- Dragonball Z s2
- Kamisama Kiss
Last week on your column you said "Nausicaä is one of the best comics you have ever read". Nausicaä is not a comic. It manga. You should know better, just like anime is not "cartoons", it is anime. Different from cartoons. Please be more careful in the future.
While I understand this mindset, and can see why people argue this way, I've never really felt that it was all that horrible to call a manga a comic book and call an anime a cartoon. When I said what I did about Nausicaä, it was actually a conscious choice - saying "this is the best manga I've ever read" restricts it to just the manga category, but it is in fact one of the best graphic novels I've ever read period, so I used the term "comics" to denote that.
While I understand the importance of being precise with your speech, honestly, "anime" just means "Japanese cartoons". People these days know what you mean when you say anime, but getting angry about people saying "Japanese cartoons" smacks of mindless elitism to me. The word "anime" does not imbue these things with some kind of foreign coolness, it's just an easy catch-all. It's the same with manga - there's really nothing wrong with calling them comics, or "Japanese comics" or whatever. Yeah, I guess it's "more correct" to say anime and manga but I often get the feeling when people "correct" you on this sort of thing, it's less about being precise or actually believing that the person saying "Japanese comics" doesn't know that they're "supposed" to say manga, it's more about being a bit pedantic and elitist.
But that's just my take on it.
Hey Answerman, what are your favorite japanese musicians? I assume you listen to a lot of j-rock and j-pop and anime themes like the rest of us and I am wondering which are your favorites.
I actually don't really listen to a lot of Japanese music. My favorite Japanese bands are POLYSICS and Melt Banana. Otherwise I prefer music that's being sung in a language I actually speak and can understand.
It's nothing against Japanese music - a lot of it sounds pretty great. I just prefer to be able to understand the lyrics. I'm the sort of person who likes catchy songs, stuff that gets stuck in my head, something I can sing along with. I can sing along with a Japanese song but it's basically meaningless - it's a tune, and I'm stammering through a bunch of words I don't really understand. It's fine for a while but I'd rather listen to Radiohead than L'arc~en~Ciel. Just a personal preference.
There's a massive contingent of fans out there though that just adore Japanese music and are really, really dedicated to it. A quick look around the internet should yield you a wealth of communities that will be able to point you to hundreds of great Japanese bands.
It was only a matter of time. I keep telling myself that.
Dear "Answerman" Zac Bertschy, I am writing to tell you about a presidential candidate named Dr. Ron Paul. He is the pro-anime candidate and his policies and beliefs will be welcomed by all anime fans, I believe anime fans will find their candidate of choice in Dr. Ron Paul who is against the big government and in favor of anime. Please tell your readers that if they plan on voting that Dr. Ron Paul will keep anime safe for all.
Although I already know Ron Paul is a racist libertarian lunatic whose feverent internet supporters annoy the living crap out of me, it's even more obnoxious that you're now trying to appeal even more to the "misanthropic self-interested teen" crowd by directly targeting anime fans. "The Pro-Anime Candidate" gave me a hearty laugh, though.
I think this hilarious animation sums up my response to your letter accurately:
Here's last week's question:
First, from Chris Barus:
At times, almost anyone thinks they have an idea that would have improved whatever anime (or anything else) they're watching. I don't belive that I (or most others) could do a better job of things, but I also don't think that ideas like that are all worthless. I myself feel that I have a talent for editing, revising, improving on something that already exists in some form. But as for doing the whole job of a director? Overseeing the actual creation (or adaptation) of same? As a practical matter, I wouldn't know where to begin, or what that really encompasses, and I don't expect most people do. But assuming that's a non-issue, the question is mainly one of vision, and the ability to communicate it.
"Do you think you'd be good at writing or directing an anime series? Why or why not?"
Long answer? Keep reading. Short answer to follow.
Vision: Clearly, a forum-goer or fanfiction writer who proclaims "if kenpachi ever gets his bankai hed be the strongest one ever, i write a story about what happened when he gets his bankai and kills ichigo check out this link on fanfiction.net (i'll have my own website soon, i have alot of other storys)" is not going to author the next Millennium Actress or FLCL. One must evolve a more distinct, more personal sense of style, as well as some fresh substance to apply it to.
Communication: Assuming you've suddenly become a director, you'll have to communicate a heckuva lotta detail to the actual animators and VA's, or there's no point to having your own ideas about it at all. The animation directors may decide on the visual style from moment to moment, but you're in charge of the overall feel of the show, and it won't come through unless the team(s) creating it understand your vision thoroughly, or at least thoroughly enough to move in the right direction at any given moment of production. Few people have, I think, enough skill in the areas of understanding what others understand, managing what they need to know to do their jobs, understanding the subject matter the way they do, and helping them to understand it exactly as you do. You need to share your vision with the staff, and (via that staff) with the audience.
In other words, a director is certain breed of professional artist, and not all people are artists, even fewer both artistic and professional. As for writing? There are different practical requirements, but the basics are the same: coherent vision and good communication skills.
I get the feeling many (or most?) of the people who do have these skills are already applying them elsewhere, or at least not in the realm of anime fandom.
