Web Video: AMV Hell


One of the premiere Anime Music Video (AMV) movements on the Internet. It uses short AMV clips to parody whatever anime and/or songs it uses. There are two primary methods it uses to do this. One is to take a fairly normal (often pop) song with metaphorical lyrics and use the clip to suggest a more literal interpretation. This new interpretation of the lyrics will often create extreme Lyrical Dissonance. The second method is to take a song which is already weird, funny, or obscene, and match it to a corresponding weird, funny, or obscene anime. The rapid-fire element of the clips—as well as the use of a television framing device—have provoked comparisons to Robot Chicken, although technically AMV Hell is older.

Now, on to the history. In May 2004, a handful of AMV makers released the original AMV Hell. It was little more than a fun little experiment, but it caught on, much to their surprise. The creators simultaneously released AMV Hell 2: Son Of AMV Hell, the place for the less family-friendly content, so as not to "pollute" the first; that way, the first could be shown at conventions without fear of inappropriate content (which it was, many times).

The establishment of AMV Hell as a serious franchise came with AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture in September 2005; roughly an hour long, it featured dozens of contributors and had no end of oddball (and often downright hilarious) shorts. The jump from short five-minute humorous snippets to an epic like that made a lot of people stand up and take notice.

Simultaneously released with AMV Hell 3 was AMV Hell 0, which the creators described as "the more irreverant [sic] side of AMV Hell. And by irreverent, we mean it's [also sic] one of the most offensive, disgusting, pornographic, vile, worthless pieces of garbage ever conceived." Similar in concept to AMV Hell 2, it consisted of a series of seamier clips with overt sexual or scatological content that would be unsuitable for public consumption (AMV Hells 1, 3, 4, and 5 were produced with theater showings at conventions in mind, and their content is censored to reflect this). Consequently AMV Hell 0 has a high Squick factor and is prefaced by an Adult Content label.

In June 2006 came AMV Hell: Championship Edition, a contest held by the AMV Hell creators in which contestants were given specified songs and told to make the funniest video they could. The top 55 videos were turned into the Championship Edition compilation.

And then there was the big one: September 2007 saw the release of AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture II: AMV Hell 4: The Last One. With over two hundred and fifty videos, it was another hour-and-a-half epic, and the AMV Hell team swore they'd never do it again...probably because the effort on this one almost killed them.

But, of course, they didn't stick to that. In September 2008, the team released AMV Hell Divided By 0, which in a case of Refuge in Audacity deliberately set out to push the extremes of X-ratings (and poor taste) - whereas Hell 0 was largely comprised of conventional hentai, Divided By Zero jumped further still by focusing mainly on openly fetishistic content.

After letting the series rest and recuperate for a few months one of the original creators, Zarxrax, introduced the "AMV Minis" in July 2009. In an attempt to maintain and provide an outlet for continued interest in the AMV Hell brand while lessening the workload of its management, the "AMV Minis" consist of a series of shorter videos released more frequently, as opposed to the feature-length events of Hells 3-5. These Minis are comparable in scale to the original AMV Hell, but are comprised entirely of submissions from other editors and do not have clips created by Zarxrax himself. The "first season" of the Minis runs to thirteen episodes: eleven regular editions and two special editions - one focusing exclusively on Azumanga Daioh (an abidingly popular subject for clips and skits throughout the AMV Hells) and the other a collection of "Bad Stuff", something like the Minis' own Episode 0. The second season was launched in April 2011; the first episode of the new season responded to viewer feedback that criticized the proliferation of dialogue-based skits and skits that felt dragged out and overlong in earlier Hells and Minis by limiting submissions to a maximum of seven seconds and requiring their accompanying audio to be music or song, as well as banning skits based on Family Guy. This immediately provoked a rash of complaints moaning about a bewildering pace and a nostalgic fondness for Family Guy, illustrating that the AMV Minis suffer from a petulant and Unpleasable Fanbase.

While the first season of AMV Minis was being released, the next full feature - AMV Hell 5: Dedicated to Dio (dedicated both to Ronnie James Dio as well as an AMV creator whose works had graced previous AMV Hells) was developed alongside it. Co-creator SSGWNBTD began accepting submissions to in September 2009, and on July 30 2010, AMV Hell 5 (partially) premiered at Otakon 2010. It was shown to be almost complete, only missing an opening and closing. It premiered in full at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2010 on September 17, 2010, and is now available to download from the AMV Hell website or watch on Youtube.

On May 31, the next two projects were announced: AMV Hell 6: Final Fantasy Hell and AMV Hell 6: The End Of The Universe. The former will be entirely composed of clips either taken from or referencing parts of the Final Fantasy franchise, and the latter will mostly have to do with the 2012 End of the World theory. The latter had its rough-cut premiere at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2012 and was slated for release on December 21st of that year, but SSGWNBTD was unable to further tweak it. On December 20th, Zarxrax announced that SSGWNBTD was "fired" from the project, released the rough cut on BitTorrent and re-opened submissions for another month. It was finally released as AMV Hell 6.66: This is (Not) The End in April 2013—with only a third of its original content remaining.

On February 12th, 2014, a seventh entry was announced. The seventh entry, AMV Hell 7: Attack on 10 Year Anniversary, premiered at Otakon 2014, and was released online on October 4 of the same year.

On May 3rd, 2015, Zarxrax announced that he would be ending AMV Hell following the completion of the most recent contest, in the sense that he would not be overseeing any more projects or making any more official entries in the series. He noted that the series has run its due course and that there isn't really a place for it anymore with the proliferation of internet video hosting sites. With that announcement, it seems as though AMV Hell is finally, permanently, dead - though the legacy it created will live on forever.

The series has had a considerable influence over AMV making - imitators who were inspired by the "multiple-short-AMV-clips" style have been described as making their videos in "AMV Hell style." In essence, the page-topping quote became a reality.


  • AMV Hell / AMV Hell 2 (5/2004)
  • AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture / AMV Hell 0 (9/2005)
  • AMV Hell: Championship Edition (6/2006)
  • AMV Hell 4: The Last One (9/2007)
  • AMV Hell Divided By 0 (9/2008)
  • AMV Hell 5: Dedicated to Dio (9/2010)
  • AMV Hell 6.66: This Is (Not) The End (4/2013)
    • original rough cut (AMV Hell 6: The End of the Universe), 12/2012
  • AMV Hell 7: Attack on 10 Year Anniversary (8/2014)

AMV Minis

  • Season 1 (7/2009 - 11/2010)
  • Season 2 (4/2011 - 10/2012)
  • Season 3 (AMV Minis Challenge) (started 7/2013)

This series provides examples of: