“Grown-ups working like a dog. Children fawning like a cat. Grown-ups having money. Children having love.”
“Sing in my own Way” (or “Korekuraide Utau”) is an original animated music video (AMV), animated by Kousuke Sugimoto and featuring lyrics by “Handsome” Kenya Tanabe. Sing in my own Way is, by far, Sugimoto’s best work, and may well set the standard by which one can quantify “perfection” in AMVs.
Before one attempts to justify a perfect rating to naysayers of perfection in art, I have to ask, “What makes a successful AMV?” To me, a good AMV manages to convey a message – a combination of beautiful animation and music – to craft a thoughtful story. In the same way that the AMV “Furiko” (or “Pendulum”) told a tear-jerking story without any dialogue, a brilliant music video involves stripping down the animated medium to its most raw form. While Sugimoto’s stunning animation is anything but uncomplicated, the teenage coming-of-age story in “Sing in my own Way” is impressive in that it doesn’t require a lot of the audience’s focus to be entirely engrossed.
Like many of us, our blond-haired, bespectacled hero seeks solace in music. He’s an aspiring musician attempting to balance all of his day-to-day activities and job with his passion. However, through the animation, his passion truly comes to life. The narrative is entirely driven by the song it represents, and it essentially follows our protagonist through his journey to become a professional musician. From finding love during his mundane day job, attracting attention by playing on a street corner, to selling out as an idol, “Sing in my own Way” tells one of the most captivating stories possible in a brief span of seven minutes.
The protagonist’s hectic daily life and routines are represented by multiple, coloured “personas” appearing alongside the present story. At every moment, the frame is alive with every possible reaction the protagonist might have to a given setting or scenario. As such, every re-watch becomes interesting, if only to recognize the small details one might miss the first time around. For example, while the boy is walking down a street corner, the focus shifts to the window of a nearby restaurant, where he’s on a date in an alternate timeline. In the background, however, there’s a giant flat-screen TV showing his success as a pop star, while a surreal, giant robot is attacking the town in the boy’s daydream. Every second of the music video is dynamic and alive, and every nook and cranny is detailed with stylistic awe. If you’ve seen any of Sugimoto’s previous works, you’ll recognize that he’s improved on his unmistakably inventive art style, and this music video might possibly be the culmination of his experiences.
“The morning attacks grown-ups. The night gives pleasure to children. Dreams rule over grown-ups. Dreams liberate children.” Fitting is an understatement to the animation behind Tanabe’s musings of hesitatingly leaving adolescence behind. The tune’s also surprisingly catchy, in a “non-mainstream”, tasteful sort of way. It’s a light piano/strings rock, but not entirely poppy. In any case, the song itself was worth a download – which is impressive, since I haven’t really bought into many J-pop tracks.
It’s charming, visually remarkable, and, if you’re still unconvinced as to whether to watch this or not, it’s only about seven minutes long. You have my guarantee that this little gem will brighten your day.
Enjoy! You can check out Sing in my own Way at Sugimoto’s official YouTube channel here…