I don't want to wake up one day and find out it's too late,
To do all the things I want to do.


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Footage: Kino's Journey
Song: "Jump" by Simple Plan
From the Album: Still Not Getting Any
Categories: Drama, Character Profile, Action

Conventions:
Winner, No Brand Con '06 AMV Contest
Finalist, ACen '06 AMV Contest (Drama)
Entry, Anime Iowa '06 AMV Contest

Description

Kino's Journey- a remarkable, and remarkably under-utilized series. Each episode is something different, and the series offers a little bit of everything... which makes it awfully difficult to describe because the basic summary of "kid explores different worlds" doesn't really do it justice. Let's just say this- it's a gorgeous series, it's an intelligent series, and there's enough action and angst to keep anyone entertained. And the main character fights a ninja in episode 6. :)

The idea for this AMV came very quickly while watching episode 4 (the backstory episode that comprises about 1/3 of the video) at my local anime club. The song, from a CD recommended to me by my sister, is about somebody who is stuck in a rut (just a rut, not a "world is ganging up to destroy me" kind of thing) and just wants to break free. Kino does exactly that, jumping from country to country with no final destination. On the way, Kino discovers that the rest of the world isn't a whole lot better. The only way to stay happy- keep jumping and ignore both the past and future.

Unlike my first video, where I tried to develop a proper flow to create a sincere feel (although the song and subject matter clearly made it satirical), this time I went with the song- I jumped. Witness the rapid cuts of unrelated scenes and characters (although keen eyes will notice patterns), and using fades and cuts at various different beats (although again- there is a method to it all). The most noticeable development, of course, is that it starts out as a simple cut/fade video, but gradually builds to incorporated blends and a few opaque digital effects (something I typically shy away from). The end result is a portrait of the series and Kino- while everything is linked in some cosmic way, the traveler observes only the present, with no regard for what lies ahead.


Song Lyrics

Jump!

I don't want to wake up today, cause every day's the same.
And I'd been waiting so long for things to change.
I'm sick of this town, sick of my job,
Sick of my friends 'cause everyone's jaded.
Sick of this place, I want to break free
I'm so frustrated, I just want to-

Jump! (Jump!)
Don't want to think about tomorrow. (Jump!)
I just don't care tonight. I just want to jump. (Jump!)
Don't want to think about my sorrow.
Let's go- forget your problems,
I just want to jump.

I don't want to wake up one day and find out it's too late,
To do all the things I want to do.
So I'm gonna pack up my bags. I'm never coming back
'Cause the years are passing by and I'm wasting all my time.
Sick of this house, sick of being broke.
Sick of this town that's bringing me down.
I'm sick of this place, I want to break free,
I'm so frustrated, I just want to-

Jump! (Jump!)
Don't want to think about tomorrow. (Jump!)
I just don't care tonight. I just want to jump. (Jump!)
Don't want to think about my sorrow.
Let's go- forget your problems,
I just want to jump.
I just want to jump.

I can't take it anymore (repeated)

Forget tomorrow, I just want to jump. (Jump!)
Don't want to think about tomorrow. (Jump!)
I just don't care tonight. I just want to jump. (Jump!)
Don't want to think about my sorrow.
Let's go- forget your problems, time to let them go.
Forget tomorrow, I just want to jump. (Jump!)
I just want to jump. (Jump!)
Yeah!
I just want to jump. (Jump!)
I just want to jump.


Things to Notice

Opening Faces - Here's all the people we meet, along with the episode they appear in.

Measure One: Sakura (13), Guy from Land of Visible Pain (1), Repenting Killer (11), Wise Man's Caretaker (11), Head Librarian (9), Guard (6), Rail Puller (5), Nimia's FiancÚ (8), Shizu (7).
Measure Two: Useless Accountant (5), Wiseman (11), Gondolier (3), Rose (7), Poet (3), Old Mage (8), Master (11), Colonel (6), Rail Buffer (5), Nimia (8).
Measure Three: Priest (3), Minister of Books (9), Scientists (1), Town Chief (8), Curator (12), Mr. Democracy (5), Vengeful Wife (11), King (6), Assassin (6), Human Trader (2), Traveler (4)

- Note that none of the faces are too happy, and everybody but Kino in measure three aren't good people.

Location Montage - Episodes 1, 5 and 9 each have two locales. In fact, episode five provides the last "happy" place and the first "bad" place.

- The first edit used a wipe to transition to the "bad" places and again to Kino's home, the Land of Adults. My beta-viewer told me to lose the wipes and I ended up cutting to the bad places (for the sudden jolt) and fading to the Land of Adults (to make it just another of the bad places).

