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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

We had some fun last week but it's all business this time around. I'm in a bad mood, too!

Hey Answerman, I've been meaning to check out some of the many anime podcasts out there, but there are so many of them I don't know where to start or which ones are good. Have you heard any and can you recommend any?

You're right in that there are a metric ton of anime podcasts out there, primarily because all you need to make one is a moderately not-crappy microphone, audio editing software and an opinion about cartoons to make one.

To clarify, there are a lot of bad anime podcasts out there. I've listened to my fair share, and they're no different from any other form of user-created media; there are diamonds in the rough, but there's a lot of rough. For the longest time, we toyed with the idea of having an Anime News Network podcast, and we got to the point where myself and site founder/Buried Treasure writer Justin Sevakis actually recorded a few shows, but it just didn't work and wasn't different enough from the millions of other "two nerds talk about anime" shows that already exist. By the time we'd have launched it, the content simply wouldn't have been worth posting.

That aside, sifting through the falderal to find the gems can take a while, so I'll link to the ones I personally enjoyed here, along with some others.

First and foremost, in my opinion, Anime World Order is easily the most entertaining podcast out there. They tend to focus on older stuff and their understanding of "the industry" is a bit warped but they're hilarious and fun to listen to. Shows are a little long, though, so be warned, and the show's token female, Clarissa, while insightful on occasion, does come across as a stereotypical yaoi fan girl at times. Mostly I listen because Daryl Surat - who is also writing reviews for the new Otaku USA magazine - is a funny guy. Right now they're doing shows
seperately, which isn't working as well as when all three of the show's personalities are on, so scroll down until you find one that has everyone and listen to that.

Another one worth checking out is Fast Karate for the Gentleman, which I only recently started listening to occasionally, but the guys who do it have a pretty good non-obsessive outlook on anime. They ramble a bit about pop culture, which is amusing if you like that sort of thing, and they cover video games as well as anime, so there's a lot of content and it's all worth listening to.

Right Stuf has an anime podcast that doesn't really float my boat personally, but
it's very popular and a lot of folks seem to dig it; it's more straight information about retail releases, news, and the occasional interview. A few weeks back they did a multi-parter on Vic Mignogna, which would've been great if I haven't already read approximately 245,678 interviews with Vic Mignogna.

Also on the "popular but not necessarily with me" list is AnimeTV, which they call a video podcast but I suspect most people just watch it streaming on their website. I take issue with AnimeTV because it's entirely a product of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, and the "reviews" they do are almost exclusively shows that Bang Zoom has dubbed. They don't give everything a glowing review, but in my mind, it's just not really credible when a company that produces something also then reviews their own product. I'd rather get an opinion on Planetes that isn't coming straight from the people who worked on the show's English dub and have a vested interest in its success, no matter how objective their reviews may seem.

Plus, the zany Super Mario Brothers Super Show-esque cartoon noises they use to punctuate action makes me a little nauseous. Again, a lot of people watch the show so clearly it's working for them; as always, check it out and form your own opinion.

Why aren't actual children used for the voices for children for cartoons (not just anime)? I mean, this was done by Nickelodeon with 'Hey Arnold!', and, to my knowledge, that didn't end up so bad. The fact that actual children were doing the voices for childred made them sound far more realistic, not to mention that it was a nice break from the norm of having children who sound like they breathe helium.

I'm not sure if there are child-work-laws against having kids work in cartoons, but if twelve- and thirteen-year-olds can work in R-rated movies ('Running Scared', I'm looking at you), then why can't we have a sixteen-year-old young lady doing the voice of a sixteen-year-old student?

Actually, plenty of child actors do voice acting. It's a little uncommon in anime, but it happens. The English voice actor for Al in Fullmetal Alchemist is a real kid, and New Generation Pictures goes out of their way to cast actual child actors for the appropriate roles in their dubs. Usually the results are pretty good; it's better to hear a real kid's voice rather than your standard generic "I'm 35 and straining to sound like I'm 7" voice you get in a lot of dubs.

