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12 March 2015 @ 09:38 pm
AMV.org VCAs- The Long Version  
So believe it or not someone actually complained that my post about the AMV.org VCA contest was not actually detailed enough =P

They'll probably regret that, or at least say "dear gods what is that thing" and just skip this entire post, but here's here's the more wordy version!

(ZOMG this is long!)

So before i start let's put some disclaimers up. Everything i say here is just my own opinion. Even if i didn't like one of the videos clearly just by having gotten nominated for the semi-finals a lot of other people must have liked it, and if your tastes differ from mine maybe you'll think that something i disliked was amazing.

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* Best Action Video
*********************

This category exemplifies so many things about the VCAs in particular and AMVs in general for me.

I tend to like action videos, and often times some of my favorite videos fall into that category. That in itself is pretty normal, the action category is popular with lots of people and is often one of the categories with the most videos submitted at conventions and such.

However i apparently have slightly different feelings about what constitutes a good action video than the majority of people do.

So when i was doing my first post i should probably have appended a "[4}" to Whoarriors and Closer to Hell, since i thought both were pretty good (in fact i voted for Closer to Hell in another category) but i think i was feeling too depressed at the time that _none_ of the videos i voted for or even considered voting for made it into the finals.

And that's part of what led to me trying to participate in the semi-final nominations in the first place. A couple years after i first started paying attention to the VCAs there was a category that i normally like which had almost _nothing_ that impressed me in the finals round. So i went back to check the semi-finals wondering what kind of competition they'd been up against and found a number of videos that, IMHO, should have blown the actual finalists away.

But in any case, "Hot Blooded", "Between Rage and Serenity", and "Now or, Y'know, Whenever" are some of my favorite videos in the entire contest. Between Rage and Serenity gets a special bonus because it pairs a song i wasn't familiar with before _and_ a single source video from an anime that i'm not familiar with. Hot Blooded is also a single source video from an anime i'm not familiar with, but i've heard that Fall Out Boy song plenty of times before, so it loses a little edge.

Now or, Y'now, Whenever, on the other hand combines a song i don't know with an anime i'm somewhat familiar with. While we were at LosCon last year Avalyn and i managed to stumble into a showing of one of the Macross Frontier movies, one that apparently recaps the TV series. So it was nice to have an AMV to show Avalyn where she'd actually recognize some of it.

This was the first of many categories in which i voted for Ryder4Z's "The Optimists." I saw it at either Anime Expo or SakuraCon, liked it then and still like it now. It's bright and cheery and sentimental and it features One Piece. Of which i've only seen an episode or two of but still feel a certain affinity for because of how loudly enthusiastic Skuld and Naye are about it :)

"Animegraphy 2014" is the semi-regular "let's throw together all the anime that's come out in the last year" video. The first (and best) of these that i can recall was "Blame It On 2009: A Good, Good Year", though i believe that was by a different person. Still, it's always interesting to get at least some overview of what's been trending in Japan lately, and this was well edited.

In theory i ought to have loved "Whoarriors" because it features a song i'm not especially familiar with and an anime i don't really know, but for some reason it didn't appeal to me on the same level as Now or Y'know Whenever and it didn't quite cross the threshold of being worth voting for in my mind. Of course _now_ it may very well be what i vote for in the finals given the alternative.

Closer to Hell is well done, but #1: i'm not especially fond of dark AMVs, and #1: FMA is getting kind of overexposed and you need to do something unusual with it at this point to really get my attention. (The dark retelling of a character's story might have been that something unusual, except refer to #1.)

I thought "Valor" and "Vessels" were pretty middle of the pack for this category. "Vintage Misery" could have rated better in my books, except it was yet another Soul Eater AMV (getting a little overloaded on those at this point) and it also had the unfortunate luck to use the same song as the (IMHO) much better "Hot Blooded" from earlier in the list.

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* Best Character Profile
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After the total wipe out of the first category this was a bit better. I saw Ryder4Z's "The Monster in Me" at AnimeExpo last year. I loved it then and still like it now, so easy choice.

I've only seen an episode or two of Chi, but you don't really need a lot of context to get "Chi & The Not So Company". It's both cute and amusing, so easy choice.

