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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Every time they release a new Final Fantasy game I tell myself "Oh, you're not really interested in that! I mean, you've played all of them, but surely you're ready to move on!" and then the new one comes out and I buy it like a sucker and get completely addicted to it. The new one, Final Fantasy XII, is no different.

Let's get this over with so I can get back to my game.

Why do many anime series change their opening and closing sequences with every new "season," instead of keeping the same one throughout the series' run? Thanks for reading!

It's pretty simple; in most cases, the whole reason they even have OP and ED themes is to promote a band or a single or an album, especially when the show is a long-running series based on a popular manga, like Fullmetal Alchemist or Naruto. It's a great position for a band to be in, since having your song as the opening theme for a hit anime is great exposure and is likely to turn your song into a hit single. Naturally, they want to promote as many bands as possible, so if you have a show that's split up into seasons, it's easy to simply use the season break as a chance to drop a different song in there. You also have to consider that most of the animation being produced these days is produced by big corporations that also own music labels; for instance, if you're watching a show produced by Sony, the show's opening and ending themes will be performed by artists on the Sony label. Hooray for corporate synergy, right?

I actually like it when they change up opening themes; it's an interesting way to keep the show fresh, and it's a great way to be exposed to new bands.

i've noticed a lot of people seem to think american anime companies are "evil" and they call like adv and funimation the "evil empire" or whatever. my question is what did they do that's so evil?

You know, I see that a lot too on internet forums, and it really grinds my gears when people say that.

I attribute it to what I like to call "lazy cynicism". It's easy to be really negative and assume the worst of everything, because doing so allows you to act aloof, wise and superior even when you have no idea what you're talking about or are coming to entirely false conclusions. It's really popular to subscribe to lazy cynicism on the internet, and most of the hyper-negativity you read about every subject under the sun is a result of it.

People call ADV and Funimation and Bandai and whoever else the "evil empire" because it's popular to just assume that all corporations are giant bloated horrible places staffed with menacing greedy jerks who want nothing more than to empty your wallet and then laugh as you writhe in pain from whatever product they scammed you into buying. It's really easy to assume that, and the people who do generally act like they're insightful or wise for saying so. Really it's a big load of crapola.

That might be true for giant mega-corporations that manipulate the government, like, you know, Exxon-Mobil, but it isn't true at all of anime companies. Most anime companies are relatively small-to-medium sized companies staffed with people who do actually care. I mean, they're selling Japanese cartoons - exactly how "evil" can they really be?

Funimation is backed now by a pretty big company, Navarre. But that hasn't changed their output (in fact, the extra cash infusion has really shown in their recent releases; take a look at that Trinity Blood box if you don't believe me), and it hasn't changed the fact that they send important staff members to conventions to communicate with the fans and find out what they want. ADV does the same thing; hell, their co-founder, Matt Greenfield, shows up to conventions all the time and interacts with the fans. These people do actually care. At least, they're really good at appearing as though they care; frankly, suspecting that they're all just putting on a big show to get your money and they secretly go home and hate anime and anime fans is... well, lazy cynicism.

Of all of the anime companies out there, the only one I think people can justifiably complain about being completely wrong-headed (if not 'evil', which is almost always ridiculous hyperbole
unless you're talking about companies like Enron or, say, Diebold) would be 4Kids, for the obvious reasons. But for the most part? There isn't nearly enough money in anime to justifiably assume corruption and start calling companies like Geneon or Funimation "evil". And that's the long and short of it.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying we should all act like the anime companies are these benevolent entities that only ever act in the interest of the fans - certainly that isn't true (nor is it realistic to expect), but I think the healthiest "relationship" you can reasonably have with a company like ADV is simply to remain neutral. Sure, complain if you don't like whatever DVD they just released, and let them know you have a problem with it. But ranting and raving about the "evil empire" is just annoying hyperbole. It isn't like they're grinding up kittens to make Pani Poni Dash DVDs.

At least, I don't think so. If they are, then you can call them evil, I suppose.

So they just ended Inuyasha are they going to continue it? Like in another show?
No, probably not.

The show's been over for a long, long time now in Japan and the heat is evaporating in the US. Cartoon Network just burned through the final episodes, so it's safe to assume that's probably it. Once the manga finishes up, they might do another movie or an OVA or something, but I think the odds of another full-length TV series are pretty slim.

Speaking of which, it's interesting to see the reaction to the "ending" of the Inuyasha TV series. I stand by my statement that it's one of the most unsatisfying and irritating endings to a long-running action show I've ever seen, next to Rurouni Kenshin, which didn't even really have a proper ending. I never really was a fan of Inuyasha in the first place, but to drag people through 160+ episodes of the show and then flat-out not finish it is like giving the finger to a whole legion of loyal fans.

