Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I'm Quitting This AMV Shit

I'm not done yet, but I'm currently working my way through what are likely going to be the last O(15) videos on the to-do list. As old ideas get finished and new ones, by and large, do not replace them, it's easy to project ahead to a time when there are not going to be any more SH/INSO videos forthcoming. Below is a reason why this is becoming the case:

Click the picture to pop it out; the preview gives you the idea, but this is better seen on full size.

This is a frame that is not going to be part of SH118, the current project; it's from an anime that came out in 1985. As you can see, it looks like a Dan Seagrave cover, or like the contemporaneous stuff that other people were doing for Suffocation, Benediction, and, really, virtually every other death metal band of the late '80s and early '90s. Almost without exception, anime today does not look like this, and what it looks like today is difficult to work with in conjunction with the music that I prefer to use.

When I got into anime ten and more years ago, this was less the case; the moeification of the genre was well under way, but the title the above frame is from was only 15 years old, not 25, and more of the available anime universe could be described as "cel-painted machine grotesque", simply because less of the digital moeblob shit had been produced yet. In the intervening decade, though, there has been next to zero new cel-painted machine grotesque, and heaps and heaps of shiny digital garbage. Some of that has been actually good shows, but the visuals are utterly wrong and broken for my purposes. Digital has been unable, to date, to replicate the color palette of cel animation, let alone the sense of detail and lived-in reality that you get from a good cel background. The digital work that was used for the two SH videos that actually came out in 2010 was exceptional, but even those titles had their shortcomings.

So everything old is good, and everything new is bad? No, far from it; there's a lot of crap that was produced prior to 1998 (when digital started coming in) as well -- under-animated, underdrawn, artifacted, stupid, useless, having-giant-robots-without-Tokyo-police-badges-on-them; there's a lot of titles afflicted with these problems that disqualify them from likely ever getting into a SH video. However, it's indisputable that the pool of titles I want to work with is small, slants older, and is continually shrinking.

A lot of the titles I'd want to work with, I've already done so; this is kind of an occupational hazard of making 117 videos and having a policy, mostly, of not picking a source up again when it's been used in a demo or another video. In addition to use, there are other titles falling out of the pool due to natural factors: a lot of early-90s OVAs were poorly transferred to DVD or not transferred at all, and as time goes by fewer and fewer LDs and VHS tapes remain, and fewer and fewer players for the same remain functional. There may be cool stuff out there that I'd want to work with, but if I can't get it and put it in a usable form, it effectively doesn't exist.

Things could change, and someone could solve the shininess issue that makes most modern anime fall out of contention, but I really suspect that it isn't likely to; the audience has changed too much, and too many people want sparkles and cute, regardless of how lame the underlying content is, for the artstyles and cinematographic styles that I'm looking for to make much of a comeback. Hence, it's likely that I'm going to be done for good sometime before the end of 2013.

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