Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Normally in the introduction space here I talk about something unrelated to anime or the rest of the column, but this week I've got nothin'. So let's just get on with this painful charade.

dear Answerman, what do you think of sites like saveouranime.com, that tell anime fans to buy anime to save the anime industry, are they effective or not?

I think as the whole gloom-and-doom atmosphere settles over the year we're going to see more and more of these sorts of "advocacy groups", created by a certain group of fans, in an attempt to fight the notion that anime consumers are just a bunch of leeches or to try and convince people who download everything that they need to start paying for anime in order to save the industry from collapse.

Honestly, I don't think they're going to have any impact at all.

I don't think there are a whole lot of "undecideds" when it comes to anime fans and their attitudes about downloading. Sure, you might get a handful of converts who previously downloaded 18 shows a week and now only buy R1 DVDs (or at least they'll claim to on the internet) but otherwise most people seem to know where they stand. Normally an advocacy group starts because awareness is down; not enough people know about an important issue, so a bunch of concerned citizens band together to get the word out. I would argue that right now this issue is probably the most visible among anime fans. It gets argued to death on every forum I can think of and rarely do you get someone who actually says "Well, I'm not sure about this downloading thing". It's either "anime should be free" or "buy everything on DVD" or "download some, buy what you like" or "download only what you intend to buy", or any other variety of stances that have been pretty clearly laid out. Starting up a website that makes an argument everyone who's likely to read it has already heard a zillion times and has already argued either for or against isn't doing much good.

That's not to rag on them too much. They're just stating their case in an organized manner and trying to do what they think is right. I just don't really believe they're going to have any real impact at all.

Why do some fans get so mad about their favorite shows. It seems like some people get really mad if you say you dont like their favorite anime and they fight with you about it. It makes no sense and it makes everyone mad at eachother.

It's pretty simple, really; most people internalize their favorite movies and TV shows and music and books to the point where they perceive any "attack" on those things as a personal assault, as though saying "this cartoon isn't very good" is akin to saying "you're an awful, stupid person who enjoys eating babies if you like this series". It gets completely out of hand sometimes, to the point where any criticism leveled at a series is taken so personally by its crusaders that they're incapable of seeing any flaws in the show itself, even ones that are obvious to casual observers or people who don't have some dogmatic mission to hate on the show. It's a fog that many people succumb to, one that obscures critical thinking, discourages honesty and in many cases makes the crusader come across as someone who takes themselves far, far too seriously.

There's really no getting around this and it isn't only anime fans guilty of behaving this way; fans of everything are like this too. I can understand taking (extremely) mild offense when someone slams a movie or a band you really love, but it's important to remember, they're not insulting you (unless they are, in which case they're being douchebags), they're commenting on a media artifact. If you didn't actually make the show or sing the song they didn't like, it doesn't make any sense to get
all up in arms and act like they just called your mother a whore.

Ultimately though I think the worst side-effect of this attitude is the complete inability of some people to be honest with themselves about the things they love. It's as though the ancient cliche "nothing's perfect" doesn't apply to the cartoons they like; it's immaculate, and anyone who says otherwise is attempting to hurt them personally. It really does shut down intelligent conversation about media. I can't talk about what I don't like about [SHOW X] because the guy who does like it isn't interested in actually talking to me about the series, he just wants to grandstand and whine about how he's being oppressed because I don't like his preferred cartoon. At the same time, it makes it difficult for someone to talk about why they did like [SHOW X] because there'll be a bunch of people who hate it so much they'll accuse you of just being a "fanboy" who can't be reasonable about its flaws. Annoying stuff.

Warning: self-indulgent question approaching!

Do you work in an office? What do the ANN offices look like?

Actually, Anime News Network doesn't have an office. We are literally a global network of people working from their home offices; we have folks in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan, among other places. I live in Southern California, as do a few other people who work for us, but we're really spread out.

Here's my home office:

Forgive the unbundled wires and undusted shelf. I usually try to keep it tidy; after all, I spend most of my day here. As for other ANN staffers, I've only ever really seen the office of Bamboo, which has enough anime DVDs stuffed into every corner that it would make even Chris Beveridge choke (actually, that's not true, having seen even a single photo of a fraction of Beveridge's monstrous collection).

You may note there are no anime DVDs or manga around my work area. They're all kept on a shelf across the room, where they wait patiently in stacks to be mailed out to our team of critics.

Right now there's not much, as you can clearly see.

This concludes our tour. Please make sure to visit our gift shop on your way out.

Well, he's got me on this one.

noobs who buy anime are suckers and u are a sucker 2

consider urself pwned by the master

I just informed my family to engrave "pwned by the master" on my tombstone.

They're scheming something. I just know it.

Here's last week's question:

First, from "BChasm":

Of the series I've seen, the one with the most disappointing ending was Gilgamesh.

I know others will mention Mahoromatic or Neon Genesis Evangelion, and those were certainly bad endings.  But you can watch all but the last DVD of Mahoromatic and have a nice romantic comedy.  And as for Evangelion, I personally had ceased to care about the characters long before they started congratulating each other.

Gilgamesh was different, though.  It was a show that moved through darkness, bit by bit revealing the humanity that has to drive all human endeavors.  It had a great deal to say about how people relate to each other, and how we learn to trust and cherish one another.  It was a humane story about humans, about winning the world back from the darkness.  And while watching I was convinced that it was one of the true masterpieces, not just in the anime world but of storytelling in general.

