The Crème de la Crème of AMVs (Multiple Fandoms)

If I had to estimate the sheer number of hours I sit watching AMVs, I wouldn’t honestly be surprised if it was more than it took to gain actual my degree. No regrets either way! Since I can’t make them myself, however, I stand in awe of the people who can, and especially those who go above a beyond, turning their compositions almost into an art form, making something beautiful and poignant, and telling a story in their own right. If sites like this are the domains of future writers, then YouTube is the domain of future film makers/directors. I’ve seen people make videos that are absolutely stunning, that give me chills or pure pleasure, or make me see a facet of a character I have never perceived before. But enough waxing rapturous. I flatter myself that I can discern a good video when I see it, so I wanted to share a few of my favourites, and pay homage to the people/groups I don’t personally know, but whose work I admire and support.

Fandom: Bleach

‘Espada … The Army of Aizen’  by SpookSociety,

Every character thinks they are the hero in their own story. This video really evokes the essence of Aizen’s Espada, not just as a trained militia, but as diverse set of individuals. It captures their pride, power and bloodlust, but also something sad and regretful too. Sequencing their introductions, sword releases, and death, this video tells a story of sacrifice and defeat that leaves a bittersweet taste. It masterfully matches scenes to musical tone, moving through a range of emotion (I especially love the mournful turning point with Rukia and Aaronniero, and then the building crescendo with Byakuya and Zommari). It’s a masterpiece of composition, and I kind of love that they chose to honour the Espada, especially after Aizen showed how little he cared for them/their service.

‘Byakuya Kuchiki Senbonzakura AMV’  by Lazliet

Yep, there is an actual song with the same name as Byakuya’s sword, not related, but who’s going to pass up that opportunity? Byakuya is my favourite Bleach character and this video showcases some of his epic fight scenes, as well as celebrating his responsibility both to the Gotei 13 and to the Kuchiki family. It also manages to capture some of his rare moments of emotion, demonstrating his competence, his defiance, and his regality. The tempo of the music has been used to its fullest advantage, creating an almost adrenalin rush that contradicts Byakuya’s usual style of fighting, but still works as an amazing tribute to his infallible character. My only problem with this video is that I know it has stolen scenes from another, but even then I can’t condemn it for that.

‘Yoruichi/Soi Fon: Bone Shatter’ by cope36htu

Even if you don’t like this pairing, the video is excellent. It charts the dynamic and complex relationship between Yoruichi and Soi Fon, across the breadth of their time training together and after Yoruichi’s 100 year absence. As a pretty perfect choice of song, the bridge line: ‘You were everything to me,’ becomes so poignant from Soi’s POV, and sounds almost accusing. This video also does something different by overlaying the original manga drawings onto scenes from the anime, creating a symmetry between the two works. It’s maker also has a masterful control over timing; the quick-fire scene flashes are the apex of the composition, and the transitions/effects, in a rare instance, actually add to the aesthetics rather than detracting from them.

‘Bleach Amv {Soul Redemption} (Vizards, Urahara) Best Anime Video Ever Made Manga Ichigo’ by SerizawaRulez

I’m kind of sceptical of the self-promotion, but it’s a pretty awesome video nonetheless and, again, does something different. Combining The Letter Black’s music video with scenes from the Turn Back the Pendulum Arch is inspired. It takes about thirty seconds to adjust to what you’re seeing, and then the next two-and-a-half minutes are just purely to enjoy the video. I love the symmetry between Kensai and the guitarist! It’s such a small detail but so awesome. Again, the line ‘Save me from losing myself,’ has so much poignancy for the Vizard’s hollowfication, and also Kisuke’s role in creating the hoyoku and being accused of Aizen’s crimes. The video is a perfect blend of darkness and strength, as well as betrayal and resilience. If the Vizards had a theme song, I feel like it might be this.

Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

‘Y o u r  l o v e [fma]‘ by Dearheart42

This video is an absolutely beautiful tribute to a stunning anime. Combining scenes from both FMA and FMA:B, it celebrates the show’s core values: family, friendship, incredible loyalty and love, featuring all the people who have made a positive impact on the Elric brothers’ lives or helped to support them.  It also show the amazing strength and devotion of Edward/Alphonse/Winry’s friendship, as well as the sadness of their young losses. The montage of all the hand gestures towards the end is simply breath-taking, and the use of the misty, dream-like coloration throughout gives it a significance and poignancy. It is so uplifting, and showcases the courage at the heart of the show.

‘Beside you’ by SerenKyun

This one is almost chillingly good! Still stressing the core values of family and love, this video takes a more in-depth look at the sacrifices incurred by the characters through the gift Alchemy is meant to represent. It is more about loss and pain than the previous in a way that is truly haunting. The repeated, heartbeat-like ‘dun-dun-dun’ throughout, and the way SerenKyun has matched the scenes to this rhythm, translates the character’s fear/emotion straight into the music, and the quotes used at the beginning and end frame the whole video perfectly. Even on its own, this is a beautiful song.

[Re-Evo] Team Mustbang’ by BioticAMVs

The other side of Brotherhood; its aspects of threat, violence, betrayal and war. Heavily featuring Team Mustang and their independent mission, this video provides a tribute to the uncorrupted part of the military, and the sometimes dark deeds they have been forced to be involved with. There is something grimy, uncensored and unbalanced about the tone of this video, which perfectly encapsulated any and all dealings with the Homunculus’. It is powerfully monstrous, even showcasing Roy’s moment of complete and utter darkness. I love the symmetry between the song’s title ‘Phoenix’ and the motif of fire throughout. If we’re going to stretch the metaphor even further still, we can even call Roy’s moral breakdown the death and resurrection of the phoenix itself.

Fandom: Digimon

‘[BHS] Centuries’ by BraveHeartStudios

I dare you not to feel nostalgic! The fact that BraveHeartStudios are still making epic Digimon videos in 2016/17 restores my faith in humanity. ‘Centuries’ is their latest offering and one of their best, though everything they make is pretty much flawless. They are a group which create MEPs with a signature style, combining Digimon and 2.0 with their requisite films and fabulous fan art. If you still have a soft spot for this show I urge you to look them up. I love this video in particular because of the scope of emotion it captures between all of the characters, set to an urgency for action. It is beautiful and skilfully crafted; the reference to Ken as ‘the poisoned youth’ just kills me.

Fandom: Black Butler  

[Black Butler] Ciel Phantomhive – If I die young’ by Miina

Not as visually dynamic as some of the videos I’ve chosen to feature, but this one has its own sincere charm all the same. Ciel’s short life is one of the most devastating aspects about Black Butler, and while it ultimately ended in fire and brimstone, this video shows the process towards its end as something poignant, even spiritual, and boasting a latent sense of regret. Despite Ciel being a disillusioned cynic and Sebastian a soul-eating demon, this video manages to capture the – dare I say? – tenderness of their relationship, the ersatz father/son affection that is at the heart of their contract. I love that Black Butler is so wrong on so many levels, but I also love the purity this video gives it.

Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender 

‘AMV-G.A.A.N.G. (W.I.T.C.H. Theme song)‘ by azntrumpetgirl16

I’ve seen a lot of these done, but none come even close to this one! I used to really like W.I.T.C.H as a 13/14 year old and usually intros to one show don’t sync up well with scenes from another, but azntrumpetgirl16 has outdone herself. This video captures the amazing camaraderie of the original Team Avatar, with honorary member Zuko, as well as placing them in the grander scheme of things as a group of teens who literally changed the fate of the four nations together. It’s fun but also powerful, encapsulating the heart of the story in just under three minutes. Water, fire, earth and air (and Sokka and Suki)! By the way, who loves Sokka’s exit? :’)

‘Zuko & Aang [AMV] – On My Own’ by LovelyMelodyStudios

LovelyMelodyStudios makes beautiful videos for multiple fandoms (I’ve chosen another one of hers to feature under Legend of Korra as well) so look her up. Zuko and Aang’s relationship trajectory from mortal enemies, to unwilling allies, and finally good friends was one of the most earnestly beautiful aspects of Avatar. Every time I re-watch the series I am struck again and again by how true it feels, and this video perfectly encapsulates that. It shows a symmetry between Zuko and Aang’s goals, experiences, and actions, and the positive influence they had on each other. Aang taught Zuko to be kind, repentant and forgiving; Zuko taught Aang to be defiantly confident, brave and the right kind of ruthless. This video shows how vitally their stories and journeys are tied together, despite the song’s title.

‘Avatar/Korra – Human [FULL MEP]’ by AniMagix101

At the heart of any show is the characters’ humanity, or lack thereof. Combining the characters from Avatar and Korra, this video celebrates humanity in all its strength and weakness, by detailing the flaws, faults, sacrifices, and mistakes of the characters in a way that asks: ‘please don’t blame me, I’m doing the best I can. Human is far from perfect.’  The contrast between the younger main characters of Avatar and the older ones of Korra provides a fitting balance, showing the universality of doubt/suffering. I love that Azula and Zuko both share the first half of the chorus at different points, linking them together in their ‘plea.’ Don’t even get me started on how they were both victims in their own way! This video is a marvel that builds as it continues, with a beautiful, desperately sad message.

Fandom: Legend of Korra

‘The Legend of Korra [AMV] – We Are the Brave’ by LovelyMelodyStudios

Avatar/Korra clearly make for inspiring videos. Heavily featuring Kuvira’s militaristic campaign, this video promotes the bravery of the characters as they fight their separate (and sometimes personal) battles to retain their freedom. Beautifully mastered, with the opening sequence of action shots landing so perfectly on the drumbeat. The scenes with the new army of Airbenders literally make me go cold, as well as Tenzin and his children hiding from the blast in an abandoned building! I also love that this video features Korra’s own battle against herself, and how this influences her ability to fend off Kuvira and match her as an equal. A brilliant pairing of action with emotion.

‘The Beifong Family | Say Something’ by DreambendeR001

I’m a sucker for the pain and reconciliation of the Beifong family! Cast in almost Sepia tones this video is absolutely beautiful and tragic, with both sisters sharing their regrets and the difficulties they had in finding common ground, both in the past and now. Their attempt to put resentment behind them and move forward is humble and honest, as well as dealing with how they felt about each other, and their mother. The song and the video is a plea to stop that final separation, to say something, find a relationship worth saving. Lin’s ‘I love you,’ literally breaks my heart, because it is the only thing Su has ever wanted to hear. This video makes takes a heart-wrenching situation and makes it almost poetical, with the final fade of Lin’s eyes into Toph’s showing how much alike they are in temper, and how Lin has been blind to her sister’s need and want of her in her life.

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Phew, done! There are so many more I could have chosen, but for the sake of your sanity and my fingers I decided to leave it there :’) Let me know what you think. Did you like what I have chosen? Do you agree? And don’t forget to support the makers on YouTube!

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