Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Oct 31st 2008


No time for chattin' - let's get down to business.


Dear Answerman,

Like many fans of my generation who got into anime well before the internet boom, Robotech was one of my first even before I found out what anime was.

Now after following stuff about Macross Frontier for months, I need to ask, Why has no Macross since Plus earned a domestic license?  I have heard that there is some sort of issue between the Japanese companies and Harmony Gold which created Robotech, can you shed any light on this issue?


Well, there are a number of factors at play when it comes to Macross licensing, not the least of which is the legal dispute between Harmony Gold and Big West over the right to distribute Macross titles overseas. There are other things in the way, as well; the first being that there simply hasn't been much Macross to license. There were only two series produced in between Macross Plus and Macross Frontier - the first being Macross 7, which was never licensed chiefly because of the music licensing rights being a labyrinth of legal horrors (not to mention the show is uneven, goofy as hell and impossible to take seriously). Then there was Macross Zero, which is a prequel OVA series, never exactly set the fandom on fire and is likely really expensive. I could see an eventual license for Macross Frontier - Harmony Gold would probably want some sort of fee for using the name, but I can't imagine that being insurmountable. Maybe Bandai will pull the trigger and release the series here.

Personally, I'd like to see a completely remastered Bluray edition of Macross Plus, one that includes all four episodes and the movie version. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.


Im gonna make this as short as possible are the last of the inuyasha episodes ever going to be aired or made i look it up but i get nothing.  why would they get to the point its at and then stop it makes no sense

What, you didn't like the ending to the TV series, where Naraku is finally defeated in a brilliantly-animated fight sequence, Inuyasha and Kagome get married and Miroku finally gets laid?

Oh right, none of that happens, because the TV series doesn't end, it just stops. Which really made the fans happy, let me tell you.

Odds are right now there won't be more Inuyasha anime - whatever popularity the series once had has dwindled into nothing, and there's really no great desire for more. Hell, I don't think I've seen even one Inuyasha cosplayer for a year or two now. The manga just recently finished up in Japan, though, so you can keep an eye on Viz's American manga release. They're set to publish volume 36 in January of next year, and there are 56 volumes in total, so you're going to be waiting a while.

Originally I'd planned on ending the suspense by running a summary of what happens at the end of the Inuyasha manga, but based on the lengthy synopsis I saw, it was a giant load of complicated, melodramatic bullshit with more 5-syllable Japanese names than I could possibly imagine so forget it. It's a Takahashi manga so I assume the final chapter involves a wedding in which Kagome is still kind of a bitch to Inuyasha and neither one has actually said the word "love" aloud.


What do you think of series that like to skirt around the border of certain fetishes?  When I say that, I don't mean mainstream fetishes like maids or schoolgirls, but more eccentric ones like crossdressers (see Minami-ke) and dolls (see Rozen Maiden).


"Mainstream fetish" sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I guess they could exist, although they'd likely be seen as simply being accepted standards of beauty rather than 'fetishes'.

As for anime series that cater to specific fetishes, I can't say they bother me (with the obvious exception of lolicon, but we're all familiar with my take on that particular subject), but I also have to admit I don't really understand why anyone who has a serious sexual fetish for dolls or whatever would want to watch a show that dances around the subject without ever actually being erotic. I mean, sure, we all like a little zing to our entertainment, but if you have that specific a fetish and you watch something like Rozen Maiden which seems tailor-made for your taste without ever actually indulging it completely, wouldn't that get frustrating? I suppose that's what doujinshi is for, though.

On the production side, though, frankly I think there's too much emphasis lately on what specific fetishes any given anime series caters to. It's gotten to the point where you can practically break down a season's worth of anime series into what fetishes they appeal to - "if you like yaoi, this show's for you" "this one is for the tsundere fans" "if you've got a hankering for Brazillian fart porn, this show skirts around it just enough so you don't have to be embarassed about watching it". Honestly, I think there might be an inverse relationship between how much a show struggles to pander to a specific fetish and how good it is. Unless you're part of the specific audience they're catering to, those shows have very little value, and it's hard not to judge them as shallow exercises in extracting money from genre fanboys rather than legit creative works.

So I suppose while I don't have an issue with the series themselves - whatever floats your boat, right - there are way too many shows these days that are little more than an appeal to a particular fetish, and I wish they'd use that production time and money and talent making
anime series of sincere quality. A guy can dream.



Thanks for this.

in the new fullmetyal alchemist show i heard edward is gay is that true

Yes, it's true. Everything you've heard is true. Not only is Ed gay in the upcoming sequel, he's moved to the Bay area and is involved in a local activist organization involved in reforming public performance laws that pertain to homosexual street artists. Al, having revered to his human form, is a certified public accountant living in Austin, Texas and is an active volunteer for a local film festival. Winry married the owner of a Subway franchise in Casa Grande, Arizona, and has three children, although she is developing a prescription painkiller addiction, and has resorted to shopping for doctors that will prescribe her medication without asking too many questions. Every now and then the three of them see eachother during the holidays, but it's getting less and less frequent.

Look for the new season of Fullmetal Alchemist to premiere on AMC followed by an all-new Mad Men in February, 2009.




Let's keep this thing rolling.




Here's last week's question:


From Christina Skyles:

I can imagine that you'll probably receive hundreds of e-mails with the same answer, but I'll have to be honest: the lastest series for me was Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. But perhaps a bit of back story will give this answer some justice.

Prior to watching the show, I was in a bit of a slump in terms of anime watching. In fact, I was pretty much getting bored with anime in general. There were many reasons for this, including getting tired of the same old 'big eyes small mouth' character designs, limited animation, and lame overdramatic storylines, as well as being rather annoyed with many fans who think that anime and Japan are the only things worth living for. Needless to say, when my friends first showed me Gurren Lagann, I was mildly amused, but ultimately I didn't watch any more than what my friends showed me. As time passed by, my friends got even more fanatical about the show, so far as to even start dressing up as the characters. Finally, I decided to give the show another shot.

I finished all 27 episodes in three days.

The show had a lot of potential for me to be completely uninteresting: battles you can always count on the protagonists winning, gravity-defying breasts, giant robots in general. And yet, I didn't. I got completely and utterly absorbed into the lives of these characters, despite the fact that for the most part they fit quite nicely into cookie-cutter stereotypes. The art direction was brilliant and edgy, even if it had big eyes and small mouths. All in all, it put me back in my place and made me remember why I liked anime in the first place: because somehow it doesn't need to be completely original and new for me to completely love it.

From Sarah Ramey:


The one series that reminded me why I'm an anime fan would have to be Strike Witches. Now normally, I don't really care for sci-fi or action anime, but since there was a little magic involved (eg. the "transformations" when the girls get into their Striker Units), I was piqed and decided to give it a shot.
 
So the big day Strike Witches premiered arrived, and I sat down to watch it--right when it got to the first major fight scene and Yoshika was told to take shelter...CLIFFHANGER!!!!
 
I was stunned--it was starting to get good, and I had to wait a week to see what happened next?
 
So I kept coming back, eager to learn how the different characters would get out of the battle/tough situation du jour. I could relate to Yoshika's desire to help people, and I connected with Mio's firm but gentle guidance to lead the rest of the Witches. But the longest week of the run was episode 9, when Mio was shot down. The pleas of Yoshika over the To Be Continued... screen were my own: Please, Mio, don't die!
 
All that week, I began thinking about what would happen if Mio lived, and what direction the series would travel in if she died. If she lived, I would be estatic; but I also had to account for the very grim possibility that the character I loved most could die. When I learned at the beginning of episode 10 that Mio was going to live, I heaved a huge sigh of relief.
 
It has been a long time since I was that concerned over an animated character, and in the end, Strike Witches turned out to be one of my favorite series--and one I hope gets a sequel soon.


