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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

It's been a rough week, so I'm just going to get right to it.

Thanks again to Sandra McMullen
for this week's banner.

I have been searching and searching for what seems like forever now, I am trying to remember the name of an old anime I used to watch as a kid, this is what I can remember: There was a character named "cook" and in the beginning theme song, the cook says "you are what you eat" . Cook is a robot, and so are most of the other characters, except one being a young boy. I'm pretty sure it used to be on fox kids, in the early 1900's in the US. It was on fox the same time that Sailor moon, Dragonball, and Ronin Warriors was on, but before power rangers was out. Any chance you might remember this? Or someone in the ANN might remember? (it wasn't Kirby) Thanks a lot

I'm going to assume you meant the early 1990's, since I do know the show you're talking about and last I checked I wasn't alive at the turn of the 20th century.

The show you're thinking of was one of my favorites growing up, but I can't remember whether or not I legitimately liked it or thought it was dumb and watched it anyway; it was called BotsMaster, and it's mostly known for having a catchy theme song and using a gimmick called "Lazer Time" where the lead character, Ziv Zulander, would shout "LAZER TIME, BOYZZ" (yep, that's how they spelled it) and you were supposed to put on 3D glasses. Ultimately the effect didn't really work; all they did was have a bunch of parallel scrolling backgrounds that looked off-color when you put the glasses on.

The odd thing about Bots Master - aside from the stupid "Lazer Time"
thing - was that while the show looked a lot like anime, it's actually a French production and was co-produced by Avi Arad, who went on to head up Marvel Comics later on. I'm not sure if it ever aired in Japan, but the 40-odd episodes that comprise the series aired in America around 1993 and ran for a couple years. It's never been released on DVD, but it might; they just released Captain N: The Game Master for crap's sake.

The best thing about the show really was the theme song; you can find it on YouTube.

I've got two questions in regards to jobs within the anime industry:

1. In the past I've seen people write to you about "How can I get into voice acting?" or "What can I do in order to become a journalist?", such as yourself. I'm curious as to how one could get/find a "conventional" job within the anime industry such as an accounting, finance, marketing, or operations position? Not necessarily a job where you can be creative and have direct access to the fans, such as yourself, but where you work behind the scenes, don't have artistic "talent" so to say and still love anime.

2. Do these types of jobs exist on the east coast, i.e. New York City or Boston areas? It just seems to me that most of these companies such as Viz Media, Funimation, Bandai, Geneon, Tokyopop and New Generation Pictures are mainly located on the west coast.

I've never been asked this before; it's kind of refreshing to not be asked about how someone could take my job or become a voice actor.

To answer your first question, whether or not you're an anime fan might help you (or hurt you, depending on the position and the company's experience with hiring fans) a little bit in the interview for those jobs, but the best way to go about landing an accounting position at a company like ADV is to... get ready for it, this is a pretty complicated answer...
be an accountant.

Like every other corporation, anime companies fill those "conventional" jobs with the people who are most experienced in those fields. Being an anime fan has nothing to do with it; they'll hire you if you're qualified to be a competent accountant; whether or not you're a big Full Metal Panic fan is irrelevant. Frankly, you stand to make a lot more money at larger, older companies, although now that Funimation and ADV both have massive corporations backing them up, you'd likely get a decent salary.

As for the second question, you're right, mostly; Geneon, Bandai, Viz and Tokyopop are all in California, while ADV and Funimation are both in Texas. So if you went through college with the dream of one day calculating David Williams' health care deductions, you'd have to move to Texas. There are a handful of anime companies in New York, but one of them, Central Park Media, recently barely escaped bankruptcy; the other is Media Blasters and I've no idea how often they hire for administrative positions like that.
Good luck, though.

Dear Answerman, my friends and I are all really into yaoi and have been for a long time now; we all write fanfiction stories about the anime we watch and love to come up with pairings, one of my friends even draws her own dojinshi (she is a big fan of Saiyuki). However one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, i feel is taking it too far. She has started going to gay pride parades and doing what we call "squeeing" at them, glomping cute gay men and when she sees a gay couple she "squees". she tells me that since reading yaoi she is now a supporter of gay rights and knows more about gay culture than other people, so she has a right to do these things. I support gay rights as well but i feel she should not be doing those things to real people. she told me i'm being closed minded and it's tearing our friendship apart. so what do i do? what should I tell her?

Yikes. This is a really depressing letter.

Your friend is acting like an idiot and I hope you can smack some sense into her. I've never heard of a fangirl taking their yaoi obsession that far; frankly the way she's behaving is pretty terrible.

Yaoi is largely an exploitative genre; the relationships are played up and unrealistic. That's fine, I suppose, since the stuff is designed to fuel the fantasies of adolescent girls, but to suggest that reading Yaoi manga is going to give anyone an accurate picture of what the gay community is like is disingenuous at best. That your friend apparently thinks it's cool to treat real people as though they're anime characters is unsettling, to say the least.

It's great if reading Yaoi has turned your friend into someone who supports gay rights; anything that promotes tolerance is A-OK with me. But "squeeing" when she sees a gay couple, like they're adorable zoo animals or something? That's simply dehumanizing and disrespectful. "Glomping" is a terrible practice anyway and I can't imagine someone doing it outside of an anime convention. Tell your friend to grow up; it's fine to squeal and scream at fictional characters, but doing it to real people is completely crossing the line. If she winds up severing her friendship with you, that's fine; I can't imagine how you've managed to tolerate her for this long as it is.

