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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Whew, sorry we missed you all last week! It's been rough sailing around here lately and we got pretty far behind. But now we're back, and just in time!

Every week for the next 5 weeks, we're gonna be counting down to
the 250th Answerman column!

Yeah, that's right! You heard me!

The TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH ANSWERMAN COLUMN! And it's only 5 columns away!

Exciting times, no? To check out our amazing 250th column promotion, scroll on down to Win Answerman's Stuff for details.

Now, while we're celebrating, we may as well get down to business.

I need help on supporting my works unfortnately I cant find a job that all you do is sit and come with Manga/Anime Ideas. I am just a young person learning how to draw anime/manga and not really much of knownledge and I consider myself not that good and need to learn more. how bout some help please. And also I rush myself with drawing. Tell, you alittle bit about myself I speak Japanese at an conversative leven or/and intermediate little Korean, and my namtive Language, which is Cambodian. I am Chinese/Cambodian. I am an Breakdance/pro/average Gamer in Video Games/Martial Artist/Employer. that is all Please Help ANN

Everyone say it with me now: "Here we go again!"

I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what it is you're after here; there really is no such thing as a job where you just sit around all day and come up with ideas for anime and manga series and then there's no more effort on your part after that. Creators are generally very driven and talented people with years and years and years of experience drawing, telling stories, and directing films; they're usually familiar with nearly every single step of the production process and supervise them all. It takes a long, long time to get to the point where your original ideas will mean anything to anyone, so if you want to do that someday (and odds are you'd be doing it in America, not in Japan), you'd better start taking those film production and studio art classes now. If you do finally get your foot in the door, expect to be working as an underling for at least 10 years before you're given a chance to bring your concepts to the screen, and even then, it's going to be a monumental struggle every step of the way. I realize anime and manga look like they're easy to create, but they aren't, and it seems like a lot of you kids out there don't understand this.

Again, there is no such thing as a job where you simply come up with some idea for an anime series and then someone else makes the show. Watch some documentaries on the animation industry; in particular, check out the special features on Voices of a Distant Star, and also Hayao Miyazaki's work routine. That guy works his fingers to the bone on every film he makes and is intimately familiar with the whole process. How long do you think it took him to get to that point? Do you have enough faith in your skills to put forth the dedication and grueling work necessary to become a creator?

If you don't, you may want to consider a career as a breakdancing pro gamer. I hear that market is expanding like crazy right now!

Hello. I am interested in knwoing what the process for obtaining forign distribution licenses is. Of course I understand that you will not be able to answer this email, as even if you did know, it would take far too long, but I would really appreceate any pointer to sources where I can study or ask about this.
I am a big anime fan, and I would like to find out how to license anime for online distribution for a project which I am currently thinking about, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
Even though my project is currently very undefined, as i have no idea on what needs to be done, but the general idea is that of distributing anime online. Ideally I want to release anime in 100% original format, with no idiotic cuts which are often performed by other releasers.
If you have pointers to, on top of licensing information, other relevant things, such as similar projects would be greatly appreciated.

I should rename this column "Hey, Answerman, help me break into the industry!".

So you want to start some kind of service where you distribute anime online without any "idiotic cuts that are often performed by other releasers".

Here are a few problems with your scheme:

1. Most other licensors don't edit their shows at all. The only series that are edited are the ones that air during primetime or in the afternoons, and generally those are given uncut, subtitled releases (with the exception of 4Kids shows, but even they tried releasing uncut versions of Yugioh and Shaman King and nobody bought 'em).

2. You don't have any clue how to contact Japanese licensors nor do you have any idea how to set up an online distribution method.

A brilliant plan!

Seriously though, while your concept is sound - certainly the industry needs to reconcile that digital distribution of anime is the next big thing and they need to come up with a system to provide content that way - you yourself are probably not going to be the guy who pulls it off, unless you have a staggering amount of capital you can dump into this project and are well-connected in both the American and Japanese industries enough to set something like this up.

What worries me more is that your plan is hatched out of some misguided notion that R1 anime releases are primarily edited, which is not at all the truth. It's a popular notion among internet anime fans that all R1 releases are edited or otherwise screwed up, but that's just a nonsense justification to steal everything. R1 DVDs are by and large very good releases; your scheme isn't going to be "fixing" any of the "problems" with R1 releases since most of those "problems" exist only in your head. The overwhelming majority of
anime product on the shelves are already "100 percent original format".

I teach kids how to draw anime and manga characters at a very diverse middle school.  One question my students often ask is how you can tell if an anime character is Japanese.  They understand that most anime/manga characters are Japanese, but I'm often asked things like: "Is Anthy black, Japanese, or Indian?"  or "If X is from America, then why is he drawn like a Japanese character?" 

Are there any general differences in the way gaikokujin characters are drawn?  I know that each artist varies.  For example, it seems like in Monster that Dr. Tenma's facial features don't look as "pinched in" as the European characters, but the "foreigner" Mio Hio in D.N.Angel, is (as far as I can tell) drawn just like the other characters.  That said, are there visual clues that the viewer/reader can usually pick up on or is he/she just supposed to rely on dialouge cues to tell if a character is Japanese or a gaikokujin? 

