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Aug. 15th, 2003 @ 10:13 am Otakon 2003 amv contest reviews
Since I'm a slacker, it's taken me almost a week to write my babblings of the videos that were in the contest. For the videos that were downloadable, I tended to grab them and watch them again, to see what sorts of opinions I had on them. Others, I just went by memory, which means that I might've given comments for a completely different video than was in the contest(as I have a bad memory). Maybe in another week, I'll post about the exciting aventures of Otakon.

1. Daniel Chang - Glory of Love / Peter Cetera - Vision of Escaflowne
This video focused primarily on the relationship between Hitomi and Van. The video used very little in the way of effects other than cross dissolves, but this ensures that the video keeps focus rather than being lost in a see of effects. The video starts off nice and slowly, with them looking upwards and longingly at each other. It segues very nice from the calm romantic part to the glorious battle scenes and back. The overlay shots with Hitomi and Van tie them together very nicely in the video to bring the video to a close. Lots of lyrical matching, and more importantly matching of mood and emotion comprise this video. The simple fades and cuts manage to fade into the background while watching this video, and that.s what makes it flow so well.

2. trythil - < always > - The Second Element / Sarah Brightman - Shin Seiki Evangelion
The wondrous advances in Linux based video editing software made this video possible. This video shows that one doesn't need expensive software to produce high quality anime music videos(just expensive hardware). Unfortunately some of the setups that were at Otakon weren't optimal, and thus many of the overlays in this video got washed out onscreen. Still, I don.t think the overlays tended to add to the video, but rather flash a bunch of images too quickly before the viewer can process it. The use of colored tinting is a somewhat interesting effect, though personally I think that it has the subtlety of hitting someone upside the head with a surgical 2x4. Towards the end, there.s kind of a shimmering effect, but upon closer inspection, it.s actually a bunch of still frames from the series going by way too quickly for people to process.

3. Alex Mirra - Desperado / The Eagles - Love Hina
I could've believed a sappy romantic Love Hina video, but this video kinda made me sad. Not sad in the way that it generated an emotional response, but rather sad in the way that entering a video with such a heartfelt dedication seems to cheapen the memory for me. The use of color and lack thereof worked out rather well. That effect managed to offset some of the intrinsic humor of Love Hina, but even still I heard several chuckles throughout the audience in some of the attempts to portray Keitaro has a tragic figure who suffers unjustly and yet carries on for the sake of love. The symbolism of the playing cards is already conveyed strongly in the song, and adding them to the video didn.t really add too much in my opinion.

4. Hidama Productions - < Forbidden Glory > - Unstoppable / The Calling - Angel Sanctuary
I.ve never seen Angel Sanctuary, so some of the background story is lost to me. This video starts off with a bang, and then slows down to tell the story(at least the story that.s visible to me) of a pair of star crossed lovers. This video manages to keep pace with the music fairly well in premise, but some parts like the flashing, could be a bit cleaner. Some of the repeated scenes are used well to separate the different plot elements of the video, others just serve to drive in the point of their relationship further. If possible, it probably would.ve been more effective to show different in bed scenes(or other such scenes of affection) to characterize the depth of their relationship.

5. Si Yuan Kuang - Never Had a Dream Come True / S Club 7 - Ah! Megami-sama
This video didn't really generate much of a response to me. Just seemed like a video that characterized unrequited love between Keichi and Belldandy. It moved rather slowly, and my excuse is that it was getting to be late at night, so my mental facilities weren.t going in full gear to process such a video.

6. Meredith "Meri" Cantoni - < Deceptive Passions > - Pretty Girl / Sugarcult - Fushigi Yuugi
The intro sequence with the characters dropping in and fading out works out well, even if it.s feels like it.s slower than the pace of the music. When the music actually picks up, the video does so in stride. The black bars keep the audience.s focus on certain characters. Lyrical sync is excellent, with the segment about Hotohori.s intentions probably being my favorite bit. The instrumental sequences operate as transitions between the verses of the song. The pan that moves from Miaka to Yui shifts the focus very nicely between them, whereas the next instrumental section illustrates the chaos of the myriad of relationships between these characters while not making the actual scenes in question impossible to decipher.

7. thefinalact.net - < Urban Ragnarok Part 1 > - Twilight / E.L.O. - Metropolis
I couldn.t quite get into this video. This is probably due to the Metropolis source(which I haven't seen), but the video and the music feel just didn't ever quite click in my head. I get the feeling that the video would work much better for someone who has seen the movie already, and thus be able to draw more of the background story out of it.