From D. Cager:

Baccano!

I'm not one to jump on the wagon just because someone says 'great anime' and 'random title' in the same sentence--heck, it took me until just before the release of Death Note's anime on DVD in English before I even reached for the manga (turns out I loved it, and even got my mom to watch and read it with me).  Still, I know there are hundreds of Narutos out there under different names and with only the substance of it's filler, so I generally don't take the advice of other anime fans and stick with what I search out myself.

However, earlier this semester, one fateful night at anime club (it's always the same--at the beginning of the year I have high hopes, but as more weeks go by the cheaper titles begin to resurface and turn me off from going) they played Baccano!.  I don't think I've found a more twisted, action-packed plotline even in U.S. thrillers.  I mean, we all know American action movies are only as deep as your Wal-Mart-bought kitty litter pan, but Baccano! not only offers action, it offers depth--and oceans of it.

The characters are all incredibly varied, they barely censor the gore (which, even in my general girly opinion, means the director has gumption by the truckload), and, with the OVAs, no plot line goes unaccounted for.  I will concede that Baccano! was originally a novel series so that is probably why we can applaud it's amazing plot and dialog, but I cannot imagine they could have pulled this off by straying too far from the original author's ideals.  I mean, really.  Who would have put Immortals, the American-Italian mafia, and mass-murder on a train together to form just one movie or show?

It's when I find a series like this--where I can encourage and emphasize with the good characters, hate the characters whom are meant to be hated, laugh and shudder at the length the bad guys will go, and still want to know more about where the story is going by the end of the episode--that I realize I'm glad I'm an anime fan.  If I wasn't, how would I have ever found something so amazing?  In U.S. cinema?  Not likely.  In foreign cinema?  Maybe, but only if I was forced to pick it up (I'm even more wary of foreign film fans than I am about anime fans).  Once you find your Baccano!, no matter what that show is for you, you never want to go back.



From Kevin Carey:



Throughout most of 2008, I was in an anime lull.  It seemed that the few series I picked up were all ok at best.  I got to a point towards the end of the summer where I had more than 50 episodes of Naruto and Bleach sitting in my anime folder, along with a handful of other shows, which, looking back now, I just didn't want to watch.  At some point, it clicked that I wanted to enjoy anime again, not force myself through it.  So I turned to the internet to see what I could come up with.  And it was there that I found the answer to this week's question: Code Geass
 
I had heard of it before, but the description never really caught my interest.  It sounded like every other mecha show I had ever seen.  But between the many recommendations and the large number of Masterpiece ratings, I decided to give it a shot.  The beginning was interesting, worth watching, but I wouldn't have called it amazing right away.  And then, before I knew it, I was completely sucked in, to the point where I marathoned the entire second half of the first season in one sitting, and then freaked when I didn't have the second season available afterwards.  The constant cliffhangers and plot twists left me begging for more, regardless of how rediculous or unbelievable they were.  I probably shouted more explatives while watching Code Geass than any other show I've ever seen.  Up until the very end, it kept delivering the suspence and excitement that was needed to restore my faith in anime.
 
With my faith restored, I decided to stop watching of all the mediocre shows I had, and went on to watch more excellent series such as ef and School Days.  And now with the Fall 2008 season upon us, I find myself once again watching a good variety of quality anime, all of which I thoroughly enjoy. 

From Greg Wicker:
I tend to stick to certain genres, usually love comedies or high school drama shows.  Every once in a while a series will come out of nowhere to shock and amaze me with its brilliance in storytelling, and it's times like that where I'm reminded why I'm an anime fan.
 
Recently, the series that did that to me was Kaiba.  I eschewed the series when it first aired because I dismissed it as sci-fi and shounen, two genres that typically don't interest me unless it's a slow season or something about the character designs intrigues me.  After being reminded of its existence on a blog, and while waiting for new episodes from the fall season to drop, I gave it a shot.  It was well worth it; I was on the edge of my seat, pumping my fist during the action sequences and fighting off tears during the sad parts.  Marry that with a very satisfying ending and you have a series that reminded me of why I became a fan in the first place: great storytelling.


