Hey, Answerman! - Exceptional Quality

by Brian Hanson, Jan 11th 2013

Oh, hello there readers. I'm less ill this week. although I'm still hacking up bits and pieces of phlegm left over from last week's Coldstravaganza, so this'll be another relatively brief intro.

Although, I just gotta say - Best Director for Beasts of the Southern Wild? Really, Academy? The strength of that movie is not in the direction. The script and the performance, absolutely. Although methinks you just loved that movie so much you wanted to put it in as many categories as possible, and somehow it made more sense to nominate it for Directing instead of Sound Design. Well, you've had your fun.

I'm cool with the other "surprise" nominee in the category, Michael Haneke for Amour. Haneke should've been nominated back in 2005 for Cache, but it was more important to nominate Paul Haggis for Crash. Guuughhgh. Anyway, Amour is a great film and Haneke has been making fantastic movies for years, so kudos.

In more relevant Oscar Nominee Talk - I don't think the Motion Picture Academy and I saw the same movie in The Pirates! Band of Misfits. I saw a mildly cute but completely forgettable cartoon, while they saw something infinitely better, I guess. Sorry, From Up On Poppy Hill! No nomination for you!


Hi Brian,

You mentioned that Aniplex is part of Sony's subsidiary for music. This is what I already knew. But what I did not know is that Sony has a grandchild, Aniplex's child company, “A-1 Pictures”. The amazing thing is that almost all of its recent production is of exceptional quality (especially “From the New World”, which is definitely one of the better series in the recent years):

-- Space Brothers
-- tsuritama
-- Sword Art Online
-- From the New World
-- Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic

Who are these people? What they do? Wikipedia mentions that back in 2010 they had staff of about fifty people; now possibly more. Do they have their own artists (or various types), or they only coordinate productions, take financial and administrative responsibilities?

Woah there, bud - I don't think it's quite the same thing to say that A-1 Pictures is "Sony's Grandchild." Aniplex is their "parent company," yes, but I always feel like that terminology gets a little lost on people sometimes.

A-1 Pictures is, according to their English "Philosphy" page on their own homepage, is a company that is "fully funded" by Aniplex. Though Aniplex pays their bills, A-1 Pictures is still very much a "work for hire" studio. In fact, Aniplex has joked that they're having to fight with other producers in order to get A-1 Pictures to work on their projects.

Still, for Aniplex, the benefit of paying for them is obvious; if there's a project they want made, and they don't feel like shopping the project around to other studios, they have one in their pocket books that can make it for them. Or, they can pitch in with a co-production if time is a factor, which is what A-1 Pictures did with Ordet to make Fractale. This way, A-1 Pictures can work on a day-to-day basis with a relatively freeing amount of autonomy; in fact, one of the possible reasons for A1's success is the fact that they're comparatively well-managed by Aniplex compared to other studios without a major corporate benefactor.

Of course, there seems to be a lot of fluidity insofar as A-1 Pictures' management and Aniplex itself. A1's former CEO, Hideo Katsumata, left A1 for a gig at Aniplex as a "representative director." Stepping up to the CEO plate at A1 was Masuo Ueda, a veteran producer at Sunrise who oversaw some of the best Gundam series, back when Gundam still had "Best Gundam Series." That should pretty much answer your question about "who" they are.

Insofar as the amount of staff they have, that's kind of impossible to gauge right now, since, apparently, they are hiring! Although, around 50 people or so sounds about right; that's all you really need for your average studio these days. With the amount of places you can easily outsource most of the grunt work of animation (i.e. inbetweens and backgrounds), plus digital tools that take a lot of the time and pain out of animating (the art of "cleanup animation" has been rendered moot, now that anyone can clean up their own drawings in Photoshop), having a staff of hundreds at your disposal no longer makes much sense. Of course, the company can staff up with contract help if they need it in order to complete a specific series on time, then let those same contract employees go once the series is finished. Knowing as many Western animators as I do, it's a funny thing to watch two animators meet for the first time and compare their "hiatus plans," i.e. the downtime between seasons and production.

As far as whether or not they have artists on staff, of course they do - although, for how long they remain on staff depends on their contract for the series that they're working on. That's the thing with animation studios: producers always stick around, while the creative types mill about until their contract is finished, and they either continue at the studio to work on something else if it's available, or they go elsewhere. Tomohiko Ito, the director of Sword Art Online, could still be at A-1 Pictures for another project we don't know about yet, or he may have already wandered away to work on any number of projects at other studios. Artists and directors are like animation ronin, aligning themselves to no one but their work itself. Ito himself has also worked at SHAFT and Mad House, and, considering he was an Assistant Director on Summer Wars, could easily find work anywhere, based on the strength of his resume. The world is his oyster.

