Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy, Aug 10th 2007


Well, there's been a death in the Hey, Answerman! family.



Let's all take a moment to bow our heads in solemn remembrance of RANT RANT RANT! You had a good run, little buddy, but you just can't beat murder testicular cancer.

So what's taking the big chunk of space left behind by our dealy departed brother? Well, you'll just have to scroll down and see.

But don't skip the questions. Only douchebags skip the questions.


Hey Answerman,

I was watching the (crappy) ending of Inuyasha the other day and I thought ot myself, is this the ending the fans really wanted? Then I kept thinking and I was wondering, why don't the creators listen to what the fans want and then write the ending that way? If the creators of Inuyasha listened to the fans and took their suggestions then it probably would have ended a lot better. When a show is on the air there is a lot of internet discussion about how the show should end. So shouldnt the creator take those suggestions and ideas and put them into the show? Give the fans what they really want and then everyone is happy.

There are a number of reasons your idea sucks. I'll spell them out for you:

Firstly, an anime or a manga or a film or a book or anything creative like that belongs to the creator, not the fans. The fans may enjoy the creator's work, but it doesn't belong to them; the final product is the creator's artistic vision, and like it or lump it, it is what it is. You may be disappointed in how a show ends, but there's no guarantee you'd be able to write a better ending - you may think you could, but it's not your place to tell an artist what to create.

Secondly, if you're going based on what people say on the internet, most shows would have incredibly generic happy fan-wank endings if the fans got to decide how the show finished up. Inuyasha had a crappy "ending" (well, to be fair, the show didn't end, it stopped), but if we'd had a committee of hardcore Inuyasha fans determine the show's outcome, Inuyasha and Kagome would get married while Naraku and Sesshomaru had sex in the parking lot. In fact, I'd wager most shows would end that way. It's not that fans can't be creative - I've seen some fan suggestions for alternate endings to shows that sounded pretty good on paper - but design-by-committee almost never works, especially when you're talking about screenwriting. It's how most soulless Hollywood family films are made, you know.

Third, "giving the fans what they want" isn't always the best course of action. Personally, I like it when an artist makes a bold choice with their storytelling; it would be dull if every show just got boiled down to "giving the fans what they want". For example, I'm a big fan of Battlestar Galactica. My favorite character is Gaius Baltar; if I had my way, his storyline on that show would've been very different. But the way the series is written now is brilliant, much better than anything I could've come up with; it's creative, challenging and thought-provoking. If you're just spoon-fed the most obvious outcomes and fan-pleasing plot turns all the time, you're denying the creator the ability to surprise you, or challenge you, or even anger you - all things that make for arresting and affecting television. Remember, something doesn't have to make you happy or fulfilled in order to be good. People complain all the time about The End of Evangelion, but the fact is, it's one of the most remarkable and memorable series endings ever, something people still discuss ad nauseum. If Anno Hideaki had just done what the fans likely wanted, the ending would have been trite and forgettable instead of the controversial powder-keg it is.


 
Hello Answerman!
 
I'm a long time reader, first time ANN emailer. I have two random questions for you.
 
What was an anime and/or manga series you watched/read through completely that you found enjoyable, but you wouldn't really watch/read it ever, EVER again, enough if someone paid you 38 bucks and give you a free pack of Ramune soda? It doesn't matter whether the series was an leisure activity or for work.
 
The other question: what anime/manga series you don't mind watching/reading again for the hundredth time?
 
A series I watched long ago was Comic Party. It was a very cute and fun series, but I'm not sitting through it again for the life of me. It was random and preachy (like alot of series I watch), but still nice. The same goes for it's manga counterpart. I don't know why for the taste of pocky I wouldn't, but whatever....
 
I probably read Fake and Eerie Queerie more times than I can remember, and watch Yu Yu Hakusho and the Saiyuki series so many times, I probably know all episodes lines (english and japanese) by heart (just kidding...maybe...). 
 
To be honest, most anime I've seen doesn't really warrant a repeat viewing. I really enjoyed Fullmetal Alchemist, but there's no way I'm going to sit through all 51 episodes over again; it's too time-consuming and I have too many other things to watch. It's mostly about the time commitment involved. I got through roughly 100 or so episodes of One Piece, and I had a good time watching it, but you couldn't pay me enough to watch them again. That's time I could spend at the very least watching something new. I think this is fairly common, and it extends to American film and television too.

That said there are a few shows I've rewatched over the years, and invariably they are series I saw when I was first becoming an anime fan; Escaflowne, Evangelion and Revolutionary Girl Utena. I revisit these every 3-4 years or so; I'm not sure if it's just nostalgia or the general quality of those series that keeps me coming back to them, but I've seen them all maybe 2 or 3 times each. I've also read the Hellsing manga a few times as well, either for pleasure or to refresh my memory for an article about the series.

Again, the same basic principle apples to American film, as well; you probably have a handful of movies you never, ever get sick of, but by and large you won't watch a movie more than once.

I'm part of a fairly large anime club at my University, but over the years attendance has fallen sharply. Additionally, its hard to find people to run the club. We only show things that have been licensed, and we try to hold contests and other things, but we can't seem to bring people out to the club. I've suggested a variety of things, and I'm willing to work on them, but there just doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm. What do you think can be done to motivate people to join and participate in an anime club? As a follow up, do you think that anime clubs are obsolete, or do they have social value?

The classic concept of an anime club, at least what it was originally, has become completely obsolete.

Back in the 80's, anime clubs started popping up at colleges all over the country for one basic reason: it was the only place people could watch uncut, subtitled (often raw) anime. There was a social element to it, but the primary function of the club was to provide a place for people to gather and watch something they couldn't see anywhere else. This all held together through most of the 90's, when tape trading became popular and the internet helped it grow.

With the advent of digital fansubs and the proliferation of broadband internet access in the early part of this decade, anime clubs basically became useless; why bother driving down to campus and sitting in a room with a programming schedule that you didn't create when you can just download whatever you want to see online for free? As digital fansubs became more and more popular and prevalent, anime clubs started dying out.

I would argue that the only value anime clubs have these days is social. Clubs where the entire purpose was to sit in a dark room and watch fansubs have basically gone the way of the dodo; if you want your club to survive, you're going to have to make it a purely social thing. You're going to need things like video game tournaments, picnics, and road trips. You're going to have to plan group trips to local anime conventions. Don't bother hosting screenings unless you're sure it's something people are dying to see and haven't already watched at home. Ultimately, your club has to transform from a place people used to watch anime for free into a social group that gathers based on similar interests.

I was watching the anime music videos from anime expo 2007 and the winning comedy one was a Weird Al music video, Death Note set to "Do I Freak You Out". the lipsynching was good but that's lazy isn't it, using a Weird Al song in a comedy video? why are people so uncreative when making comedy videos? i've seen a lot of them and there are some really funny ones but there are a lot of people who use funny songs and that seems cheap.

The actual list is too long to publish in this column, but here's a brief excerpt from "Things On The Internet That Are Not Funny":

* Lolcats
* All Your Base Are Belong To Us
* Tired catchphrases
* Chuck Norris facts
* Lazy-ass anime music videos set to Weird Al songs

I saw the video you're talking about and while it's very competent in a technical sense - as you said, the lip-synching was well done - it's basically the laziest possible shortcut to comedy to use a Weird Al
song in your video. It's like you're telling someone else's joke, and to be frank, most of Weird Al's catalog is pretty tired and overplayed, especially among the nerds that will actually be watching your music video. In fact, Weird Al songs have been banned from a lot of anime music video competitions, just like Linkin Park.

Those two acts have been banned for the same reason. Using a Weird Al song in your video doesn't make it funny, it makes it annoying and obvious. Using Linkin Park is not a shortcut to brutal depictions of depression and angst, it's just - again - annoying and obvious. It's just not creative, and these are creative competitions.

So you're not alone in thinking that. The reason there are so few comedy music videos that are actually funny is because being funny is a rare and difficult thing. Think of how many people out there are writing sitcoms or comedy movies; how many of those are actually funny? Probably not very many, but people try anyway. It's a rare thing to be a funny person.






I'm still devising a rating system for the flakes. Maybe a YouTube-style meter where you can rate the flake from one to five stars would work?

I'm considering this flake to be my little send-off to the Rant section. This is the sort of thing I would get most often.

OK this is my rant answerman. I am so sick of these american anime companys dubbing anime shows all it does is ruin them. for cripes sake people the original show is in JAPANESE whuy would you not watch it in JAPANESE???!!! watching it in americanized english is just stupid so lets face the facts: american anime companys suck.

thats my rant, hope u liked it

Ah, the delicious taste of impotent, borderline retarded nerd rage. ARGH THE ANIME COMPANYS ARE RUINING MY ANIMES. It tastes so sweet, like the tears of a baby nun.

Here's some kittens.



Movin' right along.


So, you're probably wondering why I decided to get rid of the Rant section.

It's pretty basic, really; people had started to feel like the segment was getting tired, and the ranters were running out of interesting things to say. I attempted to offer prizes to people who wrote really great essays, but we wound up with only one winner in the past several months. It's been more than a year now; time to move on to something a bit more fresh.

Now that you know why things are changing, without further ado, allow me to introduce our newest segment!




Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I have so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers.
People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get.

I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox!

So, to kick things off, here's this week's question:

Hey, Answerfans!

What would it take to get you to stop downloading fansubs?

Sincerely,
Zac
Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response to this week's question starts with "Well, I don't watch fansubs, but..." then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.
* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

So check this space next week for your answers to my questions!




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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