Hey, Answerman!by Zac Bertschy, May 23rd 2008
Well, I was out last week, but now I'm back, much to your dismay.
I think I have a short attention span! help! my best friend is really in to anime and he gives me a lot of shows to watch but if they are not exciting in the first one or two episodes I can't watch any more and some of these are just boring!! Shows I am talking about like Raxhepon, Noir, Ghost in the Shell etc. He tells me they are really good and get better later on but they don't seem good to me they are boring! What do I do?
Well, if you don't have the attention span for it, then you don't have the attention span for it. Not everyone is entertained in the same way; if you need it to engage you right off the bat, then some of those shows (although I'd argue the first few episodes of Ghost in the Shell are pretty action-packed so it's hard to see where you're coming from on that one) aren't going to be for you. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Your friend should probably recognize what your taste is and stick to things he thinks you might like based on what you've shown a preference for rather than just continually giving you shows that are notoriously slow in the beginning (Noir I think takes what, 10 episodes to get going?).
Recommending shows to people who are new anime fans or casual anime fans can be a tricky thing. It's unreasonable to expect someone who's relatively new to the hobby to sit through 3 hours' worth of content they find boring or uninteresting in order to get to whatever "good part" you're referring to. Veteran fans generally have a bit more patience and a bit more tolerance for how slow some anime series can be (although that patience burns out over time, and I count myself as a living example - if it's not good within the first 2 episodes, I'm out) but most new fans, especially younger fans, are likely going to want to be engaged right away. Nothing wrong with that, but it's probably not a good idea to hand them Legend of the Galactic Heroes as a starter.
Western collectors, but then it's always been more expensive in Japan.
This is a simplification of a very large issue, but this is one way to look at it. The differences in audience, production and audience expectation are fairly stark. In Japan, they air the stuff on TV; casual consumers can watch whatever they like on TV or rent it from any one of a billion rental outlets in Japan. Retail DVDs and CDs and character merchandise are produced almost exclusively for the otaku market. One of the things many hardcore otaku in Japan pride themselves on is how much they spend on merchandise - it's personal sacrifice that proves their love of the show. So not only are they used to those high prices, they're often willing to pay up to prove their dedication, no matter how badly they might be gouged. Having a room plastered in expensive anime merchandise is one mark of a "true otaku" in Japan, at least to my understanding.
Another thing to consider about Japanese DVD prices - and big thanks to everyone's favorite media guy Justin Sevakis for his insight on this - is that DVD production in Japan is magnitudes higher in cost than it is here. So that R2 DVD with 2 episodes that costs 7600 yen isn't all just nerd gouging - a lot of that is going to production cost.
In Western fandom, it certainly started out in a similar way - anime was expensive, was served only to a niche audience on VHS tapes that were twice the price of anything else in your local media store, but the small hardcore audience accepted it and paid up to see what interested them. Then DVD came along, and fandom exploded. We saw a huge influx of younger fans come in, and the DVD market showed us just how cheap packaged media could become. Anime suddenly seemed ridiculously overpriced - why were fans paying $29.99 for 4 episodes of an anime when they could get 22 hour-long episodes of Lost in a box set for $34.99? The audience - and the audience's expectations - changed, and so the acknowledgment that anime was expensive turned into a fandom-wide meme that R1 anime DVDs are unfairly overpriced.
One important thing to keep in mind is that not everything is relative. It's not unfair for a Japanese otaku to be OK with paying 75 bucks for a DVD with 2 episodes on it and it's also not unfair for a US fan to complain that $30 is too much for 4 episodes. They have generally reasonable expectations based on their experiences and the realities of the media market within the country they live in.
As I said before, this is a simplification - this is a huge issue, one you could probably write pages and pages on. But this is a basic summary of a few of the reasons why.
I am a complete snob and am used to being called an elitist jerk so I will say that there are only about 5 good webcomics in sum total, the elusive 6th being Penny Arcade when it isn't not funny which is a lot of the time.
However, there are plenty of anime webcomics that other people like, and they're not wrong in doing so. The most obvious one is the one we publish here - and one of the 5 good webcomics - Anime News Nina. Then there's Megatokyo, which is also successful in print. There's also Aoi House, which is published by Seven Seas, in book form and online.
The problem is that other than Nina, Megatokyo and Aoi House, I'm not really sure. So this week, we're going to do something different: send me a link to your favorite anime-related webcomic, and next week, in a small extra segment, I'll post the most popular ones. Please include "my favorite anime webcomic" in the subject header and include a link and a short explanation why it's your favorite. I'll post the most popular ones. Send all submissions to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork [dot] com.
For the record, these are the other 4 good webcomics: Achewood, Perry Bible Fellowship, Almost everything KC Green produces, and Married to the Sea.
This just in:
everyone hates u
And yet I keep getting out of bed in the morning.
As promised, here is a puppy.
Here's last week's question:
First, from Janet Liu:
In this case it also isn't just the fans who would like to see a sequel. The ending narrative itself practically asks for a continuation, and the creator herself has expressed interest in a second series as she has many more stories in mind. Unfortunately the series was not popular enough in Japan to grant this wish into reality, but still, we can dream and hope for this enchanting fairytale to continue.
