Hey, Answerman! The Apology Song

by Brian Hanson,

Hey gang! Welcome back to Hey, Answerman!

So, a funny thing happened last week. I fielded a question about somebody taking offense to what I assumed was an anonymous blogger reciting his hastily-researched, poorly thought out Top 10 Reasons Why American Cartoons Are Stupid and Anime is Better, because Spongebob Squarepants is a dumb cartoon for children and Evangelion is a smart and layered show with characters and a story.

Well, that wasn't so much the case. I was then informed that the article in question was written by none other than Anime on DVD honcho Chris Beveridge. And, um, I made several disparaging remarks about people who write those sorts of things being “retarded babies.”

No, Chris Beveridge isn't retarded, nor is he a baby. He is a smart and interesting guy, and, having read his entire article, I can sincerely say that he manages to support his theory with reasoned arguments and a sharp wit.

But, I'm still standing by my original answer. First of all because I genuinely thought that a, well, retarded baby had written something similar. The internet is full of stupid people, and I have stumbled across more Top 10 lists of why Anime rules and American cartoons are stupid in my short life than I care to admit. And I absolutely hate that crap – anytime I read a headline for an article about Why These Apples Are Delicious and These Oranges Are Terrible, I can feel a piece of my soul dying a little. It feels juvenile and phony to me, and that's why I snapped.

In Chris' defense, though, he sold his preference very well. It's all about that title, though; I would have had a much easier time digesting his article if his title was something a little more focused. Something a little less flamebait-y. I can see much of his arguments holding water if he were simply talking about anime television series being superior to American television cartoons, because, by and large, anime TV series are much more likely to have complete stories, well-rounded characters, “realistic” relationships, and more diverse demographic appeal. That would be a much harder case to argue against than the entirety of Western Animation as a whole. I seem to recall a little film made in 1937 called “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” that told a complete story with well-rounded characters, and there's a wonderful short film by Don Hertzfeldt called “Everything Will Be Ok” that contained astounding depth of story and character that surpasses nearly every anime I've seen.

That's all just my opinion, though. And Chris has his, and he's a talented and smart guy and not some retarded loser writing a no-name blog. He certainly deserves a respectful response and not a string of flippant insults.

Well, shoot. On to the questions!

Hi, several days ago I tried to upload a Naruto Anime Music Video onto YouTube but I failed in doing so because of TV Tokyo copyright issues. Is there any way I could get permission from TV Tokyo so that I can upload single video?

Once again, let me mention one simple fact: I am not a copywright lawyer! Do not mistake me for accurate legal counsel!

Anyway, yeah. TV Tokyo. Hm. I don't think, honestly, that you'd be able to obtain legal permission from TV Tokyo to upload your Naruto AMV to Youtube. Not unless you had a few hundred-thousand dollars in liquid cash at your disposal.

You should know, though, that TV Tokyo isn't removing *your* AMV specifically out of spite or a distaste for AMVs in general. They're merely trying to protect their copyrighted property. And, as I'm sure you're aware, fans enjoy uploading entire episodes of various shows onto YouTube for the enjoyment of other fans. For free.

TV Tokyo would like for this not to happen, because both they and Viz already offer free, streaming Naruto episodes on a variety of websites, such as this one! And they would prefer you watched them that way. So, often what will happen is that their stringent attorneys will scour YouTube for hundreds of videos with “Naruto” or “InuYasha” or whatever in the title, and send a nicely-worded request to YouTube to have those videos removed. And YouTube will graciously oblige. This isn't exclusive to just anime; big media companies around the globe like Fox and Viacom have similar programs in place to catch people posting clips or episodes from Family Guy and South Park and the like.

Understand, though, that they aren't removing these videos to be malicious. They're merely protecting their assets as best as they can, and sometimes there's friendly fire. You are, of course, allowed to upload your video as many times as you like, but don't be shocked if it gets caught by TV Tokyo's wide copyright web.

