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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Just when you thought Win Answerman's Stuff would never return...

It gets replaced entirely with a whole new contest! Now, let's get busy, but be warned: there were a lot of really bizarre letters this week.

I was wondering at about what time did you notice anime really start to take off in popularity and also should anime and manga fans be afraid of the recently popularity a press coverage since many animes contain sexually exploitated young girls and even boys?

Anime has had a couple of bursts in popularity over the last decade or so; its popularity peaked in the late 90s and early 2000s with the rise of Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Those three franchises brought a wealth of new blood (and cash) into the fandom, so the ranks swelled, as did the number of shows licensed for American release. If you're looking at the big picture - without factoring in any one show - 2001 was likely the biggest year for anime in the states. The Pokemon craze was peaking (if tapering off a bit), anime was showing up left and right on TV, and DVD sales were exploding.

Since then, though, things have leveled off; while con attendance continues to grow every year, the various R1 companies are no longer
licensing everything under the sun, there's a lot less press coverage (contrary to the statement in your question, actually) and since Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and DBZ have slowly faded from the immense popularity they once enjoyed, we haven't really had a monster hit like those since. Sure, some people might point to shows like Naruto as the successor to the legacy those franchises left behind, but it really isn't anywhere near as popular as those shows were in their heyday.

As for the whole "sexually exploited young girls" thing, we've been over this before in our numerous (and particularly heated) lolicon debates. I personally believe that if for whatever reason someone in the mainstream press decides to do any kind of investigative piece on anime fandom, the odds that they're going to focus entirely on the lolicon thing and paint us all with the pedo brush are extremely high. Just wait until Dateline NBC decides to run "To Catch An Otaku".

While that isn't necessarily going to happen - anime hasn't been popular enough recently to catch the attention of the mainstream press - I don't think it's entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Dear Answerman, i run my own weblog about anime, where I review stuff every week, and talk about the shows I like. i don't have a lot of readers yet but i did notice that some of the comments on my reviews say i'm 'biased' against Code Geass, a show I'm watching but don't really like very much. all I said was i didn't really like it, does that make me biased? do people accuse you of being biased when you say you don't like something? how can a reviewer avoid being called that? it seems unfair to me.

Yeah, people accuse me of being "biased" all the time. It's the latest buzzword people use when they disagree with something you've said; I kinda blame the media culture surrounding major cable nets like Fox News and the entire concept of the "blogosphere" (lordy do I hate that word), where you can toss out accusations like "bias" without having anything to back it up beyond a difference of opinion, and people will actually take it seriously.

The problem is this: it's really simple to accuse someone you disagree with of being "biased", because what that does is render their opinion worthless. " See, they're pre-determined to like or not like something, so it didn't matter what the show was actually like, they already had their mind made up about it." It's a really, really easy accusation to make and almost impossible to prove in most situations, so people throw the "bias" word around a lot, especially at accessible online publications.

That's not to say that every claim of bias is wrong, it's just that in order to prove it, you really do need a wide variety of proven samples; you can't just say "Well, I liked Saint Seiya, and this review gave it a C, you're biased!!". You have to be able to actually back that up with something, like a history of the critic talking smack about Saint Seiya. Most people don't bother doing that; instead, they just throw out the B-word. Yeah, it gets old. But you're going to have to get used to it.

Ultimately I think it boils down to a pretty simple observation: people don't like being told they're wrong, in any scenario. So if you publish a review on your blog that doesn't fall in lock-step with their opinion, they feel like you're telling them they're wrong; either they're insecure in their own opinions or simply cannot stand to see someone disagree with them. In either case, it's much more likely that they're going to accuse you of having some kind of crippling systemic problem - like being biased - rather than admitting that your opinion is valid but they disagree with it.

