Visual Art: Music Videos

Batman: The Animated Series - Things Batman Doesn't Like

 

I posted this for my 37th birthday (i.e. September 2, 2017), because that was the year I discovered my love of Batman. For some notes on the creation of the video, see this and this Productivity Log.

Rurouni Kenshin (2012) - Unbreakable Heart

I made this video in May of 2013. It was the first time I'd worked with live action footage rather than animated, and it was a distinctly different experience. In some ways it was more difficult, but in others it was actually much easier. I'm extremely pleased with the finished product, in any case! I look forward to doing more live action stuff in future, though at the moment I have no particular ideas.

As far as the lyrics go, this song is much less how I think of Kenshin than how I think Kaoru might think of Kenshin. And I'm afraid she'll find, come Jinchuu, that he isn't quite as unbreakable as she believes. But anyway, I think the song fits pretty well.

Gundam Wing - Life Starts Now

Obviously I love Heero and Duo together, so here's me in December of 2010 contriving to erase all other characters from various scenes and shove them together to showcase their deep, forever love :D

Gundam Wing: Friendship Is Magic

People kept making these, the major draw being the assignment of traits (Elements of Harmony) to characters in whatever new series you had in mind. Nobody had done it for Gundam Wing, so in January of 2012 I figured I would. It makes me laugh pretty hard in spots, particularly Heero watching MLP:FiM and then later sending Treize a picture of himself and the other characters in his gundam.

Rurouni Kenshin - My Favorite Guys

Many years ago, when I used to post stuff on fanfiction.net, I made a tradition of putting up a new Rurouni Kenshin-related song "parody" along with every chapter or story. Most of them were very stupid, but there were a couple of diamonds in that rough (if I do say so myself) -- and one such was My Favorite Guys. Years later, in 2010, it occurred to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to dig up those old lyrics and make a music video out of them, so I did. In other words, yes, that is me you hear singing, and I apologize profusely for it.

The instrumentation comes from a karaoke CD called Just Tracks: Sing The Hits Of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It's really a dreadful track; it has all this background noise like whoever made it recorded it off of something else by putting an actual microphone up against the speaker it was playing out of. I would definitely not recommend buying this CD, or probably anything bearing a similar title.

Many thanks go out to my mother (not that she sees this stuff) for her sound-related assistance. She couldn't make me or the awful karaoke track sound any better, but without her I couldn't have recorded this thing at all. She is awesome.

Lastly, the lyrics:

Psychos with glasses and kanji-marked brawlers...
Weapon collectors and gay sickle-haulers...
Deadpans who never show any surprise...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

Paisley bandannas and big crimson collars...
Dark puppet-masters and kenjutsu scholars...
Warriors who fight with their bangs in their eyes...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

Red-haired assassins and wolves that are taller...
Prodigal smilers and cruel girlfriend-maulers...
Masters of moves in just one or two tries...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

When the real world’s jerks and losers start to make me mad,
I simply remember my favorite guys,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

GetBackers - Never Too Late

I made this video in September of 2008. It was difficult not to make it entirely about Akabane.

Rurouni Kenshin - Du Hast (Enishi Remix)

Rammstein is one of my favorite bands, and when it originally crossed my mind in 2004 to make Du Hast into a music video about Enishi, Kenshin, and Tomoe, my first thought was, What a shame Jinchuu was never animated. But despite the obvious lack of animated footage, the idea wouldn't go away and wouldn't go away, until finally I decided to experiment with manga frames just to see what I could come up with. The result is, at the very least, interesting.

As with my previous video, my impatience shows quite a bit here; there are several spots that make me wince because I was just too lazy to go fix whatever the problem was. Also, the quality deteriorated on conversion much more than that of the previous video, probably because of the manga frames. I did hack bits out of the song, BTW. You can only put footage to "Du / Du hast / Du hast mich" so many times before you go completely crazy.

Here's an unnecessarily lengthy explanation of why these lyrics are so fitting:

Du / Du hast / Du hast mich - Until he actually finishes this phrase, it sounds like he's saying "Du hasst mich," which means "You hate me." This seems to me appropriate for both Enishi and Tomoe in relation to Kenshin because Enishi's hatred is based on incomplete knowledge of the situation and of Tomoe's heart, while Tomoe's hatred is changed or eradicated when she gains better knowledge of Kenshin's character -- so their hatred, like one's initial assumption that Till is saying "You hate me," arises from not having all the facts. Yet Enishi assumed for years that Tomoe wanted revenge, Tomoe herself sought revenge at first, and one hears "You hate me" whether or not that's what the line actually says -- so the hatred does exist.

Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab' Nichts gesagt - So the complete phrase actually means, "You asked me and I said nothing." I found this a very fitting expression of Kenshin's inability, for quite some time, to come up with an "answer" for Enishi on the subject of the crimes he'd committed as a hitokiri, specifically killing Tomoe. And during his time in Rakuninmura searching for that answer, several people asked (and told) Kenshin things and he said nothing. Even after Kenshin had found his "answer," Enishi could not accept it -- so it was still as if he'd said nothing in response to what Enishi had "asked."

