Earlier this week, we were part of a flood of blogs that posted a video showing an incredibly cool anime-inspired vision of a Star Wars battle. Within hours, the original video was removed from YouTube, so we posted another version someone else uploaded. That was taken down a few hours later, but others have uploaded versions as well that other blogs have been linking to. After researching why the original was taken down in the first place, my brother and I discussed it, and we decided not to link to any other versions and post screencaps instead. I felt our readers might be disappointed at missing the video, and were owed an explanation as to why we did that. I also feel it's important for anyone else who wants to see the video the history behind it and why I think other blogs should follow our lead of removing it. I haven't seen the full story anywhere but 4chan.org (archived here) and YouTube comments, so here it is.

1. The Video Was Made By One Person - The creator of the Star Wars anime video is Paul "Otaking7707" Johnson, a professional animator working for Theta-Sigma Studios on unrelated projects. Apparently, Otaking7707 has been working on the video in his spare time over the course of two years, an amazing feat when you consider most anime of such quality is produced by dozens of people at animation studios.

2. The Video Was Never Meant To Go Public - The problem with the video is that, while it looks incredible, it's not finished. The original video had no music or sound effects, and some of the shots weren't even in the right order. Otaking7707 says the video is at least a year away from being done. The only reason the video was online at all is that he was providing a private YouTube link to users on 4chan's anime section to evaluate it and make suggestions. Apparently one of the good people on 4chan gave the private link to i09, who posted it, and it spread like wildfire.

3. The Creator Pulled It Offline - Otaking7707 removed his original video to try to stop the spread, but other people have uploaded new versions, some with SFX and music that are definitely not what he intended. If Otaking7707 had his way, they would all be taken down, too. That's a pretty compelling statement on its own.

4. The Creator Doesn't Like It - I had a hard time understanding at first why Otaking7707 wouldn't want the fame and praise the video has been getting. But from reading forums, it seems that Otaking7707 considers the current state of the video as really bad. It was a real education for me to learn about the underground animation movement, where people like Otaking7707 produce their own animation for the fun of it, experimenting with techniques and design. Some users were even pointing out flaws in the video (like the transitions and explosions) that seem trivial to me, but mean a big deal in the community. By Otaking7707's standards, the video is unacceptable. I can understand that. If I wrote a novel and someone leaked the first draft onto the Web, no matter how much people might like it, it would never the same as if they judged it by the final draft.

5. The Video Isn't Finished - Others have also pointed out that when the video is finally finished, it won't make the big splash it could have made, since we've already seen parts of it. I can totally understand that as well. If the incomplete version got so much praise, imagine what the final version would have gotten.

6. The Creator Has the Right To Choose What's Done With It  - I'll be honest. I know our pulling the video from our blog doesn't fix the real problem. If you go to YouTube or Google and do a search, you can still find the entire video online from other sources. But as a content creator myself, I can't in good conscience contribute to spreading something against the express wishes of its creator. I'm a little disappointed that more websites haven't followed our lead - especially i09, since the original YouTube link said "UNFINISHED SECRET," so they should have known better. But I guess some blogs care more about "scoops" and traffic than not being opportunistic scumbags...er, I mean, disreputable journalists.

Do you think we should have kept the video up? Do you think we should leave it off? Let us know in the comments.
[Image Source: Otaking7707]
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Craig Edwards said...

Huzzah and bravo to you guys! You are good people, showing respect and being decent instead of driving traffic to your site with an unfinished video not meant for the general public. I applaud your decision. Cheers!

Ciara Knight said...

I understand why he was feeling that way. It is a sensational video and I hope he uploads a complete version in the future.

Natasha Dythia said...

I think that is the right decision.....never compromise your morals!

Nigel Mitchell said...

Thanks, it was a tough call.

Nigel Mitchell said...

That's true, which is what I thought, but reason 5 is something to consider. Imagine what the reaction would have been to the full video if it had remained secret. Now the reaction will be, "Hey, here's the rest of it" vs. "Wow, this is amazing!"

Nigel Mitchell said...

I have to agree it was pretty stupid to post it online like that, especially at a site like YouTube. From what I understand, because the 4chan anime section is so small, they essentially considered it a private club. Hopefully, they've learned their lesson.

Ellie Garratt said...

I think you made the right decision. I would hate for something of mine to be launched early in error and then not be able to withdraw it. I admire your integrity.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Posting it even privately was a risk in the first place. As a perfectionist and creative person myself, I can understand why he wouldn't want anyone to see the unfinished video. It would be similar to someone posting the first draft of my book or a sample of a website I'd just begun to work on at my job.
Tony's right though - I'm sure it's created quite a buzz for the final video.

Tony Laplume said...

If anything, this leak has probably created buzz for the eventual full release.

Jason Camp said...

Disney give this guy a job making R rated or nc 17 starwars animated series we adult fans want and deserve it.


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