kohikari: a woman walking down a street, limned by an electrical explosion (kaerimichi)
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[archive post of finalists past]

The AMV Contest is quickly shaping up to be my favorite part of the con.

(Apparently this year a record-breaking number of videos were entered: forms sent for 210, 194 uploaded, and 172 managed to qualify--and somehow Programming has managed to cram all of the overflow into the three days of the con.  (Perhaps this is connected to AB's expansion into the fifth floor of the Sheraton...)  Also apparently this year's is their biggest Best of Show trophy yet offered--it did look pretty hefty.  Also also the guy in charge of the AMV Contest (since 2005) is leaving(!!); fortunately, his successor managed to hook us up with neat little cards with a tear-off ballot, leaving us the listing to take home.  Sadly it doesn't leave much room for notes; I tend to scribble all over mine, and it can be difficult trying to decipher my own handwriting.)

This year I feel like putting the ballot up Friday night, instead of waiting until Saturday or Sunday or Monday when the winners have been announced.  Why the hell not.

First, the exhibition pieces!  After the last two years, I'm actually a little surprised there wasn't a My Little Pony remake of one of the previous year's winning AMVs.  (I think it was Bashar who did it? a version of Shin's 2012 Extraball vid, and a version of Ileia's 2013 Radioakshun vid.)  Largely kaiju-themed vids instead.
~ "Totoro Meets Godzilla" (Vlad G Pohnert), a loving homage to the classic "Bambi Meets Godzilla" (came as a bit of a surprise to those who haven't heard of the original; I do so love horrified audience reactions)
~ "Go Go Tohoscope!" (drewaconclusion), what seems like an actual music video--or at least a retrospective of live-action Godzilla films set to an extremely topical song.
~ "Otaku Paradise" (BecauseImBored1), a mashup/juxtaposition of anime clips and video of cosplayers at anime cons.  Gotta be honest with you, I had a bit of an attack of the feels during this vid.

(Before the exhibitions there was also a truly adorable paper-puppet video demonstrating proper emergency procedure.  I love this con.)

D1 - Unbound by Ryuu-Dono; various anime, to "All Is Violent, All Is Bright" by God Is an Astronaut  
This one is gorgeous, a slow-building short piece, set to...does it count as instrumental if it's loud electronic music?...it doesn't matter.  I'm 90% certain Kara no Kyoukai is (one of) the (two?) main source(s) for this piece.
D2 - Running Ink by Nicolio1313; Barakamon, to "We Come Running" by Youngblood Hawke
Barakamon appears to involve a stressed young calligraphy artist finding peace and inspiration in the adorable children next door or something.  It looks like a great anime; involves an awful lot of impassioned painting.  Ink flying everywhere!  ...But more to the point, I thought this AMV would also do quite nicely in the Upbeat category.
D3 - Nefarium Psychologica by Shin; the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies, to "Honeythief" by Halou
This AMV was mesmerizing, though that seems to be the norm for a lot of Shin's work.  I'll wait until tomorrow morning to rewatch the category, but I may end up voting for this.
D4 - When It Rains... by Kidd the Maniac; Garden of Words, to "Here Comes the Rain Again" by The Eurythmics
A sweet rain-themed piece, that wouldn't be out of place in the Romance category.  Garden of Words looks like a visually stunning anime--the scenery, the...what's the word for camera shots, storyboarding? composition?  Unfortunately, the file must be corrupted or something, because the AMV skipped a few times, most noticeably at the ending.  (EDIT: second showing had no skipping at all!)
D5 - A Boy In Funny Red Boots by Dragonrider1227; Astro Boy (2003), to "Superman" by Five For Fighting
More typical Drama fare, emphasizing the angst and struggle in the Astro Boy story.  Pretty well done.

ACTION (nice strong category this year! ahhh I can't deciiide)(apparently the judges agreed with me...)
A1 - Mahjong Banquet by Magicflier; Saki, to "Senbonzakura" by Yuko Suzuhana ft. Wagakki Band
This AMV was striking in two ways: first, it's set to an actual Japanese song, with more of a traditional sound than you normally get out of modern J-music, and second, it's about an anime that apparently involves HARDCORE MAHJONGG.  Like, is that typical anime visual metaphor burning in those girls' eyes, or are they actually setting each other on fire? (Reminds me of that card-swiping AMV a year or so back, that I think was in Action but might have been in Romance--looked like a good anime.)  The AMV itself could also fit in the Drama category.
A2 - THROWBACK by BecauseImBored1; Yu Yu Hakusho, to "Diamond Eyes" by Shinedown
Exactly what it says on the tin: a traditional beatdown action vid to an anime most of us grew up with.  Very nicely done.
A3 - Red Pill by straw buggy; various anime, to "Rocksteady" by The Bloody Beetroots  
Rocksteady is the name of a musical genre, a precursor to reggae IIRC.  I'm...pretty sure this song is not it.  That said, nice bass.  Matrix concept, involving a lot of Ghost in the Shell, among other sources.
A4 - Vintage Misery by Shin; Soul Eater, to "The Phoenix" by Fall Out Boy
I really need to get around to watching Soul Eater one of these days...  Very nice vid.  (It's Shin, what do you expect?)  (EDIT: during the second viewing, I spent the entire time going is this a song about VAMPIRES???)
A5 - Whoarriors by Ileia; Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary), to "Warriors" by Imagine Dragons
I really really liked this AMV, but all I could think the entire time was needs more bass.  (Kyoukai no Kanata appears to be another supernatural anime in the line of YYH, lots of ofuda and youkai and such.  Also it looks fantastic.)