I suppose that's the key, or one of them- once anime becomes your job, it's not a hobby anymore. Someone who is currently an anime fan views it in a much different way than a writer or a director, or someone in the much fabled 'industry' would view it. It really has to be taken in from a much more professional, 'businesslike' perspective. There's plenty of room to have fun with it (FLCL's director Tsurumaki says they used robots in the show 'because robots are cool'), but you can bet that the nitty-gritty of it (there's quite a lot more to FLCL * than its cool visuals and zany attitude, and it was certainly very carefully designed to be that way) is much more difficult and demanding than you know.
Fanfiction is really just fanservice, more often self-service, and has little or nothing to do with writing a script for a television program or movie. A little bit like people who produce fanart- good practice for building the actual technical drawing skills, perhaps, but different in scale, quantity, detail, format, and process, from actually being a key animator.
So, could I do a good job as a writer or director of anime?
A definitive 'maybe not'.
(*Did you know that the big blue robot in episode 2 of FLCL was
[a] based, aesthetically speaking, on a tea-kettle, and
[b] probably a reference to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?)
From Erik Gerardo:
I'd be good to write an anime series because I have seen just about every genre of anime thats out there, from your harem shonen/bishonen titles to the plain crazy
and wacky. So maybe I'd be writing a script full of cliches and hackeneyed plots. Although thats what people want right? That doesn't mean however that I can't come up with anything original.
I could write about a boy genius whos goal in life is to meet his favorite inventor but it turns out that the person he admires is a criminal mastermind bent on destroying the planet we live on and has plans to create a new world using his crazy-ass inventions to fulfill his selfish desires, and its up to this boy and a rag tag of misfits to stop him.
Then again thats not very original isn't it.
From Z.G. Darrels:
Would I be good at write or Directing an anime? No. I can, in all honesty say I would not.
I can say this, as I actually tried writing my own thing once, albeit, this was more in line with tokusatsu such as Masked Rider or Power Rangers. It was to be a parody of the genre that would poke fun of the obvious, such as the color coded clothes, epic scarves, the attacked cities ability to regenerate itself attack after attack, and the “Where did they get giant robots?” angle. it failed. HARD. One problem, I couldn't decide on who the target audience was. An older audience means I wouldn't have to write my characters as strictly, putting one or two into that ratings grabbing “dark gray area”, not to mention I could be a little looser in the language. The younger audience, on the other hand, would allow me to think of other ways to do a scene, try to duck and dodge through the censors, and really flex my “creative” muscle, much like the DC animated Universe, notably for Batman;TAS, or Justice League Unlimited.
Another failure came from the characters themselves. Very generic, and very boring. With the main five “Teens“ (After all, this thing WAS making fun of Power Rangers or Modern Era riders) you had the “hilariously” absent minded high school boy lead who was still obsessed with the Ranger type shows, the really cute best friend neighbor girl who has the tendency to hit the main character during his more dense moments, the obligatory third friend who just kinda stands there, maybe having an episode dedicated to showing how he has SOME use, and never brought up again, and then the two I hated, The “I'm so DEEP and MYSTERIOUS, I don't need anyone” sorta guy, then the “optimistic” Mary Sue with a tragic past, but Oh, She SOUNDS cheery, but if you listen to what she says… Comedy… gold.
The twists were even worse than the characters themselves, and also walk the thin line between pastiche and plagiarism. The main character (Who had an evil twin mind you) was a clone of his grandfather, a world renowned scientist who built a machine that could only open with his EXACT biological signature. The brooding jerk was a clone of his father, who was an assistant to the scientist, as well as the first Big Bad. The Cheerfully-depressed Mary Sue was in a car accident, and was really a cyborg built by what was implied to be Evil Origination SHOCKER, from the First Masked Rider.
The final nail in the coffin, and most important one…. I cant write, both grammatically and, humor wise. This random passage would be a prime example of this-.
Shutaiyo brushed off the attack. “It is always such a pain to deal with clichés. Very well, you have forced my hand on this matter.” He reaches behind his back and pulls out a small box. He opens it to reveal the most terrifying weapon to go against, an object that would make nations tremble, people lose control of there bowel movements, and make even the gods themselves quiver in fear. Indeed what he had was… “Holy crap! He has an eye patch!” Zan blurted out in fear. “An eye patch?” Barry said at rather odd ends. “So? What's the big deal?” Zan, shocked at Barry's lack of faith berates him. “So?! He's Invincible!” Barry said nothing, too disturbed at Zan's thoughts. “You saw what it did to Big Boss. He was able to pull out a rocket launcher out from NOWHERE!” Barry, regaining his ability to speak turns to Zan and asks “And you know what happened to Big boss?” “He lost the national surplus to a one night stand?” “Other than that?” “Oh... No I don't…” “This.” Barry pulls out a spray can and a match. Shutaiyo looks down at Barry “What do you think your doing?” Barry lights the match “Proving Soccer moms right about Video games?”
A Metal Gear joke.That was the best of my humor, a random reference in a non subtle joke that would have been discarded for a younger audience.
Directing, is a far, far simpler reason. I lack vision… Well, creative vision. I can see just fine, but regardless all action scenes I thought up basically involved three actions. Thrust\Punch, parry, side, duck. Repeat that five or six times, and that would be the typical action scene. I cant really think of awe inspiring scenes, and have no idea WHERE I would take things. I also have a bit of a problem getting things across, and story boards? My drawing capabilities are so bad you couldn't tell them apart from a pre scholars. Also, if I DO think of something, I have trouble using my ideas in any significant ways. I also always end things way to abruptly. Kinda like now.
From Evan Bourgalt: