I love the internet. If you know where to look you can find combinations, cultural leakage from one niche or cultural type into another that you would never, ever see outside it. In my Observations series i take a look at the ones i find the most interesting.
I have to admit, i’m prone to watching an AMV (Anime Music Video) every so often. Not necessarily because i love the style, although that may be a factor, but rather because of one of the unspoken rules in AMV creation. That is that none of the songs used in an AMV is one that you will probably hear on the radio. You will never hear Lady Gaga or Maroon Five on an AMV, or even ones like Ed Sheeran.
AMVs are one of the more beautiful products of the Internet in their own right. In a way they cross east-west line twice. They mostly cater to the western English (although spanish/Portuguese is becoming more common as anime opens up to south america) speaking Otaku community, but are also created mostly by them. One of the other unspoken rules of AMVs is that their songs are never in Japanese, but rather english. At which point the resultant AMVs are then watched by people in Japan. Cultural interplay
But moving on. Like i was saying, I watch AMVs to discover new and good music. Because if the like an view count is high, you can bet it’s something good. In addition, unlike most music on youtube, because AMVs are never named after the song (in fact sometimes finding the song involves dipping into the comments) you don’t get grouped into a certain style or artist in the recommendations on youtube. You can move from pop to ballads, to rock in the blink of an eye. And since most AMV editors are pretty pragmatic about where they get their music, you can really find anything in there.
This has lead to an interesting phenomena. AMVs starring Christian Rock songs.
Moonflower AMV (Due to various Reasons, Links aren’t working again Have this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOrh5d309GU)
Featuring Featuring Barlowgirl, Never Alone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8QubLxJI54)
Who I Really Am AMV(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZepdoH0Hl0)
Thousand Foot Krutch, Be Somebody(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DprXHr1xAdE)
Both of these feature songs that we identify as Christian rock. Now while there will be exceptions (as there always are) to this rule, the Anime/Otaku internet culture, and fans of Christian Rock are pretty much mutually exclusive groups. AMVs aren’t exactly Gateways into the culture, while a few may focus on Gateway (Pokemon, Dragonball Z) and Primary (Bleach, Naruto, One Piece) Animes, the majority are on Secondary (Fate/Zero, Clannad, Mirai Nikki, Sword Art Online, ect) and Tertiary (Those obscure animes that lie at the end of the Otaku rabbit hole) Animes.
American Christian Rock on the other hand is insular and mostly limited to the shores of the US, except amongst other christian rock communities around the world. They have their own charts and radio stations, and they don’t appear in mainstream media. They’re also the victim of the casual degradation to lesser or greater extents that comes with the rather unpopular label “Christian”.
If you’re unfamiliar with it and want to get a general picture of the common view, look up “South Park Christian Rock”. That’ll tell you something about the common perception.
Two seemingly mutually exclusive groups. Both are dominated by stereotypes and misinformation, as all insular cultures are. What’s interesting is that neither have drawn the relationship these AMVs have been each other. In Views per day, Moonflower AMV now runs at about the same Daily views as the Official Barlow Girl music video- 255,000 over about 6 months= 1,416 views per day on average (BestAMVsofalltime does not make stats directly available) as opposed to the current daily view rate of BarlowGirl’s official video, (About 1,500).
Now first of all, Never Alone is a hit, by CR standards at least. According to almighty wikipedia, it was the longest running number 1 on the Christian Hit Radio and Christian Rock charts in 2004. Now while the difference in time (almost a decade now) is important, and it could be said that Christian rock fans might be less avid pliers of youtube than Anime fans, and various secondary videos and lyric videos aside, One third of people who are hearing Never Alone are hearing it through an AMV.
Without the Christian rock label, and the automatic assumption that most people make from every CR band that the song is about God goes out the window. The AMV director actually implies that the lyrics are about the Guardian/Bodyguard relationship between Arturia and Irisviel. Possible references to god are subjective to the listener, rather than explicitly stated.
Of those one third, in the comments section, exactly one has made the connection that the song that they are listening to was originally intended to be of a religious nature in the comment section. Three months ago. I needed to go back a similar amount of time on the official Music video of the song to find a mention of Moonflower AMV.The two videos, despite being of similar popularity, have almost no mention of each other at all.
Which is surprising, when you look at this graph here on the Barlow Girl Official Music Video for Never Alone.
Now, the Moonflower AMV was published on January the 22nd 2013. Or right about that spike by almost 400 views, and then a consistent crash beneath 2000 following it. While it would be a bit presumptuous to draw conclusions, the one that i do draw is that the initial spike was AMV regulars looking up the original song.
I have no adequate response to the crash. I thought it might be people migrating over to moonflower to listen to the same song. Barlow Girl broke up late last year, so it might be that.
Be Somebody and “Who I really Am AMV” don’t have such an obvious link, in fact there is no mention of each other in either video as far as i can discern, even though, like with Barlow Girl, the AMV now accounts for at about a quarter (all things considered) of current views.
Similar to Never Alone and Moonflower, no one even mentioned that the song might be religiously inspired, or even that the band identified itself as Christian Rock. Like with Moonflower, the Director had turned the song into a love son this time focusing on SAO (In the interests of preventing a flame war over THAT anime, i’d like to stress I am neither defending nor attacking the show. Thank you).
The Funny thing is that Christian Rock and Anime/Otaku Culture are just about as far as one can get in the realms of Internet groups. Once more, if you put members of each in the same (in a strictly metaphorical, internet sense), a flame war would probably quickly result as both begin to trumpet their misconceptions of the other.
What do both AMVs and the original vids have in common? They both love the songs. Most of the comments are either discussion on either anime or religion respectively, or if not, the great nature of the music. It’s what i love about the internet. In it we can strip away the labels that society attaches to us, and judge things purely by how good they are. Or in the case, how good they sound.
Next on Observations, Three words.
Clannad and Rap.