Ms. Answerman: The Great Online Petition

by Rebecca Bundy,

While anime fans are generally lumped into a single category, the diversity of age, sex, education, race, country, and a variety of other differences make anime fans an extremely diverse group of people. Because of this, there's a huge variety in what ANN readers want, and everyone who writes for ANN must keep these differences in mind. A lot of people liked Zac's sarcastic and witty responses to various letters, saying that it made the column fun to read. When I started writing alongside Zac and making guest appearances, people liked how informed my answers were, which drew in a somewhat newer audience while distancing some who preferred the kick that Zac put into the column.

There's always been this struggle between informing readers while not being too boring and adding humor without being too nasty. I found that I could not get away with as much as Zac could, yet there was (and still is) a desire to point out that some people must take responsibility for how and what they write on the internet. It's my genuine hope that the quality of online communication improve to the point where I don't receive letters that are riddled with basic spelling and grammar mistakes, where people sit down at their computers and take a minute to think about what they type.
Until such a miracle happens, I will continue to poke at flaws, make jokes, and insult and amuse readers in a single bound. I will also include extra information when it applies in the hopes that everyone will find a little something in this column that they can enjoy.
With that said, welcome to the newest edition of Answerman!

Dear Ms. Answerman,
I was wondering if there are any plans to bring out the anime for Kaikan Phrase (Sensual Phrase).
I've read all the off the manga that has been released so far and I absolutely love it! I know the anime deals more with how the band began and I would love to be able to see it. I can't find any information so I thought you might be able to help.

Currently there are no official plans to bring this series to the US. Considering the fact that the show is five years old, it's unlikely that it'll ever fill the ever-growing anime shelves in various media stores. Personally, the Kaikan Phrase anime falls into my “there aren't enough pretty boys in the world to make this steaming pile of dung worth watching” category, it's only saving grace being the soundtrack (which I still enjoy listening to).

I recently watched "Samurai X: Reflection" and I was wondering if you had a clue as to what disease Kenshin contracted.
Thanks :)

Kenshin died from sadness after learning how much Reflection would mess up the manga's mood and storyline.
Seriously though, Kenshin's immune system had become weak due to a lifetime of fighting and exposure to a fighting style which taxed Kenshin's body. When he started wandering around Japan in an attempt to help people who were sick, he caught something from them. My best guess would be leprosy or something similar to it.

It's also possible that the skin disease was simply a physical manifestation of the pain Kenshin felt when reflecting on his life, which was ‘caught’ by Karou when she offered to share some of his pain.

Let me start off by saying that I love anime and I couldn't live without it.
More recently, I have fallen in love with Fruits Basket and have bought all the DVDs since. However one thing bothers me, it seems that the Sohma family is an incestuous one, I mean just look at Kyo and Kagura, Hatori and Kana, Hiro and Kisa. After watching Fruits Baskets I remembered Knight Hunters' Omi and Ouka relationship (and don't even get me started on Ceres, Celestial Legend). So then my question to you is this, do Japanese make it a habit of marrying their cousins or is this lets "keep it all in the family" attitude added for dramatic purposes?

Japan (like most countries) has incest in its history and culture, dating back to the mythological creation of Japan by the siblings Izanagi and Izanami who were recorded as being married to each other. In the Kojiki, the genealogy of the gods is rife with incestuous marriages and lists upon lists of babies born from these pairings. The Yamato family, unlike their (mythological) godly ancestors, had the fortune of several different prominent families to choose from but it's very likely that, considering that their godly ancestors did it, they did not frown upon the union between closely related family members.

In defense of the Sohma's, their family IS extremely large, so I'm guessing that most of the marriages to those with the same name are distant enough to keep the gene pool from getting too clouded.

As for whether or not this practice is widespread enough to call it a current habit, I'd say no. In the past, families in rural areas had fewer options due to limited forms of travel and the fact that farmland generally stayed with the same family for generations. With rural areas becoming smaller, along with technological advances, the number of incestuous marriages would naturally go down. It's still there (as it still is in many places around the world, even the US), but in the case of anime shows it's generally done to A) add drama and/or B) ‘excite’ the audience since it's generally frowned upon in Japan.

As a side note, research into other cultures and their views on incest seems to put incest into two categories: between family (such as mother/father/sister/brother) and between blood (with cousins or uncles/aunts/nieces/nephews, though there are some smaller cultures where ‘family’ is based on the mother's side and ‘blood’ is based on the father's side). Incest and marriage within the family is universally worse than incest and marriage between those who are related by blood.

Dear Ms. Answerman:
I just read the first volume of Tokyopop's DearS manga and I absolutely loved it. I did wonder, however, how the title was supposed to be pronounced. Is it pronounced like the word dears or is it pronounced Dear Ess? Thank you.

If you read the Japanese title you'll see that the ‘correct’ (meaning the Japanese) way to pronounce it is ‘dears’. Here's hoping that this doesn't turn into another Evangelion debate.

Dear Answerman,
I usually don't ask things like this, but anime fans tend to be so gullible and so persistent that its sometimes difficult to know what's the truth.
Here's the question. I noticed in both FanFiction.Net and that people were screaming about the American government banning anime. I didn't give them much credibility with the spelling errors and all, but then I did an internet search and found only two petitions: one asking Bush to ban anime and the other asking Bush to not ban anime. That's all the information I can find.
I realize that this sounds something along the lines of Dragonball AF or something, but it doesn't hurt to check. I also realize that America rarely gives up anything that makes gobs of money, especially coming from one of our closest economic allies.
However, I will ask. Is there any credence to these rumors, and if not, who began the rumor?

This seems to be a hot topic right now, so I'll try to state this very clearly:

Anyone can start up an online petition, regardless of what it's about.

In fact, I've gone ahead and made a petition just to prove how easy it is to make one.

For those who are curious, the petition to ban anime can be found here, along with the author's name and the organization he represents, while the petition to not ban anime can be found here.

Of course there are numerous, blatant clues that make it very obvious that this petition is meant as a joke (the use of cutiepie, the email address with ‘neko’ in it, and above all else the fact that the Responsible Americans Against Child Exploitation group doesn't exist, or if it does it's run by people who don't know how to make a website) even before you actually read the contents of the petition, which are pretty funny. They're almost as funny as the comments made by those who signed the petition, which are almost as funny as the fans who reacted to this petition and turned it into this giant 'Bush wants to ban all anime!' rumor.

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