Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, May 18th 2007


Man, am I exhausted! What a long week this has been. What better way to settle down and cool off than to answer a bunch of emails about anime?

...actually there are probably a million better ways to do that, come to think of it.

Thanks again to Matt for this week's banner.

Hey Answerman, I have noticed that R1 DVD covers are lame. Not all of them of course but plenty of them seem like they were just slapped together in photoshop or whatever. R2 DVD covers seem to look better with more stylized designs.

I'm not saying all R1 covers suck but why do they even bother changing the art at all? Why not just use the Japanese art? Also: what is the worst R1 cover you have ever seen? What about the best?

Oh good, this again.

People complain that there's a discrepancy in the artwork between R1 DVDs and R2, and while sometimes the Japanese art looks cooler (well, okay, a lot of the time), normally the covers are a little arty or esoteric and wouldn't do much to sell to someone who doesn't already know what the show's about.

So if you have a Cowboy Bebop DVD and the cover is just a stylized logo and maybe a gun or a cigarette or something, that says absolutely nothing about the content inside. Conversely, if you have the characters on the cover or some kind of action shot, you might actually move DVDs that way. It's not a guarantee, but usually R1 companies will go for something more marketable. Yeah, sometimes the R1 art looks dorky or awkward, but all you can do is blame the marketing department.

Personally, the worst DVD cover I've ever seen has got to be Bandai's hilariously terrible art for Junkers Come Here, a somewhat obscure movie they released a few years ago.



According to this cover, this is a thrilling movie about a pedantic dog who will angrily correct your pronunciation if you get his name wrong. CALL ME YOON-KERS!

On the flip side, I loved ADV's art for The Five Star Stories DVD they dropped a while back, and recently, the cover for Hellsing Ultimate volume 2 is awesome. Nothing's better than being flipped off every time you look at the case.


I really enjoy reading your column and look forward to it every week! I'm not sure if this is allowed, but I couldn't resist passing on the following site to give as a "Flake of the Week" if you don't happen to get a better one.

http://www.tsubasa-kuronikuru.com/

As you can probably see, it's some people trying to "raise money" so they can get a studio to create Tsubasa Chronicle season 3 (which got "cancelled" - there's a lot of rumours of Clamp being unhappy with the second season). Either it's a huge scam or the people in charge of this site are incredibly optomistic/naive/stupid. I know fans get all worked up but do you think this has a ghost's chance in hell of ever actually working?

No. Although this may be a first - I've never heard of American fans starting a fundraiser to put enough money together to pay for another season of a Japanese show.

These days, an online petition starts the very second anything happens at all. If someone sees a guy buying bananas at the grocery store, they'll go home and start an online petition to convince the guy to buy apples instead. Everyone ignores them.

Fundraisers are sort of a new phenomenon - Star Trek fans did it when Enterprise was cancelled, and I believe there have been a number of attempts to raise money so Universal will produce more Firefly. None of these fundraisers ever work, and neither will this one, which is especially unlikely since they'd have to not only convince the notoriously hard-assed Japanese studio to do it, they'd also somehow have to provoke CLAMP, who I assume have more money than God and probably wouldn't be swayed by a bunch of fans who put their pennies in a jar. According to the site, they're trying to raise $50,000 an episode for 26 episodes. That's 1.3 million dollars. Anime fans complain that $20 is too much for a DVD with five episodes; something tells me they're not going to raise a million dollars.

If for whatever reason Tsubasa sells like gangbusters here in the States (The first volume was recently released by Funimation), then maybe - maybe - they might produce more. That's the only scenario in which I've ever seen American fans influence the production of Japanese animation. That's why we have the Escaflowne movie, among others.

Dear Answerman,

I found one of your answers to somebody's question quite interesting because I could relate to it. I particularly had an affinity with the paragraph:

"I find it difficult to associate with even the people interested in anime. I cannot develop the fervor which most seem to generate for it; I'm forced regularly to shield my eyes from the intense, phosphorous-like burning of their otaku souls."

I gotta admit, I was quite an enthusiast back then, but I've settled down a bit now. Yes, I still like anime, I watch it whenever I have freetime. However, I would only ever watch it in the comfort of my humble abode, whereas my friend actually attends a screening at the local university where groups of 'otakus' go there to watch anime. I also don't possess that "phosphorus-like burning of otaku souls"...

But if you like anime (or/and manga), are you automatically considered an otaku? Are different types of otaku?

Short answer: No, then Yes.

Not everyone who watches or enjoys anime is an otaku. Otaku is the word we use for hardcore anime fans. Think about it this way: not everyone who watches Star Trek is a "Trekkie" (I'm alluding to Star Trek a lot this week, you'll have to forgive me). If someone happens to watch Star Trek on the weekends, that doesn't automatically make him a superfan who attends conventions, changes his name to Chekov and makes embarassing fan films. Hell, they might not even be a "fan" - just someone who likes the show.