When i saw a video titled "The Fox" i was sure i knew what song it would be, and i was right. What i couldn't figure out was what anime they would use. Going with "Spice and Wolf" was _perfect_, even if my own mental roadblocks prevented me from thinking of the idea of using Holo to portray a fox even though she's a (very foxy looking) wolf. I loved this AMV and voted for it in a number of categories, but it really didn't seem like a Character Profile video to me. So i'm not sad to see it get into the finals, but i probably won't vote for it in this category.

Closer to Hell was covered above. Fionn's Curse is a slow and somewhat dark Fate/Stay Night video (which i'm starting to get a little tired of, especially since they all seem to go one of two ways.)

"Molly" is some anime i don't know set to a Mindless Self Indulgence song that doesn't really appeal to me, so meh.

So i've mentioned repeatedly now that i don't like "dark" AMVs. Well when i say i don't like "dark" i mean i don't like grim dark. I often _do_ like the melancholy kind of dark, or the morbid humor kind of dark. Which means that i loved the Madoka anime, and since i only watched it last year it's still relatively easy to impress me with Madoka AMVs.

Usually people go the humor route with Madoka, but "The Way" is an awesome example of a sentimental, melancholy AMV. It's got a really distinctive song and does a great job of telling its story. Of all the AMVs that failed to make the finals this is one of the ones that bothers me the most, because of how unusual it is compared to a lot of the others.

And "The Gore Never Bothered Me Anyway". I think i may have seen this at both SakuraCon and AnimeExpo? This is a hilarious combination of the obvious song from Frozen and Elfen Lied. Elfen Lied is infamous for being bloody and violent, and it seems unlikely that i'll ever watch it. However the gratuitous use of "Censored" blackout boxes makes this video not only watchable, but hilarious. And yet at the same time it does a great job of recapping the highlights of the series (at least based on what i know from internet synopsis) and making you feel a bit sympathetic for the character. I voted for this one in a lot of categories and it got nominated in several of the other categories, so i don't feel as bad about it not making it through here.

And i voted for "The Optimists" here because to me it seemed like a great Character Profile for the whole anime. But i guess most of the other voters didn't view it that way.

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* Best Collaborative Video
****************************

This is a bit of a weird category, because it's just "vote for the best video in this category." The criteria for inclusion have already been determined by the time you see the list.

"Final Spark" was yet another Fate/Stay Night AMV, and it's getting a bit hard to distinguish between those. However it did use an interesting song, so i'm not sad to see that it got to the finals.

"Fact and Fiction" isn't bad, but it's set to Owl City's "Fireflies", and the first video i saw using that, which was also the first time i heard the song, is indelibly set in my mind and it's hard for other videos using it to live up to that.

I don't remember much about "Wir Konnen Alles!" It got marked down as "middle of the pack" in my notes after the initial viewing and i haven't rewatched it since then (i should probably do that before voting in the finals.)

"It Sucks Less to Be-bop" is a mostly Cowboy Bebop AMV, with a little Naruto thrown in for reasons that aren't clear to me yet, set to what is, amazingly, _not_ an overused Avenue Q song! (The first couple times someone did an "If You Were Gay" AMV it was amazing, but it got old.) The novelty of an Avenue Q song being a novelty was enough to get me, and apparently a number of other people, to vote for it.

"Hooked" is a cute little relationship AMV set to that "I'm a dic dic dic dic dicted to you" song. You can probably guess what kind of relationship is being depic pic picted :) It wasn't amazing, but it was fun, and i never would have guessed it was a collaboration.

Likewise "How it Feels to Chew 5 Gum" wasn't an outstanding video, but it was fun and i wouldn't have expected it to show up in this category. (It's amusing that it seems the thing that makes me want to vote for something in this category after the "good AMV" threshold is crossed is "they collaborated so well i couldn't even tell it was done by multiple people.")

"Tchaikovsky's Data Plan" is a great AMV by Ryder4Z (but i repeat myself =) which i first saw at Anime Expo. It's really three or four different bits put together, each one is set to one of those Sprint "famous people narrate some kind of internet/phone activity" commercials.

"Bow-WOW!" is another cute and amusing (sorta) relationship AMV, but this time set to the Lady and the Tramp song. It was competing for the last spot in my nominations with "Disastrous Djinn", which was a cute and amusing AMV set to a different Disney song, but "Bow-WOW!" ended ahead by a bit. (Probably because its song selection was more of a novelty.)

