Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Feb 10th 2006


Well, that was a fun little hiatus, wasn't it? Let's get crackin'!


i am around 15 years old and i have an idea that seems like it would work out...better then most anime...it has magic...and some romance...it has fantasy...it has excitement...it has everything that any anime lover would like...clamp is the best group for any anime art and i own all the tsubasa books that have come out so far and are really willing to buy the rest...i love them all...i also love the xxxholic books too.....i am a huge anime fan...but i'm not a nerd...i excape in your books and feel like i want to help create one..and you can take the credit i don;t care...i just want my dream to come true...i can't draw either and i love your details on the books...and there is no better manga then what you create...forward this to clamp if u please...i know many people who love anime and i told them this idea and they said is sounded really good..

hear me out...its called Guardian Darkness....it about a dimension that seems like normal people...but at birth they are given a random spirit...now...the spirit comes out of the body to help out the humans in their everyday life...the spirits have a mind of their own and are controlled by their masters....the spirit main reason was to protect the humans...their guardian angels...but two hundred years ago...a girl was born...a girl with the spirit or complete darkness...the most powerful of them all....this spirit raged war between humans and tribes...until one day a magician used his life to seal away this dark spirit and the girl in a block of ice....two hundred years later...the decendant of the magician...a boy (with no name) with his fire spirit travel arcoss the mountains....they come across something and are forced into a cave...in the cave they find the girl from the past...only she is sleeping....the boy doesn't know of any old stories so he unfreezes the girl....her dark spirit is trapped in a scar on her back and she has no memory of what happened 2 hundred years ago....and he takes care of her....the rest of the stories is like chobits...they adventure to find out what actually happened....in the last book...the dark spirit releases and goes free and rages war again...the rest i have no ideas for...but thats what i have...this idea has been on my mind for 5 months and i tried sending a message before but i didn't get a e-mail back..

I realize I answer this question a lot but I'm printing this letter to give you an idea of what people actually send me from time to time.

Look, there isn't necessarily anything wrong with dreaming about one day making your own anime series. Heck, there's nothing wrong with daydreaming about CLAMP swooping in and making your idea into a world-class anime or manga. The problems begin when you actually take yourself seriously enough to the point where you're asking me what CLAMP's phone number is and submitting barebones plot outlines that end with "well that's all I have for now!".

CLAMP is not going to make your anime. I've said this a hundred times now: go to college and learn about what it actually takes to make a television show and then revisit this idea when you're done. Trust me, your perspective on this issue will change dramatically.

That said, I want to take a second
and talk a little bit about what makes a good anime. As much as I'd like to tell this guy that he has a great idea, in reality it sounds like a mishmash of basically everything that's come before. A hero unwittingly unleashes an ancient evil, you say? And that ancient evil is housed inside a cute girl? Wow!

C'mon folks. If you've read a manga or played a video game that uses the exact same plot elements you're using, come up with something else. The complete lack of real creativity or innovation in the scripts, plot summaries and sample pages people send me bothers me way more than the sheer number of people who are under the impression that the secret to getting your own anime series made is simply having Mad House's phone number. It's always an 'ancient evil', or the hero has to collect 99 thingamabobs, or there's angels and demons and badasses in black coats with big guns, or a schoolgirl who's whisked away to a fantasy dimension, or plucky kid ninja/spirit warriors/swordfighters with amazing powers... the list of hoary old played-out anime cliches goes on and on. I'm not sure why most of the wannabe creators I hear from always seem to come up with extremely hackneyed ideas, but 100 percent of the samples people send me are like this.

It isn't enough to simply draw on what you like and then create a hodgepodge of cliches; these days, if you're sincere about being creative and producing your own content, strive to create something that's more than just a mirror that reflects your various influences.


And for cripes' sake, go to college first. It'll completely change your outlook on this topic.