In the three anime Air, Kanon, and Clannad are they considered to be harems?

My argument is that they are not due to the main male character having no romantic interest in any of the girls except the one. Plus, I don't think all the girls had romantic feelings for the male leads even though some did.

Everyone else argues that since there is more than two girls there that may like the male lead, that it makes them a harem. While I agree that this part of what it means to be a harem I don't think that is all of it.

It seems I am the only one who doesn't consider them to be harems. It's not that I hate to be wrong but from watching them I don't feel they are harems.

I think I've mentioned before that I think the notion of the existence of a “Harem genre” is one that disgusts me, so, if it means anything to you: No, I don't think Air, Kanon, and Clannad are harem shows.

Mainly because, as you said, the relationships are a bit more nuanced than the usual harem show; the soppy milquetoast protagonist in the three shows you mentioned isn't some socially-stunted, sex-obsessed loser, leering creepily at his triage of teenage consorts and devising wacky schemes to sneak a peek at their underpants. Those shows have actual drama, tension, and development.

Having said that, though, there are a few elements here and there that they just so happen to share with harem shows. There's still a certain air of lonely nerd wish-fulfillment that permeates all three of them, and most of the female side characters fit a few of the well-molded moe stereotypes. Air, Kanon, and Clannad aren't completely innocent of the Harem Genre Curse, but at least those shows manage to rise above that categorization by virtue of attempting actual character development and story progression.

My fiance and I have recently become addicted to Kaze no Stigma and through ANN I found out the author of the light novel version of it recently passed away. I noticed that the manga and anime appeared to be managed by different people. Because of this I was wondering if the author's passing would stall the manga or anime? The anime seems to have been wrapped up for the season but wiki says the manga is on-going. Is it safe to assume that since the anime and manga seem to be directed by people other than the original author that those would likely be continued and concluded on their own, regardless? Or are there proprietary/cultural/etc issues that could possibly interfere here? I know anything is possible, but I figured that perhaps something like this had happened in the anime/manga world that could be used to speculate what the possible response might be?

That is… entirely impossible to predict, I'm afraid.

I mean, the one certain thing I guess, sadly, is that the light novels are going to be concluded. I'm not familiar enough with Kaze no Stigma, especially regarding the original novels, to know if the publisher will try and pull a Robert Jordan and assemble the conclusion out of various unpublished materials, or if it'll remain an incomplete series.

If there's anything I'm confident about regarding this, though, is that money makes things happen. If the manga sales are strong, I'd probably say that they'll attempt to at least adapt the entirety of the story thus far in manga form. Whether they go off and attempt their own conclusion outside of the novels is entirely up to, again, the publishers involved.

But, hey, the Crayon Shin-chan anime is still going strong, and is likely to continue unabated in the face of its creator's untimely death. Of course there's a wide gulf in comparison to the popularity in Japan of Crayon Shin-chan and Kaze no Stigma, but you know what I mean.

If I might say something candid here: I am not in charge of ANN's advertising. If you would like to advertise on our wonderful site, great! There are other folks in charge that have far greater administrative powers that would love to talk to you about that. They have little links and contact info located elsewhere on the site! Thanks in advance!

As for me, personally? No, I don't want to be involved with your “blogroll,” whatever that is. I don't want to network with you via LinkedIn or Bebo. I do not want to be involved in your “Link Exchange.” That is not what I do here at Anime News Network. I am but a measly little columnist, one who answers questions and so forth.

So when I get mail like this:

I saw your site and looks very good and interesting. Would you like to trade links?

Or this:

Dear Sir

I have found your blog site through google search. I am interested to add my blog link in your blogroll section and add your link in my blogroll in return. So, both of us can get benefit of related resources.

Or something weird like this:

Looking to get in touch with Annmarie. She used to play bass in my band in NYC late '80's -- no kidding!!

I kind of want to pull my hair out a little. Now, I understand that having an email address prominently displayed on a website basically makes me a spam-magnet, but seriously, guys.

