Hey, Answerman!
Back in the Side Saddle

by Brian Hanson, Apr 8th 2011

Whoo! I'm Brian Hanson, and it's good to be back.

First off, much love, much love to the talented and lovely Daryl Surat for being a sport and filling in. He did a super job, and just in case you're one of the few who aren't familiar with Mr. Surat's particular brand of sardonic musings, it would behoove you to check out his great podcast and consider yourself behoove'd.

Anyway, I'm up and active and fine. I was sick. With March Madness!!! Also I was in the hospital. During March Madness!!! Lots of doctors and nurses poked and prodded me and made me uncomfortable. But then the U of A trounced Duke in the 2nd half of one of the best games in NCAA history. And then we barely lost to UConn and my bracket became invalid and I still owe my friend five bucks for it. Boo.

Enough about that, though. I'm ready to tackle some questions.


Hi Answerman,

So 4Kids is being sued for not paying full royalties for Yu-Gi-Oh. Was that just an April Fool's joke, or is this real? If it is, Yu-Gi-Oh! fans the world over can rejoice at the possibility of getting the respect and the proper treatment it finally deserves, if 4Kids does indeed lose the rights to butcher it.

Nope. It's real. As a matter of fact, it just got a whole lot uglier.

So, the question is, what happens now? Does 4Kids lose Yu-Gi-Oh!? Does Yu-Gi-Oh! finally end up getting the "respect" that it deserves? That's hard to answer right now. The ink is still too wet on this whole messy litigious ordeal. All that we can do is speculate.

So, let's speculate! There's two things I want to point out about all of this:

Number one. 4Kids called TVTokyo's bluff, so to speak, and filed Chapter 11. That, in itself, is a pretty strong move on their part to keep a hold on Yu-Gi-Oh!. They really, really don't want to lose it. Filing for Chapter 11 gives them the opportunity to do that. But, the Chapter 11 filing also royally bones them in every other regard. They get the chance to keep their license to Yu-Gi-Oh!, but it puts them in the uncomfortable position of possibly being liquidated and shut down completely by the court. Chapter 11 isn't the Get Out of Jail Free card that people seem to think it is; it's more of a Stay of Execution in most cases. The list of companies that have filed for Chapter 11 and succeeded is pretty small compared to the ones that have filed and then quickly evaporated.

From this, you can read into the fact that 4Kids really, really wants to hold on to Yu-Gi-Oh!. Really. Rationally, it's the only property that 4Kids still owns with any sort of muscle in this industry. If they seriously thought they were gonna lose Yu-Gi-Oh! either way, in my estimation, they would've simply closed up shop completely.

Number two. If 4Kids loses the license to Yu-Gi-Oh!, if that happens... who's to say that the series would be any more "respected" than it is now?

Yu-Gi-Oh! is considered a children's property, first and foremost. Far be it from me to dash all your hopes and dreams of watching uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! released by Funimation (you know, provided they'd still be interested in the series after the first time the uncut DVDs failed to sell), and all the joy that would bring. But what if it wasn't? What if it was given to Nelvana? What if, oh dear God, TVTokyo dubs it themselves? Eesh. I understand that nobody likes 4Kids, but trust me, it could be worse. If not worse, then it could be just as bad.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the end. I don't have much fondness for Yu-Gi-Oh!, but it's awfully humbling and a little weird to see such a massive player in the kids' TV anime business only a scant few years ago fall so quickly and so disgracefully.


I was wondering what your opinions are on the new FLCL release, and particularly whether you think Blu-Ray upscaling can hurt an anime (particularly FLCL) as much as the horror stories I've heard (particularly with regards to Samurai Champloo, which I just bought on dvd to be safe). I ask because I really don't have that much experience with buying anime, and I haven't really found any scientific comparisons that prove to me that the more advanced format (Blu-Ray allegedly) is really the inferior one; just a lot of people making a lot of noise about how awful the upscaling is. Is it every anime that is negatively affected or just older ones? Would Miyazaki Blu-Rays be similarly degraded? Is it a better idea to go for the cheaper DVD for quality, or Blu-Ray?

Okay, first of all, let me just say something to all the "regular" folks out there who might not know much about Native HD versus upscaling and such.

Most anime, specifically TV anime and OAVs and such, that were released prior to 2002 or so, were not designed, animated, or even meant to ever be seen in high-definition. Especially if they were digitally animated before HDTV adoption hit any sort of critical mass. There isn't any High Definition source for those shows, at all, ever. Cowboy Bebop? You're never gonna see that one in "true" Native HD. Sorry. FLCL? Same deal.

The exception to that rule is for feature films mostly, or things that were actually shot and animated on 35mm film. So, Miyazaki movies are fine. Case in point, the recent Nausicaä Blu-ray looks wonderful.