I try to ignore it. Everyone on the planet is biased in one way or another (anyone claiming to be totally and utterly objective and fair about everything is completely full of crap), and I certainly have my biases - for instance, a year or two ago I realized I simply don't like harem shows, so I don't review them at all anymore, instead handing them off to someone else on our reviews team who's more likely to give them a fair shake. The truth is, more often than not the writers constantly under assault from angry fans screaming "bias" are at least somewhat in tune with the responsibility they have
to be fair, objective, and up front about their opinion of something, rather than secretly hiding a serious bias and reviewing things they don't like. But people will believe what they want, and they'll always go out of their way to throw mud in your face, so just keep your chin up and try to ignore it. So long as you're being fair and honest about your opinion, you don't have anything to worry about.

Remember, for every one guy saying "bias", there are likely 2 more offering constructive disagreements with your opinion; respond to those guys. They deserve your attention.

Hey answerman! I was just wondering.  Recently on ANN, multiple ads for '"Avatar: The Last Airbender'' have appeared and I'm just thinking to myself ''Wait....Avatar isnt a anime...its from america...''  So I quess my question is: Would such american shows like Avatar or Teen Titans be concidered anime, because of the art style?  Or would every cartoon be concidered a ''anime'' simply because it's animated?

For the record, we run ads for all sorts of things, not just anime. So it isn't all that strange that Avatar would be advertised here.

We've been over this before, but I'll clarify since I keep getting letters asking me whether or not Avatar is anime: the answer is no. It is an anime-style American cartoon, just like Teen Titans.

I'm really not sure what to make of this one.

Hello everyone, it is I, King Jihl.  I demand you all gather around and listen to me!  Actually I am Mark Silverman the English voice of King Jihl.  I always enjoy your site.  I loved doing the dub of "Nausicaa."  I loved being the voice of The King in "Howl's Moving Castle" as well.  I was curious about something.  Since Disney has sort of finished doing the Miyazaki dubs, I was wondering if you knew of any other companies in Los Angeles that do any Anime dubbing.  I love doing that kind of thing.  I have loved Anime ever since I saw my first episode of Yusha Raideen back in 1976!

Okay, man, I'm happy to help you out. According to IMDB, you also played some bit parts in Pirates of Dark Water, and your dad was a producer on that 1980's fantasy epic, Krull! I had the Krull game for the Atari 2600. How could I say no to that?

There are a few dub studios in and around Los Angeles; the most notable being New Generation Pictures, which handled the dub on shows like Hellsing and Kamichu, and Bang Zoom Productions,
who are responsible for the English track on such series as X TV and Gungrave. Elastic Media, who did the dubs for Bandai Visual's 2006 Patlabor releases, is in Tustin, which is about an hour or so south of LA. There's also Animaze, who did Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex... and probably a few others I'm forgetting. But hey, that should be enough to get you started!

Good luck!

Kids say the darndest things!

me and my friends are planning to burn viz headquarters to thr ground for the edits they made to naturo and fullmetal alchemest. then the world will know what real animes are

I'd really like to respond to this, but I'm laughing so hard I can't see through the tears.

Not even this baby panda can stop the laughing.

This week's bizarre rant is courtesy of Joseph McKee, and I just couldn't help but publish it. 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'm a 20+ year old man that owns each and every DVD of Sister Princess Season One.  There I said it.  There's no going back now.  Doesn't it make your blood boil to know I even exist?  Doesn't it make your hands twitch to know that somewhere out there is an actual neck you could wring that belongs to a scum sucker like me?  Doesn't the vomit, even now rising in your throat, make it hard to breath?  Well get used to it, 'cause I'm here to stay.

I don't know what everybody's problem is.  It's a great series.  And yet even people that typically like garbage like DBZ and Naruto cast this aside as unwatchable.  It boggles my mind, to tell you the truth.  A number of shows are better in obscurity. It makes them esoteric and mysterious.  Like Haibane Remnei.   Now I'm not comparing siPri to the haRem, even though they both have a logo with wings, and they both have sick, sick people writing the screenplays, but as the stories evolve you glean something from them.  Something you don't get from other Anime.  If I had to put the magnitude of the siPri phenomenon into words I would dare say the show is one of the greatest Masterpieces ever to be drawn by the hand of man.  By golly.

