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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

And we're back.

Some controversial questions this week. Don't forget to swing by and say hello next weekend at Otakon!

What's the deal with all this "lolicon" stuff? it creeps me out hardcore and some of these guys who talk about lolicon stuff are just way over the top, they don't seem to care that anyone normal would look at them and think they're pedophiles. so why is this stuff so popular right now with anime fans? will it ever go away?

Well, this is a doozy, isn't it?

In my sincere, honest opinion, there's really not a big difference between a so-called "lolicon"guys and straight-up pedophiles. In defense of the lolicon guys, yeah, there's no ACTUAL children being exploited but I find it hard to believe they're sincerely only attracted to drawings and would never lust after a real 8-year old. It's such a short step from getting off to a drawing of a child being raped versus a photo of a child being raped. Either way it completely sickens and disgusts me, but these guys prefer to split hairs.

What's worse in my opinion - and why I think anime fans should be a little worried about the recent upswing in lolicon fans - is the massive, extremely scary image problem that lolicon could potentially bring about. More and more I see in message forums people talking about how much they just love lolicon shows and lolicon pornography, and how they're out and proud about being "pedos" (a term they openly use themselves) and go on and on about how there isn't anything wrong with lusting after children. For instance, here's a description of the latest lolicon anime from the fansub group that's translating it:

This is about a bunch of fifth graders and their, well, not so fifth-grade-like lives. I mean, the sexual tensions are unbearable. Ryota is such a lucky stud. I wonder why my fifth grade wasn't like that. There's a character whose hair color was completely not what I had expected, but oh well. Anyway, there are five episodes in all, and if the producers follow the manga like they did quite nicely, it'll be a good show. Just don't watch this in public, though, or else you'll be looked at strangely. Even worse, the cops would probably give you a citation. I'm serious. This is borderline child smut. But oh, it is fabulous.

Now, to people like you and me, this description makes my skin crawl and I want to go take a shower. And I think that's a pretty rational and reasonable response to have. But the guys who are in to this are more than happy to shout it from the rooftops, and that's where I think the big problem is.

Let me put it this way: we just now are getting over the public perception that all anime is violent pornography. Remember that? When you'd tell someone you liked anime and they'd scoff or look at you funny because they thought all anime was a cross between Ninja Scroll and Urotsukidoji?

How would you like it if big media got a hold of this trend and decided to do a story on how anime fandom is a haven for pedophiles? Because I assure you it's probably only a matter of time before someone in the media catches a glimpse of some of these message board posts and decides to run a sensational story about pedophile anime fans. And then we all get tarred with that brush, and the next time you tell someone you're an anime fan, you get a much worse response than just a strange look. I make my living working with anime and the last thing I want is to tell someone what I do for a living and get a gasp followed by "Oh god, are you one of those pedophiles?". Just the thought of that happening scares the living crap out of me.

Personally, while I'd like to see lolicon stuff disappear completely - not banned, but simply not published, endorsed or purchased - that isn't likely to happen so for the time being I'd much rather it stay as far underground as possible. This recent trend of some fans - and I believe they are simply a very loud, very scary but very small minority - being so open about it on very public and visible forums sincerely worries me. It just isn't good for the art form, especially in America.

This is obviously a big topic and there's a lot more to say on it but I'd imagine I'm going to get a lot of mail about this one so I'll leave the rest for future discussion.

Hi, I love Card Captor Sakura. But, after the "Star Cards" DVD, they no longer made the dubbed version. I do enjoy dubbed versions, Geneon should finish what it started. I thought they did an excellent job & should've finished it. Just my thoughts, will they ever release a whole dubbed version of the Card Captor Sakura DVDs? Thank you for your time.

Wow. Here we have it, folks. The person who actually liked Cardcaptors.

Not Card Captor Sakura, mind you. Cardcaptors. The last American adaptation (before One Piece) that I think can legitimately be called a hack job.