8. Kevin Chiou - < The Two Shall Meet > - Nara / E.S. Posthumus - Shoujo Kakumei Utena
Usually I see a video with extensive layering, I gripe about the fact that the actual video is being hidden under a myriad of layers and thus lost to the audience. This video actually manages to do such layering such that the focus shifts around the screen like a choreographed dance. The layers actually manage to work well together artistically rather than just adding to clutter in my opinion. Having the various scenes interspersed with the dancing sets a very nice mood throughout the video.

9. Louis Kratz - < A Beautiful Failure of a Film > - Airport Song / Guster - Shin Seiki Evangelion
Standard fare somber Evangelion video. Passable lyrical sync at some points, though the video did have pretty respectable lip synch. Unfortunately this video tries to be quite serious, and yet the audience feels the need to laugh at the slightest bit of lip synch. Nothing particularly innovative with regards to Evangelion videos, and that.s a shame.

10. Nightowl Pictures - Mad World / Gary Jules - FLCL
The singer visuals just seem to clash with the rest of the video in my opinion. It doesn't seem to add anything to the video, and distracts the viewer from the rest of the video. When the singer isn.t onscreen as eye candy, the video does maintain a lot of focus, and conveys a rather sad depressing mood.

11. Stephen "Grover" Voccola - < Searching > - Superman / Five for Fighting - Trigun
It's a Trigun video that doesn.t use Vash dancing! In fact, this video manages to stay completely serious all the way though, which is a definitely plus considering it's easy to use the tempting goofy Vash footage. The pause in the music in the end of the song amusingly enough causes the audience to start clapping, because they don.t realize that there's more to it. Otherwise, this video does a reasonable job at showing the trials and tribulations of Vash's life, without going the easy route of showing slapstick Vash humor.

12. T-chan - < This is Tima > - Here I Am / Bryan Adams - Metropolis
Dispite not having seen Metropolis, I think I got a lot more out of this video, probably due to its focus on Tima and what she goes through. The overlays and flashy sequences get to be a bit much, but they do keep up with the music, so I can't really complain.

13. Skyfire AMV Productions - < The Need for Speed > - Danger Zone / Kenny Loggins, Top Gun Anthem / Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens - Macross Plus, Macross Do You Remember Love, Top Gun Movie
This video does a very nice job of telling a story throughout it. The spoken sections work out very well to transition to different points in the plot, even if the actual transitions between the spoken sections and the music are rough. Lip synch was thankfully regulated to only the spoken sequences, and that just gave them much more impact. The shifting of the editing styles between the spoken sequences and the musical sequences worked out well. The final ending with the Top Gun fighter jockeys allowed it to end with a bang(or more literarily a flash).

14. VicBond007 - Die Another Day / Madonna - Noir
Whee, another VicBond007 spectacle of effects. Some of the effects look very smooth, and serve to help the footage, others just seem to be there for the Ooh shiny factor. To me, this video seemed to highlight the tension between Kirika and Mireille throughout the series. In many places, the effects used help to keep the flow of the video go along with the song, but in other places it just feels like the effects were thrown in there because of a disdain for unedited footage.

15. Vancore Studios - < Variations of D Minor > - The Dark Tower of the Abyss / Rhapsody - Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Very good ability to keep up with the shifting moods in the music. I haven't seen Vampire Hunder D: Bloodlust, but this video seems to use the footage fairly well. This video actually uses VHD's aspect ratio properly(note the bitterness from seeing too many elliptical moons in the Otakon prescreenings).

16. Dan Orlowitz - < See Ya Later, Naota > - Sk8r Boi / Avril Lavigne - FLCL
This video seemed a bit oddly placed in Action. Though from what I'm told, it got put in there from the prescreening results. The audience had mixed reactions when the title slate. Some(presumably the fanboys) groaned when they saw the song, others(presumably the fangirls) cheered when they saw the song. Lyrical sync is respectable, and it manages to follow the FLCL story pretty well. It was a bit odd that the girl referenced in the song switches from Minami to Haruka throughout the course of the song. The little text overlay over the piece of paper tha's handed over is cute, but not quite done right(it looks like a sliding overlay rather than a part of the paper). Though to be amusing, this video ends on a nice happy note(which upon retrospect might be what kept it out of romance).

17. Chad Weber - Looks That Kill / Motley Crue - Mezzo Forte
From what I've heard, Mezzo Forte makes Kite look like a Disney movie. And yet, this video manages to just focus on the action oriented portion, without too much gore. Pretty well synched action sequences whose main purpose seems to show the myraid of interesting ways that people can get hurt/killed in that series. Now that I've seen this music video, I can content myself with never seeing the series, as all of the scenes which are worth watching were in there without any of the less savory elements.

18. Brad DeMoss - Hindi Sad Diamonds / Moulin Rouge OST - Ah! Megami-sama
This video was so very weird. It doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the action videos, and might've been better placed in Drama. The visual energy flowed very well throughout the video, all leading up to the climax at the end with the line diamonds are a girl's best friend, with the imagery of the trapped prison of Celestine. Rather creepy, and amusing all at once.

19. Aluminum Studios - < AluminuM-3P > - AM-3P / KTz - Armitage III, Chobits, Gunnm, Key the Metal Idol, Metropolis
Puns on the intro slate are a great way to amuse the audience before the video even begins. Lots of mechanized characters moving it to the beat and doing stuff really fits in with the song(and the pun made from the song title). The energy level is nice and high, and feels very mechanical at the same time. Unfortunately, there didn't really seem to be any sort of unifying principle in the video other than robots dancing. Granted that works for a DDR video(which I suppose this is one of), on its own, without some sort of method to tie everything together, it doesn't fare as well.

20. Safari - Fire / Scooter - Project A-ko
The buildup to the first C-ko bursting out into FIRE is excellent, and then the video tries to maintain the ridiculous speed of the rest of the some. Sometimes the video keeps up, other times it lags behind. Great timed footage in many places, and often this video manages to capture the energy level of a hyperactive 10 year old on speed. Unfortunately towards the end, the energy level trails off rather than keeping up with the song to have a strong finish.

21. AT Editors - < . . . are some answers > - All I Really Want / Alanis Morissette - Kodomo no Omocha
This video did a very nice job of profiling the various characters in the series. By shiftin the focus through many characters, the video manages to stay interesting for the entire length of the song, rather than just devolve into a series of visual gags of Sana getting hit on the head with an inflatable hammer. Transitions between the characters were very smooth, as it just seemed like the upcoming character was being brought in as the previous character was tossed out. This video manages to remain mostly devoid of effects, which makes for the profiling stronger(though there was a bit of the flipping of the onscreen image overlayed, which I found to be distracting).

22. Lee Sheng - < It's Tricky to Make a Music Video > / Run D.M.C. - 69 various anime
Ripping off from other successful music videos from square one. THIS is the way to troll for audience reaction! Keeping the audience on their toes with random flashes on the beat, gratitutious 3d transitions, and the audiences favorate scenes(like Vash dancing). If there were any plot in this video, it'd just be Asuka and Shinji's experiences in watching music videos, and even getting to one scene where they are watching the video itself.

23. Senta Miller - < Vanilla Vash > - Ice Ice Baby 2001 / Vanilla Ice - Trigun
Vash Dancing? OMG!!!!111! That must make for a great video! And if one Vash dancing onscreen is totally awesome, 9 of them must make for pure ecstasy. This video definately makes a point to show off how much the audience loves the scene of Vash dancing. That aside, this video is has good execution, and shows off Vash's cool clean badassness. Lyrical sync in on the spot throughout the song.

24. Indifferent Productions - Stop The Rock / Apollo Four Forty - various
The principle of this video seems to be that Sumomo causes people to dance. This going with the Odorikuruu principle, it shows lots of happy people in various animes dancing through the video, with some random gratitutious effects thrown in for good measure. A nice little touch is that sumomo is almost always hidden in the background dancing in just about every scene. The Tetris sequence is nicely done with the slide on on the side to obscure what it actually is to the audience, and then building up the energy for the tetris at the end.

25. Ashyukun - < Who Let the 'Fros Out? > - Who Let the Dogs Out? (Eeping Weird Leech Mix) / The Bahamen - Moko Moko Afro Ken & Various
Whee, a video that uses an anime that I had never seen or heard of before at all. Lots of cute dogs with afros hopping around are quite entertaining. The action sync with stuff constantly happening on the dogs barking worked out quite well. Still, I think this video would've fared much better in Upbeat, as while many dogs with afros are amusing, their comedic factor wears off after a bit. Still the ending sequence with the afros making their way into many other animes works out great to bring the audience back in. This video definately took mad guts to make and submit to a con.