For those of you what haven't heard of the show I'll take a few words to explain here.  Big Brother Wataru [a textbook loser] flunks out of high school and is shanghaied to a island where he learns he has twelve attention starved, super cute sisters and twenty-four episodes filled with fawning 'wacky' adventures just waiting to teach him the true meaning of life, love, and saccharine.  Why that plot alone didn't win an award is still a mystery to me, but it gets worse.  People hate it.  People like you, mostly likely; but even so, they're still people.

Where does it go wrong?  For one thing it looks fantastic.  For another thing there's virtually no fan-service.  Yeah, I didn't think it was possible either. But most of all, especially with disk four (Sisters and Sunshine), it is the epitome of a feel good show.  Seriously, the inventor chick (Rin Rin) makes a Yellow Submarine and the Japanese chick (Haruka) makes her special brand of tea for her brother.  Judging by the position of the sun it was at approximately at four twenty in the afternoon.  Four twenty man!  How cool is that?  It TKA, that's how cool!  (Totally Kicks Asp for you NNPs out there.)  (Non-Nintendo Players for you Noobs out there.)  (I actually don't know what Noob stands for.)  No I'm not sayin that it didn't have a legitimate problem or two.   For one thing, even though the girls are of ages four (?) to sixteen (?), there could have been more nudity.  I wouldn't have appreciated it, personally; but a lot of people don't go for this pure and wholesome crap.  And while we're on the topic, one would think people might have a problem with a show where all the characters are underage.  Could they have thrown in a short skirt wearing nurse, like Yayoi in Happy Lesson, or a Government Assassin, like X in Samurai X, or even a couple of goat hoarders?  I'll reference, again, Naruto.   Maybe people just can't comprehend the magnitude and greatness of a show that dares to have an entire episode dedicated to finding a teddy bear for a four (?) year old girl.  But it probably has more to do with the nudity thing.

A case could be made that the show is really a knockoff of a dating game made for people that have never so much as looked straight at a real girl or other insanely lonely people; but, assuming this was true, I would have to be the exception to that rule.  I'm not alone in my van, down by the river.  I have company all the time!  The county commissioner drops by now and then, makin' sure I haven't been altering the virtue of the city's drinking water, and the police show up every time somebody goes missing.  Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a miniature hotel!  That can only mean one thing.  And I don't know what that thing is, so you're going to have to bear with me.

In conclusion, go watch the series, and read this: Rin Rin's Concoction. It'll show you how to enjoy siPri.  And it's my take one the whole thing. Maybe you'll understand, maybe you won't.  It's no skin off my Russian Cat.

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 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.
5. If you send me something that's already been published on your blog or on another site, I'm just going to delete it. Likewise, requests that I link to your blog or another site if I print your rant will also result in your email being sent straight to the trash.

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!

I sat down to write the column last week and decided I was pretty sick and tired of staring at Howl. So I cracked open Photoshop to craft a new banner for Hey, Answerman!, but the inspiration just didn't come!

What's the obvious solution? Ask my readers to do it for me!

Here's the deal. You take this banner:

And, using those same dimensions, make something crazy or creative or funny and submit it. Each week I'll pick a new one and post it. You don't have to use any specific anime character (in fact, you don't HAVE to use an anime character at all); go wild! Animated banners are A-OK, too.

A few rules:

1. Don't use real people in the banner, no matter how famous they may be.
2. No profanity.
3. The banner must have the Hey, Answerman! logo in it featured prominently, although you may change the font to whatever you like.
4. Submissions must use the same dimensions as the current banner, in terms of pixel width and height.
A little bigger or smaller is OK, but don't go overboard.

Every week a new banner will be chosen and posted at the top of the column, along with a credit so the creator can bask in his or her amazing fame and glory. What's the prize for winning, you may ask? Well, every week a new banner will be chosen and posted at the top of the column, along with a credit so the creator can bask in his or her amazing fame and glory!

Email your submissions to answerman (at) animenewsnetwork.com. Good luck! Have fun!

See you all next week!

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