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* Best Comedy Video
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Another favorite category, although distinguishing between this, "Fun" and "Parody" can be a bit difficult at times.

I wonder if it means anything that my sense of humor is apparently more in line with the common consensus than my sense of what makes a good action or dance video?

"The Fox" got nominated, because duh.

I believe i saw "Good Clean Fun" at SakuraCon. It's one of those very multi-source videos, set to a Sesame Street song, which turns out to be hilarious.

And this is also the first category in which "Ship Happens" gets nominated. There were two AMVs this year that i considered to be a little pandery (and yet which i still voted for) which racked up a huge number of nominations. This is the slightly less pandering one. It's an AMV set to a parody song about the mentality of shippers. (And i can't imagine that anyone who cares enough about anime to get this far into the list doesn't already know what "shipping" is =) As someone who doesn't seriously ship anyone myself these days (*cough cough Ukyou x Ranma*) i _think_ it manages to hit that sweet spot of gently poking fun at a group of people/set of behaviours in such a way that both the people inside and outside of the group can appreciate it.

(Incidentally, it wasn't until after my brain prompted me to listen to "Between Rage and Serenity" and "Ship Happens" right after each other that something prompted me to look up the details and discover that the song to the first is "In the Stars", but a group i've never heard of before called "Icona Pop." And that the song to the second is "I Ship It", a parody of "I Love It" by... Icona Pop. Perhaps i should look into their other music? :)

I saw "AMV(&humor)" at Anime Expo. (I think? At this point which anime i saw at which con is all starting to run together =P) It is one of those meta-joke AMVs, and it's hilarious, so i'm not annoyed that it made the finals, it was just a bit too one note for me to feel like nominating it myself.

"Anime 404" is an AMV Hell video (lots of little clips, usually of very bad jokes, pasted together.) It's pretty good for an AMV Hell video and has a _bit_ more of a connecting thread than AMV Hell videos usually do. So again not sad that it made it to the finals, though obviously it wasn't my first (or even sixth) choice.

I did vote for "The Gore Never Bothered Me Anyway", and am bit confused about how it made the finals in other categories but not this one.

So, Kill la Kill. I have not watched any of that anime yet. I have the understanding that it claims to be some kind of meta-commentary about fanservice. I also have the understanding that it is somewhat divisive amongst fans of anime whether or not it is an effective parody of fanservice or if it's just using the excuse of parody to deliver more fanservice. I'm not sure if i should try watching some or just stay far far away. (Obviously so far the "stay far far away" side has won out.) _However_, it was used very effectively in two AMVs in this year's VCAs, and "My Nipples Can Pierce the Heavens" is the first of these. It seems that one of the few unabashedly positive things about Kill la Kill is that if they're going to deliver fanservice they're going to deliver at least some of both variety, and they don't shy away from showing "nude" or mostly nude men. Which this video makes very good use of. It seems rather weird as well as sad to me that this video didn't actually make the finals in any category.

But anyways, speaking of fanservice, there was another video in this category that was well put together and _might_ have made it into my personal list of nominations, if not for the massive amount of fanservice it chose to include. However it did provide a great counterpoint to the next video we played, entirely by coincidence. "Another Fanny-Service Video", which includes some stuff that's definitely fanservice (along with some stuff that's definitely not) but manages to make it amusing instead of just dumb.


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* Best Dance Video
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So if i had to narrow down why i pay attention to the VCAs, and why i try to go through all the semi-final nominees when doing so, to just one category, this would be it.

I think i saw "A Piece of Toast" at SakuraCon, and it certainly exemplifies one of the modern trends in dance videos. Fast and hyperactive, yet also disjointed song, tons of clips from tons of different animes all stuffed in a blender and put on frappe, then seasoned with special effects. I loved it and it's considered by both me and the other voters to be in the running for the Video of the Year category.

I already discussed "Now or, Y'know, Whenever." I voted for it, it got nominated, i'm happy.

According to my notes i considered "Airwave" to be meh, and "Ready for the Rave" and "Gatsby" to be even more meh. At this point i can't remember why, or anything else about the videos. I'll probably look at them again before voting in the finals, but i'm sure my vote will go to either Piece of Toast or Now or, Y'know, Whenever.


"Don't Ever Look Back" is that other kind of Madoka AMV i like, the dark humorous ones, set to the obvious what's her name song. (My mind wants to say that "Teenage [something]" by "Tyler Perry", but i'm pretty sure that's not right.) I especially liked the bit from the first(?) time it gets to the "let's do it tonight" line.

