Hey, Answerman! - Back From Los Angeles Edition

by Brian Hanson, Jul 10th 2009

Hey y'all! Welcome to the post-convention extravaganza that is Hey, Answerman! Actually this week's column is probably not much of an extravaganza, but it is certainly post-convention.

First, though, thanks for everyone who dropped by and said hello at our panel on Wednesday - it's always great to physically see the support that we at ANN get from the people who actually read us. I shook many hands and said many inappropriate things. All in all, a high-minded discourse ensued.

So, let's get rolling:


Hi Brian,

I know that the folks at ANN have been busy covering the various news and such at AX, which got me wondering: How much of attending a convention as part of the ANN staff feels like work and how much of it feels like a chance to just have fun?

Obviously I can't speak too much on behalf of my ANN cohorts, but I can say that these big conventions are usually a fairly even mixture of both. This year, though, things were pretty laid-back. The con was exceptionally well put-together, so mad props to the SPJA, but as I'm sure most of you have noticed there wasn't a lot of really big... news. Which, as a news site, means we didn't quite have a lot of ground to cover. And it's not like we're going to pad our coverage out by suffering through The Art of Glowsticking panel, for example.

Considering that ANN's army of contributors spans the globe, most of us look at it as a vacation, of sorts. With the exception of Chris, Zac, Justin (and a few others), ANN isn't our full-time job - we've got other stuff we do during the day, be it school or soul-sucking day jobs. So the chance to hang out with each other over the 4th of July weekend in sunny southern California to write about anime is something we all look forward to.

What's funny is that it isn't just ANN that looks at the big cons like this - most every north American anime company tends to feel the same way about it. It's a chance to truly connect with their fans during the day, and hobnob around fancy restaurants and bars and such at night. That isn't to say that the effort everyone puts into making a presence at AX or Otakon or whathaveyou is minimal - it's pretty grueling work considering the short amount of time everyone has to ensure that things run smoothly, to say nothing of the expenditure involved. But by and large, it's something everyone looks forward to, an equal mix of toil and pleasure.


how many frames does the average anime have and why do they have such a low framerate.

No, this is NOT a Flake. I swear. Horrible grammar and punctuation aside, it's a fair question about the technical aspects of Japanese animation that I'm not sure many people truly understand.

In general, so-called "full animation," which is to say, animation that uses a unique drawing for every 24 frames of film per second, has been prohibitively expensive for anyone not named Disney since the 1950's. It's too time-consuming, labor-intensive, and, as anime definitely proves, not entirely necessary to create animation that is still visually arresting. Shortcuts around it have been taken by animators that are just as prevalent today - Family Guy is barely any more "animated" than a Filmation cartoon from the 80's, with characters that stand around in static, dull poses while occasionally moving an arm.

But, since Japanese animation evolved on it's own path entirely separate from the US, they have completely different methodologies regarding so-called shortcuts. Just like animators in the West, though, each new anime show or movie starts actual animation production with "keyframes," which are drawn by the most skilled and wizened animators on staff. They are, for the unfamiliar, the "key" poses that determine how a character will look and react during the specified scene. "Inbetweens" are the frames that are quite literally "between" these poses, and that's where anime takes a much different path than other cartoons around the world. Osamu Tezuka and his staff at Mushi Productions, hard at work on the original Astro Boy TV series, somehow managed to make a cool-looking show (certainly by early-60's TV cartoon standards) using as little inbetweens as possible. In fact, most of that show involves sharply-drawn keyframes snapping or whizzing to the next keyframe without any inbetweens at all.

It worked, and Tezuka's landmark show essentially became the template that every other Japanese animation studio utilized for their future projects. And why not, since Tezuka's studio was the first animation house in Japan that was commercially successful. And since all the ideas and training and disciplines about anime have come from what Tezuka and his crew accomplished, that's why anime has "such a low framerate."

Unless you're watching Akira, or something.


I was going to make this next guy my Flake of the Week, but then I got a better one! Anyway, this guy sent me four separate emails, so I'm going through all the trouble of answering each one individually.

Since when did your site become so politically imbalanced to the left?

As I'm sure is well-documented, nobody is allowed to become a journalist or a writer of any sort without first pledging their undying allegiance to the all-powerful Marxist Socialist Cabal that rules the press, so we all sold our souls and integrity in order to be paid scale to write about anime. Rest assured though, once we're at home and away from our leftist overlords, we hide out in our bunkers, surrounded by stacks of Soldier of Fortune magazine and numerous assault weapons and live ammunition, reading Ayn Rand.

I noticed that the person you replaced has been dormant since he retired from this column. So what is he going to be doing now? I have been waiting for such a long time to read his style of humor in another column. Personally I enjoy it, though I don't enjoy him. What's taking him so long?

All I will say on this matter is: patience! Zac is working on something really cool that you'll all hear about soon.

When Bamboo Dong finishes her doctorate degree, is she going to stay on this website, or is she going off to what she's always dreamed about?

Once Bamboo graduates, she's going to strap on her jetpack (jetpacks will be commercially available in 2013 when she finally graduates, after all) and fly across the globe, righting wrongs and curing diseases by kicking selective individuals very angrily in the crotch.

On a serious note, with all that has been going on in the economy, is there any hope for anime at all?





I have no idea what this kid is talking about.

I have a youtube account, and apparently you guys reported one of my videos (Total Paper Nintendo episode 3 part 4 of 9) and I was just wondering what made you guys so mad to report my vid.? I came here because I couldn't find your youtube account so this is what I had to turn to. please reply.

Confused, and thinking that this kid probably got internet-boo'd by some guy with a YouTube account name similar to our website name, I checked out his video in question. What the hell, man. So let it be known, however, that this is not 4chan, and I don't want everybody ganging up and trolling this poor kid for posting something bizarre on the internet. I do, however, strongly recommend that people watch said bizarre thing on the internet. If only to stare blankly at their computer monitor in disbelief.





Hey, Answerfans! had to take a little break last week because the last thing I wanted to do, honestly, was sift through two weeks' worth of responses after my vacation. Not that I don't love you guys, because I desperately do, but I need my chillin' time.

With that out of the way, though, it's back! Here's next week's question to get you into the answerin' mood:


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.

Okay everyone, I'm off to perhaps die in the 112-degree heat! See you next week as a dried-up husk of my former self!!


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