Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Aug 31st 2007


Well, it's been a big week for the R1 anime industry, and a long week for yours truly. Thank the heavens I have an inbox full of questions to answer, right?


Hey Answerman, the information coming out about this Geneon and ADV thing seems vague to me like they're not giving us the real details. From what I understand, it's like a merger, where ADV and Geneon work together to release Geneon's products and ADV will only really handle the distribution side, and "sales" (whatever that is), and marketing. What does this mean for Geneon, will they still be in business as a major player in the anime industry in America? Is ADV just doing like what Funimation did for TOKYOPOP's anime titles and distributing existing stuff? I know what the press release said but I want to know what the real deal is and what it means for the fans.

This is a complicated question and I figured it would come up this week.

Now, according to the press releases and announcements you've seen, ADV is taking over Geneon's entire catalog; they've announced that they will be handling sales, distribution, and marketing for the company. That's a big deal. Basically, the only things Geneon appears to still be doing are licensing and some aspects of production, although I'm not sure how much production they'll be doing if they don't have their own marketing department. No real announcements have been made regarding exactly what aspects of production Geneon will still be handling. Given how much of the company was handed over to ADV in this deal, it's difficult to think that they'll be handling much of anything themselves. Why would Geneon still be making creative production decisions without the aid of a marketing team? It's more likely that ADV will be handling those things from here on out. It just makes more sense that way.

In my estimation, I don't think we'll be seeing Geneon booths at anime conventions any longer; that's all marketing, which is now being handled by ADV. I sincerely doubt ADV will be paying money to continue marketing the Geneon brand at that level of expense. Why would they do that? You'll likely start seeing ads for Geneon shows and Geneon DVDs being sold at ADV's booth, but Geneon's presence at anime conventions will very likely disappear.
If for whatever reason Dentsu decides to spend money maintaining the Geneon brand in the US after basically handing the entire company over to ADV, you can color me shocked. Other than to spare a few points on their Japanese stock price, I can't think of a good financial reason to do that, and Dentsu has stated publically in the Japanese press releases that this move was made specifically because of the increasing difficulties in the R1 anime market. They can't turn a profit, so they're bailing.

What does all this mean for the fans? Well, your Geneon DVDs will likely now have ADV logos on them. I'd be shocked if ADV didn't raid the deep Geneon catalog for shows they can release onto the market in the form of cheap thinpaks. Will ADV continue using Geneon's usual roster of ADR production houses, like Bang Zoom or New Generation Pictures? We don't know yet, but ADV already owns their own in-house production studio. At a certain point, it makes less sense to farm out the work when you can just handle it in-house. I can't say for sure one way or the other - nobody can, since there hasn't been an official statement regarding this yet - but my point is that you have to approach this with basic financial common sense and the pieces fall into place. What makes the most sense financially? That's really the question that needs to be asked.

Personally, I don't think this is a good thing for the anime industry. It's nothing against ADV; congratulations to them on their acquisition. But Geneon's looming absence as a major player in the industry will leave a crater. They were pleasant people to work with, and it's been made clear that a very large portion of Geneon USA's workforce will be losing their jobs, which is very unfortunate. Speaking as someone who works for a website that owns a magazine, Geneon would routinely bring great Japanese guests over for conventions, and would always make them available to the press for interviews; obviously that's in jeopardy now. They were a solid company to work with, and it looks like the people I dealt with most - marketing and PR - are really the ones getting the axe here, and that's sad.


Hey Answerman,

Last week you answered a question about dating girls who are in to anime, but my question is, what about dating GUYS who are in to anime?! there are plenty of cute guys at my college who like anime and i see them at our anime club but i don't know how to approach them without coming across like a fangirl or a nerd. do you have any tips for a lonely fangirl who just wants a lil otaku bishi lovin?

I'm not sure why you would write to a heterosexual male for advice on how to pick up dudes, but then again, you sound like you're actually having trouble shooting fish in a barrel so I'll do what I can to help you out.

Picking up otaku guys is easy. Here are the general qualifications you need to meet to pick up a (straight) fanboy:

1. Female

Once you've got that down, the rest is easy. Be yourself, be friendly, strike up a conversation when the moment's right, don't play hard to get, yadda yadda, all the things that make you appear available and interested. If you're friendly and outgoing around the guy you like and he reciprocates, you're on the right path. And remember, what I said last time applies to you as well: simply having one thing in common does not a solid relationship make. If you're chasing a guy and it turns out that the only thing you have in common is a love of Japanese cartoons, then there isn't enough there to build a relationship on. Friendship yes, romance no. Just keep that in mind.

If you're still having trouble after all that, though, here are a few foolproof dating tips to help you navigate the fanboy jungle and find your Purinsu Chaamingu.

1. Some fanboys can be shy when it comes to women, so consider dressing like a man; wear a fake beard, buy a few plus-sized Gundam shirts to conceal your chest, and ingratiate yourself to his friends. In a few months, when you've bonded over Mario Kart tournaments and Newtype centerfolds, find the right quiet moment and kiss him. Then pull off the beard, and reveal that you were a girl the whole time! Be careful, though; if he asks you to put the beard back on and kiss him again, you've taken it too far.

2. If you're dating a guy who's really in to lolicon, and you're over 10 years old, you're already at a big disadvantage. Consider anti-aging makeup, and a wardrobe overhaul that includes lots of frilly dresses. The bushes next to the grade school playground are an ideal spot for a first date.

3. In the fanboy world, there's nothing hotter than a girl who likes video games. If you don't like video games, just fake it. If you're no good at faking it, just buy a Super Mario costume, cut the crotch out and pose suggestively on his bed. He'll be putty in your hands.

Good luck! If any of this works and you wind up marrying the otaku man of your dreams, please don't invite me to your wedding.


I have a bit of a problem here.  For many years, my best friend and I have been very into anime and manga, and a good number of our conversations revolved around how Fullmetal Alchemist was going to end or some such thing. (not ALL our conversations, we're not that obsessed.) However, I'm beginning to feel like I'm outgrowing anime, and my friend shows no sign of such a thing.

With a few exceptions (FMA, Trigun, the early volumes of Death Note), most manga I have seen simply don't interest me.  Either the story is generic or the characters don't have any depth to them.  Even the character designs I used to like seem bland and unappealing.

On the other hand, my friend seems to be getting more and more into anime. She's always watching fansubs, reading manga, or working on a cosplay.  And that's all she wants to talk about.  I've tried interesting her in some American and European graphic novels that are more interesting, but I just can't do it.

So, do you have any suggestions for a.) a way to break her out of her anime/manga rut, or b.) a manga or anime that I can watch without wanting to die a little inside, so we could have something to talk about until she moves into other interests?

Well, it's important to remember that hobbies change, and over time we lose interest in things. Don't feel bad if your interest in anime is waning; either something will catch your eye and you'll rediscover what you loved about it in the first place, or you'll move on to something else. People experience anime burnout all the time. It's the obvious result of spending too much time focusing on one thing.

It sounds to me, however, that you and your best friend are growing apart, and the anime thing is part of a larger problem. If the only thing she ever talks about is anime and you're sick of it, that's not much of a friendship. It's you tolerating someone else's obsessive hobby.

The thing is, you're not likely to convince her that she should take a step back from the anime; people like what they like and there's very little anyone can do about that. If I were you, I'd have a conversation with her about it, and let her know how you feel. Maybe if she knows you're growing tired of anime, she'll make the attempt to find something else to discuss with you. Otherwise you risk becoming resentful toward her, or losing interest in keeping her around as a friend.

So try have a conversation about it. I find the best way to solve a problem is to confront it.





I don't have a flake this week. I... I'm not sure what to do. I guess I'll just put up an animal picture like always...




I feel so hollow now.







Our question last week was "As a fan, what do you feel the Japanese creators and R1 companies owe you? "

From reader "frong":

I don't think anime creators and licensing companies owe me, as a fan, anything in particular.  I've been watching anime for six or seven years now and have seen probably 250 shows, but obviously have not contributed to the creation, production, or distribution of any of them.  Hell, I watch 99% of my anime fansubbed as it first comes out (and occasionally raw, if no one is subbing it), so I don't even spend any money on the industry.  Why should the they owe me a thing?

The degree to which anime fans, the consumers, can demand anything is the same degree of influence the end user has over any other product on the market.  In short, money talks, as does action.  If a Japanese producer puts out a new anime on TV and it's really bad, people won't watch and the low ratings will speak for themselves.  If a US company licenses an anime and does a lousy job of dubbing it, the fans can protest by simply not buying the DVDs (see: the US release of Initial D).  Domestic companies are also more receptive than ever to fan input these days, so complaining to them verbally can have an effect, too, if done en masse.