The truth of the matter is that Card Captor Sakura was never really dubbed; the unedited DVDs Geneon release (back when they were still called Pioneer) were sub-only. The show you're referring to, Cardcaptors, was a hacked-up version of the original show that tried to place Li as the main character since, you know, girls apparently don't watch TV. It failed, naturally, because it was terrible, and they stopped producing the dub version. The sub version, however, was never a huge seller and sold to a fairly niche audience, so putting the money down to dub it would have been a waste. Nowadays the show isn't exactly a hot seller anymore and its popularity has faded a bit, so I doubt they'd go back and dub it properly.

So to answer your question, no.

Why is it that Japanese subbing is often so bad?  Now, I watch my fair share of fansubs which some people agree with, and others find to be distasteful, but it is not as if I do not support those shows which I enjoy so I do not feel guilty.  Now, when watching the fansubs the subbing is usually really good, expecially if the anime is a popular one.  Now, what I can't get is why those imported Japanese anime that I buy can't have the same quality of subbing.  I mean, my girlfriend got me the Fullmetal Alchemist movie for Valentine's Day (which was awesome btw) but I had trouble making sense of alot of things that were said because of the way it was poorly subbed ( had to keep pausing and deciphering meanings).  Now, I know with anime like that it will eventually be out in the States so I can go get it again once its here but there are certain shows that just never do.  For instance, I fell in love with Fist of the North Star after watching it on Action Channel and proceeded to search for a place I could buy the whole series.  I found it on ebay and got all 152 episodes on like an 18 or whatever disc set and it was not as good as the American release which only consisted of about 52 or so episodes and had better music, made sense, etc.  It's still one of my favorite shows, and I got used to the horrible subbing on it, but why is it that the Fansubs for anime have such a better quality of subbing?  I've even watched shows where important facts or Japanese words are highlighted and explained to increase one's understanding of the show.  Now, I've been watching Ergo Proxy and Black Lagoon as of late, and when the series completes I'd like to purchase the Japanese DVDs, but it will be disappointing if the subbing isn't up to par with that of the fansub.  Why don't they hire out Fansubbing groups to do their subbing for them if it is so hard, pay them, decrease the odds that groups keep, or even perform illegal subbing and distribution of the material so that all three parties can be happy- company, fansubber, consumer...  Or not, maybe that's a dumb idea.  But, my point is, fansubbers are nothing more than fans who translate their favorite shows and do it so quickly that they have each new episode up as  soon as a few days after it airs in Japan.  Now, if they can do it so quickly and with such quality, why is it that the same thing can't be done on Japanese DVD releases?  Because I do enjoy subbed over dubbed 90 percent of the time...
Ugh. I feel like I'm about to tell this kid that Soylent Green is people.

Dude, you're not buying Japanese DVDs. You're buying bootlegs, probably from Hong Kong.

These things are the bane of the anime industry and fans everywhere because they're cheap and they're all over Ebay and they're totally and completely illegal. Generally, some insidious bootleg manufacturer - again, probably stationed in Hong Kong - rips legit DVDs or TV shows straight off the tube, slaps some lazy subs on it in multiple languages and sells them in cheapo packaging on Ebay and to some less scrupulous retailers all over the world. They're awful, and you need to stop buying them right now, because not a dime of that goes to anyone who had anything to do with the show.

The reason fansubs are better quality is because they're generally translated by people who actually speak English.
Bootleg subs - while they are routinely hilarious - are generally slapped on there by someone who really doesn't speak English at all. Hell, they might not even speak Japanese. So it's generally a bunch of gibberish. A long time ago someone passed me some old One Piece bootlegs and the subtitles were absolutely atrocious. It saddens me to think about all the duped fans out there watching the adventures of Roof, Sunkist, Surop and Crook Boo (god, those subtitles were horrible).

Honestly, if you sincerely can't wait (or, more to the point, simply aren't going to wait) for R1 releases (although it sounds like you do your fair share of R1 purchases so good for you), stick to fansubs. Don't buy bootlegs. It really is the most harmful thing you can do as an anime fan. I mean, you knew the Fullmetal Alchemist movie would be coming out here; you seriously could have just waited a bit and bought the R1 and then you'd have perfect subtitles.