So, hopefully that answers most of your questions, though I gotta take umbrage with something - that A-1 Pictures has built a reputation of "exceptional quality." Sword Art Online and tsuritama and From the New World and Big Windup! are all great, sure. But what about, uh, Fairy Tale? Or Working!!(?) Not to mention shows that haven't really penetrated our Western consciousness, like Uta no Prince Sama. Their hits far outweigh their misses, but they're still a studio made of flesh and blood like the rest of 'em. Let's not deify them quite yet, especially since they're still relatively young.


Hey, Answerman!

In one of your answers you wrote: "... universally good as Haibane Renmei ..." Considering that you seem to be a quite meticulous (in a good way) person, and that you yourself mentioned “lazy writing” as a negative thing, I am surprised that you could call this show “universally good”.

While there is certainly powerful concept behind this project, its rendition, alas, it exactly what you call “lazy writing”. Not only the setting is sometimes a pile of inconsistent, confusing and contradictory details that do not help to render the concept at all (though some might consider those to be “world-building”), but some of story vehicles that are used -- like ever wandering priests in the forest or crows that all of sudden go crazy and try to kill a heroine -- show that authors did not really put enough efforts of mind to make the show going more natural way, without alienating, disconnecting viewers from being submerged into the story. They just thought that viewers will either not notice such things or will excuse them because the concept is so good (and it is good, that is for sure).

Not only this is lazy writing, but it is disrespect to the audience. And the authors are even more wrong than one might think: because their concept is so good, it is so much sadder to see when it fails in rendition while they use cheap tricks to move the story. I agree that my view on this might seem to be pedantic. But the fact that it exists proves that this show is not universally good. Or, if the meaning of your words is different but simply was not articulated enough, could you please elaborate?

Sure. I suppose it was presumptive of me to say that anything, much less Haibane Renmei, is "universally good." That's not really possible. As beloved as Haibane Renmei is, your letter alone proves that it isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea. Now, I could just needlessly debate you on your points (that it's sometimes "inconsistent" and "contradictory") but to be honest, I haven't seen the show recently enough to even remember most of what you're talking about. Nope; my only memory of Haibane Renmei is that of a show of Exceptional Quality, filled with lovable characters in a unique world.

The one thing I will say is that I don't think the writers of the show were so cynical as to think that viewers would "not notice" any of the supposed problems or that they would "excuse them." Mostly because - no writer thinks that way. No writer, ever, would deign to assume that their audience would in some way "absolve" them of any shortcomings due to other things. (Well, no good writer, anyway.) Believe me when I say that we are terrified creatures who are mostly certain that people will either jibe with what we've created, or they'll absolutely despise it.

As to what you mean by "lazy writing" and so forth - Even though I haven't seen the show in a while, I stand by my praise that the show avoids most of the pitfalls and pratfalls that belie more hastily-written work. Aside from the world-building, I felt like it had sharp character writing of a specific variety that was relatively uncommon in most anime series; instead of character tropes and archetypes, it felt like it had real characters.

And, really, that's the main problem I have when I decry something as "lazy." When I accuse something of being lazily written, I'm inferring that it takes a lot of cheap shortcuts to telling a good story. I mean, Family Guy is filled with lazy joke writing, since a large portion of their jokes involve references to other, better things - rather than writing new jokes, they recycle old ones. For most anime, they don't feel the urge to write their own characters; they borrow them from any number of titles before them. There's the headstrong yet foolhardy protagonist, the tsundere-type character, the shy girl with an older-brother complex, the brooding villain who yearns for the death of humanity because of his immense intellect, that sort of thing.

I can forgive people relying on these tropes when they're just starting out, for instance - these tropes do exist for a reason, because they tend to work. And, I suppose, if it's executed well, what's the harm? What's the harm in putting a few well-worn but still functional tropes through their paces, so long as we're all entertained? I'LL TELL YA WHAT'S WRONG-

Well, it's not really "wrong," it's just that... it's not going to surprise or inspire anybody. I know that's not the M.O. of every writer on the planet, but I'll say this: the exemplary works of fiction - especially those within anime and manga - are the ones that took bold risks, wrote real characters, and invested in its story. I've said this countless times, but the few anime and manga out there where the script was of the utmost importance are, almost without question, all the better for it. We can easily be dazzled by a moving light show, and we can easily be entertained by having our basest instincts placated, but the truly transformative works of creative art have a way of crawling into our skull in some way. And a good way to do that, is to avoid "lazy writing." If you write honestly great characters, devoid of stereotypes and easy gags, they'll live beyond the page or the screen and settle in to our consciousness. If you write truly epic and defined worlds, those, too, will live on inside of our minds. And because we are invested in the characters and feel like we know the world, the story will have an even greater resonance to us.

