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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

I'm still in recovery mode from the maelstrom of ridiculousness that was Anime Expo. For those of you who wish you could work in the anime industry, consider for a moment that it turns what was previously a fun weekend of frivolity into a series of 18-hour work days that never seem to end. Sounds like a load of fun, eh?

Thanks to longtime friend of Anime News Network and friendly Funimation representative Lance Heiskell for his... unique banner.

I have a question regarding the raito of yaoi to yuri available. I notice that yaoi seems to be extremely popular and extremely easy to find, whereas yuri is extremely hard to find. I always thought lesbian erotica was the more widely accepted and welcome of the two, yet the reverse seems to be true in the anime world. In your opinion, why is yuri so hard to obtain? Is the demand for yuri really that low, or are companies just milking the yaoi trend? I have only found one website that sells any yuri manga at all so far, and their selection was small. Am I not looking hard enough? I'm not asking you to tell me where I can buy yuri, I just wonder why it's so hard to come across. Incidentally, if the information matters at all, the aforementioned website is jlist.com. Thanks for your time.

Here's the thing: yuri is just now becoming popular enough to warrant being released here in the States. Yaoi has always had a much larger (or at least vastly more vocal) fanbase, and when you have a big group of people like that who are motivated to buy, the decision for the publisher becomes obvious. With yuri, however, it has remained largely underground; only now are some of the publishers starting to experiment with it.

Media Blasters released the Kashimashi TV series, and Seven Seas stated recently during their panel at Anime Expo 2007 that the KashiMashi manga was their best-selling title, Subsequently, the company licensed Strawberry Panic, another yuri manga series, and Media Blasters followed suit at the convention by announcing their license to the Strawberry Panic TV series.
So it's coming, more and more, and you'll have plenty of yuri action to keep yourself busy.

You can interpret "busy" however you like.

Answerman do you ever get depressed when you finish an anime you really like, or is that something I should see a doctor about.

Not personally, no. I was pretty upset when Veronica Mars got cancelled, though.

We actually had a forum discussion here about what people call "post-anime depression", where someone finds themselves generally down after finishing a show they like. It's apparently fairly common and lasts basically until you find another show you really like. I've never experienced it myself, but a lot of people claim to.

While obviously your first instinct is to think that your problem is weird or abnormal (or kinda funny), the fact is it isn't completely bizarre to experience a little depression when you grow a personal attachment to something and then it goes away. Yeah, it's just a cartoon, but if you really liked that cartoon and it ends, it's understandable to be a little melancholy. By "a little" I mean maybe you sigh a few times, maybe you're not singing in the shower and maybe the mailman gets a downcast "hey" instead of your usual chipper hello.

However, if it's going beyond that, you're in trouble. If, once the credits roll on the final episode of Lucky Star, you find yourself sitting alone in a dark room, beads of sweat rolling down your pallid visage as your teeth clatter on the unforgivingly cold barrel of a 9mm handgun while you panic inside, wondering if a world with no new Lucky Star episodes is a world you want to live in, your trigger finger twitching ever closer to its final destination, whispering to you the sweet promise of sending a glorious bullet through your synapses and splattering your consciousness all over the Haruhi Suzumiya wallscroll behind you... yeah, you should probably see a doctor about that.

I was wondering what do you think of artists like uziga waita,kago shintaro, & other ero guro (18+) manga artists and which publisher do you think  might bring over see their more extreme stories brought to the u.s.?

Uh oh. An ero guro question. You all knew this day would come.

For those of you who aren't in the know about this particular (and particularly small) niche inside anime fandom, I'll explain what "ero guro" is first before commenting on this question.

According to Wikipedia, the best place to find a lot of information on subjects like this (and Star Trek and Pokemon), "ero guro" is defined thusly:

"Ero Guro is a concept or movement or sub-genre, still somewhat loosely defined, that has emerged inside multiple schools of Japanese art and music. The words "ero guro" or "ero guro nansensu" is gairaigo derived from the English words "erotic grotesque nonsense", and is sometimes shortened to simply guro (though this shortening is usually used to describe pornography). Regardless of nomenclature, the terms ero and ero guro are widely recognized as codewords denoting artwork that depicts extreme/bizarre violence (mutilation, dismemberment, scatology, etc.) in an erotic manner.

The typifying element of ero guro visual art is the macabre intermingled with sexual overtones. Often the erotic element, even when not explicit, is merged with grotesque themes and features—somewhat similar to the works of H. R. Giger. Others produce ero guro as a genre of Japanese pornography and hentai involving blood, gore, disfiguration, violence, mutilation, urine, enemas, or feces.

Sounds like a fun time for everyone, right?

If you ask me what I think about ero guro (which you did, thankfully, so I'm at least moderately justified in giving my opinion of the genre as a whole) it's gross. Really gross. Too gross for me. Way too gross for me. Think of the grossest thing you can possibly think of or have ever seen, and there's an ero guro manga out there that has something in it that's approximately one trillion times grosser than that. Me, I gag at just the thought of spoiled milk, so naturally, ero guro is not for me. It's an extremely acquired taste and I don't actually know anyone nor have I ever met anyone who likes it (or will at least admit to liking it).

In fact, I don't think the Wikipedia article's invocation of H. R. Giger is correct at all; I own several Giger art books and I really dig a lot of his stuff. Ero guro - at least the small amount of it I've seen - is way, way more insanely violent and disgusting than anything Giger's ever done. Say what you want about Giger's more controversial work (think lots and lots of alien genitalia), it pales in comparison to the ero guro artwork I've seen (think someone getting raped while... you know what, I'm not even going to go into it, I just ate).

