Hey, Answerman!by Brian Hanson,
Welcome back to Answerman! Sorry I had to take a week off. Things get in the way of other things in especially thing-like ways. But first: something I need to address.
I am a giant douche.
Or, rather, I'm a giant douche and I have some corrections!
Despite my title, "Answerman" doesn't always have all the answers. That's why I have people around I can source in case I'm not sure about something, in order to make sure that I'm giving the most accurate responses possible. I'm not all-knowing. I'm just a dude, at the end of the day. So, on some occasions, I will be sort of sure on something but not quite 100 percent sure and I'll make the mistake of going ahead and charging like a ram through the brick wall of accuracy with my wholly incorrect response, humiliating myself in front of my readers and my editors and lawyers and whoever else lies within the 180-mile blast radius of shame.
So, a few weeks ago somebody asked this question:
So my question is about Dub actors. I had thought all entertainers had to be part of some guild or union. Is this the case with voice actor's? And if they are, don't they have to be properly credited in everything they do?
And I'm going to go ahead and re-answer this question, CORRECTLY this time!
No, not all actors need to be part of a union. Ditto for the productions themselves. However, once a production decides to align themselves as a union production, it's a union production across the entire globe. And once those productions are officially sanctioned union productions, they are strictly forbidden to hire any non-union talent. And once an actor officially joins the Screen Actors Guild, they are equally forbidden to work on any non-union shows.
So, to sometimes skirt these strict union guidelines, oftentimes union actors will pick up extra work on non-union shows by working under pseudonyms. It's risky for both parties - the production could face costly legal ramifications by SAG itself, and the actor could face expulsion from the union and wind up losing necessities such as their health insurance. Typically, though, this is an issue that's almost exclusive to New York and Los Angeles - and that's because, by and large, the only place to really make a living as an actor are, well, New York and Los Angeles, so SAG's influence is much more pronounced than elsewhere.
...There. Hopefully I can get through this next batch of questions with much less wrong-ness. Coming up: Risky hedge funds, and why they're a surefire investment winner! Are peanuts actually nuts, or legumes? How about neither!
Look at this whois report: http://whois.domaintools.com/gintama-movie.com
That domain has been registered by Warner Bros.
I have three questions:
1. Does this mean Warner Bros. is making a Gintama movie? The anime hasn't even licensed in the US yet.
2. Why does Warner Bros want to do this?
3. Would the bright and comedic tone in the manga/anime make the film a general male-skewing comedy ala the films of Judd Apatow?
I have three responses!
1) No. Never. All this means is that there's a possibility of a Gintama movie maybe being made. Maybe. All that's confirmed right now is that Warner Bros. is squatting on the domain name. And you can bet your inheritance that they're sitting on the domain for more than just Gintama - if you were to go through every domain owned by Warner Bros. in regards to creating a movie adaptation, you'd have a list dozens of pages long.
2) Warner Bros. wants to do this in case they decide to actually go ahead and make that movie. Which is unlikely. Don't forget, though, that Warner Bros. has an overseas production arm in Japan. They produced the live-action Death Note movies, for example. And they've even released a few anime films, too. The possibility of a Gintama film being produced and released in Japan is a much likelier scenario, in my estimation.
3) I would totally watch a Gintama movie starring Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill. If only because it's precisely the sort of casting that would set the internet ablaze with the fires of irrational hatred. HOW DARE HOLLYWOOD SULLY THE SUBLIME COMEDY AND SHARP WIT OF GINTAMA WITH LOWBROW MOVIE ACTORS, BLURRR, et cetera. It would be glorious.
Er, in seriousness: Gintama is a goofy show, steeped in Japanese culture and, especially, Japanese language. Gintama has its fans, but it's nowhere near the top of the Shonen Jump totem pole, popularity-wise. Unless a big name like Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg wants to make a Hollywood Gintama movie as their next pet project, I doubt this thing will ever move beyond a domain registration. At least in the US, anyway. I wish it the best of luck; from what I've read of the manga, Gintama is a handsomely-drawn and amusing series.
a lot of abridged anime parodies seem to be poping up on youtube.com, a lot are hilarious.
these little 9min to 10min videos seem to be perfect for adult swim what with all the 11 min shows like aqua teen hunger force and robot chicken.
so my question is : what are the chances that these shows getting picked up by adult swim or any tv network for that matter?