And I feel like Haibane Renmei did that, mostly. There were a few stock characters, sure. I don't recall the killer crows, but yeah, that's a well-worn trope that should probably be abandoned. But I don't remember those. All I remember is the good stuff, the stuff that really resonated with me.

And that's also the sign of a great piece of work: you remember the high points, and none of the lows. I'll stand by it as a show that is "almost universally good." Not quite as catchy of a box quote, but I feel more confident in it.


Hello,

It's been two years since the last news on the live action Bubblegum Crisis movie hit the net. I have tried in English and Japanese, and I can not find any new news posted since 2010. No hints of a copyright snag or lawsuit like with the Evangelion Live Action. There isn't much word on that, but there's a least that much that I can dig up on the Eva live action project.

All I really want to know about the BGC live action is, is it still in progress? Secondly, is there a new estimated completion or release date? I know it's nothing to hold my breath on since these things usually take sometimes almost years more than originally anticipated, but this seems an awfully long time to go without even so much as a peep. Maybe it'd be worth someone's time to ask a few questions here and there and release at least some kind of peep about it? I've tried everything I can think of, and I've heard nothing from anyone or any source that originally posted info about it. I've been trying to dig something up for about two months now, so this is pretty much my last resort. Hope you can find something for us BGC fans!

Sorry to be the guy who has to break your heart, bud, but the likelihood of seeing a live-action Bubblegum Crisis movie anytime in the next few years is - well, I'd probably have to send away to MIT to calculate specifically the astronomically low likelihood that such a thing will ever see the light of day.

The reason you haven't "heard a peep" is because there's probably nothing to say. When the producers announced the project some two years ago, they had good reason to be excited, because nearly everything was in place to complete it - the money was there (30 million bucks, to be exact) from a variety of sources in Canada, China, and Australia. They had a veteran visual effects producer who had won Oscars on Hollywood movies lined up to handle the VFX work. In other words, it was good to go.

The one thing they didn't have... was a director. Or, for that matter, a script. Or actors. Y'know, kind of the important things you need before you make a movie. This kind of thing happens all the time when foreign producers align themselves to make a big "Hollywood" movie; the money's ready, they've got a VFX house geared up, and in their eyes, the movie is right on course. They seem to think that once that stuff is in place, finding a director and a script and decent actors is the easy part. This is kind of what happened with the live-action Evangelion movie, too; for all the tough talk about having a budget and WETA, they never had a prominent director attached to the project.

That seems to be a common problem when people outside of Hollywood snap up a relatively prominent property and quickly assemble an army of producers to raise money. They never quite seem to grasp the concept that getting a director on board first will astronomically help their odds of completing a film. Not that that's much of a guarantee either - the tortured saga of Warner Bros.' Akira movie proved as much. Even with a completed script by none other than Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves and accomplished director Jaume Collet-Serra, the studio balked at the budget and quietly put the project in turnaround. And this is a major motion picture studio, not a loose conflagration of small money donors from around the globe. Ditto what happened with Cowboy Bebop - studios love the idea of a sci-fi action picture with Keanu Reeves, but they hate the idea of paying over a hundred million dollars for it.

For now, I think it's safe to say that the live-action BGC movie is not "still in progress." It's been two years since the initial announcement, and the date which they originally anticipated releasing the film has since passed. There's been no news since then. What happened? Getting all the pieces in line to make a movie is tough Goddamn work, in case I haven't made that perfectly clear, and obviously a couple of things didn't fall into the place they needed to. And, look, I understand why everybody keeps wanting these live-action movies to happen: we love these characters and these properties, and everybody else should love them too! 'Course, the idea of Bubblegum Crisis seeing a bit of a popularity renaissance is, uh, unlikely at best, since it's from the 80's and painfully dated, and also it's anime. But if it were a movie, like a legit movie with a budget and popular actors, why, who knows how popular it could get! People could maybe leave the theater and go "Wow! I love this Bubblegum Crisis thing! Apparently it was based on something else? I should check that out!" Its legacy would be secured, and future generations could enjoy Priss and the Knight Sabers!

Producing a major movie is too risky, too unwieldy, and ultimately, too expensive; the failure rate of most projects in development vs. actual release is staggering. That's why producers like to rely on existing Intellectual Property; people in the Film Finance business can often hammer out a rough estimate of what a film is likely to earn, based on its ties to an existing property alone. Anything to cut down on the risk factor. That's why in the film business, any Intellectual Property is better than no Intellectual Property. Doesn't matter where it's from or how well-known it is; so long as it's based on something, the film is inherently more "valuable" than an original idea. Hollywood studios and independent producers both trade in "optioning" these properties by the truckload. They know most of them will never see the light of day, but one hit film based on an existing license is usually enough to bankroll the next round of options. And you can bet that if it was ever on TV, if it ever made a bestseller list, or if it ever sold a bunch of toys, Hollywood producers and indie producers alike have optioned it or considered it.

Same goes for anime and manga. There hasn't been an anime or manga-based film yet that hasn't been a tremendous embarrassment, if not in quality than in box office, but still; at least it's something people might know about already. That's good enough. Just not good enough to get made, most of the time.



Hold on to your hats, folks, because we've got some of your Answerfans responses to get to!

Last week, I was CONSUMED BY VIOLENCE - so much that I needed to reach out to you guys for help.


Lynette didn't realize that "From The Writer of Haibane Renmei!" isn't quite as accurate as "From The Warped Mind Of The Guy Who Made Serial Experiments Lain!"

“Has a show ever had too much violence/sex/whatever for you?” The short answer is yes. The long answer is it has more to do with my circumstances then my taste.

I, for various reasons, have no internet in my house; instead, I have to walk up to the local library and use their computer. The result is that I need to be fairly conscious of what I watch. When I see something violent or sexual I don't think of it in terms of 'do I feel comfortable watching this?' What I think is 'is there a librarian or a five year old standing behind me who can see this?' That doesn't mean that I never watch anything with fanservice or violence in it, but I do try to keep it tasteful. There is one anime, however, that slipped under my ‘good taste’ radar (or completely blows my radar up depending on how you look at it,) and that anime would be Texhnolyze. It was my own fault, I knew absolutely nothing about it when I loaded the first episode, I should have at least read a review of it or something, but I didn't. (From the makers of Haibane Renmei? I love Haibane Renmei, what could possible go wrong?) So there I was, sitting in the middle of the library, watching an extremely graphic sex scene in the middle of the first episode, all the while growing more and more aware of the parents who brought their kids with them and of the information desk that was located right behind me. I really should have just closed the window right then and there, but I dislike stopping mid-episode, so I told myself that the scene couldn't possible last that long (Hint: It does) and that I should just give it to the end of the episode. The first episode, of course, ends with a man getting his arm gruesomely cut off. So… now, I try to be a little more careful of what I watch in the library.

God damnit, Will, don't you know the mere mention of this title by name causes all my internal organs to swell and bleed?!?

When one asks me what show has gone "too far" there's only one series that comes to mind that shall never again darken my DVD player: Eiken.

This show is far from gory. It's actually downright cute looking. However, it's the kind that could actually kill you via diabeetus, or blood loss if the "bloody nose" trope in anime were 100% accurate. It's a show that took fanservice way WAY too far!

I'm as much of a fan of fanservice as the next person, but, good lord. To say that the amount of fanservice was just too much would be an understatement. The bouncing was the stuff of nightmares. This show's overabundance of boobs was one thing. The fact that it had a size of boob for every fetish out there is what made it particularly unsettling. It was like someone gave a boob-fetishist a budget to make an OVA and didn't ask questions. My (female) friend and I just both looked at each other, eyes pleading to make it stop, silently asking why we gave in to our mutual morbid curiosity at Hastings. It's the first time I've experienced actual telepathy via mere eye contact. She turned off the TV and I got up and ejected the DVD. We put it back in it's case, and returned it the next day, never to speak of it again.

It's the first show that I have ever stopped before even finishing the first episode. I try my damnedest to give a show an honest one full episode before hitting the guillotine release.

And the most mind-boggling realization is that this OVA got a dub! The Lucky Star OAV didn't even get a dub! Nowadays, it's hard for even half-decent stuff to get dubbed. Most stuff is kept subtitled only and the only translation beyond that is the DVD menu. Having just finished marketing and finance in the same semester that year made this DVD haunt me on a business logistical level. It's like it somehow got a production budget by selling off all the souls it had clearly stolen through the eyes of viewers fixated on all of the bouncing boobies. I would argue that this DVD is like the video tape in The Ring, except with boobs.

As far as I know, that DVD was one of the last unsold remnants when the local Hastings went out of business and sold all their rental DVDs. Clearly, the bouncing sirens had left a lasting impression.

Wait - it caused you to "leave the room," Sahara? Your own room? That's downright cold-blooded:

Dear Answerman,

Of all the many anime series I have watched, none have traumatized me as much as Elfen Lied. Don't get me wrong...Elfen Lied is a fantastic series. It is also, however, a show that doesn't just push, but demolishes, a number of boundaries. From over-the-top violence to not-so-brief scenes of full nudity to psychologically disturbing content, Elfen Lied is an extremely dark, borderline-pornographic series that seems intent on making its viewers uncomfortable. The first time I tried to watch it, I was still fairly innocent when it came to anime. After three episodes, I had to leave the room. It would take me five years before I could summon the courage to give it a second chance. And believe me, I'm glad I did. It is a series that is definitely worth watching. But it is also a show I would only recommend to a very select few and with the most extreme caution.

I think your issues with outright sadism are perfectly valid, Paula:

Most of the time I don't mind (heavy) violence in anime. I enjoy the excitement of battle in most shonen, the over-the-top action of Sengoku Basara, the coolness-factor of Baccano! and the bloody ninja-action of Basilisk. What I do mind is focusing more on the negative consequences that violence (and sex) has on the body.

If mutilation becomes more important than the battle itself, that is where I become a bit nauseated. Maybe it comes to close for comfort; in real life violence almost always has consequences, in anime somebody can be punched in the stomach with the force of an atomic-bomb and still stand up. But paying more than necessary attention to the act of mutilation also seems really sadistic. There are two anime titles (that I have seen only a little of yet), that seem pretty good, but that I probably won't watch further because of this, the first one being Shigurui. I am a samurai fan, and it is probably realistic that people get wounds like that if they go all out in a fight, but the (almost lovingly rendered) detail to those terrible mutilations make me sick. They seem to focus a lot more on it than is necessary, story wise.

The other title I actually have in my collection; RIN - Daughters of Mnemosyne, but I did not work up the courage to watch it yet. The heavy S&M-theme really makes me wary, especially if the protagonist is the victim time and time again. If it happened once I could probably deal with it, especially if the victim could get revenge, but every time? I think I just really hate it if sadistic violence is the most important thing in an anime, especially when it can't be punished. I mean, Ninja Scroll is one of my favorite movies, and it has hyper-violence and rape, but the sadistic baddies get their deserved death, the girl is saved and loved and the hero only uses violence to protect himself and others or to take rightful revenge, so the sadistic violence isn't the main theme (in my opinion).

In the end of the day I guess I can deal with most, even heavy, violence, but only if it serves some goal that I can connect with, not just violence to (happily) hurt others.

Ahhh I was wondering when Go Nagai would crop up, thanks Andrew! WHERE IN THE HELL IS JACK? F***ING CHICKENS***

Dear Answerman,

I must admit, I'm not much of the type to shirk away from excessive violence. I'm a huge fan of Fist of the North Star, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and Sakigake!! Otokojuku (three of the most violent series to be published in Weekly Shonen Jump), I kept up to date with Gantz and Berserk for a while, and I recently became a fan of Hellsing. But there's one title in particular that I just stopped because I couldn't stomach it anymore, and that's Violence Jack by Go Nagai. Now I actually haven't seen the notorious anime with its notorious dub by Manga Entertainment, but I've read part of the manga and couldn't help but feel complete and utter disgust at the deranged mind of Go Nagai. Not only is the title so violent that "violence" is in the title, but a lot of the violence is sexualized. Rape scenes are frequent, and they often involve a lot of sadistic torture and murder. And for me, sexual violence is on a whole other level of wrong that sex or violence alone could never hope to reach. And the worst part is, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of point to the violence except to show a total breakdown of society. There's barely a story, the title character is more like a force of nature than a person, and there's nothing that really grips you into the post-apocalyptic world. It's almost just violence for the sake of violence, basically torture porn like the Saw movies. I get that Nagai was intentionally trying to push the envelope, but there's a line where it crosses from being "risky and original" to being just flat-out disgusting and overdone, and I think that line is at sexualized violence. It's already bad enough that it happens in the real world. That kind of thing should never be glorified.

Maxy B's answer reminds me of that early Simpsons episode where Marge Simpson is drawn as a nagging squirrel in an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon:

This is actually a question I've come across just this week doing some research, reading Go Nagai's classic Weekly Shonen Jump series Harenchi Gakuen. It's pretty much the OG ecchi manga, so sexiness and such things are to expected, and it pulls that off fine, in a completely inoffensive and pleasant manner. But at the time (late 60s/early 70s) it was considered pretty shocking, prompting the PTA to try and get the manga taken off shelves, and calling Nagai a menace to society. It was all a pretty harsh reaction to a series that was just trying to challenge Japan's reservations towards any open sexuality and the like. This pressure from the PTA, ironically, lead to Nagai finishing up the series, and doing so in a way that was so peculiarly violent that I still can't begin to deal with what I read. See, the final storyline of Harenchi Gakuen deals with this criticism of its content by starting up a war between the students and staff of the titular school and the PTA themselves, who brutally slaughter most of the cast and bring the title to a close. It's so out of tone that this sudden bit of truly horrific violence is just a bit much. It's not the most brutal or horrible thing ever published, but the tonal shift just makes it too much to deal with. I mean the main character's best friend is so traumatised by the events at the end of the series that he kills himself, for pete's sakes. It's... Well, it's ironic, for one, that the PTA are responsible for making a harmless series into the monster they claimed it was, but it's also just... overwhelming.

And of course on the sexual front there's the manga work of John K. Peta. Without getting too crude, it involves breaking several rules of physics with the female body, distorting, stretching, summoning mountains of puke and other bodily fluids, and proclamations of people's bodies being destroyed in the weird pleasures they're experiencing. Also one scene where a girl goes to remove an eye with her tongue then pokes it back in. G.R.O.S.S. That creator's strictly porn, though, so perhaps he's less worthy of comment than my other example.

Steven proves an old axiom - you kill a dog on screen, and the entire audience hates you:

Hello Brian,

I'm an FNG anime fan. Very old for an out of the closet American fan (50+), Retired Army. Why all this background? It's needed to understand this "gone too far" spouting.

Chopping up people, i.e. Deadman Wonderland, beating people to a graphic bloody pulp, i.e. any seinen fighting anime, graphic shooting-the-sh*t out of people, i.e. Gungrave & Technolyze, as the entire story, is too far for me. Having "been there, done that", I don't find it enjoyable entertainment. I couldn't MAKE myself watch most of Deadman Wonderland. I don't even watch any graphic fighting shows. Yes I did watch all of Gungrave and Technolyze. There was at least more story in those. I will NEVER impede anyone's First Amendment Right to watch, or produce for that matter, hack'n'slash stuff. Nor will I support any censorship in media, but I will not pay any money or give time for it.

Shred all the monsters, evil aliens, robots, and the like you want. That's great, even enjoyable. Oh yeah, all anime makers: Leave the pets alone. It's harder to find a good dog than a good friend.

Note to self: as per Melissa's warning, do not read anything by Fusanosuke Inariya:

Nothing has really seemed "too far" to me though there have been times I have been quite taken aback by the violence of sexuality in an anime or manga. Recently, I saw Hellsing Ultimate episodes 5-8. As someone who hadn't touched Hellsing since the mid '00s, I had forgotten just how violent that series is. It wasn't more than I could handle, it was just, "Wow, that's a LOT of blood!"

In terms of sexual content, being a fujoshi, little shocks me nowadays, though my first time reading Maiden Rose I will say I was shocked by how realistic and brutal the rape scenes are. What's even more disturbing for readers, I think, is that the artist draws everything so beautifully. Even if it's a horrible scene to see, it's still gorgeous if you can look at it objectively. Of course, Maiden Rose is just the tip of the Fusanosuke Inariya iceberg. I think I was most shocked reading Zion no Koeda, not because of the rape scenes there, but because it's a manga about a Jewish man imprisoning her ex-Nazi officer foster father. And yet, that's not the only Nazi x Jew manga by this author! By now I'm desensitized to her work, and by far, I think she's the most "shocking" yaoi artist out there.

Are we all completely shocked and desensitized yet? No? Well too bad, because that answer's done already and I've got a new one! One that's less EXTREME and IN YOUR FACE, or possibly equally as IN YOUR FACE except in a different context:


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 guys for all the great stuff you keep sending me! And remember, you can keep sending me stuff by using any ol' email thing to email me a thing over at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Have yourselves a merry little week!


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