Ms. Answerman and the Broken Angel

by Rebecca Bundy,


Dear Ms. Answerman,

It seems that on US TV, no station ever shows anime subbed (aside from the occasional public television run). Is this more because of convention or because they have done studies and focus groups and more people actually like dubs?

For the love of subs,

Here's the problem, Myung. The majority of people in America don't like watching things subtitled. Before The Passion of the Christ came along, the highest-grossing subtitled film was Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which was 4 years previous. It's not like the market is or ever has been booming for subtitled releases; countless subtitled foreign films are dumped into the American market every year and of these maybe one or two will be seen by more than 1000 people. I guarantee you hardcore anime fans make up a very large chunk of the populace responsible for the sales of foreign-language DVDs.

Keep that in mind and consider that TV shows need to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Kids, the target market for a lot of anime these days, don't want to read subtitles. They get in the way. Adults are too lazy by and large to really want to read subtitles; frankly, the quality of dubs has been going up since 2000, so who can blame them? People like to hear things in their native language. That's a fact of life. In order to make money, you need to cater to that.

Hi how are you doing, I think your column is great and I have a few questions that I've been dying to find out the answers to. Will D.N.Angel ever be released onto dvd? And why hasn't it been released yet, its been about a year since it was licensed right? Thank you

At this past Anime Expo, some brave fan with your same question asked the folks at the ADV panel when D N Angel would be released. They replied, ‘November’. So there's your answer.

Ms. Answerman,

In this week's column, you mention that the differences between the original Rurouni Kenshin OVA and the Director's Cut version are "minimal" and therefore negligible. It makes me want to ask you, have you even seen both versions of that OVA? I'll admit that I'm a hardcore fan of the Kenshin OVA, but looking at it from the standpoint of any serious anime fan, your analysis of the situation could not be more mistaken. The primary difference between the original OVA and the "Director's Cut" version of the OVA is the music. The director's cut version has had the music tinkered with so that there are considerably more silent scenes compared to the original version. In my opinion, Taku Iwasaki's musical score for the Kenshin OVA really accentuates the experience and is a critical component of what makes that OVA so great. My favorite scene in that OVA was at the end of episode one when Tomoe comes across Kenshin as he had just killed an assasin. The music playing in that scene is amazing... but yet in the "Director's Cut" version, there's no music with just the sound of dogs barking in the background. It just doesn't feel right. People would cry foul if an anime with a Yoko Kanno soundtrack had its music messed with... the Kenshin OVA and Taku Iwasaki should get the same respect. The original version of the Kenshin OVA is definitely the better buy compared to the Director's Cut version.

If you consider buying the Director's Cut version and Reflection separately, then the boxset with the original OVA and Reflection probably cost the same, if not less. And what do you hate so much about Reflection? It does indeed downplay the second half of the manga, but it certainly doesn't destroy it. If you have watched through the Kyoto Arc of the Kenshin TV series, I think Reflection is an appropriate end to the Kenshin saga. It's sad, but what's wrong with a sad anime for once? And yes, the manga is better... but you're certainly not about to suggest that people go read scanlations, are you? And at the rate that Viz is going, it'll be another 2 or 3 years before the manga gets that far.

All in all, I think you gave a poor answer to that guy's question. Couldn't you have actually researched and gave the guy facts as the answer, instead opting to press your personal preferences based on your hatred for the Reflection OVA onto everyone who reads the column?

Here's the answer that I would've given the guy, and I'd appreciate it if you could just add this as a correction to your column or something:

ED NOTE: Insert list of incredibly minor nitpicky changes here.

Thanks for your time,
Kaoru Miyazaki

Okay, let's take a big step back here. What you're telling me is that your opinion is different from mine, and so that makes me WRONG.