I am a recently retired business executive and always wanted to own a retail store. Now I have the time and money, and am seriously considering opening an anime manga shoppe in Palm Beach county Florida. The concept would be to have a " one-stop" store for anime, manga, and related merchandise, such as posters,anime apparel, jewelry, card and video games, Japanese snacks,etc. Currently, down here most anime is bought at video stores,manga at book stores, and related merchandise is not readily available except online. We would carry a much larger selection of these products than available at book and video stores.

Knowing the industry better than I do, does this concept sound viable to you as a profitable venture? Also, do you think such a venture could have large enough sales to support location at a large regional mall.., which would reach more teens and young adults, but be very expensive rentwise?

Good question! Obviously, the first thing you're going to want to do is market research in your area. How many anime shops are there already? How many anime clubs are there, and how many people attend? Are there lots of colleges and high schools nearby? What's the average age of a Palm Beach resident? Do you have a large Asian population? There are a lot of different things you'll want to take into consideration.

Anime shops can be profitable (although I've never visited one that was making serious money; be prepared to exist on fairly small margins), but I've never seen one survive in a large shopping mall. Your margins won't really pay the ridiculous rent. The most successful stores I've seen are in strip malls and are located near colleges and high schools, where their target market might hang out. Generally they're close to things like video stores, arcades, movie theaters; the usual places young adults congregate. For instance, in Orange County, California, there are a hell of a lot of anime stores, but the population can support them; the stores around the University of California Irvine survive because there's a giant Asian population there and one of the biggest anime clubs in the country. The market exists there, so those stores thrive.
Also, consider that a large portion of your inventory should be imported items; most of the anime stores I've been to that survive do so because they offer import toys and baubles that places like Suncoast and Best Buy don't.

Really, the most important thing you can do is spend a long while doing market research. Your target audience needs to exist there before you even consider opening a store.


On the Wikipedia article about Mahou Sensei Negima!, I read that there were going to be several revisions in the anime, because it was noticed that there were many protests about discrepancies and mistakes on the storyline and animation. Some episodes will be chaged, while some other completely redone! Some time ago, it was announced the licensing of Negima in the US. Will the American version include this revisions?

The short answer is "yes".

The long answer is that the Negima anime turned out to be pretty polarizing and controversial in Japan; when it originally aired on TV, the fans pitched a fit. The animation was cheap, the character designs didn't look right, the show didn't really follow the manga as closely as it could, and the show exhibited a whole slew of other problems that could very well have been avoided.

Lucky for the fans, the creators felt the same way and decided that for the DVD release, Negima would be touched-up. In many places (and yeah, sometimes entire episodes), the show would be re-animated completely, with a few story revisions as well. As far as I know, the original TV airings were never released on DVD in Japan; the only version you can get are the touched-up editions that meet the creators' personal stamp of approval. There's no reason to believe that FUNimation's release will contain the inferior TV version.

    I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.  I've seen it over 5 times now in various anime titles and was wondering what is the deal with people puking/coughing up blood as part of a incurable disease.  Is it supposed to represent like some sort of real life disease(lung cancer or the like) or just give you an indication of the character's general well being.  Thanks in advance Answerman!

Well, basically, the easiest way to indicate that someone is dying or has some kind of fatal disease is to give them a persistant cough. I've seen a lot of TV shows, movies and anime series where the character in question has no other symptoms than a cough, sometimes followed by blood (which means either they're all dying of consumption or "blood cough" is its own disease). I've never heard of anyone having "cough of death" in the real world, unless they have lung cancer. But it's an easy and economical way to suggest that someone is unhealthy.

What amuses me most is that the Cough of Death almost always comes immediately after the character insists that they're fine, and then a few pages/episodes later they're dead.
In short, there's no special meaning behind it. It's just a generic way to indicate the person is sick.


My fiance is perfect (for me) in every, except she cannot stand watching any Gundam. She has watched all the other anime with me; Escaflowne, Evangelion, Lodss, Ghost in the Shell S.A.C, Hellsing just to name a few. How can I convince her to give it a chance?

Oh, this is an easy one!

Solution: be happy that you're about to marry someone who can tolerate anime and don't push it
.

