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Hey, Answerman!

by Brian Hanson,

Hey gang! Welcome back!

And I'm jumping right into the questions this week, since you guys literally flooded me with responses to last week's Answerfans. It's always nice when I seem to strike a real nerve and get everybody's writing mojo risin'. What's not necessarily nice is all the editing and formatting so I can squeeze in as many of your sincerely fantastic responses as possible.

Hi Brian,

As someone aspiring to get into the business side of the entertainment industry, I am trying to take particular note of certain streaming options. Being a fan of Anime, I have paid close attention to FUNimation and how they are doing their streaming.

From a business perspective, I am baffled at their approach. I will use Soul Eater as an example. All the episodes streamed online? Even if they are subtitled, what is the incentive for people to buy it if they can view it for free online? I can understand the need to put some of the show up to the preview it ... but the whole thing? And I've also noticed with Crunchyroll offering full seasons, for free, streaming. These ways to stream shows simply aren't working in the Anime community, or even outside it.

FUNi had the right idea when they had the first four episodes of One Piece and the couple newest episodes, but it still isn't in the right direction. Crunchyroll's streaming model and FUNi's simply isn't earning enough revenue, I feel, to justify giving away Ouran and other seasons for free online.

So why are they doing this and what streaming model do you think would work?

In all honesty, I agree with you - FUNimation and other companies are giving away practically everything for free, and there's little to no incentive for the casual fan to purchase anything. And even then, there's not much for them to actually purchase; except for a sixty-dollar DVD boxset. And the pricing on that is far from casual-friendly.

But, I think you're misjudging these companies a little bit with what they're doing. Crunchyroll and FUNimation both know that their current streaming model can't support itself on it's own, even with advertising. Really, offering their shows for free as video streams is what they had to do to stop the bleeding from the deep wounds caused by years of rampant piracy and declining sales. FUNimation's main source of revenue is still, obviously, DVD sales, but how the hell can they try and sell those things to kids that've been weaned on free and instantaneous bittorrent downloads? They needed a way to capture their attention, even if only for a brief moment, and streaming was a crucial part of that.

And the other aspect of streaming, one that I'm especially curious about regarding Crunchyroll, is that internet streaming is a relatively new media field. Much like the rise of the internet itself, nobody's really quite sure how everything is going to play out in the long run, and nobody really knows how much or how little they can monetize it. Aside from the YouTube model of "Get So Ubiquitous And Huge That Google Buys You For Billions of Dollars" anyway. Crunchyroll is trying out a whole bunch of unique ways to make money, from the obvious advertisements to subscription fees, and I'm sure we'll see other stuff from them on that front. This is all just one big experiment, and fortune often favors the brave.

Streaming is a constantly evolving service, becoming more technologically sophisticated and inventive seemingly every few months, and I can assure you that FUNimation and Crunchyroll are on the lookout to, and this always sounds bad, "exploit" whatever opportunities they can in the future. Streaming can't and won't sustain itself as it currently is, and they both understand that.

What is it with the portrayal of twins in anime? If they are identical, they barely qualify as one character, let alone two separate individuals - unless they are fraternal or separated at birth, they talk alike, dress alike, have the same friends, do the same things at the SAME FREAKING TIME. There are very, very few mangas/animes that show twins in a positive/human light - I can only think of one off the top of my head (DNAngel).

As an identical twin myself, I find this a little...disturbing. What's the deal? Is it just stereotypes or lazy characterization?

Yeah, that's just lazy characterization. Though I think it's a little unfair to single out anime and manga specifically for this - What about Sherri and Terri from The Simpsons? The creepy twins from The Shining?

To be fair, though, if I were an anime TV writer or mangaka, and I wanted to have characters that were identical twins... I'd probably fall victim to the same stereotypes. Identical twins aren't exactly common; they comprise only 0.2% of the human population (THANKS, WIKIPEDIA!) and I've certainly never met any. Seriously, if I felt like I needed to expand my roster of side characters to add a little flavor to the imaginary world I'm trying to create, and I was too lazy to think of two distinct personalities to give them, I'd probably just invent a pair of identical twins who shared the same appearance and personality. Or, failing that, I'd make them two distinct polar opposites - one would be, say, an unassuming Christian, suburban mother of three, and the other would be a drugged-out serial killer.

... and then because they're twins, it means that they're psychically linked, and the FBI needs to enlist the suburban housewife in order to track down her serial killer identical twin, because she's the only one who can stop her. The housewife will be played by Sandra Bullock and the serial killer will be portrayed by Julia Roberts. I will be paid so much money for this.

Are you familiar with Anime DVD Supply? I am thinking of purchasing from the site, they have a huge inventory and glowing customer reviews but I finds myself hesitating, too good to be true?

Yep, your instincts are absolutely correct - they are, in fact, too good to be true. Them's be bootlegs, there.

Apparently they are relatively high-quality bootlegs, at least, but bootlegs nonetheless. And what's up with these prices? 109 dollars for a bootleg copy of every InuYasha episode? That's downright ludicrous. The gall of these people is what gets me. 109 dollars seems to say that, perhaps, they're selling legit copies, but at a tremendous discount. It's not at all low enough to instantly shout "BOOTLEG!" so I sympathize with the poor fools who've undoubtedly been snookered into purchasing from them. Shame, shame, shame.

As always, caveat emptor. Those guys are scum.

No flakes this week, but by God do we have a crapload of Answerfans responses! Here's what I asked last week:

And you guys literally went to town on this one! Here's our first response, from Rex, who seems pretty cool about the whole thing:

In reguards to your question about how friends and family view my anime fandom:

Right now in the job I'm working, no one knows about my anime fandom. I work in a middle school and when I hear the kids talking about Fullmetal alchemist or something, I want to say something about how great that show is. But I always end up keeping my mouth shut. Then the other day I took my sisters new mini-van to work so I could watch some anime dvd's that had been piling up. Later when I was showing off the van to a co-worker who was interesting in buying the same van, she popped down the dvd player and Misaki Chronicles was still playing. I thought "Crap I hope she doesn't take too much notice". At my previous job they knew about my fandom because they severely monitored my internet access. They could see me checking ANN everyday. I got a few comments about the "weird Japanese cartoons" but that was it. Then I actually had to bring in a copy of the XXXholic manga, my supervisor saw I was reading it online. He thought it was some kind of porn thing. With work I always kind of keep my fandom to myself when I can.

As far as family and friends go, my fandom is known and tolerated. My mother still thinks the Japanese are trying to take over the world and that anime will brainwash me. My father hates cartoons, and most fiction. But he will still watch the latest hollywood blockbusters. He did watch two thirds of Akira though, but in the end dismissed it because cartoons are childish. I have an ex-girlfriend who is the one who got me into anime, we still get together for marathons. All my other friends know about my fandom. The general rule is if I bring up anime, they have the right to make fun of me for it, So I don't open that door. My one friend John will sometimes send me e-mails with pictures of tentacle rape, or links to PVC figures for sale of scantily clad anime babes. I try to tell him "That's not what it's all about........... okay a lot of it is, but not everything.". Anyway I'm happy with what I've got, anime is not my only hobby and that's the important thing. I think If I just hung out with people who liked anime, it would get pretty dull pretty fast.

Whisper Doll is making this a secret no more:

I used to hide my interest in anime and manga. I thought people would consider my hobby childish, or would criticize how much time and money I spend on it. But lately, I've gained more confidence. This interest is a part of my personality, so I shouldn't have to stifle it. And it's my money, damn it, I'll spend it how I please.

Last month, I started "coming out" to friends and colleagues. Just casually, no big confession: whenever it came up in conversation, I'd tell the truth about what I watch and read. I figured, if we're really friends, I won't lose their respect, right?

So far, I haven't regretted my decision. Maybe I'm just lucky, but my peeps don't seem to judge me. They express either polite interest, or polite disinterest, which is fine with me. Either way, I'm much more honest about myself, which feels good.

(But I still prefer to shop on my own.)

By being open, I'm hoping to find another "closet fan" among my acquaintance. My example hasn't emboldened anyone else yet, though.