From John Bryant:
Alot of people may not agree with me, but I feel that the anime most deserving of a sequel, is FLCL (Furi Kuri/Fooly Cooly). Most might argue that the story had a satisfactory ending, and that any sort of sequel might risk the integrity of the story that is currently in place. I however, feel that there is a gigantic unexplored universe out there within the story of FLCL. Far be it from me to write any sort of sequel, as it would only turn into terrible fanfiction, but I don't think it's a stretch to imagine a sequel in which a grown up (or teenage, etc) Naota goes into space to find Haruka. Maybe it's just me, but something about the lack of closure to one of (in my opinion) the greatest series ever, feels like a missed opportunity for something great.
If I had to pick a series that alot of people would probably agree on, it would have to be Yū Yū Hakusho. Without going into spoiler mode, YYH leaves itself open to a sequel in which the stability of the new "government" in demon world (ok, maybe I'm getting a little spoilery) becomes weakened, or downright topples, and only Yusuke (and friends) can possibly fix the situation (of course). Not that I wouldn't be happy for a sequel where Yusuke plays with his kids in the park and nothing happens....just saying (now I'm really going to the pits of fanfic hell)
I'm sure there are alot of animes that could stand to have sequels (I'm sure alot of fangirls and boys alike will send suggestions of Inuyasha and Ranma sequels your way) but unfortunately it doesn't seem like the market is there right now for such a thing. When the trend seems to be to put out as much Moe Moe garbage as possible, what chance is there of getting a sequel to an old shounen anime (YYH), or an old (by anime standards) OVA (FLCL)?
From Tasha Hudson:
I've always been a reader, but not a participator, but this question is one I just had to answer because my sister and I were just talking about this very subject. 2 different series came up during our conversation. The first one is Gravitation, this was an excellent manga series and the anime series just doesn't do it justice. I think it deserves a sequel that would follow gravitation ex. The sequel would have more problems between Yuki and Shuichi's relationship, but it would also show more development of the characters. This is something I believe the series lacked and that is why it really needs a sequel done. The other series was Angel Sanctuary ... ok, maybe not really a sequel but at least a continuation o_O If you haven't read the mangas you will probably be lost for the first 30 or so minutes, then it just ends ... that aggravated me so much! This series would do so much better if it was continued, so many characters are introduced in the manga that if animated would result in a fan girl frenzy ^_^ (that comment came from my sister *right now she's squealing and she's just looking at the manga*) Basically the sequel should follow the mangas, I can't stand it when animes wonder off and create just off the wall things (Naruto fillers anyone?). If either Angel Sanctuary or Gravitation were to recieve a sequel that followed their mangas they would be so much better and I'd run right out and buy the dvds!
If there were a sequel, I'd like to see how Youko and Keiki take care of KEI (their country), and find out who and what Taiki is (sure, there was a short arc on Taiki, but what's he supposed to do??). It'd also be wonderful to learn more about Rakushun, and what he can do for the whole world. I'd also love to see the relationships between Suzu, Shoukei, and Youko developed further, since it's obvious that the three are supposed to be the best of friends and confidantes. The other kingdoms that were never even mentioned (except in passing) should probably get more air time as well, since I'm sure many people love to know how these kingdoms fare. Daily life and struggles for Youko should be focused on as she learns to govern a country well, bringing it into a much more prosperous standard of living.
From Bradley Thorne:
In regards to which anime deserves a sequel most, I simply had to respond. Partially I'm hoping that just venting this will alleviate some of the soul-crushing dissatisfaction that's been eating away at me like a betrayal by a longtime friend and mentor (turned evil demon) since I finished the series. Yeah, you guessed it: Berserk. Oh sure if I wanted to continue on with the story I could always buy over $250 worth of manga and still be left waiting on blade's edge for months at time with every new release, but I'll just pass for now and wallow in the misery of knowing it'd be a century before they ever finished an animated project for this series at the rate they're going.
I don't think I'd ever had so much invested in a trio of characters as the three leads in that show. Watching them rise from trenches to the precipice of glory in spectacular fashion, just to have it all come crashing down in an even more mind-blowing (and completely "wtf") turn of events was an absolute emotional rollercoaster. And omigod everything's reached a head now and omigod we've come full circle and the motivator for the burning vengeance we were seeing at the beginning has become completely clear and OMIGOD WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT?!?!
It's been over for a decade.
Finally, from "Marvin":
I would love to see a continuation of Eureka 7. I simply fell in love with this anime. The story telling was amazing and the plot was amazing, but at the end I felt that they rushed out to the end a little too fast and ended it with a lot of unanswered questions. For Example; what happened to out two favorite characters Eureka and Renton at the end, are they stuck in that forest and never to be sen of again? Another reason why I think the series ended too fast, we understand that they saved the world from the diabolical Dewey but what happened after that, people don't just forgive and forget especially after thousands were killed by an alien race. And the military was involved. The series ended without showing the sate of the world at the end, leaving too many unanswered questions.
I Believe that they can do a lot more with this series and would love to see a continuation with our favorite characters Eureka and Renton in the future.
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! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
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