- Member: Ashyukun
- Studio: Electric Leech Productions
- Title: Bouncing Through The Years
- Premiered: 2005-09-23
- DJ Ítzi Megaman
- Daicon III Opening Animation
- Daicon IV Opening Animation
- Diebuster (Aim for the Top 2!) (OAV)
- Ebichu Minds the House
- FLCL (Fooly Cooly)
- Gunbuster (Aim for the Top!)
- Here Comes Koume! (Koume-chan Ga Iku!)
- His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano)
- Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai
- Little Women in Love (Wakakusuyama Monogatari)
- Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
- Mahoromatic ~Something More Beautiful~
- Mahoromatic: Summer Special
- Melody of Oblivion
- Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water (TV)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Otaku No Video
- Petite Princess Yucie (Petit Purie Yucie)
- Re: Cutie Honey
- Wings of Honneamise
First off: This will be very, very long. It's pretty much impossible for it not to be just from the number of sources and the nature of this video- plus, this is me we're talking about. Second, I always hate this- the beginning of almost anything written is something I tend to think I just cannot ever get right, and never quite know what to do. So more often than I'd like I end up complaining about how I can never think of what to do, and go from there. See?
"Bouncing Through The Years" (Henceforth referred to as BttY because a) it's shorter to type and b) I'm an engineer and tend to reduce many things to shorter acronyms. Yes, I realize that means halfway calling this video 'Betty'- but hey, it's better than 'tty'.....) was, unlike many of my videos, what I would call a 'slow burn' project. The seeds for it were planted sometime mid-last year. I forget whether it was actually watching dwchang's Miyazaki various video from ACen that year or another of the plentiful Miyazaki/Ghibli vids, but I found myself thinking, "Sheesh. It seems like everyone does Miyazaki/Ghibli 'tribute' videos. Why aren't there more 'tribute' videos to the others who have had huge influences on popular anime? Like, well, Gainax for example." I then thought that this sounded like an interesting idea to try some time, but then put the idea aside.
As an aside- if you don't read a lot of my video descriptions, you probably don't know that I like to ramble on about the origins and development of a video probably more than I like talking about the actual finished video itself. This is probably because by and large, you can see what the finished video is like- the motivations and machinations that led up to making it however are usually far from obvious, and to me are every bit as if not more interesting.
Back to the story- the seeds of this idea got water poured on them and germinated over AWA last year. I really liked one of the songs Hsien (Kusoyaro) used for his AMV Iron Chef (now the AMV Iron Editor Challenge) video- 'Rock the World' by Waldo's People. Hsien pointed me to the full MP3 of the song, and it essentially hit me like a ton of bricks that this song would work perfectly for the Gainax tribute video. 'Rock the World' is a great workout song, and it was on the short (play)list of songs I listened to while working out at the gym, which I started doing around that same time. Each time I listened through the song, I got more and more ideas of what I could do with this video. The question was, when was I going to do this? And, since my timelines for videos tend to be driven by the contests I make them for, what contest was I going to make it for? I for a short while toyed with the idea of trying to get it done for Otakon- but by then I had already gotten really attached to the idea of making "Everything About Guu" for Otakon, and wisely (IMO) stuck with that. ACen (the other major con I go to/submit to) was just too close for what all was figuring I would have to pull together. This made me look at AWA- and I realized this was the perfect video to make for Pro.
AWA Pro is generally one of my favorite AMV contests. I love the peer-judging and the fun of trying to guess who did what video. It was in part my love of this guessing that made me more enthusiastic about this video. Two years ago, the first time I entered Pro, I made a video (The Greatest Anime Hero) pretty much at the last minute, and made a concerted effort to hide the Afro Ken(s) I put in my videos far more than usual as to try and see if I could keep people guessing as to who made it. Despite this, it seems most people didn't have too much trouble figuring that it was most likely me who had made it. Last year I hadn't planned on entering, but did so at the last minute so I could at least participate, sending in my Otakon video- which of course everyone already knew was mine. I had determined though that I wanted to make a video that was enough of a departure from my traditional style (whatever that is....) that it wasn't immediately obvious that it was mine- and this seemed like as good of a chance as any.
I had only one real problem up to this point, and somewhat further- I had turned over every stone that I could think of, and I could not track down a copy of the Waldo's People CD that had 'Rock the World' on it. I managed to track down another of their CDs (their self titled album with the band naked on the covers, has some good songs on it too), but not 'No-Man's Land', which was the one I needed. I really didn't want to make this video from an MP3 audio source- but I was beginning to think I wasn't going to have any choice. Still, I forged ahead.
About this time, I was given the opportunity to take a new assignment from my work out here in Lexington, Kentucky. This had something of an affect on my editing for the simple fact that I had to plan ahead on what I was going to do AMV wise for the next 7-8 months as I could not bring out all of my DVDs, so I had to stick to just what I really wanted to watch- and what I needed for whatever AMV projects I wanted to do over the intervening time. As you can imagine, the vast majority of the DVDs I ended up bringing with me were Gainax discs. I turned to several friends who were in Japan for various purposes to help me pick up some of the things I needed in the way of R2s from used DVD shops there. Early in my time in Kentucky I spent a lot of time listening to iTunes radio stations- particularly europop/techno-ish stations- with a particular purpose in mind. I had a show that I had picked up that I really wanted to make a particular type of video to, but I didn't have a good song for it yet. I heard one that I thought would work pretty well, and tracked down the CD it was on and bought it from eBay at a rather low price- doubly so because it was an import CD by an obscure (to those of us here in the US) Austrian pop singer, DJ Ítzi. I got the CD shortly before being shipped up to our other new office in West Lafayette, IN for about a month, and dropped the entirety of the disc onto my iPod Mini, Aoi-chan, before leaving.