No need to apologize, Juan:

let me say before i begin that i am a programmer. i am a programmer who works in an office full of financial business types. i tell you this because the fact of the matter is that they *expect* me to be a little 'off' compared to them.

that said, i've never been shy about my anime obsessions. directly over my monitor is akemi takada's madoka & hikaru sitting by the fountain. there's been a miyazaki calendar hanging in my cube for each of the last 10 years. there are charms hanging from each zipper pull on my messenger bag. during the winter, each sweater i might wear is adorned with a little enamel pin: totoro, vampire princess miyu (yes, i AM old, why do you ask?), p-chan, etc. in the summer, i have a dozen or so anime shirts.

i'm not afraid of evangelizing with friends & coworkers either. recently when a colleague noted my orange road poster (they usually begin with "hey, is that from speed racer?") i used it as an excuse to recommend 'spice & wolf', playing up the arbitrage, speculation & economics angles. he went away pretending to be interested and glad to finally be getting away from me.

with friends and family, of course, i'm much worse. i don't think a single relative with kids has been spared the Gift Of Totoro, and most friends will ask what my latest tv series obsession is.

i know that most people will wonder a bit about a dedicated anime fan (though it's much more acceptable than it used to be) but i love it too much to be ashamed of it. it's an important and enjoyable part of my life and I WANT IT TO BE AN IMPORTANT AND ENJOYABLE PART OF EVERYONE'S LIFE.

sorry. that last part slipped out.

J.A.M.'s hobby is a personal one:

In response to this week's question, I'm open about my anime love with my family, but cautious when it comes to sharing it with my friends.

My parents know about my anime love, but my Mom is more open to it than my Dad is. He sees it as just “weird Japanese cartoons”, and doesn't want to watch any of it, whereas my Mom will watch it with me and has even grown to have several favorite series.

As for my friends, one time I decided to read a volume of Yotsuba&! in front of a friend who I'd never shared my interest with before. This sparked their curiosity, and they asked me what kind of book I was reading. I explained to them what manga was, and let them flip through the volume. They thought that it was interesting and seemed to accept it, but they were not interested enough to pursue the conversation or ask to borrow the manga.

I still have a few friends that I've never really talked openly with about anime or manga. Although they've seen my anime and manga shelves, or have seen me wear an anime logo T-shirt, they never seem open to it, or just act oblivious.

Maybe someday I'll be able to freely share my anime/manga love with my friends and with others, but for now, I keep it more of a personal hobby.

Vashfanatic and I have a three-hour "jaw session" scheduled on Saturday:

I used to be really bad about talking peoples' ears off about anime and manga to the point that I'm sure I was freaking them out. I've learned better as I've gotten older. Anime I hardly discuss at all, because any discussion of it requires a “not all animation is for children” speech, which is tiresome. Besides, if you do watch shows for the under-15 crowd every now and then for fun, that tends to reflect badly on you, even if it honestly shouldn't (sometimes fun is just fun).

Now, manga, on the other hand, I'm pretty open about. See, as a grad student, I never had time to read full books and also keep up with my reading work. Comic books and graphic novels served the purpose of giving me entertaining stuff to read that didn't eat up too much of my time. At this juncture I'll usually offer up examples of graphic novels I read from all over the world, such as Persepolis, Fun Home, and the collected works of Urasawa Naoki.

And honestly, that probably represents the ratio of my anime-to-manga interest at this point. Part of the reason I'm watching so few current series is that as often as not I just think “I'd rather read the manga that it's based on.” There's lot more manga – heck, graphic novels in general – that I get really excited about and want to recommend than anime, so that's what I'm more open to talking about.

Of course, if you are an admitted anime fan as well,then I'll talk your ear off, and hope you talk right back. ;)

Can I crash on your Man Cave this weekend? Thanks Elliot:

In honestly, as much as I absolutely love anime and make it my primary, number one, extra special, wallet and bank account ruiningly favorite hobby...no...I am not very open about it.

I don't like to think of myself as a closet case Otaku, as if it gets brought up, then I will in fact show a significant interest in it. However, I will very...and I mean very, rarely ever bring it up with someone who I am not familiar with their knowledge or standing regarding Japanimation. Of the few times I have brought it up in subject, it feels like half the time the person I'm engaged in discussion with either knows about it, or does not.

Those who know of Anime, regardless to whether they like it or not, will often have at least tried watching it to some effect. To that end, they generally understand enough to where I don't feel like I have to justify it. But to those who don't know much, if anything about Anime, will often simply either just drop the subject because they are not genuinely interested in what description I have given, or they force me to justify my passion for such a 'ridiculous thing' as I've heard it called. Not that these cases haven't ever been reversed, with someone who has seen it and couldn't understand why the hell I'd ever like such tripe, but I find the former to be most true in my experience.