From "BCD Masamune":

About a month ago, I saw a notice on ANN about the American debut of 'Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit'. I though Iʼd check it out, and quickly fell in love with the series. I feel that the animation quality is a cut above what I normally see in a full length series; it seems more reminiscent of a higher budget movie. I particularly enjoy the way in which medieval Japan shown through very beautifully rendered backgrounds.
 
The plot and characters are also very enjoyable and likeable. Balsa makes a superb heroine whoʼs tough but not invincible. Her strong maternal bond with the young prince Chagum, as well as her Kenshin-esque sense of justice/redemption makes her one of my new favorite characters.
 
I was really disappointed when Adult Swim decided to move the show to a 5:30 timeslot where I live, especially considering that I am one without TiVo or a digital recording service, BUT I didn't let that stop me. So every Sunday morning at 5:30 I wake up for 30 minutes for my weekly Moribito dosage, itʼs worth every sleepless minute!


From Marcelo Gomes:

The last series that reminded me of why I love anime wasn't as "exciting" as it was "intriguing" and "touching", and that was Fantastic Children. I watched the anime with no expectations, and until today I say that if you don't care for pretty art, it's a darn good one. The plot was interconnected and never stopped being interesting, specially because many things happened at the same time: the Children of Béfort looking for Tina, Tohma trying to take Helga to... wherever she is trying to go, Dumas being "the cruel guy" looking for Tina, Tina's loong flashback and so on. The anime then never gets boring and easily hooked me up, and every time an episode ended, I wondered what would happen in the next one, what sometimes made me sleep one hour later so I could watch another couple of them. And I (almost) never could predict what it would happen, and when I thought I could, I was seriously slapped in the face by the very next episode.

That anime surprised me because I was starting to believe that good, serious anime couldn't exist without trying to be spectacular. I'm not insulting any series in particular, but many anime I watch usually has a very weird and over-complicated Gainax-plot or it's filled with fanservice "since the audience is older, then it will attract them" (I despise the latter attitude completely as it just say that viewers are morons), so Fantastic Children made to my expectations since it was serious and intriguing without having pointless "adult bonus" to "keep the old viewers interested". There was no need for it.

I believe that nowadays anime are tending too much toward fanservice, both in anime where it is appropriated (harem shows) as in anime where it is very unnecessary (action shows). I believe that there is no need to focus so much on that aspect of the show. After all, it's just a show, something you should watch to have fun and talk about with your friends, not to get attracted by animated women (I have nothing against about saying how cute/hot a character is, I just think there is a problem about liking them a little too much).


Finally, from Shantelle Williams:

Recently I've realized that I'm not too excited over anime as much as I used to be. I mean, I watch certain series, but then my interest kind of falters and I find myself unmotivated to continue watching the rest of it (*cough*Bleach*cough*). The last series I've watched that made me want to stay up all night to watch the whole thing was Ouran High School Host Club. A friend recommended it to me and after a few more reminders of its existence I decided to check it out. I'm glad I did! After watching the first episode I fell in love with the show. It had a great mix of comedy and romance, and the main character, Haruhi Fujioka, wasn't your average, cliched, shoujo protagonist. She was different, definitely a unique one in this world of hyperactive, and always cheerful, shoujo girls. The Ouran host club guys weren't all just good looks and nothing more, each had different personalities and their own problems to deal with. There was also a good mix of minor characters: The dating sim fanatic, the soft on the inside yakuza, the mysterious Black Magic club president, and the drag queen father. I was so drawn to the show that even after the last episode, I wanted more. OHSHC reminded me of the reason why I watch anime: To feel happy. Each episode had me laughing, or in some cases tearful, but overall it made me feel good.


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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