Anime music video

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AKROSS Con Screening (2009)

An anime music video (AMV) typically is a fan-made music video consisting of clips from one or more Japanese animated shows or movies set to an audio track, often songs or promotional trailer audio. The term is generally specific to Japanese anime, however, it can occasionally include American animation footage or video game footage. AMVs are not official music videos released by the musicians, they are fan compositions which synchronize edited video clips with an audio track. AMVs are most commonly posted and distributed over the Internet through or YouTube. Anime conventions frequently run AMV contests who usually show the finalists/winner's AMVs.

AMVs should not be confused with music videos that employ original, professionally made animation (such as numerous music videos for songs by Iron Maiden), or with such short music video films (such as Japanese duo Chage and Aska's song "On Your Mark" that was produced by the film company Studio Ghibli). AMVs should also not be confused with fan-made "general animation" videos using non-Japanese animated video sources like western cartoons, or with the practice of vidding in Western media fandom, which evolved convergently and has a distinct history and fan culture. Parallels can be drawn between AMVs and songvids, non-animated fan-made videos using footage from movies, television series, or other sources.

The first anime music video was created in 1982 by 21-year-old Jim Kaposztas.[1] Kaposztas hooked up two VCRs to each other and edited the most violent scenes from Star Blazers to "All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles to produce a humorous effect.[2]


The creation of an AMV centers on using various video editing styles to create a feeling of synchronization and unity, some examples include:

  • Raw Editing: Using basic zooming in and out "effects" along with simple transitions.
  • FX (Effects) Editing: This style consists of tons of visual effects. This can be accomplished in programs such as Sony Vegas or Adobe After Effects.
  • Timing Editing: The editor edits the clips such that the anime footage is in sync with the lyrics or beats (from the song) to create a perfect harmony. (E.g. Matching beats to gunshot scenes or making an anime character's lips move to make it seem like the character is saying or singing those words in the AMV)
  • Flow Editing: This requires the editor to use transitions and to keep the AMV flowing rather than to have it consist of rough cuts and choppy parts.
  • Animation Editing: Although it sounds similar to the term AMV editing, it is a new style where editors take a still image and animate it (making it move) (This also applies to Manga Music Videos (MMVs) which are similar to AMVs, instead they use manga as the main source of footage).
  • Masking: This style requires the editor to remove the background from the anime scene they would like to add effects to. It is a painstaking and time-consuming process.


John Oppliger of AnimeNation has noted that fan-produced AMVs are popular mostly with Western fans but not with Japanese fans. One reason he cited was that Western fans experience a "more purely" visual experience inasmuch as most Western fans cannot understand the Japanese language, the original language of most anime, and as a result "the visuals make a greater impact" on the senses,[3] the second reason he cited was that Westerners are "encouraged by social pressure to grow out of cartoons and comics during the onset of adolescence" whereas Japanese natives grow up with animation "as a constant companion"; as a result, English-speaking fans tend to utilize and reconstruct existing anime to create AMVs whereas Japanese fans "are more intuitively inclined" to create or expand on existing manga and anime.[4]

Competitions, evaluations, and rankings[edit]

  • Iron Chef (IC): When it comes to Iron Chefs, there are two types. The first would be where two or more editors compete directly with one another, editing videos on the fly in a real-time contest in the style of Iron Chef. Iron Chef are generally held for three days (72 hours). Coordinators of the Iron Chef create a file full of songs (categorized for each category) (occasionally, the coordinators include a theme for that particular year's Iron Chef). To join an Iron Chef competition, you must register with the coordinators beforehand, the rules and specifications are listed beforehand, only the songs would be released on the day the Iron Chef starts. Before the 72 hours are up, the contestants must submit their AMV ICs to the coordinators for judging, the coordinators will judge each video by comparing the AMVs, the timing, flow, overall production quality, etc. The second being a fun timed battle between editors, these Iron Chef edited videos would then be uploaded to YouTube.
  • AMV Contests: AMV Contests consists of various categories such as:- Action, Comedy/Parody, Drama/Romance, Dance/Upbeat/Fun, Horror/Psychological. AMV Contests are generally linked up with an anime convention, however there are well-known AMV contests (e.g. AKROSS Con & Big Contest) that are only held online. AMV Contests are usually judged by a panel of judges who are also AMV editors themselves, the winners of AMV Contests receive various types of awards (e.g. Best Action/Comedy/Romance/Dance/Horror/etc., Runner-up, Best Technical, People's Choice Award, Judges' Choice Award, etc.)
    • AMV Viewer's Choice: The editors submit videos to competitions that are held either at anime conventions or on Internet websites. In both cases the winners are decided by the viewers and sometimes the editors themselves are allowed to vote; in conventions AMVs are usually judged by the category they are competing in, for example an action video would compete with other action videos. Viewers watch the videos and they submit votes at the end of the viewing portion of the competition, the other way that this competition is held, is through an Internet website. Some websites have a similar way of judging the AMVs, by the category they are in. While on other websites the videos compete against other videos of the same or different categories and are judged on which is a better AMV overall, not solely on the theme of the video, the site has the largest known annual AMV contest, the Viewers Choice Awards.
  • In March 2008, Tokyopop hosted the I-Manga Music Video Mash Up Contest. The contest called for fans to create a music video, using Tokyopop manga and music, as opposed to most anime music videos, I-Manga Music Video Mash Up Contest required participants to animate and manipulate still images with the use of motion graphics. The contest featured art from Bizenghast and Riding Shotgun with music ("Feel the Disease" by Kissing Violet, "Break Ya Self" by Far East Movement), the winner of the contest was awarded an iPod Video, loaded with Tokyopop music and Tokyopop I-Manga webisodes. As well as featured placement on Tokyopop's YouTube channel.[5]
  • There are also public rankings of AMVs available: StarScale and Opinions Top10%. (Requires Registration)

