A person’s youtube history say a lot about them. I organize my youtube life into personalized playlists based on different fandoms. I don’t officially consider myself a part of any fandom until I have amassed a collection of at least 10 AMVS (anime music videos), videos dedicated to that fandom, or songs that remind me of a fandom.
I have a Doctor Who playlist, an X-Men (animated) playlist, a Teen Titans (mixed with a bit of Young Justice/DC animated movies) playlist, a Dragon Ball Z playlist, a Doctrine of Labyrinths playlist, and–most recently–a RWBY playlist. Fandom is how I find my music.
AMVs (though really, for me, the broader spectrum of fandom music videos both animated and live action) have often provided me new insight into characters or relationships I had barely given a second thought.
When I was in high school, I read the first few trades of the comic Astonishing X-Men (2004-2013), by Joss Whedon. I was a newbie to comics and the realm of superheroes, just beginning to dip my feet into this oceanic world. I watched the cartoon Wolverine and the X-Men religiously each week as I grew more and more invested in these characters. When I began seeking out youtube videos on the X-Men, I stumbled upon an Emma Frost video that pulled images from Astonishing X-Men. At the time, I knew next to nothing about Emma Frost and while her character in Astonishing X-Men interested me, I didn’t focus my attention on her as I should have.
Then I found this video:
I fell in love with Emma Frost. Not through the comic, but through this video which paired the comic book images with “Breath” by Breaking Benjamin. I saw Emma’s struggle in ways the images alone could not produce for me. Only through creating this video as a new piece of art, did I begin to love her character.
I’ve written a few times about RWBY, the animated series out of Rooster Teeth Productions. When I started seeking out RWBY videos, I sought the wonderful queer ship of Blake/Yang (affectionately called Bumblebee). But I didn’t find a video that revealed new insight into their characters.
Then, just a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this gem:
A whole video dedicated to queer female relationships. Watching RWBY I knew about the major ships: Blake/Yang (please!!!) and Ruby/Weiss, but I had never thought to consider that any number of the female characters in the series could be wonderfully queer. Why restrict ourselves to just the canon or queer-baited pairings?
Youtube videos are an art just as much as comic books and as much as writing. Because these videos elicit emotions and create novelty within fandoms. When I fall in love with a fan video, I’m remembering why I fell in love with the series or the character to begin with. I’m interacting with another person’s art and interpretation. I’m learning something new.