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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Alright, I'm going to confess: I'm extremely cranky today. This may have an unfortunate effect on my responses.

Don't worry though; I'm sure it'll clear up by next week!

I'm practically addicted to fooly cooly and I was wondering if you guys knew if they are ever coming out with more episodes because the way it ended it just seems right to continue it. if not someone should definitely send an email to the company asking them to. 


The ending to FLCL isn't really "open" at all. If the story were about Haruko, I suppose we could watch her chase after Atomsk, but the story isn't about Haruko, it's about Naota, and Naota's story ends in the final episode. There won't be any more FLCL because there doesn't need to be any more. If anything, the ending suggests that it would be pretty "wrong" to continue it. We all liked it, but c'mon, the story is over.

I really don't get why people clamor for more more more of every series in existence, even shows that have thoughtful, solid endings. I've had letters from people demanding more episodes be made of series where nearly everyone dies at the end or the storyline is completely resolved and literally nothing is left to the imagination. Sometimes it's good when a story ends, folks. Otherwise you end up with something like InuYasha, which simply goes on and on and on and on forever with no real resolution in sight at all. Who cares about a story that takes (In InuYasha's case, and in the case of most other "endless" shows) nearly 70 hours to tell and has absolutely no conclusion? Crikey.

I have a bit of a problem. I love manga. I love anime. I love writing stories that I would want to see in manga or anime form (no I don't think clamp or whoever wants to do my story), the problem is I can't draw to save my life. I've taken art classes, practiced for a long time, but drawing just never clicked for me. This is a problem in the fact that I seriously wanted to at least attempt turning my mere words on paper, into it's own manga/comic book.

So I decided to contact certain artist's for hire online, and the really good ones cost a tremendous amount. I really want to see my stories in manga form, but it would just cost too much for the finished works.

But here is what I'm wondering. Do you think if I put them online, one chapter a week, and offered special features to anyone who signed up, would anyone register to pay for them like a service? Like pay for a month, or by issue, chapter or whatever to read each installment? I'm talking access to about 5 or 6 different series that signing up would cover. Or would selling the complete collection in printed form be a better idea? Or offer both?

I have no interest in making thousands of dollars, but just comming up even with how much it cost to hire the artists.

So I'm asking if you think theres a market for it and a good idea, or if I should save my money and leave it as a dream.

Good question, although a complicated one.

It's good that you have faith in your own storytelling ability, and that you have the drive to succeed. These things will really be crucial to you a little further down the line in your career.

When it comes to hiring artists, yes, it is going to cost you quite a lot. Good artists don't come cheap; when you see Tokyopop's American manga titles that are written and drawn by a duo, odds are those two were friends and collaborators to begin with rather than two people who simply have a business relationship. It's not easy to pair yourself with a great artist; either you need to save your pennies and eventually get enough to pay someone to illustrate your manga, or just write your stories as novels.

The real problem with your plan here is that you're assuming that anyone's going to pay for unproven talent; unless you have a fanbase already, it's going to be very diffuclt to convince people that an unknown writer - publishing on the internet, no less - is worth paying for. Most online comics and journals are free; extremely popular webcomics like PVP, Penny Arcade and Achewood approach the realm where they might be able to convince people to pay a small fee per cartoon, but these people have been massively popular for years and rather than sell the content, they sell merchandise and collected volumes of comics people initially read for free.
On the internet, you can't just come out of the woodwork as an unproven amateur talent and expect people to pay up to read your stories. It simply doesn't work that way.

You haven't mentioned what your circumstances are in terms of your education or experience when it comes to writing; has anyone professionally critiqued your work? Has anyone - not including your good friends and relatives - indicated that your work is of a high enough quality that they'd pay for it? Have you submitted your work anywhere for publication, and received any professional commentary? It's really important to get an objective, honest opinion from someone before trying to get your work published. If you haven't yet, you may want to consider taking some creative writing classes and reading some books on how to get your work published. It's difficult, but not impossible.

Recently, while surfing the web, I heard a horrifying rumor!! I heard that the great, Hayo Miyazaki-San was RETIRING!!!! Please say it isn't so!!! I don't think that I could live without another one of Miyazaki-san's masterpieces to fill my anime collection! Please tell me, as you have told so many other people, that the internet is full of lies and not to believe it!!!

This isn't actually a rumor, but it isn't really true either (yet). Miyazaki has "announced" his retirement a few times now; once after Mononoke Hime finished production, and then again after Spirited Away finished production, and then again once he completed Howl's Moving Castle. Sometimes it's a translation mistake, and sometimes he's sincerely talking about retiring, but every time he does, he announces a new project shortly after. I can't imagine the guy will be working for too much longer - he's really getting old - but every time you hear the guy's retiring, it's never really true.

Honestly, in my opinion, he's going to be working until he's in the grave. I don't think he'll ever actually stop working, until he literally can't anymore. It just seems to be who he is. But, that's just my take on it.

My daughter watches and reads everything about “Naruto” and is now interested in getting the movies, which seem to come in Japanese only.I have a couple of questions:

  1. 1)       The rating say – Teenager MAY have nudity, etc.  Do you know if they ACTUALLY do or do not?
  2. 2)       Do the movies have English subtitles?
  3. 3)       Can we order directly from your website?

Thank you for your help in answering these questions?

First of all, you can't legally buy the Naruto movies in America yet - anyplace you get them from right now is selling bootlegs and you don't want to contribute to that problem, so the first thing I'll tell you is that you need to wait for Viz to release the movies here.