I don't know whether its because of laziness, low-budget, a rushed production, or just trying to squeeze out a bit more fan-service, but i've noticed that in a lot of anime (can't think of any examples in licensed shows right now) any given female character's breasts might go from an B-cup to a D-cup in the same episode, sometimes within the same scene and it's not just a change in angle or perspective. Moreover, girls who are openly noted to be flat-chested or having small breasts often get an upgrade every once in a while and suddenly you're calling a girl with a 60 inch bust flat-chested. As far as i've noticed, relative height, size, and other character elements tend to stay the same except in shows with very poor quality of animation, while it seems dozens of shows feature female characters with randomly growing and shrinking breasts. Why is this allowed? Extra Fan-service? Outsourcing portions of the animation? Lack of a universal standard? Don't people think this is at least sloppy and unprofessional? Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong places and giving it too much concern.

I've never seen a show where you have a flat-chested character suddenly grow an hourglass figure, but what you're talking about here kinda ties into the discussion we had a couple weeks back about animation mistakes in long-running TV shows.

There's no great conspiracy here; basically, animators get lazy and sloppy sometimes and it's tough to stay 100 percent on-model at all times, so your average hyper-endowed female anime character will fluctuate cup sizes in any given episode. Of course people think it's sloppy and unprofessional, but these shows are created mostly on small budgets with little time or money to fix mistakes, so you wind up with a lot of yo-yoing breast sizes, I suppose. The example that sticks out in my mind the most is Gonzo's Hellsing TV series, where the Ceres Victoria character's chest seemed to change size from frame to frame and from scene to scene. The animation was amazingly sloppy and generally if the chest size is changing, the facial features are also moving oddly; watch eye, nose and mouth placement and you'll see those shift around almost as much.

Generally it isn't anything to get worked up over, but it is kind of annoying and distracting at times.

This one's a little weak but they can't all be solid gold.

i know you were making fun of the otakukins a while back and those people are crazy but i personally consider animes and mangas to be like my religion. i dont think i am an anime chara or anything like that but animes are a lot like religion to me, they are really important in my life, more important than school or anything like that, and i dont think theres anything wrong with that, so what do you think, can animes be a religion

I don't even have the energy to really respond to this with anything other than a "No" and point out that very little of what you said makes any sense at all. Perhaps you should consider leaving the house more often.

Puppies. Good for what ails you.

This week's rant is courtesy of "Scheherazade". 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've NEVER heard anyone else bring up this topic before, so I guess I'll have to do so myself. The rant is as follows:

I want to make it clear, right off the bat, that I am a subs fan. This rant, however, has nothing to do with the perennial subs vs. dubs debate, so you can unclose that mind right now. Even though I am a subs fan, I understand that others prefer dubs, and that releasing DVDs with a dub track in the States is a sensible economic decision by the localizing companies to try to broaden the market. What incenses me, however, is that I and everybody else who buys DVDs are helping to pay the salaries of the mostly mediocre-to-cringe-worthy voice actors who do the dubs. The quality of the dubbing is usually horrendous; the fact that a good or even fairly decent dub is worth pointing out says a lot. In my opinion, if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right.

Oh, but I can already hear you saying something along the lines of “But American voice actors just can't emote the way Japanese ones do, so there's nothing to be done about it.” WRONG. English speakers who don't do monotones and don't seem like they're just reading off a script and can emote and do accents and convincingly take on different roles with different styles of speech and different pitches and different pacing and all that fun stuff DO exist. Let me give you a moment to absorb that.

No, I am utterly serious. As for where these mythological creatures might be found, have you ever heard of, seen, or know what audiobooks are? If you haven't, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, go straight to Wikipedia or your favorite dictionary. The people who read these things for the commercial releases are AMAZING. There is just no other way to describe it. After a while, you can pretty much tell whether it's description or which of the main characters is speaking at the moment just by listening to how the narrator is reading the text, without paying attention to the words themselves. And sometimes, you really have to concentrate to see the similarities in the voices, even knowing that it's all the same person, because suspension of disbelief is SO easy.

This shouldn't really be surprising, because the audiobook market is a more mainstream one that is probably also larger than the market for anime. Presumably, there's more competition, so the narrators that manage to keep their jobs and thrive have to actually be good at that job. But hey, don't take MY word for it. Whether you believe me or not, I dare you to go listen to a few audiobooks with different narrators and judge their merit for yourselves. Pick commercial ones—not the free ones on LibriVox; your local library most likely has some—with a lot of dialogue by very different characters (which usually means works of fiction). Do try to tell me I'm wrong.

Some actors moonlight as voice actors. I just don't see why audiobook narrators can't do the same thing—or why the companies that release anime can't try to recruit the pros, the real talent, the people who can actually draw us into what we're seeing on the screen instead of pushing us away, into the industry, even on a part-time basis, instead of making us put up with the same recycled, mediocre voice acting over and over and over again. Isn't the customer always right? Well, we're the customers and we damn well DESERVE better! Hopefully, that's something we can ALL agree on.

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 month 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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