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Anime Expo 2014 AMV Contest Recap

Once again i am up too late before going back to work writing up my impressions of the Anime Expo AMV Contest.

They changed the format again a little this year. The Parody/Trailer category from last year has been removed as a regular category and was now a "bonus genre" consisting of trailers and commercial parodies that were interspersed between the regular categories. However despite not being a "real" category there were still winners.

Edit: Oh yes, one other little new edition, they now do a brief clip of a past winner when introducing each category, it's pretty cool. (/Edit)

Once again i have spoiled myself for some of the videos by going to SakuraCon and participating in the Viewers' Choice Awards voting, which is entirely my own fault.

However i've got to say that this is the first year in quite awhile where i've walked out of the AMV Contest without a song stuck in my head that i feel compelled to go download. And the exact same thing happened at SakuraCon. I'm not sure if i'm just out of synch for this year, or if i suddenly got old in the last 12 months and need to start telling those damn kids and their crazy music to get off my lawn.

So here's the list of AMVs, as best as i can transcribe it from the (awesome) tear-away ballot sheet:

A1 - Control the Redline - By KagatoAMV [Studio Hybrid] - ("Control" by VNV Nation - Redline)
A2 - Fighting Dreamers 2 - By kenshinorax - ("Omoide wa Okkusenman" by Jam Project - Dragon Ball Z)
A3 - Vampiric Vixen - By BecauseImBored1 - ("Psycho Ball and Chain" by the Creepshow - Hellsing Ultimate)
A4 - Mahjong Banquet - By Magicflier [Illuminated Studios] ("Senbonzakura" by Yuko Suzuhana ft. Wagakki Band - Saki)
A5 - Lifeline - By Hagaren Viper - ("I'm Alive" by Shinedown - Persona 4)
A6 - Fionn's Curse - By irriadin [PixelBlended Studios] - ("Verja Urit An Bitus" by Eluveitie - Fate/Zero)

D1 - On the Run - By Draqua - ("I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman [On the Run]" by k-os - Michiko & Hatchin)
D2 - The Fighting Ippo - By Compbros - ("The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes - Haijime no Ippo)
D3 - The Monster in Me - By Rider4Z [Otaku Lounge Productions] ("Monster" by Imagine Dragons - Attack on Titan)
D4 - Cosmic Love - By Nekokitkat ("Cosmic Love" by Florence and the Machine - Tusbasa Reservoir Chonicle [Manga])
D5 - Face Your Fears - By BakaOppai - ("Machine Gun [Amon Tobin Remix]" by Noisia - Various [20])
D6 - Dare You to Dream - By MinetChan - ("Dare You to Move" by Switchfoot - Studio Ghibli Collection)

F1 - Snowball Genocide - By Kisanzi ("Royal Taste" [Jim Waterman Remix] by Montee & Junky Sound - Various [12])
F2 - Angel Without a Cause - By Rider4Z [Otaku Lounge Productions] ("She's a Rebel" by Green Day - Panty & Stocking)
F3 - With a Capital T - By "LC"_Lapen - ("Trouble" by Neon Jungle - Kill la Kill)
F4 - Hououin Kyouma the Science Guy - By BAD ASTERICK ("Bill Nye [Remix]" by DJ Abunai - Steins;Gate)
F5 - The Optimists - By Rider4Z [Otaku Lounge Productions] - ("Pompeii" by Bastille - One Piece)

R1 - Still Alive - By ShodanKid - ("Still Alive" by Lisa Miskovsky - Sword Art Online)
R2 - Young and Beautiful - By Ellipselris - ("Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey - Garden of Words)
R3 - Crazy Little Thing - By MinetChan - ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen - Various [24])
R4 - Stay With Me - By KyuuYuKi - ("Stay" by Hurts - Shinsekai Yori)
R5 - Undisciplined Heart - By daynnz - ("Hang You U[" by Yellowcard - 5 Centimeters Per Second)
R6 - Time Falls Away - By AdventLostKaichou [Advent Lost Studios] ("Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas - Tokyo Magnitude 8.0)

U1 - Pamplemousse - By PieandBeer - ("Nine in the Afternoon" by Panic! at the Disco - Kyousougiga)
U2 - Nostalgia - By Maturbo - ("Warm Thoughts" by Flame - Various [144])
U3 - G6 - By Bambi - ("Like a G6" by Far East Movement ft. The Cataracs - Carious [17])
U4 - Under Control - By SasukeChanx - ("Under Control" by Calvin Harris & Alessa - Carious [32])
U5 - A Piece of Toast - By BakaOppai - ("Pizza Rolls (Mashup)" by sssShawnnn - Various [40])

C1 - Iwatobi Weather Service - By Nekokitkat ("Raining Men" by The Weather Girls - Iwatobi Swim Club, Attack on Titan)
C2 - Animu Stew - By BlackOppai - (Various Audio [18] - Various Anime [13])
C3 - Good Clean Fun - By Haunter103 [CornDog VidVids] - ("Do the Duck" by Sesame Street - Various)
C4 - Free Willies - By Amaterasu - ("No Homo" by the Lonely Island - Iwatobi Swim Club [+4 other sources])
C5 - Anime 101 - By VivifxAMV ("Good Feeling [Instrumental] by FloRida & "Levels" by Avicii - Various [59])
C6 - AMV(&humor) - By BasharOfTheAges - ("Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler - Wolf Children)


Block One (After Action/Adventure)
X1 - Tickets - By Otaku Lounge Productions ("Tickets" Sprint Commercial - Fullmetal Alchemist & Ouran Highschool Host Club)
X2 - Totes McGotes - By Otaku Lounge Productions ("Totes McGotes" Sprint Commercial - Fullmetal Alchemist & Ouran Highschool Host Club)
X3 - Sword of the Ronin - By SVProductions (Ronin 47 Trailer - Sword of the Stranger)
Block Two (After Drama/Theatric)
X4 - GMFC Giganto - By Mr. Pilkington ("GMFC Giganto" by You Don't Know Jack - Girls und Panzer)
X5 - Dead Space Cowboy - By NoisyNinjas [Mad Rush Studios] (Dead Space Trailer - Cowboy Bebop)
Block Three (After Fun)
X6 - PandaTelus Commercial - By nicki_013 (Telus Commercial - Shirokuma Cafe)
X7 - Special Eyes - By WarlikeSwans (1-800-Contacts Commercial - Code Geas)
X8 - The Butterfly Effect - By MycathatesyouAMV [Chaotic Bad Raptor] (The Butterfly Effect - Steins;Gate)
Block Four (After Romance/Sentimental)
X9 - Edge of Walpurgis - By Tsu (Edge of Tomorrow Trailer - Madoka Magica)
X10 - Kyubey's Eye Repair - By Tsu ("Call to Adventure" by Kevin MacLeod - Various[6])
Block Five (After Upbeat/Dance)
X11 - Going Out Tonight - by Otaku Lounge Productions ("Going Out Tonight" Sprint Commercial - Fullmetal Alchemist & Ouran Highschool Host Club)
X12 - Friend Request - by Otaku Lounge Productions ("Friend Request" Sprint Commercial - Fullmetal Alchemist & Ouran Highschool Host Club)
X13 - Juno - By MinetChan (Juno trailer - Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, Clannad, Clannad After Story)

And here's a rundown of how i and the majority voted, as well as some opinions about the categories and videos.

(It should be noted that i did not have time to find links for _all_ the AMVs, but i managed to dig them up for almost all of the winners and personal favorites.)

Seen Before: A6
Favorites: A2, A4 (Mahjong Banquet), A6 (Fionn's Curse)
Voted For: A2 (Fighting Dreamers 2)
Won: A1 (Control the Redline)
Other thoughts: I spent the first 30-60 seconds of A2 trying to figure out why it sounded so familiar before realizing the music was remix of a song from the Mega Man 2 soundtrack. I was kind of torn about which to vote for, but that's what ended up deciding it for me. I hadn't realized there was an anime about people playing Mahjong dramatically with some kind of supernatural influence going on, but given that the anime about people playing Go dramatically with some kind of supernatural influence going on seemed to be pretty popular i'm not surprised. A1 was by Studio Hybrid and set to a VNV Nation song, so i really ought to have loved it. However i don't generally like racing anime to begin with, and on top of that the Redline art style really doesn't appeal to me.

Seen Before: D1
Favorites: D3
Voted For: D3 (Monster in Me (spoilers for Attack on Titan!))
Won: D5 (Face Your Fears)
Other thoughts: Did i say i wasn't really into racing anime? I meant to say i'm not really into any kind of sports anime, which is why D2, set to a boxing anime, didn't really appeal to me despite being well made. As for D5, i _really_ don't like horror stuff, and the first half of that one was all horror. It was well done horror, but i don't care.

Seen Before: F1, F4
Favorites: F1, F5
Voted For: F5 (The Optimists)
Won: F1 (Snowball Genocide)
Other thoughts: F1 is pretty awesome. Part of the reason i edged towards F5 though is probably that the first time i watched F1 i was waiting through the entire video for Skuld and Urd to show up, and they never did. Looking back at it realistically that scene wasn't really long enough to grab much footage from, but it still makes me sad.

Edit: Oh yes, and i really ought to have liked F2, it's by one of my favorite AMV creators and with a song i like. However i just haven't managed to get into Panty & Stocking. (Er, so to speak.) The art style is kind of weird (though not as annoying to me as Redline) and it seems kind of fanservicey.

Seen Before: R2, R3
Favorites: R3, R6
Voted For: R3 (Crazy Little Thing)
Won: R6 (Time Falls Away)
Other thoughts: I often have a tough time figuring out a good one for this category and/or the Drama/Theatric category. In this case R6 was very good. However an AMV all about someone suffering from medical issues and then dying, and set to this song... yeah. I had to vote for the happy cheery one for the sake of my own sanity. On another note, i'm kind of annoyed that Counting Stars was apparently an honorable mention when i might well well have voted for it in this category, or maybe in the Drama/Theatric category.

(Oh, and also, if the AMV leads in with "Still Alive" as the song title and it's not the Jonathan Coulton song then i will be disappointed. I acknowledge that this is totally unfair, but it's still true.)

Seen Before: U5
Favorites: U5
Voted For: U5
Won: U5 (A Piece of Toast)
Other thoughts: The most important thing to me in this category is the song choice. They were all well made, but U5 was the only one whose music i really liked. U1 and U4 were okay and one of them would have gotten my vote otherwise, but i'm glad U5 came along at the end, even though i'd already seen it before.

Edit: Also for some reason i can't stand the song "Like a G6." Perhaps because i heard the wonderful parody, "Roll a D6" ( before i heard the original. But whatever the reason it's sad news for any AMV that uses the song from my perspective.

Seen Before: C4, C5
Favorites: C1 (Iwatobi Weather Service), C2, C3 (apparently not available yet,) C5
Voted For: C5 (Anime 101)
Won: C2 (Animu Stew)
Other thoughts: I always hope for the comedy category to be great. It rarely disappoints, and this was not one of those years. Everything was good, the only reason C4 wasn't included in the "Favorites" list is that even though i know it's a joke every time i hear C4's "no homo" it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. C6 almost qualified as well, but wasn't quite tight enough. I'm not sure if it should have been shorter, or perhaps the problem is it changed things up a little too much rather than going full Total Waste on us. But in any case it definitely made me laugh a lot, especially at the beginning, but it couldn't quite compete with the others. I appreciated Attack on Titan being brought into C1 for the last third of the video, but there some parts in there where there was so much going on that i was just confused. C2 had some really awesome bits, but even when they're well done i don't really think AMV Hell type videos are a good fit for a contest.

Seen Before: X9
Favorites: X9 (Edge of Walpurgis), X4 (GMFC Giganto), and X7
Won: X5 (Category) (apparently not available), X7 (Commercial) (Special Eyes)
Other thoughts: I'd actually seen X9 before, but at the time i hadn't seen either Madoka or the Edge of Tomorrow trailer, so it just kind of passed over my head. Now that i've actually seen both it's quite good. X5 is probably objectively good, but it's a horror trailer, so see my comments above about my feelings on that. The Sprint commercials suffered because the humor mainly depended on the humor in the original material. Seeing anime characters making fun of text messages instead of James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell doing it themselves isn't really a huge improvement. It was definitely amusing at the start, but the novelty wore off quickly after the first one. X7 however actually managed to build on the humor of the commercial.

Best of Show:
Voted For: U5
Won: So there was apparently a fight to the death between BakaOppai's "A Piece of Toast" (U5) and BakaOppai's "Animu Stew" (C2). After a long and bloody battle, it was eventually declared to be a tie between those two videos. So congratulations BakaOppai and BakaOppai! :)

So to recap it briefly:
Comedy/Humor: Totally awesome
Upbeat/Dance: Rather disappointing, mainly because it didn't have many song appealing to my preferences. (Probably due to a lack of new generic pop songs this year =)
Drama/Theatric & Romantic/Sentiment: Not really my cup of tea, as is often the case (with Rider4Z's "The Monster in Me" and MinetChan's "Crazy Little Thing" being the two big exceptions.)
Action/Adventure & Fun: Not outstanding but generally acceptable
Trailers/Parody: If the reason for the change to "bonus" content was a belief that the Trailer category wasn't strong enough to stand on its own then i certainly agree with that, but i'm kind of biased against trailer AMVs. I did appreciate having them as an intermission however (though we could have used a little more time with the lights on to fill in the ballots.)

(Cross-posted to G+)
Tags: anime, cons, conventions, recaps

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