I've been a fan of anime, manga and other eastern (ne Japanese) cultural exports for nigh 18 years. My first anime experience was the Frankensteinian mish-mash known as "Robotech" which I watched as a child on AFN (Armed Forces Television Network) and soon after "Warriors of the Wind" (AKA Nausicaa) which, I might add, changed my life and for the better.
I have a lifetime's worth of experience (and accompanying context) to add to my appreciation of these things.

My question is this: Why does anime get away with wholesale racism and other downright disgusting portrayals of westerners?
Or more specifically: is anyone else addressing this in a constructive forum that will allow for better mutual understanding?

My example is this: An episode of GiTS: SAC <Second Gig>  in which American soldiers are portrayed as a bunch of racist, inept buffoons fumbling through a joint operation (with the Brits and the JSDF) at the conclusion of which, not surprisingly, only the JSDF members survive.
(I myself am an American and a soldier and have had the privilege of working with both the Brits and the JSDF in Iraq. I found them to be amiable company but just as rough and foul-mouthed as the rest of us (especially the Brits :) )
I suppose my point is, if this were any other forum, any other race, there would be outrage but unfortunately those parodied are white and American, something which is, I suppose, a bit of sin to be these days.

Now this an interesting, but obviously touchy question. I don't own a pair of kid gloves, though, so you'll have to bear with me.

Anime "gets away" with it because it's produced in a country that isn't as... let's say "progressive" as our own when it comes to portrayals of foreigners. Simply put, there's a lot of xenophobia and ignorance about foreign cultures in Japan. Due to their near homogeneous societal make-up, they've never had a civil rights movement. They aren't taught about racism in school, and can go through all of elementary and high-school without ever having a person of another race in their class. Imagine going through school without ever having to be conscientious about what you say about "different" people because there are no "different" people. You'd end up being completely ignorant about what may, or may not be offensive to those "different" people."

In short, you're watching entertainment from a country that in no way resembles ours when it comes to accepting other cultures, nor do they feel the same pressure we do to present other cultures in a positive light.
Hell, some Japanese kids' shows still use the horrible old "Sambo" style when they present black characters. When it comes to issues like this, the country simply isn't as progressive as America or Canada. It's just the way their culture is. Do a little reading on Japanese history and you'll see shades of this throughout the whole thing.

It's unfortunate, but that's just the way it is. It isn't really "racism" so much as it is "racial ignorance".

I need any info on the anime movie Akira for an essay I'm writing!
Immediate response would be appreciated!?

Here is everything I know about Akira in one handy image:

Here's this week's rant, courtesy of "Kurisu K ", and it's a response to last week's rant . 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.

To follow up on the last week's rant on fan and official translations, I have few rebuttals of my own.

First, translating anime or manga is not the same as translating a novel. Talking or writing “reverse blade sword” every time “sakabatou” is mentioned gets unwieldy at its best.

Biggest example of this is Negima. Translator chose not to translate the names of sword moves in the series because it just sounds corny and wordy to say “blade of hundred cherry blossoms.”

Translator instead chose to explain the names in the back of the book or in the footnotes which I agree is the sensible thing to do. I don't believe that “fully translating the terminology 9 times out of ten” is the best way to go. That is just something AC, as the audience, like to see. Should you translate Shinigami as death god? There is no equivalent of Shinigami in western sense and just referring to it as death god loses a lot of connotations and gains new (false western) ones in the translation process.

Second, like AC pointed out some things are not translatable. Here is where the translator has to make a decision.

1) You transliterate everything.

2) You translate everything into western equivalents as much as possible (e.g. Kitsune in Love Hina talks like a Texan).

3) You retain Japanese terminology and explain it in footnotes and liner notes.

None of these approaches are wrong per se. Main stream releases tend to take a road between #1 and #2 because most people cannot be bothered to read extra notes and it needs to accessible to wide audience.

Fansubs tend to take approach #3 because fans are more willing to read notes and tend to be more familiar with nuances of basic honorifics and cultural terms.

I argue that just because fansubs retain some Japanese words do not mean that they are lazy or unprofessional. They are just catering to a different audience. In fact, liner notes in some fansubs tend to be so thorough that it deepens the understanding and appreciation of the story which you CANNOT get from a mainstream translation.

Finally, this is a foreign language and culture. Translation is NOT an exact science. Everyone has their likes and dislikes based on their viewing/reading habits and their level of understanding of Japanese language and culture. I understand more about Japanese language and culture than most anime/manga fan so I prefer fansubs which retain the honorifics and certain untranslatable terminology in its translation. In conclusion, AC and Kayt need to get down from their pedestal and just look for the stuff they enjoy and not bother rest of fans who like to use “chan” to call everybody. That's how you start to learn a different language/culture and there is nothing wrong with that. Not everything has to be fully Americanized or westernized just because it's now in United States of America.

Whew. So what do you think? Do they 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 next installment!

We're still on hiatus, sipping Margaritas and watching the sunrise atop a giant pile of anime DVDs we refuse to give away. See you next week!

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