Hey, Answerman!

by Zac Bertschy,

Well, I had an ambitious special column planned for this week but I ran out of time so we'll have that special column next week. As for now, it's business as usual.

HOORAY! Business as usual!

Back in the days of say, before the dotcom era, they used to release hentai anime with adult film actresses playing characters that were seemingly important to the storyline (if there was one). Do they still do that nowadays, or was that just a trend of that era?

I'm not too big on hentai so I did a little (ahem) research on this one.

Based on what I could tell, the hentai side of the anime industry has been hit by hard times just like the anime industry has (and just like the porn industry has since the internet boom). But the only company that hired real porn actresses to do hentai dubs was NuTech, which is now out of business. For a while there they were using their connections in the porn industry - NuTech was located in Van Nuys, California - and the lure of an easy work day that didn't involve actually being gang banged - to bring in porn actresses that they could promote on the cover of the DVD as an added bonus for hentai fans who get a two-for-one masturbation deal; they can jerk it to the images AND to the voices they recognize!

It didn't last, though, as NuTech's shady business dealings sent the company down in flames. A few other companies apparently dabbled in this practice but nobody ever really comitted to it - there are a few good marketing reasons to do it and a hundred reasons not to. For one, the entire porn industry in America is essentially located in California, and you'd have to record in Los Angeles, which is expensive. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is that most name-brand porn stars have exclusive contracts with their respective studios and wouldn't be able to appear in other titles, nor would they be able to use their name or their image to promote the DVD, which sort of negates the entire purpose of hiring them in the first place. Basically, hiring real porn stars to dub hentai is a giant pain in the ass (and no, not for that reason, you sicko).

Thanks to Justin Sevakis for helping me out with this one. The man knows his porn! (Sorry Justin, couldn't help it.)

A while back I started getting interested in the Captain Harlock series,thanks to watching it as Albator(bleh name)on the French CBC and was also fortunate to find "Arcadia of My Youth"at one of my local Dollaramas.Now I was able to find some of an English-dubbed version of the '78 series on YouTube and really enjoyed it.Now here is my question.Is there currently or have there been any plans to release an English dub on DVD?Or is there someone I can contact about that?I feel that this would be a must-have for Harlock fans.

Not that I know of and I have to say, in this industry environment, I think the odds of classic anime like the original Captain Harlock being released on DVD are slim to none. Companies that experimented with classic titles in the past generally got burned - it just doesn't sell in any sort of quantity that would justify the cost. I get a lot of letters from people wondering when [X] ancient anime series will be released here, and frankly the answer is always the same - it probably won't. Maybe some startup company run by fans with more passion than judgment will license a bunch of old titles for standard DVD release, but I doubt that. You might see some other attempts - using alternative distribution methods, a'la ImaginAsian's recently deceased Anime Classics line, or someone trying digital distribution, which seems like the smartest approach right now. But a standard Best Buy-style DVD release? No way.

This was a topic of discussion among me and my parent friends. What do you think about families who raise their child in the fandom? Cute, harmless and expected from parents who share that interest or bad for child development? Do you see it as forcing anime fandom on a child? Are you against it?

To be completely honest, I have conflicting beliefs on this one.

On one hand, it's their kid - they can raise 'em however they want. It's not my place to dictate how someone should raise their children. Especially since I don't have kids. I only have a pet bunny rabbit. To my credit I have never forced her to dress in a costume and then proceeded to trot her around a convention like a show pony. Show bunny, I guess.

At the same time I have to wonder if people who are so obsessed with video games and cartoons that they theme their weddings like this:

Are really fit to raise children like responsible adult
s? If you're so in to The Legend of Zelda that you feel like it's such an important part of your personality and identity that you need to cosplay at your god damn wedding, maybe you shouldn't have kids just yet.

Really there are two kinds of child cosplayers; there are the little kids who are having fun, like it's Halloween II, where their parents aren't really dressed up very much and it's clear they're doing this for their children, who enjoy the camera attention. Then there's the two parents who are in full-on cosplay outfits and are dragging around some poor crying 7-year old who's been stuffed into a Naruto outfit. The former is fine, the latter kinda sucks. Actually it sucks a lot since the rest of us have to hear your kid screaming and crying and not only is it annoying, it's saddening and troublesome because it's not your kid's fault, it's yours.

