Hey, Answerman!

by Brian Hanson, Apr 23rd 2010

Hey gang! Time for another Hey, Answerman!

Just a quick plug before we begin, though: do you like uncomfortably offensive sketch comedy? Would you like to see me perform some offensive sketch comedy? Are you around somewhere in Southern Arizona to see me and my friends make horrible jokes to each other for about an hour? Then come on down and check out Grendel's Mom! I even wrote a few sketches myself, and there will be singing and laughter and joy to be had by all.

But with that out of the way, I do believe I have some questions to take care of first:


With all these E-Readers like Kindle and the iPad coming out I was wondering why more manga companies aren't releasing some of their titles on them? It might be the technology is too new and they want to wait and see if it'll actually catch on but it seems like it would be a really good idea. This way they could let readers at official copies of out of print mangas or test out new manga. After all I imagine it would be a lot cheaper since they wouldn't have to mess around with books, ink, and printers. We'll probably just have to wait and see though.

Indeed, it seems like a good idea - and it seems as though there's really not much to lose, monetarily, just to try it out - but as always there's a whole industry that's almost allergic to the concept of change that needs to be dealt with.

Honestly, if there's any one particular industry that's been entirely too stubborn to see the light of day in our entirely digital 21st century, it's the publishing industry. And that's especially true for the Japanese manga industry; these are guys who're in charge of companies that haven't even considered changing the way they do business for decades and decades. Convincing the technophobic Japanese publishers that manga on E-Readers would be a solid investment is, in and of itself, a difficult task.

And then there's everything else - the demographical breakdown of the people who own E-Readers (most of the market research indicates that the audience who're buying E-Readers and iPads tend to be older - much older than your average teenaged manga enthusiast), your standard-issue piracy concerns, plus the sheer fact that nobody's really done something like that for comics yet. Marvel seems to be hedging their bets on the concept of digital readers for their various stable of new and older comic books, so it's worth it to see how well that plan shakes out for them before any other major comic and manga publishers take a stab at it.

It's not all gloom and doom, though. Obviously the concept of publishing manga on a Kindle or an iPad is something that just about every US manga publisher is considering; but currently, the market is still too new and unproven. I'm sure we'll see a few experiments by brave publishers like Yen Press, but I doubt we'll be seeing any sort of mass E-Reader adoption for the manga industry for quite some time.


I am currently 35 years old and I still enjoy anime and the occasional manga. No big deal, right? My question has to do with other forms of anime/manga fandom; more specifically conventions. A few years back a few friends and I attended a local con (we are about the same age) and, well, we felt pretty uncomfortable. There were a lot of fans and of course most of them were in their mid-to-late teens or early twenties, and a good many of them looked at us like we were some sort of "pedos". To clarify, we were not in cos-play, we did not have cameras, and we tried very hard not to stare too much at any of the fans who were in cos-play. But I still got the feeling that we were kind of interlopers. Is it time to give up going to cons, or should I just say the heck with it and do what I want?

Well, I guess outside of that particularly awkward exchange, my question to you, sir, would be this:

Did you still have fun at the con?
Were there other activities aside from cosplay and such that you found to be worth your time?

If you answered "yes" to the above two questions, then yes - screw what those lousy kids think! It's a big nerd party, so go out and have fun. Don't worry about the hazy stares from the younger kids, because they are lame and nobody likes them.

On the other hand, if you're one of those people who attend conventions strictly for the social atmosphere, well then... yeah, it's probably time to hang up your Convention badge-holder and leave it for the next generation of fans. Zac and Justin and I always make fun of Anime Expo every year for being "Teenage Party Weekend," which it absolutely is, by no means does that mean we don't enjoy ourselves when we're there. (Well, at least when they're not being swamped by massive amounts of work or whatever.) There are still panels to attend, screenings to be watched, goodies to be bought, and a plethora of other things to do aside from nervously shuffle around the glares of kids dressed up in matching Kingdom Hearts costumes.

I can see this being a bigger deal at the local cons, though, where there obviously aren't going to be as many panels, the dealer's room is going to be a lot smaller, and the screenings will be much less interesting. The local cons exist primarily as a social melting pot of local nerdery, so if at any point you feel relatively out-of-sorts, I'd say it's probably time to skip it.

Nonetheless, the ball's in your court here, man. I myself can't see myself attending any local conventions for that very reason - I'm not much for cosplay myself and as a 26-year old guy I'm already a little bit over the median anime-fan age - but I can still think of a few things I might like or other ways I could amuse myself while I'm there. It's a difficult call to make, because conventions are entirely what you get out of them, and if all you got out of the local cons recently is a feeling of awkward shame, then I'd say it's high-time you let them go. If not, then screw it and have fun.


I know you get a lot of "When is X getting licensed" questions, but usually they're about Beyblade, not something like Nodame Cantabile. What do you think are the factors keeping Nodame from being licensed? Are the they same that caused it to take forever for Honey and Clover to be licensed?

I just wanted to clarify: no, I have never received an email asking about the licensing status of Beyblade. (Besides, it's already licensed! Not that I, uh, know that much about Beyblade. Seriously.) Digimon? Yes. Many a Digimon licensing question. Not so much the Beyblade.

I tend to ignore the relatively direct "WHEN WILL THIS SHOW BE LICENSED?????" questions because, honestly, there's no clear and correct answer that I can give. It's not like I'm calling Funimation every week just to run down a list of titles to see what's been licensed and what hasn't. And even then, Funimation wouldn't tell me what shows were being licensed until they were ready to tell the rest of the internet.. And for the older shows that linger in obscurity, destined to live a sad and lonely import-only life, who knows? Again, I'm not calling all the R1 anime companies every week to ask them repeatedly why they passed on Legend of Galactic Heroes.

Sadly, Nodame Cantabile falls into the Legend of Galactic Heroes realm of misbegotten anime licenses - it's a very good show that's based on an excellent manga. A manga that has, sadly, hardly made a dent as far as sales go. The show is paced rather gently, is character focused, and doesn't have titillatingly un-clothed men and women cavorting about and absolutely no physical violence to speak of. Sadly, time and time again, studies have shown that mature, intelligent dramas centered around real characters is not what sells on anime DVD shelves in America. Any company attempting to sell Nodame Cantabile would be assuming a huge risk, and sadly our economy is not exactly conducive towards such risks.

Luckily, though, at least the manga's still on sale here, so if anything might change their minds about Nodame Cantabile, it'd be manga sales. So spread the word and try to sell some Nodame Cantabile volumes, champ; cold hard cash speaks the loudest in this market, and Nodame's quiet piano solo just doesn't have the volume to drown out all the noise so far.




NO NO NO NO NO NONONO

hi so i want to uncensored for Isshoni H Shiyotsu, Kangoku Senkan, In Warau Kangofu Counseling, Milk Junkies Sisters, Mizugi Kanojo ~The Animation~ Fit, Oodeo ShijyuuhatteSaimin Jutsu -2nd Version, Seifuku Shojo, Saimin Ryougoku Gakuen, Shimaizuma 3 The Animation, Soukou ki Onna Iris, Space Pirate Sara, Stringendo & Accelerendo Ultimatum Sera, Stringendo ~MY BLOW JOBER, Taimanin Asagi, Tsuma Shibori , Accelerando Datenshi-tachi no Sasayaki, Bakunyuu Maid Kari theses are censored so i want to uncensored, if you can not change it then can you contact in japan company to make uncensored.

I am not your personal hentai uncensoring device. Here is a video that will make you never want to even acknowledge the fact that you have genitals ever again:


Here we go with the Answerfans! Last week I flipped around the question I get asked most often here at ANN:


To begin, Serry needs to dry those teary eyes:

I've always wanted to voice acting but I didn't want to get pulled into little kid story time shows. When I 'discovered' anime in high school it was like all my prayers were being answered. I stared practicing different voices with my sub DVDs and did a few workshops. Then reality set in and I realized that it is hard work that really doesn't pay well unless your like Vic Mignogna doing a roll in every big anime that comes out. Let's face it those are scarce so the chances of getting them aren't good. I ended up with a nine to five but there are still the days when I wish I hadn't quit. Now I'm all sad! I'm going to go cry into my Mokona plushie!

