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.

GW drama with Damien and Lyric

25 days ’til I turn 35!

My sister and her family are visiting, and I thought I’d share a couple of videos of Damien (7) and Lyric (4) playing with the Gundam Wing figures on my computer table (as well as a few other characters such as Ariel and Gilda the griffon).

Damien got a very brief rundown of who the GW characters are, but he doesn’t remember many details about them. I’m not sure why he latched onto Wufei as the coolest; no accounting for taste, I suppose.

Lyric is very quiet, so it’s difficult to hear what she’s saying, but I still decided to put the video up for documentation purposes and because that helmet. Sadly, I didn’t manage to capture the part where Duo asked Ariel if she wanted to go to the beach with him.

Walking, patting my feet on the pavement, really, truly trying to find a gig

Today, which is 29 days until I turn 32, I have very sweetly cleaned my room. It looks so nice ^__^ Sometimes, though — particularly in relation to the cleanliness of things — I have to agree with the Auditors… things would be so much neater if we could just stop time. Why do things need to be cleaned so damn often.

While I was cleaning, I found the cardboard on which my Brony pin came. The reason I kept it back when I bought that was that it says, “Caution: contains functional sharp point; pin.” This makes me laugh pretty hard.

A mama deer and spotty baby deer are in the back yard, and have been for hours. Deers like to come chill in our yard, so this isn’t unusually, but these two have been out there for a looonnnngggg time. We usually chase them off when they start eating the gardens, but these ones we’ve given some slack because the mama looks like she’s dying. I mean, we hope she won’t die in our yard, because that’s a pain in the ass, but we don’t have the heart to drive away this ribby scruffy mama deer that’s just trying to get her kid some food. I took some good pictures of them when they were near the window, but I don’t feel like messing with those right now; maybe I’ll post them another day.

Well, I’ma spend the rest of today with Zombie Girl, which is why I’m writing this entry now instead of waiting until bedtime; we probably won’t be back until late. So this is about the end.

Pairing meme! Day 13: Couple you ship that causes intense feelings in its fandom

Shinku Naru Ryuutei

Five days in a row of successful exercising! Incidentally, when I say “exercising” I mean “walking at 3.3 MPH for half an hour and sometimes jogging for approximately two minutes.” Gotta start somewhere XD How many repetitions do they say it takes to form a habit? How much longer if you have no set time of day for doing it and kinda hate the activity in the first place? Well, the episodes definitely help. Relena is so damn hot in her riding habit; we only see her in it for, like, twenty seconds, but wow. If I went to her school, I’m afraid I would be among her cultists devoted followers too (though you wouldn’t catch me applauding the act of successfully handing over a party invitation).

GW blah blah.

He is sweet, but he is being a nuisance

All right, what-all has happened. Lessee.

First off… remember back in January when I was all sadface because Zombie Girl had officially stated she wasn’t going to be continuing her GW fic? Well, the other day she randomly decided she wanted to work on it again. I still don’t think I believe she will actually write the whole thing ever, but it’s super exciting that she wants to work on it at all. So the other night we talked about her Trowa and Quatre (and to a lesser extent a few of the others) for, like, three hours. I hope she took some good ideas from it and that she will write the next chapter *___*

So there are twenty-one days left until I turn thirty-one. That is not a lot of days!!!!!

I worked today unexpectedly, which makes this another six-day work-week. It’s not so bad with little shifts like mine, and more money is definitely good, but working six days in a row is still something of a pain in the ass. But whatevs. I got to see my co-worker’s baby today, and it was soOoOo sweet. It was putting its foots up in the air and grinning in this triumphant fashion as if putting its foots up in the air was the greatest achievement.

Also today at work I stapled my finger. We staple everything there, so it was only a matter of time before one of them went somewhere it wasn’t supposed to. Anyway, it still hurts many hours later, especially when I touch things, and it looks like there’s a big ol’ bruise down deep inside the skin. The staple went all the freaking way in, and I felt like it took a hundred hours just to pull out.