While up in Indiana, I had about a 15 minute drive to and from work each day, and as was (and still is) typical, I had Aoi plugged in and on random during the drive- and I made the point of listening through the entire DJ Ítzi album at least once. There were a number of tracks on the discs that I enjoyed- it's just my kind of generally high-energy, fun music- but a few stood out and survived my next shuffle of the tracks on Aoi. Included within that list was "Megaman". The more that I listened to that song- and I think Aoi was pulling for it because it came up more than it should have on Shuffle- the more I listened to it, the more an alternative idea for the Gainax video started to form. "Megaman" was a good bit different of a song than "Rock the World". It's not as high energy and really didn't lend itself as much towards being a fast-edited, action oriented video that the Waldo's People song would have pushed me towards making. I can't exactly say what drove me to eventually decide to switch to making BttY to "Megaman" instead of "Rock the World". I won't deny that it was in part because I wasn't sure whether I would be able to manage the type of editing that I was coming up with in my head for "Rock the World"- it would have involved a lot more fast cutting and switching between shows and would have been completely random in the chronology of the shows (except for saving the newer ones- especially Aim for the Top! 2- for near the very end). But to at least some extent, I liked the somewhat nostalgic feel of "Megaman", because it matched up very well with how I feel about a number of the shows I was going to be working on.
So, the music was now set- and as a bonus I actually had it on CD instead of just having an MP3 of it. I didn't really get seriously to work on BttY until after finishing up Everything About Guu- there simply wasn't the time. But while working on it I did start doing some more digging than I had before- and had to keep myself from knocking myself out banging my head on my desk. Up until then, I really hadn't done a very comprehensive job of investigating exactly what all shows I was going to need- especially since I had decided that I was going to try and make a video that showcased all of the animated shows (with some leniency for the Daicon Openings) that Gainax had made up until the point of the video's production (since I know at least one person has commented on it, 'He is My Master' started airing too late to really successfully incorporate into this video, as the third Top 2 DVD was also released too late to use- unfortunately. Honestly though, I really wanted to end the video with Top 2 anyway, so HimM would have gotten in the way. :P). I had never realized just how many shows Gainax had been involved in- especially in the last year or so. I had honestly planned on the section after the 'break' to be nothing but Top 2, since it was all I really knew of that they had done recently. Instead I found that there were four shows that I needed to be worrying about in the more recent vintage category- and several I didn't really know about earlier as well. I had to do a lot of scrambling to get source to use for everything, and I personally think I did pretty good for managing to get DVD source for everything that has been released on DVD except for one- Re: Cutey Honey (I'll address that later).
Now all the sources were set. I listened through the song a whole lot of times, and figured out the phrasing and wrote down all the times and lyrics and everything I could think of- and actually started planning out the video. I don't know how many people who know me really know this- but I just don't usually plan out videos that much. I have an idea of what I want it to look like in my head, know what scenes I want to use in different places, and just drop everything into Premiere and dive into it. That just wasn't going to work here, for a number of reasons. First off, I had a limited amount of time for each show- essentially, 12 seconds for each. Secondly, there was just no way that I could take everything Gainax has ever made and just 'drop it into Premiere'. This project- and this project alone- pushed my drives to their full capacity. It used in the vicinity of one half a terrabyte for the sources alone (ripped DVDs and the full quality files or editing MJPEGs, depending on which I used for each show), and left me constantly scrambling to find some space to clear out when I needed to render something out. As such, I had everything timed out and made notes on what I wanted to do with each show- which I still have in case anyone doesn't believe me. :P
OK, that's pretty much it for the background on how the video came to be. Now I can get more into the actual production of it, and the individual shows.
Some overall things. One thing I really wanted to do with each of the shows was try and capture the essence of them and, if possible, try and edit the segment in a style appropriate to the show. In reality I only ended up really varying the editing style or doing anything particularly different for one or two, and I think it only really stood out for FLCL with the comic-book effect. I edited out one repetition of the chorus right before the 'break'. The song was just 4 measures (12 seconds) too long- I either had to edit it, or have twice as much Yucie than anything else. Honestly, I could have dealt with having more Yucie, I really like the show- but I thought it was better to cut down the song. I also experimented with cutting down the intro- but it just didn't work nearly as well and I gave up on it. Finally- with using 16 different sources for this, as you would expect not all of them have the same aspect ratio. Deciding what to do about this was one of the bigger decisions that I had to make early on. I considered bringing them all into 4:3 aspect ratio by cropping the widescreen sources- but thinking about it I decided this would not be doing the individual sources justice or highlighting each show's uniqueness properly. Also, I was not going to be swapping back and forth between sources randomly, so there would not be full-letterbox-full-letterbox over the course of a second or so, and I figured that people could just deal with a potential AR switch every 12 seconds or so, and that it would only help to highlight the switch between shows. Finally- I decided that I was not going to use any of the live-action (non-animated) works that Gainax had either produced or been a part of producing. While I don't doubt they're probably pretty good, I was already going to have my hands full with just the animated stuff, and worrying about several live-action shows just wasn't something I really wanted to have to deal with.
Now to the individual segments.
The intro to the video- like my complaint about how to start something written- is something I sometimes have trouble with, and sometimes it just comes really easily. "Individuality" and "Everything About Guu" both had easy intros ('Indiv' because I didn't do it :P). BttY did not, and I wrestled a lot with how to do it. The beginning Lens Flare/Text was actually initially an accident- I had put a lens flare in on the Premiere timeline as a placeholder for doing something fancier (the two lens flares coming together and exploding into the 'warp tunnel' effect) in After Effects later on. Somehow I ended up with the 'Gainax' text serving as a mask through that original lens flare effect showing the two flares coming together behind it, and I was just tickled with the results. Yeah, it's a bit cheesy- but I like it.