26. WESTWARE - < Hard Knock Anime > - Kannon D-Dur /Shin Seiki Evangelion OST, Hard Knock Life / Goldmember OST - various
Never seen GTO, but this video hits the audience with pure shock value. Random scenes appear that match with the lyrics in an extremely wrong way, which gets a nice response from the audience. Various bits of lip sync are used to distract the audience from the rest of the video, but they work out well to introduce more of the humor which has distinct shock value. It was good for a couple of laughs, but ultimately such humor doesn't tend to stand up to repeat viewings.

27. Daniel Lemberg - < Star Hazard > - Star Wars Cantina / Mark Jonathan Davis - El-Hazard
This is a cute little concept. The various mappings from El Hazard to Star Wars works out quite well. When there are lyrics, they are quite amusing, and the onscreen action reflects the sound. However in the parts in between the verses, the video loses a bit of focus. Lip synching was decent, and was used sparingly and just in places to maximize its impact. Even though this video loses steam in between verses, it picks up the energy level right back up, and winds up with a very entertaining final product.

28. Peter J. Wolverton - < The NERV Evening News with Dan Rather > - Rocked by Rape / The Evolution Control Committee - Shin Seiki Evangelion
Lots of quick cuts and lyrical match made up this video. The concept seemed to work allright, it just didn't really seem all that funny to me. It almost seemed to be making a political statement, though that was more of the audio rather than the accompying video that really does that. The lyrical sync works in some places, and in others, seems to be stretching, and in other places just doesn't work.

29. Tom "the Fish" Guttadauro - < Mokushi desu ne, boku genki desu yo > - It's the End of the World As We Know It / R.E.M. - various
There are many other amvs done to the same REM song(It's the End of the World as We Know It), but this is probably the best video that I've seen done to it. It definitely made very good use of the various source footage, and thus had some pretty amusing lyrical match for much of the lyrics. Unfortunately this video really just wasn't all that funny, which is probably why it didn't fare terribly well in the voting.

30. Vlad G. Pohnert - < We Want YOU! > - In the Navy / The Village People - Various
It's funny cause Vlad's a Canadian making a Navy recruitment ad. This video starts with Tylor to introduce the space Navy, and then moves on to showcase other famous captains, pilots, and other such space faring crew from other anime series. Lots of very nice compositing of stills(esp to ensure that without prior anime knowledge that they were from different series). I enjoyed some of the wry humor in the video(like the space marine who was afraid of water). The most interesting part of the video was in some of the middle segments where there's a circular frame that says "We Want You" with various anime charactes that appeared on every beat. This part really got the audience into clapping with the rythym, and on every single clap, the character onscreen changed. Getting the audience involved as an active participant in the video rather than just as an observer was what make this video really entertaining for me.

31. Doki Doki Productions - < Lollipops, Sunshine, and rrrRRRrrr > - The Bullet's Breath / Iniquity - Card Captor Sakura, various
And now the standard Doki Doki video that gets cheers and applause when the title screen appears rather than when the video is over. The death metal music had plenty of growling, which was kindly subtitled for those of us who didn't speak growl. Obviously the lyrics had to be about lollipops and sunshine, since it was such a happy song. This video definately had a rather dark twisted bent, with many visual gags and setups where the audience thinks that they are seeing hot lesbian Sakura Tomyo action, but are actually shown proper stretching techniques for gym class. Still after the initial onset of the music, it ceased to have much of an impact in the rest of the video. Then again, maybe not noticing the presence of the music is a good thing.

About this Entry
South Park Style
Date:August 15th, 2003 07:44 am (UTC)
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Hm, interesting to see the videos from the perspective of someone with an eye for this sort of detail. And good to see that we see eye to eye on a lot of this :)

For the record, I don't think that having seen Metropolis adds too much to the videos, since the movie is rather shallow. Also, the Angel Sanctuary one was handicapped by lack of appropriate footage (the animation for the show is quite horrible and uses pans over still shots, or whatever they're called, way too much), not to mention that the backstory really isn't that coherent (yay 3 episode OVAs). And those star-crossed lovers are actually star-crossed brother and sister lovers. Ick.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 07:50 am (UTC)
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Such an eye for detail is relative. I tend to lose it and get increasingly cranky later at night as I get more and more bored with videos.

EWWWW... Brother and Sister?!?! EWWWW... And the person who made it, I think was 13 too... EWWWWW!!
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Date:August 15th, 2003 07:59 am (UTC)
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Yes, brother and sister....yes, ewww :P

And Rinny's 16 ^_^
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Date:August 15th, 2003 08:00 am (UTC)
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Oh, well if she's 16, obviously that makes it all better...
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Date:August 15th, 2003 09:44 am (UTC)

It gets better...

