Ms. Answerman: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

by Rebecca Bundy,

The leaves have fallen, the mornings are filled with frost-covered grounds, and stores everywhere are filled with Christmas glee. Before that though comes Thanksgiving, a time to eat like there's no tomorrow and enjoy the days off from work or school. Since this'll be the last column before the holiday weekend, I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Ms. Answerman,
I was wondering why Nagamimi from Requiem from the Darkness is referred to as "Nagamimi the Bird Caller." I haven't seen him calling any birds, so I was wondering if the name came from the novels as opposed to the anime.
Thanks for your time!
-Marie S.

This is actually an interesting way of describing Nagamimi's true abilities. A bird caller is someone who can imitate the sound of many different birds in an attempt to lure them out into the open. Nagamimi takes on the shape of many different people in an attempt to corner or lure out a target and force them to sing (excuse the pun). His songs are generally the faces and bodies of strangers in an attempt to give the target a false sense of security.

Dear Ms. Answerman:
I have two question to ask you.
1) I would like to know if the manga version of read or die is coming to the US?
2) When will tenjo tenge coming out?

1) So far there haven't been any announcements regarding it. Considering how popular the title is, it'd make sense to license the manga but it's always possible that gaining the rights to the manga is harder than the series was.
2) If you're asking about the anime, Geneon hasn't announced a release date yet. The license was announced when the series first started airing in Japan, so they should be announcing a release date sometime soon (assuming of course this show wasn't put on the backburner for a bit).

Dear Ms. Answerman,
First, I would like to say how much I enjoy your column. Second, I have a few questions regarding the "legendary three" ninjas from Naruto. I know that there's supposed to be some sort of myth or legend surround Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsuneda-hime. I've even read a book (called "The Tattoo Murder Case" by Akimitsu Takagi) that features a serial killer who steals the skin of his victims (ew), because these victims just so happen to have tattoos of the legendary three characters. But what exactly are the legends surrounding these people, and when did they start? (What's with the frog, the snake, and the slug, anyways?) Are the characters based off of any sort of historical figures?
Sorry, I guess that's an awful lot of questions, but this myth is really interesting to me, and I love how the mangaka of Naruto has used these characters in his story. I apologize if you've covered this topic before.
Thanks for a wonderful column!

The Snake, Slug, and Frog are actually a very important trio that's responsible for the modern version of Rock Paper Scissors. In this game, the snake fears the slug, the slug fears the frog, and the frog fears the snake. When all three are present, they balance each other out so that none triumph over the other two. If only two are present, one will dominate over the other.
As for the legendary three, this is most likely based on the Three Treasures of Amaterasu: the sword, the mirror, and the jewel. While I'm not sure if Jiraiya and Tsunade's names mean anything, Orochimaru got his name from Yamata-no-Orochi, an 8-headed snake from the Kojiki (one of Japan's oldest books). In the story, Susano-ou kills the beast, pulls a sword from its body, and presents it to Amaterasu who then makes it one of the three heavenly treasures. It's no surprise then that Orochimaru keeps an incredibly powerful sword tucked away in his belly. The jewel Tsunade wears around her neck is a priceless heirloom from her grandfather, most likely representing the jewel. As for the mirror, I haven't seen anything like a mirror in Jiraiya's possession, but it's always possible that such an item or ability hasn't been revealed yet in the series.
EDIT: Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru's names all come from a serial novel entitled "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya" (Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari). This website gives a brief explination of the series. Thanks go to king_micah for pointing this out.

Dear Ms. Anwserman,
I've seen the screencaptures in my dreams! Downin my heart, I know it MUST be true! Is there anAzumanga Daioh video game? And how do I get it?

There is a GameBoy Advance game for Azumanga Daioh in which you play card games with the various girls and try to unlock other characters to play against. This game has not been released in the US and most likely won't be since there isn't a huge market for anime-based games in the US unless the series is extremely popular here. You can always try importing it and finding a translation guide, but imported games are generally 3-5 times as expensive as an American GBA game.

Dear Ms. Answerman,
I have noticed that a lot of characters in anime tend to have a need to "prove their existence". Usually this proof comes in the form of fighting, like Shinji in Evangelion, and Hibiki in Vandread. Sometimes it means killing, like Gaara in Naruto. Sometimes it is something else all together. Can you explain this in regards to Japanese culture?

The need to prove one's existence is a fundament desire that can be seen in every culture, not just in Japan. As children, people start out at the bottom rung in society. Generally adolescence is spent rebelling against a society that does not treat them as adults since they are not old or experienced enough. This starts them on the road to try and prove themselves, whether through showing physical dominance over another or situation (such as a ritual or serving in the military) or through dominance over knowledge (such as college). Once in the adult world, they discover that there are yet more ladders to climb wherever they are so that they can gain more money or more prestige. It's something that most can relate to, so the audience can understand or empathize with the characters.

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