Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, May 9th 2008



What a great week this has been! It's all sunshine and roses as the kids say. I am officially in a good mood.

A little excessive pimping: keep an eye on the site for an exciting announcement soon
. We have something big coming down the pipe.

Oh, and one confession: I screwed up last week. "Journalistically" is a word. It's a terrible word and sounds dumb but it is a word, as was pointed out to me by many angry readers. I will now pee on my own shoes and light myself on fire.


I am a big fan of Detective Conan or as it is called here "Case Closed". It used to be on cartoon network but they took it off a long time ago and it didnt seem to get to popular. I buy the DVDs but why didnt the show become popular when it is so good and addicting?

A variety of reasons, really. First, the show was too childish for Adult Swim and too violent for Toonami. Ultimately it's a show about a smart kid solving crimes a'la Encyclopedia Brown, but the crimes are usually bizarrely violent, so they chose to put the series on Adult Swim where the audience would likely tune out rather than face the wrath of concerned parents calling in to complain that their kid was just watching a show where a boy detective solves the case of the decapitated housewife.

It never really had a great shot at finding a solid audience, so it withered on the vine. It doesn't help that the show has kind of a bland visual look and the episodes kind of blur together thanks to the drab color palette (not to mention the entertaining but repetitive procedural storylines), so there isn't a lot to help it stand out. It's not flashy nor is it driven by action like Ghost in the Shell, doesn't have a gripping serial narrative like Fullmetal Alchemist and doesn't rely on shonen tournament fighting structure, so it's kind of the odd man out. I never really expected the show to catch on here but you have to give Funimation credit for trying, and they are still releasing the show on affordable DVDs with high episode counts (although even 9 episodes per set or so barely makes a dent in the series' staggering 500+ episodes).



Dear Answerman,
With the new speedracer movie and the robotech movie and the eva movie and all the other anime movies coming out i had a thought; why are there no Japanese versions of American cartoons.

Well, there aren't many American versions of Japanese cartoon properties either; Hollywood has recently begun mining anime (perhaps because they're running out of comic books), but up until now, we really only had a handful of American versions of anime, either animated or live-action (live-action Fist of the North Star, anyone?). Whether or not most of those American movies based on anime series ever actually get made remains to be seen as well - that Evangelion movie is probably never going to happen, for instance.

That said, there are
a few anime versions of American shows. Take this scene from the short, old, forgotten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anime:



The fact of the matter is, it's usually just cheaper to import American movies and TV shows and dub them into Japanese. Here's an example:



Rather than having to mount an entirely new production - unless there's a lot of money to be made - importing another country's entertainment is generally going to be cheaper and easier than remaking it.

There's another small consideration here, at least when it comes to American live-action remakes of Japanese cartoons - America's film industry is much larger and much richer (financially) than Japan's is. Dropping $150 million on a live-action remake of Akira isn't as dicey a prospect as a Japanese studio spending $20 million (which is a gigantic budget for a Japanese film, either live-action or animated) to try and remake Iron Man for a Japanese
audience, especially since Japanese audiences are just as likely to turn out in droves for the American version of the film.


The other day, me and some friends/fellow anime fans got together to watch some shows & movies and talk. Somewhere along the line, we got into a conversation about the worst dub ever. One member of our group swears that it's Poke'mon. But the rest of us think there's something worse. (I for one hate 4Kids' version of One Piece with the blazing fury of a thousand suns.) Other contenders are Cardcaptors, the original dub of Dragon Ball Z from the mid nineties, Sailor Moon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. It's a fairly old topic among our group and we'd like it finally settled. What do you think is the worst dub ever? Which one of us right? Or is there something even worse out there that fans should be aware of and warned of?

There are many bad dubs and if you were to include the entire history of dubbed anime, I'm not sure many of the dubs you're talking about would even make a top 10 list.

That said, I'll restrict this discussion to dubs made for television, since that's what your discussion seems to focus on.

