• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Alright, we're back this week with every single segment in full effect, with the exception of Win Answerman's Stuff, which will be back on track after our newest contest (premiering Monday, so check the front page then) is over in roughly 2 weeks.

i was just wondering if you could tell me the anime(s?) featured in the opening to Malcolm In The Middle? It's a guy on a skateboard and some stuff. i was just curious and since you got the answers, let me have them!

Man, I remember getting this question a long time ago when the show first came on the air and everyone thought it was a huge deal that a generic clip from an anime was in a primetime TV series. It doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore, does it?

The clip in the opening credits of Malcolm in the Middle is from Nazca, a show of questionable quality that Geneon released many moons ago on DVD (and VHS, if I recall correctly). It was a pretty bizarre show, with lots of references to Incan culture. It ended after 12 episodes, which was pretty short for a show even in 2000 when this originally came out. There are actually 2 clips from Nazca in the Malcolm opening; one is a throwaway scene featuring some skateboard punks, and the other is the Shinogami character grinning. I'm not sure why they included either of them... probably to give the show "edge", since, you know, anime is "edgy".

I've been reading your column for awhile now, and I'm hoping you may have the answer to my question. See, the thing is, I've been reading Sgt. Frog for over the past 2 years now. It's great stuff, really. What with all the gundam model jokes(my fav) and all... But recently, Tokyo Pop has been really inconsistent with their releases. For example, it's gotten really rocky around vol. 10 and 11, as in it's taken about half a year to release each! The really frustrating part is, they haven't even been including release dates like they usually do! Are they going to start selling it on the internet (like with some other titles) or are they trying to milk its worth(that is, if the series is almost over, which I hope not) before the end? Thanks in advance.

This is a good question; it actually happens all the time now with long-running manga series like Sgt. Frog. The American release gets underway when there are plenty of volumes available for release (in Sgt. Frog's case, the English volume 1 was released 4.5 years after the Japanese edition came out, meaning 8 volumes were finished in Japan before the American release even started). So Tokyopop or Viz or whoever powers through however many volumes they have, releasing a new one ever 2 or 3 months. Within 2 years or so, the American release quickly catches up to the Japanese release, and the schedule suddenly slows way, way down; they don't want to release the scant few volumes they have left until another one becomes available. As it is, volume 13 was just released in Japan about 2 months ago; were Tokyopop to release another volume right this second, it could potentially be up to a year before you see volume 14. They have to stagger the release appropriately so American audiences aren't waiting so long to get new volumes. It's got nothing to do with "milking the property" (can we please stop with this lazy cynicism where every single company in the world releasing anything is always trying to "screw the fans"? Making money is not an evil pursuit, and not everything they do is designed to irritate the fanbase), it's a simple matter of the logistics of releasing an ongoing series.

This is a question that has been bugging me for a very long time.  Over two years ago, an anime titled "Kurau: Phantom Memory" aired, and ADV licensed it quickly.  Kurau's premise sounded interesting to me from the start, so I looked forward to its release here in the States.  Problem is, it hasn't happened yet.  I realize it takes time to dub and package a series, but two years without so much as a realease date seems a bit ridiculous.  Will Kurau be stuck in limbo like many of the titles in ADV's manga line, or do they plan on doing something with it eventually?  Also, what led it to this fate (and how long do licenses last for anyway)?
You know, I've been getting this question 2 or 3 times a week now; people really seem to want to know what's going on with this series. It's considered kind of a "lost jewel" from BONES, the people behind Fullmetal Alchemist, and it had a small but devoted following when it originally spread around the internet in fansub form, but then ADV licensed it a few years back and nothing has come of it since. People have begun asking about Kurau at ADV panels at conventions and the answer is, as always, "we can neither confirm nor deny". It's only been a few months since Otakon, but I decided to go ahead and give ADV a call and see if there was any progress on this title. Chris Oarr, ADV spokesman, had this to say:

"We can neither confirm nor deny anything about that particular series at this point in time."

So the answer to your question is that
the fate of the show is a total mystery and nobody really knows what's going on with it right now except the folks directly involved with it at ADV, and they ain't talking. So we won't know anything until they do talk. Which could be any time now. It's supposed to be pretty good, so I'm looking forward to seeing it myself; here's hoping there's a resolution to this whole thing sometime in the near future (read: before we all die).

This is kind of a silly question but let me ask you something: what is the most badass action scene you have ever seen in an anime? My favorite is when Asuka is destroying those prototype EVAs in End of Evangelion. I don't think anything will ever top that! So what's your favorite?

That's okay, I'm in the mood for a silly question.

The coolest action sequence I've ever seen is actually in a manga, not an anime; it happens in the seventh volume of Hellsing. Warning - massive, massive spoilers ahead! Do not read any further unless you want to be spoiled!

It happens about a third of the way through, during Victoria Ceres' fight with the Millenium Nazi, Zorin; Pip, the commander of the Wild Geese (and Ceres' love interest), is struggling to defend Ceres from Zorin's ruthless attack, and gets killed in the process. In her grief, she cries out in anguish and drinks Pip's blood, finally becoming a full vampire.

Then she becomes this magnificently grotesque half-beast thing and just tears the living crap out of everything, including an awesome sequence where she literally grinds Zorin's head down to a stump by smashing it into a wall and running down the hallway with it.

