MEGA ANSWERMAN!

by Zac Bertschy, Nov 23rd 2007


So, some of you may have noticed that there was no column last week. To make up for my absence, I'm pulling double duty this time, answering six - that's right, six - questions! Amazing, isn't it?

That's a lot of work, so we'd better get started. Hopefully I can finish this before the tryptophan in my system knocks me out.
Welcome to MEGA ANSWERMAN!

Hey Answerman, I have a trio of questions for you, that I've finally gotten off my duff to ask.

1) I'm really confused about the -Chan suffix. When I watch a lot of Anime in its original Japanese, it sounds a lot like they pronounce it like the famous Hong Kong actor. Yet in a lot of English dubs where the term is retained (Ranma/Azumanga Daioh), it sounds like they say "Chawn". Also with Shin-chan, the quick English intro, and Adult Swim commercials seem to pronounce it the former way, yet I've seen con videos on YouTube with actors like Chris Sabat saying "Shin Chawn".

Is it a po-tay-to / po-tah-to thing, or is there one correct way to say it and everyone else is saying it wrong?

2) I've been somewhat keeping up on companies' decisions to go with their High Definition format of choice. But so far, the Anime that's been released in HD has generally been "Remastered Classics". This got me wondering: Exactly how big is the HD format over in Japan? Is it as common to show TV Anime in HD like many shows over here now? I'm just wondering when we'll see more Anime originally made in HD on an ownable, HD format.

Actually, given the nature of this column and how you submit questions, I would suggest you actually had to get on your duff to ask them. That said, I'll answer these in order:

1. The proper way to pronounce that suffix is "chawn"(although I think "chän" is probably a better representation of the phonetic spelling), like you're hearing in those dubs and con videos. People are used to saying "Chan" like "Charlie Chan" or "Jackie Chan" and so the word gets mispronounced. Also, I'm not sure about your Japanese listening comprehension skills but I've never heard the suffix pronounced "Chan" like "Jackie Chan" in a Japanese language track.

It's not really a potato-potahto thing.

2. I wouldn't call the Japanese HD market "big" (although I wouldn't call the HD market "big" in any country yet, even though I'm happily HD format-neutral and frequently waste money on both Blu-ray and HD DVDs), but Blu-ray is easily winning the format war there. There's a graph here that illustrates Blu-ray recorder sales versus HD-DVD recorder sales, and you can see which one is taking off. According to a news item over at Anime on DVD, Japan's HD market is based primarily on recorder sales, since the only standalone players that are really gaining any traction are the PS3 and the XBox 360's HD add-on. Also, Japan has plenty of hi-def cable channels, just like we do.



I have been an anime fan for about 5 years now and I have went to only 2 conventions both Anime Expo. I have seen so many people clamor over pocky in the conventions like its a drug or something. In my opinion I feel its overated because really its a pretzel coverd in chocolate ya its good but does it deserve the attention it gets from anime fans.So why is pocky so popular with anime fans.

Pocky has become essentially the "mascot candy" of anime fandom - it's not that it's the most delicious or amazing thing in the world, it's simply popular because it's Japanese, shows up in anime a lot and they sell it at conventions en masse. Yeah, anime fans sometimes take it too far with the whole "POCKY IS THE GREATEST THING EVER" stuff but it's just typical fan enthusiasm.

Does it "deserve" to be as adored as it is? Well, I'm with you on the notion that it really isn't anything spectacular - although I am partial to the strawberry flavor - but even if it's not the greatest candy ever made, it's part of fan culture, something most every new anime fan generally buys into.
Hell, even anime companies tend to play it up - typically at convention panels, they'll toss Pocky out to the audience or offer it as a bonus when you make a purchase at their booth.




I have a question about screening permissions.  I'm part of a group that frequently has public anime screenings, and we generally have no trouble getting screening permission.  Lately, though, we are gettign turned down for a lot of older classics that the US distributor no longer has the screening rights to.

This opens a major can 'o' worms.

If I want to show, say, KO Beast, which Right Stuff no longer has permissions for, who else can I contact?  The Japanese studio who made it?  Even so, can it be shown then with the English dub, which I assume someone in America has the rights to?

