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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

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Some people have been asking who the guy in my logo is. That's Howl, from Miyazaki's cool-but-sometimes-kinda-incomprehensible latest film, Howl's Moving Castle. You know, normally I prefer the dub on Miyazaki films since Disney puts enough money and effort into them to make them as good as (or sometimes better than) the original Japanese track, and I love Christian Bale (he was Patrick Bateman AND Batman, for cripes' sake) but for whatever reason I preferred the acting in the Japanese version of the film.

Anyway, let's get right to it.

I'm interested in any anime series that is base on true events. are there any you can recomend? could you provide me with direction as were to look or purchase these series?

Sure, there are plenty of 'em, but most of them are historical action epics that are 'loosely' based on real events and people in history. Rurouni Kenshin and Peacemaker Kurogane, for example, are both rife with anime-style depictions of real people (and both star real-life Shinsen Gumi captain Saitou Hajime) who actually existed in history. What their anime counterparts do is obviously very different from what really happened, but there's enough history in those two series to send you running to the encyclopedia. As for something more directly based on true events, the first thing that comes to mind is Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies, which was based on an award-winning novel that was also based on real events, which is really, really depressing when you think about it. You can find it at any major retailer, or Amazon.com.

As much as I appreciate Grave of the Fireflies, that really was one of those "I never need to see that again" kinda films. I can't imagine owning a copy. When am I going to ever need to watch that thing again? Like I have a bunch of buddies over and we're drinking and playing video games and suddenly "Dude, we should bust out Grave of the Fireflies! Awesome!". I don't think so.

I've been seeing previews and video clips of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and I'm really excited about it, but when does it come out? I've heard that its supposed to be out already, but I haven't seen it anywhere. Can you hook me up with some details?

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has had somewhere on the order of 8,345 different release dates thrown around in the last year; currently it's scheduled for release on DVD and UMD November 29th. The disc itself is basically just the movie and a handful of extras; that Last Order OVA thing that came in the $300 "Crazy Otaku" Japanese edition probably won't be released here, unless it's a seperate disc that Sony plans on putting out later. I'm really looking forward to the release, since I have fond memories of skipping school to play the game (and putting down my controller to make a sandwich while Sephiroth cast that crazy meteor spell during the final battle).

You heard right, though, the movie was released in Japan a few weeks back and flew off the shelves there. A sizable chunk of the internet's penniless teengers with entitlement complexes have already pirated the thing to high heaven, but they're a bunch of thieves, and you don't want to consort with people like that.

When I watch anime subtitled, I notice that when people talk about Japan, they refer to the country as "Nihon" and themselvs as "Nihon-jin" or Nihon people, my question is, if the people who live there call it Nihon, why do
we call it Japan?

Edit: I've recieved several corrections on this answer (some nitpickier than others), so let me put the controversy to rest: both "nihon" and "nippon" refer to "Japan", and "nihonjin" refers to "Japanese person". In any case, we already have a word for their country so we don't need to use theirs. Let me put it this way; a stupid Japanese person calls himself "baka", while I'd call him an "idiot". He has his own word for it, and he's Japanese, but even though I'm referring to him, I use my native word. I don't have a native, all-encompassing word for "Japanese animation", though, so I use theirs (or an appropriated version of theirs), "anime".

There are a lot of countries that are called different names in different languages. China is called Jung Kuo, we call it China, Germany is Deutchland, and so on... Some of these names were fabricated in English, others refer to historic names that are no longer used in that country's vernacular but have remained a part of our own. "Japan" actually evolved from the Chinese name for Japan, which was brought back to Europe by Marco Polo and Portugese traders. Remember, language is a fluid thing that changes every day. I mean, it felt like only yesterday when I didn't know what "getting crunk" meant.

Now I do. Oh, now I most certainly do.

Dear Answerman,
I am deeply troubled! I once saw one episode of an anime who's name I cannot recall it looked excellent so I am trying desperately to track it. In the beginning episode a girl is at school and she is for some reason on the roof of one of the buildings then for some reason a guy who can summon beasts out of nowhere comes along and saves her and a couple of other students from a giant bird like thing. I specifically remember one part where he summons a huge cat-tiger beast from a strange portal thingy any ideas? I thought it might be clamp but i tried looking and it wasnt.

Yeah, sure. You're talking about 12 Kingdoms; that's the first episode, where the Miaka-like main character gets whisked away to a fantasy kingdom where there are 12093 characters with complicated names who are very difficult to keep straight. Also there are bird things and tiger things, just as you described.

Seriously, though, it's a cool show and a lot of people love it. It's based on a really long-running novel series; the show itself ran for a long while, but the "entire thing"* is available on DVD from Media Blasters (almost assuredly at a discounted price, since it's been out for some time now) *(The series was unfortunately never completed, see past answermans for details on that).

Well! That about wraps it up for this week's Q&A section. Wait, what's that?

You need another kitten photo?

Oh, alright.

I have absolutely no idea what crazy moon language this kid is speaking.

i am look 4 uncut dbz dvds bcuz DEATH 2 4KID they cut all cool parts out

You hear that, 4Kid? This completely incomprehensible lad is going to BRING YOU DOWN.

I think this letter was randomly generated by the internet, truth be told.

I've been getting a few common questions regarding this contest, so I'd like to clear a few things up:

1. You can enter as many times as you like, but try to include all of your entries in the same letter. If you come up with something gut-bustingly hilarious later, go ahead and send it in.

2. I do not - REPEAT - do not need you to caption the photo yourself and send me the image. Just the text is all I need. I had a few people emailing me several megs worth of captioned photos. Please don't do that; my mailbox cries when you do that.

3. Bribes in the form of flattery or cash are appreciated but will not make your caption any funnier than it is.

That said, this week's winner is the remarkably funny Julian Grybowski.

Here's Julian's caption:

Here are a handful of runner-ups. Shame on those of you who made the "But I wanted a pony!" or "Now I'm sure to get that pony I wanted!" jokes:

"I want Daddy's attention, and by God, I'm gonna get it."
-David Orozco

"If I told her once I told her a thousand times, in the litter box."
-John Castro

"Bustin' Caps. My Anti-Drug."

I also need last week's winner, Mark Reagan, to contact me via email to claim his prize. I need your mailing address, Mark.

Didn't win this time? Well, here's your chance to win again!

If you want a chance to win a DVD, or some manga, or whatever else I happen to have laying around, do me a favor and bust out the comedy gold!

Here's this week's screenshot:

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.

5. Entrants outside the US and Canada are inelligible, unless you have a US or Canadian address I can mail the prize to.

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

That's right, it's a copy of the super special limited edition Ninja Scroll TV box set! 13 episodes of the silliest, most violent samurai action ever produced, and it even comes in a cool metal tin with a little figure of the show's hero! It's on DVD from Urban Vision now for $54.95, but it can be yours for FREE if you're funny enough. Email your captions to [email protected].

See you next week!