This is a good question.

The thing is, with anime and manga, while the general look of it can definitely be classified as having a unified design concept, within that "look" there are thousands
of wildly different styles. One manga artist might draw white people with rounder eyes or heavier features, while another might draw all of their characters the same. Since the styles vary so greatly (at least when it comes to race), it's almost impossible to say "Well, in anime, if a character is supposed to be French, they draw them this way". It's really never safe to assume that you can rely on the look of a character to determine their race or nationality.

Basically, yes, you do have to rely on dialogue cues. It'll come up if it's important; otherwise, if the nationality of the characters involved has no bearing on the story, then they won't mention it at all.

Lately, I've been seeing a reoccurring theme in DVD releases of both anime and other shows. Several seem to have rumors (some are actually fact, but I'm not certain for all of them) that if the first release sells well, then the rest of the series will be released. I was wondering if you knew how this worked. For example, a company is testing a series and they decide that they have to sell 100 copies to be successful. Do they have to sell those 100 copies in a day? A week? Two weeks? A month? If they sold 35 in week 1, 30 in week 2, 20 in week 3, 15 in week 4, and then only 10 in week 5, would that make the series more successful than 20 a week for five weeks? I assume the term 'successful' is varied between companies, but they all must have some minimum idea/process in mind.
I ask, because I see places and people saying to pick up the title as soon as it comes out, pre-order it even, but I was curious as to whether it really mattered if I got in NOW or in a few weeks.
Thanks for any help you can give.

Generally, first week sales will tell a company what to expect from the performance of a DVD, so if you want to have an impact, yeah, you should buy it in the first week it's out. "Successful" not only changes meaning from company to company, it changes from release to release. One DVD selling 1000 units in the first week might be a surprising success for one title but a colossal failure for another.

Normally, a company doesn't "test" a series; they plan on releasing the whole thing from the get-go. Generally sales have to be extremely abysmal for a company to outright cancel something.

Here's this week's rant, again courtesy of Lauren Chicoine, who just loves to send in rants. 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.

Quite honestly, a great way to get my ire up is for certain people to selfishly exploit and cause harm to an event held in good faith by volunteer groups for nonprofit purposes. I get even more upset when the event caters to something I'm personally involved with and/or am passionate about.

One of the most irritating anime-related experiences I've ever had occurred just the other weekend at Anime Boston, which I attended for the third time in as many years, albeit for the first time at the official convention hotel. Although the event has been enormously successful in just a short time and has an excellent reputation, I returned home somewhat concerned about its future because of the casual manner that some anime fans have decided to treat this unique convention.

Prior to my trip, a conversation took place about what makes Anime Boston different from a lot of the other cons down South and out West during which I proffered this very generalized explanation: there are no other really large conventions in the Northeast to compete with it. Insofar as the nature of attendees goes, then, most don't have easy access to other conventions of this scale and we are generally very grateful to have been given a chance to experience the whole big convention thing. Of course, this adds a decent amount of excitement and general happiness to Anime Boston that adds to its overall atmosphere of good will.

Unfortunately, Anime Boston 2006 slipped a little where this unique quality is concerned thanks to the bad behavior of the very people for whom this event exists: the fans. The morning after the first night of the convention, a letter was slipped under my hotel door. I was shocked to read that security had been called out overnight to handle a number of out-of-control rooms where parties were being thrown. The letter reminded otaku that we were guests and that there were other people staying at the hotel to be considered with regards to the noise level. Later, I heard complaints from other con-gers about the antics of certain rooms where people apparently were carrying on in extreme indecency in front of their room windows, spying on others with binoculars and writing on the glass with soap.

Are these immature individuals among the roughly 2,000 NEW Anime Boston attendees in 2006? If so, I'd rather the convention stop growing to keep these kinds of fans out. They clearly are not among those who have, in past years, made Anime Boston a great event and are actually seriously harming its reputation. I don't want to be associated with such immature individuals, and I have a feeling the convention organizers don't either.

While the folks in charge of the event cannot be responsible for the actions of attendees, it is the overall behavior of everyone at the convention that comes to define it. If you are attending an anime convention - anywhere - please grab a moment between Pocky boxes to reflect how fantastic it is to have such events available to us and refrain from doing anything that might damage their future. Please. It is no fun signing out at the reception desk and hearing, “Oh, you're one of those people here for the convention.”

Whew. So what do you think? Does Lauren 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!

To countdown to the 250th Answerman column, we have a brand-new contest for you!

It's simple: every week for the next 5 weeks, Hey, Answerman! will have an all-new banner at the top of the column. In the background of each new banner will be a famous (or not so famous) painting. The first person to email me with the name of the painting and who painted it wins!

So what do you need to do this week? Just scroll up and take a look at the banner, and tell me what the painting behind Alucard is, and who painted it.

Easy, right? So what's the prize, you might be asking?

This week's prize is:

It's Geneon's gorgeous Kamichu! box! Volume 1 plus a trinket plus an art box, and it can be yours FREE if you can guess the painting!

See you next week!

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