"A Trillion Somethings Right" is a dance video with romantic video overtones. As such i thought it was pretty awesome. Apparently nobody else thought so however =P

"Eighties !" Is an AMV about the eighties set to the song "Eighties" and using clips from a lot of anime from the eighties. It's definitely an AMV that's got its messaging straight! I love the concept, and i love a lot of the anime they took clips from (and after the cross-over bit in Dragon Ball we even recognized the Arale stuff. =) The only slightly down bit is that it seems like maybe the song is trying a little too hard. Though that may because punk isn't _really_ my thing. But it's still a decent if not great song, and all together it was an easy choice to vote for. Well, for me anyways. I guess no one else agreed with me =P

"Swim Team Rivalry" is set to "Free!", an anime about a (presumably high school?) male swim team that is apparently rather popular right now. Presumably especially so with straight women, gay/bi guys, and people who are very into swimming. Since i am none of those things i haven't really checked it out. I liked the music for this video, and it was certainly well edited. It didn't make the cut for a vote from me however because it suffers from the main problem (IMHO) that i imagine the anime does. It mainly just consists of a bunch of people swimming back and forth. But if you really like swimming or mostly naked men i'm sure this is great!

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* Best Dramatic Video
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Ahh, "drama". This is one of those categories that can be awesome, but that a lot of people don't know how to handle. Some people try to make videos that are as angsty as possible. I seem to recall that sometimes horror videos show up in this category if there is no official horror category in the relevant contest. Often there are videos in this category that _really_ ought to be in action. I get the impression that sometimes that's because people want to submit to a less competitive category, but in some cases it's because not enough good drama videos were submitted to the contest and so the judges move some of the most "dramatic" action videos over.

So "Closer to Hell" is the video that got nominated as a best action video. I didn't vote for it there because it seemed too dark to me, but hey, this is drama. So i voted for it here and it got nominated.

"Hot Commodity" is a video that i didn't vote for in this category, but on second thought perhaps i should have. (Instead i voted for it in "Best Storytelling" and "Best Original".) The audio is a track by Mackelmore called "Wing$", and is about tennis shoes as a symbol for consumerism and identity. Honestly as someone who'd never heard the song before and isn't very familiar with basketball anime i'm not actually entirely show how much the video portions added to the message of the song. (I'll definitely try to be more analytical when rewatching it for final voting.) However it's definitely a very different and interesting approach to an AMV than usual fare.

I probably ought to have liked "Quiet", it's an Evangelion AMV set to a Depeche Mode song, but for some reason it just didn't hit it off with me.

"This White Night Fantasy", and "Vacant Heart". Let's just reiterate the thing about "my notes say they ranged from 'somewhat meh' to 'very meh' and i don't actually remember any other details now" and leave it at that.

I did vote for "A Way" because it actually seemed like a good dramatic video, on the sentimental end of the spectrum, and also it was awesome.

And i voted for "The Monster in Me" because it seemed like a good dramatic video from the action end of the spectrum (so yes, i am part of the problem =)

I also voted for "This Life" and "Final Spark" and almost voted for "User Distortion" because... well i don't actually know. My notes say they were in the decent to good range, but all have a "minus" on them. Given the context i think maybe they were all a little too dark for me to find really enjoyable? Which makes them a good fit for this category from the "dark and angsty is good" perspective.

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* Best First Video
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I watched the first two or three videos in this category, then decided to come back to it later. These are definitely pretty good for first video attempts, but that doesn't necessarily mean good from an objective standpoint, and i decided i wanted to make sure i got through the voting for the videos i really enjoyed first.

Right before the end of the contest i did come back to vote for "Sinners", because i'd realized that i was voting for it in another category. And if i think it's good enough for one of the main categories it seems like it ought to easily qualify for "Best First Video" too. Unfortunately i did that voting at 8:59 and some seconds, and it looks like that didn't go through before the 9:00 PST deadline. Luckily it seems that other people agreed with me and it made it into the finals even without my help :)

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* Best Fun Video
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The counterpoint to the "Comedy" category. And also the "Parody" category.

Both the other voters and i agreed that "The Fox" and "Ship Happens" belonged in this category, just like in Comedy.