So, for those shows where a native HD release is impossible, my personal, unrepentant, completely my-own-views-and-not-those-of-Anime-News-Network-in-any-way of Blu-ray upscales is a resounding... eh. Here's the thing. To me, they look better than just a straight-up DVD. They do. They look better. On Funimation's discs specifically, at least. The colors are sharper, there's less grain and noise, and they just look better. They don't look as good as a "Native HD" series. They certainly don't look as good as something like Nausicaä, which was mastered on film. Upscales look marginally better than a DVD. It's not great, but it's okay.

Is it worth the extra ten bucks to buy an upscaled Blu-ray versus the DVD? That's up to you. I was a sucker and picked up the Samurai Champloo Blu-ray, which is one of the shows that people seem to think was utterly ruined forever because of the upscale. It wasn't, I hate to say it. It looks about as good as that show is ever going to, which is sad, but that's the way it is.

So anyway, it's usually pretty simple to find out if a Blu-ray that you have your eye on is actually "Native HD" or just an upscale. It might not be featured on the packaging, but that information is out there on the internet. Native HD Blu-rays look fantastic, ditto feature films - even older films. Upscales? Meh. If you're perfectly happy with the HD upscaling that your Blu-ray player or PS3 does on its own for your DVDs, I wouldn't really bother. But if the thought of slightly improved colors excites you, go ahead and get the upscales.


It seems like the revival of Anime shows is all the buzz lately. With Revolutionary Girl Utena getting a planned re release by Right Stuff this year and a couple others that I can't remember at the moment.

What I haven't heard much about is plans for the Sailor Moon revival. It's popularity is overwhelming as old and new fans universally seem to know about it. Now I suffer from regrets of selling my season 1 and 2 box sets a while ago when I realized I would never be able to blow enough money on the series to own them all--my mind set being that if they weren't around they couldn't torture me. Years later I wanted some of that fun fluff back, but all the rumors keep making my head spin.

Some of the rumors state that if it's popular in Italy it will get a revival, or that the 20th anniversary is coming up and there will be a world wide revival. Then in 2009 that poll by Funimation to see if they would take on the task of re dubbing it, ending with no results mentioned for a final decision. Though the company keeps making hints that they are trying desperately to make it work.

Personally I want some kind of higher answer on the matter. I believe the series is too popular not to get a revival at some point. Sure I could watch fansubs online, but I'm one of those crazy people that have to own it and support the people who made it.

Thanks!

I've said this before, but it bears repeating; the brave, foolish anime company who has the wherewithal to follow through on the task of rereleasing Sailor Moon in the West will rake in millions. Millions. Or maybe some comparably large figure. Not necessarily millions. Hundreds of Thousands.

And, see, that's sort of the problem. Sailor Moon is still worth a lot of money. Both in Japan and in the West, people still love that show. They want to buy it. It has a pure nostalgia value now more than ever. And the main reason you can't is because of one monolithic Japanese company: Toei.

Toei owns the rights to Sailor Moon, and for whatever reason or reasons, they're clutching them tightly to their chest. So, for your sake and others, do myself and everyone else a favor:

Pay no heed to any rumors.

I don't doubt that Funimation wants Sailor Moon badly. I don't doubt that Toei wants to do something to commemorate the series' 20th anniversary. That all sounds reasonable. But these are still rumors. Trust me, everybody in the entire world already knows that we all want Sailor Moon out on DVD or Blu-ray or whatever. There's a nightmare of legalese and licensing rights and complicated profit motives at stake. As a result, rumors fly about incessantly. I mean, I love the fact that people are still passionate about that show even though it hasn't been seen on American shores in nearly a decade, but... until Toei and some Unnamed Western Anime Licensor makes an official statement saying that "SAILOR MOON IS COMING ON DVD ON THIS DATE, FOR REAL, HERE IS AN AMAZON LINK TO PRE-ORDER," it's not worth the hassle and the headaches to get riled up over rumors.

Personally, and again this is just my own outlook here man, I have no doubt that Sailor Moon will get re-released. It's inevitable. I don't have any insider information or anything that's hidden behind a cloudy wisp of Non-Disclosure Agreements, I just think it's a sure-fire way to make money. There are so few sure-fire hits in the world of anime, which is what makes Sailor Moon special.

So, pay no heed to idle chatter about popularity in Italy or off-handed mentions on anime company blogs and the like. I don't have much of a "higher answer" on this, because nobody does. The people who might have the "higher answer" aren't going to talk about it, because they're too busy trying to get a deal made on the subject.

Until then, chill out, everyone.




Oh goodie!

Dear Mr,

I am [redacted], owner of the web domain bleachstreaming.com.I am writing to offer this domain for sale. If you're interested, just reply with an offer and if it's accepted I will transfer the domain to you shortly

I want to buy bleachstreaming.com and fill it with nothing but arty independent animated short films. Like this one!

I'd buy that for a dollar.



Once again I'd like to thank Daryl for sorting through all your wonderful responses last week, and of course I've got another one planned for next time. In the midst of my March Madness, I had a thought, and that thought turned into this week's Question Du Jour:


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.

Thanks again for inviting me back into your computer screens and whatnot, and remember to send any relevant questionings and answerings to my personal inbox located at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Until next week!


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