The SAG union rules for child actors require that they can only work after school hours or else they have to have a teacher on-set, which causes a major headache for any producer, especially if the child is in a major role. Assuming it's a union dub (which many anime aren't, but they still follow these rules), that strongly limits the amount of work you can get done in a single day and prolongs the session. I asked Jonathan Klein of New Generation Pictures why most studios avoid using child actors, and his answer was simple; in addition to the rules regarding when child actors can work, children also require a lot more patience and time from the director. A more seasoned adult actor will be, for many directors, easier to work with because communication is stronger.

I am a young college student who is finishing her basics and still trying to find my career. The thing is I have so many talents i'm so confused as to what to do with all of them. I am a musician, artist, fighter, and a bit of a brain. One thing i do know is i have an incredible artist flair, am always creating things, and am also people friendly. Which brings me to anime. It is one thing I've always loved. I draw it myself, and am currently working on a book. I am taking a video creation class, and love to make my own voices, and not to mention i even make shirts and merchandise of the sort. So, my main question is, aside from animation, and voice acting, what other jobs are available in this spiffy industry.
P.S.- I live in houston, and would love to work for ADV.

My suggestion is that you bundle up all those amazing talents you have and become a performance artist who does martial arts demonstrations while simultaneously drawing Goku and playing the piano.

Just to clarify, "Animation" isn't really a profession in America when it comes to anime. You won't be working on the next season of Gundam if you're living in the US. Just sayin'.

In any case, to answer your questions, your skills all seem to be creative ones; unless you want to take some accounting classes and become a bean counter or hop on the technical side of things and become an audio engineer, the number of jobs in the American anime industry that actually involve serious training in the fine arts are pretty limited. Of course, there's voice acting, but you already mentioned that, so I'll go down another road.

If you fancy yourself a talented artist and want to do something substantial, you should consider advertising and/or packaging design. If you focus on marketing and graphic design, you'd be a shoo-in for that job, I'd wager, and given the amount of product out there, I would bet most of these companies have a decently-sized art department. Of course, if you get into layout enough, you can always consider lobbying for a position at any one of the (now 5) major anime magazines out there.

Based on this letter, you sound like you're more interested in actually creating anime, in which case I'd encourage you to take a LOT of classes and consider making your own independent animation, which has a far more likely chance of getting you somewhere than sending your resume to Sunrise and asking for a position as a key animator.

Hey Answerman, I have always wondered what you look like. Do you really look like Howl, like in your banner?

I don't know where people get the impression that Howl in the banner is supposed to be "me" - he's supposed to be addressing me. Get it? He's saying "Hey, Answerman" like he has a question. I used that image as my forums icon for a while as well, but I don't think your forums icon is supposed to be what you look like. If that's true, then Anime on DVD's userbase is approximately 98 percent female.

As for me, I'm pretty hideous - a seething beast that men turn to stone upon seeing. A writhing clump of terrible deformities.

Actually, I'm just a typical goofy looking stocky nerd. This is me:

I figure in about 20 years when I start losing my hair, my transformation into George Costanza will be complete.

I cropped out my other family members in that picture, but I have a whole series of me giving that stupid smile! Feel free to draw a rifle scope on my forehead or photoshop me into a corpse or whatever it is you kids do these days.

I considered putting the death threats I got over the whole Nymphet thing in here but I'll go with something a little more light-hearted instead.

hey answerman what is the best show ever made? nm i don't need an answer cuz the answer is DIGIMON BITCH!!!!! best show ever. owned

I've never seen Digimon Bitch but I bet it's a lot better than regular Digimon.

And the panda cub makes everyone feel better in the end.

No winner this week either, but here's a rant anyway.

It comes courtesy of Justin Mitchell. 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.

Are Otaku doomed to forever fight amongst each other? To battle eternally on the floors of Cons and forums? The causalities of these meaningless battles litter the streets, poor fans that are scared off from exploring our vast community thanks to one singular weapon wielded by an elitist breed! If only that weapon was a giant mech or evil sword! Alas, the weapon is far more sinister and cruel. I have named this terror the “OR formula”, read on if you dare!