Earlier there was a tiny baby byrd in my window well, and he couldn’t escape. His adult byrd friend kept coming down and bringing him food and trying to get him to fly out, but it never worked. I even put a board in there for him to walk up, but he never did. So eventually I grabbed a pair of gardening gloves and reached in and picked him up by hand and put him out. I hope he is OK, and I’m glad he was out of my window well because he was making all the noise in the world in there. First it was chirping like clockwork precisely every second, and then he added tapping on the window with his beak.

I have made good progress on Rose Pale the last few days, both on chapter 7 and chapter 11. I had hoped to be able to start posting that soon after Plastic was done posting, but I don’t feel like I’ll be able to. (What I do feel like is that I’ve already mentioned this; ah, well.) Now I kinda want to get the whole story done so I can go back and analyze some overall effects before I even think about posting it. So we’ll see, I guess.

I got a package full of the most awesome things from today *__* It’s like an early birthday present *__*

A spider has inexplicably made a web in front of my dry erase board. Actually the logistics of it are a bit puzzling; I’m not really sure where the web is connected, precisely, since spider has been moving around in front of various parts of the board, apparently in the air, all day, and I can’t see the web at all.

I don’t remember what else has happened or I was going to say, so I shall have done.

Being like characters, cat, myrm

This is a concept that I see a lot in fandom, especially anime-based fandom, and I have to admit that I find it rather absurd. Admittedly this question is better than some — “most like” is much better than the fangirly “ZOMG, I’m just like So-And-So” that I see a lot of the time — but it still seems silly and pointless.

The problem is that even the best-fleshed-out characters, even the ones we get to know in great detail over the course of a long work, are still only visible to us through a narrow window. We only see a small part of who they are, often only see a small period of time in their lives, and usually only see the characteristics that come to light in the particular situation the story has placed them in — and thus they can only represent a fraction of the complexity of a real human being.

This is fine, of course. The vignette-like implication of a whole of which we’re only seeing a part is, in fact, one of the best things about a well-written character. And you can always extrapolate to fill in the gaps — which we fanfiction writers do on a daily basis. But the fact remains that characters are not real people. They’re not even close. Take the most complex character you can imagine, and I bet you can still probably sum him or her up with about ten bullet points… whereas, for a summary of the personality and character of a real, living person you could probably use ten times that much and still be lacking.

At that point it becomes a simple matter of numbers. Say I’m similar to John Doe in Series Whatever in six out of his ten (and my one hundred) particulars. When you only have ten, cutting out four is a pretty serious deviation. That’s only sixty percent of his character, and a staggeringly low six percent of mine. Even in the unlikely event that I share with him all ten of his defining characteristics, that’s still only a tenth of my personality, and I probably have seventy-five other traits that you could never imagine John exhibiting… and in that case, would you really say that I’m like him at all?

Like Emma Woodhouse, I have a tendency to recognize my own flaws somewhat guiltily and make very sincere resolutions to correct them, sometimes with only limited success.

Like Amano Ginji, I’m a creature of instinct; I tend to do what I’m good at largely because it feels right at the time, and leave others to do the analysis — or at least leave my self-analysis until afterward.

Like Heero Yuy, I’m shy; it’s taken me quite a bit of practice to be able to deal with people in a socially acceptable fashion, and I still prefer fewer (and closer) friends and less contact with people in general.

Like Ramses Emerson, I was impossible to shut up as a child, but grew progressively quieter as I got older — though you can still set me off with the right subjects.

Like Luna Lovegood, I was harassed all through school, but either didn’t notice or didn’t care a lot of the time.

Like Himura Kenshin, I sometimes forget that my way of life and what is right for me isn’t necessarily the best way of life and what is right for everyone else, and, though I try not to, I sometimes make harshly judgmental statements to that purpose.

Would I say, however, that I’m like any of these characters? No. I have something in common with each (based on my own interpretation of the characters, which is another can of worms entirely), but the closest that brings me is “I’m like So-And-So in that I such-and-such:” citing that one similar characteristic as the extent of the comparison.

