End Of The World As
We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Song: R.E.M.

Footage: Various

I know every damn word of this song. This video was the first attempt at video creation by the group that would come to be know as "Artificial Suns" and was done under the absolute conviction that it would be the cleverest damn video the world had ever seen. Since that time it's been discovered that the video had been done twice before, but our version has still become something of a favorite with fans. It also contains a veritable index of things NOT to do in an AMV.

The initial idea originally came about from sitting around with Hil Hughes (the other ½ of Artificial Suns) trying to come up with something to really wow an audience, something that would make for a grand entrance, and something that would be fairly straightforward to do. This song was chosen somewhat naively as it was assumed the shopping list of lyrics would make for an easy assembly. From start to finish, the video took about six months for the two of us to assemble and polish. For our efforts we were awarded the "Best Technical Video" award at Anime Weekend Atlanta III, mostly due to the fact that the entire thing was obviously assembled on a computer, a relatively new technique at the time. The list of technical screw ups apparent now and listed below will throw something of a shadow of irony over the award, but at the time it was rather impressive.

The assembly itself was done one clip at a time, roughly in order, on Hil's snazzy top-of-the-line computer. We would both try and come up with a footage segment for a lyric, I would go find it among the piles of tapes that compromised our collections and cue it, and Hil would insert it and perform the needed adjustments. The experience pretty much taught us why collaborative efforts usually result in both parties being unhappy, as different ideas clashed and tried to fill the same space.

The final result was 116 different clips from 90 different Anime series.

Unfortunately, it really shows it. The video sort of degenerated by the end into a boastful "look how cool our collection is" as we struggled to find some way to fit a clip from series X into the sequence, and stopped being about how we could make a better video. To our credit, we realized very early on that one long series of explosions ("end of the world...") was going to be very boring by about the second verse, so we were constantly altering the tempo, theme, structure, etc. of all the repeated choruses in a drastic attempt to keep the audience's attention. We even resorted to "gimmicks" like on-screen text and character voice-overs.

All in all, it's surprising how well this video came out, and how well it's still received at cons despite all the strikes against it in competition with the more recent creators. It's just damn fun to sing along with that chorus...

Details and Technical

Whew...where to start. First of all, the video was not SUPPOSED to be in black and white. I swear, up until the final export off of the computer, everything looked good on the computer monitor. Hil assured me that it was some faulty saturation setting on the capture card and that the problem was thus with EVERY SINGLE CLIP captured for the video. We didn't even consider going back and doing it over.

Second, if I have one piece of advice for other AMV makers, it would be "you really don't have to use EVERY transition effect in the box." I shudder to think how it would have turned out if we had been using a later edition of Ulead.

Yes, there are subtitles visible in the clips. Yes we did try to clip around them. No, we did not try very hard. Yes I regret that. No, I am not going to go back and fixing them.

Being our first video, this set a series of trends for Artificial Suns that I've sorta hung onto as "style quirks." The logo itself was created in a long-since-lost titling program that Hil happened to have. It looked pretty cool, so it's just sorta hung around. Next in our stylistic quirks was the intro/ending clips. The intro is from Plastic Little (Captain Tita) and the ending is from "Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo." Everyone loves that ending, and the "last laugh" effect that goes along with it, so I kept it for the later videos. Unfortunately, it has the effect of catching the audience off guard, and I am convinced that I've ruined my ratings on the applause-meter for every one of the videos through the little pause between the end of the videos and the final joke. Everyone starts clapping, then stops when they see the additional scene, then start clapping again. Sorta looses momentum, but I like that little quirk enough to keep it anyway.

I could list every single set of footage/lyric matches in this video purely from memory, but I'll just touch on the interesting ones instead, and spare the reader somewhat. Also, for all the "Hey! That's not the right lyric!" people out there...as far as I know, REM never released a full listing of all the lyrics to this song and even changed it repeatedly themselves during their concerts. We got an online list of all the lyrics and did our best to listen and sort it out for ourselves.

The first clip is from Fist of the North Star, and is practically untraceable since there are no characters on screen.

"Lenny Bruce is not afraid..." I had no idea who Lenny Bruce was when we put this together. On a whim we matched him up with Chief Chujo in Giant Robo, just for that stance he does in the intro. When Lenny Bruce is mentioned at the end we used a clip from the Ginrei Special (that's why his glasses are flashing) so it's technically another series...

"Listen to your self churn..." That's a scene from Urotsukodoji. Well drawn for being as sick as it was...

