AMVs: A Love Letter Beyond Anime

AMVs, or animated music videos, have been around since 1982, starting with Jim Kaposztas Star Blazers tribute set to the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love”. AMVs express heartfelt devotion of the highest caliber. They’re fans’ most fervent love letters to anime, but they’ve also experienced a downturn lately. Not as many people are producing them as they used to.

However, fret not! AMVs have transformed into far more meaningful art.

Hype, Hype, Hype!!!

As most of us know, anime openings are introduction sequences that sling catchy music, memorable edits, and pure hype. Because they cover primarily climactic story elements, openings act more like movie trailers than intros of shows like Friends or Seinfield. As a result, an anime with a good opening is easy to binge, even if the anime itself is subpar.

Now anime openings are being used as templates for fans to capture the spirit and energy of beloved Western movie and TV franchises. It’s hard to pinpoint the inception of this trend, but some attribute its popularization to a video that gained mass appeal back in 2016 when user lilacsociety uploaded an anime opening for Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to the song used in Code Geass’ anime opening, “Colors” by Flow.

Here’s the Code Geass opening for reference:

Lucky for us, there are now even more! Earlier this month, a YouTube channel called ForeverRed3000 uploaded three openings, one for each movie in the original trilogy set to “Again” by Yui, “Ignite” by Eir Aoi, and “Brave Shine” by Aimer. These are all well-known opening songs from widely loved anime Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Sword Art Online, and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works respectively.

ForeverRed3000 was particularly inspired by the anime-influenced style of Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures which started airing at the end of 2018.

We’ve followed up each Star Wars opening with its original source of inspiration. Without further ado, please enjoy.

Star Wars: A New Hope & Full Metal Alchemist

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back & Sword Art Online

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi & Fate/Stay Night

AMVs & Fan Fusion

These openings are not only unique to fans, but meaningful beyond words. Star Wars is a childhood staple across America (and for many other people around the world), and so too is anime for those of us who have grown up surrounded by the somersaulting excitement of Dragon Ball Z‘s epic battles or preparing for trouble when Pokemon’s Team Rocket made it double, but not before tiring out our voices singing the opening theme.

Combining elements of our childhood from both the East and the West amplifies nostalgia, allowing us to appreciate them together. That’s why this beautiful fusion of precious memories that the Star Wars anime opening provides is so much more than an ooey-gooey dopamine rush flooding our brains. It’s a testament that intersecting cultures constitutes a normal childhood, not different or foreign. America once viewed anime as a niche in subcultural isolation; gladly, the gap on that outlook is happily closing.

There are many more anime openings of Western media, but given the end of the Skywalker saga this year, our spirits run highest and brightest talking about them when channeling the Force.

Here’s to childhood and a prosperous future of abundant East-West nostalgic tributes!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases to theaters on December 20th.

Written by: Quito Barajas

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