I think a much better phrase to use in this context is “reminds me of,” because it implies certain shared characteristics without claiming sweeping similarity. Tom Bombadill reminds me of my dad. Sawagejou Chou sometimes reminds me of myself. This way, I can make the statement without having to qualify it, which renders the entire discussion a good deal easier and more accurate.

Anyway, enough of that.

Lately cat has been just wild to get into the guest room across the landing from my door. I don’t know why, all of a sudden, she wants in there, but I’m not letting her in. She can roll around in front of the door and meow piteously all she wants.

The thing I forgot to mention was that someone came in to dry clean her son’s costume from when he was recently Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. There was a princely velvet getup, and a half-shredded washed-up-on-the-beach suit. How cool is that!! I neglected to ask her where he’d been performing this; I hope I’m the one there when she picks the stuff up so that I can remember to.

Portentous musical selection, Rose Pale drawing/writing

I always listen to the Gundam Wing soundtracks while I shower, for several reasons that are less nerdy than you think. So here I am shaving my legs or whatever and one of Heero’s vocal songs comes on, followed by one of Duo’s. Says I, “You know when you play them back-to-back like that, I just take it as ABSOLUTE PROOF that they are in love with each other.” But then one of Trowa’s songs appears, and I’m like, “Huh, really? On random? Play one of Quatre’s next and I’ll write about it in my journal.” Well, guess what. Here I am. 1, 2, 3, 4. I take this as a good sign, like an unexpected catalog in someone’s attic. I read it as, “Tomorrow is a good day to write Gundam Wing fanfiction.”

Speaking of which, I finished that picture for Rose Pale chapter 8, and it’s… OK. I still need to do chapters 5 and 7. I’ve made some progress in the writing of chapter 9, and I think I may be able to finish it soon, which is good since it’s been being a brat. I also started yet another little one-shot that will undoubtedly sit around on my hard drive for a million years. Well, I get to work tomorrow, so we’ll see what I accomplish there on whatever.

Meme (GW), productivity, drawing, dreams (Saitou, zombs, Russ)

7. How you came across tumblr, and how your life has changed since joining. Aight, I haven’t the faintest idea what “tumblr” is, so instead we’ll make this prompt, “How you came across your current major fandom, and how your life has changed since joining.”

So. Gundam Wing. Of course I’d known of GW as long as I’d known about anime in general, but I didn’t actually watch the series until about (estimating here; could check to be sure, but too lazy) five years ago. Interestingly, I was reading Heero/Duo fanfiction long before I ever watched the show… but, looking back, it was all dreadfully out of character. Oh, weeping uke Duo…

Anyway, this one co-worker of mine at Virgin Mobile was something of an anime fan in general and a good deal more of a Gundam Wing fan specifically. In conversation it came up that I’d never seen the series. He happened to have the Battlefield of Pacifists manga with him at the time, so he let me read it. Of course it confused the hell out of me (I remember wondering rather intensely who Zechs and Treize were, since they were mentioned over and over and over), but there was all this Quatre/Trowa stuff that was so blatant I assumed they must be canon, and that made me happy and got me interested.

So I bought a boxed set of the series off ebay and watched it. And I’ll be perfectly frank: I think the GW canon is rather silly. I mean, I love it; don’t get me wrong — just various aspects of it kinda crack me up, I think the characters are vastly superior to the setting, and the majority of my fic is likely to be AU. MmmmAU.

As for how my life has changed since joining… well, Rurouni Kenshin, and particularly Saitou/Sano (may they rest in peace), has gone so dry and barren in the last few years that I’d kinda forgotten what it’s like to be in a fandom where people are actually doing things. It’s amazing! These GW people post stories and everything!

I can’t claim that Gundam Wing has been solely responsible for my increase in productivity this year, because I think unemployment has had a huge part in that too, but even so… Sun and Shade is, like, my third-longest fic, and Plastic is shaping up to take second or possibly even first. God, that would be something, if it overtook PohP… the end of an era, that would be… In any case, I’ve written a lot of GW fic in (for me) an impressively short time. At last count my number of RK fic pages was something like 1,200, so it’s not likely that GW will top that any time soon, but, still, 300 pages in a year is not something I usually achieve.

