Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Jan 19th 2006


No time for chit-chat. Let's get down to business!


I'm a big Cowboy Bebop fan, I liked Evangelion, Wolf's Rain, Samurai Champloo, Gasaraki was worth it, I was enchanted with 12 Kingdoms after the first half of the first DVD (the awkward introductory episode was a bit shaky, but I bought it), and I was into Texhnolyze when I had the extra cash to throw at it. I'm looking for something epic, something with a well-done world and well-done characters which (if possible) is more than just thrilling, and tries to communicate something meaningful (not a moralizing tale, something almost symbolic - most of the series above seem to do that) or explore slightly more complex issues. I don't know if that helps.

Sounds to me like we have pretty similar taste in anime. A few years back I found myself completely disillusioned with a lot of the anime I used to love; wacky comedies, shonen adventure stories, fluffy shojo romance... I'd just seen too much of it and it seemed like a lot of it was lacking substance, which is something I value highly. Unfortunately, depth, symbolism and real meaning are pretty rare in anime. That's not to say most anime is worthless fluff, but let's face it, a lot of it is designed to be simply light entertainment, which is great... unless you're looking for something more.

That said, you should watch Fullmetal Alchemist. A lot of people write this show off as a simplistic action series, but nothing could be further from the truth; you'd have to actively try to simplify everything in the series (or flat-out ignore the last half of the show) to believe that there's no depth or meaning here. The show explores some very complicated issues, including current events (like the Iraq war). It's surprisingly mature, the characters are very deep, and there's plenty of symbolism... not to mention the fact that the show has several very poignant messages that are just subtle enough to be appreciated.
It feels "epic", and there are plenty of kickass fight sequences, too. At first the show might seem a little episodic, but give it a chance.

I also have to recommend Gankutsuou. The show feels more adult than most other series on the market right now; there may not be a whole lot of meaning behind it (beyond whatever already existed in The Count of Monte Cristo story), but the beautiful art design and mature storyline should keep you interested. It gets realy melodramatic at times, but find me an anime drama that doesn't.

From the Jan. 13th column:...

"Please spare me the following reply:

"Actually, anime means ALL animation, not just animation produced in Japan!"
 No it doesn't. It means that in Japan. In America it means "animation produced in Japan". Deal with it."

Okay, then, two questions:

1) So what would be the designation for non-Japanese anime-style animation?  Specifically, I'm wondering about Korean and American releases.

2) So why is there a different meaning for "anime" in this country? Sorry, but "Deal with it" doesn't explain it very well.

Thanks.

Really? I thought "deal with it" explained it just fine.

For your sake, though, I'll clarify.

We don't really have words yet for Korean animation or American-produced anime-style shows (like Teen Titans or Avatar: The Last Airbender). Most people call Korean cartoons "Korean anime" or "Koreanime". American shows are just referred to as being "anime style". I'd imagine eventually we'll find new vocabulary words for both of these, but for the time being, they're just described differently.

As for your second question, "anime" has a different meaning in English because we appropriated the word. "Anime", in America, means Japanese animation, just like "otaku" means "anime fan", not "scary obsessed creep" like it does in Japan. These are words that have entered our lexicon that have become descriptors of culture we've imported. Our new meanings for these words don't change what they mean in Japan, of course, but they do have different meanings here.

Ask someone on the street in America what anime is and they'll tell you it means Japanese cartoons. That right there should pretty much spell it out for you.


Alright so I love the RahXephon anime and recently bought the movie, mainly for the purty artbox to stash my DVDs in, but enjoyed the movie a lot as well.  So I quickly realized the movie explains many parts of the story differently.  Also, I was at the comic book store and saw a RahXephon manga as well as novels.  Now my question is which one is the original telling of the story the TV show, manga or the Novels?  I want to read or watch the original author of RahXephons story.

Technically, the RahXephon TV series is the original version of the story. The manga series is sort of an alternate retelling (with a whole lot of mostly-unfunny gags and fanservice thrown in), and the novel is simply a novelization of the TV series (although you may want to write to DrMaster and ask them to release a 'no typos' edition, since the one that's out looks like it was copyedited by a toddler).

Effectively, you've already seen the original version of the story. Everything else is just gravy, tie-ins. If you're really interested in simply reading more material that features the same story and characters, the manga and the novels should suit you well enough.


WARNING: FRUITS BASKET SPOILERS BELOW

This is concerning a spoiler I've read about Fruits Basket saying that Akito is a — gasp— woman!! I checked my manga, and Akito's referred to
as "he". His figure is bony and has nary a single womanly curve, and he has a man's voice in the dub

But I read a story by someone who claims that in chapter 97 of the manga, it is revealed that Akito's actually a woman. The thought of this makes me kinda sick. I don't know if I can keep reading it it's true!

I hate to break it to you, but yeah, it's true. Akito Sohma is actually a chick. It was revealed recently in the Japanese edition of the manga. I know a lot of heartbroken girls out there right now, who were dead set on one day figuring out a way to marry a fictional character. In spite of the fact that Akito is a colossal prick.