I really wanted to do something in the way of a full 3D tunnel-fly-through along the lines of what Trythil has done in the past with DDR, but I lacked both a 3D program with which to do this and, more importantly (as yes, I realize there are free ones) the skill to use one and the time to learn it. So what I ended up with was doing a pseudo-'tunnel' using multiple color-cycling lens flares. I tried using a particle cannon to add in particles to it, but it looked horrible. I considered scrapping the whole 'tunnel' idea altogether and switching to having a 'scrapbook' like effect of the clips I had flying by in the 'tunnel' falling onto the page, but I decided as cheesy as it was, I liked the 'tunnel' better. Retrospectively I'm glad for it, because I think it would have ended up a heck of a lot like the intro to another video a few after mine on the Pro discs. Still, I wish I could have done it better.
I tried to use a good mix of clips from all the shows in the 'fly-bys', especially having clips of characters that did not show up in the actual video. The intro 'tunnel' sequence was actually one of the last things done as I wanted the actual clips for everything else laid down before I pulled clips from the source for the fly-bys. Even then I had to use 2 or 3 color-matte placeholders for shows that I didn't get until the week or so before I had to upload the video.
Technically, the Daicon openings aren't really 'Gainax' productions. They were made before Gainax formally existed, at least in name. However, they're considered as being part of the Gainax repertoire, and I felt it would have been a crime to leave them out of the video.
Unfortunately, given that NO 'good-quality' source of them exists, it could be argued that putting them in next to professionally-produced DVD-source & cleaned footage is a crime somewhat on its own. It would have been much easier if I could have done what Ian did on Virtua Anime and have a small jumbotron for them- but I thought that was cheating for what I was doing (though it worked extremely well in Virtua Anime). I was able to get the best quality copy I've seen from a former editor friend (who I'll not name for the time being as I'm not sure he wants to be named)- but even that had me swearing at it. It was just impossible to clean up, and that should be no surprise given the overall history of the footage. Actually, cleaning wasn't so much of a problem as was interlacing and frame-blending- I eventually had to end up giving up and going with as best I could do, and then (as most of the footage, at least in Daicon IV, is sped up) doing my best to cut out the really badly interlaced/blended frames. It still looks like crap compared to the rest of the sources, but I'm secure in knowing I did the best I could with it.
The section of the song the Daicon Openings were set to is instrumental, so I didn't have to worry at all about lyric-match- I could just edit with the flow of the song and try and pick scenes that captured as much of the essence of the footage as I could. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would be ending the Daicon clips with the 'Bunny Girl Bounce', it was just how I had always seen that hit in the music going. Thinking about it now- a really appropriate way to start the video would have been with the opening of Daicon III, but well, hindsight and all.
I split the measures assigned to Daicon up half and half, with half of it going to III and half to IV. This was somewhat unfair given how much longer IV is than III- but it worked IMO. It became very evident in working on the Daicon segments that it was going to be really, really hard to pick just 12 seconds or so (assuming I was running it at 100% speed- which I honestly rarely do these days).
Wings of Honneamise : The Royal Space Force
Honneamise is a show that most people either love or hate. I'm actually somewhere in the middle of that- I enjoy it, but I think it has its problems, but not enough to make it not worth watching. Some of those stem from being an aerospace engineer and going, "OK, have they ever said a single thing about getting him back down?!???!?!?!" and some from the fact that while it's extremely beautiful footage (I would love to have seen the original print in theaters) the story can drag.
Before getting any further into this, I have to give my first shout-out of the writeup to one of our esteemed anime companies. Here goes.
MANGA ENTERTAINMENT CAN KISS MY ASS AND LEARN TO ^%^$%$#*)& ENCODE A DVD!!!!
Seriously- the Domestic, Region 1, release of Wings of Honneamise is such a flaming pile of crap that monkeys wouldn't throw it at each other, they'd run away screaming in fear. How the bloody hell is it that we get such crap encoding on so many domestic DVDs????? It's not like in this case that they likely just got complete crap from Japan- because for the video I imported and used the Region 3 (Korea- fully licensed and legal, assuming you don't gave a damn about region encoding) DVD, which looks absolutely beautiful. And it's pretty consistent among Manga titles too- the video I'm working on at the moment (early September, 2005) is a Manga title, and it's got more rainbows than a Gay Pride Parade.
Source problems aside, Honneamise is a really beautiful show. It's also hard to definitively capture in 12 seconds- and try and accomplish something close to lyric match. I hope I managed to get somewhere close to succeeding.
Aim for the Top! Gunbuster!
Gunbuster is easily one of my favorite Gainax shows, and probably always will be near the top of my overall favorites too. It was one of the earlier shows that I saw, back when you could still get copies of it commercially in the US. It's pretty much the archetype of how all the future Gainax shows go and what they contain: Start off fun and happy and light and bouncy (especially when it comes to the female characters' chests) and end up- be it slowly or suddenly- with OMGWTF HAPPENED HERE!!!! Granted, Gunbuster doesn't exactly start out- 'happily'- it starts with Noriko's father being killed by the Space Monsters- but the first few episodes are by and large upbeat and bouncy- and then things start going South, and eventually you're left with the final (well, it was supposed to be... until Top 2 came along and went, "Ooops! Just kidding!") epic battle in Black and White against the Space Monsters where Noriko chooses to sacrifice everything she has to try and save humanity.
Even before I started actually breaking up the song into the segments and before I made the decision that it would go chronologically from past to present, I knew I wanted the scene with the Gunbuster holding one of the collapsing reactors for the line "the future is right in your own hands". Wanting to use that line pretty much, for me, meant I would be limited to the final episode of the show, since I didn't want to be potentially confusing people or have the general weirdness of going from color to black and white and full-screen to letterboxed within a 12-second segment. There was also the fact that the line "Just like an old-time movie" worked in nicely with the black and white of the final episode. I had initially thought I would prefer to have been using Honneamise for that line, but honestly I think the final Gunbuster episode worked out very well for it.
You might notice that I give Jung Freud about as much if not more screen-time than Noriko & Amano- I just couldn't resist. Jung Freud is easily my favorite of the main characters in Gunbuster, and it worked rather well with the lyrics IMO- and she does play a very important role in the final episode as well as being one of the more tragic figures in the end.
The one thing I would have changed given the money to do it would have been to use the remastered Gunbuster release instead of the original one that I have. Like Honneamise, though unlike it because there has never been a domestic DVD release of it, I used the R3 DVDs of Gunbuster for the video. The remastered version is apparently every bit as impressive of an improvement from the original as the new Eva DVDs were, and I would have loved to have been able to use it- but I just didn't have the money with everything else I had to pick up to buy something I already had a pretty serviceable source for, and of all the episodes the last one (rainbows aside, which I still didn't manage to totally eliminate -_-) was one of the easier to deal with cleaning-wise.
Nadia : The Secret of Blue Water
Though not as close to my heart as Gunbuster, Nadia is still one of my favorite anime series, and one of the first ones that I saw (though I didn't see it in its entirety until I picked up the full show on DVD). It continues the typical pattern of starting out fairly light and easy and taking a sharp turn through the left field wall about 2/3 of the way through. Those who have seen the show know what I'm talking about- I'm not going to spoil it for those that haven't by going into detail.
Much of the footage for the Nadia segment came from the clean opening animation for the show, for the simple fact that it just worked so very well. Much of the rest came from the tail end of the 'Nadia's Island' section, when things start getting back to the real plot and stop farting around with crappy animation quality. Nadia was the first of the series that I had to deal with, Honneamise and Gunbuster being no longer overall than 3 hours or so each- whereas Nadia is nearly 50 episodes long, meaning it's over 20 hours long in total running time. Thankfully I know the show relatively well and knew in general where the scenes I wanted were- I pretty much lucked out that most of what I wanted was within one or two episodes. It was really hard to try and do anything close to capturing the full feel of a better than two-season long show in 12 seconds, and was the first time it really hit home just how difficult this could be. Still, I managed to hit most of the main characters and give at least some feel for the relationships, so I'm happy with it.
Nadia falls firmly within the 'Crappy Capture' years of Gainax (generally regarded as being everything up until FLCL), and the footage was every bit as annoying to deal with as I remembered it being from using it in the remaster of 'Kiss the Girl'. Frame blending aplenty no matter what I tried (it's hard to do anything when you have like 3 fields worth of data in a single frame). Again, the fact that I was running very little of it at 100% speed and was instead mainly using the footage at greater than real-time speeds meant that I could generally cut out the really badly interlaced/blended frames. This made the pan up from Nadia's feet to her head from the opening hard though, as it was already pretty short and as it was a vertical pan up a cel meant that it blended really badly. Somehow I got it to work, though.
The ending of the segment was the first of the times I tried to really segway between segments- the very blatant similarities between King and Misty May's 'mascots' made it too much fun to resist going from Marie and King to Misty May & the mascots.
Oh- source-wise, I've owned Nadia in its entirety for a while now, so it was one of the easier ones as far as getting the source.
Otaku no Video
Otaku no Video is a show with an interesting history with regards to me. I saw it very early on after getting into anime, and honestly I just didn't get the majority of it- it just happened to be one of AnimEigo's releases, and they were the big company at the time (other than Viz, who were firmly focused on all things Ranma then). I just couldn't really relate at all to most of the show, though it was pretty amusing. This was of course before I got into making AMVs, which happened about 2 years following when I first saw it. About a year and a half ago (roughly a decade after first seeing it), when working as tech staff at Anime Boston, I was responsible for breaking down one of the video rooms on the last day of the con- and as we finished up everything else, we had to sit and wait for the final show in the final video room to finish up. That show was of course Otaku no Video- and I sat there with growing horror and amusement as I realized that I now really got it. I knew almost all of those people (or at least people very much like them here in the states), and could relate to almost all of what was going on. It truly does live up to its name.
It also was interesting trying to figure out what to do as far as what scenes to use. I decided early on that I was not going to use any of the live-action interviews or segments- as I was not using the wholly live-action shows, I figured it didn't make sense to use live-action segments. I also knew I pretty much had to use the Misty May transformation sequence- I just couldn't picture the segment without it. And of course, I was bound to use the clip from early on with the girl from the original group cosplaying as Lum. I had to resist finding a way to put in the Gyoppi clock that I found a shot of in the show as well, because it just didn't seem to fit. Otherwise, I just tried to go with the flow of the song & the show.
I had to pick up the domestic DVD of Otaku no Video for making BttY, but this didn't bother me in the least bit- I rather like the show, and it just seems like something I should own. :P The footage for Otaku no Video was actually somewhat less obnoxious to deal with than the Nadia footage had been, though it still had its problems. I think I did the highest amount of tweaking of the video settings in the AVS file and in Premiere with Otaku no Video- the footage is just really dark and subdued, more so than I think it needed to be, probably as a result of the transfer- so I fiddled with the settings a bit to get it more vibrant and alive, and hopefully didn't push any of it out of NTSC spec.