The movies are rated "teen" (at least by our encyclopedia) for violence. There isn't really any nudity in Naruto; there's occasional fanservice, but even Naruto's "sexy no jutsu" is modestly covered up by conveniently-placed clouds. Nothing beyond what you'd typically see in an anime aimed at older children and teenagers.

I'd imagine that since Viz is releasing uncut, subtitled episodes of Naruto that the movies will also be released with subtitles, although there's no guarantee. We'll probably get both an edited and an unedited version, like the TV series.

Finally, Anime News Network
is not a store. We don't sell any of the titles reviewed or mentioned in the encyclopedia. When you see "we have 182" or whatever under the "episodes" heading in the encyclopedia, that means we have 182 episode titles listed, not 182 episodes for sale. A lot - and I do mean a lot of people make this mistake. Maybe we should change the language used there.

Here's this week's (particularly good) rant that continues our recent discussion about discrimination among anime fans, courtesy of Blake Peterson. A reminder: the following is in no way representative of the opinions of Anime News Network, Zac Bertschy, or anyone else save the person who wrote it.

This rant, or discussion, is partially in response to the rant posted previously, but mainly just a general argument about the range of experience of anime fans and the need to respectfully stay away from generalizations when speaking about them. To be frank, I imagine that amongst the demographic of current anime fans, the number of fans who saw the original English broadcasts of shows like Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion, Astro Boy and Speed Racer is probably in the extreme minority, and these are most likely what one might think akin to "original English-speaking anime fans." The idea that a generation or another is better or more respectful than another seems somewhat unfounded logically to me. And in my experience is generally inaccurate.

I have seen men in their forties, who watched VHS bootlegs in the '80s, provoke shouting matches with fourteen year olds who prefer more contemporary fare. And when I came onto the anime scene in the mid '90s, anime clubs had the same passive aggressive power struggles over what material was viewed that the ones I have visited today do now. Simply put, I see little difference in the new diehard fans I meet now, than the ones I have met in the past.

I am not saying that all anime fans are obnoxious, certainly not. Most anime fans I meet are respectful and polite, if they talk much at all, since many are still very shy. Anime, though adaptations of certain shows have come into some recognition in western pop culture, is still far from mainstream—especially when shows deviate heavily from a western norm. Anime fans, like any cultural group, include those who place a high amount of pride on their opinions of the material, and their range of knowledge. Sometimes the defense of these ideas is greater than their sense of tact. But in my experience, this is a highly vocal minority; the majority are more interested in the value of the material itself, and how it is exciting, different, and often offers new experiences.

Part of the inherent problem in generalizing what makes anime good is how different the values the fans have are. As Mr. Bertschy pointed out in an answer in last weeks' Answerman, even using the same terminology may yield completely different expectations. To  extrapolate on his answer, were someone to say they liked anime for the complex characters and deftly woven plots this might mean that they enjoy a fairly popular show like Cowboy Bebop. However, these same reasons could be used to justify enjoying a show like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Boogiepop Phantom, all which offer vastly different experiences. Even the question of animation quality can yield
vastly different results, as one person may mean a higher frame rate for greater fluidity, whereas another may mean to indicate the deftness in which complex character designs are rendered in motion.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, it isn't difficult to imagine how and why anime can provoke such heated debates, especially when people are so passionate about it; particularly when their egos are so invested in their identity as anime fans. My best experiences with anime and other people have involved meeting and making friends with people who enjoyed
the same or similar shows to me for the same sorts of reasons, which we could actually pin down to specifics. It's very easy to get into a heated debate if the discussion never moves beyond generalizations. Since my tastes tend towards some of the more bizarre material, I ended up with a fairly tight group.

But I don't think that's an exceptional experience in the slightest, since most people seem to have a broad range that they like, but then a vary narrow scope of material that they love. I think if you can center in on a community that loves those same few shows or movies, you can vastly remove fan conflicts. But in complete honesty, whatever the age, however long they have been fans, I see little difference between how belligerent one generation is to another; when the egos are on the line they all sound the same to me.

Whew. So what do you think? Does Blake have a point? Sound off on our forums and let the discussion begin!

If you have a rant of your own and would like to see your work in this space, just follow the rules below and you could be the next featured fan in RANT RANT RANT!:

Welcome to the newest segment in Hey, Answerman: RANT RANT RANT!

What I'm looking for are your best and brightest rants: no shorter than 300 words, on any topic you like related to anime. I'm expecting decent writing, and a modicum of sensibility. Send me a well-written and thoughtful rant that's a decent length, and I'll print it in this space, regardless of whether or not I agree with it, with no further commentary from me. The goal is to provide a more visible and public space for those of you with intelligent things to say about anime, the industry, anything you like related to the subject; discussion in our forums will surely follow.

The rules? Well, here they are:

1. No excessive swearing. "Damn" and "Hell" are fine, anything stronger than that needs to be excluded or censored.
2. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.
3. The word "Rant" must be in your email subject line.
4. Your rant must be at least 300 words, and use proper spelling and grammar. Internet speak, like 'lol' or 'u' instead of 'you' will not be tolerated.

Remember, your editorial doesn't have to be negative at all - feel free to write whatever you like, so long as it's on-topic. We're looking for solid, well-stated opinions, not simply excessive negativity.

Send your rants to [email protected], and watch this space next week for our first installment!

We're still on hiatus. Remember, if you've won an Answerman prize in the last month or two and haven't received your item yet, email me with your name, mailing address and the prize you won and I'll look in to it.

See you next week!

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