I totally hate the idea of never being able to show a great old program just because the US distributor didn't find it worth their while keeping up the license.
 
While it's noble that you're actually getting screening permissions from the US companies that license and distribute this stuff, you have to understand that you're the exception to the general rule that nobody really cares if you show something to your anime club, especially not forgotten oldies like KO Beast, so just screen whatever you like willy-nilly. Even if you can track down the contact info for the Japanese company that owns the property, it'll take months for you to get a response, and that's if they even bother responding.

I'm not saying you shouldn't attempt to get screening permission from the US companies that own the R1 licenses, but for something like that where the rights expired, you're probably safe just screening it anyway.
The Feds aren't going to bust down your door for showing KO Beast to a few dozen people, provided you're not charging admission.

Dear Answerman, I read online that on December 1st YouTube is going to permanently remove all anime music videos. is there any truth to that?? why would YouTube do that??

Short answer: no, there's no truth to that.

This site seems to be the primary source for that "rumor" (I prefer to call it an "obnoxious lie made up by some bored fan"), and it's been discussed in a few places, including the forums on this site and a handful of blogs. Nobody was ever able to find any kind of official source on it; basically, it's like the old "sign this petition to prevent George Bush from banning anime!!" thing, which was also started by bored fans.

Speaking directly to the issue, it's a silly rumor to start anyway - 20th Century Fox can't even consistently keep Family Guy clips from being uploaded constantly to YouTube, and while anime companies have made some attempts to keep their shows off the site, the fans who upload these things are so diligent and YouTube's submission process is so open that it's virtually impossible to keep any sort of content off the site. While AMVs sometimes get knocked out when YouTube sweeps for fansubs of licensed series, I've seen nothing to suggest that they specifically pursue AMVs for deletion. Even if they did, someone would reupload the content within minutes anyway.

I'm not sure why people try to start rumors like this. Maybe they're just looking for a little attention, or they want people to get all whipped up into a frenzy (which isn't hard to do considering how there's a small but vocal contingent of fans out there tend to behave like they're desperate to be persecuted in some way, something that these rumors really feed into).
Regardless of their reason, remember to always check the source when you hear something like this being thrown around. If it smells bogus, it usually is, especially when it comes to things like this.


Why do North American dubs always cut out swearing in anime?  This buggs me because some shows are still going to be violent, bloody, or contain nudity.  It will be for older audiences anyways, but they still cut it out.  Are North American voice actors afraid to swear or something?  One example is the dub for Samurai Champloo.  There is tons of swearing in the Japanses version but none when dubbed in English.

Well, an important thing to consider is this: the "swears" you hear in the Japanese language tracks are very common, and given that common swears in Japanese are not nearly as crude as common English swears, it's difficult to properly translate them. Swearing in English is an unsubtle art, whereas directly translating these Japanese swears requires subtlety that wouldn't sound natural to an English-speaking person watching a cartoon.

That's not to say there are no swear words in the Japanese language, but the "real" swears aren't used on television. So this basically boils down to an issue of translation; American anime companies are obviously going to go for a translation that appeals to as broad an American audience as possible, so if they're preparing a show for broadcast, they're going to generally just leave the swearing out. In fansubs, where they don't have to be concerned about things like that, they usually toss in as many F-bombs as they like, even if they're not quite exact approximations of what's being said. Neither of these methods are "wrong", per se, but it all boils down to how the translator decides to interpret the word.


I have a question regarding fansubs. I know you do not like to answer questions about fansubs but I believe I have something to say that has never been said before about them. Arent fansubs protected by the first amendment? Removing them even when the series is licensed seems like censorship and supression of freedom of speech to me. The fansubbers are being silenced and their rights denied. When will the fansubbers fight back against the big corporations trying to silence them?

I said I was sick of talking about fansubs, but I've received this question in one form or another from multiple people now and I felt the need to address it; apparently it is a growing sentiment among a particular segment of fans that fansubs are a free speech issue and the discussion about them should take place in that context.