I mean, I sympathize with the woman; Gundam puts me to sleep faster than a PBS fundraising telethon. Seriously, though, sometimes it's good to have shows you don't watch together. It gives you each a little bit of personal time, and even when you're in a serious committed relationship, you're still going to want to do things that are just "for you". I mean, my girlfriend runs from the room screaming whenever I watch Real World/Road Rules: The Gauntlet 2 or My Super Sweet Sixteen or Laguna Beach or... okay, we've established that I have a serious problem when it comes to MTV, but still, my point is that we don't HAVE to watch everything together. There's always going to be garbage that I like and garbage that she likes (ancient reruns of Unsolved Mysteries, for example) and never the twain shall meet. But as long as we can watch Lost and Project Runway together, it's all good.

My advice is to have a little Gundam time for yourself and just relax. The lady doesn't have to like it.




Okay, so maybe he's just confused rather than a flake, but I can't help but think that every time I answer a question like this, someone out there thinks twice before sending me something similar.

I've heard that you maybe making a Devil May Cry movie, and I was just going to advise you to cast Christian Bale because just imagine....guns, death and Christian Bale all in one movie. Please consider it.

Did you see Equilibrium or American Psycho? Because both of those movies featured guns, death and Christian Bale.

That said, i f I were involved in film production at all and had any contact with CAPCOM over the license to make a live-action Devil May Cry movie, you'd better believe I'd consider Christian Bale for the role, even if he doesn't quite have the snark that Dante, the title character, has. I mean, he's Batman. And Patrick Bateman. He can play anything, right?

However, neither I, nor this website, are involved in any way, shape or form with the production of such a thing and nothing on this website suggests that we are, so I have no idea where you got the idea that we'd be accepting casting suggestions for a film that isn't being made in the first place, let alone by us.


Not even this bunny knows where you'd get that from.

See? She's completely incredulous.



Alright folks, we're gonna mix it up this week.

As some of you may have noticed, I get a lot of emails from people asking me how to contact anime companies in Japan about producing their AMAZING anime idea!


And, as it happens, pretty much everything they send me is as hacky and cliche as possible. But hey, rather than get depressed by it, let's have a contest!

So here are the rules this week:

I want you to come up with the most overcooked, lame, cliched, been-there-done-that anime premise you possibly can, in 300 words or less. All I need is a plot summary. Give the show and your characters names and tell me as much as you can in 300 words or less about your over-the-top, ridiculously cliched show.

But it's not solely about mining for cliches; I'm going to be on the lookout for people who really manage to cram as many hackneyed ideas as they can into their story. Writing quality is absolutely vital and if you make me laugh, there are bonus points involved. Don't just rush through it, either; put some real thought into it. Here's an example of what we're looking for:

Kotoko is your average mild-mannered chump who's struggling to get into Osaka university; the one problem? Every time DD-cup breasts are smashed into his face by his pervert teacher, he's magically transported to a world where buxom schoolgirls pilot giant robots against the invading Izujo menace! To make matters worse, in this fantasy realm, Kotoko is the commander of an elite squadron of anti-Izujo android sex maid mecha pilots, who all live in a dormitory under his watch!

You can see where I'm going with this. Be sincere! The more your synopsis convincingly sounds like the back of an anime DVD, the more you're likely to win. Bonus points will be rewarded for creativity, too; submit fanart, fake DVD covers, heck, fake merchandise! Go all out! It's up to you how much effort you put in to this contest, but how much effort you put in will determine your fate.

You're probably asking yourself what the winner gets, right? Well, thar she blows:


That's right! As if to prove I'm not kidding around, I'm giving out not one, not two, not three but FOUR prizes to the winner of this contest! The winner receives Geneon Entertainment's incredibly handsome Trigun: Limited Collector's Edition II, the large-format Steamboy: Ani-Manga vol. 1 from Viz. Tokyopop's lush and lavish Justice & Mercy artbook from the creator of Priest, and ADV Films' artistically astounding Jing: King of Bandits complete box set. All this stuff together is worth a heck of a lot, so create!

See you next week!

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