We also agreed that "Piece of Toast" belonged in here. (Definitely fun, but not as much of a comedy as the others.)

The other voters thought "Good Clean Fun" belonged here as well. I thought about that, but decided to go with some other "fun but less comedy" options.

To skip ahead a bit, i voted for "the Optimists", because not a comedy, but definitely fun.

I voted for "My Nipples Can Pierce the Heavens", which is both comedy and fun.

And then i voted for "Fierce", which is the _other_ really well done Kill la Kill AMV in the contest. The focus of "My Nipples Can Pierce the Heavens" was the male semi-nudity in the series. The focus of "Fierce" was all the clothes, set to Lady Gaga's "Fashion." It's one of those pairings that's obvious once you think about it, but this person was the first to do so (that i know of) and it came out awesome.

(I did consider voting for "Swim Team Rivalry" here as well, because it _does_ have a very fun and bouncy song, but again boring swimming stuff IMHO.)

So the other two videos that got nominated and deserve a bit more mention, "Anime 101", "Otaku Paradise".

"Anime 101" is by the same person who did "Ship Happens". It's a pretty amazing video, with the one little downside that i'd already seen it at both SakuraCon and Anime Expo. And it's one of those joke AMVs where the joke(s) are told entirely by the images and words shown on the screen and the music is pretty much incidental. So between those two facts in my book a lot of its glory is being stolen by "Ship Happens", which manages to leverage both the audio and the visual for the jokes.

And "Otaku Paradise" is the other really pandering video besides Ship Happens, but if anything even more directly. It consists of clips of various anime alternated with clips of videos from conventions with people cosplaying, usually (though not always) as the character(s) shown in the previous anime clip, all set to one of those songs that manages to be upbeat but also sentimental. And even though i realize that it's pandering it still makes me tear up when i watch it and i can't stop voting for it =P (Six total votes from me, and it's a finalist in six categories, though slightly different from the ones i voted for.)



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* Best Horror Video
*********************

This would be one of the categories that i mostly skipped, because i don't really like horror in general, at least not the actual dark and/or scary kind. So i can't actually comment on most of the finalists.

However i did vote for "The Gore Never Bothered Me Anyway", because that is funny and awesome, even if it's (theoretically) gory. And i also voted for "This Is Halloween [HD Remake]"

I'm not entirely sure about the ethics on voting for just a couple videos in a category where i'm afraid to watch most of the other options, but whatever =P And to be fair, what with the cross-over between other categories, i did watch seven of them in total, so it's not like i was just voting for whatever i'd seen.

Speaking of which, this is a good time to bring up "Free Willies", which is an AMV of the swimming anime "Free!" that was mentioned before, but set to the "No Homo" song. I briefly considered voting for this one in some of the other categories because it is a pretty amusing parody, but it can also feel kind of uncomfortable to listen to (compare and contrast with gangsta rap) and i do sometimes wonder if it crosses the line twice, so i ended up letting it slide. However i have to ask, how the hell did it end up as a semi-finalist in the Horror category? Did a bunch of guys go "oh no! Homosexuals are scary!"? Or did a bunch of people nominate it as joke, parodying the "oh no! Homosexuals are scary!" thing? I think in this category in particular the AMV is playing hopscotch with the line =P

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* Best Multi-Editor Project
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I skipped this category. One of the options was AMV Hell 7, and the videos in that series can be (though aren't always) notoriously long. As in on the order of an hour. I have no idea if the others were anywhere near as epic in length, but it just didn't seem worth worrying about unless i had a lot of extra time at the end, which i didn't. I'll try to check out the five finalists before voting closes saturday night, but we'll see. (Though i've already been informed that AMV Hell 7 is definitely not the high point of the series in terms of quality.)

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* Best Parody Video
*********************

And finally it's the third leg of the Comedy/Fun/Parody trifecta!

So what kind of parodies do you prefer? Parodies of the song? Parodies of the anime? Parodies of the genre? Is the anime making a parody of the song, or playing along with a song that's already a parody? So many options!

So of course i voted for "The Fox", a sorta-parody of Spice and Wolf set to a sorta-parody song.
And of course i voted for "The Gore Never Bothered Me Anyway", which is a parody of both the song and the series.

