Hey, Santaman!

by Zac Bertschy, Dec 15th 2006

As you may have noticed, we have a brand-new layout around here at Anime News Network, but I assure you, nothing at all will change about this column.

Oh, except one minor thing: Hey, Answerman! is now brought to you by the fine folks at PEPSI-COLA corporation!

Just kidding.

...or am I?

Hellsing Ultimate vol 2 and Naruto Uncut 3: Do you know when each of these will be released? I mean will they be released every six months or something like that?

Neither of these have been officially scheduled yet, but I wouldn't expect a solid, reliable release pattern for either of them. It all depends on production schedules and, of course, sales; Hellsing especially is going to be difficult, in terms of time. Once they release volume 2, they'll be lucky if volume 3 is out in Japan yet, and once they catch up, we'll be waiting just as long as the Japanese are (if not longer) in between volumes. It's going to be a long haul on that one, so just be patient.

As for Naruto, who knows? Viz hasn't scheduled the next set yet, so just sit tight. That one might have a set schedule - every 4-6 months or so - but that one
is more dependant on sales. So just keep buying 'em and they'll probably keep making 'em.

So I noticed Gonzo is now making Romeo x Juliet. Gankutsuou is an adaptation of Count of Monte Cristo. What do you think of all these classic literature adaptations?? Are the anime companys just out of ideas?

What do I think? I think I really don't need to see yet another re-imagining of Romeo & Juliet. I saw the trailer, and it looked exceedingly generic; once the flying horse-dragon thing flew across the screen I checked out. What the hell is the point?

I realize this is probably not a popular opinion; I've heard a lot of people are really excited about Romeo x Juliet, but for the life of me, I can't really imagine why. Gankutsuou was special; they were using an experimental art style that really popped and made the story feel unique, even though we've all heard it a million times. Gonzo's show looks like a retread except now there's fantasy elements and oh, all the characters look like bargain-basement Ghibli knockoffs.

Alright, alright, maybe I'm being a little harsh here, but I don't think the story of Romeo & Juliet needs to be retold yet again. If they're gonna mine Shakespeare, I wish they'd do The Tempest or A Midsummer Night's Dream or any of
his countless other plays that haven't been revisited so many times in pop culture.

As for the "trend", well, it's all well and good, I suppose; anything to expose literature to a younger audience, right? "Original" productions aren't always the best thing in the world anyway. But I'd rather see more things like Gankutsuou, and less like what Romeo & Juliet looks like it's going to be.

That said, just you wait; in 2007 we're gonna get Ken Akamatsu's Les Miserables, where Jean Valjean is a hapless ronin virgin college kid and Cossette is his 12-year old panty-flashing jailbait half-sister from the future.

What is the best way to deal with hateful ignorant comments posted on the internet about things you like? Unlike ANN, some forums don't have people checking each others comments and people just post disrespectful comments without regard.

Ignore them.

Seriously. 90 percent of all comments made on unmoderated forums or forums moderated by idiots are designed specifically to piss people off or get some kind of reaction. Unless someone's making a sincere argument and is actually attempting to have some kind of intelligent debate about the merits of whatever show, just ignore them.

The nature of discussing anime on the internet - which is a dicey proposition no matter how you slice it - is that it's going to attract a whole load of mouth-breathing wannabe internet komedy kaptains. Unless they're actually trying to engage you in a discussion, ignore them.

But the real crux of the matter is, why in the world do you care at all what random internet forums poster #74756 says about a show you like? You need to be more confident in your opinions; if you like something, and all it takes to set you into a defensive tizzy is some 13-year old nicknamed "CloudStrifeXXX333" saying "that show sux lol" then maybe you should put up a little armor and not care so much what other people think.

Think about it this way; if you were walking down the street wearing a Bleach tee-shirt and some dirty hobo shouts "BLEACH SUCKS" at you, do you get upset? No, of course not, because nobody cares what the hobos think. He's just some crazy, crusty old loon, tossed out with the rest of the trash. It's basically the same thing as the random jerkbags that troll forums; think of them as the internet's crazy hobos. See how easy it is to disregard them now?

Hey, look, it's a follow-up to last week's One Piece discussion.

While I usually agree with your opinions, I think you dropped the ball on this one. Discussing the future of the One Piece anime in America, you said:

"I'm not sure if any company - especially in a few years when the license runs out and the heat is completely gone from the show - will want to invest in a 300+ episode expensive juggernaut of a series that already proved it has limited appeal in the American market."

I think you're underestimating how popular One Piece is, or rather, could be. 4Kids has had a habit lately of licensing anime that really has no business being on network television at all, butchering it to hell, and leaving it for dead when no one watches. It happened to Shaman King, and it happened to One Piece. So why did it take so much longer to get to this point with One Piece? Maybe it's because Joe Everyviewer could see the great show that was hidden under the 4Kids layer of crap. Maybe fans of the Viz manga tuned in to see their favorite property on television. Whatever the reason, the fact that it lasted over 50 episodes shows how powerful a property One Piece is.

And why should time play any factor into a series losing interest anyway? Dragon Ball Z is still one the best known and widely loved anime in America, and it hasn't been on in Japan in over a decade!  And since One Piece is widely regarded as the spiritual successor to Dragon Ball Z, I'd have to politely disagree when you say that the future of One Piece in America is grim. I'd go so far as to say that now that it's out of 4Kids's hands, One Piece's future has never looked better. 2009 is closer than you think.

Forgive me for saying so, but you are terribly naive and a little too optimistic. Your positive spin on this defies basic logic.

One Piece "lasting 50 episodes" does not show "how powerful a property" the series is. It floundered on Fox Kids, then got picked up by Cartoon Network, lasted a while there, then dropped off the face of the planet. LOTS of shows last 50+ episodes; calling One Piece a success or a "powerful property" based on that is wrong-headed. The show needed to be a MUCH bigger success than it was; if you can't call it an out-and-out flop, the best you can say about it is that it underperformed, and didn't at all live up to the level of success 4Kids had in mind for it. If the property was performing up to the level they were expecting - or was even turning any kind of a reasonable profit for them - they wouldn't have pulled the plug. But they did. The proof is in the pudding.

As for your second bit there, I suppose time "shouldn't" play a factor into a series losing heat, but it does, absolutely. Things become drastically less popular as time goes on; once the initial broadcast run of something is over or cancelled and the fanbase wanders off, it's pretty much over. Take a look at shows like Inuyasha; sure, there's still a devoted fanbase, but it's not like that show is still the white-hot juggernaut it once was. One Piece had its chance and failed. It isn't out of 4Kids' claws until 2009 and even then... I stand by what I said. Nobody's going to want to touch it. Not even the video games sold well; we're not talking about a blockbuster property here.

Look, I like One Piece a lot; it's a fun show with great characters. I really wanted it to succeed here. It didn't, and maintaining some kind of oddball faith that the second 4Kids' license expires, perpetually cranky and unreasonable licensor Toei is going to suddenly turn around and sell the show off to Funimation or whoever and they're going to churn out giant, cheap, uncut, subtitled box sets is foolish. Ain't gonna happen.


where can i get more shows like girls bavo hahayuki maid team agent aika mouse

Oh, this is an easy one. Here are some simple instructions:

1. Walk outside
2. Approach gutter
3. Pick up first DVD that floats past
4. Enjoy

Wow, it's been a long day today.

Ah, that's better.

Here's this week's rant, courtesy of Jason Hendricks, and it's the last in a series of rants about sex and violence in anime (go ahead, applaud if you must). 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.

Two weeks ago, a rant was written about the supposed amount of sex in anime, and I said nothing. Last week there was a rant about how anime is too violent. Well, I have a couple of things to say. First of all, there is this thing called a remote, and if you don't like what you are watching, you can change the channel, or turn it off. Amazing huh? But, it gets even better. You don't have to watch anime at all. No one is making you go out and buy the latest version of Neon Genesis Evangelion. That's how things work in America, if you don't like something, you don't have too watch it or listen to it. It's one of your constitutional rights.

 Now, as for the amount of sex and violence in anime, you need to remember something very important. Anime and manga is from Japan, and Japan has a very different culture than we do. Something's that are considered normal in Japan would shock people over here, and vice versa. For example, during the feudal era, it was not uncommon for thirteen year old girls to be married off to men twice their age, or older. Now, you may think that's wrong, but in reality, it's just a cultural difference, and sometimes that manifest's itself in anime. When I first started watching anime, I was both shocked and yet interested at some of the major differences in our culture. In fact, it's probably one of the things that draws me to anime. So, when I watch anime, I try not to look at it through a Westerners eyes, I try to remeber that it's a different culture, and that I shouldn't judge it as "wrong" just because it's different.

 Now, as for the amount of violence, there's a reason for it, at least most of the time. Most anime shows that deal with war are very anti-war, and that's because Japan is an anti-war nation. Of course, you can't really blame them, they're the only country in the world to have an atomic bomb dropped on them. The reason that children and teens are used in war shows that usually involve graphic violence are too make a point. War is hell, and it affects everyone, and that is true. My cousin got killed in Iraq in October, before that, I really thought that I had no tie to the war. I was wrong. And shows like the Gundam, or the Full Metal Panic franchises try to show not only the horrors of war, but what it does to the survivors, and those show do a wonderful job of portraying that. However…

 Last week Chris Li asked us to “write letters to our congressman about the trash on shelves.” By trash, I assume he means anime. He also seams to think that kid will be harmed by Gunslinger Girls and Gundam SEED. Now, while I would agree that a twelve year old should by no means be watching Berserk, it is up to parents to choose what is and is not appropriate for their kids to watch, and this doesn't just apply to anime. There are several American television shows and movies that have just as much sex and violence as anime. Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are both incredibly brutal movies. People get ripped in half, faces get blown off, heads shot, but that's what war is like. In that way, these movies are no different form Gundam in portraying the horrors of war. Minus the giant robots, of course. So, if you want to get rid of anime, you will also have to get rid of “R” rated movies, parental advisory C.Ds, and “M” rated videogames, and that starts us down the slippery slope of censorship. This is why parents need to take responsibility for their kids. Two of my favorite shows, Lost and Battlestar Galactica, have gotten great reviews, but they have also come under fire for the amount of violence shown on a prime time show. I'm 18, I can choose what is and isn't appropriate for me, kids can't. So, instead of getting up in arms over anime, because then you have to get up in arms over everything else, take some responsibility. If something offends you, don't watch it, and if you think it's inappropriate for your kids, don't let them watch it. It's not that hard.   

 Personally, I Iove anime the way it is, and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you don't like it, don't watch it. Remeber, there's a reason God put an "off" button on your remote.          

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 next installment!

To go with our new Christmas theme, I've decided to include this temporary new segment in Hey, Answerman!: Gifts for People You Hate!

Now, it's the holidays, and everyone's frantically looking for the perfect gift, and thusly, everyone's publishing gift guides to help you shop for the people in your family or in your circle of friends.

Personally, I always find those guides a little dry. Nobody really likes reading a product catalog, right? So I've decided to put a different spin on the subject; each week, from now until Christmas, I'll include an outline of someone who might be among your family or friends, and suggest the perfect anime to confuse, horrify or downright offend them!

So let's get crackin', shall we?


Fig. 1: Ashley

Target description: Oh, Ashley. Growing up she was OK, but as the years went on and the copies of US Magazine and Teen People started piling up, she became more and more shallow and obsessed with obnoxious celebrity culture. Every year she asks for expensive designer clothes and accessories and goes out of her way to emulate anyone in a higher tax bracket than she is. She knows what anime is, and even has a Hello Kitty celphone strap, but mocks you relentlessly for watching that "nerd trash" and will delete your Adult Swim Action recordings off the Tivo whenever there's a My Super Sweet Sixteen marathon on or VH1 is running 24 hours of The Fabulous Life. She routinely describes you as a worthless dork to her chattering harpy friends, which might be true, but still; screw Ashley, right?

The perfect gift for Ashley: ADV's release of New Fist of the North Star!

If there's a polar opposite to everything in this world, then surely New Fist of the North Star is the exact opposite of everything Ashley holds dear. Not only is everyone in it depressingly ugly and terrible, it's also ridiculously violent, which will send Ashley running in terror, much like Paris Hilton whenever she encounters a K-Mart. Kenshiro is a big, muscle-bound, fuzzy-haired meathead who blows peoples' heads off with his fingers; he's the exact opposite of the kinds of willowy pretty boys Ashley swoons over. Not only is New Fist gross, ugly, and violent, it's also nowhere near as good as the original; so she's getting a pretty crappy anime to boot! For added fun, stick the DVD inside the case for some terrible romantic comedy and wrap that up; also, consider pasting Kenshiro's ugly mug over the faces in her latest copy of People. It'll be hours of hilarity!

So if you're looking to stick it to Ashley this holiday season, look no further than New Fist of the North Star! It's available in most stores now from ADV!

That's it for this week. See you next time!

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