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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

They announced the other day that the next season of Battlestar Galactica has been delayed until October 2006. Originally it was going to air in June, as usual.

I weep. Now what the hell am I supposed to do all summer?

Let's get down to business, shall we?

I bought the Wolf's Rain OST 1 last year, and I throughly enjoyed it. However, I've been recently searching for the OST 2, but all I could find were overpriced imports (~$50) and bootlegs. I've looked on Bandai's official site to see whether or not they were releasing it at all, but all i could find was the first soundtrack. Is there a chance that it will be released?I have my hopes down since Wolf's Rain is an older property and I don't have a clear idea whether or not it's still considered a "hot" property. Or is it already released, but i'm looking in the wrong places?

Anime soundtracks are one of those things where it's impossible to guess which CDs they're releasing and which ones they aren't; Geneon's usually robust offering of anime music is all over the board, and since they don't limit themselves to only releasing soundtracks from shows they licensed, anything could conceivably come from them. That said, I don't see Wolf's Rain OST 2 anywhere in their release schedule and since the CD didn't come with Bandai's recently released super-mega-ultra Wolf's Rain box set, I'd say the forecast is fairly grim. The show hasn't been a 'hot title' in a long while now, so unless Geneon decides to snatch it up, I wouldn't hold my breath. You may want to consider simply dropping the $30 for the import if you can't wait (and it could be a long wait!).

Okay so explain to me this answerman: why is anime so expensive? I can buy the simpsons season box sets for like 30 bucks but anime costs like hundreds of dollars to own a whole show. why do they insist on totally ripping off the fans?!

Oh good, this question again.

There's a big misunderstanding among anime fans wherein they assume that the economics for every company that releases DVDs are the same across the board. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You see, the reason 26 episodes of The Simpsons only costs you $30 or so is because the show costs Fox virtually nothing to release on DVD. Sure, there are packaging and production costs and whatnot, but the show has already turned a giant profit thanks to its initial TV run (on a network Fox owns), the colossal amount of revenue that comes in from syndication fees, outside character licensing, all of that stuff that provides revenue for a company like Fox that creates content and then airs it on a network they own. There's no licensing fees to pay and DVD is basically an afterthought, a new stream of revenue from a series that's already bringing in millions.

In terms of anime, this is not at all the case. Anime has to be licensed, dubbed, produced on DVD and then distributed in the States before ADV or Bandai or Geneon or whoever sees dime one; DVD is, most often, their sole revenue stream, unless they branch out into merchandising. When an anime runs on TV, rarely do the anime licensors see profit from that; some smaller networks may pay out a bit, but oftentimes it's the anime company itself that has to pay various networks to air their shows. Samurai Champloo on Cartoon Network isn't generating any profit by airing on TV; in essence, the TV run is a promotional tool to help bolster DVD sales, which once again illustrates my point.

When you buy anime on DVD, you are supporting the show and the company completely, because most of the time, that's their only revenue source. They can't afford to sell anime for $1 an episode or whatever the going rate is for American shows; their cost is closer to the $3 or $4 you currently pay. The economics of anime are vastly different from those of major American media conglomerates, so you should probably stop expecting Ghost in the Shell to be offered at the same price as Family Guy. It's apples and oranges.

Has there been any Gundam shows that have never been released in America other than the seed spin offs.

Yeah, of course there are. Gundam has had a staggering number of releases in Japan and Bandai hasn't released them all yet. To name just a few, the controversial TV series Turn A Gundam, After War Gundam X, Gundam ZZ (the sequel to Zeta Gundam, released in a box set by Bandai recently), and a handful of little spinoffs, like Gundam Evolve. Bandai seems to slowly get around to the older Gundam series as they release the new ones in a more timely fashion (which makes sense, from a profit perspective) so there's no telling when exactly we can expect to see any of these older shows, but time will tell. So long as the franchise remains somewhat profitable, Bandai will continue building the franchise here in the States.

Why is Dark Horse taking so long to release Berserk? It's expensive, too. Compared too, say, Kenshin, it looks pretty bad, monthly and $8, versus quarterly and $14. There's obviously more of a market for Kenshin, but that's still way too big a difference.

Well, you're understating things here a bit.

Rurouni Kenshin doesn't just have "more of a market", it's a mass-marketed smash hit with the Shonen Jump label on it that Viz releases monthly. Viz can afford to release Kenshin, which is a smaller format with fewer pages per volume that's already complete in Japan, for $8 a book because the market supports it. Kids, teenagers, adults, men, women, boys, girls; Kenshin appeals to all of them.

Berserk on the other hand has a much smaller audience; it's longer, the page quality is thicker, and the audience skews almost completely toward older men. Many outlets won't even sell the book due to the extreme nature of the violence. This is akin to wondering why Oldboy isn't as big a hit or as widely available as The Incredibles; you're talking about a mainstream, totally accessible hit versus a niche genre title with a very specific audience. It all boils down to economics; Dark Horse isn't going to take a bath on Berserk, so they're waiting until they've pulled in every last dime from the most recent Berserk SKU before releasing another volume. It's just the way the market works. Simply because in your head it 'should' be cheaper does not make it so.

To elaborate on this a bit, I wish I could afford to send certain anime fans through a few basic business courses; I think a lot of the fan complaints about pricing and release structures would change if they had a better idea of how the market actually works. There's nothing wrong with speculation, but getting angry or taking companies to task and raking them over the coals for simply protecting the bottom line and making sure they actually stay in business (and can afford to even continue releasing something like Berserk) is hardly fair. Remember, this is still a relatively small industry with very narrow profit margins for most companies. I don't see that fact changing anytime in the near future. It's always good to make sure you're not being ripped off, but this isn't Disney gouging you $40 for a Mickey Mouse hat, it's a much smaller company that's highly specialized. They operate in a completely different way.

Raging against anime companies because popular belief suggests that "the man" is anyone in a corporation who's trying to sell you something is blind, and especially questionable in the anime industry.
Remaining skeptical and asking questions is always appropriate, but it's important to exercise common sense, good faith and reason.

I am a big fan of sailor moon(Original uncut) Also I am going crazy because of not seeing Sailor moon stars in north America!!!! I am wishing they would release it on a DVD (uncut and uncensored) and DON'T show it on TV so the little kids would be seeing it. I would love to see Eternal sailor moon,chibi-chibi(she is so cute!!),the sailor starlights(I know they are males at first and when changing into the the sailor starlights they become female) And sailor Uranus and sailor Neptune are NOT Cousins. And the nude scenes at esp.199 and 200 of usagi in the Angel form of princess serenity it's pretty!! ( I seen pictures) And the cool characters, princess kakyuu, and major baddie of the season Sailor Galaxia!(the good and bad side of her)trying to take the star seeds from people! and the animates That help her get the star seeds. I really would like to see the season come to t! he us right now or later if it's possible? and the "true" form of the final supers season!!!! 

Wow, haven't heard this question in a long while. This is the first time anyone's mentioned Sailor Stars in my inbox since I took this column up again when I returned to Anime News Network. The times, they are a'changing, I suppose.

The odds that you'll ever see any Sailor Moon anything here in America anytime soon are slim to none. Toei yanked ADV's license on the first two seasons of the show and Geneon can't rerelease Sailor Moon S or Super S any longer; the idea was that Toei wanted to enter the American market themselves and had apparently planned on reintroducing the show to the R1 market sometime in the future. Their initial releases, Slam Dunk, Air Master and Interlude, DVDs with atrocious production values that virtually nobody really appreciated, sold very poorly and Toei basically decided to slink back into the shadows to lick its wounds. I can't say for sure if they'll ever release anything here again, and the future of Sailor Moon is completely in doubt.

Sailor Stars is even more of a longshot since it's a kids' show that has a whole lot of content that just isn't suitable for children by American standards, so the only folks who would buy it are older hardcore Sailor Moon fans (a market that shrinks every year thanks to the show's ever-diminishing popularity and relevance). Most fans have simply moved on to greener pastures, and I'm not sure the market right now would support an uncut release of an older niche show. Sure, anything's possible, but I'd suggest tracking down the R2 DVDs and enjoying those.

There's a whole lot of stuff to say in Creation Station this week, so let's just have a bunny and get on with it.

See, even the bunny would rather I get to the contest.


So, as you may remember, a few weeks back we held a contest to see who could come up with the most elaborately cliched anime show ever, and the grand prize winner was announced a 2 weeks ago. I promised I'd publish more of the entries since so many of them were incredibly hilarous and creative; if your entry appears here, email me with your name and address and I'll send you something from the Answerman Prize Vault (which is not unlike Uncle Scrooge's Money Bin, except it's filled with anime and manga. Needless to say, if Uncle Scrooge wants to trade, I'm all for it...).

First up is a show I swear I've seen before, from Phillip Kennedy:

Taichi Galaxy Defender Vol. 1: Ward-Off Left!

Life isn't easy for Shotaro Takase. He's too short and shy to be popular at school and he's at the bottom of his class in practically everything—including lunch! To make things worse, his parents have just moved to Hokkaido, leaving poor Shotaro alone in an empty apartment in Tokyo. Then, one day, his mysterious, black-clad, mask-wearing uncle Gensuke shows up unexpectedly at Shotaro's door and whisks him off to Fusui Island, where it's revealed that Shotaro is actually the reincarnation of the Guardian Spirit of the North. Now Shotaro must train to pilot the Genbu Turtle, a massive spacefaring mecha, and fight alongside the Seiryu Dragon, Kirin Horse, Suzaku Phoenix and the Byakko Catbot, mecha with awesome elemental powers piloted by the other Guardian Spirits—four cute and feisty schoolgirls. However, through a string of awkward mishaps Shotaro winds up alienating them all—including little Moeko-chan, the Catbot's pilot. If that's not bad enough, a race of aliens launches an invasion of Earth with giant shape-changing bio-robots and the Taichi Fighters are thrown into combat before they're fully prepared. Can they overcome their differences, master the final combination tactic and unite to form the Taichi Galaxy Defender? Time's running out!

Now, for the first time North American fans can see the original uncut version of the 1980s hit Shadow Space Boxers! Extras include a special voice talent interview and a music video of J-Pop star Gomikko singing the opening song “Rainbows of Love and Death.”

Next we've got one from Kelda Sproston, complete with art:

Natsuki is a drop out from school, who harbours a deep dark secret. He is really ‘Melted Love’ part of the superhero team ‘Super Chocolate Surfboard Men. Yeah!’. Recruited by the mysterious, but fluffy, Chocolate Kisses. An alien hamster from another planet whose only hope of survival is to train the chocolate surfboard men: Melted Love, Dark Franky and Minty Fresh! When the chocolate surfboard men combine, they form their secret weapon ‘Bob’ a powerful cocoa based robot with a sweet praline centre!
However, he is trying to get back into school while trying to keep his secret identity under wraps. However, he has to face many perils, including the weather. Attending interviews in the summer, when you're made of chocolate can prove to be a bit difficult, fans can only go so far! Hiding yourself from chocoholics is another matter all together.
To top it all of he has a secret crush on Mitsuko, who secretly pilots the surfboard men's greatest enemy: Sunbeam-X a solar powered robot, built by Natsuki's own father!
Can Natsuki survive these perils of heart, mind, body and soul?

And finally for this week, Sara Smith really poured her heart and soul into this one:

Hi! I have this great new idea for an anime series. I want the manga to be drawn by Naoko Takeuchi or Arina Tanemura. Please send this to both of them so they can draw the first chapter and I'll decide which one I like better. Also, I want Megumi Hayashibara to sin
the opening.

Battle Fighter Mega Neko Hime: Hikaru seems like a normal schoolgirl, but with her parents doing business in America and her older brother still missing after five years, Hikaru spends her lonely nights wishing that someone would come to take her away. Her wish is
suddenly granted when catboy and magic kingdom prince Akira appears at her door claiming her as his wife! But before wedding bells can ring, Hikaru must prove she is the rightful Mega Neko Hime by mastering the spells of the Mega Neko and collecting all twelve of
the Hime jewels. However, there are other girls competing for the title, including Hikaru's best friend Sakura who has been posessed by an evil spirit! And who is the new guy in school, Haruka? Just when it seems that Hikaru has collected all the Hime jewels, a clan of cyborg ninjas attack Sakura and hold her ransom! As Hikaru fights the new enemy, the dark and disturbing truth behind the Mega Neko Hime battles reveals itself. But with Akira kidnapped by an opposing faction of time-travelling space pirates,
Hikaru finds that her only help comes from the mysterious Haruka! Can she really trust him? It's the ultimate battle of good and evil as Hikaru finds the strength inside herself and realizes that love is the greatest power of all.

I attatched some production sketches to show that I am actually serious. But they're not colored because I'm not good at that yet.

And there you have it! That's all for this week; I'll be back next week with some new winners, new questions and probably a fuzzy animal of some kind.

See you next time!

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