Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Aug 15th 2008


Everyone's all caught up in OLYMPIC FEVER but I'm not feeling the games this year. Normally I watch a pretty decent chunk of the Summer Olympics but for some reason this time I haven't caught much of it at all. Perhaps my love affair with rhythmic gymnastics and Judo has finally come to a close.

Anyway, let's get this over with.

Why do you think there is so much fanservice in today's anime? Were there so many buxom characters getting their clothes ripped off every second in the past or is this a new revelation?

Questions like these make it so easy for me to just phone it in. I love 'em!

Simple answer: people buy things that feature sexy girls.
Magazines, TV shows, movies, action figures - if it has breasts and some kind of mewling sex-kitten expression, people will buy it. This has been true for ages, across nearly all forms of media.

Not only that, but even the idea of fanservice has changed over the years. Used to be that "fanservice" was exclusively busty vixens flashing their panties at opportune moments. With the rise of lolicon fandom, anything involving little girls can be considered fanservice as well, in addition to the fetishization of personality types, as we see with terms like 'tsundere' and the like. I think if you took an episode of any given moe show back to the mid 90's and told an anime fan then that it was a heavy fanservice title, they'd look at you like you were nuts. Times have certainly changed.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty of fanservice back in the day, as well. Let's not pretend that it hasn't been around forever; shows like Ranma ½ and Dirty Pair were chock full of fanservice, as were many, many others. Certainly there are more service-laden shows now, but there's also a hell of a lot more anime being produced.



hey answerman! I was wondering, if anime companies are trying to get their dubbed anime OFF of YouTube, then why does FUNimation have an offical YouTube account with episodes of their anime on it?

Normally I try not to answer questions like this but I get the feeling that there are a lot of people who might actually sincerely believe that somehow Funimation is hypocritical for having their own YouTube channel while simultaneously having unauthorized streams removed.

The key word is obviously "unauthorized". Anime companies are trying (with mild success) to remove unauthorized streams of their shows on YouTube. YouTube uploader Goku374xx does not have legal permission to post Dragon Ball Z episodes on YouTube. Funimation does. See how that works? One's legal, the other is not. One makes the Japanese companies angry, the other does not. So instead of tolerating countless illegal, unauthorized streams, Funimation simply took matters into their own hands and started up a fully authorized, legal YouTube channel where you can watch free streaming anime minus all the sticky legal or ethical concerns. Not only that, but Funimation also controls the product you're seeing - it isn't a fansub, it's the official translation.

See? That wasn't so hard to understand, was it?


sometimes I see in your column that high school kids complain that they get picked on for being anime fans in school. When I was in school (a long time ago!!) I always thought I was cool for being into anime. I had Ninja Scroll and Akira and Vampire Hunter and movies like that and my friends thought they were cool. When did it stop being cool to be an anim fan??

It was never actually cool to be an anime fan.

There was a time in the 90's - and this is certainly not true anymore given that today's kids have access to violent duck-fisting porn at their fingertips shortly after exiting the birth canal - when yes, it was kinda cool if you had a VHS tape of Ninja Scroll or Akira, chiefly because they were violent and contained nudity. They were also outside the mainstream and not all that easily obtained by minors, which put them on the "list of things future gas station managers who still wear old Metallica tee-shirts had in their youth to impress their friends". I obtained a copy of this list from my cousin's stepbrother, who to this day wears wolf shirts, owns an electric guitar he never learned to play and
sees Def Leppard whenever they're in town. It's a long list, but here's the top 5:

5. Copy of "Nightmare on Elm Street 3" taped off of HBO
4. Copy of Ninja Scroll stolen from local video store
3. Unlabeled VHS tape of Faces of Death, hidden under the bed
2. Used-up October 1983 issue of Playboy
1. 6-pack of Meister Brau swiped from dad's garage refrigerator

As I said, thanks to the internet these things are no longer cool (although you can't download Meister Brau, which is probably a blessing), but for a brief period there, the hyper-violent anime movies of the 90's were officially teenage contraband. Not that these kids were actually cool, mind you - it was simply forbidden fruit for the under-16 crowd.

Most of the letters I get from people who complain about getting picked on for being an otaku in school are the sort who also mention in the letter that they and their friends share Japanese nicknames, wear anime accessories at school and shout Japanese phrases while incessantly talking about anime. They're basically big flaming dorks, and we all know what happens to big flaming dorks in high school - they get picked on and thrown in the trash can and stuffed into lockers and all that. It's what happens, the natural way of things. If you're going to fly your dork banner with gleeful abandon around a big pack of people who just can't wait to wail on your ass for being a giant nerd, well, all I can say is you don't get to claim ignorance.




This "pwn" guy never gets old.

hey answerman im makin an anime of me pwning ur ass

lol pwned

Wait, yes he does. Although I would love to see that anime.


I would also enjoy looking at this puppy, which I will do right now.





Here's last week's question:


From Amanda S.:

Getting right to the point, the thing that bugs me the most about anime fandom today is the lack of unity among us. You're generally either a long-timer who's annoyed by all the young 'uns running around talking about how great Naruto is or you're a new person who feels completely overwhelmed by the whole situation. I wish we could all just say that we all like anime and have some sort of "we're all on the same team" mentality about wherever we are on the otaku scale. 