Yikes, no! Good sweet God in heaven, no. I mean, I understand that humor is the most subjective of all artforms, but... those "Abridged Series" things make me laugh about as much as cancer surgery, or Jeff Dunham. It's 9 to 10 minutes of lame, lazy meta-humor and bleeped-out curse words.
"Hey Yugi! Isn't this thing I'm doing totally lame?"
"Totally right, ****face!"
"My hair is spiky! That's so ****ing goofy!!"
And it goes on and on and on like that until I start bleeding internally.
Anyway, personal taste aside! No, don't expect those things to end up on Adult Swim, ever. And not just because I'm being a pedantic snob and I don't like them, and not just because they're a big ball of copyright infringement - "Abridged Series" videos are made for one group of people only: the people that already watched the shows they're abridging. Which is great for YouTube, but Adult Swim is a relatively successful network with a handful of high-rated original shows. I'm sure they'd much rather spend their time and money investing in new programming, instead of devoting 11 minutes of their precious airtime towards making fun of anime. They do that enough on their forums and in their commercials.
Hey Brian, why do anime fans refer to themselves as nerds? I've heard many anime fans say that. There were anime fans that I knew that proudly called themselves nerds, I hear anime fans call themselves nerds on the forums, and I've even heard the ANN staff call themselves nerds. Call me naive, but I thought nerd was supposed to be offensive. I'm an anime fan, but I don't refer to myself as a nerd. I don't like to be called a nerd. I don't even look like a nerd. I have never been called a nerd. How can people like being called a nerd? Why do they label themselves like that? I've always thought of nerds to be like the Krelboynes in Malcolm in the Middle. So, what's with the whole nerd thing?
Again, I can only speak for myself on this matter, but to me, it's simple: I know for certain, for 100 percent fact, that I am an absolute nerd. I have a giant Patlabor 2 wallscroll hanging over my bed. Of course, my nerdiness isn't exclusive to just anime; I know more than most human beings would ever care to know about Looney Tunes, I'm a total spaz for weird indie music like Grandaddy and Destroyer, and I buy bootleg Street Fighter II t-shirts from eBay.
I'll tell you why *I* don't mind being called a nerd: It's because I know that I'm not above it. At the risk of sounding like an After School Special, being a nerd doesn't make me any less or any more of a person than anyone else. Being a "nerd" these days has less and less to do with the typical "nerd" stereotypes of yore - the pock-marked, mouth-breathing, glasses-wearing, poorly-dressed, dumpy person with substandard hygeine - than it does with the simple enthusiasm and passion that "nerds" feel towards their varyingly nerdy hobbies. We are all Nerd Brethren, and We Are Legion.
I mean, if somebody called me an obsessive, creepy loser *as well as* a nerd, that might upset me a bit. And really, to me, it's the intent of the word that instills meaning, rather than the word itself. "Nerd" is hardly an insult these days, but if some meatheaded angry lout randomly decided to walk up to me and shout that I'm a "****in' nerd," I'd probably feel insulted, though I have *just enough* confidence in myself to walk it off as no big thing. I might dwell on it a moment to wonder if I've done anything to look the part of a "****in' nerd", then discard that notion and go along my merry nerd way.
So, to summarize: being into nerdy things does not necessarily make one a nerd, but it sure does help. And even so, big deal! Being a nerd doesn't carry the tremendous social stigma it once had. I mean, sure, you can be a smelly antisocial nerd that nobody likes, but nobody likes you more for the smelly and antisocial parts, rather than the nerd parts. Also: we all got picked last for kickball, we all had to tape our glasses together when the bullies in second grade pushed us to the ground at recess, and there's a certain, strange part of our brain that secretly thinks pewter dragons are cool.