Honestly though I think nerd couples who have kids who involve their toddlers and elementary-aged children in their fandom are fine, so long as they're not pushy about it and allow the child to develop his or her own interests. It boils down to personal growth and development, and if when they're 10 and they'd rather watch High School Musical 3 than whatever anime you're interested in you encourage them to do so and don't act like a douchebag about it, that's fine.

Then again I think most nerds who were normal enough to get laid and keep a spouse know enough about basic human interaction to not scream at their children when they want to watch Spongebob instead of Haruhi Suzumiya. I could be wrong, though. Especially if you had a Zelda-themed wedding.

No flake this week, just a bunny.

This bunny knows how to get the raisins.

Here's last week's question:

From Drew Boucer:

There is no set value. If I was forced to give a maximum value, I would say 10 dollars. Of course a price like that would only be reserved for OAV episodes in there highest quality form. The fact is that not all anime are created equal, so there prices should not be equal. I would pay 60 dollars for Gunbuster, but not even half as much for Ninja Nonsense, eveh Nonsense has 20 more episodes. Of course, any pricing scheme I could come up with wouldn't work too well. I have very biased tastes, the prices would be based purely on quality, and some anime would get too expensive.

From The Vok:
There are a few ways to value this, depending on whether I'm just watching an episode or buying an episode. These days, I do a lot more watching than buying.

There's not much anime on TV in Canada, but when there is a show I like, I tend to value it enough to ensure I'm subscribing to the channel it's on. I did this for G4, for example, when shows like Last Exile and Black Lagoon were running. It's hard to calculate the cost per episode, though, as I'm subscribing to TV anyway.

For the most part, I rent anime DVDs from Zip.ca. (And I prefer the subtitles option this entails anyway.) This averages out to maybe $3 per disc. Given there are usually between 4 and 5 episodes per disc, this is a comparative bargain; I'm watching episodes for around 60 to 75 cents each.

Occasionally, Zip doesn't have what I'm looking for, so I head to a bricks-and-mortar rental outlet. There's one downtown that's exclusively anime, so while it's out of the way for me, it's quite reliable. A $5 rental means I'm paying about $1 to $1.25 per episode.

If I buy a series, I'm willing to pay a lot more, anywhere between $2 to $5 per episode. But I don't buy often at all. I'm more interested in seeing a huge variety of shows once through each than in seeing a couple of shows over and over again.

I haven't gotten into paying to watch or download anime online. It's probably just a matter of time; I'd certainly love the convenience. But so far, there seems to be little in the way of legit subtitled releases ... and watching TV on my computer screen is low enough quality in itself that I'm not sure I'm willing to pay much for it. I watch 'Mad Men' this way because CTV streams it for free; I'm okay with ads helping make that happen.

But hey, I'm in my mid-30s. I should consider DVDs in the mail revolutionary enough

From Fake Japanese Name:

How much would I pay for a single episode of anime?  Well, that would depend on the show in question.  For my favourite shows that aren't available in R1, I will gladly pay R2 prices.  For a show like Oniisama e (Brother, Dear Brother), that works out to around $15 an episode.  And it's totally worth it because the quality of the storytelling is top-notch.  But of course there are truckloads of anime out there that I wouldn't pay a dime for simply because I have no interest in them (I also don't download fansubs).

Then there are the anime that fall in between.  I like to save money as much as the next person, so I generally look for good deals and preorder discounts when buying R1 shows.  Prices can vary widely depending on whether the show is released in collection or singles format, so, for example, Maria-sama ga Miteru (thinpak collection) cost me $2.80/ep and Kyo Kara Maoh! (singles) ran me approx $4/ep.

So, in general, if I like a show, I'm willing to pay whatever the R1 companies are asking as long as it's reasonable (and with discounts).  And if I can't live without an R2-only series like Gokinjo Monogatari,  I'm willing to shell out the big bucks.

From Rednal:

Subtitled, oh, about a dollar. At least, that's a price I wouldn't mind paying per episode for a subtitled box set. As with most fans I know, I am of the general opinion that anime in America is extremely expensive as it is. Without the need to pay voice actors, though, I believe the cost could be reasonably reduced; I mean, a 24-26 episode series, subtitled only, for about twenty-five dollars? I would pay that and think it a good deal.