Awesome. Totally awesome. I imagine when this scene shows up in the Hellsing Ultimate OAV, it'll be one of the coolest fight scenes ever in an anime, too. The Hellsing manga has the best fight scenes I've ever seen, period. I can't wait until Dark Horse releases volume 8 here in America.

I'm sure this person meant well, but c'mon, man...

How come no one will make a box set of all the season of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?

1. A box set of every episode of every season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers would probably be like 2000 discs and cost thousands of dollars. Nobody would buy that. Well, okay, some people would, I guess, but I'm glad I don't know those people.

2. This is an anime Q&A column on an anime website called "Anime News Network". Power Rangers is not anime. I'm waiting for someone to ask me when they're going to release Hee Haw DVDs.

Here's this week's rant, courtesy of Herb Kirchoff. 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 see on the Internet that the "Bleachatards" were already whining and moaning about the English-language dub of Bleach even before its premiere on Adult Swim, based only on promotional clips they'd seen.  Some were already calling this effort the worst dub job in modern memory, even worse than the shabby, widely-condemned dub job done on One Piece.  Get off it, you fools!

From what I can tell, most of the whining isn't because of the quality of the dub, but rather because someone had the temerity to dub Bleach into English in the first place.  To the anime zealots, the Japanese version of an anime is holy gospel, not just a TV show, and you just don't tamper with Holy Writ.  They've completely lost sight of the fact that anime is commercial entertainment and not a religion.  People rip into the One Piece English dub all the time, and deservedly so for the attitudes that created it.  But if the dubbed version is the only One Piece you've ever seen, it works just fine as a stand-alone product.  Its shabby nature becomes apparent only when compared to the original.  But the Bleach dub IS NOT like the One Piece dub.  I'm sure the same sort of people ripping into Bleach now probably ripped into the Cowboy Bebop dub in past, even though that dub is generally considered to be a superior effort that's faithful to the original Japanese product, and in some ways an even better telling of Spike's story.

The zealots now whining about the Bleach dub have probably never done any acting and have scant understanding of language.  I've been active in community theater for years and can tell you that no two actors or directors will ever interpret a character exactly the same way.  Sure, the portrayals will be generally similar (villains in the script will stay villainous) but there will be a lot of subtle differences in tone, cadence and in the character side attributes that get emphasis.  As Johnny Bosch said in a recent interview about the Bleach English version, he's an actor, "not an imitator."  That means he's got his own work experience in "being other people" that will influence his Ichigo portrayal.  And then there's what his director will tell him about what to emphasize and what to play down, growing out of that director's own work experience in bringing scripts to life.  The test is whether the end product is a believable portrayal on its own merits.

And then there's the objections about the English script itself.  There are lots of idiomatic Japanese words and phrases that have NO ENGLISH EQUIVALENT!  We just plain don't have a word for it.  (Same is true when English gets translated into other languages.  English has idiom that simply has no counterpart in the other language.)  The translator of Japanese has to find words in English that approximate the Japanese concept.  When you get into that kind of "languaging," different translators will find different ways of "expressing the unexpressable."  In Bleach, the Shinigami = Soul Reaper v. Shinigami = Death God is an example of that.  English doesn't have an exact word for Shinigami.  So you have to go conceptual.  So what English expression better fits the concept of the Shinigami within the Bleach story?  That's the one to go with.  Hence Soul Reaper.  Another example: Naruto's dattebayo = Believe it!  Fact is that "dattebayo" is a Japanese idiom without a literal English equivalent, whose linguistic purpose is to add extra emphasis to the point the speaker just made.  Since there's no English word for dattebayo, the translators came up with an English expression that serves the same point-of-emphasis purpose as dattebayo, hence the phrase "Believe it!"

Now, entertainment products shouldn't be immune to criticism.  After all, their producers do ask that we spend our time and money on them.  And hack jobs deserve all the scorn they get.  But from all indications, the U.S. producers of Bleach took great pains to develop an excellent English script that stayed as closely as possible to the Japanese, consistent with the inherent differences between the languages.  They also hired top-level English voice actors, and even went so far as to coach the VAs on correct pronunciations of the Japanese used in the English script.  From interviews and news items I've seen about this dub, the entire production staff worked hard to ensure the Bleach characters' portrayal in English is a believable performance that's generally consistent with how the Japanese VAs portrayed them.  But it can't be identical.  Different actors in a different language mean a different portrayal, but NOT a bad one.  Nonetheless, the Bleachatards are ridiculing the dub.  This same type of fan heaped scorn on the Naruto dub, despite the painstaking Viz efforts to address anime fans' most common complaints about dubs.  Naruto's dub is a good job, to my mind.  And I believe the Bleach dub also will be a top-quality effort.

But some anime fans are idiots, treating anime as Holy Writ that must never be soiled by un-Japanese hands, no matter how carefully those hands may have been washed.  Unfortunately, the Internet has given these idiots a voice that's far bigger than their intellect.  Hopefully, the larger body of fandom will ignore the idiotic zealots and give this Bleach dub a fair hearing.  And that's my rant for today.

Whew. So what do you think? Does Herb 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!

There's no contest this week, but please check the front page on Monday for our exciting new Naruto: Director's Chair contest! See you next week!

discuss this in the forum (146 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

Answerman homepage / archives