In my experience, most AMVs tend to fall into one of two camps: either they will build off of the mood and pacing of the series they are using, or they will make something completely unrelated to the series in question, using the characters, backgrounds, etc. to tell their own stories which bear little resemblance to the anime itself. While I believe there can be value in videos that completely disregard the feeling of a series in their approach, I think I tend to prefer videos that feel similar to their source(s) because these are the videos that connect with me on levels beyond what is provided in the video alone — I either reminisce about the source being used if I’ve seen it, or I come closer to understanding what the source is really like if I haven’t. The other type of video doesn’t really provide that link that extends beyond its own self-contained world.
Ultimately, I think it’s those videos which play off the source material that end up being my favorites, even though in many cases such videos are highly sensitive to the viewer’s own experience or expectations. I don’t think this is a unique or revolutionary discovery or anything, but it’s nice to put a name to it. And I think that this is the reason that Knucklehead McSpazatron resonates with me the way it does. There are more Evangelion AMVs out there than grains of sand on the beach (or at least a small beach that has like 5,000 grains of sand), and I can even think of a few that I’ve seen which have a similar approach to this video, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.
Nellogs successfully created a video that pretty closely emulates and condenses what it’s like to watch Evangelion; it’s a series that is at various points wacky and over-the-top, somber and philosophical, violent and morbid, occasionally all within the span of a single episode. The rapid pace of the AMV only serves to accentuate the insanity — cuts happen at top speed, barely giving you time to process them and really only leaving visual and emotional impressions, oscillating between happy and sad and horrifying at a breakneck pace. If you’ve seen Evangelion, when this video ends you feel as winded as if you’ve just watched through the whole series. If you haven’t, you’ll know what to expect if you ever decide to watch it.
The crazy juxtapositions that happen in this video make it really hard to define in canned terms; it’s equal parts “fun” and “serious” and “horror”. I’m not really sure how to categorize it, and as someone who feels like he has to categorize everything, I’m okay with leaving this one undefined. It’s another Evangelion AMV, yes, but unlike others that tend to focus on telling a coherent story or setting a clear mood, this video forgoes these things and simply aims at recreating, in just over a minute and a half, what it feels like to sit on the couch and actually watch Evangelion. It’s confusing and exhilarating, full of depth (possibly manufactured, possibly genuine), and it’s something you want to experience again as soon as you’re done.
More immediately, it’s just a really great AMV.