Ronny, meanwhile, has his doubts:

I don't think I would like to work in the anime industry; as far as I can tell it's a choice between being overworked (artists, producers) or underpaid (actors, musicians), or frequently both. Either one would mess with my own enjoyment of the medium. Not living in Japan or knowing much Japanese beyond the usual otaku smatter would probably also not help...

Giascle will be makin' cartoons here in 'merica:

I'm going to study animation at the School of Visual Arts this fall, so I can learn how to better make cartoons. Not anime, just good old 'Murican cartoons.

I love anime, and actually watch it more than the cartoons on TV (if only for the convenience of not having to base my schedule around when it airs). I draw "anime style" almost too often, and if I had my own TV show, you can be assured there would be references to obscure Japanese shows of which the average viewer would likely never hear. However, my actual animations are all in a strange style that's about as Western as they come. Simple, goofy designs are just more fun to draw than anatomically correct characters, day in and day out; I couldn't imagine being an animator at a Japanese studio where all the shows look more or less the same. I'm not even going to get started on wages, racism, and all the other potential problems everyone should know by now.

I'm not sure what is so enticing to some people about working on an anime. You will not become famous for drawing the scene where Toyota-kun blinks and goes through his three mouth movements. As with any other career in the entertainment industry, you will not be allowed to direct your own work the second you step into the office; it's going to take at least a decade of hard work, and of course you have to be creative and talented enough to outshine everyone else trying to accomplish the same exact thing. And it's not like Japanese studios are the only ones that draw in that style, if that's the issue. Just look at Avatar or The Boondocks: not anime, but certainly close enough that any stranger on the bus will ask if you're watching one of them funny Chinese cartoons.

It really comes down to, "do you want to be successful at what you do?" If you do, stick to where your dreams might actually come true. The grass is pretty green right here.

Karen's references the popular 1997 film "Titanic":

Would I like to pursue a career in the Anime Industry? --In Short: Do I find it bewildering that people would sign up to take a ride on the Titanic fully knowing it's going to sink?

Ok, maybe that was a *bit* too harsh, but especially from hearing about the Industry currently in the latest ANNCast, until someone 'fixes' the industry, I don't see how this would be even possible. And I'm not just talking about the even more far fetched dream of making Anime all the way over in Japan (Being an in-betweener working paycheck to paycheck sounds like fun to me, wahoo!), it's just that working in the Anime Industry alone is not a realistic dream. Even, or especially here in the U.S., you can't just sail on voice acting alone, or being a singer that sings the Openings and Endings for your favorite shows. You are most likely going to be doing voice overs for commercials and singing various other ditties which may be less than ideal to your average hopeful fan. But hey, if it's someone's dream, then I say go for it. It's just going to be a long and rocky path getting there and afterwards..and during. For me personally, however, I have always been intrigued by the marketing and advertising strategies used by anime companies, specifically for R1 releases. The decisions on the packaging, design of said packaging, advertisements: ANN skin? Video clips available free? Website ads? And how so? All this and more has always interested me. I hold a sort of respect for the people who are in this specific niche of marketing and advertising because I feel Anime is such a hard thing to sell and make a profit with, and that besides improving the actual content for the shows, I feel that advertising is a key way to jump start the Anime Industry in Japan, as well as here in the States. I can see the hard work (and sometimes failed attempts) at trying to present a show in an unique and interesting way to the consumer, and I respect and admire that a lot, and it would be something that I would like to try my hand at too. So I suppose in the end, I am one of those people who would gladly hop on the Titanic fully knowing it's future demise-- if only to have a personal hand in trying to prevent it running into that pesky Iceberg, and of course to run this metaphor into the ground, decorate the ship in fun attractive colors (Marketing!) so the rescue ship (Consumer) sees the ship (Product, Industry?) and saves the people or something like that.

Lucy's edict frightens me:

For the longest time, I wanted to be a voice actress in the anime industry. I wanted to become my favorite characters in the English dubs and make dubs more popular here in the States. As I've said before in one of these AnswerFan thingymajigs, a good voice actor/actress can make or break an anime. And a new voice would be nice too.

But then I realized that to save the industry, the scripts had to be as similar as possible when switched over from Japanese to English. That is part of the reason dubs fail. So I wanted to be a writer.