Shin Seiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Finally, we get to Gainax's tour de force, the show that really put them on the map as a company and guaranteed that almost anything they made following it would at least sell well. Honestly, Eva isn't my favorite of their shows. It's obviously really good- but I just prefer Gunbuster and several of the newer shows over it. I pretty much had most of the Eva segment figured out in my head before I started working on it- while I haven't watched through the entire show in some time, it's used to frequently in AMVs (even now) that all of the footage in it is pretty fresh in my mind.
It should be noted, and I'm sure it was noticed by others, that I chose to not use any of the Eva Movies for the segment. This was a conscious choice, and partially done to avoid complicating things. First off, I would have needed to decide where to put them in the timeline- whether I would roll them in with the TV series or whether I would have the TV series and the movies as two separate segments. I decided to avoid the headache in general (as well as, as much as possible, the probably cliche use of certain sections of the movies that far too many Eva AMVs seem to use) by leaving out the movies.
I knew from the beginning I wanted to use the footage from the 'Shinji World' segment at the end of (one of ) the ending(s) of the TV series for the 'you can be what you want to be' lyric-sync. It just worked so well in my mind, and I love that sequence in general. For the 'feel desire' lyric, I won't lie- I would have preferred to use Asuka's kissing Shinji for it. Only one problem: I didn't have the Platinum discs with that episode on it. :( I was however pretty happy with how it turned out in the end, though. It would have been a bit smoother had I been able to use the kiss, but you have to work with what you have.
There's not much to say as far as working with the footage quality-wise on this one. The Eva Platinum DVDs are beautiful. Theoretically not as beautiful as the R2 Renewal discs are- they're actually supposed to be progressive, while Platinum is still interlaced. But the footage is worlds better than the original release.
The ending of the Eva segment was, like the Nadia segment, intended to segway into the Kare Kano segment, and represents one of the generally few (and in this case, stupidly easy) masking jobs in the video, masking it so that the Kare Kano clip that starts of that segment is playing on the door that Asuka slams shut. It's a mask I'm guessing most people didn't notice- which is good.
His and Hers Circumstances (Kare Kano)
The Kare Kano segment was my first real attempt at incorporating some of the style of the editing of the show into the editing of the video- both because I wanted to and because of necessity. Up until I started working on this, I only owned the first DVD of Kare Kano. It was an interesting show and I hoped to eventually pick up the rest of it to watch- but it wasn't one that I liked enough to go out of my way to buy all of as it came out. So, when I started working on this video in earnest, I set out to rectify this and pick up the whole show, and did so by ordering the full set from someone on Half.com. And time passed and I worked on the other things I had to work on (Everything About Guu, the earlier segments). And more time passed- and the set still hadn't shown up. So, I contacted the seller, and after going back and forth a few times (just confirming things, they were very polite and apologetic about the whole thing), they refunded what I had paid for it. Which was good financially- but still left me with only the first DVD, and precious little time even if I were to pick up the whole show to watch through it. So, I was left with only the first DVD to work with.
This combined with one other factor for my decision to primarily use the still shots for the Kare Kano section- the footage in Kare Kano, being the last of the 'bad capture' years of Gainax, is a real pain in the ass to work with. Using the stills predominantly meant that I had to worry less about this, as they generally looked pretty good, or at least could with a bit of filtering. This resulted in my having a whole lot do with a lot of the plot of the show and primarily just focusing on the relationship and not the angst and past of the respective characters. Yes, it doesn't likely do the show quite as much justice as I could have- but it was what I had to work with, and I'm still pretty happy with how it worked out.
Though it's probably not wise to say this, and instead let people think I took lots of time getting it to work out- the sync on the last clips of the Kare Kano segment (the kiss) was what I'm used to being referred to as an 'insta-sync'- meaning I dropped the clip on the timeline and then time-stretched it down to be the length I wanted it to be- and the movements within the clip synced pretty much perfectly up without my having to adjust anything else.
Anime Ai no Awa Awa Hour (aka Modern Love's Silliness)
OK, we're finally out of the 'common' Gainax stuff and into one of the titles that a) many people don't even know exists and b) those that do realize it exists (at least Ebichu, in most cases) probably don't know that Gainax had anything to do with it. I sure didn't until I started working on this video. Anime Ai no Awa Awa Hour was a show that ran (late at night IIRC, given Ebichu...) that consisted of three shows within it: Oruchuban Ebichu (aka Ebichu Minds the House), Here Comes Koume-chan!, and Young Women in Love. Most people here have only ever really heard of Ebichu, since it is the only one that has been (to the best of my knowledge) released in any form or fashion- in this case fansubbed. Through the help of a friend teaching in Japan a the moment, I was able to buy the 2nd Awa Awa Hour DVD. I would probably have preferred the first one, since it has the scene I wanted to use for the transition between Kare Kano and Awa Awa Hour (the scene with Ebichu and the whistle- I thought it would be great to have the kiss from Kare Kano and then have Ebichu suddenly appear blowing the whistle for them to stop), but in the end I had to work with what I was able to get, and it also left me with what I think is the funniest scene in the whole video to use.
Unfortunately, though I did watch through the DVD, since it was an R2 and I really don't speak Japanese, I really couldn't do a whole lot as to figuring out how to best use the two lesser known shows, and their segments ended up halfway random, with my picking scenes that seemed to work halfway well. It didn't help that I had like 4 seconds for each one, since I decided to count Awa Awa hour as one show (the song wasn't long enough to use a full 12 seconds for each show anyway). I tried to at least get most of the characters that seemed important on screen for a bit for those two shows.
