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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

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Over last weekend my computer decided to melt down, so I had to replace it. What that means is that I also lost all of my old emails; so, if you had a question or a caption idea, resend it! Last week's contest will be extended through this week in order to give everyone time to resubmit. In addition, if you've won a prize from the Win Answerman's Stuff contest, I'm gonna need your mailing address again.

Anyway, let's get right to it.

I have recently begun an attempt to start an anime club at my school, thinking I could get fellow anime fans together to watch DVDs with each
week.  However, when I went to apply, they told me that in order to watch the DVDs, I would have to obtain the rights to show them to an audience, even if I only showed one or two episodes from each DVD.  Could you please tell me how I would go about doing this?

I used to run the anime club in college back in the Bronze Age when men were men and women were referred to as "wenches" and we basically never had to ask for permission to show anything, mostly because the companies didn't really care (at least, they didn't seem to care). I mean, it's basically free advertising, right?

That said, times have changed, and you probably want to get permission from the companies out there whose product you plan on showing. The good news is, most all of 'em are staffed by good people who are fans themselves and they'll be more than happy to let you show stuff. Heck, some of them might even send you some DVDs for free! A few companies out there - ADV, CPM and FUNimation, to name some - have special programs for anime clubs where they send you screeners in exchange for a little feedback about the show from your audience. It's a pretty sweet deal, really, considering most anime fans do that anyway by hopping on the internet after they've seen something and commenting on a message forum.

One word of advice, though: make sure your club does something other than simply sitting in a room watching anime in silence. Have discussion days, maybe do some cosplay, attend local conventions together, plan picnics, go to movies. My club was in danger of dying out until we realized that people can watch anime at home; they come to clubs to socialize with other fans, so planning events that allow them to do that will make your club way more successful.

Is the going to be third Vampire Hunter D: Movie I am a big fan I would love to see them make a new one, th novels are good but I would love to see a new movie or even a OVA. Your my only hope AnswerMan.

Well, unfortunately they rejected my spec script for a third movie in which Vampire Hunter D travels back in time and saves the Flintstones and, indeed, the entire town of Bedrock from a zombie infestation. I waited and waited for a response from Madhouse, but all they sent back were an envelope full of ashes and a restraining order. Pft. Philistines.

As of this moment there haven't been any announced plans to make a third Vampire Hunter D: Movie, but given the success of the first two films and the astounding success of the novel, I wouldn't be surprised if they did decide to do another one. Vampire Hunter D is one of those titles that's had a remarkable amount of success in America, and when a title manages crossover success like that - a'la Ninja Scroll or Hellsing - the odds that more anime will be made are much higher.

So, there's nothing for now, but I'd say keep holding out.

I'm sure you've heard this question thousands of times, but I'm just curious. Anyways, getting to my more important question...Does someone with your anime experience understand FLCL or Furi Kuri completely? As far as I know, not very many people do, but everyone seems to enjoy the show none-the-less.

I think a lot of people find themselves confused by the chaotic art direction of FLCL, and in turn think that because the style of the show is so over-the-top and bizarre that the story is also really confusing and nonlinear. I mean, the sequence of events - although the events themselves are strange and surreal at times - makes sense and follows a pretty basic coming-of-age story, albeit one populated by robots and aliens and all manner of anime trappings. The show plays by its own rules, and while the logic it uses is twisted, it does follow through. What's not to understand, really? Again, the events themselves are weird, but the story isn't told in a confusing or experimental fashion; the plot moves from point A to point B just like every other anime out there.

Watch it again with this mindset and tell me if you still think the show's confusing or nonsensical.
This is kinda like saying you don't understand or can't comprehend The End of Evangelion; frankly, it just isn't that hard to piece it all together. Some people get so thrown off by surreal imagery that they focus on that and lose sight of the storyline, which might be hard to follow if you aren't paying strict attention but really isn't very complex. There's nothing wrong with that, but watching something again with a clearer head - and maybe a better understanding of the series' visual style - might clear it up for you.

I'd like to take a minute to point out a new feature of the Answerman column; rather than strictly answering questions all the time, I'm also going to be responding to comments made about the site itself. Here's a good example, sent in by a reader who read this review:

What's with the knock on the Kyoto Arc villians? Mummiyu (I forget the exact spelling) is one of my favorites even though as many others have noted, is based on Venom. Gein is a great villian too, I love his mask. Hey they're no Saito but they're fun and RK was almost Sci-Fi in villian character design anyway. I don't get the "great literature" remark. It sounds like someone who looks down on manga would say. No offense.
The RK tv people deciding to make stories on there own is truley one of the dumbest decisions in TV history.

Hey, I liked the Kyoto arc villains to, but they're a little hard to take seriously given how silly most of them look. I mean, the guy wearing the giant turtle shell? The bird guy and his dynamite? Yeah, they participated in some cool battles but denying that they look silly is downright wrong. It's cool to like something and also admit that it's flawed or silly or over-the-top, you know. I love Kenshin just as much as anyone... okay, scratch that. I love Kenshin (not nearly as much as some people), but I can recognize that it gets a little silly at times.

Also, admitting that manga isn't "great literature" isn't "looking down on manga", it's the truth. Great literature is stuff like Brave New World or War and Peace, not Naruto volume 3. Manga is fun and entertaining and sometimes surprisingly artistic and thought-provoking but pretending that it's "great literature", worthy of standing in the same space occupied by classic novels cherished by millions for years and years and years, is ridiculous. Again, I love manga just like any other red-blooded fan, but I'm not going to pretend that it's something it isn't. I can recognize that a lot of it is cliched and juvenile when compared to something with a little more substance to it. I mean, for comparison, I really get a kick out of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's as good as Citizen Kane simply because I found it entertaining. See what I mean?

I'm sure this will have a lot of fans screaming bloody murder, but I think we all know it's true. Oh well. Perhaps this adorable kitten will stave off some of the flames I'm bound to receive.

Right? No? Crap.

And heeeeeeeere we go.



Also, for the record, anyone who speaks a lick of Japanese or has, you know, watched the fansubs you're undoubtedly comparing it to, they're not pronouncing it wrong. Everyone in the show says "NAH-roo-toh", not "Nah-ROO-toh" or "Naroo-DOH" or "Nate the Ninja" or whatever the heck you think you're hearing. The Japanese pronunciation puts the emphasis on the first syllable. What annoys me so much about this is the sheer number of kids who have no idea what they're talking about complaining about a dub that actually gets the pronunciations correct. They present themselves as infallible experts on all things Naruto because they watched a bunch of bootlegs. Frankly, it doesn't matter; they could air the show uncut in Japanese with no subtitles and they'd still find something to complain about.

You're wrong. Deal with it. Also, if you don't like Viz's (frankly, excellent) Naruto dub, here's a little tip: don't watch it.

Okay, so as mentioned at the top of the column, this week's contest is the same as last week's thanks to my unfortunate computer meltdown. I lost pretty much everything sent before Monday of this past week, so if you sent in anything over the weekend (which is when the bulk of submissions arrive), I need you to resend it to me. In addition, all previous winners need to email me their addresses.

In case you forgot what the picture was, here it is again:

Remember, 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.

Did you forget what the prize was? 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!