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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

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Well, I'm back.

Some of you may or may not remember me; my name is Zac Bertschy, and I started this column years and years ago when dinosaurs ruled the earth and you could get a gallon of gas for less than ten bucks.

Then I left, and Rebecca Bundy took over and did a great job for a long time, and now I'm writing the column again after roughly two years of doing something else, which may or may not have involved international espionage. Try not to think about it too much.

You may notice a few changes; the biggest one is the "Win Answerman's Stuff!" competition which is at the bottom of the page; also, we have a new "Flake of the Week" segment where I publish the scariest or most confusing letter from a reader. The amount of mail I get that qualifies for this segment is staggering, to be sure.

That said, let's get down to business, shall we?

Regarding Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, will there be an English language version available soon?

While initially there was no dub for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Manga Entertainment and Madman Entertainment recently announced that they'd be producing an English dub using the same actors from the TV series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. This is good news for dub fans everywhere (well, OK, it's good news for dub fans in Australia and the UK, which is where the new DVD is being sold) who really can't wait to hear Richard Epcar quote the bible, discuss man's inhumanity to man and shoot up that giant crab dude with the cybernetic arm.

In addition, DreamWorks is planning a special Ghost in the Shell: Innocence: The Al Pacino Edition DVD, wherein Al Pacino himself voices all of the characters, including Makoto Kusanagi and Chief Aramaki. The soundtrack has been replaced with Al Pacino humming and singing the background music, and all sound effects have been re-recorded by Pacino making "bang" and "zap" noises.
Well, I'D buy it.

My question is simple and related to your previous column. You tell readers tha if they want to know more about any series then read the manga. Thats fine, but it is a bit disconcerting when you go read the manga then find out its been censored. Ezmples being Naruto and Tenjho Tenge. My question is this what american publishers of manga publish manga TRULY uncensored. I don't mean like words switched for an american understanding I mean a truly authentic manga.
Any help is appreciated thanks.

I'll agree with you on Tenjho Tenge; people like to throw around the word 'butchered' to describe the situation when Naruto says "I'm going to the bathroom!" in the English version instead of "I'm going to the restroom!", but in Tenjho Tenge's situation, they really did cut that one to ribbons.

Other than that, I'm not sure what your point is, dude. Naruto is hardly edited at all; it's made slightly more appropriate for the series' target audience in America (being preteens and young adolescents). They cut out most of the swearing, but nothing that they edit is crucial to the story whatsoever. It's the same exact thing the Japanese get, except Naruto flips people off less. Unless at the end his ultimate super power technique is derived from the number of times he's flipped someone off, I fail to see how that kind of edit affects the story at all.

Furthermore, I'm not even sure what you'd consider "a truly authentic manga" if you won't even allow for a proper translation. Words have to be switched so American readers can understand it. That's the whole point of a translation. When I read something in English, it needs to be in English, not a paragraph of a few English conjunctions and a million romanized Japanese words with asterisks next to them and page references to a liner notes section in the back of the book where they explain what the hell I'm reading.
If minor changes in the translation upset you that much, learn Japanese and read the Japanese version. Then you can be sure you're getting the "purest" version available.

Would you happen to know whether there will be any new episodes of Fruits Basket (after episode 26)?

I'd say "good question" but since this question has been asked approximately 230 trillion billion million times (and that's just a lowball guesstimate based on empirical evidence), I can't.

Fruits Basket is awfully popular here in the States, to be sure. Once they dropped the price, FUNimation sold a whole load of DVDs (not to mention launched a highly successful and seemingly endless line of caps that now adorn one out of every three heads at any major anime convention). Now, as most everyone who's seen the show knows, it wraps itself up but there's a whole lot more story to be told. The manga, which currently dominates the graphic novel sales charts, greatly expands the original storyline, but there's no new anime. Fortunately for you, nobody wants more Fruits Basket anime than the blokes at FUNimation, who launched an ambitious campaign this summer to create as many origami paper swans as they could at anime conventions and mail 'em all off to Fruits Basket director Akitaroh Daichi, who seems reluctant to do more. Will they make more anime? Nobody can say. Is there an effort to make more? Yes. Will it succeed? Maybe. Will I stop answering my own questions, a'la Donald Rumsfeld? No.

do you know if there is a box set in the works for Gundam Seed? I've watched the whole series, and want to get it on DVD, but should I wait for a box set or just start buying them individually?

Bandai hasn't announced it yet, but since they're doing box sets of nearly everything else they've ever released, yeah, they probably will. I'd bet on it. Can't say when, though.

Hm. I don't have anything else to say on this topic. Well, here's a picture of a kitten.


Every week in Hey, Answerman! I'm going to publish the wierdest, silliest or most downright confusing letter that shows up in my email box. Pretty straightforward, right?

This week's submission is from what appears to be a South American television channel that specializes in violent, pornographic cartoons. Also they are apparently interested in broadcasting manga. Don't ask me how.

I work on a channel TV here in Panama and we want to buy mangas or anime for tv.
Please call us or send me some names of series or movies that are in spanish. We want anime with a lot of violence and blood, some sex

My Response:

Dear Sir,
Alas, the only titles I know of have a lot of sex, but only a little violence and blood. I don't think I can help you.

This is where you win free stuff.

Okay, let me amend that: this is where you win free stuff in exchange for being funny.

Every week in Hey, Answerman!, you're all going to have a chance to win a DVD, or some manga, or whatever else I happen to have laying around. How can you do that? Well, it's simple! Bust out the comedy gold!

I'm going to give you a screenshot from an anime series, like this:

And it's your job to come up with the funniest caption possible. It could be dialogue, or a line or two explaining what's happening, or anything you like; it just has to make me laugh! A few words of warning:

1. Keep it clean. I won't tolerate any profanity beyond "damn" or "hell". Unless it's ridiculously funny and kinda subtle, refrain from potty humor or overt sexual references.
2. Humor that's only funny if you've seen the show the screencap is from is inherently not funny. The joke should be something anyone looking at the picture can understand.
3. The deadline for that week's contest is always Wednesday at midnight. Winners will be announced in this space every week, and they'll also be notified by email.
4. Winners will recieve their prizes anywhere from 2-4 weeks after they're announced.

What's this week's prize? Thar she blows:

That's right, it's a copy of the Noir Complete Collection! This baby, jam-packed with somewhat lethargic but still hypnotic girls-with-guns-and-emotional-problems action, retails for 89.98, but it can be yours for FREE if you're funny enough. Email your captions to [email protected].

See you next week!