I just had to (and ended up being able to) find a way to incorporate the scene where Ebichu uses a condom as a ice pack for her Master. I laughed until I was out of breath the first time I saw that scene- the combination of the complete absurdity of the situation and the look on Ebichu's master's face combined with Ebichu's completely logical explanation for it just made it insanely funny for me. This brings up one of the problems with Awa Awa Hour as far as clip selection- It has very little action in it, which made it really hard to select clips in general. And then, when it does have action... it's usually, um, really 'action' (in Ebichu), which I decided I couldn't use because I wanted to keep the video able to be shown to people in public and not be embarrassed if my family ever watched it. The 'transformation' sequence from Ebichu Man worked out very well IMO as the ending transition into FLCL.
Awa Awa Hour's footage was really good quality- I'd say that FLCL wasn't the first to have the non-crappy capture process used, but Awa Awa hour instead. It's just that most people don't know about it.
Furi Curi/Fooly Cooly/FLCL
FLCL was, obviously, the most stylized of the sections that I edited together. I don't remember exactly how I came to the decision to do it, but in trying to figure out what made each show unique and how to incorporate that, what popped to mind for FLCL was the 'manga sheet' sequences in the episodes, and I decided that a comic book-type effect would work well for it, switching the focus of the 'camera' from one panel to another. So, I edited the segment normally, and then pulled the clips out from Premiere and into After Effects and made up a 'comic book sheet' in Illustrator with the right number of spaces for the clips, placed the clips in their respective spots with the right timings, and then moved the composition around so the appropriate panel was visible when it needed to be. I think it worked out decently well, though unfortunately I'd say it's a lot harder to see what I was doing with it when watching the video on a television than on a computer because of title/action safe areas.
Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem with source for FLCL as well- in that I managed to only end up with the last DVD with me in Lexington and the others back in storage. Otherwise I probably would have been using a bit different clips for the different lines. However, it did work out modestly well IMO. I had really wanted to use a clip of Haruna in the Bunny Girl outfit in the actual segment in the video- but it just didn't work out to fit with the direction I chose to take on it. If you look closely though, you'll see that I used it in the 'tunnel' sequence at the beginning.
FLCL generally was a very pretty source to work with- it had pretty high production values and was captured properly such that it transfers well to DVD and needed only minimal cleaning up of the footage.
If there was one segment of the video that I would apologize for, it's this one. I had a really hard time getting a hold of Mahoromatic DVDs to use for this segment, and when I did, they were largely random (the Special and the first disc of Mahoromatic 2). As such, I really could not get nearly as much of a feel for the show as I felt that I really needed to for doing a segment. I would have been really happy were the complete thinpack set of it not being released later this year and instead back earlier so I could have actually watched through the show. Unfortunately, it wasn't, and I couldn't. I just couldn't make it work the way I wanted it to because I just didn't know how to use the characters. In the end, I decided to stick to just the Special because it I could generally understand what was going on in and it seemed fairly straightforward. I'd imagine this segment disappointed some of the Mahoromatic fans out there, and I'm sorry it didn't turn out better. To add insult to injury, the original version of the video (that was on the Pro DVDs) had the wrong aspect ratio for Mahoromatic, distorting the footage. I'm still kicking myself for having not caught this after how much effort I put into making sure that the other shows were the right AR. It just goes to show that I really do count a lot on my friends who help with beta-testing- since I made this video as under-the-radar as possible, I couldn't use any of my usual friends to beta the video.
The footage for Mahoromatic wasn't a problem at all to work with, other than for my not having nearly enough of it to really do it well.
I did have some fun with this segment though, specifically the very beginning. To try and make it more obvious what I was trying to do with the comic-book effect in FLCL, I photoshopped scenes from the FLCL segment onto the H magazine Mahoro snaps shut at the beginning- though I don't know whether it was noticeable or not.
Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai (Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi)
Abenobashi was one that I knew was going to be both fun and frustrating to edit together. It has such a variety of both footage styles and moods that it meant I could probably come up with whatever I needed for it- but that also meant I might have an overload of possibilities. In the end, I think it came together pretty well, capturing both the frenetic and weird nature of the universe jumps as well as the more serious side of the show. One thing that was a bit frustrating with the show was the fact that the encoding on the 'magic circle' sequences really wasn't up to par with where I thought it should have been- there just wasn't enough bitrate, and it just doesn't look as good to me as I think it should have. That's just what happens with digital effects in animation at times: generally the bitrate used is good enough for the simpler animation, but when you start throwing in highly detailed digital shots like the magic circles, it just craps out.
I did end up having the problem with there being so much footage I wanted to use but not having the time for it. But then, by this point I was pretty used to it, since that had been the case on nearly every show in the video. The Abenobashi footage was, like everything from Ebichu on, quite nice and easy to work with.
Puchi Puri Yuushi/Petite Princess Yucie/(Princess Maker 2)
One of the really good things about this video was the fact that I ended up with a whole bunch of shows that I had never seen before and had to watch in order to prepare for making the video- and it seems like by and large, Gainax just isn't capable of making a crappy show. Yucie was one of my favorites of the new ones that I watched. OK, actually, thinking about that a bit more, it actually is under a few of the others, but still near the top of the newer shows I've seen in general. It's just right up my alley, odd as that may be. It's cute, fun, and has interesting, fairly well developed characters, which is about all I really ask for in a show of its nature.
It also gave me something of a chance to do something a bit out of the ordinary. I learned early on that Yucie was based off of/inspired by Gainax's 'Princess Maker' series of games- specifically, Princess Maker 2 (at least as far as the background story & Cube's presence were concerned). I decided that it would be fun to include a reference to that- which is where the still 'game' screen with the small window with the actual anime playing in it came from. PM2 was actually translated and localized for the US, but never released- however bootleg copies of it are not too hard to find. Much as I would have liked to (and may eventually get around to), I just didn't have the time to play through the game and actually get a screen with everything I wanted on it- so I played far enough to capture the screen with Yucie's name and birth date on it (I could not find anywhere that actually stated when Yucie from the anime's birthday was- so I used the starting air date of the anime :P) and photoshopped the rest with the help of some of the screens the guy who worked on its translation and domestic release has up. Unfortunately, the still screen really didn't look the best on the TV- but it seems to do just fine on the computer.
I had a number of different ideas as to what I wanted to do with the 'break strain' of the song when I started out. None of them really worked. I initially had wanted to do a 'calendar flipping' effect going from the starting year of the shows I used to where the final set began- but that worked out to like 2 or 3 frames per year with how long the break was- and it was just completely unreadable and looked horrid. I kicked around a number of ideas until I came up with what I used- cycling through the title screens (heh, more on that in a sec) of all of the shows as all the years scrolled by (they just scrolled by at a constant rate so they all went by, they were obviously not timed to match up with the shows that were released those years) and the clock with the fast-spinning hands (thank you, Illustrator).
There were a few issues with the title screens, however. I had a hard time finding one to use for Honneamise, for example, at least on the R3 release I used for the video. And the one I did find was totally different from the one on the R1 disc. Nadia was another problem- the regular opening on the discs had the English title on it, and the clean opening animation- was totally clean... meaning it didn't have the title on it at all. So I had to track down an image of the title from Gainax's web page and put together the title screen myself. Otaku no Video has two title screens, as there are two segments to it- 1982 and 1985. That was easy to deal with- I matched them up to fade between the two. I'd imagine many people simply didn't notice that, but I thought it worked out really sweet. The FLCL 'title' screen is pretty much illegible, but I think most people know what it was anyway.
Though it's probably hard to actually see... the final title screen (Yucie) is supposed to be 'bowing outward' and exploding into the newer shows. I refrained from using the shatter effect because I thought it would have just been a bit too over the top. :P
Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai (This Ugly and Beautiful World)
Konomini was one of the real gems that I discovered in watching through the shows I hadn't heard of before for making this video, at least in my opinion. It's just a really damn good show. One thing I liked a bit more about it than some of the previous shows was the fact that the 'the world is going to go to hell' that you pretty much expect from Gainax series was very much telegraphed- from the first episode essentially- unlike most of the shows where it sort of comes out of nowhere and hits you on the head and makes you go "OMGWTF Where did that come from!??!?". It also had some rather interesting characters. It also gave Gainax's animators the chance to play with more naked female characters than I think they had gotten to for a while. I really enjoyed the show, and hope that it eventually gets a domestic release.
Given that Konomini does not currently have a domestic release, I had to import it. I had watched the entire show via digisubs that themselves looked really damn good, but I really wanted to be using DVD sources if at all possible. So, I enlisted the same friend who had helped me get Awa Awa Hour, and picked up the first and last DVDs used direct from Japan. The digisubs look really good... but the R2s just blow them out of the freaking water. The show is just beautiful- even if I did have a hard time with some of the IVTC on it. I pretty much knew what I wanted to use from it for the get-go. Anyone who's seen it may be twitching a bit from my jumping from essentially the beginning to the very end, but that just seemed to fit best to me. My one disappointment in this segment was that I couldn't use more Jennifer- Best. Character. In. The. Show.
The Melody of Oblivion
Melody of Oblivion is a show that is getting a domestic release, and as of the time of this writing the first two DVDs have been released. Only the first had been released (and that only a few scant weeks before the deadline) when I made the video, so it was all I had to use. However I had some input on the show and the direction that it would make sense to take with the video from my friend Dan, who had watched the whole show fansubbed and was quite fond of it. Honestly, I wasn't as impressed by it from the first DVD as I had been with Konomini- but it definitely does have its good points and I have no problems with picking up the rest of the discs to watch it. It's a very visually impressive show- the backgrounds and environments in particular- it reminds me a lot of how influential the structures and scenes in the background are in the Utena Movie (I believe Dan said there were ties between the two staff-wise, I don't remember completely).
The Melody segment was one of the only uses of really fast editing in the video with the drum-roll crescendo at the end of it. I was kind of happy for it because it allowed me to use some of the scenes from the opening with characters that do not show up in the first disc at all in a manner that I didn't really have to worry about whether I was portraying them wrong or just looking like I was putting them in just so they'd be there. As Dan put it, the show is primarily an unconventional love story between the two main characters- so having them be the primary focus of the segment seemed like it made sense.
I was really happy with how the last two beat-hits in the segment went- I loved that the scenes with the two Warriors preparing to fire their respective bows matched up so nicely. :)
Re: Cutey Honey
Re: Cutey Honey was a segment that almost slipped through the cracks for me. When I was doing my research into the different shows I needed to use, several times I discounted Re: Cutey Honey- because I thought that it was the Live Action Cutey Honey movie that I knew had come out in the same general timeframe (or at least I think it did). Thankfully, I did finally realize (thanks in large part to searching for it on Anime Suki) that it was not the movie but a 3-part OAV series. Re:CH (heehee- OK, so that may not be the best abbreviation of the title :P) was the only segment that was done from digisubs- I realized that I needed to use it far too late to import the DVDs, and I was also starting to look more seriously at just how much money I'd actually spent in getting source for this video and going O_O!!! at the numbers. Thankfully, by and large the digisubs are beautiful. Well, the first two episodes are- the third was only available from one group, and it just didn't look anywhere near as good as the first two done by another group did. Also thankfully, I only used a bit of the footage from the last episode. By and large I was able to edit around the subtitles, as most of the scenes I wanted were action scenes where there was no dialog. This was only a problem on one scene- Honey's transformation scene surrounded by the SD policemen, because she's shouting, "Honey Flash!" (of course). If you're watching closely, you'll see that I zoomed the footage in at this point. I tried painting the titles out- but it was just not going to be worth and would have been more noticeable, IMO, than the zoom that I ended up using.