From AJ:

What annoys me the most about the fandom? Simple. Some of the fans and their embarrassing behaviour.
 
I'm embarrassed by the fandom when people draw terrible fanart and believe it's the greatest thing in the world, and shoot down anyone who disagrees even in the slightest or offers any kind of criticism. I'm embarrassed when the fandom proclaims that anime is the best form of entertainment in the world, and feel that any other form of entertainment must be ignored. I'm embarrassed when the yaoi fangirls run rampant, claiming that this or that "bishie" MUST be gay because IT'S CANON, even when it's not, and I'm embarrassed when they shove that in other people's faces. I'm embarassed when they claim to be married to {or even to be the OWNER of} these characters, and will immediately attack people for saying that they happen to have a crush on the same character.
 
I'm embarrassed by the fandom when they feel that it's a good thing to be an otaku. I'm embarrassed when they think "watashi kawaii baka desu" is an actual understandable statement in Japanese. I'm embarrassed when they throw all common sense out the window when they get to a convention, and have no respect for those around them. I'm embarrassed when the fandom decides that someone saying they don't like anime must be the spawn of Satan. I'm embarrassed when they immediately like something more when it's Japanese than when it's North American {even if it originated here, like Disney songs}. I'm embarassed when they refuse to watch any dubbed anime for the same reason, when they refuse to believe that maybe the English version is actually good, maybe even better.
 
Basically, I'm embarrassed by the vocal minority--the ones who label Naruto, Inuyasha, Love Hina, Lucky Star, or any other overrated or flat-out bad anime as masterpieces created by geniuses, the ones who think snarfing down ramen and Pocky all day while wearing cat ear hats and watching downloaded hentai makes you cool, the ones who think knowing what "neko" means makes you Japanese... The ones who make the rest of us look like complete fools.
 
These are the people who give the fandom a bad name to those who are on the outside, looking at it, deciding whether or not it's worth their time. And these people are what annos me more than anything about modern fandom.


From Sydney Durkin:

            The thing that annoys me most about the modern anime fandom, in America, at least, is definitely when people claim to be anime fans, but really only like one or two titles. I find this happening most with teenage males, but it seems to be a plague that spreads every time I turn around. I, thankfully, have done my small part in being able to convert some of my, "I-love-anime-but-really-only-watch-Naruto/Bleach" friends into reading some other publicly likeable titles to slightly broaden their horizons, but there's only so much one person can do. In fact, it has gotten so bad, I was once conversing with a peer, and we got on the subject of anime. Our conversation, in a slightly fragmented state, went something like this.
            "Do you like any anime?" I asked him casually.
            "Yes, I do," he replied, suddenly excited. "I'm a huge Naruto fan! It's so awesome! Kakashi is so my favorite character, he-"
            "Woah, woah, back up. I never said I watched the show."
            "You don't?"

            "Err, no, I watch other anime."
            "There's other anime besides Naruto?"
            Now that made me want to punch a wall, or better yet, knock some sense into him. I have no problem with mainstream titles, but their popularity, and the American anime producers' neglecting of other titles, has gotten out of hand. Everywhere I look I see Naruto posters and Bleach T-shirts. Society is feeding the syndrome, and the public is lapping it up like stray cats.
            But hey, it's not all a bad thing. It was, after all, the Dragon Ball Z fans of the world that really gave anime huge amounts of public appeal in the US. A curse and a blessing at the same time, albeit.
            Maybe, just maybe if there were multiple hits in the states, it would cure some of this disease. Just maybe.


From Autumn Swanson:

My biggest annoyance with the anime fandom would have to be the fans. Yeah, not very specific quite yet, but I'll get there.

I say this because I used to be a HUGE otaku, like, I knew every character anybody at an anime convention would cosplay, and I'd take pictures upon pictures at costumes that I eventually deleted all the jpegs of anyway. But my biggest biff with the fandom is how conceited the fans can be. For example, if you don't like a certain show someone else likes, it becomes an unnecessary cat-fight between people debating which anime is better when it doesn't really matter anyway considering everybody has their own opinions. For example, I loathe Witch Hunter Robin, and back in whatever year it was mega-popular, a lot of my "anime friends" had gotten angry at me.

Another thing that bothered me: me and my "otaku friends" would have contests to see who could go out and get the most current anime and/or manga before the other. And whenever someone got it first, it became a giant bragging ritual during the anime clubs and what not.

But the thing that REALLY grinds my gears is yes, the cosplayers. Cosplaying is considered an art, and some of the costumes are really nicely done, but to act like your a "star" because of how well you cosplay is really overrated and stupid. No, just because you made a gorgeous cosplay does not mean you are famous. There are several cosplayers I'm trying to hint at, practically all the really snobby, well-known ones, but I'll keep them nameless. Just because you make a cosplay for your friends does not mean you need to brag about it on a video interview. It's really childish to put your friends in that awkward position in the first place by exclaiming that they did not make a costume. Who cares?

Then you have the people who get angry at you just because you buy a cosplay. I had gone to some convention over in Nebraska and purchased a Sailor Venus cosplay about a month in advance. Not only did I go through the horrible purchase because of how shady the place I bought from was, I had girls GLARING at me just because I said I didn't make it. Hey, at least I was honest about it, right? I don't think I deserved dirty looks from fourteen year olds who thought my costume was very nice up until that point. Seriously, why do people honestly care about that so much?

So all in all, the otaku is what made me shiver away from my anime fandom, because I made a vow to never be that bad. Now, it's not like I don't have otaku friends, of course I do, but I don't think I could be just as obsessed as what I used to be back in my freshman year of high school. There will always be anime and manga I like, but I'm completely fine with not being heavily obsessed as well.

From Sarah Lear:

The one thing that irks me about today's anime fanbase is how they don't appreciate the classics. Sure, Lucky Star and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are great shows and all, but nothing compares to shows like Cowboy Bebop, Lupin the III, Akira, etc. Sometimes, the old shows are even better compared to the new animes (like Naruto, which is basically this generation's Dragon Ball Z).

From Kenneth Thornhill:

This one's simple for me. Every modern anime fan is in one of two categories to me: the actual anime fan, or the poser. The actual anime fan watches or has watched a wide variety of anime, maybe read a few mangas, and really likes it for their own reasons and continues to watch it for their own reasons. They generally aren't closed minded to most things anime-related, and they have a good appreciation of a wide view of both animes and the people who watch them. Basically, almost everyone who regularly uses or follows this site.

Then, there's the posers. In my experience, (normally in contact with people i know in person, but sometimes yet still often enough over the internet) this is the group the majority of people are in. These are the people that everyone of the former group hates. The people who have only seen Bleach, Naruto, and occasionally Fullmetal Alchemist or Inuyasha. The people that generally have only watched the dubs because they didn't *feel* like watching the subs, even by YouTube. The people that can't talk about anything besides these shows and won't be quiet about them. The people who also won't listen to anything you have to say about other shows or even types of anime because they can't get enough DRAGON SWORD DEMON MAGIC ACTION EXPLOSION OMFG!!!!!! They just don't get what the specific anime or what anime in general is really about. Don't get me wrong, I like the four shows I specifically listed above, too. Most people do. I'm not annoyed at them or anyone else for liking the shows, only for being too closed minded to even watch the shows they like further. I mean, it's easy enough. Even though I'm personally fully against streaming anime on YouTube since it reduces the quality of the anime, you can still just do that.

What's so annoying to me is that these people believe they are experts on anime because they've seen a fraction of two shows and maybe they finished one or two additionally. Then they refuse to even hear about other kinds of anime or even the other aspects of the anime they've seen because they're too busy talking about how awesome the explosions were in the *new* Naruto episode where Sasuke fought Gaara in the Chuunin Exams. And then they talk more about the explosions. Then how it was cool that Chidori shined brightly and almost gave them a seizure.
It just annoys me to no end when "anime fans" don't grasp the true meanings of what anime is.


From NewYizer:

The biggest problem I have with anime fandom today is the ill will fans hold for each other and the isolation that ensues. Take your average mainstream series, say Naruto, and there are legions of people who hate it. They see headbands and their antennae go up! Bleach fans, Pokémon fans, Evangelion fans, and even fans of Code Geass are commonly derided for their fandom. Fans of mainstream anime are seen as targets, while those who like specialized genres are often isolated. Often times one fan tells another his top five series, and there is nothing in common. 

One may say:
1. First Gundam
2. Space Battleship Yamato
3. Urusei Yatsura
4. Macross
5. Space Runaway Ideon

And the other may say:
1. Kanon
2. School Days
3. Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan
4. Ai Yori Aoshi
5. Fate/stay night

The end result? The former may deride the latter, saying, "Fate/stay night? Should have been called Fate/stay in the kitchen!"
The latter retorts, "Macross? I liked it better when it was called Robotech!"
The former throws a punch, screaming, "I'll show you a Nice Boat!"
(Apologies for the sexism, but I've seen it before)

It's worse between fans of the same genre. Gundam fans are known for this (I am one myself). On a good day, someone cosplaying as Char Aznable may be complemented for their "Zechs Merquise" costume. On a bad day, the Universal Century fans turn against the Cosmic Era fans, only for Anno Domini fans to gang up on them. In a little corner lie the After War fans, watching Zeta Gundam fans annoy Double Zeta Gundam fans. Meanwhile, Future Century fans scream out "Shining FINGER!" and "The School of the Undefeated of the EAST!", joined by Gurren Lagann and Gunbuster fans, all known for hotbloodedness.

No matter what happens between the various groups in the mosaic that is anime fandom, one thing is for sure:

There will always be Azumanga Daioh!

Finally, from Ryume:

All the kids who don't have jobs, who live at home, and who whine and cry when they can't stream or download their favorite anime shows for free and insist anime should "free for the people".  Yeah right, get a grip on reality kids.  Thanks.

So here's the question 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!

See you all next week!

Howl's Moving Castle © Nibariki * GNDDDT

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