Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Jul 18th 2008


Alright, I'm too busy sputtering and drooling and raving over the Watchmen trailer and too busy shaking with anticipation to see The Dark Knight so I'm just going to get right to it this week.

Here's something that I don't understand. I'm about to be a Junior in High School this fall and I've been the reason for new anime fans in my church group. I was talking to my one friend about going to the library to watch Spirited Away in front of her parents and their family friend. The friend talked about how he went to an anime convention in the 80's and it was basically to him nothing but a whole bunch of porn. Then my friend's father stepped in and started lecturing about it for awhile. Despite the fact that they go to church, as the other average joe on the street who doesn't go to church.... What is with adults and their pre-consieved notions about anime?

Er... okay, I think I know what you're asking here.

Back in the 80's and up until earlier this decade, the notion that anime was all a bunch of violent pornographic Chinese cartoons designed to corrupt young minds and titilate horrible perverts was pretty much the norm among your average American. It wasn't really until anime hit its "boom" period in the early 2000s that that notion was basically swept under the rug, with anime becoming more and more mainstream thanks to hits like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and all the stuff airing on Adult Swim, from Gundam Wing to Cowboy Bebop. Now your average uninformed American thinks anime is all kids' stuff, which is a tradeoff I'll take.

Also, I wouldn't say the problem lies with "adults"; anyone of any age can be ignorant, uninformed or mislead. Back in the day, uninformed people called anime violent porn and today uninformed people assume it's all "that Pokerman stuff". Either that or, like the people in your story here, they're still clinging to the notion that it's all porn because that's the misconception they started out with and aren't inclined to learn anything new. Some people are just ignorant and they like it that way.




I hope it's okay if I ask you about another website.  The staffers at Anime News Network seem to "get along" with Anime on DVD's Chris Bevridge, so I thought I'd ask you...

What happened to the Anime on DVD website?  I knew they were going to undergo a change, but it looks like all the old stuff is completely gone and now I'm being re-directed to a lame looking blog site.

It's a slow week for questions so I'll field this one as best I can.

Yes it is very true that we all get along great with Chris Bevridge.
He's a swell guy, and he runs a great site. Years ago there was this silly notion that ANN and AOD were somehow "rival" sites, but that was mostly pot-stirring by other people and really had nothing to do with the reality of the situation. We don't see AOD as a "competing" site, even; this town is quite big enough for the two of us, as it were.

As for "what happened" to Anime on DVD, months ago Chris announced on the Anime on DVD forums that he'd sold the site to Mania.com, an IGN-style all-encompassing nerd news 'n reviews site. It's my understanding that Chris maintains control over the anime & manga content, and when the "integrated" version of the site went live this past Monday, there were still a lot of kinks to work out. Integrating something as vast as Anime on DVD into another site can't possibly be an easy task, and based on Chris's comments in the AOD forums (where you should go to read all about this whole thing in his own words), this is an ongoing process and they are actively working with the AOD community to streamline the site and make the users happy. This wasn't a "snap your fingers and bingo, the entirety of Anime on DVD is perfectly integrated into Mania.com", it's an ongoing and interactive process, to my knowledge.

At any rate, if you click on the link to the AOD forums on the site's frontpage and log in, you can check out the "Forum Feedback" subforum at the bottom of the forums home page and read countless pages of back-and-forth between Chris and his users about the whole thing.
If you have any specific questions or comments, email Chris himself, or post in the ongoing thread about the integration over there.


Recently I've noticed people throwing around the word "emo" a lot, and it has kind of bothered me. One example was applied to Kira from Gundam Seed, who cries every time he kills someone because it happens to be traumatic for him (imagine that). Even in Evangelion, one of the most popular anime, people have no sympathy for Shinji because he is "whiny" (they can't all be Gundam Wing's Heero). In anime (as opposed to American equivalents like comics), I think we find more cases of emotional extremes in male characters that your average American male does not find "manly" or comfortable to relate to (despite the fact that the characters are adolescents and will be having extreme emotions anyway). But is it really accurate to call it "emo" when a character cries because he's killing people, or whines because he's too scared to pilot a giant demonic robot of death?

Well, the word "emo" doesn't really mean anything at all anymore because teenagers now use it to describe anyone or anything that shows any sort of emotion at all. Cry when your mom dies in a horrible accident? Dude, stop being so emo! Get depressed when you realize your life is a dead end and your only friend is the bottle? Hey man, you're emo! So all those people tossing that word around willy-nilly have rendered it meaningless. If you express emotion, particularly sadness, you are "emo" to them. It's a lame way of mocking and dismissing someone; presumably the person snickering and calling someone "emo" does so because they are a badass with a heart of black iron and you could slaughter their family in front of them and they'd make fun of it online or something like that.

