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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

My sincerest apologies for the unannounced hiatus last week; an email error made me suddenly lose 2 months worth of correspondence. If you mailed in a question between the first of August and the beginning of this month, resend it.

I've noticed anime fans seem to complain a lot about stuff on the internet, like nothing is ever good enough, or whatever. A lot of them seem like they don't really even like anime, they just like to complain about it. Is anime losing popularity or something? What's going on?

Eh, that isn't just anime fans. That's everyone on the internet.

By and large, discussion of media on the internet - ANY media, be it film or music or books or anything
- tends to skew negative. It's much, much easier to be down on something than it is to be positive, and generally if you're making negative comments about something, then you're going to get more attention from other people in the discussion. I'm not saying that the negativity you read online is manufactured wholly from the need for attention, but that is a big part of why so much "discussion" on the internet about anything you see, watch, read or hear is negative.

Anime isn't any different; anime fans are just like fans of anything else (although anime fans as a whole strike me as being more polite and less obnoxiously demanding as, say, hardcore Star Wars toy collectors), in that when you read their discussion on the internet, most of it comes across as pretty negative. Even if someone likes something, they're way more likely to list the things they didn't like about the film/show/manga than they are to talk about what they did like. It's just the way discourse goes on the internet. It also has a lot to do with anonymity - people can be extremely negative and harsh and mean about whatever they like and suffer no consequences.

What's funny about this - and, in a sense, somewhat uplifting - is that if you go to a convention and talk to the fans or go to a company panel and hear what the fans have to say, by and large they're upbeat and positive about anime. It's obvious they love it; they're mostly polite and courteous when they ask questions, and if you ask them about the anime they like, they won't give you a play-by-play of everything they hate about the things they like. So while Goku298 wrote 2 pages bashing Funimation's DVD policies and called the staff names, when he shows up as Joe Smith at an anime con and goes to the panel, all that harshness and negativity magically disappears and he behaves like a rational, reasonable human being.

Which is good, because if you base your opinion of anime fans (or, hell, anyone in any fandom, really) based on what they say on the internet, they come across as harsh, hateful people who live to complain about things. But that isn't really the case; most anime fans I've met are generally upbeat, supportive, friendly and positive folks. I think the internet - or at least the anonymity it affords - just tends to bring the worst out in people, and you really see that on message forums. It's just how the world works; you have to learn to take what people say in message forums with a grain of salt, and maintain the knowledge that they might not actually be that vitrolic in real life.

This is kind of a "corporate" question, but I can't seem to find an answer on my own.  My husband and I love Naruto and One Piece but have been disappointed at no new One Piece episodes and the delaying of new Naruto episodes on Cartoon Network.  What happened to One Piece, and why is Naruto so shifty (i.e. recap episode or something not Naruto)?  Does it really take so long to translate a new episode?  Thanks a bunch!

Well, new Naruto episodes are out now, and are scheduled to premiere through November at least, so you should be satiated for now. As for One Piece, well, the show's still on the air but for whatever reason they've basically stopped airing new episodes, ending with #178. I have no idea when they're going to start airing new episodes again, but they are going to go ahead and show the filler arc that happened between Alabasta and Skypiea, so get ready for some non-manga-related fun when they do start up again!

To answer your second question there, yes, it does take a long time to dub enough episodes so that Cartoon Network can air them in a reasonable succession. Generally, American broadcasts of anime series tend to stop at the season break, go on hiatus for a while so new episodes can be produced, and then return. It does take a long time to translate and dub all those episodes, and the show's performance needs to be properly evaluated before they commit to airing more episodes. Besides which, everything else you watch on TV takes long season breaks; do you complain when Lost has no new episodes for 6 months? Of course not, that's just how American TV works.

Hello, I was just wondering about the upcoming Bleach - Memories of Nobody movie . I know it's coming out in japan in December but do you know when it's coming to the states? thanks

Eh, you're jumping the gun a little here. That movie is coming out in Japan after, oh, 100 episodes or so have aired there.

I believe episode 7 airs on Adult Swim this weekend, to give you a concept of how far out that movie is.

To put it another way, we're up to 50-some episodes of Naruto having been broadcast in English, and the first movie hasn't even been announced for release in America yet. It's just a matter of time, though; I'm sure in due time all the Naruto movies and however many Bleach movies there'll be in the future will be released here.

Hey Answerman! Got a few quick question... The 2nd season of Negima made its debut last week but instead of continuing from the previous season, it's a complete retelling of the manga. My question is, does the 1st season's animation studio, XEBEC, feel somewhat insulted that they couldn't make a 2nd season because another studio, SHAFT, was selected to do a better job? I heard the anime was not well received by fans of the manga and that Ken Akamatsu himself wanted the episodes or the whole series redone.

To be frank, the Japanese aren't exactly open about stuff like that and I sincerely doubt Xebec said anything at all about the issue. It's clear that the new season of Negima?! is embarassing for Xebec, but that's only because the first season was really badly recieved by the fans and, as you said, even Akamatsu himself. I doubt Xebec feels "insulted"; they probably feel closer to "ashamed". There's no mystery why another team was selected to bring the show to life a second time (the fact that they're starting over completely is another sting), and everyone basically knows what happened. It's a public stain on Xebec's record.