Anime is no different. If someone records Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on their DVR and watches it once a week, they simply enjoy the show. If they purposefully watch a lot of anime, they're a fan. If they watch all the anime they can possibly get their hands on, attend conventions, buy figures, cover their walls with anime posters, and argue about anime on the internet, they're an otaku. The lines are pretty clear.

You seem like you're simply a fan, and that's fine. Casual consumption is a great way to go.

As for your second question there, in America, "otaku" only refers to hardcore anime fans. We don't use the word for anything else. In Japan, however, the word can be used to describe anyone who has an unhealthy obsession with something; there are military otaku, architecture otaku, soccer otaku, you name it, someone's probably an otaku for it.



I recently have gone through Seven Seas' series to see if there are any worth checking out, aside from Ballad of a Shinigami and Kashimashi nothing at all appeals to me. But then I clicked on one of their future releases called Nymphet and I was shocked. How can a title like this get liscenced for release in the U.S and Canada. Just read the story outline.

*It's the cute ones you've gotta watch out for...*

23-year old school teacher Aoki Daisuke has a huge problem. One of his precocious students, Kokonoe Rin, has the hots for him?! Yes, mischievous Rin has proclaimed herself to be Daisuke-sensei's girlfriend and is now on a warpath to win him over or cause him to lose his job...whichever comes first!

It just sounds so wrong!! A series like this does not make the manga/anime industry look good. I know Geneon is releasing when they cry which is controversial also but as I read here I think before its really a fan only release. But this book might end up in book stores and what if a kid picks it up and takes it to their parent because the cover does make it look like a average series. The publisher said it will be shrink wrapped but um at my bookstores people take that off and read it anyways. Whats your take on this release? I personally think it should *not* be released

You know, I remembered hearing about this title back when our lolicon wars were raging, but I never really looked it up; your synopsis there doesn't mention how old the Rin character is, so I had to look it up.

She's in 3rd grade. And apparently this manga is pretty popular with the loli crowd so I have to assume it's unsubtle about what the point of the whole thing is.

Barf.

While I can't possibly endorse this release - the whole concept makes my flesh crawl - so far, not even the hardcore gay porn you find in manga aisles has managed to cause any kind of a stir. This is - I think, anyway - the first lolicon title that's explicit enough to be released here with shrinkwrap, so the potential for danger is probably higher than it is with yaoi manga, but for right now I'm not sure I'd be panicked about this release.

Is it gross and wrong? Yes. Do I wish Seven Seas would just leave this particular Pandora's Box alone and maybe consider not releasing comic book kiddie porn? Of course. But they will anyway. Maybe we'll get lucky and nobody will buy it and they'll stop barking up the pedo tree, but for now, we just have to hold on and hope that this is silently put into only a few markets, disappears, and is then never heard about again.





People who get sincerely upset about the stupid animal pictures I post make me very sad.

what the hell is your problem? Why are posting pictures of not cute (aka ugly) animals. First the Kiwi bird and then the gazelle, whats next an anteater? Maybe your had beer googles on when you posted those pics, so i
guess i could forgive you. But no more uglies.

Your wish is my command.



Have fun with that one!





No winner this week, but I was unavailable for part of the week last week and haven't sifted through all the rants yet. There might be a gem in there I haven't seen, so don't sweat it if you submitted one and didn't win this time.

It comes courtesy of Anna Park. 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.


Due to the positioning of my bookcase relative to my bed, the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning is usually my anime and manga collection. It's not particularly large, as I'm a relative newcomer to the world of anime (and have only very recently acquired the means to begin purchasing it), but like a Latin class consisting of only eight people, it's small enough that I'm very familiar with its contents and history. There's the complete collection of Earth Girl Arjuna, which I snagged at a convention for a 30% discount, my full set of Fullmetal Alchemist DVDs, which I've just recently assembled and which has since become my pride and joy, the Matantei Loki Ragnarok artbox plus the first two volumes which I got for $9.99 and really must remember to fill up sometime soon, and my shiny collector's edition of the Appleseed movie. As my mind's eye continues to rove along this shelf, it comes to my manga; the FMA, the Marmalade Boy, the NANA, the Saiyuki, and the ten volumes of Shaman King I dutifully purchased despite the oft-infuriating censorship.

And yet, I sometimes think to myself as I tie back my hair and wipe off my glasses before seeking the elusive clean t-shirt, why? Why have I spent hundreds of dollars that could have gone towards much needed computer parts, software, art supplies, or even my college savings, on DVDs and graphic novels that, with the exception of a beloved few, just sit on my shelf in their neat order, gathering dust? And my collection barely takes up one shelf; members of anime forums all over the internet proudly boast entire shelving units filled with hundreds of these DVDs. Wow, I'll think as I scan through their collection, noting their tastes and what they have that I want to buy. But sometimes another thought strikes me; how often do these people actually watch the DVDs they've bought, or re-read their stacks of manga? And if you're not going to watch it over and over, why buy it?