Until the last ten-to-twelve minutes of the last episode, that is.  Then the whole thing crashed down on itself, completely wiping out everything that had gone before.  Everything I thought the show was trying to say was annihilated.  The ending of Gilgamesh literally stunned me; I tried to explain it away for a day or so before realising it was an ending far beyond Mahoromatic or Evangelion, simply because what had come before was so marvelous.

Unlike Mahoromatic, you couldn't just skip the last few episodes.  Unlike Evangelion, I cared about the characters and wanted to see them triumph. 

I guess no one else did, though.  I'd love to watch the show again--it's that good.  But I never want to see that ending again.

From "Orbi-Anne":

Kare Kano. I adore that series, I'll even easily say it is the perfect romantic comedy. The last few episodes were a little disappointing- the episode about Yukino's little sister and the cut-out episode especially. The ending though . . . just awful. The first time I watch it, the disc ended and I really wondered why my last disc didn't have the last episode till I realized that was the end. I know several people who actually like the ending, but I really like something to huge to happen in finales. "Life goes on" type of finales just don't cut it for me.

From Johnathan M Davis:

What's the most disappointing ending to an anime series I've ever seen? Fullmetal Alchemist. There's no question about it. (Word of warning: if you haven't seen the entirety of the FMA series and the FMA movie, then this is going to be rather spoilery for you).

Okay, so FMA is a great series. It's goes great right up to the end. But then there's the end. The bad guy is defeated. Al has his body back. That's great, but there are a couple of problems. Al doesn't remember any of the events of the entire series. What's with that?!! Imagine that happening to a character in another anime that you like. It would border on complete stupidity. It almost begs the question of what the point of them going through everything that they just went through was when they don't even remember it. It just seems stupid.

In addition to this, Ed is now stuck in the "real" world. So, Ed isn't with any of his friends or family (except for his Dad who he doesn't exactly like anyway) or anyone that he knows and loves. He can't do alchemy in the "real" world either. He's been robbed of one of the coolest parts of the series.  The only thing that he's got going for him is that he's alive in spite of just sacrificing himself to get his brother his body back. His situation is just not good.

Now, as bad as this is, we have the movie. For those who didn't know about the movie, it's got to have been pretty painful to see the show end that way, but if you knew about the movie, then you knew that there was a chance for them to fix it.

Okay, now the movie comes along. It goes pretty well. It has an interesting plot. You get to see most of the old characters. There's some exciting stuff in it. Unfortunately however, you spend a lot of the movie in the "real" world where there's no alchemy, and while the plot is fairly good, they really needed more time to develop it properly. But all that aside, the movie was fairly good - until the end.

So, the new set of bad guys was defeated. That's good. Al has his memory back. Even better! One of the big problems at the end of the show is solved. However, now instead of having one main character stuck in the "real" world away from everyone he knows and loves, we now have TWO people stuck in the "real" world. Granted, Ed and Al are together - which is great - but it seems to me like you just made the ending situation of the show twice as bad. Instead of having one person where he doesn't belong, you now have two people where they don't belong. This is definitely not an improvement.

The situation is, of course, sad for everyone involved, but personally, I think that it's worst for Winry. The guy that she's in love with and has been waiting for for 2 years is now permanently beyond her reach. Imagine waiting for 2 years for the person you love to come home, have them come home just long enough to say hello, and then have them die on you. That's more or less what happened. Granted, Ed's alive, but she's never going to see him again

All it would have taken to fix this fiasco would have been to have Ed and Al on the Amestris side of the portal when the movie ended. With that one change, the ending would have been great. They would have fixed the problems with the ending of the show and brought FMA to a great end. But no, the writer's didn't choose to go that way. The excuse (within the story at least) is that they need to destroy the portal from both sides. Now, even saying that that's true (in spite of the fact that the portal had to be opened from both sides for it to work in the first place), all it would have taken would be to have Ed head back to the "real" world like he did (maybe even still have Al tag along like he did) and then instead of declaring that they were going to destroy the portal, they would give the people in the "real" world the appropriate instructions to destroy it and then hop a ride on another rocket to head home. Ending fixed. Everyone's back together again. It would have been great. It would have been so simple. But that's not the way the writer's decided to do it.

If it weren't for the terrible ending, FMA would probably be my favorite anime series, but the ending just ruins it. I always find it amazing how a bad ending can so easily ruin a great series, but that's certainly what happens here. This was actually the first time I've actually been angry with how a series has ended. I've been disapointed with the endings of series before, but never angry. I was disappointed with the ending of the show itself, but I had hope for the movie. I waited for months for the movie. But instead of fixing it and bringing it to a great - perhaps even brilliant - conclusion, they made it even worse. As such - for me at least - FMA easily has the most disappointing ending of all time for any series that I've seen - Anime or otherwise.

From Daniel:
Personally the most disappointing ending I've experienced in an anime series is the ending to Mahoromatic Season 2. After following the wacky over the top ecchi series for 25 very bubbly episodes mixed with some over the top action, I was faced with an ending that resulted in the disappearance of the main female lead. The episode then followed bitter life there after of the male lead and the final reappearance of the female lead right at the end of the male leads life spent hunting the female leads kind.

Now this was back when I first was really getting into anime as more then a passing "Ow thats cool!" and more as a deeply devoted fan. In the middle of my late teens I found this raunchy little harem series to be very interesting and a great laugh. To be let down by the makers of the series with such a horrible ending made me feel bitter about the series and I still don't like watching the second season because of it.

This may be a very cliche bad ending but for me personally it was the worst I experienced for it was out of the blue and horribly juxtaposed on the series main feel. The attempt to make up for it right at the end of the main leads life by Mahoro appearing at his death was just wrong.

Finally, from like a billion people:


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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