Hey, Answerman!

by Brian Hanson, Jul 31st 2009

Man alive. I like it when I'm productive - it feels good to know that I'm wisely using my time to further things along that have an actual bearing on my creative output - but I really hate being busy. I no longer have the time to play old Super Nintendo games, read any of the six books I inevitably end up buying every week, or sleep in past noon copiously.

Basically all of that introductory nonsense was a cheap ploy for me to mention that I'm working on a new play, as well as another venture that may or may not happen. Those things plus this Answerman thing plus full-time job means Brian is a tired person.

O, THE TRIALS OF AN INTERNET ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST.


Hey Brian, lately I've felt left out of the anime community. The reason for this, though rather silly, is because my anime list, which at one time consisted of over 80 anime, is now down to 30. I feel many anime fans like that many or more anime, but I have neither the time or the money for that many anime. I just have the 30 or so series I know I really like. (Most of the series I crossed off the list or sold if I owned them weren't that great anyway). And like I said, I have neither the time or money, so the time and money I have will be for anime that I for sure like vs what I think I should like. I'm not one of those "if it looks like anime it must be watched or purchased". Now that I explained that, what I'm tryng to ask is, how do I not feel left out of something that I love? Are there possibly other fans that, like me, have their few series that they like?

In all honesty, I think people in your "situation" as it were, far, FAR outnumber the rest of the die-hard anime fan population at large. How many conceivable people are out there who buy Cowboy Bebop and a few Miyazaki films on DVD, and that's the extent of their interest of anime? Hundreds, thousands, possibly millions. Maybe not millions.

So, really, you're going to feel "left out" because of this? No, I guess you can't really match wits and measure your "e-peen" against the agitated denizens of /a/ or whatever because your collection isn't a massive, towering skyscraper, and you have neither the time nor the interest in watching every single new frame of Japanese animated content that gets blasted across Japanese television every two months. But, those people, to make a terrible blanket statement with a tiny ounce of veracity, aren't at all interested in enjoying it. They watch everything and anything anime out of a sick compulsion, out of that nerd ideal to be completely and utterly informed of every single nuance within their chosen niche. They don't actually chew and digest anything they watch; it all slides right down their throat and passes through their body like a stone, so they can post on the internet and blog and spew their opinions over their dozen or so like-minded peers.

...That sounded a bit harsh. To which, yes, I was using hyperbole for possible comedic effect, but I do think that there's a very vocal and very disturbing sect of obsessive anime fans that don't watch anime out of enjoyment; they just want to BE that guy that has literally SEEN EVERYTHING and KNOWS EVERYTHING and DON'T YOU DARE CHALLENGE THEM ON THEIR INTERNET FORUMS AND IMAGE BOARDS BECAUSE THEY WILL SCHOOL YOU SO HARD WITH THEIR IMMENSE ANIME FAN-DOM. But their "knowledge" and their "passion" doesn't make them any more or less anime fans than me or you. You like your thirty-odd collection of anime that appeals to you in a very real way. That's fine. That's great, actually. Stick with that, because forcing yourself out of that might make you completely burned out on everything. Just keep an open mind, though, because there's always new, interesting, and really cool things that get released every year.


On the new upcoming Inuyasha: Final Chapter, will they have the same English voices as the first one?

This is one of those "it's too early to say, really" type of situations: Viz Media just announced that they had licensed the show itself just this past week at Comic-Con. And, y'know, nobody's seen it yet - it's still being animated in order to make its fall premiere on Japanese TV.

But, from a purely speculative perspective, why wouldn't Viz get the band back together? It's not like a ludicrous amount of time has passed; none of The Ocean Group's stable of Canadian voice talent has suddenly become a celebrity with insane salary demands. They're still kicking around Vancouver, working on other shows. Ditto for all the producers, writers, editors, et cetera.

So, it's impossible to say with complete certainty, because the second that I do something like that, knowing my luck, is when God would alter fate just to spite me. As in, I would say, "bet your life savings on the voice talent of Inuyasha returning for Final Chapter!" and divine intervention would intervene and Final Chapter would be dubbed by a non-union troupe of actors from Kentucky doing cold readings, and people who had actually bet their life savings on such an event would tear down my door, jabbing me with their torches and pitchforks until I died a humbled but mangled death.

It's incredibly, extremely likely that you'll hear the same voices for Final Chapter! There's no reason for them not to return! But it's still too early to say, either way.


dear answerman,

let me start off by saying that i am an arab otaku. yes, we do exist, albeit not so much in the open like our american brethren. and to be more specific, i am a saudi otaku *pause for applause* now my question is this:

WHY CAN'T I FIND ANY MANGA/ANIME TO BUY!!!!!

now that that little outburst is out of the way, let me further clarify my question. my country is very conservative. very, very conservative. black out women's knees in magazines conservative. that isn't to say we can't live a little, we have every form of media imaginable, most of it completely uncensored. but no anime/manga, what the F, man?!

do i stage riots in the street , denouncing the government and it's customs policy? or, do i write a really nasty letter to Viz, for not giving me my naruto fix?

anime here does great dubbed in arabic but all the shows are for kids! conan, HxH, beyblade . all in crappy vhs with crappy dubbing.

i want real anime! in boxsets with reversible covers, clean openings and endings, crappy trailers and the original jap audio track, just like you yanks get! and i'm tired of reading manga online being constantly interrupted by pop ups, begging allah all mighty for a single volume of Ranma ½ to drop out of the sky. and don't get me started on the pirates! selling fan subs off the web for 5 bucks an episode! it makes me feel like a thief every time i go online.

hell, not even the pleasure capital of the world : Dubai in the united arab emirates has decent stuff. the only place there that sells anime is the virgin mega store. you know what was by far the best, most recent, most ground breaking, most box set-y title the had? speed grapher. don't get me wrong , it grew on me in the end but it ain't no wolf's rain. as for manga they only had flame of recca (ick!)

now honestly, i don't think it's my government's fault. since many anime/manga titles don't offend muslim beliefs and many can be tolerated in the light of fiction. they did it to harry potter so why can't naruto get some love? and adding more to my argument is the fact that some (very few) legitimate anime boxests does exist in my country, be it from a local distributor.

i beleive the problems lay with the license holders, since they probably don't see the middle east as a viable source of income. i've given you my opinion, lord knows i have. what's your take on it? what can i do to help? can i even help at all?

yours truly,
the saudi otaku

Wow, and I thought *I* had a rant going earlier. Saudi Otaku, you just out-ranted me in every way you can out-rant someone.

So. Ahem. Well, like you yourself said, the Japanese license-holders aren't particularly keen on the Middle East. And by that I mean they're not really concerned with how well their titles perform there, or if they perform there at all. By and large, when it comes to most products being marketed "globally," they're only really concerned with three continents: North America, Europe, and Asia. And hell, most folks from Europe have the same complaints about the availability of anime as you have. Not to mention Australia, South America, India, the list goes on. Which goes to show you how seriously these companies take the word "globally."

I think a good way to start in rectifying this situation is something you've already done - tell people about it! Tell people how crummy it is and that you and, preferably, a large group of like-minded individuals would appreciate a bit more diversity and care in the anime you're able to purchase, and that it could definitely be worth some enterprising anime company's while to embark upon such a venture.

The only other piece of advice I can offer is something that you're already doing, it seems; support anime done right, when you see it. Whenever you come across a DVD or a manga that's even remotely similar to what you're looking for, purchase that sucker. Reward the companies that are earnestly trying to some degree. Beyond that, who knows? Get loud, make some noise, maybe even start your own company and try to get things going yourself, whatever! And what's wrong with Flame of Recca, seriously. It's better than nothing, by far.


Believe it or not, I had no good Flakes ready for this week; I was going to put something else up in its place, but time is a funny thing; you can run out of it, and I certainly did. Consider this a public apology, and then picture me giving myself fifty lashes and saying one-hundred Hail Marys.





Of course, that gives us more room to dive straight into Hey, Answerfans for this week! Here was last week's question, dug out of the trenches of the internets past:


Kinny starts things off with a bang, and several unintelligible swear words delivered in comedic deadpan by large, churlish British people:

Ack! The adaptation question! Personally, there is no bigger turn-off to upcoming film productions than hearing they are an anime adaptation. In fact, "turn-off" is putting it lightly, as I usually start running around the house yelling at imaginary filmmakers and potential actors I don't like.

That being said, I accept that Hollywood isn't going to be stopped. They will do their best to keep making money while spitting out movies with guaranteed fanbases, and all we can really do is pray for their success. On with the question.

Well... I feel like I'm cheating when I make this completely obvious suggestion, but I think Guy Ritchie would be the one and only man to do Baccano! justice, seeing as the style of the show was practically invented by the guy (pun not intended, seeing as how it snuck up on me). Anyone who has ever seen Snatch or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels knows that the multiple storylined chaos of the criminal underground was perfected by a man who wrote and directed the movies famed for their bloody complexity. The fantastic violence, the multilayered plethora of intertwining pandemonium, and the abundance of dark comedy inexplicably present in the criminal underworld would in no way be out of place in a Guy Ritchie film. A perfect match.

My Magical Mai figurines are bolted in place, and surely you already knew that Cristiano, so shame on you:

I'll give you not one, but two lineups so awesome your Magical Mai figures collection will be swept off its shelf.

George Lucas directing and screenwriting a 3x3 Eyes adaptation. Would turn out much better than more recent adventure saga efforts we don't care to recollect.

David Lynch (yet again both as screenwriter and director, a guarantee for higher end result) would bypass the pitiful anime and adapt Rozen Maiden straight from the manga. Those who have read it will know.

Lisa gets geeky and joyful, in that order:

I've never responded to one of your questions before but this one made me really think in a sort of geeky joyful way and I just had to respond. Hard to not to keep going, but I think I've got my thoughts across well enough.

From my experience, whether I think the movie is a pass or fail is mainly determined by the director and not the screenwriter. The screenwriters are the backbone of Hollywood and underappreciated despite it, but the directors are the ones that in the end tell the story (that was told to them, but still). So that being said, my idea of the perfect director changes with which anime/manga is done. Some directors are good with epics, some are good with a comedy. Then again, the choices for me also settled on what I like best about the anime/manga in the first place and who I think could and has handled something like it before.

Example one being if School Rumble was done, I think the best choice would probably be Judd Apatow. He can do the adult comedy of Knocked Up to the comedy/drama of kids growing up in Freaks and Geeks. Apatow has the ability to make you laugh at the pure crack that can be life but still make you fill moved by people being people. He has proven he can hold together a large cast and shown that he understands the need for the small role characters, which is what School Rumble really is in the end.

Now the person to direct Trigun could be JJ Abrams. Abrams can do the action, such as with the third Mission Impossible movie. He can do the secrets and showed it when he created Lost and Alias. With Abrams latest blockbuster, Star Trek, he proved he can do the humor, the emotion and has a good handle with Sci Fi as well.

For something like Fullmetal Alchemist, the only person I could think of was Peter Jackson. Lord of the Rings had the slow, strong build that matches Fullmetal Alchemist and Jackson's connection to WETA would make the movie and the alchemic reactions stunning to watch.

For Moribito, the director I'm not so positive about but can see the potential in is Ridley Scott. Scott has shown a wide range of skills. He directed American Gangster, Black Hawk Down, Legend, Alien and various others; though the clincher for me is probably Gladiator with its artistic touch.

There are other matches that are even more hit or miss such as Darker than Black with David Twohy, s-CRY-ed with Michael Bay, Baccano! with Curtis Hanson or Martin Scorsese and Death Note with Christopher Nolan. In the end though, you never really now until they make it and here is hoping they do.

David Lynch is cropping up much more than I certainly expected. Dylan-san's response is below:

There were a few director-screenwriter-anime groupings bouncing around my head, but I think I've got a real gem here:

The Big O, written for the screen and directed by David Lynch.

Think about it. It's a match made in heaven. Big O is loaded with surrealist imagery, philosophy, and noir trappings. You can't name a David Lynch project that isn't founded on those elements.

The most challenging aspects of a theatrical Big O would be exploring Roger's past and psyche, which the anime explored via flashes of disturbing images depicting warfare and mass-produced humans, culminating in the (in)famous "I'm one of the tomatoes!" line. Imagine that scene in the hands of your typical Hollywood film, and it comes off as hokey and melodramatic. Now, imagine it in Eraserhead, or the last episode of Twin Peaks. It's almost too perfect of a fit, huh? In fact, if David Lynch were to use some of his familiar actors, Twin Peaks' Kyle MacLachlan would be an ideal Roger Smith.