I can understand buying something because of fan devotion; my long-running commitment to the politely and irritatingly edited Shaman King manga attests to that. But surely someone can't have upwards of 1000 DVDs and be a rabid fan of every single series represented. Obviously, most large collections had to have been started years ago, back when anime was not as easily accessible and the casual fan was forced to buy things if he or she wanted to watch them, but still, in this age of anime channels and Netflix, people continue to buy box sets of entire series, seemingly just for the purpose of sitting them alphabetically on a shelf and taking pictures to put on the internet. I suppose it's just the same as collecting movies, albeit a bit more expensive, but although I've often said to myself "I'd really love to watch Spider-Man again right now" or "Hey, let's put in The Two Towers", I can't say I've ever had an urge to rewatch episode 12 of Arjuna, moving as it was, or plunk down for the epically hysterical 37th episode of FMA. Ironically, the first two features were purchased by my parents for the good of the family, whereas the latter I bought with my own hard-earned money. Go figure.
 
I'm not saying that buying anime is a waste of money that could be spent on more productive things; most hobbies fall into that category, and at any rate, I just spent $50 on the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 1 box set, which I know I'm not going to rewatch more than once or twice. I'm also one of the thousands of people who preordered their LE Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu DVD almost the moment it was announced (although in all fairness those LEs come with some pretty nifty stuff). My future purchases will also probably include 2nd GIG, Air, Cowboy Bebop, and NANA (which will hopefully be licensed), all of which will just end up neatly organized on my shelf as expensive trophies that Iíve almost forgotten are capable of producing light and noise. It seems like such a waste when I think about it, and yet about half my monthly budget is set aside for buying anime. Am I purchasing these series just in case I feel like watching them over in the future? Do I want some sort of physical record of series that I've watched and enjoyed? Or is some part of me just trying to compete with all those people on the internet who have bigger and more diverse shelves than I do?

Of course, this is an awfully big thought to have just after waking up; usually what I'm thinking as I gaze at my anime shelf around 8 AM is "Damn....That five-volume gap in the Loki box is really bugging me....I should order the rest."

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

That said, we've had a lot of complaints about the rant section lately - generally, we're getting rants over and over again based on the same few topics: fansubs, dubbing, lolicon, and "I hate anime fans who do [X]". I'm just as sick of those as you guys are, so as an incentive to write better rants, here's what we're doing.

What I want are rants - or essays - or whatever you'd like to write, really (please don't get hung up on the dictionary definition of "rant" while you're writing) - that are about subjects OTHER than one ones listed above. I want well-thought out, careful writing. I want subjects we haven't covered a million times.

Here's what I don't want:

* Responses to previous rants about lolicon/dubbing/fansubs/anime fans who suck a lot
* 200 words about how awesome Dragonball is
* New rants about lolicon/dubbing/fansubs/anime fans who suck a lot
* Anything that's really, really boring.

The next rant I publish will
either conform to these guidelines or we simply won't have one that week. Rather than always publishing a rant - which I've been doing in the past, even if the rant was awful - I'll simply skip the section. Sound good?

Well, there's more. The author of the next rant to be published - which will only happen if it's good enough and follows these guidelines - will receive a prize box chock full of anime and manga straight from my own collection. I won't announce exactly what the prize is, but suffice to say, it's an incentive to do your best.

The rules as they are won't change:

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 500 words, and use proper spelling and grammar. Internet speak, like 'lol' or 'u' instead of 'you' will not be tolerated.
5. If you send me something that's already been published on your blog or on another site, I'm just going to delete it. Likewise, requests that I link to your blog or another site if I print your rant will also result in your email being sent straight to the trash.


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





I sat down to write the column last month and decided I was pretty sick and tired of staring at Howl. So I cracked open Photoshop to craft a new banner for Hey, Answerman!, but the inspiration just didn't come!

What's the obvious solution? Ask my readers to do it for me!

Here's the deal. You take this banner:



And, using those same dimensions, make something crazy or creative or funny and submit it. Each week I'll pick a new one and post it. You don't have to use any specific anime character (in fact, you don't HAVE to use an anime character at all); go wild! Animated banners are A-OK, too.

A few rules:

1. Don't use real people in the banner, no matter how famous they may be.
2. No profanity.
3. The banner must have the Hey, Answerman! logo in it featured prominently, although you may change the font to whatever you like.
4. Submissions must use the same dimensions as the current banner, in terms of pixel width and height.
A little bigger or smaller is OK, but don't go overboard.

Every week a new banner will be chosen and posted at the top of the column, along with a credit so the creator can bask in his or her amazing fame and glory. What's the prize for winning, you may ask? Well, every week a new banner will be chosen and posted at the top of the column, along with a credit so the creator can bask in his or her amazing fame and glory!

Email your submissions to answerman (at) animenewsnetwork.com. Good luck! Have fun!

See you all next week!


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