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Hey, Answerman: The 250th Column!

by Zac Bertschy,

Well, it's come down to this: the 250th Answerman column. I started this beast on January 14th, 2001, and since then, the anime industry, anime fans, the entire world and – dare I say it – myself, has changed. Since that first column, the anime industry exploded and receded, fansubs became more and more prolific, anime con attendance shot through the roof, Funimation became the biggest player in the industry, we started a major war in Iraq, I took – and then left – a job at Wizard's Anime Insider magazine, lived on both coasts and got engaged to the most beautiful and brilliant woman on the planet.

After getting the first 100 or so columns under my belt, I handed it off to Rebecca Bundy (who turned her experience writing the column into a successful freelance career and is now in the gainful employ of Beckett Publications), otherwise known as 'Ms. Answerman', who did a great job knocking out another hundred or so columns on her own. Through those years when I wasn't writing it, I always kinda missed it; here was a forum where I could speak my mind and publish the big issues of the day, and let the fans have their voice as well. There's no other professional publication in the world where I'd have that kind of freedom, and it's a big part of what brought me back to the column in 2005. Of course, I have my editor-in-chief, the tireless Chris Macdonald, to thank for both the opportunity and doing such a spectacular job making Anime News Network what it is. I'd also like to extend a personal thanks to anyone who's ever read and enjoyed Answerman (or didn't enjoy and then sent me an angry email). It's been a long 5 years and none of this would be possible without you readers.

But enough platitudes, right? We're gonna do something a little different today; I'm going to post the most hilariously wrong answers from old columns and provide a "director's commentary" of sorts. My original answers are in italics. Sound good? Then get ready for…

From the column "Witch Hunter Answerman" back in August 2002:

I have a friend who lives in Canada and maily only sees some of the stuff on TV. She's a big fan of Gundam Wing(A series I desperately depise. But it's the only gundam series shown up there...) Anyway, she says she'd like to be a "bigger" aniem fan, yet she finds almost any amount of female fan-service(from panty shots to nudity, you name it) disgusting and doesn't care to watch a show if it features that. My problem is that almost every series features female fan service. I know of a few titles that don't but still. Most series that would appeal to a girl do feature fan-service. Is there anyway of helping her overcome this or is it a hopeless case? And one more thing, what do you think of people who ditch Evangelion without seeing the entire series?

Well, if she's turned off by female fan service, show her the multitude of series that don't have any. Revolutionary Girl Utena doesn't have any fan service, except bare-chested bishounen, and if she's working from a double-standard, then she'll be fine with that. Also try Escaflowne, both the TV series and the movie. There's very little fan service in either one since Hitomi is not sexualized as a character. There are a few Meruru panty shots, but they're hardly noticeable. Also, try Fushigi Yuugi, which has almost no fan service to speak of. As for your last question, people who don't finish Evangelion probably didn't like it very much. 26 episodes and a movie is a lot to get through if you can't stand the series.

...the hell was I thinking with this answer? Fushigi Yuugi is basically a show comprised entirely of fan service for girls. It's a self-insertion fanfiction type story where every single last hunky, half-dressed male in ancient China falls madly in love with the selfish, shrill Miaka. Even the frigging transsexual falls for that idiot. For Christ's sake, Revolutionary Girl Utena has entire episodes dedicated to just showing Touga and Akio with their shirts off.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this.

From the January 15th, 2002 column:

Does English version of Spriggan exist????
'cause I can only find it only in either Japanese or Chinese version And also, is there a DVD too??
FYI, I reside in Malaysia.


Yes it does. ADV films owns the rights to Spriggan, and they have plans for a theatrical release within the next year. There will be an English DVD version once the theatrical release has passed.

Technically the answer here isn't incorrect but ADV never really did a theatrical run for Spriggan so I probably shouldn't have said "yeah, they're gonna do this". What amuses me most about this is how Spriggan was designed to be one of those enduring Ninja Scroll-Akira-Vampire Hunter D American anime mainstays but the story and the characters and generally the entire movie was so overwhelmingly stupid that that never happened and now people mostly remember it for that really ridiculous sequence at the end where the hero has to outrun dinosaurs. I think they should have sold that movie based on the dinosaur scene alone, and used it in all the promotional material.

November 24th, 2001:

Dear All-powerful and Almighty Answerman:

Please do not think I am stupid. I am just really sick of all this zeon and fed crap that CN has been spewing out at fans. Even the orginals weren't much better. So please, PLEASE, tell me if there is any follow-ups to Endless Waltz, and whether or not Cartoon Network will try airing a good anime series any time soon.

Thanks, servant of the holy Answerman

There's no more Gundam Wing. If you haven't caught it yet, try Cowboy Bebop; Cartoon Network is currently running that series during Adult Swim. Supposedly they'll be airing Pilot Candidate as well, eventually; I found it to be somewhat pedestrian but entertaining nonetheless.

That answer is a total lie. I hated Pilot Candidate. The show didn't go anywhere and the characters looked ridiculous wearing shorts with garter belts. Why did I lie to this poor kid? The world may never know.

The intro to the Nov. 20th, 2001 column:

Taking a brief break from Konami's fantastic Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (a game everyone who owns a Playstation 2 should play, and if you don't own a PS2, go buy one just to experience this game) to bring you 10 questions.

I'm gonna go ahead and assume I wrote this before I finished the game since the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty proved it to be one of the dumbest games I'd ever played and it's pretty clear Hideo Kojima was just screwing with people to see what he could get away with. Raiden, my ass.

Also from that column:

I've recently started enjoying Hana Yori Dango, and I've been trying to find a good place to buy the tankoubons. The translations are nice and all, but it's just not the same without the artwork. Do you have any ideas of a good place to buy them? I'd prefer an English web site, but I'm starting to feel that antsy feeling settle in. I appreciate the help.


I bought my set of Hana Yori Dango from Kinokuniya books; I know they sell them there. You can find a complete set at almost any anime convention. As for websites, Planet Anime at www.planetanime.com has the entire manga set on hand for a mere 6.99 per volume, plus shipping. They tend to be pretty fast, so give them a try.

What? That's a lie! I've never owned a set of Japanese Hana Yori Dango volumes. Why did I lie so much in the early days? I can only read enough Japanese to get through a children's book or something like CardCaptor Sakura anyway. Also, Planet Anime was actually really slow and now they're out of business.

I wasn't going to do Flake of the Week this week but then this letter showed up and wow. This is a real e-mail from a real person.

I am trying to e-mail TV Tokyo to make an episode of Naruto I thought of seeing. But I don't know their e-mail address. What is TV Tokyo's e-mail address?

Okay, so this is pretty much how this works out in your head:

hello is this japan
konnichiwa otaku-san
yes i have an idea for a naruto episode where naruto comes to my house and rides bikes and then mom orders pizza
awesomu idea, otaku-san! we makeu this episode for you pronto!
great thanks!

Let me tell you something: your plan is totally going to work.

Well, we've had a lot of fun today, kids, but it's time to say goodbye. Next week we'll be back
to our regularly scheduled Answerman, with an all-new Rant, an all new contest and the results from last week's Win Answerman's Stuff!

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