The facts aren't in dispute here, Kaoru. Editing the music is a minor change, in my opinion. Two minutes of added footage is a minor change as well. Not including the liner notes... eh, okay, they should have included those, but that isn't such a big deal. In summation: big deal to you, SUPER HARDCORE FAN, not so big a deal to me, REASONABLE MODERATE FAN. That does not make me wrong and you right. Regardless of our opinions, I didn't tell the guy that no changes were made, nor did I say that Kenshin dies by Sanosuke's hand and then Urkel shows up to deliver his catchphrase.

The Reflection OVA sucks (in my opinion) and most people agree with me. Even the author of the manga agrees with me. He said he didn't like the fact that Kenshin dies at the end, and that the people writing the OVA didn't ask him if that was OK. Due to the fact that the Reflection OVA jumps around in the timeline seemingly at will and has a cloying, sappy ending, I'd say that basically qualifies it as a sucky OVA. Again, you're confusing your opinion with fact. Then you want me to post your personal opinion to my column as a ‘correction’. Printing my opinion here isn't “forcing my opinion” on anyone. Let's run down your list of demands, shall we?

1. You disagree with my opinion on the Kenshin OVA. Since apparently opinion equals fact to you, that means my 'facts' are wrong.
2. You think that me posting my opinion in my column is forcing my opinion down your throat, and I shouldn't do that.
3. Furthermore, you want me to post YOUR opinion as a 'correction' to MY opinion, because my opinion is wrong, and you posting your opinion in my column wouldn't be 'forcing it down' anyone's 'throat'.
Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?

Being a hardcore fan sometimes makes us think that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. Sometimes we even think that our opinion is irrefutable fact! Sometimes, we even write in to question and answer columns decrying the author's facts, even when the facts aren't in dispute, it's simply a difference of opinion.

Remember, friends, that your opinion (and mine) is just that; an opinion. Totally subjective. It isn't about being right or wrong, it's about discussing our differences in a civil and respectful manner. Is that so hard? Next time you read a journalist's opinion you disagree with, try not to automatically assume you know better and that the journalist is an idiot who doesn't have her facts straight. Sometimes, it's all about your point of view.

Dear Ms. Answerman
I recently attended a convention where a staff member spoke to me of a Battle Royale anime. I was initially sceptical as I pride myself on my knowledge of anime both old and new. However, he was adamant in his belief that there was a Battle Royale anime TV series and even told me specific details about the staff and art-style. However, it has been about a month and I still cannot find any information whatsoever on a possible Battle Royale anime. Please tell me: Is there a Battle Royale anime that is either in existence or in the works, and if so: who is making it and on what platform is it being released?

Sincerely: Colin Stanhill

A staff member of what? I searched around for information on this supposed Battle Royale anime and simply put, I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist. Battle Royale is such a colossally successful property that if there were an anime, believe you me, it'd be hyped to high heaven. Since there's no hype, no website, no fansub, no US licensing deal, no press release and no forum rumbling, there is no Battle Royale anime. At least, not yet.

Don't believe everything Con Staff tells you.

Dear Mrs. or Mr. Answerman

I am a highschool history teacher near St. Louis MO. I am also a huge anime fan (interesting combo I know). I recently purchased the movie Grave of Fireflys. I do not know about you but it rocked me to the core. I had heard things about it but I never realized how good and how important the movie was. In my opinion it is the greatest animated feature film in the history of cinema. My question is do you think that this would be approprate viewing in my classroom. I have discussed this with my fellow educators and now I would like the opinion of one of my fellow Otakus. Only one as informed as you would be able to help me out. I thank you for your time and trouble.

Sincerly Jeff

Sure, why not? Maybe you should do permission slips since the film features some extreme scenes, but they take high school kids on field trips to the Holocaust museum, so I don't see why Grave of the Fireflies should be considered ‘inappropriate’. It's an excellent teaching tool, I think, to show people what happened to the Japanese civilians during World War II, especially since all it does is show the horrors of war rather than become a political propaganda piece; the film isn't sympathetic to any side save the children, which is really something you can't argue with.

On a side note, if you do show it in class, make sure you have tissues ready. That's a three-hankie movie if I've ever seen one.

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