Here's a prime example. I work in the hotel industry. Recently, a large convention was held at our sister hotel here in Columbus. While on lunch break at work, I over heard some of the hire ups talking about it. One said, " It's that one again, with all the people who dress up as their favorite cartoon character or video game or whatever." and another said, " Man, that's weird." to which the first responds, " Yeah, and there's lots of them just walking around everywhere."

Now, part of me wanted to turn around and be like, "Hey, it's really not that weird, is it? To each their own, right?" I mean...you ever see some of the clothes these people who play golf wear (I...play golf. Hard to call it playing though, more like butchering)? But I just wanted to turn around and run down a listing of Anime and some of it's history, cultural achievements, features, and notable titles. Really, I just wanted to do about anything to set them straight and maybe even convert a soul or two.

But then that other, somewhat more rational part of me, told me to let it go and spare yourself some involvement and probably wasted breath.

Since I hang out in comic book and video game shops, I don't have to mingle among the 'mundane' peoples, as they could be called, and rarely ever need to defend my position (aside from the fact that I completely abhor Anime Piracy, but that's a whole another can of worms and we don't need to even get me started on that topic...). Even more fortunately, my girlfriend, whom which is the most wonderful and perfect girl on this planet for me, is an open minded individual, and has found a small place in her heart for anime as well.

Expression wise...I do have a few bits of anime apparel. A few shirts I've received here and there, a couple of hats, some stickers, arm bands, jewelry, etc...however I wear none of it. Mostly to avoid some playful ridicule by my friends (hey, we're a tough crowd yo...) but also because it does not fit me well (alas...I am not a petite gentleman and that size L shirt just makes me feel like one of those really creepy Otaku guys, like the one in Comic Party). I did have a nice Evangelion shirt I wore back in highschool (which is something I still own today, though it too does not fit me...) I also have a number of figures, models, wall scrolls, playing cards (I'm a sucker for playing cards...) and random other shenanigans that used to decorate my room. Now they're all packed up and lying in wait for when we move into our house at the end of the month and I can finally get my Man Cave up and running.

But still, I unfortunately do not outright advertise my love for such a wonderful hobby. It makes me a little sad, but it does keep me from the hassle of having to explain it over again to yet another person. Perhaps there will be a day when the world will be more open minded. And perhaps when that day comes, I'll go search out a few shirts in my size and parade them around town. But until then, I'll just have to remain a more silent and restrained partner, and just continue my battle against piracy.

Croy has a cool wallscroll:

As much as I personally embrace my anime love, (collecting DVDs, staying up with new shows, etc.) there are really barely any times when I'm open about it with other people. For the most part, my good friends are not into anime at all, other than their ceaseless adoration for Dragonball Z. So if I try to suggest a show or manga to them they just respond with a polite "oh yeah, that's tight," and never ever mention it again. Granted I'll get lucky with a couple of friends who grew up with shows like Gundam Wing, so they're willing to check it out if I make a pitch, but 85% of the time I keep it to myself and feel lucky that I have my own personal little passion.

I dunno if you could call me a "closet" anime fan or what. I'll watch in front of my roommates and family, but I'm just not all that keen on wearing merchandise or throwing info, suggestions, and exuberant promotions out there unless people inquire.

That being said, my pride and joy is a huge Spike Spiegel wallscroll in my room. I guess that's pretty open.

Alex, you are just delightful:

I've been a more or less devoted anime fan for maybe over ten years, starting with grade school - oh, gone are the simple times when Pokemon cards were all it took to breach the gap between the chubby girls, the video game nerds and the 'cool kids' in the class.

I grew up in Romania, where anime has boomed quite late and for a painfully long period, that unfortunately covered most of my anime-hungry teenage years, you had to hunt down every minute of Japan-animated bliss on foreign tv programs. I moved on from Dragonball Z, Digimon and Earthgirl Arjuna to Fullmetal Alchemist,Cowboy Bebop and other more mature stuff on the internet, but with most of the exposure Romanians ever getting to anime being German dubs, I didn't know many others who shared my tastes. I had a friend who was equally keen on anime - the gorry-er the better - and we would frighten away half the patrons in whichever unsuspecting cafe we'd pick for hour-long chats on pairings and AMVs and plot twists in our shows.

