Here's the thing about FLCL (Fooly Cooly). I have watched many vids using FLCL, and I have come to the conclusion that it contains infinity. It's a short series - 6 half-hour episodes - and yet AMV makers have created vids in just about every mood, theme, and style you can imagine using only that footage. (The, um, actual plot of the anime defies description - it's just, you know, an allegory about growing up, about the complications of life and love. And about having a giant robot burst from your forehead after you're hit on the head by an electric guitar. I think we've all been there.)
So for FLCL I've got two vids for you, and taken together, they represent almost everything I love about anime vids.
The One That Emphasizes the Importance of Keeping Your Eyes Peeled at All Times for Vespas. You Cannot Trust Vespas, People. Jerk It Out, by LenWidleheyt.
This is, in a word, spectacular. Except, of course, that I've got a lot more words, because when am I ever brief about anything? (I can be brief, for the record. I simply choose not to be. And, um, I've been making that choice pretty consistently since I learned to type, which is why it sometimes seems like - you know what? I'm not making things better, here. Time to move on.)
This is the shiny - and, really, "shiny" seems like much too mild a word; possibly instead I mean "explosive" - side of AMVs. It's flashy, effects-driven, fast-paced, and sharply edited. It also pretty accurately reflects the source - it's basically a souped-up, super-condensed, intense version of the series itself.
I love this vid because of the instant jaw-drop factor; it's stunning on the first watch, because it really shows off what anime editors (with pretty much infinite effort, patience, time, and - I'm assuming, here, but I feel it's a fairly safe assumption - beer) can do. This is the AMV equivalent of taking off on a rocket ship, basically.
And because it's FLCL, that rocket ship is powered entirely by sexual confusion and electric guitars.
The One That Got Me This Close to Writing a 5-8 Page Paper. Thank Whatever Power You Believe in for LJ Character Limits, People. I Mean It. Progress and Stress and Dream, by jbone. This one - well, okay, first: notice how it feels like it came from an entirely source than Jerk It Out. I mean, yes, the characters are the same, but everything else is different. See what I mean about FLCL? It is all things to all editors.
And what it is to this editor, in this vid - well, on the very basic level where my brain struggles with vid interpretation, this AMV uses footage from an allegorical anime to tell a related but different allegory, and oh my god that was just about the most boring sentence on the earth, wasn't it? I couldn't have made it more boring without using phrases like "constructivist objectivism." Wow.
So let me skip the descriptions (Adjectives! I'll miss you!) and move on to the song, instead. It's gorgeous (and I keep meaning to find a download of it, but at this point I expect I'll be watching this vid in my head whenever I listen to the song) - a sort of slow, sexy, intense, um...you know what? I'm right back with the adjectives. Let's skip this part, too.
Take three. What I can tell you is what I love about this vid, what I love to death about it. And that is the editing - the way the footage is matched to every single element of the song, from the story it tells to the music to the lyrics to the vocals to the everything. Because I'm not so good with visuals, it took me a long time and many repeat viewings to see everything that was happening on the screen, here - and yet this vid is the absolute opposite of frenetic. It's just - rich.
If Jerk It Out is a rocket ship, then Progress and Stress and Dream is a big vintage motorcycle, rumbling through the back alleys of some fantastic city on a distant planet. And it's powered by, well, Progress and Stress and Dream.
Yami no Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness)
Note: If you've never seen the series, my advice is to watch these vids in the order listed. On the other hand, if you have seen the series, you've probably already seen these vids.
The One That Shows That Nothing Goes with Violins Quite Like Pretty Dead Boys. Danse Macabre, by SarahtheBoring.
When I first watched Danse Macabre, I had no fucking clue what Yami no Matsuei even was, or why it was sometimes called Descendants of Darkness (answer: English title), or what it was about. Also, I spent a goodly portion of the AMV wondering which one of them was female (answer: none of the above). This shows how new I was to AMV watching, because now they all look unquestionably masculine. Anime. You learn as you go.
Anyway. This vid is a lovely summary vid - uses the music gorgeously and subtly to showcase seriously effective clips. And it pretty much tells you what the whole anime is about. (If you want to know in advance: a pair of dead bureaucrats who fight evil, their somewhat complex relationship with each other, and the many added complications introduced by Dr. Muraki, a not-dead mad scientist type who raped and killed one of the guys and is obsessed with the other one. (He blackmails him into a date, and then expects the date to go well. That's just the kind of awesomely mad scientist he is.) If you want more detail, either rent the series or read the intro notes to this vid.) It totally showcases the best parts of the series. (Fighting! Magical summoned beings! Crazed violinists! Vampires! Boys kissing! Really, if you want it, it's there. Unless you want, I don't know, a pony. I don't think there are any ponies. It's probably just as well for the ponies.)
The One That Conclusively Proves That There's No One Who Can't Work Multi-Colored Nail Polish. DDR Project 2nd Mix Track 05: Boys, by AbsoluteDestiny. (First, I need to explain something. This is a single track from one of the major multi-editor projects, Dance Dance Revolution (2nd Mix). So the parts at the beginning and the end sound weird because this AMV was designed to be played as part of a continuous mix of music vidded by different editors. The DDR projects are totally worth downloading, by the way.)
So. You know how, when you're a serial killer mad scientist - constantly working on your various projects of profound darkness, always with a lot on your twisted mind - sometimes you just need to unwind? By making yourself look pretty and chasing after equally pretty boys? That's a relatively universal experience, I think, and that's what this AMV is about. Trust me, you can totally relate to it.
The One That Asks, "How Far Would You Go for Your Country?" And Clearly Explains Why the Answer Should Be, "Not That Far, That's for Sure." Quid Pro Quo, by IcyCloud. It's, um. It's incredibly funny, and I can't really give you any details without spoiling it. Well, I think I can say that the casting is perfect, something you'll appreciate better after watching the other two vids. And that it's one of the few audio-clip-from-another-source humor vids I've seen where the vid is funnier than the original clip.
I know, I know. Crossover vids have a bad rap in the live-action world. (I suspect that's mostly because people use them to tell of the forbidden love triangle between Daniel Jackson, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Harley Quinn. Which, huh...no. No, I must be strong.) But they can be way neat, in live action or in anime, and these are definitely the height of neat. (Memo to me: find a better word for this than "neat." You sound like a fugitive from the '50s.)
So. Let's start with a classic, shall we?
The One That Gives Me an Entirely New Theory about Krispy Kreme. Tainted Donuts, by E-Ko. Cowboy Bebop x Trigun.
Now, first, I want to tell you a story. When I downloaded this, I knew nothing about anime. I watched it with Best Beloved. We had never seen Cowboy Bebop or Trigun; in fact, this was the first AMV we'd seen from either source. (If you're in that position - these are two of the most popular series out there, and they are quite extensively vidded, which is why it's weird, but don't worry. We all start out weird. And then, if we watch enough vids, we get weirder.) We had no idea who Vash the Stampede was.
And yet it was totally obvious that we were watching a work of great crossover genius.
Now, now, I can watch this and see the massive work that went into this, the brilliant way the creator combined two sources to make them seem to interact, work together, tell a coherent story. But then, I just barely saw the crossover. Mostly, I saw the story.
The story, for the record, is about bounty hunters pursuing a man who loves donuts.
Trust me when I tell you that this is extremely appropriate for both canons. Truly, these series were MFEO.
The One That Made Me Listen to Vanilla Ice. Until the Day, Everyone Would've Sworn It Could Not Be Done. Dueling Videos: Under Ice, by Scintilla. FLCL x Neon Genesis Evangelion.
And this was the first vid I'd ever seen use a mash up. I seriously thought my head would explode from joy. (Also, if my 6th grade English teacher had used this as an example of the compare/contrast form, well, I think we would've been spared at least a quarter's worth of lectures and examples and repetition. Or, at any rate, the repetition would've been way more interesting. Of course, she could not actually have done that, because a) she'd've been fired and b) this AMV hadn't been made yet. But still.)
Because it's a mash up, it's not exactly a crossover of the series - it's more of, well, a delightfully frothy blend of the animes. Like, you know, one of those disturbing beverages Starbucks comes up with. Except this one is mixed up in a beaker by a mad scientist. Who is probably giggling to himself while he does it.
And here's the thing: when I first watched this, I didn't recognize either source, which is almost as bad as not knowing Cowboy Bebop and Trigun. Didn't matter. (Of course, it gave me a seriously erroneous impression of Evangelion, but luckily there were three thousand vidders with Linkin Park on the spot to correct my misapprehension.)
The One That Explores Pizza As a Totally Valid Lifestyle Choice. I Approve. The Prince and the Kappa, by SarahtheBoring. Revolutionary Girl Utena x Saiyuki.
This one is just - I can't - okay. Here's what you need to know about these two sources: in Utena, there is a guy called Touga. To the best of my knowledge - and fuck knows I've never seen the series - he's rich, handsome, and popular, and he thinks he's the hottest thing since a dick in a box, but he is not quite all that. In Saiyuki, there's a guy called Gojyo. He's your basic whoring, smoking, drinking low-life. (And thus, obviously, an ideal role model for all.)
And what SarahtheBoring did is cast these guys as the Prince and the Pauper. As performed by Moxy Früvous.
I'm not sure I can convey in text my delighted glee at this concept - I was watching with Best Beloved, and we had to pause to let the wonder sink in - but I can try. It is - it is - it is a house made of bricks made of an entirely new element, Awesomium. (Chemical symbol: Wow.)
Sadly, I must convey a warning that may save you from the same dire fate I suffered: this song will latch onto your hindbrain, wrap its tentacles there, and never let go. Days after you view this vid, you will find yourself musically informing your pets that once you were the king of Spain.
If you are extremely unlucky, there will be other people present when you do this. My advice, although it didn't work out too well for me: feign a head injury.
Bonus: You Get a Cookie!
No anime music video set would be complete without a special add-on bonus cookie.
The Cookie for People Who Like Boobies. Or Who Have to Be Around People Who Like Boobies. Or Who Have Actually Seen Any Anime. Oh, Hell, Just Watch It. Fanservice Commercial, by MaachaQ. Multiple sources, but trust me - for this one, it doesn't matter what they are.
Nor does it matter that the visual quality is kind of low. Or that some of the effects aren't perfect. Because this video is fucking hysterical. (For the record: if you don't get what it's parodying, go here and start clicking. I recommend this one particularly. Also, SGA fans - someone needs to do something with Rodney McKay and this one.)