As for portraying the "giant robot" elements, Lynch demonstrated a great ability to evoke epic grandeur from miniature-based special effects 25 years ago in Dune. Lynch has also been known to continually reinvent and modernize his technique, while maintaining clear individuality. If he took a few cues from the monster-obscuring camerawork of Cloverfield, The Big O itself could become a truly legendary onscreen presence. Also, a return to old-fashioned miniatures and stunts (seen with great success in recent hits like The Dark Knight and Kill Bill) would be a perfect palate-cleansing after the CGI visual vomit of the recent Transformers pictures, and could help legitimize giant robots as subject matter in American pop culture. (We all have to have our dreams, right?)

Yet another vote for the Nolan Bros., who are like the Mario Bros. except that they make great movies and in fact are not like the Mario Bros. at all. Here's what John says:

I've actually debated about this with the voices in my head, and I've come to the conclusion that Death Note would not only be a smart financial move, but could actually be pulled off given the right man/star power. However, speaking as someone living in the United States, I can only speak on behalf of an American “re-visioning.”

One of the most solidified Director/Screenwriter teams that come to mind would be Christopher Nolan and his brother, Jonathan Nolan. Together, the two have worked on big-budget movies such as Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as well as well-renowned films such as The Prestige and Memento. Together, both brothers would find a way to not only have the events translate from the original series to the silver screen, but also capture the “mood of the moment” with both smart dialogue and terrific camera work. Having written the part of The Joker for the big screen, I have no doubt what-so-ever that the Brothers Nolan could capture the mental state of Light Yagami when trying to justify his actions, which would make for a very interesting perspective for the rest of the film.

Lewis didn't answer my question but he makes a point about doing so:

I wish to see no anime turned into a live action movie. The perfect version of Cowboy Bebop, Akira, Lord of the Rings, Watchmen, 20th Century Boys et al. already exist in the format they were originally made for. Not condensed into a 90-minute story dumbed down for the lowest common denominator.

I don't understand why the movie is considered the pinnacle of a franchise when so few of them are any better than Leonard Part 6. I find this all amazing that someone who would consider a clever, touching anime like Cowboy Bebop childish without every seeing it (cartoons are for kids) but get excited for the film version of the same after seeing the wicked awesome cg effects and explosions in the trailer while waiting for Slow Motion Gunfight 3: More Landmarks Blow Up to screen.

Rednal tempts fate with his "couldn't be worse than Dragonball: Evolution" talk:

James Wong, as both director and screenwriter of Sailor Moon Generations, wherein an aging Serenity must teach a generation of Moon Phase Scouts (Sailor Full Moon, Sailor Crescent Moon, etc.) how to set aside their differences and work together as the original Sailor Scouts did in order to stop a new evil sealed ages ago in the center of the moon. It couldn't possibly be worse than Dragonball: Evolution...

Lord_Mithos closes us out tonight, turning my question on its head in a way that still confuses my though processes a lilttle:

Ok, I wrack my anime ridden otaku life and damn it, I'm stuck in the past. And I *like* it that way. Sure, there is a lot of great anime out there, too much for me to watch in a lifetime (a fact that depresses me, please don't bring it up), but I watched all my favorite anime when I was younger, first introduced to the culture. So of course I have to say Outlaw Star. For director, it has to be Shinichiro Watanabe, who rocked another favorite, Cowboy Bebop, that made a thirteen year old kid (me), surrounded by middle school drama, proud to want to be a cowboy again. Standing side by side as screenwriter, (cue dramatic drum roll, if there is such a thing) is there anyone better than Dai Sato? No, no there isn't. I KNOW there isn't.

Wait, does it matter both my picks are Japanese? Am I breaking some Hollywood rule here?

Moving along to next week's ever-so-egalitarian question! I actually got this from a great suggestion by a reader named K. Desai - thank you, sir!


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.

That is it, everyone, I'm out of official material and the only things that I could have to possibly entertain you further would be spurious at best, blasphemous at worst. So I'm off to swamp myself in creative endeavors that will probably end up being terrible! Good night!


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