There are some people who have the talent of downright infecting you with their passion for a particular show or band. I'm not one of them. Many people go through a faze of 'missionary work', whether for a particular show or for anime on the whole, but must of my attempts completely failed. Apparently, trying to win over short people with long hair with Fullmetal Alchemist is not guaranteed to win. I also made the unwise decision of trying to make my film studies graduate then-boyfriend watch Cowboy Bebop. 'Yes, it' awfully poetic at times, but come on, it's a cartoon!'. He then promptly started to gleefully recount the fun they had at work when one of his workmates decided to show them some hentai.

Things seemed to turn for the better when started university in the UK - people in waist coats! top hats! police women on horses! And everyone had seen Pokemon in primary school. A good start. But even if there are, on the whole, more fans here than in Eastern Europe, the general reaction is still a raised eyebrow and an awkward, understanding smile. Yes, more people have seen Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell - but unfortunately there are also more people of a breed I had never thought existed: people who don't like Cowboy bebop or Ghost in the Shell. I'm tempted to throw in a Shakespeare quote about all the crazy things you discover when you decide to move out of your shoebox, but this email is too self-important anyway.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that anime is unlikely to ever come mainstream - apart from a Ghibli here and there, people are reluctant to try out anime and see what gems the genre can produce. With the less glamorous products of the industry being the ones that most Westerners have access to, can I really blame them? sometimes I wish I had street-festival worthy film projector to give people a taste of the things I love, but until then I have to stick with the few friends I've managed to cajole an embarrassed confession of otaku-ness out of. After the first moment of embarrassment, the bliss and sense of relief that comes with these small revelations is amazing: it's that ultimate Quirky Hobby that you can share with someone with a smug smirk at the ignorance of the rest of the world. They don't know what they're missing.

But when next year I'll start doing Japanese as a minor, I'm contemplating inventing an imaginary Japanese boyfriend to explain away all the random Japanese words I know.

Alissa tells it like it is:

So much to say here. I actually have to revert back to when Toonami was at the peak of its popularity, because things have changed drastically regarding anime fandom in the past few years. Between high school up to graduation, I was open about anime to all my friends. Of course, that was the point when it was relatively easy to talk about your interests. At that time, it was okay to be a nerd and still like the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls. Everyone was more or less into Pokemon too. The only person that really "didn't get it" was my mom, who I was less open about. At some point she even forbade me from watching Toonami, after seeing my sisters and I from watching Dragon Ball Z [lol, violence]. I didn't really understand why she disliked me watching it, so I found ways to get by, like taping the Midnight Run or even Adult Swim when I couldn't stay up late enough to see it. Maybe it was the old saying that "Cartoons rot your brain," and since I only transition from Looney Tunes and Rugrats to Sailor Moon and Tenchi Muyo, I guess she probably thought that I would never grow up.

At my job, I wear outfits or carry accessories relating to anime only if it's a casual day. My manager knows how much I'm into anime and often teases me about it, saying I'm Japanese and I'm trapped in a Black person's body. He's not an ignorant person; he knows my interests but likes to poke fun at me, it doesn't necessarily bother me, though. My workplace has people (generally male) who'll ask me if I watch the latest episode of Bleach online and then wonder why I say no. My coworkers are not generally into this type of genre but they don't look at me like I have a third eye about it. I will say that it tends to be difficult your personality only insinuates that you don't have anything else in common, because your anime interests oversees the rest of your other interests. Therefore, I think I have less of a chance to have a good social life beyond work because it seems that everyone else seems to hang outside of work.

Ironically, the only people I don't share my fandom as openly as I would is with other anime fans; specifically in college. When I took my Japanese class, I didn't bring anything representing anime/manga/or other forms of Japanese culture because I didn't really want to be known as an "Otaku." I just wanted to study my passion. With that said, I've met some people who are anime fans and are pretty down to earth, and then I met the hyperactive anime fan stereotype who like to cry out "kawaii," and "desu" and who strictly watch Japanese subtitled anime ONLY just because they feel it teaches them how to converse in such language. Things like that royally piss me off. I'm in my second semester of Japanese now and I noticed that some of the same people did not come back. Recently,I think anime fandom is okay, but I do have a line of openness I won't cross. It's one of those things in which you just know that there's a time and a place, and appropriateness.

Vent, Gina, vent:

I am open yet reserved about my love affair with anime. People around me may realize I'm into it, but I don't talk about it all the time, because I used to talk about favorite shows all the time, and it would drive people crazy. Besides, as my Mom told me, "They don't know what you're talking about." At least I'm out of high school, so when I do reveal I'm into anime, people are mature about it instead of insulting. Except our dog trainer, who tried to convince me that Spongebob Squarepants was real animation, and anime wasn't.