It seems silly to even have to explain this, but it's not a free speech issue at all, it's a copyright issue. The first amendment very specifically protects your right to express yourself without being held down by the man, but it doesn't mean you can
take someone else's expression and do whatever you like with it, which is what fansubs are. The amendment also very specifically limits speech that causes harm to others, and if you're taking someone else's expression - in this case, a TV show meant to be sold - and distributing it to people for free, it's pretty clear that you're in illegal territory.

The whole "free speech" thing is becoming a bit of a trend - people these days tend to use the first amendment to justify all sorts of obviously illegal things, and when the conversation is always taken in that direction, the whole discussion derails. It's kinda like Godwin's Law; the second you start comparing whatever the issue is to Nazi Germany, you've derailed the argument and likely have missed whatever point you were originally trying to make.







Sigh.

Where are your offices so I can burn them down. you will pay for destroying kodomo no jikan.

Joke's on you, buddy - we don't have a central office!



Here's a cat in a bowl.

And since it's MEGA ANSWERMAN week, here's a bonus flake!

I wish to talk to masashi kishimoto so i wish a email or a company number for a naruto fan fiction movie idea i wish to get to him

I'll get right on that, champ!



I love this photo.







Our question last week was "Which is better: anime or manga? "

Once again I got a lot of really stupid answers to this question. Most of the particularly dumb ones were from people trying too hard to look like cultured sophisticates who were ready to teach us all a lesson about high art. These people also believe using the phrase "meh" is the best way to look like an intelligent observer who cares not for such things.

Neither one. Read a book.

The answer is "music". Anime or manga? Meh.

Meh. Neither.

Meh. Anime and manga are the same. People should watch the news.

I have no answer for your question except to say "meh. neither."

Anime I guess. meh. who cares really

Followed by this guy who managed to shoot a double:

Meh. Neither. Nough said.

To inaugurate a new tradition, "Meh" is officially the "Hey Answerman Douche Phrase of the Week". Now for some other answers:

From reader Sarah Patterson:

The question posed to us readers this past week was, “Which is better, anime or manga?” What an interesting question. The two sides of a single coin, compared and contrasted against each other. So which one comes on top?


Both have the same core elements: characters, plot, visuals. But, as is true not only in the world of Japanese animation, but also in the realm of literature vs. movies, I must say that manga seems to be the dominant member of this pair. How many times have we complained when our favorite book has been slaughtered by Hollywood? Almost as many times as we've complained about the latest based-on-manga anime drivel. What is it about animation that seems to ruin the stillness of paper pages? Is it the voices, which, when not done right or well, can condemn a series in one fell swoop; the deviation from the original plot which we loved first; the art, which seems to take a step back on the priority list, many times falling short of that of its original ancestor; or is it the fact that it just seems to rush by, lacking the slow-but-steady development of characters and story we got with our paperbacks? A little bit of all, I suppose.



There's something, I think, more rewarding with a manga. The artist who makes it can put more detail, more time into his work, creating a kind of beauty that is so sadly lacking in anime. By being able to draw one panel to represent a scene vs. many stills to create a moving scene, much more effort can be put into the visuals of a manga, to the surroundings, the clothing, the architecture, the props, which all spells 'cup overfloweth' for us, the readers. Characters are deeper in the pages of graphic novels then they are on the screen; when we hold that book in our hands, we can slowly digest the progression of the story at our own pace, taking in the newest revelation, the latest twist. We can raise our heads, think about it, mull it over, swallow it and continue, giving the story the respect and thought that its creator intended for it to have. With anime, its hard to do that; to press pause seems to go against the very nature of a moving show. Its supposed to be a quick, fast package of information and drama, swiftly done and swiftly commenced. And I've seen it happen much too often that an entire manga volume has been smashed into one episode of anime, a crime in my opinion. Every chapter in a manga ought to be its own episode – that's how its meant to play out, after all. No more than two chapters to an episode would be a good policy to adopt, if anyone up there is listening.