Beyond that, everything is in the creators' hands and all our opinions are moot.  If they have both true creative skill and a business ethic that says the fans deserve a high-quality product, we get great shows.  If not, we get garbage.  That's all there is to it.  I can no more influence, say, the character design or animation quality of a Gainax show than I can the body styling or steering responsiveness of a Honda car.  In that light, I think the best approach to being an anime fan is to be a combination of a discerning consumer and a reasonable art critic.  Try to appreciate the good shows that are out there, avoid the bad ones, and keep a fair, open mind.  The industry may not owe me anything, but as long as there are plenty of high-quality shows out there (and there most certainly are) you won't often hear me complain.

Another, from Mike Burns:

What do Japanese creators and R1 anime companies owe me? Personally?

In a word, nothing.  See, I don't have to like every anime that comes out. I don't have to own every dvd that comes out. Some appeal to me, some don't. I'm pretty easy-going that way. I buy what I like, rarely watch the extras and get a box if I feel like it. A dub is nice but not a deal breaker. That's pretty much it. And I pity any one in America who thinks it's a good idea to go into anime distribution of any kind. The way more and more fans act every dvd could come with a winning lottery ticket, a gold box, and a coupon for free sex with the porn star of their choice and the kind of production values and price that would cause angels to weep at the sight of that much perfection and the fans would still come up with hundreds of reasons not to buy it.

"$20 for 5 episodes? I want 6 episodes for $10 or it's a complete rip-off." "They didn't use the vastly superior Japanese cover art for the second dvd." 'I don't like the box." "I don't like the font for the English title" "Subtitles are too big too small too white too yellow too whatever." "They didn't translate that word the way they did on my fansub and even though it means the exact same thing, my fansub is better." "There are no extras not enough extras not the extras that I know secretly exist even though everyone else says no way but I know better cause of this rumor I heard on the interweb and they're trying to rip us off."  [Insert random whine here, usually ending with "they're trying to rip us off."]

And my personal favorite from fans in Singapore: "If you don't let us illegally download the anime for free you are trying to force us to buy, and let us destroy your company in the process, we will hunt down and kill you and everyone in your family." A new standard.

So yeah. They don't owe me a damn thing. Except maybe that sex coupon thing? That'd be sweet.

From Josh White:

Honestly, the only thing I expect is to not feel like I'm constantly being milked to death.

I firmly believe in the one dollar/one vote philosophy, and want to support the things I respect, be it shampoo or Mushi-Shi.

I realize that US fandom has inflated licensing costs, but for a series to run you $140 ($20 X 7) is asking a lot from a fan no matter how much dough they rake in each week. I'm sure every fan has that series they wish they could return after picking up the fourth disc and realizing "This show ain't getting any better." Even series I have loved, like Samurai Champloo for instance, had no special features to speak of and cost more than most anime dvds.

Thankfully online rental sites are alleviating this problem but past experience can leave a bad taste in the mouth.   

On another note merchandising in America should be on par (quality wise) with Japan. If I had a quarter for every gaudy t-shirt design, lame plushy etc...but that's another topic.

Another one, from "Jared ":

Japanese creators owe fans their best effort. Of course I think this is something all actors, directors, and such should believe in. We know they are not doing anything "for us" specifically, but as long as they are giving it their best effort, I do not think fans have the right to anything else.

The R1 companies "owe" fans unedited and accurately translated content. Part of the wonder of anime and manga to me is how the culture is depicted in these shows and books. Changing or removing content for an "American" audience is simply not a valid enough reason to change a creators original concept. My college literary professor once said, "Not a single word penned by an author is without meaning." If the content has to be changed from the creator's original vision to suit a new audience, then that audience is not yet worthy of seeing that content.

Finally, from "Yotaru Vegeta ":

What do Japanese creators owe me, owe us? I don't really think they owe me anything besides some well written, well drawn anime. R1 anime companies, on the other hand, owe me some more content for my money on their DVDs. If there's some interview with the creators, cast, whatever, I want it on a DVD. I also want more episodes a disk. It's quite ridiculous to just get just two episodes a disk. With HDDVD and Blu Ray out there now, even 3 episodes seems dumb. Four should be the standard.

R1 companies also owe me more than clean openings, clean closings and artwork. Again, interviews are great content.

Here's our topic for this week:





Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.


Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I hve so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers
. People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get. I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox! Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.
* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

So check this space next week for your answers to my questions!




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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