That said, over the past few decades not only have action heroes become more emotionally complex, the introduction of sensitive and vulnerable heroes has increased. I'm not sure you could say it's more prevalent in anime than in other mediums, but it sure seems that way. Anime heroes, especially in giant robot shows (which I assume we can all trace back to Evangelion) do come across as more emotionally raw than, say, Superman or Iron Man. Shinji is exceptionally whiny in pretty much every situation so it's difficult not to apply the "emo" label (when you use its original meaning), but for Kira's character, I don't think it really applies.

The ironic thing about internet toughguys mocking sensitive characters by calling them "emo"(whether they deserve it or not; I'm certainly not saying there aren't plenty of nancy-boy anime characters) is that if you confronted any one of these nerds in real life and asked them to kill someone or threatened them with any sort of physical violence, the odds that they'd gun someone down in cold blood, smirk, and then post about it on the internet rather than peeing their pants and running away are pretty low.




There was no flake last week, but this guy kinda makes up for it.

answerman u r not king of the animes i am king of the animes i demand the crown!!!!

I pretty much can't stop laughing at the notion of "king of the animes".


I wonder if this bunny is Buddhist based on the iconography it's sniffing.





Here's last week's question:


From Adam Magliocco:

Upon pondering this question my first instinct as a heterosexual male was to say a harem anime.  However, wanting to come up with something a bit more intelligent this is the conclusion I came to.

The best anime universe to live in would be the Dragon Ball universe.  First of all in the Dragon Ball universe there is world peace.  You don't see any wars occurring and everyone managed to band together to help fuel Goku's Spirit Bomb against Kid Buu.  I personally can't see that happening in this world.  Also not only moving, but travel, parking, and really any form of storage would be a snap since everything fits in a capsule.  Dinosaurs would still be around but be cute and non-threatening and for that matter we would have more wildlife in general.  Intergalactic travel is possible (take that global warming).  The Hyperbolic Time Chamber would do wonders for anyone.  The worst people have to worry about is a planet destroying warrior which the Z Fighters will always take care of.  According to Dragon Ball law you don't need to be born with special abilities or be some prodigy, but if you just train hard enough you can gain astronomical power.

And finally, worst case scenario we'd have the Dragonballs.  For these reasons that is why the Dragon Ball universe would be the best anime universe to live in because it goes beyond the realm of mere wishfullfillment and would benefit all mankind.


From Brandy Camel:

I'm not sure I have a good answer as to where I would want to live, but I can definitely tell you where I wouldn't want to live. That would be the universe of ANY shounen anime.

Let's go through this systematically. Dragon Ball/Z/GT/etc, for instance, has a high rate of mortality for anyone, INCLUDING the main characters. However, the little side people who live peacefully in that town the latest villain decides to blow up don't get the opportunity to come back from the dead in a fashion akin to a yo-yo like Goku does. Also, I don't think reliable insurance would exist, so not only would you live in a ridiculously dangerous environment, but in the event you survived some insane blast, you'd basically be left with nothing.

Naruto would be horribly inhospitable as well, and I couldn't stand a world where all women, no matter how important, don't have any character. I like my character, thank you very much.

Bleach has too many names to remember. And I'm horrible with names.

Outside of all that though, I could see myself living in the Ouran High School world. Lots of hot men who want to cater to my every whim? Yes please.


From Haryo:

I have two choices, it is really hard to pick one. So I'll write both.

The first one is to live in the apartment Maison-Ikkoku.  Maison Ikkoku is one of the most realistic description of Japanese living I have seen in anime.  The cast is great and likable, there isn't a real villain.  All the people in the stories are humans, with all their strengths and weakness.  I really wish I can meet them all, talk with them about their stories and lifes.  Even people who might be a "social outcast" like Akemi, or mysterious folk like Yotsuya, I still want to know them.  I want to see and spend a few nights in one of the room in Ikkoku (Room 3 is never occupied, so that's where I'll be staying), despite there is no large kitchen or bathroom there.  Heck, I want not just spend a few nights, but stay for a few months of even a year!  I want to take part-time jobs like Godai, experience this frightening university entrance exam, and participate in the university clubs.  I want to attend the wedding of Shun & Asuka, Kozue & her husband.
 Of course I want to attend the wedding of Kyoko & Godai.   I want to see Kentaro grows up to be a fine young man of his own (and probably marry Ikuko ?).  I want to play and pet Shun's and Asuka's dogs.  I want to experience life in 1980's Japan, where things were not as complicated as today, where there wasn't internet or cell phones, where life were much simpler than today.

The second is to live in the Gundam UC Universe.  If we can see beyond the the giant robots and Newtype powers, the world describe in Gundam is actually something which had happened in the past, and will happen again in the future. 

