Hey, Answerman! Know Your Copyrights
by Brian Hanson, Apr 6th 2012
Hello friends! Welcome to Hey, Answerman!
It's Spring Preview time here at ANN, which basically means everyone else around here is swamped with work to the point of mental and physical exhaustion - the residue I'm sort of experiencing secondhand, as I've got two big looming deadlines for other publications pending. Eep!
And of course, this weekend we've got Anime Boston and PAX East taking up many an East Coast nerd's time - I should just go ahead and mention that I will be at neither. I will, however, be nerding it up in D.C. this weekend, basking in the Tommy Tallarico-ness of Video Games Live while checking out the Art of Video Games exhibit. My little brother and sister have threatened to "dress up." My God, what have I done.
Recently Ken Akamatsu abruptly ended his long running Mahou Sensei Negima manga. Suffice to say that most readers were very disappointed and subsequently launched into a frenzy of rage-based speculation and name calling. I admit that I had a very hard time understanding why Mr. Akamatsu would suddenly end a successful manga in the way he did. Then I came across a blog post speculating that Akamatsu had ended Negima because he wanted to cut ties with Kodansha as quickly as possible - because Kodansha and other publishers have been pushing for new copyright laws that would infringe on the rights of creators and authors.
Whether or not Mr. Akamatsu ended Negima for potential legal reasons is one thing, but the larger issue here is that once again the publishers have proven themselves to be manga's biggest enemy. It's already well known (or should be) that manga publishers strong-arm creators into unfair contracts and pay out a pittance per page, effectively hamstringing the finances of all but the most popular mangaka. And now publishers are attempting to rape what's left of the soul of manga even further.
So I ask you: Why hasn't there been a push against the tyrannical ways of the publishers? And why has ANN done such a lousy job of covering this issue? In recent weeks your articles have often touched upon supporting creators - so how about we support them by helping fans to tell manga publishers to stop being jerks?
Woah, "rape"? Really? That's a bit much, isn't it?
First off, I've got a big issue with this whole notion that publishers are this big boogeyman, out to ruin artists and screw them out of everything. Publishers wouldn't exist if they weren't able to foster good relationships with their artists, and the artists themselves would be nowhere without a good editor and publisher to PROMOTE THEIR WORK. Spats like this - between Ken Akamatsu and Kodansha - are pretty rare, all told. BECAUSE THEY NEED EACH OTHER. For the vast majority of manga out there, the publisher/editor/artist relationship is a symbiotic one. A complimentary relationship, at that - I've mentioned before that mangaka aren't immune to completely terrible ideas, and editors and publishers can be a vital tool to keep those awful awful ideas from actually being executed.
Furthermore, the source on this info is awfully dubious - the blog post itself is sourced mainly to a forum post, and some rough translations of off-handed Twitter and Tumblr comments by Akamatsu himself. I can't seem to find any specific news story about this new "Neighboring Rights" copyright law. "Neighboring Rights" have been a part of most international copyright laws for decades. Take those sources with a grain of salt, please - I'll be doing as much research as I can in the coming weeks about this new law, since something tells me I'll be getting a lot of questions about it soon enough.
Having said that, I can certainly see Ken Akamatsu as the sort of guy who feels a bit wary of publishers, and "cheated," perhaps, out of the millions of dollars his two very successful series have made over the past decade. In a way, he's absolutely right - Kodansha didn't really do the heavy lifting there, he did. Well, and his assistants. But none of us know what he was actually paid by Kodansha - he's a very wealthy man, and we don't know the numbers here.
Now, I'm not saying that editors and publishers have never taken advantage of an artist. But to suggest that there's this cabal of demonic publishers with nothing but Yen-signs in their eyes, who love nothing more than to devour young, eager artists and strip them of their dignity and money, is going a bit far. They've never actually "raped" anybody (fun fact: when you use the word 'rape' to describe 'someone is doing something to this comic book that I don't like', not only is that really inappropriate hyperbole, it makes a lot of people upset. Communication is important!).
If this "New Neighboring Copyright" law actually pans out - and if my understanding of it is correct, if it turns out that IN FACT publishers are actively seeking to take authorship away from the actual authors - I'll be right there with you in the protest line, wearing a sandwich board with an angry slogan. That's nonsense. But look - the business of publishing is just that. A business. And not a particularly nice business, either. You wanna play in the big leagues, you gotta give up something. Which would be one thing, I think, if Ken Akamatsu was crafting intricate, artistic expressions of humanity; but he's a purveyor of lighthearted gags and panty shots. Mostly.
Either way, Kodansha's not gonna get to make another dime off of Negima pretty soon. Akamatsu saw to that, at least.
Last week you ranted quite a bit about how fansubs were a snake eating its own tail, or something like that, as simulcasting and streaming are becoming the default standards of anime consumption. Then, what do you make of the new Lupin III series? That isn't being simulcast at all... and yet it's sure getting a lot of press on anime review sites and blogs. Care to revise your opinion on fansubs a little bit?
Well, therein lies the rub of making declarative statements like "fansubs are irrelevant" - one week later, and suddenly it looks like it's irrelevant.
But just for this one specific show. It's a big show, don't get me wrong, but it's still just one show. One high-profile title slipping through the simulcasting cracks does not a fansub cause célèbre make.
Speaking for myself, I can't exactly fathom something like a new and super-cool Lupin III avoiding the auspices of Funimation and Crunchyroll and the like through sheer ignorance. We don't really know the whole story with this one. Was it too expensive? Are there ongoing negotiations? Oooh, maybe even a bidding war! Well, we don't really know yet. But, somehow I've got this hunch that something like Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine has a lot of potential licensing suitors going after it. I mean, people cried foul when Puella Madoka Magica was off the simulcasting roster during its Japanese run. It showed up eventually.
Now, am I going to judge you and call you nasty things if you download a fansub of this? I suppose I probably should, just to keep up this image I seem to have of being this anti-fansub hardass. But listen... I'm actually not opposed to fansubs on principle. Hell, I grew up as an anime fan in the late 90's. Unless I wanted to be a complete hypocrite, how could I possibly hate fansubs?
No, what I hate is entitlement. What I hate is hypocrisy. What I hate is this bizarre realm that fansubbers and fansub devotees have constructed, where fansubs are this Pure And Holy Art And The Purest Way Of Enjoying Japanese Animation There Is, Even When Legal Means Can Be Had. I hate the strange hoops of justification and rationalization that people seem to have about what is, essentially, a somewhat accepted form of piracy. It's like if I were to download an mp3 of a song I want to hear, even though I could just as easily load it up on Spotify, because somehow I've fooled myself into thinking the mp3 is Superior. Even if I'm going to be listening to it through my netbook's crappy speaker.
So. Have I clarified this enough? Is it clear, now? Do fansubbers still feel "attacked"? Am I still a fansub pariah? If it's not, I can come to your house, and we can sit down and hash this out. So long as there's tea or wine, I can do this.
I find that the way in which a lot of anime gets judged in terms of the sub vs dub argument stems from what I consider a false comparison. And that comparison is between the original Japanese dub versus the English dub. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean in terms of fans' opinions on the matter; that's an individual's right. What I am referring to is with regards to reviews here on ANN and the like by people who I feel should be unbiased in their reviews, since it represents not just themselves but ANN as it is through ANN's platform that I see them.
This leads me to my question. Should the person who reviews the English dub be someone who has or hasn't seen the Japanese dub? I think hasn't, because, for example, last week you talked about Redline's dub being horrible and in effect ruining or doing injustice to the movie (I am paraphrasing here), whereas I watched the English dub and thought it was great, and that's probably because I didn't watch the Japanese version first. Also, I recall reading a similar opinion in the review on here about the movie when it came out (the dub being so bad compared to the sub), and at the time thought the same thing: you shouldn't be comparing the two things. Some people watch only subs, some only dubs, and some both. I don't see how comparing makes sense in terms of reviewing, and those who have watched the Japanese version first almost always will therefore be biased to that (and in a lot of cases, vice versa). This isn't about which is better, it's just about a review, so a sub should be reviewed on its own merits just like a dub should. Sorry this has turned slightly into a rant, but I am curious as to your thoughts on the matter. I mean, had you not seen Redline in Japanese first, do you think it is possible you would have liked the movie more when you watched it in English?
Speaking honestly, I find the whole notion that reviews should somehow be "unbiased" to be inherently false. Not specifically out of any moralistic notion, more in the sense that it's impossible. We're dealing with opinions, and any one person's opinion on something is going to be informed by their values, their lives, and their experiences. Otherwise, all reviews would read like, "This is a feature film. It is animated, and runs 98 minutes long. Five stars for being an animated feature film that runs 98 minutes long."
And specifically on subs and dubs, I suppose you could only review one or the other. But when you buy a DVD, you're paying for the option of both. And if I were to rent Redline on a service like Vudu, I'm only getting the dub. To me, that's a disservice - because the sort of people who might be inclined to check out a film like Redline will be forced to watch an inferior version, unless they pony up and buy the DVD. I understand that people have their preferences in regards to language, but one version does a much better job of communicating the overall tone and feel of the film, and one doesn't. And it certainly didn't have to be that way, but it is.
And I love dubs! But I *specifically* love dubs that compliment the general atmosphere of the story. And in Redline's case, it's a nutty, fun-tacular love letter to action and visual opulence. Virtually none of that energy comes through in the script for that dub. At least, IN MY OPINION.
So, yes! Yes I AM "biased" towards the subtitled version. Because, as a viewer and an appreciator of opulent animation, I felt that the Japanese version of the film more accurately represented the characters and frenetic action I was watching. The dub kept taking me out of that fantastical world, seemingly reminding me that I was watching yet another run-of-the-mill anime dub. Except that run-of-the-mill anime dub was matched up with one of the most balls-out wacky and fun films I've seen in years. And in that regard, I don't think it would've mattered whether or not I had seen the subtitled version first, to be honest. You watch enough anime dubs in your time, and your ear becomes pretty well-trained to pick up on awkward lines and flat dialog. Does that mean I'm too "biased" about dubs to "appreciate" the Redline dub on its own terms? See where this leads?
Everyone's biased. Everyone has an "agenda" of some sort. My "agenda" is that I like watching good animation. I'm "biased" towards good filmmaking and good writing. I've spent most of my adult life studying film and animation, reading books about them, and talking to the people who make them. I'm biased all over the place. Unless I somehow wind up lobotomized, I can't foresee a time when I'll be able "review" something without my previous experiences and ideas somehow coming into play. And that's the same with any reviewer out there. Whether they're professional and published, or just doing it on their own for free for its own sake. They're giving you their opinion on something as it pertains to them and their experience in life. If you take that out, there's no such thing as an actual "review." Just an IMDB fact sheet.
Now, there's certainly some "biases" that are a bit more apparent than others, sure. Zac here has essentially recused himself from reviewing any moe shows, because he doesn't like them and wouldn't be able to give what he feels is a "fair" assessment. Ditto for myself. There are certain kinds of things that are meant to appeal to a certain audience, and unless you are a part of that audience, your opinion on it is kind of meaningless.
For example! I sat through the last Twilight movie. I haven't seen any of the previous ones. I haven't read the books. But I love Bill Condon, so I paid to see it. And, well, what can I really say about it? It definitely was a movie with some pale vampire dudes and a buff wolf-guy. It was basically inert. It wasn't an awful, inept piece of garbage that failed as a movie. It definitely was a movie. It definitely told a story. But it's a very specific kind of story with characters I didn't know or care about. That movie was not made for me. And so my opinion on it is mine and mine alone. Honestly I can't even remember what I said or thought about the thing when it was over. Oh well. That's more space in my brain, then, to hold onto the things that *I* genuinely enjoy. Good riddance.
So remember that, people - we're all biased. Every single one of us. Instead of worrying about it, why don't we all just, I dunno, accept it? And understand that our differences of opinion are a reflection of that? Am I talking crazy here?
Yep, it's time for Answerfans! Going back to the dreaded "F" word again, last week, while tongue-tying myself into a verbal maze in my sad attempt to clarify my opinion on fansubs, I wanted to do the fansubbers of the world a little service by having YOU, DEAR READERS, shine a positive light on some of their achievements!
Let's begin with Joel, who says the one title I was sure would show up here in one form or another:
If I had to pick one "non-mainstream" title that I have come to love through fansubs, it would have to be "Legend of Galactic Heroes". For those who have not had the pleasure of watching the show, the show was originally released as an 110-episode OVA over the period of ten years, and would best be described as a military space opera. The show is populated with deeply intelligent characters of various moralities, an extremely well-planned and complex plot arc that extends over 110 episodes, complex moral situations, and epic space battles, all of which is set against classical music pieces from some of the best classical music composers of all time.
Next is Brenton, and I challenge all of you to NOT read this email in a quaint Australian accent:
There have been a number of titles that I would not have seen were it not for fansubs, perhaps in large part because I live in Australia and so we don't get as much released here. There was one title, though, that leaped up in my mind moments after reading the question and screamed at me to respond. It is an anime that really captivated me and left me wanting more; namely 'Time of Eve'. This was one of those shows that was both relaxing and engaging to me and to this day I still think it is amazing, even watching it in the inconsistent (and sometimes downright poor) quality that was the particular fansub that I found. The whole atmosphere of the show was akin to curling up in bed on a cold winter's night listening to the rain fall outside whilst you remain all comfortable and warm within (that is, cozy and very enjoyable). Indeed, if such a world existed today I could easily see myself frequenting that cafe and pondering if that rusted, clanking, automaton was human or robot.
Alas, the title has never been released here in Aus and I highly doubt that it ever will be now, and my hopes of being able to purchase an actual physical copy seem slim at best.
Stephen's pick recently found its way onto ANNCast's 80's celebration:
One title I am confident I would never have seen without fansubs is the noncrowdpleasing financial bomb Angel's Egg. The closest this ever got to an official release in my region was being spliced and changed around into an entirely different movie. It's understandable why it hasn't seen a proper release. Nobody is going to call up their friends and make some popcorn to watch this movie. It's slow, heavy in symbolism and reticent to give any answers as to just what exactly it's actually about. And yet, it's a wonderful effort by director Mamoru Oshii and all involved in the animation. A title that could only have made sense in Japan's bubble economy, it's beautiful looking and a, dare I say, artful personal story. But, as I said, it is economic kryptonite. It did terribly in Japan, so no company would mind let it simply falling into obscurity. Yet thanks to the efforts of fansubbers, you could go watch the movie right now if you wanted to. (This isn't the only unmarketable Oshii title I've seen thanks to fansubbers, but you only asked for one.)
GOSH DARN IT RYAN, THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT:
Love Hina. I know, part of the the question was that "mainstream titles" need not apply, but please bear with me. At the time, Love Hina was as obscure in America as any other anime without Gundam, Macross, Evangelion or Dragon Ball in its name.
The thing is that since then the great majority of anime I've watched has been discovered through fansubs so making a choice about "one that I would have NOT discovered" would be unrealistic. Is, or was Bimbo Shimai Monogatari an overlooked anime? Himawari!? Dai Mahou Touge Punie-Chan? Them as well as many others who I don't know how to categorize like Macross Frontier (Is it mainstream for the purposes of this question? Even though chances of a domestic release are close to zero) were discovered through fansubs.
I know how heated the fansub argument can get, but I confess that from a consumer point of view I've never understood it. On one extreme of the flame wars we have super-pious moralists and on the other we have people who boast about being thieves. I probably stand near the apathy line. I give the same amount of attention to the "immorality" of downloading a fansub as I give to the "immorality" of purchasing stuff though iTunes or the "immorality" of supporting Wal-Mart, which is to say none whatsoever. Nevertheless the overall impact of fansubs in my life has been that in the 11 years since I first rediscovered my love for anime beyond Robotech via Love Hina I've discovered hundreds of series I otherwise wouldn't have and spent more money on the hobby than I care to admit.
Currently I subscribe to Hulu Plus, Netflix and Cruncyroll, but fansubs are still the #2 way I discover anime because of convenience, and options (for some time now the #1 way has been through sites such as ANN). In case you wonder, streaming is convenient sometimes, but being an XBMC fan with a full home theater and multiple iOS devices (without 3g or LTE) an automated fansub solution is faaaar more convenient.
Derailed myself a bit just now, but what answer to a question with fansub in it would be complete without an opinion in the matter or a long winded explanation of why I don't particularly like using Cruchyroll? ;-)
The point of this answer is that from the perspective of someone who's primary method of consumption has always been fansubs, the terms "non-mainstream" or "overlooked", which are subjective anyway, have become mostly irrelevant as those labels would have applied until recently to most things as they aired in Japan or almost everything that wasn't a shonen fight show. Since the time I downloaded that Love Hina fansub, the way anime is covered, discussed, treated and consumed has changed so much that I am not sure what would be considered "overlooked" or "non-mainstream" anime anymore.
So I stand by choice of Love Hina, because it is the one anime I am sure that at the time I discovered, it was as "non-mainstream" and "overlooked" as it got. Then fansubs were the only way to discover new series that did not entail a significant economic risk (looking at you "$50 per Dangaioh episode VHSs" that turned me off anime for almost a decade) and I'm glad I gave it a chance.
Yep, we got our Macross quotient filled in already, thanks in no small part to Zach:
Oh boy, this is basically like picking the the anime the got screwed over by the licensors the most. There have been plenty of shows that I've discovered through fansubs, but most of those had a readily available legal version that I did not know about at the time. I try to avoid fansubs most of the time due to the legal implications and, quite frankly, fansubbers are sort of obnoxious sometimes (come on, "uchujin" does not mean "immigrant" guys). Back in the day, before Crunchyroll's glory was exposed to me, I watched fansubs quite often. I was introduced to some fabulous titles that I will always have fond memories of (and of the crappy picture quality). During that time period, I met and fell in love with the Macross franchise. As far as I'm concerned, space operas don't get much better than Macross, unless you count Gurren Lagann as a space opera.
After I watched The Superdimensional Fortress Macross, I was instantly hooked on sci-fi anime and anime music for that matter. Whenever 80's anime is mentioned, you won't hear much praise coming from me unless it's in the direction of Macross, Akira, or Miyazaki films, so it was fairly unlikely that a series aired from 1982 to 1983 would win my affection. But it did and spurred me to track down every bit of the Macross franchise I could find scattered across the internet, finally culminating in my viewing of Macross Frontier. Now, being the dirty pirate I was, I didn't think to look up the legal versions of anything in the Macross franchise, which turned out not worth doing anyways. I was shocked and appalled, once I finally decided to buy the DVDs, that nobody had licensed the franchise. I thought somebody was playing some sort of cruel joke on me, but the real cruel joke was that blasphemous compilation Harmony Gold upchucked called Robotech. I won't delve into the many transgressions Robotech committed against Macross, but I will say that it could possibly be the reason Harmony Gold never extracted its head from its rear end and never properly dubbed a Macross series. Thirty years have passed since the first Macross series, and I still don't foresee a mainstream entrance for the franchise into the North American anime market. It's a great shame that such a wonderful and influential franchise was never paid the respect it deserved outside of Japan.
I thank fansubbers from the bottom of my heart for subbing the various entries in the franchise. Macross will forever be one of the main examples I use to point out flaws in the incensing system. Fansubbers actually provided a service nobody else would in case of Macross, which is one of the few redeeming qualities they've developed over the years. I know full well that thousands of other people consider Macross to be one of the greatest unlicensed gems in all of anime, but to me it'll always be a source of nostalgia and my love for Japanese animation. Finding Macross was like accidentally knocking over a dusty pile of books and discovering an unknown epic tale amongst the volumes. I'm almost proud that I had to go to such lengths to watch Macross, like it proved how much I loved it. And ironically, maybe it's for the best that Harmony Gold failed epically with Robotech II.
Alright, ShinnFlowen knows what I was talkin' about - I wanted to hear about shows even *I* haven't heard of!
I believe that there are many titles that I would have overlooked or never would have discovered if it was not for fansubs. The one title that was hugely overshadowed that fansubs got me into was the anime Mushi-Uta or Mushi-Uta which aired back in 2007. I just started watching anime that year in high school and got hooked on it so everyday I would go to the library to watch as much anime as I could. At the time I was watching Code Geass and I noticed on YouTube "Mushi-Uta.." I decided to check it out expecting it to be filled with action, instead I saw a dark world with a protagonist who played an antagonist role. I came to want to know how the relationship he had with his two love interests would end since his true identity would eventually lead to him killing them both. Each week I waited for another release to see more, but due to the popularity of other shows such as "Code Geass" there was only one group consistently subbing it. Finally, a month after the show finished airing in Japanese the fansub group released the last episodes. I did not expect the show to end on such a sad note however it made me appreciate the uniqueness of the show. It never got licensed in North America and no other fansub group finished subbing it either. I really appreciate how a random group of people with no obligation to sub a less popular series decided to finish it because it gave me a new perspective of checking out lesser known titles.
Luckily things have changed now for the better as Crunchyroll decided to licensed the show in 2010 so now people have the opportunity to watch it legally.
Difficult or no, Matthew did a pretty good job of whittlin':
I'm an admitted fan of series that contain ecchi or harem elements, such as Heaven's Lost Property, Sekirei, and Girls Bravo. One day, whilst browsing YouTube's Recommended Videos for my account, I came across a subtitled OVA called Koharu Biyori. If I had to describe the series, it would be as a more perverted, less intelligent version of Chobits. The two series really aren't that similar, but it is the closest comparison that comes to my mind. Anyways, I enjoyed the episode immensely, and was delighted when I discovered that a second episode was following later that month with a third to come at some point after that. Although the series was ultimately licensed by Sentai (under the title Indian Summer), I would not have discovered it, or the single manga volume released in English, were it not for that fansub. I still pop on the DVD of this very niche series from time-to-time when I am in need of a few cheap laughs; I only wish that further volumes had been translated and released over here as well.
I doubt I am alone in this, but I find it difficult to narrow down a potential list of "overlooked" or "non-mainstream" anime titles that I would have missed if it were not for fansubs. Consequently, I absolutely have to bring up a second series, one that really tugged at my heartstrings. The only thing I enjoy more than such lighthearted fare is a deep, emotional story that involves the viewer on a really intense level. And so I absolutely have to point to Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. It starts off typically enough. A boy winds up living with his aunt, a woman of unique personality, only to discover that she has a hitherto unknown daughter (Erio). Where it deviates slightly is that his cousin apparently lives inside a futon (one amusing scene depicts how she manages to eat without sticking her head outside of it) and believes herself to be an alien. As the series progresses (and I hesitate to spoil too many details), the viewer learns the strange details of Erio's past, and watches as she slowly emerges from her secluded shell and attempts to rejoin a society that would be just as happy if she stayed inside that futon forever. It is absolutely enchanting to watch Erio slowly become attached to and rely on her visiting cousin. The show contains few perverse elements; this isn't an example of love between cousins. What we are seeing is a girl's shattered world slowly being rebuilt as she learns how to live again. By the end, I was left with feeling like I watched something incredibly special. Unlike Koharu Biyori this anime has not been licensed yet, though I live in hope that may one day change. I vaguely knew of the premise from browsing the ANN database, but would never have been taken on such a deep, emotional journey were it not for that fansub.
Perhaps I will one day find myself lucky and discover that Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko has joined Koharu Boyori as a licensed anime over here. Perhaps one day I will learn that Sekirei and Yamada's First Time will be available on bookshelves in Canada. Perhaps, as you suggested in an earlier column, all I have to do is wait. It is admittedly a difficult thing to do. My patience is endless if a manga series that I enjoy has received an anime adaptation and will be released over here as well; I fully look forward to adding Haganai, Zero no Tsukaima F, and Papakiki to my collection. Similarly, I will always choose Crunchyroll or a similar service (Funimation's YouTube channel for example) over fansubbers if it is available. But when there are no known plans for release, and I find myself denied a similar emotional experience to that offered by Denpa Onna... I admit, I find waiting a difficult thing to do. I will not deny that fansubbing has both positive and negative aspects to it. Many of the anime and manga that now sit proudly on my shelves are a result of finding a fansubbed episode or two online, enjoying it, and then discovering that the series was, or soon would be, available over here. I doubtless would have eventually discovered Rosario + Vampire, for instance, had I simply waited a year or two for it to be licensed and released by Funimation; perhaps that discovery would have arisen via the trailer on their YouTube channel or something. As it is, I stumbled on a fansub of the first episode of that particular series, enjoyed it, and immediately purchased the first volume of the manga, quickly followed by the rest of the series.
And then on the flip side, I can't resist mentioning Heaven's Lost Property and Yamada's First Time. I discovered both anime series thanks to trailers on my Rosario + Vampire DVD, only to learn that the source manga is unlicensed in North America for either series. I have to admit; I find it slightly ironic that an officially licensed product then led me to scanlations of the source material in those cases.
Taking us out this evening is somebody with my new favorite name, "L. yogurti":
As a non-USA column reader, I can say that most of the series I've seen have been through fansubs, but even so, there are series that hadn't it been for fansubs (and YouTube), I would've missed completely.
Bartender, even though I don't drink, has been pretty entertaining and somewhat educational about the drinks they show, as well as how the main character quietly solves a certain issue arising in the episode, giving off a nice, subdued, adult feel to it. Not adult in the "raunchy, ecchi way", but in a classy, mature way. The environment itself in the series reflects it, also aided by the excellent soundtrack the series has, with its jazz influences. It's one series that could have another season, but I think that the way it ended, and how the portrayed everything is just right enough to leave it as it is.
Moyashimon... Like the above mentioned example, it's been fun and educational at the same time, with some really funny twists. But I will not lie and say that's what originally caught me. What really trapped me in the story... Were the microbes. It's a different kind of cute, and with a particular purpose. Also, it may not be necessarily super popular, but it has quite a fanbase, and here's hoping the new season of the series may bring more. A shame they changed some character designs.
Another series I'd like to mention thanks to fansubs, or better said, a short movie, is Shinkai Makoto's She and Her Cat. A meaningful, short story that touched my heartstrings in more ways than one. There are several others series I've been able to watch thanks to fansubs (because as I said, it's basically the only way to watch anime where I am), but these two are the ones I wanted to highlight.
Ah. That was nice and conflict-free. I think I'm going on a fansub-talk-hiatus for the next two weeks or so. Unless I get gob-smacked by something relentlessly insane in the fansub world. I digress! Next week, I want you all to muse on this question while we're still in Spring Preview mode:
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.
I'm all done, everyone! Remember to send in your questions and your Answerfans opinions to my email repository, answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Sweet dreams and all that!
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