Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Jun 9th 2006


Alright, so last week I got a whole load of complaints from people telling me that I'd been including way too many letters asking how someone can get into the industry with no experience, education or drive.

Admittedly, nearly half the questions I get are about that very topic so it's only natural that they wind up dominating the column most days.

Still, point taken - I've resolved to not answer any questions about breaking into the industry this time. The result? An expanded "Flake of the Week" section!

Also, don't forget: only 2 columns left until our big 250th Column Spectacular! Scroll down to check out this week's contest (and make sure you take a good look at today's banner before doing so!).

Let's get down to business then, shall we?


Just watched the second DVD of Naruto and noticed that neither the first or second disk had the Japanese sound track.  Is this because they have bowdlerized the original story?

I had to look up what "Bowdlerized" meant; I knew I'd heard that word before, so I checked dictionary.com.

bowdlerize \BODE-luh-rise; BOWD-\, transitive verb:
1. To remove or modify the parts (of a book, for example) considered offensive.
2. To modify, as by shortening, simplifying, or distorting in style or content.

Rare is the question that displays a decent vocabulary. Kudos! The rest of you need to use this word in a sentence today.

Anyway, to answer your question, you're watching the dub-only DVDs. Viz Media is putting out a seperate uncut and subtitled version on DVD this summer. That said, while technically the show has been bowdlerized, the story isn't really changed at all in the dub. They did edit out some questionable gags, some of the blood and a few of the racier bits, so the answer to your question is "yes"; otherwise it's the same show.


I was wondering how manga creators come up with the martial arts a character uses? When I read Rorouni Kenshin, I can actually imagine these fighting styles being used in real life. I know no one can inflame the blade of a katana and use it in combat but the explanation behind it is pretty interesting. So are the guys that come up with martial arts in anime martial artists themselves or are they just good story tellers.

Well, generally, if it isn't some completely made-up fantasy technique, the manga artist did his or her homework and will use elements of real martial arts in their manga. Most of the martial arts "schools" and techniques you see in anime are completely made up; that's why they have names like "BURNING FIST OF THE RAGING TIGER!" and involve turning invisible or whatever. They make "sense", in a fantasy-nonsense kinda way, when they're explained by secondary characters watching the fight, but that doesn't make them realistic or believable.

Sometimes, however (and this happens pretty often), a manga artist with either go out of his way to portray a specific school of martial arts as realistically as possible, or will simply augment it with a little exaggeration. It depends on the story being told, really.


Now that Funimation has gotten the rights the Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, what's the chances of them getting the original English voice actors from ADV to do the dub? I already knew that Vic Mignogna was in Fullmetal Alchemist, so I checked the Encyclopedia to see if any of the other main FMP dub voices appeared in Funimation series, and Luci Christian and Chris Patton were the only othe ones I could find.

Well, consider this: most of the voice actors who have worked with ADV have also worked extensively with Funimation already, so reuniting that cast can't have been very difficult for them.

That said, yes, Funimation is trying to get the entire original cast; as many of them as they can snare will be reprising their roles for Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, which is good news, because that was a pretty good dub.


There are a few anime titles that I love, but I could not, in good conscience, recommend to anyone else because, in short, I know that they are crap. Do you have any "guilty pleasures" like this when it comes to anime?  If so, what are the titles? Thanks!

This is a good question, and I appeciate your candor specifically because it's really important to recognize that not everything we love is a masterpiece.

I've run into a lot of anime fans these days who take themselves and their taste a little too seriously and if you use the phrase "guilty pleasure" or say that a show they like is a little silly or lame they blow up. "I don't have any guilty pleasures!" or "What?! How dare you suggest Girls Bravo isn't the deepest, most thoughtful anime of the decade?!", as though it's wrong to point out that a lot of popular anime series are simply mindless, amusing entertainment. There isn't anything at all wrong with that; everyone loves to shut their brain off every now and again and sometimes these shows can be really entertaining. It isn't a negative thing to admit that a show you like might not be the best thing ever made, it's just being realistic.

Ultimately, it's very important to recognize sincere artistic quality and how different that is from pure entertainment value. That said, I have plenty of guilty pleasures. For a long while back in the 90's I was a big sucker for extremely melodramatic shojo dramadies, like Marmalade Boy and Hana Yori Dango; I also caught myself watching all of Please Teacher! and Please Twins, even though both of those were creepy as hell.

I couldn't honestly recommend any of those titles to anyone but at the time they hit that spot where I didn't really care what I was watching so long as it wasn't dull and didn't require a lot of brain function; I knew they were mostly bad shows, but hey, what was I gonna do? That, to me, is the essence of what a guilty pleasure is.




Now, as you may have noticed, this section of the column has been absent the last few weeks. This week, however, I got a few letters that really blew my mind.

Instead of asking when the Naruto fillers will be over, since no one seems to know  for sure (and I've even googled through Japanese websites using Japanese phrases  in kanji and katana despite having only a limited knowledge of Japanese), my question is: would it theoretically be possible for an English-language anime news outlet like animenewsnetwork.com to possibly have someone who speaks Japanese simply call Studio Pierrot and go through the proper channels to straight up ask when the second part of Naruto might start airing?

I think it would save a whole lot of hardcore Naruto fans a whole lot of stress and headaches if this information could somehow finally come to light.

Let me tell you something: it is absolutely in Anime News Network's best interest to contact a Japanese animation studio and ask them when the people stealing their show over the internet will finally get another non-filler episode. Studio Pierrot would just love to hear that you're dissatisfied with the episodes of Naruto you're stealing on the internet. Theoretically? Yeah, I suppose it would be possible to call up Pierrot and ask them. Would anyone with an ounce of common sense do that? No, not in a million years.

Also, when you say "hardcore Naruto fans", you mean "people who still download Naruto every week in spite of the fact that it's being released here by Viz Media already". Way to go.

And one more:


In the last episode does Naruto die?  I can't seem to find it on line to view it.
 
Thank you for your time.

Yes, Naruto dies in the final episode. Here's a basic plot breakdown:

Shortly before delivering the final blow to Kakashi (who it turns out is the series' biggest villain), Naruto gets hit by a car. If I recall correctly, it's a LeBaron.

That's basically it. The episode can be pretty hard to find, so good luck!


Also: my brain hurts.





Here's this week's rant, again courtesy of "Clockwork Butterfly", and it's a doozy. A reminder: the following is in no way representative of the opinions of Anime News Network, Zac Bertschy, or anyone else save the person who wrote it.

Have you ever thought it was impossible to have too much of a good thing?  Unfortunately, that sad truth that it is indeed possible has been continually manifesting itself to me within the last five years.

I, like many American anime fans, can personally point out a great many moments in my life where watching certain anime has not only changed my future, but made me a better person, pointed out some universal truth, or otherwise impacted my life in such a degree that I previously thought was impossible for a mere "cartoon."  One of the first of such moments was about four years ago at a friend's house, when I was half-willingly and half-unwillingly subjected to the infamous "Ai no Kusabi."  Yes, fans.  This is a yaoi-related rant.

It's at this point where I should say that I am a twenty-three year old male.  I also was brought up fairly liberally, but the whole "gay issue" never really came up in my family.  I knew what it was, but paid little attention, if any to it since it didn't really interest me very much.  However, that one day, watching Ai no Kusabi changed my life.  I had originally let my friends (both female) subject me to it because I had never seen anything like it before.  I was interested in it from the perspective of an open-minded artist, and I figured that if it really bothered me, I could just close my eyes during the sex.  I didn't expect to find myself entranced in a world the likes of which I had never seen before.  It opened the door to a reality that I would've never seen otherwise.  Long story short, it showed me not only that it was okay to be homosexual or bisexual, but it shook the eground I walked on.  I spent the next few years trying to come to terms with my sexual identity.  Long story short, I survived the hassle, and now consider myself bisexual.  But that isn't my rant.

Anyway, while I was trying to come to terms with my sexual identity, I also watched "Gravitation" (before it was licensed), which is now one of my favorite anime of all time.  At that time, Gravitation had a fairly popular fanbase, but nothing like the fanbase it has now.  Unfortunately, I've had repeated exposure to the Gravitation fanbase in America, and even though Gravitation is one of my top five anime of all time, every encounter I have with the fanbase makes me wish that the anime never ever existed.  Yes, that's right.  I am a few steps shy of honestly believing that America would have been better if Gravitation had never been animated.

When I go to anime conventions, I find myself arguing with thirteen-year-old die-hard-Gravi-fangirls who only wish they could be gay and male and chasing someone cool like Yuki Eiri.  And it's not just one or two girls.  There's a legion of them.  An entire legion of thousands of young girls who are fanatic about this stuff.  And they are by no means fanatic in the good way.  Fanatic as in, "I have to own every single Gravi thing there is!  I have to write more Gravi fanfics than any other fan!  I have to know the manga and anime inside-out!"  And the average age of these girls is about thirteen or fourteen.

The thing that irks me the most about this is that I love Gravitation.  I love it because I can sympathize with the characters on an extremely intimate level and watching Gravitation has taught me – and continues to teach me – many things about myself.  These rabid fangirls (in most cases) originally watched it because seeing two guys kiss on-screen is "taboo" and therefore "cool" in this age in which everyone is trying to become unique.  Well, let me be the first to say that being a single person in the massive horde of crazy-yaoi-fangirls does NOT make you unique.  That really irks me.  I watch it over and over because I understand it deeply.  They watch it over and over again because it's cool.  And I don't even want to get into the whole sexual-orientation-of-the-viewer topic…

And it's only getting worse everyday.  Now that yaoi has become "cool" in America (and the licensing companies know how well it sells), so much more is available now.  The manga licensing companies are distributing titles even the die-hard fans have never heard of.  Only a few of the major yaoi anime titles in existence remain unavailable on DVD in America.  It's the latest craze, so yaoi fangirls have to own it all, or watch it all when it comes to anime.  I've met thirteen-year-olds at anime conventions who watch "Boku no Sexual Harrassment" religiously.  There is definitely something seriously wrong with this picture.

Whew. So what do you think? Do they have a point? Sound off on our forums and let the discussion begin!

If you have a rant of your own and would like to see your work in this space, just follow the rules below and you could be the next featured fan in RANT RANT RANT!:

Welcome to the newest segment in Hey, Answerman: RANT RANT RANT!

What I'm looking for are your best and brightest rants: no shorter than 300 words, on any topic you like related to anime. I'm expecting decent writing, and a modicum of sensibility. Send me a well-written and thoughtful rant that's a decent length, and I'll print it in this space, regardless of whether or not I agree with it, with no further commentary from me. The goal is to provide a more visible and public space for those of you with intelligent things to say about anime, the industry, anything you like related to the subject; discussion in our forums will surely follow.

The rules? Well, here they are:

1. No excessive swearing. "Damn" and "Hell" are fine, anything stronger than that needs to be excluded or censored.
2. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.
3. The word "Rant" must be in your email subject line.
4. Your rant must be at least 300 words, and use proper spelling and grammar. Internet speak, like 'lol' or 'u' instead of 'you' will not be tolerated.

Remember, your editorial doesn't have to be negative at all - feel free to write whatever you like, so long as it's on-topic. We're looking for solid, well-stated opinions, not simply excessive negativity.

Send your rants to [email protected], and watch this space next week for our first installment!





Congratulations to last week's contest winner Jeremiah Mangosh, who turned in a correct answer mere minutes after the column was posted. The painting was Hieronymous Bosch's "The Temptation of St. Anthony", and it's actually the central panel of a triptych.


You can read more about Bosch and his work here.

Didn't win last week? Want to grab some glory for yourself? Here's the rules, all over again: To countdown to the 250th Answerman column, we have a brand-new contest for you!

It's simple: every week for the next 3 weeks, Hey, Answerman! will have an all-new banner at the top of the column. In the background of each new banner will be a famous (or not so famous) painting. The first person to email me with the name of the painting and who painted it wins!

So what do you need to do this week? Just scroll up and take a look at the banner, and tell me what the painting behind The Count is, and who painted it.

Easy, right? So what's the prize, you might be asking?

This week's prize is:

It's Bandai's My Hime box! Volume 1 plus a tee-shirt plus an art box, and it can be yours FREE if you can guess the painting!

See you next week!


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