The world in Gundam is the world where there is a ruling government in the established old world. And there are new places, islands, archipelagos, and continents out there to explore and to conquer.  Four to five hundreds year ago, people start to leave Continental Europe and journeyed to North and South America, Africa, and Far East Asia.  They established themselves in the new places, started their own government, and later declared their independence from the government in their original countries.  The US Independence carried the same spirit of Spacenoids who want to free themselves from Earth Government.  Hundreds of years from now, when human have conquered and colonized outer space, the Moon, the asteroids, Mars, and the far Jovian planets, history will repeat itself again. UC Gundam tells the story and the spirit of discovery and independence of 16-18th century explorers in the light of a futuristic universe.

If I were to live at the universe, I will join the movement which support Freedom for Spacenoids, and participate for the movement in any way I can: intelligence, engineering, economic funding, or political rallies.
For most people will only have one chance to become part of history.

From Rednal:

Pokémon. Please, let me explain before you judge too harshly. I think Pokémon is an absolutely brilliant series. Children are booted out of their house at a young age and made to trek around the world, capturing wild animals and forcing them to beat each other senseless solely for personal glory along the way, all in the name of "friendship". How can you resist a world like that?

From Kerry Saulters:

This was a rather hard question to answer since I'm into so many anime, but I believe however, I'm at a tie for two. Bleach and Devil May Cry.
 
My reasons for Bleach would be the fact that there would be a life after death and that through death you're reborn into another person without memory of your past on Earth and if possible can become a shinigami and help guide souls to the other side and destroy evil hollows in the process. The world of the Seireiti seems peaceful, unless Ichigo's running through it, but it seems to be a place you'd want to spend your afterlife, unlike Death Note where you'd have no choice of Heaven or Hell if you have the notebook. It would be interesting to learn the combative skills and swordsmanship of the shinigami and even if it seems like a military place, it will help give those who pass on hope.
 
My reasons for Devil May Cry is the fact that people these days use guns for the wrong purposes and Dante proves that he can use his for saving lives. Plus his mission in life is something anyone if you think of it would do. Avenge the death of the mother who loved you and help your twin brother regain his sanity from going bonkers. That's a family man, but yet Dante also lives like so many of us do now in America. He's in debt for one and he lives the bacholor life of pizza and strawberry sundaes. However, to live in his world, you'd be faced with demons every which way you go and the fact you have to hire someone to get rid of them for you. But if you can find a good demon, like Dante is, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Even if he's a bit rough around the edges, he's still like any other person. And plus the way things are going in America, Dante's definately living the life we are.
 
So there's my answer. If I could be in any anime world or live in it, it would be Bleach and DMC.

From Charles Morris:

Answerman, I like this question.  If I could live in any anime world it would have to be Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.  Now is Yu-Gi-Oh! GX my favorite anime? No.  But the world in which the characters live in is something else.  You go to school to learn how to play a card game.  If you have a fight with someone, who needs fists. You got cards.  Plus you could see Dark Magician Girl in 3D.  (And if your lucky she is your Duel Spirit).  If your the main character you may lose 10 times in your life (give or take).  I mean when life is one big card game.  It cant help but be fun.

But it is also not all it is cracked up to be.  Bad guys are everywhere.  Always after the cards that break the rules of the game (like giving you the power to rule the world, totally cheating).  Or heck, the cards themselves are evil and transport you to another dimension where people "die" if they lose.  Which could really mess up you study routine for that final you have in Duel Economics 101. And worst of all, if your really unlucky you get bad dubbing from the company that licensed you and they change your opening and ending theme music.

Now of course Dragon Ball, Naruto, BLEACH, and all those other worlds would be really cool.  All the action and cool powers and fighting.  But the fact is, you can die really easy.  In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX you only die if your at the mercy of a evil card in another dimension, and you suck at the game.  So while Yu-Gi-Oh! GX world may not be the most dangerously fun.  It is the safest, most slice of life, fun that I could have.

So I say Yu-Gi-Oh! GX world.  Get ready for me.  Because I am about to "Get my game on!"

From Copper:

It's not about the universe, it's about how you fit into it. So I pick xxxHOLiC. Sure, why not! And I've got the perfect role in mind: blissfully ignorant mundane non-mystical magic shop employee. A fate witch needs someone who constantly and annoyingly comes up with alternate rational explanations for the magical shenanigans and goings-on. I am that guy! So Yuuko can keep on selling her fraudulent fortune-telling, I'll just keep sweeping the floor and greeting the chump-- er, deeply respected clients, making snide remarks to the fourth wall.

Failing that, Planetes. Come on. Space garbageman in low Earth orbit. I'd sign up for that job TODAY.


Finally, from Justin Wisniewski:

What anime world I would be in: Gundam

Reason: Gundams

Everything is better with Gundams.


So here's the question for this week:



Thanks to Justin Sevakis for coming up with this one.

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!

Howl's Moving Castle © Nibariki * GNDDDT

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