Actually, a lot of people are angry about this because it's so obviously a last-minute decision that was decided way after the anime series aired. It doesn't seem premeditated at all, and people have spent the last, what, 19 volumes or so working under the obvious assumption that Akito was a man.


Hi, my name is Alyssa and I have a great idea for an anime.  I've developed the characters and made a few mangas, but I'm wondering what the steps would be to getting it made into a show or maybe a 5 or so episode series.  I know it sounds like pipe dreaming, but I work hard to accomplish my goals and I'm not just another kid with her head in the clouds! My sister and my friend, both named Laura, are also involved.  How can I contact GAINAX or other companies that produce anime? How can I present the idea? Thanks for your time!

This is going to seem a little harsh, but I'm growing weary of being asked this question. "My friends and I have a great idea for an anime, what is Studio Gonzo's phone number?".

I realize it's somewhat taboo to tell people that they can't accomplish something or to be frank when asked this question, but I think enough is enough.

So you claim to not be just another kid with their head in the clouds, but you're approaching this the same way as all those other kids do; they come up with an idea for an anime series and think that what they need to do is just get a hold of some anime studio and present the concept to them. It's easy to characterize this as "oh, well, they're just dreamers, they have a lofty goal and one day they'll achieve it!". The problem is, this "lofty goal" is borne almost entirely from these kids being completely and totally ignorant about how television production works.

I'd go into a long diatribe here about how difficult it is to actually have your project picked up for production in America and then how astronomically lower your odds of success in the same field are in Japan, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I'm just going to tell you to go to school.

Do you have any practical experience in television production? Screenwriting? Filmmaking? Writing for animation? Do you know the technical process involved in writing a script? Do you have any connections in the field? Have anyone but your friends and close relatives told you your idea was good? Do you have an agent? Have you ever read a book about screenwriting?

If the answer to any of these questions is "no", then your first step is to enroll in a film studies program at a major university, and focus on filmmaking and production. Your entire outlook on the situation will change, I guarantee it.

Kids, here's an important tip: watching a lot of anime does not mean you know anything about how to write anime, just like driving a car does not mean you know how to fix one. Screenwriting is a very precise process with lots of technicalities, and frankly, nobody's going to take you seriously unless you have contacts, credentials or both. An American with no money, no experience, no contacts, no education and no representation just calling up Gainax and scoring a deal is not going to happen, period.
If you're seriously interested in television production and screenwriting, go to college.



This person isn't really a flake, just terribly confused and naieve, but I'm going to put this letter here anyway.

i just recently heard that George Bush is planning to ban anime? i'm a very confused person right now. is it the hurtful truth or a joke/lie that an a@# h$%e just spread around? i've looked through some sites and they don't really say. I'm in desperate need of help. and i'm really get pissed at the comments that some people are making about anime. one person said that anyone who possesses any anime should be sent to prison. that's just plain cruelty and a so retarded punishment and that comment practically pushed me to my limit. all anime fans will be glad enough to go to jail. at least we can group together and possibly talk about it rather then being in the outside world being shunned even more (yeah that's kinda happenin' to me). i'm starting to rant uncontrolably here. so is it true or false?

Okay, here's what you need to keep in mind:

Basically everything you read on the internet that isn't from a credible source - and I mean credible, like the established news media or by someone with verifiable credentials - is absolute, utter crapola. In fact, 99 percent of what you read on message forums, unless they have verifiable, credible proof, is also total nonsense. I can't even get my head around why someone would suggest that Bush would "ban anime", let alone why anyone would believe that. The sad thing is, I've actually heard this one before - apparently it's popular among bored otaku with persecution complexes to suggest on internet forums and in chat rooms that OH NO THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO BAN ANIME WE ARE ALL GOING TO JAIL just to stir the pot. I'm not sure what's more annoying: the jackasses who do that or the people who take them seriously and go into panic mode.

In short, no, the government is not going to ban anime. That's completely ridiculous. Stop believing everything you read.

Now here's a kitten and a bunny to make you feel better.

Aww, they're friends.



 

Alright folks.

I asked you last week to bring your "A" game. What I got was junior-varsity level stuff. C'mon guys! You can do better than that!

That said, maybe the picture was too hard to caption. So we're going to try a different route this time.

Welcome to Win Answerman's Stuff: SUDDEN DEATH!


Here's the deal: what you need to to do is fill in the blanks in this Azumanga Daioh comic strip with whatever funny, irreverent, nonsequitur or just plain hilarious stuff you can come up with. It has to be funny, and it has to be relatively clean; no swearing, no overt sexual references, and don't steal material from other places. Anyone caught lifting lines from TV shows or movies will be instantly disqualified from all future contests.

Here's the strip:




Use Photoshop or even MSPaint to fill in the dialogue boxes and email it to me at [email protected] The winner will get the Azumanga Daioh Class Album (all 26 episodes of ADV's hit comedy series) AND 2 manga of their choice from a list that will be provided to the winner.

C'mon folks! Do your best! Make me laugh!

See y'all next week!


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