ROMANCE (I'm always kind of eh on this category, but there was nice variety this year to keep me interested)
R1 - Lucky Seven by PieandBeer; Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, to "Little Numbers" by Boy
This was the funny one.  Apparently the anime involves some high school boys realizing a classmate made a dating sim involving them?  Or something?  Fairly cute and entertaining.
R2 - Time by Rubi; the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies, to "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper  
This was the odd one out, a tragic girls' love AMV focusing on Homura.  Could fit in the Drama category.  Nice concept; I may or may not vote for it.
R3 - Bleeding Heart Effect by KeiichiFace; Future Diary (Mirai Nikki), to "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift
This was the messed-up one.  Plenty of humor and drama and romance, and also 500% more yandere than all the other entries combined!
R4 - Girl Next Door by Kireblue; Secret World of Arrietty, to "You Will Be Mine" by Lenka
This was the sweet one.  The ending seemed a bit weak, though.
R5 - Heart Shaped Hole by The Toddfather; Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, to "Heart Shaped World" by Teen Hearts [[there are an awful lot of hearts in this listing...]]
This was the cute one.  (I've begun calling this the "eyepatch girl anime" in my head...)

UPBEAT (divorced from "Fun" this year; Fun apparently left Upbeat for Comedy)
U1 - Fierce by BecauseImBored1; Kill la Kill, to "Fashion" by Lady Gaga  
Kill la Kill: Behold the Power of Nipples.  (This also applies to the fifth AMV in this category, and probably also the entire damn anime.)
U2 - Anime World Tour by Nicolio1313; various anime, to "Around the World (PRA2 remix)" by Daft Punk
A theme piece, anime characters traveling and visiting various national landmarks.  I'd love a list of locations seen in this AMV; did I spot Fenway Park in there somewhere?
U3 - The Fangirl Chronicle by Celia Phantomhive; Watamote and Free!, to "Far Too Close (Pegboard Nerds Remix)" by JViewz
I, um.  May vote for this.  Because it is a work of art and great beauty.  And also because it's extremely accurate.  (Ah, Free!.  Do those boys ever wear clothes?)
U4 - Awake to the Sky by Rider4Z; various anime, to "Where No One Goes" by Jonsi
Another theme piece: Ghibli and flight.  Aircraft, magic, you name it.
U5 - My Nipples Can Pierce the Heavens by drewaconclusion; Kill la Kill [[what else?]], to "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred  
Apparently Kill la Kill is more than just naked schoolgirls fighting with swords.  There's also naked dudes!  (This one would've gone great in the Comedy section too.)

T1 - The Bradley Campaign by Warlike Swans & Warlike Cygnet; FMA: Brotherhood, to "Clint Webb" by The Whitest Kids U'Know
A gag piece.  Very funny the first time around; dunno how it'll be on a second watch.
T2 - Crimson Pact by Xophilarus; Shiki, to "Bad Moon Rising" by Mourning Ritual  
Shiki: That One Anime with the Pink-Pigtailed Vampire.  It's nice to have an Other category now, to put all the trailers and horror AMVs.
T3 - Pacific EVA by Speedy180; Neon Genesis Evangelion, to Pacific Rim trailer audio  
A very, very well done gag piece.  (The shot with Shinji & Kaworu is stretched too much vertically, though...)
T4 - Immortal Chimera by l33tmeatwad; FMA:Brotherhood and Soul Eater, to "Immortal Dog" by The Midnight Show
Another gag piece, the "horrified laughter" type.  ("But what happened to Nina???")
T5 - Chi & The Not So Company by MycathatesyouAMV; various anime, to "Shut 'Em Down" by Celldweller  
This seemed to be mostly sourced from one anime?  Title is a reference to Oliver & Company; kitty goes walkabout and discovers...a lot of things.  Nice catnip sequence.

F1 - Reiterate Things by Ileia; various anime, to "Repeat Stuff" by Bo Burnham
A music video along the same lines as that Ouran AMV to "Pop Song" by Jon LaJoie; less of a catchy tune, but nicely done.  Also I did not know there was a "hot boy band" anime.
F2 - Anime 404 by Matthew Gutierrez; various anime, to various audio
AMV Hell style miscellaneous; I did like the overarching theme of shitty internet connections, though.
F3 - Rainbow Stalin Saves the World by drewaconclusion; various anime, to various audio  
The triumphant return of Rainbow Stalin, to save the day from the menacing invasion of Cat Nazis!  Using pictures of Russian Blue cats was a particularly nice touch, though I'm sure only cat fanatics like myself got that part.
F4 - [[text emoji and upside-down "rejected amvs" that I refuse to try to replicate]] by l33tmeatwad; various anime, to various audio
Another collection of miscellaneous shorts.  I wonder if there will ever come a time when references to Maes Hughes' death don't litter shock comedy vids.  (And if there will ever come a time when at least one member of the audience doesn't scream in anguished response, "Huuughes!!!")
F5 - . by Brian Auxier; Beyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no Kanata), to "Period Piece" by Lena D
A well-executed semi-music-video-style gag piece.  I kinda have mixed feelings about this being the last video on the program, though.  (Not that half the audience didn't leave after the Action vids were over...)

ROUNDUP: Ileia & Shin cleaned house this year!  And a Romance vid won Best of Show for the first time in...uh...ever at this con, to my knowledge.  (To be fair, it's far from classic romance.)
At the con feedback panel, AB staff mentioned that only six of the eleven awards were handed out in person this year (two to one person); the other five awards have to be shipped to the winners (two to one person), two of whom are in Seattle, one in Michigan, and one apparently busy running Anime Conji in San Diego.  As Anime Conji has a maddening website apparently lacking a staff listing, I have no idea which AMV belonged to that person.

* DISCLAIMER:  I don't know shit about AMV editing; I've never made one in my life.  I do really enjoy watching them every year, though!
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