Manga is tailored to an individual – anime is for the masses. What tends to be the cue for a manga to get remade in moving glory is when its sales soar: an indicator that it reaches a wide audience. Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, Bleach – all based on a manga series that made it big. But what about those that don't get the 'upgrade'? Are they lesser manga? Heavens no. They simply appeal to smaller audiences, and hooray for that. I've seen Bleach a million times, with different names, different characters, but under it all, the same song-and-dance. Let's forgo that and skip to some BLAME!, shall we? Ah, a breath of fresh air.


My biggest argument on the case for manga dominance is simply the depth it seems to reach. I've seen so much more come out of mangas than I have in anime – from the subject matter, which tackles everything from mourning to hope in the dark, to the characters, with their flaws and quirks and personalities. I've never had an anime take my breath away, make me gasp or marvel at the intricacy of the art, cause me to secede into a state of unawareness to the world around me because I was too caught up in the one in front of me. I've been amused and intrigued, certainly, but never truly captivated.


Now, just so that it doesn't seem like I'm too one-sided here, I'll also present a case for anime. It can do things which manga never can. The swift fury of a battle, the roars of a heated argument, the serene beauty of a world in color; manga, with its black-and-gray tones, its stillness and its silence, falls short of these things. Whereas the manga tells us the story, anime can make us part of it, putting us in a third-person view of the action. Suddenly, we're in the room – we're flying through the sky - we're part of the struggle – we're speaking from out heart – we're realizing the truth right alongside the characters. We're part of the action, and action is what anime was born to be about. Manga scratches by with dynamic angles and speed lines to convey this thought – anime simply does. I've oft been known to rewind a fight scene and play it over and over, eventually slowing down to frame-by-frame, just to take in the fluidity of it all. And color adds a sense of realism manga just can't wrap its fingers around; an iridescent glow, the sparkle of cold water, the way shadows and light play, a spark of metal against metal, the smoke and fire of a bullet fired, the blood and tears and dirt, the crowded streets, the texture of fabric, the grandeur of decorum; black-and-white can only do so much for these. With color, there is no limit. And, when done in good quality and correct casting, voice acting can add great dimension to a story. (When done badly, however... yeah.)


Also, it should be noted that (from my observation, at least) anime movies are frequently better than their made-for-television brethren; almost a happy medium between the two sides of the coin. Incorporating the depth and detail of a manga with the action and vividness of anime, the well-done anime film seems to be the swirling yin-yang of these two similar yet different entities.


In a nutshell: I suppose which is better, anime or manga, is, at its heart, a subjective question, the answer of which will will vary for each person. For this person, however, the choice is clear. In favor of depth, beauty, and and all-you-can-eat-buffet of variety, I raise my glass to manga and give it my vote of superiority. Cheers!



Another, from Brian Hornibrook:

I think both have their strengths and weaknesses. For manga, I would have to say the largest strength is the looser narrative constraints. Maybe it's just me, but that's the way it seems at least. Death Note, for instance, had much more in depth explanations with each strategic move in the manga series, while the anime sometimes neglected to go through what the characters were thinking. Overall things like this lead me to believe that they probably have less financial constraints (having to make a series 24 pages longer, as opposed to a whole 20 minute episode to fit everything, for instance), and in the end it shows in how the pacing plays out.

That's not to say anime is not without it's merits. Even the best action sequences in manga play second fiddle to the decent sequences in an anime, at least in my opinion. Battle Angel Alita? Loved it to death, but the action sequences never seemed to floor me. Even your average action scene in anime I find more entertaining than an excellent action scene from a manga series. So overall more flash and eye candy in a bit more of a condensed medium.


From Andrew Brown:

I'm going to have to say that anime is probably better than manga. It surprises me that I say that, but when I look at all the parts, anime comes out a little on top for me. Now, before I get too far into this, let me make something clear: I think that whichever came first is usually better. The way artists originally present their works is almost always purer and more accurate than when it gets changed into another format. Sure, most things start as manga and then get  turned into anime, thus tending to make more manga versions better, but that's not because of the inherent quality of the medium. There are plenty of manga adapted from shows that plenty worse than their originals. The FLCL manga comes to mind for me.