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That star-crossed Brother is hosting a female angel...whose angelic brother wants her back to have a relationship with. And then there's the male angel that the Sister's hosting...

The manga's a lot deeper (and way more interesting) than the anime, although if you want something fun to kill 90 min. with, I'd definately give it a watch.
Date:August 15th, 2003 12:51 pm (UTC)

Re: It gets better...

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So by "deeper" you mean "more people who want to screw each other despite sharing about half the requisit number of bodies altogether", right? ;)
Date:August 15th, 2003 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I know what you mean.

So, the plot/action of Angel Sancutary is essential this: "I want to screw my sister, but society won't let me. I'm also the reincarnation of a powerful angel with three wings and can summon an wierd-ass seven-bladed sword, but more importantly, I just want to be left alone so that I can screw my sister."
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:53 pm (UTC)
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And why do we allow 16 year olds access to such things? It's too dirty for my mind, and I'm way older than that.
Date:August 15th, 2003 02:16 pm (UTC)
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I really don't know. It's rated for 15 and up, so maybe that is just because there is no nudity (and we don't expect 16-year-olds to pick up the subtext? I mean, I'm sure there are some who wouldn't, but what percentage is that?)

Then again, maybe the theory is that if we show lesbian couples in sailor outfits, then incest is okay. But I'll leave it to people who actually believe in such hyperbole to expand on that.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 10:03 am (UTC)
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>>It was a bit odd that the girl referenced in the song switches from Minami to Haruka throughout the course of the song. >>

I hate myself for catching on to this while watching that video, but there are two girls in the song too. One is "she" and one is "I." Basically it's "haha, you were too snobby for my boyfriend back in the day, now he's rich and I have him, beeyotch!"

And now I will ritually disembowel myself for having actually paid attention to that damn thing.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 10:07 am (UTC)
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Ah, upon retrospect, and me remembering the lyrics, that is indeed a good point. Me not being too familiar with the song(I live under a rock) and being cranky for being late at night is my excuse. Allow me to strike that comment from the record.
Date:August 15th, 2003 12:51 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, I don't think that it helps the video that much, in any case.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:02 pm (UTC)
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First off, thanks a lot for your kind words, I found your review pretty accurate on what I was trying to do which probably means I did something right.

"The video used very little in the way of effects other than cross dissolves, but this ensures that the video keeps focus rather than being lost in a see of effects."

Yup, obviously done on purpose and not b/c the cross-dissolve is my friend ^_^ No really, I did want to stay focused on them...

"The overlay shots with Hitomi and Van tie them together very nicely in the video to bring the video to a close."

Thank Fluxy for that. It was originally just a simple second video layer, but he suggested the gradient mask and it looks real nice seeing them look at each other.

"Lots of lyrical matching, and more importantly matching of mood and emotion comprise this video. The simple fades and cuts manage to fade into the background while watching this video, and that.s what makes it flow so well."

Yeah, I wanted to use the beautiful lyrics AND maintain the mood/flow. I'm glad that it paid off. It was very difficult to do both.

Thanks again and I'm glad you enjoyed it (esp. considering you hate everything ^_^).

Somewhat related, but I agree with *most* of your reviews so you're not talking about the wrong videos or an asshole.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:06 pm (UTC)
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Somewhat related, but I agree with *most* of your reviews so you're not talking about the wrong videos or an asshole

How do we know that you're not an asshole as well? Or maybe I just need to try harder.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:07 pm (UTC)
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Point taken.

Seriously though, I was surprised to see such a positive review from you given what you've said about most videos and how it's gettinb boring. Given...I do agree that most stuff isn't that interesting, but still...yay!
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:09 pm (UTC)
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All videos do suck. Some just suck less. Most videos have at least some sort of non-sucky aspect, and I tried to illustrate those in addition to the suckiness, as a matter of perspective.
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Date:August 15th, 2003 12:11 pm (UTC)
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Well since I see very little in the way of suckitude in your review, I guess I'll just smile and walk away :P
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Date:November 10th, 2003 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Um, my name is "Peter J. TOM-Wolverton".

(I found this entry on Google...)
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Date:November 11th, 2003 07:41 am (UTC)
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Not my fault that it was wrong, I ripped the title list from soneone else. =P