OK, enough of that. So it’s Wednesday now, I think. I don’t even feel the tiniest bit guilty about the lack of journal writing lately, because it is Christmas time. I have been hanging out with my brotha and Zombie Girl and working on my stuff. My story’s finished, though I’ma run through it a couple more times; my MV’s going to be finished today, and I am, in fact, working on it right now (writing this post in phases while MV does time-consuming item); and I finished my picture the other night.

That picture >_< I am not very good at drawing. I like to think I’m pretty good at shading, but my linework suuuuucks. This is why a tablet is a lifesaver for me. When I draw on my tablet, I can easily repair faulty linework. I drew Heero with an insanely long torso so he looks like an alien? No problem; I can move and resize the area(s) in question until he looks a little more natural. And if I don’t like the change I’ve made, I can undo it.

But if I’m drawing on paper and I notice that my boys have bizarrely elongated torsos, the options are 1) to erase half of what I’ve already drawn in order to fix it or 2) just to live with it. The first option is problematic because, at my level of fail, I often don’t notice these issues until the lineart is practically done. Which means I’ve already, at great pain, come up with a bunch of stuff that I like and probably won’t be able to duplicate. But the second option is also a problem because of ZOMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM WHY IS HIS CHEST THE SAME LENGTH AS HIS LEGS.

But I like working with Prismas, and I like the way my shading turns out. Not only that, but my carpal tunnel syndrome greatly prefers me to work with actual pencils rather than on a tablet, so the tablet is only an option every so often. So more often than not I get stuck with these scary, disproportionate (but fairly nicely-shaded) pieces that drive me up the wall because I know I could have done them better on tablet. MOU.

I also have a number of dreams I want to mention. In one, I was writing in a notebook (as I often do), and Saitou came up with another of my notebooks to see if it was mine. He was laughing at my handwriting and the little pictures of faces I’d drawn within. In my dreams I often have this interestingly hopeless relationship with Saitou: he and I both know that I want him and that he doesn’t want me; I flirt with him anyway, and he responds with relatively good-natured mockery. That’s what this dream was like.

In another, very sad dream, there were zombies. AAUGH zombie dreams; how I wish I didn’t have them. Anyway, I and two other people that were kindof almost my siblings were trying to sleep, and the process of sleeping teleported us to different parts of the building or something..? And my parents were selflessly guarding us and helping with this process (it was a very complicated process, for sleeping), keeping zombies off us while we got our very important rest… or something. All I really know about it is that it was noble and sad.

At one point, there was a fairly strong zombie attack, and Lester and my mom got injured. After the zombies were all cleared up, my mom realized that she’d been bitten and was going to die and turn into a zombie. This is so sad I can’t even document it here without crying. Because she put her gun to her head very coolly and calmly, unhesitatingly ready to kill herself and negate the possibility of becoming a zomb before we had to do it for her. Lester was in much the same situation, and I suggested that we all kill ourselves — because it was obvious we weren’t going to escape, and if two of us were going to die anyway we might as well all go. That was when I woke up, thank Poe.

In another dream, I was Mary Russell and married to Sherlock Holmes. I was trying to solve some mystery, which was, for some reason, set up like a treasure hunt — I had, like, a list of clues. One of them indicated that I needed to get the bait off of some guy’s fishing hook. It was random. Later, Lester was following this same list, and I was able to help him because I’d already done half of it. The whole dream didn’t make much sense.

What was really amusing about it, though, was that I-dreamer was aware that I had taken over the role of Russ and was contemplating things from the outside like, “Wait, is this before or after she married him…” and “How often did they have sex? Am I going to have to have sex with Holmes?” Also, in this dream apparently Russell was an anime character rather than a book character, and I kept pronouncing her name “Rasseru” XD XD

There were other dreams, but thinking about these ones has made me forget them. I had one of those bad sleeps last night — the kind where I wake up every half hour or so, and therefore remember a lot more dreams than usual (though they simultaneously make less sense).

Also I think I had more to say, but now I will go out to lunch wis family types. Therefore I will write other stuff tomorrow or whatevs.