Now, assuming that we take the "one is a copy of the other" possibility out of the equation, I find that the storytelling abilities of each are about equal. In manga it is easier and more natural to display internal monologues and certain details, as you can just have it as a side bubble saying whats going on. On the other hand, anime has the addition of background music and sound effects, which can really help to get the mood across, and motion helps tie one action to the next. I can't really say one is better than the other as an artistic medium. So we go to the other pluses of anime versus manga. Manga has the extra plus of being at whatever speed you want it to be. If you want to think about something that just happened for a second, you can, and the story wont progress any faster than you let it. Sure, you could try pausing the anime and replaying, but that really isn't the same.

Anime, on the other hand, has the advantage of community. The community around these mediums has become such a huge part of it for so many people, and anime works much better in that setting. It's not really practical to sit down with abunch of friends and other fans and read a volume of manga together. But anime you just pop it in a dvd player, put everyone on a couch, and away you go. It's much easier to enjoy in a group setting, be it just some friends or a bunch of other fans at a convention.

So in the comparison between manga and anime, when I boil it down, the last two factors I get to are manga's control over the pace versus anime's community ability. And for me the community is a bigger plus, so I have to go with anime over manga.



From Creighton Hogg:

So I don't think there's any hard and fast rules here, but I wanted to throw my thoughts out there anyway.

I generally prefer anime to manga.  I think it's because I'm a music freak and tend to take a lot of emotional impact from a good soundtrack.  Compare the Berserk manga & the Berserk anime:  the manga is good, but just hearing the song Murder, from the last episode, can give me a case of the sniffles.  It's funny, I really only watch anime subtitled but if given a choice I'd still prefer reading subtitles while listening to voices over just reading the dialogue.  I don't know if that's typical, but just hearing a voice at all makes me feel more vested in the story.

The main advantage I think manga has is that the stories can be weird, experimental, & totally unconstrained by a concept of season...or even schedule.  Sure there's fun & strange anime, but from just my own experience it seems like it's easier for strange or high concept manga to get published.


From "Ruby Slasher":

I think manga is better. The stories are less time restrained, and you're able to focus and read over every moment at your own pace, whereas the same scene in an anime would be non-present, rushed or far longer. It's also a bit annoying how often times an anime scene will feature a motionless character or a close-up of their eyes for extended lengths of time. In a manga these scenes would be confined to one or two frames, and you can naturally go right past them. I do love anime, and watch it a lot, but I just love manga much more because it fits into your own perception, not someone else's.


Finally, from Forrest Sayrs:

This is clearly a loaded question.  You cannot possibly answer it in a objective way, as everyone is going to have their preferences based, not only on their media choice, but also on their experience.  Someone who has been forced to watch years of Dragonball, and suddenly discovers a brilliant manga, they are more likely to want to read more manga than see more anime.

That being said, I prefer manga to anime, if only because of its artistic superiority.  Don't believe me?  Just look at the manga and anime version of the series, Maho Sensei Negima.  The original manga, written and drawn by Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, A.I. Love You) is a brilliant comedy with dramatic moments and a great concept.  The artwork is full of delicious details, like in the first school scene where a two page panel full of rushing students, all of which are fully realized and individually detailed.

The same scene in the anime features only the main characters in full detail, and makes no attempt to even show the other students.  I do realize that this is because of budget constraints, and that no anime can ever look as good as a well drawn manga, color notwithstanding. Despite this, my anime collection is far greater in both size and scope than my manga collection.  Anime is a more engaging medium for most people.  It captivates by giving life to the story from the manga.

Some anime can even come close in quality to the original manga. Death Note is an excellent example of this, where unique camera cuts and excellent musical choices brought to life a great story, complimented by brilliant animation.  There are also series that have no foundation in manga and stand on their own as unique works of art. Last Exile is an excellent example of this, and while some may say that that particular storyline was lacking, the artwork and style holds up as some of the most beautiful animation in the last ten years.

So while I prefer manga, and read it whenever I can, anime is a far more accessible media.  Doesn't make it better.  And I certainly won't stop enjoying both.

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!

See you all next week!


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