- Member: Moonlight Soldier
- Studio: Moonlight Firefly Productions
- Title: Beaten Down
- Premiered: 2010-08-26
- Character Profile
- Safetysuit annie
- Nan Desu Kan 2010, Nan Desu Kan 2010 (2010-09-11)
- Anime Weekend Atlanta 16, Anime Weekend Atlanta 16 Professionals Contest (2010-09-17)
Misunderstood, different, "weird."
Learning to embrace who you are is a lot easier when you have friends to share the journey. That isn't always a reality for people.
At it's core, this video is a character profile of Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke. She's rejected from her peers, not for anything she's done, but for being misunderstood.
When her peers start taking notice of her, she learns what it means to be a friend. She even has a white knight with a big crush on her, who coaxes her fragile spirit from her shell. But that gives others reason to be jealous and the beat down really begins.
*** STORY ***
This piece of fiction really struck a chord for me because I was bullied a lot growing up. While the series moves past the needless mean girls to focus on building relationships, I wanted to make a video that shows what's it's like dealing with being bullied.
The "climax," for lack of a better word shows Kazehaya, the white knight, getting frustrated with her as she starts to cry and moves to a montage of her at a desk, isolated, repeating the events of getting beaten up in the bathroom.
When you're alone, the demons that haunt you come back in a haze; you think of the events, the people; what you said and what you wished you'd said. When that's all that goes on in your life it's hard to think of anything else. Eventually, you have to let it out or the burden of carrying that will just break your spirit. It means tears cried alone, where no one can see, so you can face the next day with some semblance of strength.
The lead up with Kazehaya and Sawako outside is meant to show how absolutely frustrating it can be trying to build someone back up once they've been beaten down, to make someone understand their worth. (And I think the moment you can cry with someone else, and having them accept that part you, is the moment you achieve trust and friendship. Showing vulnerability is it's own kind of strength I think.)
*** VIDEO and EFFECTS ***
For the video specifically there were some big challenges I had in trying to evoke these feelings and create this story.
1) Whenever things get serious and dark in Kimi ni Todoke, Sawako's face goes chibi. You'll notice that in some parts because I couldn't slow things down THAT much.
2) The song is sung from "the white knight's" point of view, which makes it tricky to profile the victim as it were and gives the video a bit of an identity crisis once you hit the climax.
3) At the end the song seems to suggest 'Annie' dies, which uhh, doesn't really mesh with what I had going on there, so it leaves you open ended.
4) I had to try to pick scenes where I could fake her actual friends being mean to her because most of the bathroom/isolation is restricted to the first six or so episodes of the series.
Other than that, the effects I used at the "climax" were mainly just some masking and some fog I created in Particle Illusion, which was meant to be that haze I was talking about. That was integral to my idea, sorry if it's not your cup of tea.
The effects at the beginning were needed, in my opinion, to link all the introductory shots of her together. All those scenes were from different times of day and nothing really meshed. I wanted something to unite them all before I got to the main "plot." I got a suggestion from Pwolf to use a bit of glow and change the colour. I ended up changing the colour as he suggested, but then I was playing around and created that window/stained glass dealie. I liked the look of it, I wanted to experiment a little. I'm happy with it :P
*** AWARDS ***
This video won Best Romance at AWA PRO XVI. It's not quite the category I would have pegged for it, but certainly there is that romance and protection aspect of her relationship with Kazehaya, so thank you to whomever voted for it. I felt romance was a really strong category this year so I'm proud to accept it.
*** DON'T BE A BULLY ***
I do hope watchers, whoever you are, that you'll take that to heart, that you'll stop it from happening. Even now, I truly believe, it is far worse to be the bully than the one beaten down.