"World serves it's own needs..." Naauscia. We figured it was ironic and appropriate enough with the fungal forest invading civilization. ‘Course, no one's gonna catch it going by at that speed.

"Don't mis-serve your own needs" Angel Cop. Do not watch this series. It is bad.

"Strength..no" Smallest representation in the vid goes to this clip; less than a second still of Shinobu from Usurei Yatsura Movie 2:Beautiful Dreamer holding an enormous fish over her head. We still managed to fit two transitions in here (oh the horror...)

"Ladder structure clatter with a fear of height, down height" Fairy Princess Raine, love that "I am a human fly!" scene.

"Represent the seven games" I don't know what this means, but the clip is from Megazone 23 III. It's also the first example of what happens when you speed the clip up too damn much. That stuttery motion is really annoying but we just couldn't get rid of it.

"Left her wasn't coming" Nasty in-joke here. The clip is of Hitomi from F3...yeah, the girl who "wasn't coming" (groan).

"In a hurry with the furies..." Another example of what happens when you speed a clip up 600%. Bleah. The little cabbit meow in the "dead space" between lyrics is a particular favorite of mine. It's the first "gimmick" we used to break up the monotony, and it's become such a favorite that several friends of mine insert the meow whenever the song comes on the radio.

"Trump" Wait, this one may be shorter. It's "Miyuki-chan in Wonderland," Clamp's homoerotic take on Lewis Carrol. The scene is of the "card girls" in the rose garden.

"Fine...then" Nice one-two motion of the sword-strike from Ogre Slayer. Here the speed-up is less choppy for some reason.

"But it'll do" Yes we used South Park in the video. It's from a scene with Cartman's Pot-bellied pig just after it gave birth to elephant-pig half-breeds, and Cartman says "That'll do,pig." in a parody of Babe. Yeah it was reaching, but what do you do with a neutral phrase like that otherwise?

"Serve yourself" Another nasty in-joke. That's La Blue Girl. I'll let you work the rest out.

"Listen to your heart Bleed" JoJo's Bizzarre Adventure, love the re-timing.

"Patriotic" From Katsushiro Otomo's "Memories," "Cannon Fodder" section. Little kid's crayon drawings of the glory of war...

"Feeling Pretty Psyched" Otaku No Video, great match up with the Otaking introduction

"It's the end...." the first set of explosions is from Mighty Space Miners. There was so much cool footage of stuff exploding from that OAV we had to look close to decide on just one. The second set is from Spirit of Wonder where they blow up the moon, the third is from Five Star stories. "I feel fine" was from Airbats.

"Six O'clock" swinging pendulum from "Labyrinth" off of the "Neo-Tokyo" oddity a few years back. I loved this little collection for the strange Lewis Carroll take.

"Lock him in Uniform..." Iczillion, locking into their hardsuits.

"Book burning, blood letting" The first part of the clip is from "Judge." Neither of us owned this tape, so it was the only clip I actually went out and rented a tape to get. It cost three dollars for us to get this 1/3 second clip. I can't remember how much it worked out for us if the cost throughout had been comparable, but I remember it was an absurdly large amount. It just happened to align perfectly with the movement of the "Blood letting" clip from the newly-painted face of Battle Angel Alita.

"Automotive incinerate" exploding racer from "Running Man" also on the Neo-Tokyo tape.

"Light a Motive" I love this one. The burning figure is the bad guy from Lupin III: Mystery of Mamo.

"Uh Oh" Generic background-walker reacting to the news that the Dirty Pair were arriving planet side. Conspiracy 002.

"Renegade" I really regret that we couldn't have gotten this one to work a little better. It's City Hunter from the second or third TV episode. In order to ensure that his high caliber bullet hits only the crook and doesn't hit any of the bystanders behind him, he shoots through his own hand. The pan should have shown the hand, and then his face. We couldn't find any workable medium between the completely scattered view that happened when we sped it up atrociously and the fact that the entire pan was just too long to fit in the assigned slot.

"Steer Clear" Rick Hunter interfering with the air show in the first episode of Robotech. (Oh all right...Macross.)

"Tournament of lies" three-section pan of the battle arena from Dragon Half.

"Offer me alternatives" Rally puts a gun to Bean Bandit's head. Love that match up.

"I decline:" Green legend Ran, bad use of a transition effect...penalty ten yards...