"Oops Eren did it again" is set to a remix/cover/parody of "Oops I Did It Again." The same lyrics (as far as i know) but more slowly by a guy to... what sounds like a 20s era song i guess? I'm really not sure if what's going on in the Attack on Titan video part is supposed to mean anything in particular, but the song itself is strangely kind of earwormy.

I'm not sure if all AMV Hell videos are considered parodies, or if Anime 404 is considered a parody of AMV Hell videos or what. I'm guessing the name is a riff on the previously mentioned "Anime 101". It's moderately fun, but there were better options available.

"Good Clean Fun" is clearly a parody of the Sesame Street song, but perhaps because i've never seen the original it just didn't _feel_ like a parody to me.

I also voted for "Alchemy Zone", which was a mashup parody of Full Metal Alchemist set to some crazy song about chalk, that i guess was from some old TV show, and for the previously mentioned "Fierce", which seemed like a parody of the anime to me.

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* Best Romantic Video
***********************

Okay, i do like Romantic videos, when they're done right. But it's way too easy for them to go super sweet and saccharine and blah, so this is usually a very hit and miss category for me.

Of the things that got nominated, i did like "Lucky Seven", but "Heart", "Resonance", "Stray Tracks", and "Vacant Heart" all seemed too boring to me.

Of all the things i voted for in this category i'm saddest about "Sinners" not getting the nod, because as was discussed earlier this is apparently the first video by "crimson90". (Presumably they mean first video submitted to AMV.org and/or to a contest, since obviously there's no way they could or should be policing what people do before they decide they've reached the point where they can start submitting stuff.) But in any case this was an awesome Revolutionary Utena Girl video set to a song that i've never heard before.

Since the description of the category includes the phrase "it explores one or many of the faces of love", i decided to vote for "Otaku Paradise" for exploring the love we fans have for anime. (See? Know it's pandering, still voting for it =P)

I also voted for "Don't Ever Look Back", because it was about relationships and it was about Madoka and it was funny.

"Hooked" also got a vote, again because it was funny.

My last vote went to "Kiss With A Fist", predictably set to Toradora, which definitely got a boost because Avalyn and i watched that series together.

I did seriously consider voting for "Sleepy Sun Bears", which features an anime that seems to be about two people who discover how to enter some kind of dream world together whenever they fall asleep. It was well edited and very sweet, and since it didn't make it to the finals i now feel a little guilty about not having voted for it. (Though none of the stuff i _did_ vote for made it either, so...) It's one downfall is that it used a Beatles song. A perfectly appropriate Beatles song, but i'm just not really fond of that style of music. (Apparently it's a relatively uncommon Beatles song, because Avalyn, who does not share the same aversion i do, had no idea what it was until i told her.)

Finally i _almost_ voted for "Sweet Peach", because it's set to an awesome song. Seriously, go watch the AMV and see how long it takes you to figure out what the song is really about :) Unfortunately a novel song choice wasn't quite enough to get it over the edge.


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* Best Sentimental Video
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This category is _very_ similar to the Romantic category, both in having a similar tone and a similar ability for the entries to teeter between greatness and saccharine blah.

"Resonance" and "Stray Tracks" carried over from the Romantic category, but they didn't seem any better to me when viewed sentimentally.

I voted for "Otaku Paradise". So did everyone else. Because it's pandering :)

I voted for "the Optimists". And for once so did everyone else! So glad this made the finals for at least one category!

I voted for "Rhythm&Melody" in this category. So did everyone else. It seems to be about two guys and who form a band and do musicy stuff while hanging out with a girl before splitting up (possibly about competing over the girl? Or because something happens to her? I really couldn't tell) and then getting back together years later.

Ironically i voted for "Lucky Seven" for Sentimental but not Romantic, and it made the finals in Romantic, but not Sentimental =P

I also voted for "Levity". (If the finals had been determined by me, the user "PieAndBeer" would have had three of the five videos in this category.) This was a single source video using the latest (and possibly final) Miyazaki movie, "The Wind Rises."

And i did consider voting for "Surging Tides" because it's a Toradora video. However it just happened to use the exact same song as the "Sinners" video that had already blown me away in the Romantic category, so it fell just barely behind the rest of the pack.

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* Best Short Video *
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Another category where you just vote on which one is "best" out of all the videos that met the criteria to get in. I usually try to give a preference to anything that manages to be _really_ short, like less than 30 seconds. Unfortunately the video that came closest to that was just a so-so commercial parody.

"AMV(&humor)": Covered earlier, voted for and it won.

"Phenomenon (Open Your Moe)": Voted for it and it won. A pretty generic action style video about cute girls.

"Wind of Japan": Voted for it and it won. This was a pretty interesting concept, it's just a bunch of scenes about life in japan set to some instrumental music.

"Immortal Chimera": Didn't bot for it but it won. So this is based on the audio from some fake commercial for a product to make your dog immortal. The process of which involves doing all kinds of horrible things to the dog. And it's set to FMA. And if you've seen FMA you can probably see where this is going. I can certainly see how it could be funny to some people, but i found it a little disturbing.

"Rebecca!": Didn't vote for it but it won. What. The. Fuck. I'm sure this is based on some internet meme thing that i'm just unaware of, but OMGWTFBBQ?

"Alchemy Zone": Covered earlier, voted for it and it lost.
"Bow-WOW!": Covered earlier, voted for it and it lost.

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* Best Single Source Video *
****************************

Now i did like three out of the five videos in this category that got to the finals, but i didn't vote for any of them.

"Fierce", "Final Spark", and "Rhythm&Melody" have all been mentioned before. I thought they were good, though not the best in this category, so i'm okay with them making it to the finals.

"Fionn's Curse" and "Quiet" have also been mentioned before. I still thought they were meh here, and would have been happier if something else had advanced, namely...

"A Way", "Hot Blooded", "Between Rage And Serenity", "Sleepy Sun Bears", "The Gore Never Bothered Me Anyway", or "AMV(&humor)". Between Rage and Serenity in particular was, as previously mentioned, a great AMV featuring a previously unknown (to me) anime set to previously unknown (to me) music.


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* Best Storytelling *
*********************

I mentioned "Chi & The Not So Company" and "Hot Commodity" before. I think both of them did a great job of storytelling (though also as previously mentioned in the case of Hot Commodity i'm not entirely sure how much the AMV contributed to the story of the audiotrack) so i voted for them and, and so did everyone else.

Everyone else also voted for "Vacant Heart", "Anime 101", "Ship Happens".

Okay, since this is the third time it came up i just rewatched part of "Vacant Heart", and it's the dead girlfriend video. Like seriously, as far as i can tell they grabbed clips from every anime possible where something tragic happens to the main character's girlfriend. What's the equivalent to Fridging when it's intended to provide dramatic angst instead of anger and a thirst for revenge? Gah! Just gah!

*takes a deep breath*

But anyways i definitely liked "Anime 101" and "Ship Happens", but neither of them really seemed to tell much of a story to me.

I voted for "A Way", "Between Rage And Serenity", and "Don't Ever Look Back". All great, all previously discussed, and all doing a better job of telling a story than those other three, IMHO.


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* Best Trailer or Commercial *
******************************

And this would be the fourth leg of the Comedy/Fun/Parody trifecta! If you think a fourth leg on a trifecta sounds awkward, useless, and unnecessary, i agree! Although there are the _occasional_ examples that really impress me i don't generally get a lot out of this category. They can be impressively well edited, and there's definitely the factor of how well you match the anime and the trailer, but rarely do i find them truly enjoyable. On the other hand part of the reason for the creation of this category is that they were starting to take over the regular Comedy/Parody categories, so i'm at least grateful that this provides a way to shunt them away.

There were exactly two that everyone agreed were great.

"Harlock Into Darkness", which was obviously (the new) Space Captain Harlock set to the Star Trek: Into Darkness trailer. Well chosen pairing, well edited, and as a bonus it was for a trailer where i actually had some idea of what was going on.

"The Butterfly Effect" is amusingly about an anime that i've never seen but have heard a little about set to a trailer for a movie that i've never seen but have heard a moderate amount about. And yet just that very limited knowledge was enough for me to get the joke. (In fact it may or may not have helped to know just enough to get the connection but not know any potential contradictions.) The movie is obviously "The Butterfly Effect." I've never watched it because it's a horror movie, but the premise is SFy enough and it's come up on other contexts often enough that at some point i read a brief synopsis of it. The anime is Steins Gate. And i'll just stop there, because the last time i mentioned the two things about Steins Gate that i thought were common knowledge that everyone knew i was warned about spoilers =P

The other finalists were "Juno", which seemed boring, "Kill La Bill", which had an amusingly punny name but was otherwise meh, and "Dead Space Cowboy", which was somewhat entertaining, but still not anything i actually wanted to nominate.

I voted for "Tchaikovsky's Data Plan", because it was already worth voting for in a non-trailer category, "Attack on Baddassdom", because i still find the concept of that movie potentially amusing even though i haven't gotten around to seeing it yet, and "SakuraCon 2014 AMV Contest Intro" because that was actually cool and not your run-of-the-mill trailer or commercial parody.


**********************************
* Best Use of Instrumental Music *
**********************************

Another one of the categories that i didn't get around to so i don't have a lot to say. However i do want to mention "Monarch" since i don't think it comes up in any of the other categories. I don't think i've ever seen this anime before, but it looks like a horror story done in the art style of Gankutsuou. I was in the running for a lot of categories, including Artistic, but this is the only one where it qualified. Even though i didn't vote for it i do kind of wish it had reached the finals instead of some of the other stuff, although to a certain extent what makes the AMV so impressive is the art style that was already present in the anime itself.


*************************
* Best Use of Lip Synch *
*************************

Everyone agreed that "Good Clean Fun", "The Fox", and "Ship Happens" all made _excellent_ use of lip synching.

I really didn't think "A Piece of Toast" made enough use of lip synch to be worth voting for, but it's certainly not a tragedy that it's in the finals.

But dear gods, how the hell did _"Rebecca!"_ end up getting to the finals in _two_ categories?!?!?!

My (non-winning) personal choices were "My Nipples Can Pierce The Heavens" and "It Sucks Less to Be-bop"


******************************
* Best Use of Multiple Anime *
******************************

I just about nailed this one. I agreed with everyone about "Animegraphy 2014", "Good Clean Fun", "Otaku Paradise", and "Ship Happens" being awesome compositions. Ironically, after my complaints in the last category, in this category i picked "A Piece of Toast" for my fifth vote, while everyone else gave the nod to "Anime 101". Which is not a bad choice, it may just be the bit about it being a little stale for me at this point that caused me not to vote for it as well.

*******************************
* Best Use of Special Effects *
*******************************

And ditto for best use of special effects, everyone and i agreed on "A Piece of Toast", "Good Clean Fun", "The Fox", and "Ship Happens". Then i voted for "Between Rage and Serenity" and they went with "Quiet".


***********************
* Most Artistic Video *
***********************

I was much less successful with this category. Everyone agreed on "Animegraphy 2014" and "Otaku Paradise".

I voted for "Sleepy Sun Bears", "Good Clean Fun" and "The Optimists". They voted for "Gatsby", "Moon Powder" and "Quiet".

I'm still not especially fond of "Quiet", but i have to admit that "Gatsby" and "Moon Powder" are rather artsy. "Gatsby" has, unsurprisingly, kind of a 20s theme for a lot of it and "Moon Powder" is all psychedelic and drug-oriented.


***********************
* Most Original Video *
***********************

I was back on track again with this one. Everyone agreed on "Good Clean Fun", "Otaku Paradise", "Anime 101" and "Ship Happens" being very original. After that they liked the originality of the art style in "Gatsby" while i went with the originality of the storytelling in "Hot Commodity".

*********************
* Video of the Year *
*********************

And i stayed on target for the final category.

Everyone thought "A Piece Of Toast", "Animegraphy 2014", "Otaku Paradise" and "Ship Happens" were awesome. And in a predictable turn of events they also picked out "Anime 101" for the 5th slot. I contemplated voting for "Good Clean Fun", but in the end i went with "The Optimists".

And that's the end! Thankfully it went faster and faster as i got through since there was less and less new stuff to talk about. I'm sure there's still some stuff that i forgot to cover, but that should be all the highlights.
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(Anonymous) on March 13th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
The answer to how the Free video was nominated for Best Horror and the answers to all your other questions about how this or that got in / didn't get in / etc. are all one in the same.

The number of people who put any thought into voting beyond "is this editor a friend of mine" is vanishingly small. It is trivially simple to rig the results of the VCAs because so few people actually vote.
DonAithnendonaithnen on March 14th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Well as someone who doesn't actually _know_ any editors i'd love to try and provide a little (biased) balance to the selection process, but outside of the VCAs, SakuraCon, Anime Expo and (sometimes) ALA, i don't really watch that many AMVs in any given year =/