The ending of the Re:CH segment was one of the other rare masks in the video- and another that I think may have been largely overlooked- the ending heart flash is masked out and diminishes into the shot of Dix Neuf firing in the Aim for the Top! 2 segment.
I really liked Re: Cutey Honey as well, by the way. Especially Natsuko- she was my favorite character by far. Re:CH is pretty damn amusing and fun- and it has LOADS of fanservice. I mean, come on--- Gainax does a take on Go Nagai. It's a pretty large miracle Honey didn't spend the entire OAV series naked or covered by just a few scant pieces of cloth that really don't hide anything as opposed to just spending most of the show that way.
Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster! (aka Gunbuster 2)
To a decent extent, it's fair to say that this video owes a lot of its existence to this show, because I'd been wanting to make a video with it since I first heard about it and first saw the promos for the OAVs. Top 2 is not Gunbuster- there's no denying that. But it has some shades of it and, though Gunbuster made no reference to psionics or 'Topless' as Top 2 depends so much upon, it still seems to me (and this is coming from a very big fan of Gunbuster) as a worthy successor to Gunbuster. And the DVDs are Absolutely. Freaking. Beautiful. Thanks to my original friend in Japan who picked up several other things (like the last Guu Final DVD I needed for making Everything About Guu) I was able to get the first two OAV DVDs- the third was not released until about a week before the deadline for Pro.
It was hard balancing the use of footage in the final segment. I knew how I wanted the segment to end from the beginning- Nono's "lightning kick" smashing of the Space Monster from the first episode on the final hit before the ending effects sequence. I really wished I could have shown more of the Buster Machines themselves- but the lyric sync turned out to work much better with focusing on the characters with just really using Dix Neuf at the beginning.
Ending Effects Sequence: Photo Mosaic & final text
The photomosaic zoom-out going from the final shot of Nono hitting the Space Monster to the Daicon Bunny Girl Bounce shot (with the photomosaic animating that sequence, of course) was an original part of my plan for the video- even before I switched over to using Megaman from Rock the World. It was also really bloody hard to do. The photomosaics I ended up with were something on the order of 20,000 pixels wide. Half the time After Effects simply refused to render the frames, and I had to tweak settings to get the memory necessary to do it. Just gathering all the images to use for it too forever as well- I had something on the order of 25,000 frames in the end that I used to make the photomosaic sequence- all of the finished video (minus the ending obviously) and many of the clean openings and some random sequences thrown in for good measure from the source shows were necessary to get the photomosaic looking fairly good.
Then there was the matter of the card-flip effect between the final frame of the photomosaic and the final 'Gainax' text screen. I initially wanted it to work by having it flip from the mosaic to all white and then all but the Gainax text flip over to black- but I found that meant I would have been running the flips so fast it would have been impossible to tell what was happening, and eventually dropped it back to just the flip between the mosaic and the final screen. I'd never used the card flip transition before- it was interesting getting it to do what I wanted.
Finally, Trapcode Shine definitely your friend when you want to do cool text effects. It really accomplished what I had wanted to do with the final text screen (with a bit of lens-flare assistance). The initial concept didn't have the 'Gainax' text at the beginning, just the lens flares- but I thought that it worked out well starting and ending with that when all was said and done.
In closing, I type far too much about almost anything I end up talking about. If you think this is bad, you should see some of my LJ entries. Then again, I'm not sure if I've really ever typed up a 50KB LJ entry before.
One thing I haven't explained yet, but that I imagine a number of people either probably figured out going along: the title of the video. Way back when I first got into anime, one of my friends found an anime 'dictionary' of useful terms and information for anime fans. The entry on Gainax went something like this:
Gainax (noun): A Japanese animation company responsible for many popular and successful titles, including Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Gainax (verb): to bounce in a manner pleasing to the eyes of male fans. It should be noted there's only really one part of the female anatomy that can do this.
Gainax loves to pay entirely too much attention to the animation of breasts- there just no way around this. In Gunbuster, the show in which the physics lessons claim that space is not a vacuum and instead is fulled with ether and has a called attack "Homing Lasers" (*twitch*), the animators paid excruciatingly close attention to the animation of all of the female characters' breasts. Seriously- they did, it was really obvious scrubbing through the footage of Gunbuster when I was working on ASLGBV. They likely spent more time animating Noriko's breasts than the last episode of fewf episodes of Evangelion. And they have kept it up through the years- the same attention to detail is obvious in their newers shows too (Konomini, Re:CH, and Top 2). It's kind of the thread that ties all the series together- and hence the title, "Bouncing Through The Years."
Hopefully you'll enjoy the video. If you've actually read through all of this description, I have to admit I'm impressed, but I also thank you- that means I won't have spent all this time typing this out in vain.
I have added an XviD encode of the video for download- unless you don't have any way of playing the XviD and your system will only play the MPEG1, I highly recommend the XviD. It is far superior quality-wise than the MPEG1, which just didn't handle this video very well at all.