- Member: MeriC
- Studio: Temple O' Trunks
- Title: Liberation of Memories Past
- Premiered: 2002-02-15
- Ian van Dahl Castles in the Sky
Title: "Liberation of Memories Past"
Anime: Shoujo Kakumei Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku (The Utena movie)
Song: "Castles in the Sky," by Ian Van Dahl
Time spent on video: 40+ hours, from December 2001-February 2002
* Won "Best Drama/Romance" at Megacon 2002
* Played at Katsucon 8
* Played at Saukuracon 2002
* Played at Shoujocon 2002 (exhibition entry)
The idea for this video, as most of my ideas do, came to me as I was driving in my car. In the Fall of 2001, I knew I wanted to make an Utena movie music video, as the DVD was due to come out, and the Utena movie is probably my single favorite anime movie ever. While in my car, I was listening to one of my dance music compilation CDs, and the song "Castles in the Sky," by Ian Van Dahl came on. I always loved this song. However, with the Utena movie on my mind, and this song that I liked playing, it occurred to me that combining the two might make a good music video. I felt the fast pace of the song could be used to show the high energy (and weirdness of the Utena movie), and the lyrics also could fit nicely. The lyrics being few in number, but could be applied to the Utena movie. Here's a sample of some of the lyrics:
"Do you ever question your life?/ Do you ever wonder why?
Do you ever see in your dreams/ All the castles in the sky?"
With these two lines, I had a good basis for the concept of my video. The part about "do you ever question your life" could most definitely be applied to Utena, as the is faced with a situation that she doesn't necessarily want to be drawn into, and has to make some choices in her life. The "castles in the sky" is probably the most literal part of the video, being that there is actually a castle in the sky. What the castle means metaphorically is a whole different story. :P
And thaaat is pretty much what this video comes down to. If you've ever seen the Utena movie, you know that it requires a lot of attention and speculation from the viewer. There's a lot of symbolism going on, and the true meaning of the movie is pretty much left up to the viewer. Well, I have my own interpretation of the Utena movie, and this music video is my take on what I feel the movie is about.
Without spoiling too much (I hope, heheh), this music video is basically about Utena trying to come to terms with her past, and her relationship with Touga. All of a sudden, she runs into Touga in her new school (or does she?), and she is faced with a number of new trials (which I show in the first half of the video). During this part, she meets Anthy, a girl who could help Utena make her transition into her future, and into womanhood. Thus, the title of my video, "Liberation of Memories Past"! Utena is trying to overcome her past, even though she is haunted by it, and attempts to move on to live her life, even if it means becoming involved with this weird, mysterious girl (Anthy). Actually, coming up with the title for this video was just about the hardest thing to do. I have my man Mike (VegettoEX) to thank for coming up with it, since I was going to lose my mind coming up with a decent one. :P
OK, so that's the basic theme of the video. It's broken up into a few parts: the opening introduction of the cast of characters, the "past" with Touga, the "present" with Saionji and Anthy, and beginnings of the relationship between Anthy and Utena, then a nice lil' surreal section that brings the past, present and future together depicted in the fight with Juri, in which Utena mysteriously emulates the "Prince." After that, there's a section that shows Anthy's past (to show how it connected to the previous scene), and then the final showdown/outcome when Anthy and Utena face off against the final obstacle, Akio. Yeah, it might be kind of confusing if you aren't familiar with the characters and how they relate to each other, but I hope you'll enjoy the video anyway!
Actually, speaking of the characters, allow me to explain my beginning of the video! Since I understand that not everyone may have seen the Utena TV series or movie, I use the first few seconds of the video to introduce the characters. In this part, I use some text to show the "roles" of the characters. For instance, I refer to Utena as "the Hero," Touga as "the Ghost", etc. to show what part each of these people play. Keep in mind these are only my interpretations of these characters, so I might be completely wrong. Also, please notice how in the first 5-7 seconds of the video, I show head shots of the characters (shown in the same order of the "roles" scene), moving their heads in a different direction per shot. I wanted motion in this into, and this is how I did it. Man, I just realized how that didn't make any sense. :p
Also, pay close attention to the order in which I show the cast of characters in the introduction. I wanted it to be something of a characters relationship chart. Utena cuts to Touga, and then from him to Shiori, and then her to Juri, and so on. See the connections?! Aaahaaaaa!!!
One quick thing I want to bring up is the Touga lip-syncing scene. Unfortunately, I think I got a case of the "Love is Flowers" going on right there, even though that scene is NOT meant to be funny. It only occurred to me after I finished editing that scene when I realized, "hey wait...it looks weird that Touga is a guy, and he's singing a female part." I know it looks kinda odd, but him singing *does* serve a purpose: as a ghost, he's singing/communicating to Utena, asking her if she ever "questions her life" or "wonders why." I feel this is important, as Touga's probably the one person in the movie that forces Utena to think about her life, and the direction it's going in. So, for this purpose, despite how silly it may look, I kept this lip syncing in the video.
In general, I think it would help to watch this video more than once. The scenes I picked were entirely deliberate, and the order I showed scenes is also important. Since the song is so fast, and therefore, is heavily edited, some important things might flash by quickly, and I don't want someone to miss out on something. So, please give this video a few go-arounds (especially if you plan on writing me a review, which would really be super cool of you. ^_^).
Technically speaking, this is the most ambitious music video I've ever made. I've never worked so hard on editing and fast cuts before, and this is the first video I've paid extreme attention to such things. I mean, it is a dance/techno song, so it would be hard *not* to go all out with editing. Well, I'm so happy with the results, and I don't think I have any other videos like this to date.
I have a pattern I use for the timing in this video for most of the high-action scenes. For each set of six beats, I have the first 3 beats flash a quick white light, while the next 3 beats zoom in slightly one after the other (if not that, then I do quick scene changes). Doing these tiny edits and effects was the most time-consuming part of this video. Took about 2 hours to do 5 seconds of video, or so. Some of the effects I used in this video were simple cross-dissolves for scene changes and the while/black flashes, camera view for the zooming effect, motion for the moving text, and other simple effects. I didn't do anything too fancy, because I didn't feel it was necessary, and didn't want the video to turn into a "show off special effects" video.
This is my new favorite music video of mine, next to "Again." I feel like I worked on it for a long time, and the result is something I am so dang proud of. ^^;; I really hope you'll like it as much as I loved making this thing. If you enjoy it, feel free to write me your opinion of it. That would be swell. I hope this video doesn't come off as too odd, but rather just an exciting, enjoyable music video. Enjoy, and thanks for reading my babble for this video. :)