Legal issues[edit]

The Japanese culture is generally permissive with regard to the appropriation of ideas. Works such as dōjinshi, unauthorized comics continuing the story of an official comic series, are actually encouraged by many anime makers,[6] these dōjinshi take an original copyrighted work and expand upon the story, allowing the characters to continue on after, before, or during the original story. Most anime producers encourage this practice, as it expands their series, some see it as a tribute while others see it from a business viewpoint that it draws in more support for the anime than it would have had otherwise. Some manga artists create their own dōjinshi, such as Maki Murakami's "circle" Crocodile Ave (Gravitation).

It seems that American anime distributors hold a similar sort of view in regards to AMVs; in an interview with site AnimeNewsNetwork, FUNimation Entertainment copyright specialist Evan Flournay said they generally see AMVs as a sort of free advertising. "The basic thinking going into fan videos is thus: if it whets the audience's appetite, we'll leave it alone. But if it sates the audience's appetite, it needs to come down," he says.[7][8]

In recent years there has been an increased demand, primarily on the part of the record industry, for the removal of AMVs from sites like YouTube and, with particular regard to YouTube due to its relative popularity as well as its for-profit status. Public discussions and perspectives give varying accounts of exactly how widespread these actions have become. Most notably in November 2005, the administrator of (Phade) was contacted by Wind-up Records, requesting the removal of content featuring the work of the bands Creed, Evanescence, and Seether.[9]

While music labels and corporations generally see AMVs in negative light, often the actual musical artists in question do not hold the same views. A number of AMV editors report to having had positive contact with various artists, including Trey Gunn and Mae.[10] Japanese electronic duo Boom Boom Satellites even teamed with site AMVJ Remix Sessions to sanction an AMV competition to help promote one of their singles, going so far as to provide the source material for editors to use, the winner's video would be featured during one of the pair's tours. The first of this competition took place in January 2008 using the song "Easy Action" and the anime movie Vexille.[11] A second competition took place later that year in November using the song "Shut Up And Explode" and the anime Xam'd: Lost Memories.[12]

In his book Code: Version 2.0 and a subsequent talk in Google's AtGoogleTalks Author's Series,[13] Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig specifically mentions AMVs as an example when dealing with the legality and creative nature of digital remix culture.


  • Movie Anime Dōjinshi – Japanese term for the same thing, typically posted on Niconico
  • Gaming Music Video – similar, but using game footage instead of anime
  • Cosplay Music Video – only live-action with the performance of cosplayers
  • Vidding


  1. ^ Macias, Patrick (2007-11-15). "Remix this: anime gets hijacked". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  2. ^ AnimeCons TV (2 October 2011). AnimeCons TV Extras - Jim Kaposztas Interview. YouTube. 
  3. ^ Oppliger, John (2003-09-08). "Ask John: Why Are Anime Music Videos so Popular?". AnimeNation. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  4. ^ Oppliger, John (2005-06-23). "Ask John: Why Hasn't Doujinshi Caught on Outside of Japan?". AnimeNation. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  5. ^ TOKYOPOP :: Leading the Manga Revolution for 10 Years and Beyond! :: Archived March 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Lessig, Lawrence (March 25, 2004). "Chapter One: Creators". Free Culture. Retrieved 2009-09-08. This is the phenomenon of doujinshi. Doujinshi are also comics, but they are a kind of copycat comic, the creation of doujinshi is governed by a creators' ethic stating that a work is not doujinshi if it is just a copy; the artist must make a contribution to the art he copies by transforming it either subtly or significantly... These copycat comics exhibit significant market penetration as well. More than 33,000 "circles" of creators from across Japan produce doujinshi. More than 450,000 Japanese come together twice a year, in the largest public gathering in the country, to exchange and sell them, this market exists in parallel to the mainstream commercial manga market. In some ways, it obviously competes with that market, but there is no sustained effort by those who control the commercial manga market to shut the doujinshi market down, it flourishes, despite the competition and despite the law." 
  7. ^ "Evanescence, Seether and Creed videos no longer available". Discussion on the forum, thread created November 15, 2005.
  8. ^ "Musical artists who like AMVs". Discussion on the forum, thread created March 11, 2009.
  9. ^ "BoomBoomSatellites x Vexille Promotion Contest". Discussion on the forum, thread created January 16, 2008.
  10. ^ "BoomBoomSatellites x Xam'd Promotion Contest". Discussion on the forum, thread created November 20, 2008.
  11. ^ "Authors@Google: Lawrence Lessig". Lawrence Lessig, author of "Free Culture," visits Google's New York office as part of the Authors@Google series, this event took place on October 3, 2006.

External links[edit]