Most people that enjoy a specific media like music or movies or anime, just casually consume the entertainment, maybe they might keep up on a little of the news in the field, they recognize the biggest brands and companies in the art form, they might know a few major artists or performers, and that’s about it. A significantly smaller group of fans might like the media enough to go the extra mile and support artists in the field or to buy special merch to decorate their homes. Then there is a truly tiny group of super fans that live and breath their beloved entertainment. They pursue careers in the field, they join organizations to help support the art form or to foster new fans and they do whatever they can to spend as much time surrounded in their media as possible. And after that there is a very rare few, maybe just a handful of people across the globe, that step beyond the support and immersion of the media world to actually reach out to change the course of their beloved art with their own two hands! Unfortunately, like so many rare and exotic things, these people often pass from this world without the larger fandom knowing or understanding how their actions helped create the world we see to day.
What is an AMV?
First a quick reminder of what a AMV is, so the rest of the post makes more sense. An AMV or Anime Music Video is much like it’s more mundane counter part the Music Video (something you used to be able to see on MTV). Though the two forms of media are similar there are some key points that are quite a bit different between the AMV and standard music video. For one thing, though a standard music video might have video clips to demonstrate the lyrics of the song, it doesn’t have to and some music videos can be quite abstract with the video having little to do with the song it is paired with. While an AMV in comparison, almost always has video clips that closely match the lyrics of the song it’s paired with and the song is usually chosen specifically to match the anime series displayed in the AMV.
The First AMV Creator, Gone!
Earlier today while I was scrolling through my favorites feed on WordPress, skimming through the blogs I follow and passing out stars, I spotted a very shocking and unfortunate headline. The man who created the first AMV had passed away! Lesley at Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner, kindly brought to light the creator of the first AMV as a kind of memorial tribute to one of the not widely know founders of anime culture outside of Japan. Though I consider myself a fairly well rounded anime fan that knows a bit about anime history, I had no idea that this person created the first AMV. In fact, I didn’t even know that it was an anime fan from outside of Japan that had created the first AMV. I had always assumed that AMV’s had been first created in Japan and like anime had slowly dispersed from Asia to the rest of the world.
How a fan started it all!
James Kaposztas created the first AMV in the early 1980’s using VCR cassette tapes of his favorite anime and some very ingenious editing. At just 21 years old, Kaposztas turned his passion for anime into a completely new art form that the world had never seen before. Keep in mind that when he was creating this first AMV, music videos of any kind were still very new and weren’t widely known about or watched by many people. Even fewer people would have had the knowledge and creativity to create one of their own. MTV had been launched just one year before Kaposztas created the first AMV! From this first baby step of video editing, the world of AMV quickly grew and now an anime convention wouldn’t be complete without an AMV competition. Modern AMV competitions can be quite intense with teams working together to create professional grade works of art.