Voiced, maybe... I'd like to say $2, but truthfully, it's more like $3.125, about half the current rate. I understand there are production costs, and this is one of the reasons anime is on the expensive side as a hobby. As a consumer, though, I don't think what's being offered is often worth the price currently charged. This is the reason why Fate/Stay Night is the only complete series I own. I could afford to buy more anime if I were to give up on manga, but sadly, the selection in Region 1 isn't actually that great where I shop, and pales in comparison even more so to what's available online. R1 releases tend to come out a long time after the show has aired in Japan, and often at a relatively slow rate of a DVD every two or three months, and this just isn't able to meet my needs as a consumer. This is why, to me, localized anime is worth at most half the price asked for on the shelf. The selections are mediocre in terms of selection, slow in terms of release, and much more trouble to obtain. I'd be more than happy to buy subtitled-only box sets; I love anime, and enough that I'm not satisfied with just what businesses decide to bring to America. Make available the kind of series I like; 'Kyouran Kazoku Nikki', for example, or 'Zettai Karen Children', subtitled-only. A little over three dollars is what I believe voiced anime is worth, but that doesn't mean I want to pay it. I like both quantity and quality for anime, and I'm totally willing to forego hearing it in English if that means I can enjoy the series at all. Look at how popular Fansubs are, and I think my point's been made. And that's from people who do it as a hobby; imagine what doing it for business would be like.

Got a little off-topic there, but I didn't think it would be right to totally explain how much anime is worth to me without going into the reasons behind it.

From Ani Ben:

Well, I believe that some cheap anime series is worth... nothing. Why? Well, even a couple of otakus between a pirated copy of Flash MX and a whole bunch of spare time can pull off what some animators in Japan have accomplished... in other words, the cream of the crap.

From Patrick Schulz:

Well, the question is somewhat weighted.  It really matters where in the series the episode is pulled from, and how long the series.  For example, the first twenty or so episodes of InuYasha are pretty damn inportant, as they establish the core of the series.  Other episodes(Miroku's introduction, or the revelation of who Naraku really is) are also important.  But the series has a lot (A LOT) of fluff in it that can safely be skipped.

Other series are structured well enough that each episode can stand on it's own.  Gunslinger Girl, for example.  Each episode can stand on it's own, and there's enough information in each episode that it makes sense.

Still others are structured such that you need to hit certain key episodes to know what's going on, but others could stand on their own as a good example of the series flavor.  Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a very good example of this, even labeling episodes as whether or not they are part of the main storyline.

Finally, in some series, each episode is linked, and if you miss one, you miss something important.  Best example I can give of this is Witch Hunter Robin.  If you miss an episode, you won't have an answer to an event later on, sometimes 4-5 episodes down the line.

So, if you didn't want to read all of that, I will short summary.  Other than the first few episodes of a series, the individual episodes importance depends on the length of the series, and its story structure.

From Tim Peters:

A single episode of anime is worth exactly the expense it took to produce it. Whether the expenses be in animation, writing, music, or voice acting.

That's how much it's *worth*. Another question is, how much it should cost? The cost of the episode can be calculated like this: P should be equal to the amount of people who would like to see the episode and would pay it. The cost of the episode should be the worth divided by P.

Of course, every episode of anime has a different "per person cost"...could be 10, 5, 2, or 30 dollars, depending on how spectacularly done or niche it is. But it's important to point out what the cost is determined by: It's not determined by what "I" want to pay for it. It's determined by external factors, of studio expense and market appeal.

Finally, from Kenneth Thornhill.

I personally think that there should be a formula for how much one episode of anime should cost, depending on your area. You go to the nearest street corner / pimp, and ask him what the going rates are for one half-hour. If that is not a long enough segment of time, ask for the least higher multiple and divide by said multiple. In this way, you find out what one half-hour would conceivably cost. That would be how much an episode of anime would be worth, since it provides the same amount of time for being entertained. Of course, like prostitutes, there are different levels of animes, some of which have better endurance, last longer, are more skillfully executed, or are just overall better and easier on the eyes as you go through the event of... watching it. There is also the possible factor of who made said product you are using for your enjoyment. Better directors, artists, or parents inevitably yield better results.


P = Pimp's quoted price per half hour = price of anime episode
T = Segment of time quoted from said pimp, in minutes
X = multiple of thirty minutes
Q = Universal Quality Constant, 6.67x10^-11 (aka the Universal Gravitational Constant - the constant used in the equation to measure the attraction between two masses)
R = Rating out of 10, from popular opinion.
C = Creator rating out of 10, from popular opinion ^ 11th power.

It comes out to quite a simple formula.

P = ((T/X)CR)/Q

The prices might be a bit steep, but I blame the Pimps.


So here's the question 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!

Howl's Moving Castle © Nibariki * GNDDDT

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