"It's the end..." We concentrated this chorus on pointed objects. Pretty random, hunh? The "X" clip in there really impressed the audience, as it had only just been released to the home video market in Japan. Hil, who had been over there for a vacation (or something, it's been a while) bought what he though was LDs of the movie in an LD-sized box. When opened the box a week after he got back, he was more than a little surprised to find a lot of packaging...and a VHS tape. We've also got Ninja Scroll and Fatal Fury in this segment. I guess we were really pandering for this chorus. "I feel fine" was a clip of the drooling idiot from Orguss 02.

The "blank area" in here was used to introduce ourselves. While trying to come up with a name for our little group (as "Hil and Matt's videos" sounded really dumb) we were sitting around watching some of Hil's stuff. Somehow he had managed to get a Laserdisc of old Starblazers episodes from somewhere, and we watched a couple of episodes out of the middle of the series. In one episode, the Gamelon empire, having exhausted every other option (or every SENSIBLE option) decided that the most efficient way of destroying the Yamato was to create an artificial SUN and SMACK the Yamato with it. This struck me as the most hilariously inefficient way of destroying a spaceship ever conceived, and when it came to the point where the Gamelon general announces that "It's time to launch the Artificial Sun!" I just lost it. Even funnier was when Desslok (in his rather effeminate voice) calls up the general upon learning that a research base would also be destroyed. "Are you planning to run your Artificial Sun into our research base? Stop it." At any rate, we clipped that segment into the video as it was a great introductory line for our video and a strangely related non-sequitur for the video. The clip after that is even more of a non-sequitur, and had originally been intended to fill the whole slot. In it, Armitage III says "Oohhh. That feels nice. Your turn!" upon being stabbed in the arm. It was too damn long to fit, so we sped it up. Then she sounded like an S&M chipmunk Hill had to mess with the audio for a while to fix it. Then the first 2/3 were covered by the Gamelon segment. We sorta left it as is after that, unable to come up with any other space fillers...

The first "end" segment after that is Cyborg 009, where Cyborg 004 blows up, taking an ENTIRE ARMADA with him. (HOLY FRICKIN" COW!) I liked Cyborg 009, and Hil hates it. Everyone boo him.

The flashing segment was cross-cut Ghost In the Shell and a fireball from Harmageddon. I really wish we had cut it a little finer. We didn't then, since we thought it would just be incomprehensible to the audience...

"Mount Saint Edilite" (sp?) Mount Fuji, from a series that escapes me now.

"Leonard Bernstein" The part everyone knows. I remember this segment in particular. We were racking our brains for something that would fit here. Then it occurred to us that we had no idea what Leonard Bernstine looked like. So we looked him up on the web and found some pictures. This didn't help at all. Then I thought "wait! What about that guy from Genocyber! He might look right!" So I cue up the Genocyber 1 tape to the proper position...and there he was...looking remarkably UNLIKE Leonard Bernstine. We used the clip anyway.

"Lester Banks" I still have no idea who Lester Banks is.

"Birthday Party, Cheesecake" Clip from Prefectural High School Earth Defense Force.

"Boom" I'll be surprised if anyone else spots that this is the delivery gun on the roof of the Samurai Pizza Cat's Pizza parlor.

"It's the end..." This is where we really "got it" as far as the technical aspects went. Rapid-fire edits in segments of Patlabor the movie I, Macross Plus, and Evangelion. Damn, that worked good.

The "It's finally over" segment was a response to our intense wish to cut the song at that point. We debated it for a little while, but elected to keep going. I'm glad we did, as the Dick Saucer segment matched up with the words and the faux-ending of the song quite well. We did over-use the 3D rotation software bit way too much, though.

"I feel fine" Running man from "Neo-Tokyo" again. A friend pointed out that the flashing lights actually sync with the guitar riff, but that was entirely unintentional.

I'm not even gonna try listing the clips out of the split-screen segment other than to say that we managed to get Black Jack, Cyber City ODEO, Dirty Pair:Project Eden, and Appleseed in there, among others. The one we're proudest of is the Astro-boy in the upper left corner. Again, Hil somehow got an LD of Astro-boy episodes. These are absolute gold. One of the clips we used was from an episode where an android attempted to impersonate the queen of Egypt. The Egyptians weren't fooled for a second and shout angrily at her from the stadium. Then she suddenly fires raybeams into the crowd. (And people think today's TV is too violent....). Another clip was from an episode where a phoenix egg was discovered and brought to the scientists. Astro-boy's girlfriend accidentally drops the egg, and it rolls down about thirty flights of stairs. At the bottom it rolls into an elevator, rolls out at the top floor, and she chases it down the stairs AGAIN. We spend a solid 15 minutes watching her chase that FUCKING EGG! It was hilarious.