Web Video: AMV Hell

THE WORK, WHICH BECOMES
A NEW GENRE ITSELF,
WILL BE CALLED.........
AMV HELL

AMV Hell is(/was) one of the premiere Anime Music Video movements on the Internet. Each individual entry in the series uses short AMV clips to parody whatever anime/songs/sound clips are used within the individual clip, usually done in one of two ways: a fairly normal (often pop) song with metaphorical lyrics set to a clip that suggests a more literal interpretation of the lyrics (often creating extreme Lyrical Dissonance), or a song/sound clip that is already weird/funny/obscene set to a corresponding weird/funny/obscene anime. The rapid-fire element of the clips—as well as the use of flipping channels on television as a framing device—provoked comparisons to Robot Chicken, though AMV Hell existed well before that show.

In May 2004, a handful of AMV makers released the original AMV Hell. It was little more than a fun little experiment, but the idea caught on, much to their surprise. The creators simultaneously released AMV Hell 2: Son Of AMV Hell, a video filled with less family-friendly content, so the first could be shown at conventions without fear of inappropriate content. (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, this entry 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, the 0 entry consisted of a series of clips with overt sexual/violent/scatological content unsuitable for public consumption. (AMV Hells 1, 3, 4, and 5 were produced with convention theater showings in mind, and their content is censored to reflect this.) AMV Hell 0 thus has a high Squick factor and features an adult content warning before any of the nastiness begins.

June 2006 saw the release of 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 came the big one in September 2007: AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture II: AMV Hell 4: The Last One, which featured over two hundred and fifty videos and ran for an hour and a half. After such an epic, the AMV Hell team swore they'd never do it again, as the effort on 4 almost killed them—but they didn't stick to that (of course). 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 both X-ratings and poor taste. Where 0 was largely comprised of conventional hentai, Divided By 0 jumped further still by focusing mainly on openly fetishistic content. Like its predecessor, Divided by 0 has a high Squick factor and an adult content warning.

The series laid low for a few months until one of its original creators, Zarxrax, introduced "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, Zarxrax designed the "AMV Minis" entries as a series of shorter videos released more frequently instead of feature-length events. 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 Minis runs to thirteen episodes: eleven regular editions and two special editions—one focusing exclusively on Azumanga Daioh (a popular subject for clips and skits throughout the whole franchise), and the other a collection of "Bad Stuff" (think of it as the Minis' own 0). The second season 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/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 the unpleasable nature of the series' fans.

While the first season of AMV Minis ran its course, the AMV Hell team developed its 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—alongside it. Co-creator SSGWNBTD began accepting submissions for 5 in September 2009; it premiered (partially) at Otakon in July 2010 (it lacked only an opening and a closing) and later premiered in full at Anime Weekend Atlanta in September 2010.

The team later announced two separate projects: AMV Hell 6: Final Fantasy Hell and AMV Hell 6: The End Of The Universe. The former was planned to have only clips either taken from or referencing parts of the Final Fantasy franchise, but this entry never came to fruition. The latter was initially planned to touch on the 2012 End of the World theory, had its rough-cut premiere at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2012, and was slated for release on the 21st of December 2012, but SSGWNBTD was unable to further tweak it. On the 20th of December, Zarxrax announced that SSGWNBTD was "fired" from the project, released the rough cut via BitTorrent, and re-opened submissions for one more month. The team finally released AMV Hell 6.66: This is (Not) The End in April 2013, though in this state, only a third of the entry's original rough cut content remained.

After the release of 6.66, the third (and ultimately final) season of the Minis began. Each entry in this season focused on challenging creators to stick with a certain theme (for instance, creating videos based around Mondegreens); after each entry was released, viewers could vote for their favorite video from said entry. The winners of each individual entry were compiled into the season's final episode (Final Destination) and viewers were given the chance to vote on the best individual video of the season.

The seventh entry in the main series, AMV Hell 7: Attack on 10 Year Anniversary, premiered at Otakon in 2014 and had its online release in October of the same year. On the 3rd of May 2015, Zarxrax announced that he had officially decided to end AMV Hell following the completion of the third AMV Hell Minis season, in the sense that he would no longer oversee any more projects or make any more official entries in the series. He noted that AMV Hell had run its due course: with the proliferation of internet video hosting sites such as YouTube in the decade since the release of the first two entries, the series no longer needed to go on as it had in the past. With that announcement, AMV Hell appears to have finally died—though the legacy it created will live on forever.

AMV Hell had a considerable influence over AMV making: imitators inspired by the series' "multiple-short-AMV-clips" style have often described their videos as "AMV Hell style". The series even spawned numerous imitators within other fandoms and groups across the Internet. In essence, the page-topping quote became a reality.


Releases:

  • AMV Hell (5/2004)
  • AMV Hell 2 (5/2004)
  • AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture (9/2005)
  • 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) (7/2013 - 1/2015)


The AMV Hell series, including the AMV Hell Minis entries, contain the following tropes: