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Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Man, am I beat. This has been a ridiculously long week, and I can't wait until it's over.

Let's get this thing moving along so I can waste my entire weekend playing Bioshock.

I was watching the movie Sky Blue the other day I didn't really like it that much. Then I realized I never really liked any of the korean manga I read, and Sky Blue is a korean anime. Is korean anime and manga just lower quality or am I wrong?!

Well, you're certainly not alone in your dislike of Sky Blue. That thing was a bloated turd.

The issue with Korean manga and anime (and film, for that matter) is that their entertainment industry simply isn't as mature as the countries they're trying to emulate. Here we have a country most known for doing the fill-in work for Japanese and American cartoons, and so far, their creative output, at least in terms of animation and comics, have been mostly transparent attempts to ape successful Japanese productions.

This is why Manhwa is largely considered to be C-list entertainment; it looks like manga, but the storytelling isn't there. They have the technical side of things down, but not the creative side. Take a look at something like Sky Blue. That film looks a lot like a big-budget anime, and has some impressive sequences, but the storyline and the dialogue are awful. The direction isn't even very good; I'd argue that a lot of Korean animation and comics are like that. They've got the technical skill, but not the creative prowess to be truly unique or outstanding.

Obviously this isn't true of ALL Korean productions; films like the Mr. Vengeance series, including Oldboy, have a following here, as do some manhwa titles like Demon Diary. I'm not saying that the country's entire creative output is bunk, but right now the majority of it - at least what I've seen and what's been released here in America - is severely lacking in the creativity department. Doubtless, things will change. But not so long as the biggest, most exhalted Korean productions
include incompetent garbage like Sky Blue or The Host.

Hey Answerman,

I know this might sound dumb but I'm writing to you for help. There is this girl in my Japanese literature class who is really cute and I found out she also likes anime a lot. One time I saw her wearing a Fullmetal Alchemist teeshirt. I have had girlfriends before (so you know I am not a total loser) but never one who was in to anime like I am and I want some advice! Should I try to date this girl? I can tell we have a lot in common and I want to know what it is like dating otaku girls.

Well, this is a new one.

Here's the most important thing you can remember regarding situations like this: that she also likes Japanese cartoons doesn't necessarily make her your soulmate, nor does it mean you have anything else in common. Too often I've seen guys become suddenly smitten with some girl he saw in class, solely because he saw her show a passing fancy for anime. When you see someone like that, it means you have one thing in common, which is enough to maintain a shallow friendship, but not a sincere relationship. You're in class together so you have a zillion excuses to talk to her; find out if you have anything in common aside from your mutual love of anime. If you don't, then move on.

You also asked about "what it's like dating otaku girls".
I've been working in this industry for a long time now and - although I'm hesitant to admit it - have dated my fair share of otaku chicks. Here are a few rules of thumb to remember:

1. The odds are good, but the goods are odd.
2. By and large, they are bi and large.

Okay, okay, I'm joking. Seriously, otaku girls are just like the girls in any other nerd hobby; generally they're easy to get along with, probably a little daffy (in a good way) and likely are more attracted to guys like you. Here are my A+ dating tips for reeling in your dream nerd girl:

1. Wear as many ironic, faux-vintage Nintendo shirts as possible. Girls love a guy in a "Don't make me go Zelda on your ass" tee-shirt. It lets them know that you are willing - nay, eager - to go Zelda on their ass.

2. Play a lot of World of Warcraft and/or any other popular, recognizable MMORPG. EVE Online might be a little too obscure and nobody plays Ragnarok anymore, so you'll want to go with something dependable like WoW. Bonus Tip: nerd girls are more likely to put out as their level 63 Night Elf Ranger. Try and join their guild. Brush up on your sexy emotes, and they'll go wild.

3. The best place to take them on a date is to the 9:40 PM bargain theatre showing of Transformers. When Optimus Prime tells Shia LeBeouf to cram the All Spark into his chest cavity, grab her breast and stare right into her eyes.

4. Neckbeard, Neckbeard, Neckbeard.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your romantic conquest.

Hey, Answerman,

I'm writing in response to the letter regarding Weird Al as "fast track to comedy" in AMVs and your response.

This letter caught my attention, because I am the creator of "Does L Creep You Out."

And after hearing that, this may come as a surprise, but I think you're right, really. Putting Weird Al in a video and hoping that will equate to comedy gold doesn't work. In the defense of my video, that wasn't what I was really going for: I had a specific concept in mind. But yeah, it's still Weird Al, and I can understand if people think its lazy.

With this video and competition in particular, in all honesty, I thought videos like Code Monkey and Cleaver Girl were better (Jonathan Coulton and Arrogant Worms both make for as good if not better material than Weird Al, the songs were used incredibly well, and the videos were well edited.) However, I personally don't think it was the Weird Al that helped my video along as much as the concept behind it all. The concept behind my video was "I hate the Light/L Pairing. It makes no sense. L is a creepy stalker and Light is trying to kill him. Let's make an AMV that uses this pairing to bash it. I even have a song for that on my new Weird Al CD." My logic for submitting it was "Hey, I'm going to Anime Expo this summer, I'll submit some AMVs I made."

Of course, the fact that I use the pairing at all was enough to get a good half of the audience cheering, since conventions have an extremely high attendance rate of yaoi fans (which does, indeed, creep ME out,) and the more discerning non-followers of that pairing probably caught the joke.

But all of that is moot. In the case of this competition, the creators spoke since due to thefts and delays they were the only ones allowed to speak. I voted for Code Monkey. Apparently, a number of creators voted for my video for reasons beyond my comprehension. It may not deserve it in my mind, but in the eyes of the majority of the other creators, it apparently did.

But this does bring us to a larger and more interesting question that I hope can spark some discussion: how does one make a comedy video that ISN'T lazy? I'm curious as to your opinion as a hobbyist that hopes to improve, and also wants the hobby to improve as a whole. I get your point on "truly funny stuff is rare," but even then some people will find things funny that others won't.

Thank you for the vote of confidence in technical competency, by the way. I'll do my best applying that to non-comedy videos (since I'm trying to move away from comedy at the moment) in the future as I work on improving.

~John Erickson

Thanks for writing in, John.

I'll say this, and I'm sure this isn't a popular opinion, but in order to make a comedy video that "isn't lazy", you need material of your own. You need some kind of unique or original concept, a mashup of two things that aren't obvious. The form you're working with is inherently limited. It boils down to the "this to this" rule, which is that every anime music video ever made is "this song" set to "this anime". There's not a whole lot of room for genuine, sincere creativity in that form. That's my take on it, anyway; I would hope at this point that comedy anime music videos have moved into postmodernism rather than being stuck in the world of obvious parody, but we're only seeing rare glimpses of material that seem like they're going for more than an easy joke coupled with some kind of pandering notion that will play to the fans in the room.

Do yourself a big favor and watch a lot of comedy. Watch a lot of stand-up and figure out what you like. Watch sketch shows like Mr. Show or Human Giant or Kids in the Hall or Upright Citizens Brigade. Go to comedy clubs, improv theatres, watch HBO specials. Watch postmodernist masterpieces like The Icicle Thief or even Moulin Rouge. I think educating yourself in real comedy will make your comedy videos better and potentially brilliant.

And lastly, don't let critics like me get in your way. Keep being creative, keep putting yourself out there. It's worth it.

He seems like a good kid. I can't help but post this here, though.

I am a huge Zoids fan. I mainly love to make AMV's and post them on youtube.com but just recently my videos were removed because of copyright infringment they were only up for a couple of days while I have seen many other peoples up for months I am wondering why my videos were removed and not these other peoples then I was also wondering if you would let me post some of the AMV's I made back onto youtube.com just tell me how to make it so I can make sure you receive the credit. All I really want to do is share Zoids with the world and I would think you would want the same it would probably give you more business and it would make lots of people happy I thank you for your time in reading my message and hope to hear a reply back from you when you can no hurry.

Unfortunately I have no control over the Zoids franchise nor YouTube and likely never will, so I can't help you.

Here's a panda cub in tupperware !

Alright, moving on.

Another week, another inbox-destroying response.

Our question last week was "Do you ever feel embarassed by the anime fan community? "

From reader Colleen:

Yes. On so many levels, yes.

I suppose, perhaps, I have no place to talk, because I used to be one of the people that I'm soon going to use as examples, but then again, doesn't that make my argument all the more valid? After all, I've been there.

Anyway. I feel embarrassed by the fandom when people draw crappy anime art and believe that it's the greatest thing in the world, and shoot down anyone who disagrees. I feel embarrassed when the fandom proclaims that anime is the best form of entertainment in the world. I feel embarrassed when the yaoi fangirls run rampant, claiming that this or that 'bishie' MUST be gay because IT'S CANON, even when it's not. And I feel embarrassed when they shove that in other people's faces. I feel embarassed when they claim to be married to (or even own) these characters, and will immediately attack people for saying that they like the same character.

I feel embarrassed by the fandom when they feel that it's a good thing to be an 'otaku'. I feel embarrassed by the fandom when they think that 'watashi kawaii' is an actual, understandable statement in Japanese. I feel embarrassed by the fandom when they throw all common sense out the window when they get to conventions, and have no respect for those around them. I feel embarrassed when the fandom decides that someone saying they don't like anime, or that anime is weird or stupid, must be smoten by their all-mighty Yaoi paddle (or equivalent). I feel embarrassed by the fandom when they immediately like something more when it's Japanese than when it's North American (even if it originated here, like Disney songs!). I feel embarassed by the fandom when they refuse to watch dubs for the same reason, when they refuse to believe that maybe, just MAYBE, the English is better!

In short, I'm embarrassed by the vocal minority - the ones who tout Bleach and Naruto as being masterpieces and look with disdain upon older, yet sometimes better, anime. These are the people who give the fandom a bad name to those who are on the outside, looking at it, and deciding whether or not it's worth their time.

Another, from Mary Groutage:

The most embarrassing part of being a member of the anime community is having to deal with those members who feel that it is their soul purpose in life to pass judgement onto others.  Unappreciative of being in a community founded on everyone having an overall common interest, they would rather criticise and promote themselves above all others.

I have various examples, in different fields, of what I'm talking about:

The “almighty” cosplayer – who wears an e-bayed cosplay, and decides to shout openly how unoriginal Final Fantasy/Naruto/Bleach cosplays are, usually close to people who are cosplaying  characters from said anime.

The “let me just take over your panel” fan – they'll usually arrive late to a convention panel, and then take up all the question and answer time, at the end repeating what was said at the start of the panel, and continuously adding onto others points, acting almost as if they were on the panel.

The internet lurker – usually mild and reserved if ever met in real life, but over the internet, turns into a ravenous otaku, pulling apart every comment you make on instant messenger, blogs, or even a forum – because they, so obviously, know so much better than you.

Quite frankly, this behaviour is much worse than the crazy preteens talking half-baked Japanese, heck, it's more annoying than the teenage yaoi fangirls.  The critiques of anime fandom usually know better, but suddenly get a rush of adrenaline – perhaps from being at a convention, or being veiled by the internet, to rudely voice their opinions.

It's these cringe-worthy moments that have made me want to stop going to conventions and not participate in posting in forums, or even my livejournal .

We all have our niches in our fandom, which makes anime so diverse and enjoyable.  When people embarrass themselves by making themselves look like jerks, it's embarrassing for the rest of us to have to admit “yes, they're one of us”.

From Caleb Dunaway:

I am embarassed about anime fans. In reverse.

The kind of anime fan who has to put down other anime fans in order to make themselves look better is a lot more embarrassing, to me, and to society in general, than any crazed teenage fangirl holding a sign at a con that reads "WILL GLOMP FOR BLEACH DVDS" while cosplaying Rukia. It's insulting to the entire human race to put someone down because you think the anime they watch is trashy compared to what you watch. It's rude, it's annoying, and it's an embarrassment to any fan community. It's perfectly okay to not like a series; no one's expected to like everything, but insisting, even in jest, that someone who watches Kanon is suffering from severe autism (just like the characters! truly I am a comedy genius!) is just taking the extra step from "having a different opinion" to "being a jerk". it's common Internet behavior, true, but the Internet at large is another huge embarrassment to humanity.

Ironically, I've noticed that the more a fan tends toward the otaku-bait shows, the less likely they are to insult other fans. Fans of "serious" shows (for lack of a better word) tend more often to be aggressive jerks, targeting those who like the otaku-bait shows. It's a perfect example of elitism at work. I like both kinds, personally, but I don't like being a jerk, or even being near one, so I tend to avoid the latter and fraternize with the former. It makes my life much easier.

Your intelligence is not determined by the anime you watch. And that's a fact.

Another one, from "Speechguy ":

An extreme answer for you:  I always feel embarrassed by the anime fan community. This feeling stems from being embarrassed about my own passion and enjoyment of anime.  As a 41 year old, married, father of 2, I don't think I quite fit the demographics that ADV or Cartoon Network is looking for (OK, maybe Studio Ghibli, but they are after everyone), so my embarrassment comes from being passionate about something that is "too young" for me. 
In fact, this is the first time I've ever written about, talked about or otherwise communicated about my anime passion.  My friends and family know that I enjoy anime, but I haven't let them in on my passion for anime.  I feel that I may be ostracized and have many think that I'm some lolikon/shotakon-loving pervert, when what I like is the story-telling aspects, creative visual art that sometimes is a part of anime.  I am not at all interested in role-taking aspects of cosplay or playing games.  I also, for some strange reason, not that interested in manga (I guess I like my pictures to be moving). 
My embarrassment of the anime fan community is embarrassment of my own love of anime and how much I don't fit in.

Finally, from "Jurgen Koek":

No, I am not. This community is no different then any other one. We have something we are fan of, we talk about it with other members, we have something in our rooms/houses that shows we are fans of it and we go to gatherings where many other people are who like it too.

So why be embarrassed? Because there are people who do cosplay? Because we "watch cartoons and read comics"?

| Of course there are people who are like:"Hmm, I'd better not tell anyone that I watch anime and read manga or else they might think I am just like the other fans ( meaning weirdos, no offense )." But why should you think that? Once you're an anime and manga fan, you're one of us.

Here's our topic for this week:

Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.

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 hve 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! 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 starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " 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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