To sum up, ero guro is really gross. Did you get that? Maybe I needed to say it again. Gross. That's basically the point of it; to be really, really intensely disgusting.

Will it ever be published in any capacity in America? I'm going to consult my crystal ball here and say "no, probably not". It's way, way too intense. I can't think of a single publisher who would touch it with a 10-foot pole. Yeah, Dark Horse releases some very edgy adult titles like Berserk and MPD Psycho but those are really in a completely different category and can't responsibly even be compared to ero guro. I'd even say that we'll sooner see lolicon on store shelves than any ero guro manga title.

Hey answerman, I have a question about convention season. Me and my friends were wondering which convention is the best one to go to. We live in the midwest and have been wanting to go to an anime convention forever but we don't know which ones are best. Obviously we know about Anime Expo and Otakon and we have even considered San Diego Comicon but we also think a smaller one might be better? What kind of convention do you prefer and what advice can you give us?

What a timely question! It's convention season right now as you well know and we're right in the thick of it. Anime Expo has come and gone, and Otakon and San Diego Comic Con are right around the corner.

To be honest, if you guys have never been to a show, I'm hesitant to recommend the big conventions. Yeah, they have a lot of exciting events and attract giant throngs of people, but the mid-size conventions, like Anime Boston, Sakuracon in Seattle or Fanime in San Jose might be a better fit for your first time out. Generally these shows are big enough to attract some cool guests and have a decently-sized dealer's room, but they're also very laid-back and easy-going. You won't burn yourself out trying to frantically get to all the events you want to see, the lines are far shorter and there's not such a crowd control problem.

That's not to say the big cons aren't worth going to; far from it. The experience you'll have at something like Otakon is very different (and in many ways more traditionally "exciting") than the smaller shows. You'll really feel like you're part of something huge, and the crowd reflects that; everyone's always very excited to be there. But that might be a bit too hectic and chaotic if you've never been to a convention before, which is why I'm recommending the smaller ones. It won't feel so overwhelming.

On another note, I don't know why Otakon decided to move their show up to the weekend before San Diego; for the press and the industry, that means we have approximately one day to rest in between conventions. I have nothing against the show itself, but thanks for that, Otakon. From the bottom of my black, black heart.

Anyone who accepts advertising dollars is a corporate sellout. I saw an ad for Transformers on CNN and now I know all of their news is biased toward Optimus Prime.

How does it feel to be a hollow corporate sellout answerman. Anime News Network accepts money from anime companies in the form of advertising. Nothing you say can be trusted.

I saw you buying a coke the other day. Now I know you can't be trusted because you're clearly in the pocket of the Coca-Cola corporation.

Uh oh. Now you have to worry about the site being influenced by the profit-driven motivations of that kitten and those baby ducks. I predict suddenly we'll start running positive reviews of the latest Fancy Feast flavors.

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

It comes courtesy of Julie McClenahan. 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.

What's with giant robots? I love ‘em as much as the next guy, but I can't for the life me figure out why. Goodness knows the stuff sells like hot cakes somewhere, else there wouldn't be so many series that dabble with whole massive mecha affair. There must be more to it behind the polish, the pilot, and even the guarantee of bravura destruction.

Perhaps the answer lies in their history. When was the last time you watched an episode of Gundam? That's non specific, so pick your flavor of the many series, from the original Mobile Suit, to Wing, Seed, G, or even SD if, for some reason, that floats your boat. Why Gundam? Because in my mind, that's what started it all. What about Astro Boy? Well, what about him? My memory of the classic is a little fuzzy, but it just never felt to me like it belonged with walks of Gundam simply because Astro Boy is well… a boy,… and consequently boy sized. I bet just the pilots of other series have a least a foot on him, even Shinji. Therefore logic dictates that boy robot is unequal to giant robot. In condolence, Astro Boy should be considered the Lucy of the genre, the ancient, less evolved ancestor of the surviving race. And Gigantor? While he was indeed the first truly giant robot, and champion of post war era, the world has since changed and our proud progenitor is obsolete. So the torch is then passed on to Gundam as the first modern large mecha series, despite its dubious start. All it takes is one young man stumbling into a scrap heap, and soon a multi-billion dollar (yen, whatever) genre is off and running.

Now behemoth automatons are a dime a dozen. You don't care for the likes of Mobile Suits? Well then, have at Full Metal Panic!, Big O, Vandread, Patlabor, Voltron, Gad Guard, or Eureka 7, to name a very, very small few. I'm sure something out there will catch your fancy. In the mood for fan service? Check out Vandread and Godannar. A poignant love story? Then RahXephon and Eureka 7 were made for you. Something to make your brain feel like a microwaved marshmallow? Try Big O and Eva on for size. Sure not everyone likes every series in one genre, and for every diamond there's a mountain of coal, but once you've found your giant robot nothing else matters…at least for a while.

Then the general euphoria often experienced when one watches good anime wears off and you can't help but wonder…What's with giant robots? Are they really just tools of sci-fi warfare? When the smoke clears, the pivotal moment of most series require the pilot to use his machine to save and or remake the world. So then should our beloved titian of obliteration instead be hailed as a mechanical messiah? If the world then hangs in the hand of one such savior, what is the point of building armies, battalions and squadrons of worthless, ineffectual units? If there had never been oversized android armies in the first place, we probably wouldn't need one to save the world. Thus their very existence is a perplexing, synergic paradox.

So why would anyone choose to watch colossal machines clobber one another? We could effortlessly find samurai, or ninja, or street fighters, or other ’ordinary’ Japanese school kids fight the same fight without the cherished powered suits. And we do often enough. But unlike the past, or even present, the future can make anything imaginable, possible, for good or evil. The future will always hold hope. And evidently, giant robots.

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 Dragonball 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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