Time for me to shut up for a moment and introduce this week's Hey, Answerfans! Here was last week's big question-thing:

Alright Zane, you're starting us out this week. GIVE IT YOUR ALL:

I find keeping up with current manga to be rather bothersome.

If it isn't a weekly serialization I often times forget to catch up on it at the end of the month. Not only that but if the translation is slow, it is hard to keep interested.

I prefer to read manga that has been completely translated and available to read over a few days.

I suppose then that the marathon method is the one I prefer. If I am following a series and suddenly remember I haven't kept up with it in a bit I always make sure to plow through the content.

Then again I am the same way with literature. If I am reading something and I enjoy it, I marathon it. The same is true for TV shows, and video games. If I enjoy something I use it until I either grow bored of it, or finish it.

Generally I think the slow paced approach would be better over all however. It leaves one less likely to experience burn out and allows the brain more time to digest the information and images it is viewing and allows a greater appreciation of the content.

Speak up, Whisper Doll:

Marathon! My reading/viewing begins by gathering a set of volumes, or a season's worth of DVDs. I can be patient during the collection process, but once a series reaches critical mass, I like to read or watch it through without interruption.

I prefer marathons because I have little patience and I require instant gratification: I want more of what I like, right away. I also find I get more out of a series' plot or characters if I follow their development continuously, rather than in short installments.

I do re-visit series at a slower pace, however, to appreciate the artwork or - more to the point - to figure out whatever I didn't understand the first time through.

George goes at his own pace:

Well, each approach of catching up has its own merits and negatives. Going slowly keeps me interested for a good amount of time, and it flows more than learning everything at once. Some particular series need some thought in between readings, and feel better when taking the slow approach. But this approach also comes with the drawback of being less current in the series for a longer time. If people don't talk about what's happening in the series you're catching up on, then slow may be the best approach.

However, in this world of the information superhighway, the limit to what one can read in one day is by how much time you have, how fast your internet is, and if you have a social life. I have spent many hours binge reading series, and it was... something. My eyes hurt, I had a hunch, and I became borderline vampiric. In short, its just like doing a marathon of an anime series, or watching all six Star Wars movies in the same day. It takes a lot of time to read until you're current, depending on how far you are behind.

I find the marathon approach best for catching up on just a volume or two, or if you can comprehend information really well. Other than that, go with a slower approach to catching up. You'll get there eventually, so go at your own pace.

Just the facts, Drew:

In my experience with this subject i have found out one solid fact, The way we watch and take in anime is different for everyone, which in my opinion is great but in my experiences i like to savor anime down to the last word so plowing through any manga or TV series is usually an obviously awful approach for me and for an avid fan-sub downloader this was certainly a dark time. I found myself not wanting to potentially re watch the show and not only that but the shows impact that was supposed to come through just fails reach me at all. That is why i find buying the DVDs not only a rewarding experience in the fact that i get a hard copy of a series i respect, but the watching experience is not only more enjoyable but it is richer and more attention is directed in places i missed in my downloading days. Not only that but sprinting in your reading and watching is a mistake you will later regret as i did when i realized i had almost watched every major title of the genre i was watching in maybe 5 months and that left me with quite an empty feeling. Now as a faithful buyer and supporter of anime i have taken it slow and regained my life back and have found the more beautiful side of anime so i encourage my fellow watchers and readers to buy their anime for it is a rewarding process that helps you to take your watching slow and that makes for a closer examination of your shows helping to understand why exactly these artist didnt marathon style write animate and direct these, so you could understand their stories and appreciate their work.

That workout regimen sounds rigorous, Kelvin:

Catching up on a series is always difficult for me. But if a mad rush through the chapter/episodes is the only way to go.

Reading it piece by piece takes way too long. and I have the attention span of a twitchy puppy. If I'm gonna do something, I have to put my all into it.