I present the “OR Formula” as I have seen it wielded far to many times. It starts thusly, with what on the surface seems but a simple friendly question “Evagelion or RahXephon?” and with that the deadly payload is delivered! For but a moment it seems to be just that, a friendly inquiry betweens fans of the large robot genre, but let us look at the outcome of the answers. Lets look at the least deadly option, the answer that I have dubbed the Maimer. In this variation of the “OR Formula” the Maimer would be Evangelion, the safe answer. Upon uttering the words one is greeted into the fold like some kind of secret handshake. Why does it Maim you ask? Because its the conformity of the statement, it maims the person uttering this answer and lets the wielder of the “OR Formula” know they have one more follower. The second answer of the “OR Formula”, in this example RahXephon, is simply the sharp end of the stick, for how can anyone like RahXephon more than Evangelion? Once uttered you must be prepared for the oncoming onslaught of why the decision of RahXephon is folly and unworthy of merit! The final strike of the “Or Formula” I call the Trap, the answer of both! A noble answer it is, and close to the truth! But sadly in the eyes of “OR Formula” their can be only one. Aye thats the rub!

Now look through your favorite forums or listen closely at the next con and you will find the “Or Formula”. Just take Evagelion and replace it with a well known Anime and replace RahXephon with a lesser known Anime. The “OR Formula” was created by those fans that must worship one Anime and forsake all others. Why must they do such thing? Thats a rant for another day. These fans that must strike down other viewpoints, on both sides of the line, scare away and muddy the waters of our amazing community. The oldest known use of the “OR Formula” is the battle of “Sub or Dub?” What Otaku hasn't seen the scars of that battlefield?

I digress into details of the tools when my rant is simply this, why must we fight? Why must “A” be picked of “B”? Why must we give the elitist these tools to fracture our community? Can I not watch subs one day and dubs the next? Why must Evangelion be compared to RahXephon? Kenshin to Champloo? Why gentle reader must we fight over this? Can't we just say that we all love our hobby in our own special way? Thats right, you guessed it, I want to buy the world a Coke. Sad but true. I just want people to respect the many and varied views of our much beloved hobby, we've all watched Pokémon, why do some feel the need to bad mouth it? Alas not in my lifetime will I ever see peace amongst our ranks, not even the power of Action Bastard or Gunbuster could quell the battle. Yes even if they teamed up. I hope, friend, that you take one thing from this long winded rant and that is the next time you see a fan don't ask them to choose an Anime over another, just ask them what Anime they like. Who knows maybe you'll find a new perspective on an Anime that deserves a second chance.

Whew. So what do you think? Do they have a point? Sound off on our forums and let the discussion begin!

That said, we've had a lot of complaints about the rant section lately - generally, we're getting rants over and over again based on the same few topics: fansubs, dubbing, lolicon, and "I hate anime fans who do [X]". I'm just as sick of those as you guys are, so as an incentive to write better rants, here's what we're doing.

What I want are rants - or essays - or whatever you'd like to write, really (please don't get hung up on the dictionary definition of "rant" while you're writing) - that are about subjects OTHER than one ones listed above. I want well-thought out, careful writing. I want subjects we haven't covered a million times.

Here's what I don't want:

* Responses to previous rants about lolicon/dubbing/fansubs/anime fans who suck a lot
* 200 words about how awesome Dragon Ball is
* New rants about lolicon/dubbing/fansubs/anime fans who suck a lot
* Anything that's really, really boring.

The next rant I publish will
either conform to these guidelines or we simply won't have one that week. Rather than always publishing a rant - which I've been doing in the past, even if the rant was awful - I'll simply skip the section. Sound good?

Well, there's more. The author of the next rant to be published - which will only happen if it's good enough and follows these guidelines - will receive a prize box chock full of anime and manga straight from my own collection. I won't announce exactly what the prize is, but suffice to say, it's an incentive to do your best.

The rules as they are won't change:

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 500 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.

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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