Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Aug 29th 2008


I'm going to just get started, no foolin' around this week - as I write this I'm camped out in front of the TV, eyes locked on MSNBC's obnoxious DNC coverage. I can't get enough!


Your question, should you choose to accept it, is this: how do THEY (the Powers-That-Be) determine what manga is made into anime? I have a scenario in my head, where THEY gather fangirls and hold up pictures of several different series' bishonen. Whichever boy gets the most screams/faints/foaming mouths gets to grow up into wonderful animated color. If this is false, please instruct me otherwise. If true, please point me in the direction of the nearest gathering. This message will self-destruct, but only if shown a picture of Roy Mustang.

The truth is, there's a secret cabal of Japanese businessmen that convene in a secret chamber one mile underground, directly beneath Tokyo Tower. One by one, all of Japan's manga is brought before them and a yay/nay vote is taken. If yay, the anime goes into immediate fast track production. If nay, the manga is dumped into a giant paper shredder.

In all seriousness, there is no unified "they" that decides. Each project is different and is dependent on a big variety of factors, including the studio producing the anime, the creative team they have working on the show, who owns the original manga, how popular or marketable it is, etc etc etc. Truth be told, if the manga in question has more commercial elements - lots of action, hot girls, hot guys, has some collectable game element in it - it's more likely to get made. Same goes for movies, books - hell, any form of commercial entertainment.



Recently I've been wondering about a change I've noticed in the anime/manga sections of my local stores. Now, this isn't neccesarily a sudden change, or something that wasn't exactly expected, but none-the-less something I am taken back a bit by. By most standards of American society it is by far the male portion that is usually portrayed and openly depicted as the more "sexual" of the two sexes. Men are the first people think of when topics such as pornography, adult content, or questionable sitations arise. To this extent, I'm mainly pointing my question towards the the ever growing popularity of Yaoi. Just the other day I was looking through the manga section of a local book store (Borders) and I was surprised at the vastly grown collection of yaoi manga dispersed onto the shelf. I can remember just a few years back there would never be anything of that sort openly on the shelves like that. I've know yaoi has been popular ever since I started in this line of interest with manga and anime, but the thing that I don't quite grasp is why it's so much more popular than it's yuri counterpart. You'd think (at least I would) that guys tending to be the more openly perverted, Yuri would be the more popular of the two, but I don't see that as the case currently. Is Yuri more popular than I'm giving it credit for, or is there just an unusually large number of openly, and accepted perverted girls in the anime and manga fanbase?

First of all, I reject your notion that yaoi fangirls are all "perverts", and all yaoi is not necessarily pornographic in nature. Sure, a lot of it is, but the super hardcore stuff is shrinkwrapped and age-labeled. Not that that really stops people from opening them in the store, but it's something.

It's hard to say that there's one single reason that yaoi is more popular than yuri, but in my estimation, the reason it's so overwhelmingly popular and such a substantial portion of anime fandom is the fact that it's not just a genre, it's a community. Yaoi fandom built up online, with big dedicated communities that attracted like-minded women who wanted to share their fanfiction. As with hits like Haruhi Suzumiya or Naruto, they're popular because they had a strong community of fans who rallied around the series.

Such a community doesn't really exist in any substantial form for yuri fans. Sure, there are a few forums here and there, but it doesn't have anywhere near the feverent following yaoi fandom has. Not only that, there's simply less of it; there's a lot more yaoi content out there. But again, even that could be traced back to the fact that yaoi just has a larger following and a strong fan community.

As for the brazen yaoi fans, not only are they emboldened by the community, but yaoi in general is less pornographic than standard hetero porn; most of the popular titles focus a lot more on story, characters, and romance than just endless panels of man sex (although those titles certainly do exist and are popular as well). So as a whole it's more "defensible", I suppose, in the minds of many because it simply isn't as commonly explicit.



Will they ever make another classic anime film like Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle? They made a whole bunch of those when I was little, but now it seems like it's stopped. That would be awful! The world needs more stuff like Grave of the Fireflies and The Dog of Flanders. Are all the famous movie directors retired? Thanks!

No, they're all still working and still turning out great movies. Although some accuse Miyazaki of slipping in his recent years, I've still heard great things about his newest movie, Ponyo on a Cliff. We've also got people like Makoto Shinkai making some wonderful films, and then there's the recent The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (although I wouldn't put that one up there with greats like Spirited Away). Then there's Satoshi Kon, who has yet to release a film that couldn't be described as "great". Generally it seems like we get 1-2 general audience big-budget self-contained anime movies. I wouldn't say they made more of them in the past, it's just that you have a big catalog of classics from the last 20 years or so to draw from, a catalog that is added to in a trickle rather than a flood.



Hey everyone look at this guy! He's trying too hard!

Why're you so smartalec. You think you can win your fans by spouting lies. What's up??? Nothing! I find it hard to believe you'd really ask a question about who would win a fight!!! And you what, you're wrong! People are going to phone in and say "Uh fart, I think NARUTO will win because i be watching my fansubs and what ins eva 01 but i like me gurrrren lagann because i watched them fansub-eroony's and i like the part with them robot!" That's what you're going to get, and it's all your fault. Que es tu en Answerman, nada? No si porque? NO! What're you going to do if you can't call on them anymore, it's like the boy who cried wolf, except worse. You must own up to your mistakes. TRY IT!!! Find out what people think and what people are!!! I believe in you, I do. Find a way to surpress your inner you, and just go along with it. There is no way to stop them now, but you can't ever utter the phrase, "Well, um, if you can't beat the dog join it, DYNOMITE!"


BELIEVE IT!!!!

Still made it in to the column though I guess.






Woohoo!





Here's last week's question:


From Margaret Cantwell:

Who do I think would win in a fight? Lessee now...I think Monkey D. Luffy would totally win over Naruto, because Luffy is made out of rubber, and Naruto has normal skin. Sure, Naruto is a ninja, he's much stealthier than Luffy, and can do techniques like the Shadow Clone Jutsu, and he does have all those kunai knives, but I still don't think he would win. Why? Again, Luffy is made of rubber. Naruto can certainly distract Luffy with his shadow clones, and lay a couple kicks and punches, but they won't hurt Luffy. Naruto can use kunai knives against him, but he won't be able to cut Luffy. Luffy packs a powerful punch with his "Gum Gum Punch", which could knock Naruto off his feet. If Luffy wouldn't win, it would probably end up a tie. Naruto has fought vicious bad guys, so he could take Luffy's "Gum Gum Punch", but again, Luffy is made of rubber, Naruto would not be able to defeat him physically.

From Greonhal:

To steal a line from a forum I once frequented, "No threads about who would win in a fight between Vash and Kenshin or a Sentinel and Eva 01 or Wolverine and a bag of potato chips. Batman always wins."


From C Joyce:

Naruto vs Luffy D. Monkey: Naruto, because ninjas outrank pirates, and because you can't beat 1000 shadow clones and a giant pissed-off demon fox.

EVA-01 vs Gurren Lagann: EVA-01 is savagely awesome. Gurren Lagann is nowhere as impressive, and it also looks (how to say this diplomatically?) lame.

Matt Greenfield vs David Williams--Umm...who are they exactly?


From Numinor29:

I can hear the fangirls screaming already... I suppose it helps to have witnessed many similar questions before. I'd like to start off with the robots.

Gurren Laggan. There is, frankly, no real way for an Eva to beat that particular machine. While the Evangelion machines are certainly among the most well-known robots, power-wise they're the bottom of the barrel. All that comes to mind for normal abilities is an AT Field and a Dagger, so going by weaponry, Eva-01 just can't compare. If you toss in the Positron Rifle and have it sniping, the situation would be different, but I'm going off the theory of head-to-head confrontation here.

Next, people. Matt Greenfield, because as far as I can tell, he's done more. I can't, however, honestly say I care one way or the other. And now for the fun one...

Ninjas versus Pirates. I suppose I should have seen it coming. Judging by their separate powers, and assuming that they had some reason to fight each other, Luffy would beat Naruto senseless. Let's look at the reasons for this. The most important one is that Luffy isn't really bound by human limitations. Naruto certainly has interesting abilities of his own, and he's rather athletic overall, but characters in Naruto are, as a whole, often several tiers of power below those of One Piece. Luffy's strength is especially notable (consider when he fought Arlong and destroyed the local base), and while Naruto is tough and even a little superhuman, I don't honestly he could take a punch from Luffy and remain conscious. Especially assuming that Luffy was actually trying to beat him. It's an age-old debate, with people on every side going "But what if this!?" if their character loses, but Naruto just doesn't have the ability to keep up with Luffy. Sorry, girls. I know the orange ninja is the star of so many shounen-ai fanfics, but that doesn't inherently make him a better fighter. A slightly better question here might have been Crocodile versus Gaara, since both control sand at an amazing level.


From Youtaro Vegeta:

Naruto Vs. Monkey D Luffy

Luffy wins. Luffy can come up with a gum gum themed attack for anything Naruto could try. Also, Luffy seems to be closer to becoming King of the Pirates than Naruto is to becoming Hokage. From what I've seen of Naruto (what's been played so far on Cartoon Network) he doesn't even seem too focused on that goal! If I had the resources ( and the time) I could prove that Naruto has a higher record of losses than Luffy does.

Eva-01 Vs. Gurren Lagan

The Gurren seems to be incredibly adaptable and customizable, plus the Gurren had at least one pilot who wasn't whining and crying about his current life situation. I think I'm going to have to betray one of my favorite anime of all time and go with my current favorite, Gurren Lagan.

Matt Greenfield Vs. David Williams

David Williams, hands down. Why? The ladies love him.


From Brittany Miller:

Since the question was "intentionally stupid as hell", So is my method to answering it! I used Googlefight.. Yay for me!


Naruto wins - Luffy loses. - Har har har..

Gurren Lagann wins - EVA-01 loses.

David Williams wins - Matt Greenfield loses.


And there you have it.. Whoop dee flippin doo!


From Black Dranzer:

Naruto vs Luffy..... To tell you the truth, I think it'd both end up with them eating out at Ichiraku. But, if it was actually a serious fight somehow, Naruto would win.

I'll admit that Luffy can stretch, Luffy can fight, and Luffy's an all-around good guy. But if the rules of both universes applies, Naruto would just have to go Kyuubi (Ninetails) and burn Mr. Fantast...I mean Luffy, with his demon chakra. Kyuubi is way too overpowered for the likes of him, and Luffy lacks the mechanics necessary of the Narutoverse to fight it.

Plus, you have to throw in that Naruto can walk on water, while Luffy.....yeah.

Finally, from Alexie MacPherson, this little gem. She sent in this very lengthy fanfiction story pitting David Williams vs Matt Greenfield, and it's ridiculous. I'll only print an excerpt.

"Quality Release A.D. Vision"

Episode 49: "Final Confrontation! David Williams and Matt Greenfield"
 
"David Williams..." Matt Greenfield swallowed hard, clenching his fists at his side. His battle-hardened comrade
did not turn to face him. Again, he implored: "Is this really what you want? DAVID WILLIAMS!!"
 
At this heartrending and not to mention impeccably manly scream of despair, David Williams finally turned around,
face set in resolution. "It is," he declared. "If you want to stop me, Matt Greenfield, then you'll first have to
defeat me here!"
 
In shock, Matt Greenfield stepped back. "You're kidding," he murmured, then, louder, "You're kidding, aren't you,
David Williams? Then all those good times we had... producing Devil Hunter Yohko in your living room... doing the
audio commentary for Megazone 23 together... all those conventions... WERE THOSE ALL FOR NOTHING!?"
 

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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