And I mean my all. My manga marathons are the stuff of legends. I recall reading the entire first part of Naruto back in 2006, 238 chapters in a single day. I tcould have put to a montage with Rocky music and it would not have been ironic at all.

I'm currently starting up workout regimens for my next run. The entirety of One Piece...

Ashleigh destroys this question with her +2 Monty Python Reference:

Gather 'round children, it's story time. A couple months ago (a year at this point, maybe?), Shonen Jump of North America decided it was going to catch up with the Japanese manga releases of Naruto, and later One Piece. That is like, 200 chapters in limbo. It was gone from the magazine for, 5 months, I think? That's 40 chapters a month, more than one chapter a day. Ok, I thought, let's take it slow, don't want to overload the brain… Who am I kidding, lets MARATHON THIS BABY!

So I did it with Naruto, and the same with One Piece. Naruto, due to the pacing and storylines, was ok, but oh One Piece, I'm still at least two arcs behind the Japanese. Sitting for hours, eyes blinking only so my contacts wouldn't fall out, groping vaguely to my right to reach for nourishment, my roommate asking worryingly if I need some kind of mental/physical/spiritual help.

It's more effective and clearly faster to plow through a series. A part of me admits it's not as fun: when the characters come across another character or discover an important plot point that hasn't been seen in a couple dozen chapters/episodes, I want to say “heeey, haven't seen THAT in a while” when in truth it was only two or three days ago; also, there is a greater chance of cheering for the characters that have reached their goal after having have been at it for so long. On the other hand, you have less chance of forgetting something or someone (especially in a series like One Piece, where Oda's obvious goal was to make a manga so heavy with secondary and background characters that it's a wonder they don't spill out of the pages) and can catch up faster to the newer chapters/episodes.

Allow me to speak plainly: as fans, we are by nature a greedy, selfish, spoiled bunch and if there is a feast of our favorite sustenance laid before us, we will not hesitate to stuff ourselves silly. And when they find our bloated corpse among the DVD cases, books and still-glowing screens, they will be sure to find a note saying:

“It was worth it...

...And could someone make sure this gets organized correctly; the shelves are all labeled. I mean, I'd hate for my death to inhibit a perfect good aaarrhhhhhh”

The roads to Hell are paved with Shoulda's, Tom. Also the blood of the damned and forsaken:

I really should work through a series slowly. Much like eating food, a good series that one finds should be chewed and digested at length, both to prolong the experience and to let one absorb what's happening on the screen. You also tend to avoid, keeping to the food analogy, the indigestion associated with marathon-ing a series: the plot points and character names that run together, the little events and cues on screen that you blow by, and even the larger themes that tend to get blurred as one rushes through their exposition in the show.

However, I often find that I can't wait to finish a show. The journey becomes less important than the destination, to the point that I often find the slower parts of the plot (in the catch up segment) to be strangely irritating. The sections where the characters wind down for a bit are like speed bumps and everyone hates having to go over speed bumps.

In short: should-a, could-a, didn't.

Stephen, your sound reasoning is in defiance of the entire internet:

Your average anime runs about twenty minutes an episode, minus commercials and titles, so when I do try to catch up on an anime, I tend to do it by the hour, which means three episodes at a time. This is especially nice when streaming online, because you can just let the player go and just get up to fast forward the commercials.

I used to have a great big schedule cooked up, since I've got a backlog of titles like you wouldn't believe, but that just took the fun out of it. Better to let it be a treat that you don't always get to than a duty you have to force yourself to watch.

It is entertainment after all.

Justin has a marathon length response. Zing!

Unfortunately for my schoolwork and my girlfriend, I personally prefer to attack built-up anime and manga marathon style. This mainly applies to my long-term followings (Naruto, Bleach, Initial D, etc) but also sometimes happens if I start a new series that is particularly good and has already been completed and I didn't catch it the first time around (the most recent example being Gundam 00). However both of these "kinds" of catch-up have different reasons behind them.

First, when talking about my long-term commitments, it's important to remember that I (as undoubtedly many do) have a lot of time already invested in the series and my interest will not fall off suddenly if I go a few months without an episode. This being said, I am a full-time college student in addition to my full-time job, and don't always have time to download and watch each individual episode as it is released to the fansub community (or in some peoples' cases, watch each episode a week on television). So what normally ends up happening is that after a few months go by, I start wondering, "Well what's going on in Bleach? Are they through with the fillers?" And then I see that I am eight, nine, or twenty episodes behind and download what I have missed. Then, when I am ready to watch, I normally sit down when I have sufficient time and have at it. ALL OF IT (well I suppose that depends on exactly how far behind I am). This, in my eyes, happens for two reasons. 1) Having a limited amount of free time on any given day or week, when I do have a solid block of a few hours (normally on a night when I have no school or work the next morning, causing my anime marathons to normally take place between 8pm and 3am) I want to utilize it as I don't know when my next opportunity will be. 2) When you start getting into the events that are unfolding in one of your favorite series (especially if you haven't accidentally read any spoilers) it's just too easy to fight the urge for sleep and keep watching. Admittedly, this almost never happens with my long-term manga commitments as it only takes 5-10 minutes to read a chapter of manga a week which normally will happen when I'm on the computer for academic purposes.

Second, and much simpler, is when I become involved with a new series that is already completed or a good ways in. Marathons of this nature happen for me solely because I am just too interested in the series and tell myself "this is the last episode" but at episode's always seem to convince myself that just one more 20 minute segment is necessary. Now this is when a series is very good. When a series is mediocre, I normally convince myself to keep watching as there are only seven, eight or however many episodes left until I can move onto something else.

We all feel a little lonely, Chris, sometimes:

I used to watch everything marathon-style, but it got a little ridiculous wasting an entire weekend at school to a show. So I've imposed a personal "one-episode-per-day" limit on myself. It works pretty well to keep me interested, the way I imagine people who have to wait a week in between episodes feel! In addition, it gives me time every day to do, you know, work. But that doesn't mean marathons don't have their place. I'll still watch a half-dozen episodes of the latest shows (SZS and Code Geass this summer) with my friends in a friend's basement, or plan out a couple marathon days of old stuff over some school break. They're tons of fun with friends, I just don't feel right powering through 10 hours of anime at a time by my lonesome.

John gets his money's worth and then some (maybe):

I prefer to take a series that I missed slowly so I have plenty of time to savor the show and get my money's worth. However this honestly doesn't happen as much as I would like. Usually what happens is I will start watching a series and get through about half of it in a few days (especially if it is an addictive series) and then take the rest of the series slow since I breezed through the first half. I wish I would take my time in watching anime but unfortunately I often do not, which is a shame because I find that I enjoy shows more if I take my time.

Sarah, you're the last respondee!

First of all, woot! finally a question I can have a try on answering.

For me, I take it slow. I savor and enjoy the beautiful work done on a manga, whether it be shoujo or shounen. Same goes when it comes to watching anime, I prefer to watch the anime like 2 episodes a day in the least, contemplate on the content of the story, sympathize with the characters, and then wonder or guess what happens next.

I've tried marathon-style before when watching anime's I know have started with one episode, then borrowed the entire series from the library/netflix and watched it continuously. It has its good parts there because you get to see what's next, but can be exhausting watching and have my eyes glued not moving 6 episodes later. In the least, I know my own pace. I may be behind from the rest of the people who already read watched an anime/manga in its entirety, but I'm satisfied that I understood the story, and enjoyed it, even if it was just a few episodes short.

Ready for next week's question? I'll give you a bit of a hint: it's about something I discussed earlier. Or you can just scroll down a bit and read it. Either way.

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 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.

And now, I am off to rehearse! I got cast in a show where I play a neurotic guy in his 20's who shouts a lot and can't maintain a healthy relationship. I'm really starting to branch out of my comfort zone, I think.

See you all next time!

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