2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (10 – 1) // editor of the year

10. leolide – When The Party’s Over

Anime: Kizumonogatari
Song: “When The Party’s Over (Redrose Mix)”

During the past few years, I’ve seen so many AMVs using anime from the Monogatari series that I feel like I’ve become more or less numb to them; or at least I thought so, until this year when there were a surprising number of good videos using the series, least of which was certainly not this piece from leolide. In a recent Flying Low post, I wrote about a video called Hypnerotomachia, which conveys loneliness in a very direct way. When The Party’s Over does something similar here, albeit in a very different manner: heavy color manipulation featuring primarily blues cover everything, and the video is little more than jump cuts of the same character’s face with occasional blurs and other relatively simple effects added.

The video is so much more than the sum of these deceptively mundane parts, though, and the AMV that came out the other side feels like a portrait of loneliness — not being alone, per se, but the feeling of being all by yourself in a crowded room. There are no other characters shown throughout the entire thing, but it feels distinctly like all the negative space present in the video is just a dimming of the lights so that we viewers can focus on this one, spotlighted character. There’s an almost tangible sense that we’re seeing the faces this girl puts on for those around her, but that nothing she’s emoting actually reflects what’s going on in her head. It’s a demonstration in the power of simple effects applied in creative ways to build an incredibly tactile mood.

Perhaps even more than this, though, it’s a video that shows how powerful minimalism can be; it doesn’t have a lot of…well, anything, really. A single character, a sparse color palette, not much that actually happens in terms of progressing a narrative, and yet you walk away from this video feeling something very specific, and very relatable. Editors often pride themselves in their technical ability, and using it to say something very grandiose. While there’s certainly a level of technical skill that leolide displays in this one, all the effects in this video are used almost to divert attention from themselves. The video’s acute feeling of loneliness and seclusion is the big takeaway, and leolide succeeds wildly in making a video that one can’t help but feel deep in the gut, long after the party’s over.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (20 – 11)

20. VideoBeats – What Remains

Anime: Girls’ Last Tour
Song: “Pale Skin” by Christian Loffler

Ambient techno videos like this are rare, so given the fact that I made one early in 2018, perhaps it’s not shocking that I loved this one. There’s very little tension to be found in What Remains; it’s simply the story of two girls exploring old, deserted ruins. The chosen song is spacey and wispy, and VideoBeats did what he could — without adding any effects to speak of — to match this. The scenes chosen are big and open and cavernous, mysterious and intriguing, and the video itself ends up feeling as vast and unknowable as the environment within it does. This is a slow video, yes, and without the usual drama or slick editing tricks, it won’t be the most immediately engaging to the average viewer. But if you give it space to breathe and expand, you may be surprised by how easily it consumes you.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (30 – 21)

30. Egnaro – Believe Be:leave

Anime: Various
Song: “Believe Be:leave” by Aimer

This year’s “I Really Shouldn’t Like This But Screw It It’s Going On My List Anyway” Award goes to this gem of an AMV, which is just about as quintessentially “hands-and-faces” as you can possibly get, but I don’t care because man it hones in on the sentiment and just hits it out of the park. Look, I realize that this video doesn’t do anything particularly outstanding, at least not in its general approach, but give credit where it’s due: Egnaro went all-in on translating the song’s soft optimism into video form, and basically just absolutely nailed it. I love this video, I love the slick editing and the little color changes that give the video a kind of muted feel; I love the way he stitches similar scenes from different anime together to make the video’s internal motion as seamless as possible; I love the overwhelming positivity that oozes from every pore of this thing. Feeling down? Fire this one up and soak in the good vibes.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (40 – 31)

40. Mysunsai – Ashes to Ashes

Anime: Now and Then, Here and There
Song: “Everybody Knows” by Sigrid

If you’ve never seen Now and Then, Here and There, this video is basically a crash course in all its darkest, most brutal scenes. The anime — while fantastic — is like a deep dive into the blackest corners of human nature, and is among the bleakest series I’ve ever watched. Mysunsai channels all the pessimism and violence present in the anime into this three-minute video, all while making the right cuts on the right beats, paying close attention to internal sync, and not letting the very specific, very visual lyrics get away from him (this is another one of those “How did he find a scene for that lyric?” videos that treads dangerously close to the “too-much-literal-sync” line, but never sets so much as a toe over). If you want to feel happy, this isn’t your video; but everyone else should sit up and pay attention.

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2018 in retrospect: top 50 amvs (50 – 41)

50. neko kitkat – Little Talks

Anime: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Song: “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men

If you’ve been reading my year-end lists for any amount of time, you know the drill here: neko kitkat is a well-established editor whose style is such that the fact that this combination of song and anime was smashed together by her should not surprise you. I don’t mean this as a complaint or criticism; far from it, as she knows how to edit this stuff and what we get here is just what I wanted. The editing here is super smooth, and even though this feels like it’s probably a simple recap of the series (I don’t know, I haven’t seen it), do I care? No, and you shouldn’t either; in fact, you should just watch this one and enjoy it for what it is, and let its feels wash over you — like all the best neko kitkat videos.

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