Then I wanted to be a producer to get money for better advertising to make anime/manga more popular and allow each and every single shot to be put into the dubs (not get cut).

Then I wanted to do a global take-over of everything anime/manga related so I could regulate absolutely everything from A to Z.

Obviously, having me in the industry could result in some serious Nazi-like action taking place. I'm sure that I'd be able to save my beloved anime and manga; positive, actually. But I'm also sure that, one day, someone else will try (and fail) to overthrow my regime because they actually enjoy some of the ridiculously stupid stuff like Buuga-tan (haha, go Anime News Nina! They've got it on the nose *chuckle*)

But some little part of me still wants to simply voice my favorite characters. A very small part, it is true, but who can forget their childhood dreams? When I take over, I'll be sure to do that. And let your Answerman column live...if you play by my rules, of course. ^_^

You have been warned.

J reminds me of how much I perversely enjoy Ichiro Itano, even though he is one of the individuals responsible for Angel Cop:

I want to be a fan. And maybe more.

I think the anime industry is a large and complex thing that any of us can be a part of. The industry goes beyond just producing anime--the organizers, producers, the animation studios and its employees, the musicians, the designers, the voice actors, the sound director, the writers, the publishers, the TV stations, the lawyers and bankers, and the marketing and ad folks. It includes the press, sponsors, conventions, people who hire animation studios (for example, Otakon has hired Madhouse to make shorts for their convention before), and ultimately, the fans. After all without the fans and their money, how can the industry exist? Without the press to let the fans know what is happening, how can the industry communicate with the fans? How can the industry figure out what the fans like and want to buy more of? Without sponsors investing on anime up front, how will the money to make anime come in the first place?

I think all of that is important. An inbetweener who is hired to draw some frames is exchangeable; anyone with the requisite skill (and it's not much for inbetweening) can do the job. But there are only so many people on earth who is willing to trade their time and money for some crappy moe anime on DVD, and it isn't like it make sense to hire them into existence. In other words, you can't really force people to become fans. They are harder to replace than an inbetweener, an animator. But yet the fans are also generally not well-respected, why is that?

To finally answer the question about how I want to break into the industry and why fans are not respected, I want to just link to Ichiro Itano's story about working on Macross Plus. I want to be someone like him; not as a master animator, but someone who puts his life on the line for his passion. I think if you have that, it doesn't matter if you are a writer, producer, director, animator, or just an otaku. It's how I want to break into this industry, as a fan or as whatever it takes to do it.

Ian Strope, wordsmith:

Among my various projects in different stages of production. I've got a 5 part tv show sci-fi idea.Once it's done I will try to pitch to just about anybody. Since I enjoy anime among other shows I freely admit that what I'm working on is heavily influenced (RE: stealing) from anime and other media (there is a scene I want to do in the 4th part of the show where a former assassin is using her sword to cut carrots like April in the first TMNT movie).

In the end I would like to be writing. For me all the watching of shows good, decent, bad, is "research" for characters, environments, themes, etc. I would have no problem working on a US cartoon like Samurai Jack (though that's really all about animators, in a good way ... and cancelled, in a bad way) or doing a live action show or in helping to make some cool anime. I just hate when an anime is well made but lacking in story elements or based on a manga or book series that goes on further. I hate the lack of closure in that stuff. I wouldn't mind finding a way to write something that had a beginning a middle and an end so I could enjoy watching it in my dying years when my memory is shot.

And finally, Candice has a surprisingly candid answer:

In all seriousness i really do want to be involved in the anime industry, but not as an artist, author, producer, what have you....I want to be an accountant for the industry. i would just love to tell them how they are spending their money right or wrong; how to analyze the merchandise sales; and possibly how to budget their accounts so they wont spend too much on a product, having to overprice it in order to make a profit. Cause oh mai zombie jeebus~ them things get expensive yo.

So all of you want to be accountant voice actor writer-producers and animators! Cool!

On a different note, here's the question I need you all to answer for next 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 have 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's all I've got for now! I'm going to go pass out from a lack of sleep and get ready to embarrass myself in the name of tasteless comedy, but I'll be back next week for sure. Just keep sending me stuff at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com, and I'll see you later!


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