- The final fade to Kino looking out the window was right from the series and not an edit.

Verse One - The shot of Kino reflected in the Traveler's glasses is such great imagery, ne?

- Half the reason I did this video is that shot of the boy razzing Kino. :)

- It seemed like such a simple video until Kino's parents pulled that knife out, huh? That's the general reaction you get from the Land of Adults. To explain this world- when kids turn twelve they receive a happy lobotomy in order to enjoy whatever mundane career they end up doing. After talking with the Traveler, Kino questioned this philosophy, and apparently refusal to get the operation is punishable by death. Chaos ensues...

- Note the synching during her first motorrad ride. The kick drum accents are met with synchs in the scenes instead of cuts. In layman's terms- Headbanging, motorcycling Kino!!

- It took me forever to get the action of falling off the bike and the reaction of flowers flying to look natural. Action-reaction shots are one of the big eye-openers of non-effect editing, but they are really tough to pull off.

Verse Two - Despite the rapid cuts between child Kino and traveler Kino, the animation of the flowers falling is fluid down to them landing on traveler Kino. Digital trick? Nah, I just knew the animators were too cheap to draw new falling-flower animations and re-used the first cells. It was just a matter of lining the two scenes up and cutting/fading between the two.

- The scene of Kino riding off in the forest during "I'm never coming back" is the first scene from episode 10 in the video. Every other episode was featured in the opening montage.

- Why Hermes' tire bouncing up and down the tracks at "years are passing by?" Note how worn out those tracks are. It also sets up the next scene of the old man wasting his life cleaning tracks that will never be used. Although I swore when I realized I had to sync the tire with the rhythm.

- The three scenes in this "sick of" build-up are probably harder to appreciate without having seen the series. The "house" is a funky one where the human serves the robots, the "being broke" scene is the only moment in the series where Kino is actually shown using money (hence her sly grin at us). The "town that's bringing me down" is a land of perpetual sadness thanks to the angstiest poem ever written (which is echoed throughout the town every day).

- Violence is the recurring theme in the beginning of each chorus. Here, it's the rough patches on her journey that she handles with cold precision. The raft scene keeps her mood somber until she sees the bird flying (actually from a different episode) and realizes that it's all good.

Bridge - Nimia's engine kicking into gear is, appropriately, where the video starts to lift up. It's also my very first blend effect. Between that and the dramatic cuts to Kino watching Nimia take off, I was really impressed with the way this whole thing turned out.

- After the round of unhappy people in the beginning, we now see a Kino of many moods (including her lovable "say hi to my gun barrel" smile) and head into location montages where Kino is now present.

- The shot of Kino riding on the bridge was reversed to create the impression that she travels in every direction. She's back to the left in the next shot, then going up in the forest.

- After some early devastation shots, we reach my first glaring digital effect- a luminance blend of Kino panting (from episode one) to the beat as all hell breaks loose around her. After adjusting the speed so she'd pant to the rhythm, I didn't have a single frame to spare.

- As mentioned in my blog- the scene where the little boy is blown up is reversed so the explosion happens towards Kino's side instead of from it.

- Because of it's nasty criticism of human logic and its thirst for violence, and Kino's reaction to it, episode 12 is one of my favorites. Two warring countries turning their guns on the natives to settle their differences, and the natives arbitrarily going after Kino as their revenge- what's not to love?

Chorus Three - See the cute girl with the flowers? That's Sakura (Lily in the dub; the change is justified). I don't want to give anything away, but that whole town-destroying-volcano thing is from the same episode. Watch episode 13 and you'll wonder why they didn't change her name to Nina.

- The final montage of cute/happy/interesting moments is my favorite part of the video. For all the crap that goes down in the first three minutes, the whole thing is summarized thusly- she's still enjoying the trip. Sometimes it's as exciting as doing backflips to avoid getting shot; sometimes it's a hot meal or a soft bed (and the only real lip syncing in the video), either way she appreciates it. I don't know how much she enjoyed getting glomped by Nimia, but I had to get it in there. This was also the perfect place to throw Riku the dog in. Us strange, brooding men love our cute, fluffy dogs. :)

- The final shot of Kino smiling is incredibly simple if you haven't seen the series, and incredibly complex if you have. Why? This is her reaction upon seeing a slew of dead bodies in the trail of a peace protester.


Encoding Notes

Encoding is more than just getting the file size down from a 2 GB monstrosity to something manageable for online consumption- it's also where you improve on DVD video quality (which is actually one of the most important steps in cutting file size). You don't think it's possible, check out the framegrabs. Also, you can click on the pic for a full-size rendition.

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