Hello! I just had a question about the Gundam Seed Destiny Anime Series. I see that only 3 DVD's have been translated into English, am I correct? Are they planning on bringing the entire series to North America, or just 4 DVD's? I'm confused because I've read that they only plan on bringing over a condensed version of the show, but I was hoping they would bring over all 13 DVD's of the original TV series. If you could clear this up for me, that would be great!

They'll eventually release the entire series here. They just haven't scheduled the rest of the DVDs yet. Just be patient, the show only started releasing a few months ago.

Here's this week's rant, courtesy of "Mr. X". 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.

I hear this time and time again throught the world wide web when it reguards about editing and dubbing of anime. I'm sure that this is also a very debatable subject since this is an opinion, but I am talking about swearing and editing in dubbed anime shows. A great example to these editing is of course the sliced and diced "re-amped" for children: One Piece. I do agree that they just killed the show. Not only does the dubbing sound like they didn't really care of the quality and sticked to what the anime director of the show wanted to do, they just edit to make it their own. Of course this does fire up the heated disscussion that 4Kids kills anime. I watched all the anime from 4Kids and it just irriates me that they take older teen shows and just edit it. There is plenty of shows that Japan has to show to children to tweens. Other than that, I want to really want to get to the actual discussion about other shows other than from 4Kids since they are easy to pick on and set the "low" of anime dubbing and editing according to many anime fans.

Naruto, the ninja show that took the craze of many Americans and set up the standard for Cartoon Network. But is the editing and dubbing suitable? And I also hear this over and over again: "Why isn't it for [Adult Swim]?" For one, many theories or facts could state that Toonami needed ratings and Naruto is the show that is highly recconized in the anime world. Of course there is many reasons that Naruto is on Toonami instead of [Adult Swim], but of course you got to admit that the reason to appeal to teens and tweens is of course a great reason for ratings. Or could it be that Toonami just want to break out of that TV-Y7-FV habit and take a risk to high ratings up to TV-PG-V? Don't forget that other reasons is that [Adult Swim] demographic they have to appeal is 18+ and as many people who follow [Adult Swim]'s ratings is that they're doing better and better in the action shows. But does Naruto really fit to their line-up? Many will say "yes" because they allow swearing, prevertness, and blood.

However, does swearing, sexual content, and blood really have to be there to appeal to the core audience? Many people will state that swearing builds character. So for a character to be intresting, they have to swear? In my opinion, it seems to be the mentaility of many people. Since now society seems to be alright to show younger children PG-13 movies and means a lack of PG and R movies. I have to disagree on unediting will make the show intresting, even though it's great in some occasions. Therefore to many people think for making an editing of a show is already horrible, you people just like the content over the story. Primarly, isn't the story the main focus rather than content?

Be grateful that Naruto and other shows that are now showing isn't stuck in the TV-Y7-FV rating. Way before Naruto hit Toonami's airwaves, everyone had this on their minds: Will it be a TV-Y7-FV rating? And a great relief has been passed when it wasn't. And now people are complaining that it should go higher and just unedit the whole thing. Just be grateful that it wasn't horrible dubbed or heavily edit as One Piece! This also goes for [Adult Swim] since they been showing some TV-MA content which when the programming block started which they only said that it'll be only up to TV-14. This does got for other shows in other TV stations. If you really want unedited content so badly, get the damn DVDs and stop picking on the edits because they aren't aimed for what you think.

Content or story, has it come down to this?

Whew. So what do you think? Does Mr. X 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!

So, last week I promised a return of the caption contest. So here it is.

But the structure has changed a little bit - what's the prize, you might ask?


It sounds fabulous, I know, but I've been getting mail that people want the caption contest back regardless of what the prize is. So, for the time being, we'll do it just for the sport of it. Sound good?

So here's this week's caption:

The winning caption will be spotlighted next week and will go down in history as someone who said something funny once. Remember the basic rules: no profanity, no obscene jokes, and no jokes that require that you've seen the series to get it. It's that simple!

Send your captions to [email protected]! Go ahead, make me laugh.

See you next week!

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