AMV, but if nothing else, I had to know what happened to the bellboy! “2 Dollars” is a well-made action video, and the lip-syncing is especially good. I’ve said before that it’s hard to evaluate anime solely from AMVs, though, and this one is a perfect example. The video plays like an action comedy, and the real series is nothing like that; it’s a very serious show that’s actually much more of a dark, morally complex character drama (which is one of the things I loved about it). In fairness, the show’s core themes would be very hard to illustrate in an AMV format, and I’ve yet to find any Gunslinger Girl AMV that really captures the true essence of the series, but I still enjoy this one anyway.
“Lyrical Concerto” (Chiiisus) | Warrior Concerto (The Glitch Mob)
Got me to watch: Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st, Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A’s
Full disclosure: I’d watched Lyrical Nanoha before this AMV, but “Lyrical Concerto” only uses footage from the first two Nanoha movies, which I hadn’t seen yet and only decided to watch after seeing this AMV and the massive animation upgrades from the TV versions. I’m glad I did; the first movie in particular is now my preferred version of season 1’s story. As an added bonus, this was also the first time I’d ever heard The Glitch Mob, and anyone who likes electronic music should definitely check their stuff out. I love the editing in this AMV, but I also appreciate how it highlights both sides of Nanoha. There’s plenty of action, yes, but the emotional heart of the franchise has always been about lonely/orphaned/rejected people finding love and family and a place to belong, and it’s fabulous that Chiiisus found room to highlight a little bit of that theme too, even in a video that’s just over two minutes long.
“Philosophy of the Lonely” (PseudoBaka) | The World Beyond (Burn the Rez)
Got me to watch: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
This is the most recent AMV that got me to pick up a good anime. I’d heard plenty of positive reviews about My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, but finding this video last year made me finally watch it. The AMV focuses on SNAFU’s main character, Hachiman Hikigaya, a loner teen who’s become jaded and cynical after years of being ostracized by his peers. Like Gunslinger Girl’s deliberately gray ethics, Hachiman’s negative view of human relationships – informed by his personal history – is another concept that could be hard to convey in AMV format. PseudoBaka solved that problem by overdubbing the music in places with snippets of Hachiman’s monologues from the series, which I thought was an inspired choice; it tells you so much about him in just a few minutes. “The World Beyond” is a song about coping with loneliness and isolation, a perfect match for Hachiman. I’ve heard it in several AMVs, but this is easily my favorite use of it.
So there you go. Six AMVs that sparked me to watch eight new anime, and rewatch at least two others (Toradora and a “Confession”-inspired Kanon rewatch, not that I ever need an excuse to watch Kanon again).
Hopefully you enjoyed some of these videos! (If you did, please be sure and visit YouTube and let the creators know!) Have you ever decided to watch an anime primarily because it was featured in an AMV you liked, or even other fan works like doujins or fanfic?