Willst du bis der Tod euch scheide' treu ihr sein für alle Tage? - This is a typical wedding-vow phrase -- "Will you be true to her for all your days, until death separates you?" -- after which we hear the feminine voice answer faintly in the affirmative and the masculine voice or narrator iterate loudly, "Nein!!" making the song, or at least this particular part of it, a sort of cry out against marriage or an expression of the breaking of wedding vows. And I have to think that killing one's wife is a fairly decent way to break one's wedding vows!

But there's more to it than that. Once again, just listening to the line provides a couple of very different possible meanings -- because it sounds like he says, "Willst du bis der Tod der Scheide treu ihr sein für alle Tage?" which would mean, "Will you be true to her for all your days, until the death of the vagina?" It's a typical Rammstein trick to use a play on words to turn something like getting married, showing charity, or taking turns into something purely sexual -- but in this context it fits surprisingly well: the slang term for vagina used here, "der Scheide," literally means "the sheath." And what was Tomoe supposed to be for the ungovernable rage of her hitokiri husband? I think it was this phrase that first reminded me of the Kenshin/Tomoe/Enishi situation and gave me the initial idea for the music video.

The last thing I wish to note, unrelated to the song lyrics, is that I think Seisou Hen is utter bullshit. There is at least one spot in the video that seems to imply that I agree with some of the nonsense that happened in that OAV, but I really don't. Simply put, I could not resist using some of that footage since an animated Enishi was too good to pass up for this project.

Rurouni Kenshin - I Hate Everything About You

So I heard this song on the radio one day in early 2004 and just flipped out; it reminded me so much of Saitou and Sano that I had to go buy the Three Days Grace CD as soon as possible and try to figure out what to do with the song. The problem with it was that the lyrics weren't coherent enough to make a songfic out of, and I didn't know how to make music videos. Well, as you can see, I figured it out (to a certain extent); the song was just too perfect to leave alone.

The fact that I'm self-taught is painfully evident. There are some choppy moments that I was too impatient to smooth out, and the lip sync at the end of the verse is soOoOo corny (I couldn't resist seeing if I could do it; I really should have). It looks like there's supposed to be lip sync during the first chorus (Sano's mouth flaps a lot), but that was unintentional. It would have been a much better lip sync sequence than the one I did on purpose, though; I should have thought about it more.

The song, in case you're not familiar with it, has been shortened a little; I chopped out the "second verse," which is exactly the same as the first verse, to avoid boring repetition as well as to give myself a lighter workload.

I planned for years, after I became a little better at this hobby, to remake this video... but first someone else, obviously unaware mine existed, made their own Saitou & Sano MV to this same song; and then Watsuki turned out to be evil. So this remains as it is as a relic of a past age.

A small sterile sample is scraped from the inside of the eyelid for bacterial testing

Once upon a time, here is an entry. Oh, what a weird coincidence… I’m just about to watch Once Upon a Time. Really was a coincidence, though.

I’ve just finished up a dumbass school project that took all day not because it was difficult but because it was so stupid I kept getting distracted. The football game earlier did not technically classify as a distraction because I always planned on watching that, and I was working on stupid during the commercials and halftime. Speaking of which! My McGahee shirt appeared! I wore it! It’s awesome!

I spent most of this past week with all these bruises on my arms from the previous week’s many golden retriever bites, and one from a shopping trip too early in the morning. The problem with bruises is that they’re so damn distracting; they catch my eye and drag me away from whatever I’m supposed to be thinking about. Good thing they’d all faded by today, or I’d never have gotten that project done.

I know other things have happened this week that I wanted to report, but I kinda forget what they all are. I’m becoming such a weekend-updater…

Well, weekend, at least, I remember. First, Air Force embarrassed me again. Then, Lesta and I had a feast to celebrate MLPFiM times. Kinda dumb episodes, but whatevs; you can’t always kick off a season with Discord, and one shouldn’t hope for it. And today has been all dumbass project.

Um, what else. Can’t remember. The End. I’ll go study my vocab until show starts.

Brony music top ten list

The odd behavior of my media player app in relation to brony music reminded me of something I was working on before I switched computers and then kindof abandoned. But now I have finished it: my brony music top ten list! Even if you’re not a fan of Friendship is Magic, step inside and have a listen to some of these awesome songs.

I tell you what: starting with 350 brony songs and trying to narrow it down to ten best or favorites is damn near impossible. This fandom is bursting at the seams with musical brilliance in a huge variety of styles, and you have no idea how many times I had to close my eyes and grit my teeth in order to remove just a single excellent song from the list. As a matter of fact, once I’d gotten it down to about 25, it became more a test of attrition: listening to the remaining lineup over and over, whichever I wasn’t quite as ecstatic to hear the seventeenth or the fifty-fifth time would be the first to go.

Which means that to call this a “top ten” is inaccurate; “cross-section of the top 25” might be a better description. But for the sake of conciseness and in deference to tradition, ten songs it is. (Beware: rampant overuse of “badass,” “catchy,” and “bouncy” ahead.) Here we go!

Evil Enchantress (Guitar Mix feat. Dan Waigand) by Eurobeat Brony

Pinkie Pie’s Evil Enchantress song is difficult to remix from the original because both her rhythm and her pitch aren’t exactly right on target (as she said, it’s a work in progress), so smart brony artists like Eurobeat have realized that a total remake is better than a remix. And in this case, a total remake with some freaking awesome guitar. I don’t know who Dan Waigand is, but he gets a brohoof from me.

Becoming Popular (Extended Rock Cover) by One Trick Pony

A lot of rock covers of series songs seem to happen, and unfortunately a lot of them aren’t very good. The problem is invariably finding a decent balance between what would otherwise be some badass instrumentation and the relatively gentle original vocals. Becoming Popular (The Pony Everypony Should Know) is my favorite series song, and I was more than a little delighted to find that One Trick Pony nailed the aforementioned balance and turned out an awesome track that combines best pony and awesome rock to perfect effect.

Octavia’s Vision by TheBellmaker

Never before have I seen a non-speaking character with a total of maybe twenty seconds of screentime and no canonical name inspire so much amazing instrumental music. Or… so much of anything, except maybe really random subreddits. But if this kind of badass song is what comes of unnamed background ponies with cellos, let’s have some more of those! I’m sure her totally canonical lover Vinyl Scratch is listening in awed rapture.

20 Percent Cooler (Alex S. Remix) by Ken Ashcorp

It takes a pretty special song to get me to tolerate the party/Bacardi rhyme, which is to hip-hop what love/above is to… just about everything else that rhymes… but this song managed it. It has such excellent energy throughout, it really does (almost) make me want to dance, and a very cool overall sound.

Back in the Day by Tsyolin and The Living Tombstone

Aight, I’m going to straight-up admit that I kinda can’t stand the original Smile, Smile, Smile song… but that’s because of the stupid words. The melody is extremely catchy. So there are a number of (usually instrumental) remakes of the song that I’m very fond of, and this is probably my favorite. It’s so bouncy and energetic, yet simultaneously delightfully easygoing. And jazziness like this could probably win me over even if the dumb lyrics were included.

Pinkies Brew [Electro Swing Remix] by Korw

Not even the extremely obnoxious way the very talented Jenny Nicholson does Pinkie Pie’s voice in the fan-made Friendship is Witchcraft series can detract from the endlessly catchy nature of the songs from that show. Pretty well every single remix of Pinkie’s Brew is worth listening to, but I chose this one by Korw not just because it’s so bouncy and fun but because it also mixes in bits of another FiW song, thus essentially killing two birds with one stone.

He’s a Dragon! by Yourenigma

I can’t even express how difficult it was not to make a good half of this top ten list tracks by Yourenigma. When I got down to 25, I think there were still six Yourenigma songs in there, and it broke my heart thinning them out. It actually wasn’t too difficult choosing an absolute favorite, because this track is awesome beyond words, but it was still really hard removing some of the other amazing songs. Yourenigma is clearly the king of pony jazz.

Discord (EuroChaos Mix) by Eurobeat Brony

I consider this the quintessential brony song; it’s the piece that comes immediately to mind when I think “brony music,” and the evil laughter throughout will never fail to delight me. There are several remixes of this song that didn’t make it onto this list but are definitely worth listening to — Eurobeat is the only artist to have two songs in this lineup already. I’m so enamored of his style that I’ve acquired his complete discography, only maybe a third of which is pony-related.

‘Til We See Sun by Deerhooves

A lot of instrumental brony music leaves you saying, “What does this have to do with Friendship is Magic, again?” But when it simultaneously leaves you saying, “THAT WAS FUCKING AMAZING” (difficult as these two statements are to make at the same time), you kinda stop giving a crap how relevant it is. Actually, I think the idea here is that Octavia and Vinyl Scratch (who, as I mentioned, are totally canonically lovers) teamed up to make some badass instrumental/techno badassedness. And boy is it ever badass.

The Moon Rises by Ponyphonic

All the previous entries on this list were not in any particular order (except for obsessively alternating between instrumental and vocal), which is why they weren’t numbered or anything… but this one is last because it’s my absolute favorite brony song. The well-constructed lyrics, the wonderfully talented vocalist, the overall Broadway feel, and the fact that it so beautifully captures an important moment in MLPFiM canon… I can’t express how much I adore this piece. I wish Ponyphonic would make whole albums of stuff I could buy. On his way to the West End.

And though he’s oh so far away, I hoped that he would stay

I baked about a million cookies for Lynn and took them in as soon as they were done, so hopefully there was some oven warmth left even then. I was crying the moment I walked in, and he had customers, so I couldn’t stay and chat. (“Chat” here meaning “blubber incoherently.”) But I did manage to ask him if he thought he and Zina will be OK, to which he just answered, “I don’t know.” Then on the way home I couldn’t stop thinking about the fun times we’ve had over the last year, and still couldn’t stop crying. And now I’m crying again -__-

However, once I got home, I discovered an item to cheer me up a bit. Lesta’s birthday was exactly one month ago today, you see, and the present I had planned for him turned out to take a lot longer than I had expected. Blah blah bronies blah blah.