I've made my plain hatred for the 4Kids One Piece dub very clear in this column before; it's hard to top something that misguided, that terrible. But Cardcaptors really challenges it in terms of not only being a terrible dub wherein the few Japanese names they actually kept were mispronounced (I'm usually not a stickler on this sort of thing but every single character in the series refers to Sakura as "SUCKOORUH"), but also a complete misrepresentation of what the show actually was.
There's something jarring about watching a show that used to be about a girl edited into being about a boy who was a supporting cast member in the original version. I get it, they were trying to launch an action-adventure franchise, but the show ran only 70 episodes; it's not like they had a lot of options to keep the thing running for years like any successful kids' franchise needs to when they were hacking out entire episodes of a series that had long since completed. None of the creative decisions made any sense at all.

Say what you will about the original Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball dubs, they didn't take the liberties that Cardcaptors did with the storyline. The 4Kids version of One Piece is the only one that really comes close. Then again, I haven't seen the Fox Kids' version of Escaflowne since it originally aired, so I could be wrong.




ALL CAPS COMPLAININ'!

NO MORE RABBITS OR CATS POST DOGS

DOGS RULE

I REFUSE EAT IT SUCKER


I like dogs, though. Maybe next time.




Here's last week's question:



SPOILER WARNING: Shigofumi, Gilgamesh, Death Note, The Wallflower


First, from "hounddog":

Shigofumi served up my most recent ending disappointment.

Original ending: happy, fluffy, the two halves are (somehow and without coherent explanation) allowed to live on. Oh, and the strong, stoic lead cries a lot. Gimme a break!

My ending: rocks fall, everyone dies. Simple, clean - hey, room for a sequel. Imagine how much mail she'll be delivering now!




From "BChasm":

As one of those whose letters you selected for inclusion, I have to say this straight out:  I don't really want to rewrite the ending of Gilgamesh, in a way different from the film-makers.

I wanted THEM to do it.  While watching the show, I was honestly intrigued by how the story unfolded; the imagination displayed right up until the ending was marvelous.  If I could tell a story that way, I'd tell my own stories and I'd be a thousandaire today.

That said, how would I rewrite the ending?  Well, naturally, this contains spoilers.

Hmm.  Well, during the final battle, the life-form that Kiyoko was transforming into would finally flower; the resultant release of energy--combined of both our world and the Gilgamesh world--would nullify the energies of both Gilgamesh and Orga.  As Kiyoko rose into the sky, it would roll back into its natural blue state.  The weapons that Kazmatsuri was using would likewise simply stop working

Unable to continue the fight using their powers, both Orga and Gilgamesh would attempt to continue using more conventional means, ie, fists. 

Then, the Countess, Kazmatsuri and Enkidu (if he really needed to come back) would realise that this constituted a second chance for the world--all the world, not just one faction or another.  They would stop the fighting (heck, Kazmatsuri's could heroically sacrifice himself.  It would prove some hidden decency that I suspected was there anyway). 

Building on the bridge that Kiyoko and Uno forged in their relationship, when they were simply people and not members of a side, Orga and Gilgamesh put the past behind them and pledge to work to rebuild this new world, pledging as well to avoid the mistakes of the past.
 
The End.
 
Now you see why I'm not a professional writer....


From Alex Bower:

Cowboy Bebop: Make me cry less. Four tissue boxes and three tubs of Ben and Jerry's later I'm still carrying that weight. Literally.
 
Evangelion: Give me an ending not requiring a Ph.D. in "whatthe#%@&ology" to comprehend.
 
Berserk: For the love of God Hand, have a season two! I need insane necropheliac blood pixies!
 
Death Note: Zombie L kicks Light in the scrotum.
 
Pretty much every shonen ever made: Actually have an ending.
 
Excel Saga: Have a hundred more episodes like the last. Please?
 
Fullmetal Alchemist: Definitively answer whether Winry is more like Ed's girlfriend or sister. I need to know if enjoying this dojin is wrong or really wrong.
 
Inuyasha: End with an official tally of how many times the phrases "full-fledged demon", "lecherous monk", and "INUYASHA!" are uttered. For each time, donate a penny to better script condensation. The problem solves itself.
 
Grave of the Fireflies: The bomb pops in mid-air and puppies and rainbows fly out. Everyone comes back to life and dances around with sparklers and American flags.


From "Allie":

While I don't necessarily believe that "weak" is the appropriate word to describe the ending of Escaflowne, I definitely wish the viewers had been left with more hope about what the future held for Van and Hitomi. Despite their sweet goodbye, Hitomi's words of "I'll never forget you, even when I'm old" sound ominous and far too conclusive (not to mention contradicting of everything else she says prior to it, such as her confession to Van, her love for Fanelia, hinting at staying much longer). While one can certainly appreciate the end scene of Hitomi seeing Van on the rocks, the fact that no one else notices and the fact that he vanishes so abruptly to me indicates that he's more of a memory or a spectre there. While I understand that it was inevitable for her to return home (she's only 15, she has family, friends, school and a life waiting for her back on earth), the Van Hitomi storyline, one of the most fundamental parts of the show, is too unfinished. Rather than change the ending entirely and have her stay, I'd propose this little scene tacked on to the end: (Pardon the writing, I'm an animator, so I tend to describe the shots rather than write artistically).

(Crossfade from the final shot of Gaea and the moon in the sky) It's nighttime in Fanelia. The city is beautiful; completely rebuilt since we last saw it, indicating a definite passage of time. We close in on the castle and pan up. A man in tight beige pants and a white top stands at one of the higher balconies of the castle, admiring the city below. As the camera cuts closer, we realize that it's obviously Van, four or five years after we last saw him. His shirt lies slightly open at the top, revealing a familiar pendant strung around his neck. He looks pensive, but very much at peace. Suddenly the pendant begins to glow. He looks down at it in confusion but a familiar noise in the distance catches his attention instead. His face reflects blue for a second. After a pause, he breaks out into a huge smile. Wordlessly, he dashes offscreen. We cut to a long shot of Fanelia, the pillar of light clearly visible. Fade slowly to black.

I know it's still a little ambiguous, as we never do see who lands there, but I think to actually show Hitomi back again would take away from it. To me it's subtle but still more satisfying than being left with the idea that she never plans to go back.

From Ben Jonas:

Here's an obscure one for you:
My ending to "If I See You in My Dreams TV" (forgive me- it's been two years since I last saw this inconclusive piece of trash):

In the final episode, Masuo is reassigned to work in Hakata by his boss (furious over him making moves on his daughter, Miho). As he boards the train (having already bid a heartbreaking farewell to Miho), Nagisa catches up to Masuo in order to say to goodbye. As the doors close, instead of him sobbing over having lost two girlfriends (like in the original ending), he finally shows some spine, grabs Nagisa, and pulls her over onto the train. The two embrace in a very passionate kiss. As the train leaves the station and Nagisa asks where they're going, Masuo simply answers- "As far away from here as possible".

From "M":

Oh, this is a fun question.  My greatest complaint with anime stories in general is their tendency to not actually ever end.  A story is supposed to have setup, development, and denouement, right?  Not so in Japan, apparently.  Far too many anime do a middling to excellent job at setup and development, and then conspicuously fail to bring that development to any kind of logical or cohesive conclusion. Prime examples of this are Ranma ½ and Initial D (for which latter my only explanation is that the creator must have suddenly run of ideas or funding).  But the lack-of-ending that irks me most is that not present in Yamatao Nadeshiko Shichi Henge.  Perfect Girl EvolutionThe Wallflower.  Whatever you want to call it.  After 24 episodes of amusement, parody, and fairly decent character development (well… relatively fairly decent), the show comes to a quasi-conclusion, and then proceeds to wallow in the purgatory of “did this or did this not accomplish anything at all as a story?”  So, instead of trying to pull together vague loose ends that, honestly, in a show as outrageously ridiculous as this, really could have been left flying in the breeze, (Who cares why the aunt is an unabashed philanderer? Why does she have to have some kind of emotional reason for wanting Sunako to turn into a lady?  Why do we have to ruin Sunako's charm as a beautiful but creepy girl who can't stand being around dazzling people by giving her some emo complex about wanting to make her aunt happy but not wanting to abandon her creepy ways?  Why does an otherwise cracktastic show need to take a fatal stab at being deep and of substance?), I vote that we stick to the parody, the crack, and the ridiculous all the way through the ending.  And I vote we have an ending, because while a “development reaches minor climax but nothing ground shaking and then life goes on, presumably with similar antics to the preceding and assuredly reaching the goal toward which this whole series has been leisurely frolicking, although we're not going to show you that part” type ending can be made to work, it's just not satisfying (I'm looking at you, Fruits Basket and Ouran High.).  Therefore, without further ado, my preferred ending to Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge:

Oba-chan comes home, suddenly demanding that Suanko-chan be ready and ladylike for a grand gala two days hence.  Suanko-chan is unwilling to meet said demands and expresses such with her characteristic horror-movie inspired fervor.  (No changes from original last episode yet.)  Oba-chan threatens and cajoles and talks about how important it is to her that Suanko-chan attend this party, how much fun they'll have, etc.  Sunako-chan quiets down, Oba-chan takes that as a “yes,” and leaves.  With Oba-chan gone, Suanko-chan (getting emo – and chibi) says that it's impossible for her to be a lady like her aunt, and the others ask why.  She admits that she doesn't think she could ever fit in to high society because she's so ugly (See, last episode?  We can have a little emo.  The whole reason Suanko-chan got into horror in the first place was low self-esteem.  Because that makes sense.) and Kyouhei whacks her on the head.  He tells her (in typically insensitive, impatient Kyouhei fashion) that she's not ugly, that nobody thinks she's ugly, and that he actually thinks she's really beautiful when she's not being totally creepy.  Suanko-chan reverts out of super-chibi to stare at him, and Kyouhei, realizing he has just said something possibly incriminating, reacts appropriately.  The rest of the group nobly passes up the ripe opportunity to tease Kyouhei and agrees with him that Sunako-chan really is lovely, even when she's just wearing sweats, as long as she's not being seriously creepy.  Noi-chi especially tries to convince her that she's beautiful and that she shouldn't be afraid to show herself off, that the party could be a lot of fun, that getting all dressed up is really highly enjoyable, etc.  Suanko-chan, still reeling from being told that she's beautiful multiple times in succession, says that even if she's not ugly, she still likes horror movies and accompanying paraphernalia.  Kyouhei, claiming that he doesn't care either way if she goes to the party or not, asks why she can't just go dressed up however she wants.  The more fashion conscious members of the group (read: everyone but Sunako-chan and Kyouhei) seize on the idea that goth/horror can be done in high fashion (see episode 5) and proceed to dress Suanko-chan up in a melee of dust clouds and chibi.  They present the finished product in front a gargantuan multi-way mirror, where she is forced to admit that she looks both horror-ific and spectacular (horrortacular?).  Suanko-chan proclaims herself the Beautiful Queen of Horror (or something more appropriately wordy) and, in another flurry of dust clouds and chibi and lights that could feasibly be signals to or from Hell, assaults her friends.  The Goth Loli Sisters notice the light, head to the house, are slammed into the wall by Suanko-chan and co as they head out (as a plot device, they are conveniently obnoxious contrivances throughout the entire show, therefore I agree with the original story that they can and should be used in their habitual role in the last episode.). 

Cut to the party, where Suanko-chan shows up on Kyouhei's arm, both of whom are dressed to the nines in gothglam (because Kyouhei would probably actually be willing to dress up like something out of an artsy horror movie), and surrounded by the rest of the gang, all in fashionably semi-goth versions of their own particular styles.  They take the party by storm, all the relationship ends are tied up in a suitably light-hearted fashion (Takenaga and Noi-chi flirt like a couple of embarrassed high-school sweethearts; Ranmaru is seen being abnormally exclusive with his omiai fiancée, Tamao; Yuki is enjoying a gaggle of giggling girls, as usual; Sunako-chan and Kyouhei are being bored and beautiful together, and conspicuously avoiding admitting that there's anything at all going on between them.), and just as Kyouhei and Sunako-chan are getting sick of the crowds, the Goth Loli Sisters, still following the Signal from Hell, show up and provide a suitable distraction for the six, accompanied by Oba-chan, to get out of the main party and somewhere quieter.  Oba-chan decides she is pleased with Sunako-chan's newfound confidence and sense of style, and decides that a Goth Lady is still a fantastic lady and therefore stamps her approval before jumping on a suddenly-appeared rope ladder suspended from a helicopter (or something) and disappearing into the night.  Curtains close, titles roll, post-credits encore shows Beautiful Queen of Horror Sunako-sama trying to turn the Goth Loli Sisters into something other than an abomination.  Ganbatte, Suanko-sama!





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!

See you all next week!


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