Editor's note: one more correction this week; a few weeks back this question popped up in the column:
Hello, my Name is Rodrigo and im from Brazil.
Right now I'm a Hobby 3D Artist and I'm thinking to make the 4th opening of Full Metal Alchemist in 3D in HD. ( the one with the Rewrite song )
I want to make a video as a fan tribute... there is no money involved in this personal project. And no lucrative intentions as well. So, I want to know is, do I need some kind of authorization ? All I want is to make this video and post it on Youtube for people to see it. Just to keep things clear, i work for no studio at the moment... I'm still a CG Student.
Again, I will not spend any money on this... and will not gain any money for making it as well...
so, can i make it and post it? or what i need to do?
The original answer was removed because we simply didn't have enough information to verify its accuracy. Since then we have (mostly) cleared it up. Here is a revised answer:
While we don't know who holds the rights to Fullmetal Alchemist in Brazil, what you're talking about unfortunately most likely would not fall under ‘fair use’ rules – you're taking part of the original work (in this case, the theme song, character designs, etc) and using them in a “new work”, which would apparently be considered a “derivative work,” and based on the information we got from an expert, you would not be allowed to distribute your derivative work without permission from the copyright owner(s). So you can make it, but you can't distribute it. Keep in mind we are not experts ourselves and this is not to be considered legal advice.
That said, we also got some information about copyright laws in Brazil, and while they remain fairly murky, it doesn't look like there's a “fair use” exception in their laws. So you should probably be safe rather than sorry and do something a bit more original for your project – remember, using entire theme songs or copyrighted characters could get you in trouble.
It comes with the Answerman crown (yes, there is a crown) that it's a given that you'll receive a bevy of mail every week asking you very direct questions about other products and/or services that you have no direct control over. I ignore these, typically.
I'm trying to purchase a subscription to Newtype magazine…help.
It's the sad, pitiful-sounding "help" at the end that nearly killed me. I imagine it sounding like the voice of Grandpa Simpson.
It's time once again for me to shut my big lousy incorrect piehole and turn the mic over to you! The readers in general. Here was the question I posed to the masses some two weeks ago:
Rednal begins the festivities by suggesting that we all should just, like, like each other:
No fan I know believes that relationships in real life are exactly like those in anime. Well... not harem anime, anyway. I think some Shoujo series are surprisingly realistic about how relationships go, to the point that some people might use them as reference material. I think part of the problem here is that there are many different sorts of anime series out there, some of which have relationships that are more plausible than others. The latest moe-harem (say, Sora no Otoshimono) isn't going to have especially realistic relationships and is mostly just fanservice and comedy, but something like Kobato very well could be realistic, perhaps enough to study seriously. It all depends on what you're watching. Looking at the average, though... I'd have to say that what anime promotes is an ideal, though not necessarily an unrealistic one; things work best if you both like each other.
Mark says you're doomed, everyone:
First of all, anyone who takes their cues about relationships from the mass media, be it anime, Hollywood romantic comedies, sitcoms, hentai, the Saw movie franchise (except Saw 3 of course) or police procedurals, are doomed to be disappointed. DOOMED! It's just escapist fare, all of it, escaping from the reality that people are complex, annoying, lovable creatures that will drive you batshit insane.
That said, anime does a very good job in presenting the entire pageantry of human relationship follies and is in ways very much a progressive force.
One area where anime shines, at least the most popular anime among American audiences, is in the way it depicts the equality between the sexes. Look at the way women are portrayed in Naruto. All of the female characters are tough fighters, Sakura, the lead female character and "love interest" has kicked Naruto's butt many times. The town of Hidden Leaf itself is run by the very powerful kunoichi Tsunade-sama, who was an equal part of a 3 person team of genius ninjas. The very popular Bleach, while it too often relies on the damsel in distress storyline for my taste (I'm looking at you Rukia in the first arc and Orihime in the current arc) is also full of strong female characters who are treated as equals by the male characters. Other good examples are Major Katsunagi from Ghost In the Shell, Revy and Balalaika from Black Lagoon, Eureka and Talho from Eureka Seven, and Rei and Asuka from Evangelion, women who more then match the men around them.
Anime is also very progressive in it's depiction of non-standard relationships, be they men who love men (Antique Bakery), women who love women (Aoi Hana), men who love robots (Chobits), boys who love demon princesses (Princess Resurrection) and cross dressing boys who torment student lesbians (Maria Holic). I doubt I'll ever see American television tackle any of these subjects with the same style and grace.
Finally, regarding the cliche of the female in the relationship doing chores and making the male a bento lunch, which is what originally prompted this discussion, there have been a spate of recent titles that have reversed this dynamic. Titles such as Toradora, Nodame Cantabile and Hayate the Combat Butler all present the lead female characters as incapable of taking care of their basic household needs and the male having to step in and fulfill the more domestic role. I'm not sure what has caused this shift (female wish fulfillment?) but it's an interesting trend.
My intent was not to cause Aimee such inner turmoil, but it has wrought interesting results:
I think that as far as moe/wish fulfillment type shows go, it's understood that the silliness portrayed therein is in fact wish fulfillment, nothing more. When the klutzy moe airhead spends all her time serving as her sclub of a boyfriend's personal house-slave, it's not considered a realistic portrayal of relationships. However, other, more mainstream series do promote misogyny as well, though it tends to be more subtle. (Or not, depending on the show.) For example, in School Rumble, Tenma sees that her sister has made an extra school lunch one day, and immediately assumes that Yakumo must have made it for a boy. Had Tenma been given a brother, rather than a sister, by the series' creator, and the brother had made an extra lunch, I think it's safe to say that Tenma would never have thought that he might've made it for a girl, as I've never seen an example of a boy making lunch for his girlfriend in any series (unless you count xxxHolic, but in that case Watanuki's making the food for himself and his two friends to share as a communal meal, not making it special for a romantic partner.) In Martian Successor Nadesico, there is a ridiculous scene where several female characters, including the ship's captain, chase after the pilot Akito in a competition to see if he will like their food they have made him, and whose he will like best (incidentally, he spends the entire time trying to escape them.) The captain is supposed to be his boss, but she still takes the role of serving wench (so to speak) to her own subordinate, because he is male and she is female.
Oddly enough, shojo series tend to be the greater offenders in this regard than shonen series; in my experience, shonen series usually downplay any overt romance between characters, opting instead to emphasize character development and the way the pair interacts and plays off each other, whereas shojo series usually just dive right into the lovey stuff without necessarily bothering to develop the characters individually or show how they behave with each other when they're not playing kissy-face. A lot of shojo series drag out the tired old line about how "love/marriage/raising babies is a girl's greatest happiness!" and sometimes go to great lengths to develop this theme; I have yet to see any series, anywhere, say anything similar about guys. Another shojo theme which grates on me is "girls are weak and need guys to protect them", as in Ouran High School Host Club when Haruhi gets tossed off a cliff while trying to defend some clients and Tamaki, after hauling her out of the water, yells "Don't forget you're a girl!" rather than "you're too small to take on three guys alone" or something else that has some connection to reality, or in Happy Hustle High when the girls are setting (successful) traps for flashers and the boys, when they find out, tell them "We'll protect you, so don't go doing anything like this on your own again." A variation on this theme is the one where the heroine is a strong fighter until she falls in love, at which point she becomes helpless and weak for no apparent reason, unless you count that the love interest gets to look like a hero while saving her. Again, you rarely see this in shonen series, which tend to feature strong-minded heroines who are pretty capable of kicking butt when called upon. I'd keep going, but I'm starting to get pissed off just thinking about all this.
Watson suggests that I shouldn't take romantic advice from music, but the number of guys who've gotten laid by playing Jeff Buckley argue otherwise:
There is no denying that anime titles that addresses romantic relationships in a somewhat realistic way are few and far between, but a few exist. Maison Ikkoku may not be entirely realistic (nil feces, Sherlock; it's an anime), but I think it does a great job of following the course of a blossoming relationship--from first meeting to starting a family, smooth and rocky times--over the course of the two years it originally ran on TV in Japan, and even better over seven years of manga. Say what you will about Video Girl Ai, it at least made one good point--you don't have to be perfect to love and be loved (Ai was "defective" thanks to a damaged VCR, remember?). Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora may be a tad melodramatic, but it also set up a romantic relationship that didn't lean on the obvious trappings of love stories between people who don't have that much time; no desperate physical displays or anything like that. That's only three off the top of my head. On the other hand, I've been a major music fiend since before I could even walk, and I'm not as young as most anime fans. I can count the number of songs I've heard in all that time that realistically look at love--not in an overblown or cynical way--on the fingers of one boxing glove. Richard & Linda Thompson's "The Great Valerio" is about the only song that shows love as wonderful, but only if both the people involved put in equal effort and care to make it work.
In short, most anime about love does promote highly unrealistic ideals about it, but I'd say that it's nowhere near as bad about that as music has been and ever will be.
DANKOMEN, I have properly capitalized your name, and I have also kept your plug in your response, so you're welcome:
These days I usually avoid putting things on record on the Internet casually, but this Answerfans question is fascinating. Thanks to whoever asked that question that inspired it.
I was unquestioningly into moe when it was new. Particularly, when I played Kanon. I loved Kanon zealously. I was also the demographic, socially crippled. Since then, I've developed my social skills dramatically. And this will sound ridiculous, and it is clear that this has not worked for everyone, but Kanon actually made me feel more comfortable with real-life romance. It might not have been the best model, but it was better than no model at all, and it's not like I expected real life to be just like Kanon. (Not that Kanon was the only factor, either.)
I guess Disney made a model for romance I was familiar with before. Between Key and Disney I think Key is closer to real life. (Not that that's saying much about Key--but Disney movies, like, say, The Little Mermaid, show arbitrary, mutual love at first sight, whereas Kanon and AIR--the only Key works I've finished so far--actually at least show a development of a relationship first.)
Yuichi in Kanon is an assertive guy. Sure, a bit mean. But, anyway, quite the opposite of the main target audience. He has something they could benefit from emulating. Or they could sit hopelessly and complacently.
If an audience is too afraid to approach people in real life anyway, they might as well experiment with fantasy scenarios, right? Perhaps, on the other hand, some person might snap from loneliness without moe and be forced to seek out real companionship, whereas, with moe, that person might be complacent. Or perhaps another might find moe a catalyst. It's obviously not representative of real life, but, then, couldn't all that unconditional love make someone with crippling low self-esteem feel more worthy?
I read Japanese, though, and aspects of the Japanese fandom I see online do scare me. It's not like all Japanese otaku are trembling, insane hikikomori (anyone who thinks this should read/see Genshiken; wow, that's awesome, though the author says he just wished there were clubs like that), but that otaku culture really seems to embrace the idea that they are inferior people ("dame ningen"), and preferring 2D characters over 3D people perhaps gets joked about more than said seriously, but there certainly does seem to be an aspect of escaping never to come back.
Which is creepy. Uncanny valley-ish. Like Chobits.
Although I generally don't take them at face value as much anymore, I still really like certain moe, and I simultaneously want to and feel scared to stay inside in front of that screen.
Well, people have gotten used to violent video games enough that Grand Theft Auto is treated like Lord of the Rings on BBC. Maybe moe will just diffuse little by little into the mainstream and be handled as a pleasant fantasy to be used in balance with other important aspects of life, as it ideally should. I guess I'm just worried about its potentially addictive properties.
Okay, "promotes an ideal of unrealistic relationships"? Expect women to do everything for men? I think people really into moe are typically men who more or less don't expect women to do ANYTHING for them. "WHAT? YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME? BUT YOU WON'T CLEAN MY FLOOR AND CALL ME MASTER? FORGET THAT!" I don't think that's the problem.
As for domineering guys in shoujo manga, I think it reflects on the existing ideal of machismo, which annoys me and I think something should be done about, but surely traces its roots to prehistory.
Skip Beat! FTW! Now there is an example of using entertainment to confront social problems. Train Man is good too (albeit simplistic). And both of those are very popular. Maybe it just takes more creativity to pull that off convincingly. Too bad it's not done yet, but, actually, my friend is finishing the art for my circle's micro love game "Train," which aims for a more realistic fantasy than usually seen while still to be cute and entertaining. Hope you check it out ^_^
Maeve weaves these words together:
It's all in how someone interprets the relationship and how it's portrayed in the anime. Anime, first and foremost, is an idealized art form, and the relationships and stories are going to be just as idealized as the artwork. There's everything from the adorable and corny Fruits Basket all the way to the tragic and bloody School Days, and most if not all of them are unrealistic in some regard.
Most people, including myself, see these relationships between characters as entertainment. They aren't an accurate portrayal of a romance, but that is precisely why people love it. We all have probably had some experience where our love lives didn't seem to go right and went down the drain, so it's comforting to watch something where there's a happy ending, or at least a story where the two characters have a lasting relationship through the show, even if it doesn't end well. Watching the cute and sweet romances unfold in a shoujo anime is like comfort food for when you're down; it's not necessarily productive and helpful to you, but it gives you that instant gratification that you need when you're having a bad day or just need some entertainment.
The moe and harem genres are a little like this in that they both provide entertainment and idealized relationships, but they cater more to people watching for escapist wish fulfillment than for the relationships themselves. These genres seem to focus more on the cuteness and appeal of the girls themselves than the boy lucky enough to get all these girls to himself or the relationships as a whole. I'm not an expert on moe or harem, but of the shows I have seen the girls are portrayed more as stereotypical hookup options for the boy rather than characters with more depth as seen in the shoujo genre.
Though even with the stereotyped portrayal of romance in anime, it's not all a fantasy. Those stories come from somewhere. It's idealized, but the fundamental emotions of the relationship (at least, most of the time) of love and—hopefully—understanding of your significant other are there. Anime may not actively promote unrealistic relationships, but at the same time the relationships found in a lot of shows are not what you would see in everyday life. So anime romance is dramatized and over-the-top compared to real life romances, but the very basic feelings are the same.
I always like to close this segment out with something succinct, so here's Kelvin's take:
Hot Catholic schoolgirl lesbians.
I think we've thrown any sense of realistic romance out the door by this point.
Now, onward to next week's Hey, Answerfans! I got this neat email from a reader that I couldn't really use anywhere in the main meat of the column, but I found it really fascinating. And well-written, too, which I'm always pleased to see.
Could you please inform some of your male audience (specifically the "sociopathic shut-ins" that you mentioned in last week's article) that as a member of the female gender, I have the right to bring up Japan, the Japanese language - and perhaps even anime - without adding a new creeper to my collection? As a person who has an honest-to-goodness interest in Japanese culture, I've had far too many occasions in the past where simple conversations concerning Japan-related topics have ended in unwanted "creeping", and personally I'm a little tired of it. For once, I would like to carry on a conversation that doesn't end with me gaining a new stalker.
Most of the time, these conversations are instigated by the second party and, as to not appear rude, I respond and try to keep things as polite as humanly possible. But sometimes these guys just don't know when to call it quits, and I'm forced to completely ignore (and on some occasions hide from) them.
Just because I said I watched Rurouni Kenshin back in the seventh grade does not mean we are "otaku soulmates". I don't care how many cosplays you've done or if you've watched every episode of Bleach known to man, because a). Bleach is not the greatest anime in the world, and b). I'm personally never going to be into a guy who spends the majority of his free time watching - pardon the phrase - "cartoons" (as a mutual hobby, maybe, not as an unhealthy obsession).
Maybe if you could back me up a little, that would be great. I'm sure I'm not the only girl in the anime community who has this problem..."
So, coupled with the nerd question, this got me to thinking about proper nerd etiquette. Except, more intelligent-sounding than that. So! Next week's question is:
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 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! 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 go on, send your responses, your questions, delicious cake recipes, all of it! I'll be back next week with as much stuff as you can potentially throw at me! See you next week!
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