That said, the remastered DVD version of the show is a lot better than the broadcast version (at least visually; I'm no fan of Akamatsu's work or Negima), but the new series is getting a much more positive response from the fans. So there's a silver lining there.

Oh c'mon.

My name is Melissa and I am a student conducting research for my Small Business class. To tell you a little about myself, I'm 19 years old and I am thinking of starting an Anime business in the future. I am looking for an association/ club to help me get some ideas for my future business.  I was surfing the Internet and I found this site. I was wondering if you can give me more information about your association/ club. Like what services and/or products do you provide for your members.
 - Statistics relating to the industry
 - News on new processes or inventions
 - Trade publications
 - Tradeshows ( Conventions)
 - Consulting assistance
 - Monitoring of new legislation
 - Lobbying
 - Employment Bureaus
If it's possible for you can you reply before Thursday because my paper is due Thursday. Sorry for the inconvenience.

1. I am not interested in doing your homework for you
2. It's pretty clear this is just a copy/pasted form letter that you're sending to random anime sites regardless of what their actual content is
3. Thanks for giving me a deadline to write an essay for you!

Here's this week's rant, courtesy of "Kayt". 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 have noticed an increasing amount of original stories, webcomics/webmanga, and just about anything and everything that anime and manga fans create for their own series in which the main character is Japanese, or runs off to Japan for no reason. So, why?
I personally have no problem when someone writes a fanfic, even with all-new characters, if the original series is Japanese (example: a second-generation story of the Sailor Soldiers, or a story where Ryou from Tokyo Mew Mew goes to America to create a new Mew team), but when you look at original stories, it seems the majority are set in Japan, where in reality they could've been set anywhere from India to Wisconsin without changing anything other than the character's nationalities.
What is it about Japan that makes it such a magnet? I have picked out a few things I think may be it.
#1: Names. Japanese names are Japanese, not English. Being American and therefore used to English names, as a fan writing a new story, I can see that Japanese names sound “pretty” and don't have any ties to people we know. (Victoria is a perfect name for your character, right? But wait! Your Aunt Victoria is horrid! Bad name! Bad name! Let's name your character Hana instead!) And using online name sites, you can find the meanings of names – according to one, Hana is flower. Just flower. If you so desperately want a flower name, call your girl Violet or Heather, or Rose. Or go for an unusual name, like Primrose or Daffodil. There, problem solved.
#2: School uniforms. When drawing a webcomic, the sailor schoolgirl uniform seems to be irresistible. It's a phenomenon I have not yet figured out. Maybe it's fun to draw because you don't have to worry about finding regular T-shirts and jeans for people to wear. But there is still a solution: go to Hawaii. I lived on O'ahu for two years, and I saw, on more than one occasion, a few girls obviously walking home from school, wearing a black-and-white sailor schoolgirl uniform. I can't tell you what school it was, but it did, apparently, exist. So you don't have to go to Japan for get your ultra-cute uniform. Problem #2 solved.
#3: Honorifics and Japanese words in general. There is nothing cuter than a bubbly, green-haired sailor schoolgirl uniform-wearing female squealing “You're so kawaii, Onee-chan/Onii-kun/Arisa-rin/Koneko-chi!” right?
For reasons unknown to half all anime fans, the other half find the greatest joy is inserting random Japanese words into their stories. Kawaii is a favorite, as is baka, hentai, and chibi. I have two theories. The first that I came to, after reading many stories, is that these words are the first ones that anyone learns by hanging around in forums or just reading the first fanfics you find, so they stay in your mind until they have actually brainwashed you so that you cannot help but use these words. The second and more likely theory is that the author of the story or comic wants to show off his or her knowledge of a foreign language. Well, that's great. Actually, it's not. Anyone could tell, from the context of your story, what is being said, but it's increasingly annoying to see a few words here-and-there in an otherwise full-English story. So keep your story in a language that you actually know.
And the honorifics? It seems their only purpose in original fiction is to add to the cuteness. So forgo the “Hana-chan” (or even “Daisy-chan”, as sometimes you have a story set in Japan with a Japanese girl with an English name) and give her a nickname, which is what you would usually do if you wanted to express endearment for your best friend. Problem #3 is no more.
#4: Samurai. It seems odd to me that one of the more interesting aspects of Japan – its history – seems to be virtually ignored, unless you count American-made magical girls running around and fighting evil with a samurai sword. When you can find a story set in Japan's past, more often than not it's either a girl who's either out to avenge her samurai [insert male relation here] who was killed by a foe, or a girl who is sick and tired of her life as a worthless female object and is disguising herself as a boy to learn to be a samurai. Worthless female object? So run on over to Europe and disguise your gender and go become a knight. There can't be any more historical inaccuracies in Europe that you could have caused in Japan. So, there you go. #4 is dead.
As I have pointed out, four of the most common original story problem can be easily changed so that you, as a writer, now have an engaging story, made even more unique because you have decided to show your sanity and stick with a culture you know. And besides, there is a severe lack of medieval magical girls. Or time-traveling teddy bears. Whatever floats your boat.

Whew. So what do you think? Does "Kayt" 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, sipping Mai Tais and watching the sunset atop a giant pile of anime DVDs we refuse to give away. See you next week!

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