It was quite obvious at my last job that I was into anime. Since everyday was casual Friday, I might wear a Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, or Heat Guy J t-shirt. I had figures of Kaname and Sousuke from Full Metal Panic at my desk, and hung up printshop calendars I designed with an anime theme. There were also printshop signs I designed with whoever were my favorite bishonen at the time. I brought manga and doujinshi to look at during break. I still remember fondly that time I had to fax things one at a time and wait until they cleared, giving me time to read a couple of pages of Fruits Basket while waiting for the go ahead for the next batch. I also brought in a journal in which I could jot down scenes for Trigun and Cowboy Bebop fanfic.

So I don't hide my anime fandom. I just try not to talk about it too much for fear of boring or annoying non-otaku that I know. Sometimes I do get frustrated keeping it to myself!

Ssshhh! You didn't see Susan at ANY CONVENTION EVER:

Most of my friends and family just chalk up my love of anime as one of my many quirks. Besides it doesn't utterly consume my life and I do have other interests. (though ALL of them are nerdy....)

I'll wear anime shirts, but I pick ones that I are still kind of stylish looking, and not every day. I have a small keychain on my purse. I wear and use a lot of things that aren't necessary anime, but have a pretty strong following in the community...like things with a general "kawaii" design and I don't know that I own a winter hat that doesn't have ears of some kind on it. And I don't know if it counts as "anime" per se...but I have a huge love of Hello Kitty. But Hello Kitty....pretty much everybody is familiar with it and nobody really questions it. At dealer rooms and such I always see shirts that are like "gosh, this is neat/funny, but nobody outside of this hotel would probably get it" so I don't buy it.

I'll read manga on the subway or on my breaks no problem but more often I'll be reading normal ol' books. The reason? I actually prefer books (though I've been way happy with more light novels being released stateside and happily read those anywhere). So ya, I don't HIDE it, but I'm not exactly screaming it from the rooftops either. I try to keep it subtle...not because I'm ashamed of it or anything, but because I think going overboard with anything is sorta tacky. I mean, I'd feel that way about somebody who, say, wore Star Trek stuff (or a Starfleet uniform) every single day and lived and breathed Star Trek. I love anime, and if you love anime and look at me you could probably tell, but I just don't feel the need to broadcast it loudly.

The one thing I actively hide though is the fact that I go to conventions. I'm kind of surprised my job hasn't picked up on the fact that I seem to have a lot of "out of state weddings" to go to when they look at my leave requests. If I told them what I was really doing they'd probably want to know about it...and I don't know how well they'd handle the fact that I spent the weekend dressed up like a cartoon character, playing a lot of video games, indulging in a bit of adult beverage appreciation, and sleeping about 4 hours a day in a pikachu sleeping bag on the floor under the sink because I was in a hotel room with 12 people in it (true story from this past Katsucon). Cons are either something you get or something you don't...and they already assume I'm kind of weird...I don't want to remove any doubt. Even among my friends, depending on who it is, I may downplay exactly what goes on at these things. I love them so much but they're kind of my dark secret except to my most inner circle (and those that go with me to them, obviously).

Maegin's grandma is awesome:

When your grandmother goes out of her way to FYE around Christmas time just to find "some of that Japanese cartoon-stuff that you like so much," it becomes apparent that you're not exactly making a secret of your love for anime. On a trip out to the local bookstore, my mom actually pointed out to me that a new chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist was out, which I wasn't actively looking for. I was very pleasantly surprised that she remembered for me, even though she'd turned down my invitations to watch either series with me. To that point, though, I don't consciously tell people when I meet them, "Hi, I'm Maegin. I secretly love 'Fruits Basket.'" I only own one or two anime-based T-shirts, that I don't wear. I've never even sat through an entire episode of Dragonball Z. (Please don't cane me.) But if I were a little more geeky about it, I certainly wouldn't try to keep it to myself.

I think a love for anime is as healthy as a love for, say, fine wine or the film-stylings of Kevin Smith. Everyone's going to have differing opinions on it and, on occasion, your fondness for it could alienate the people that don't and won't understand it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't let your otaku-flag fly. If you think it's important for people to know that anime is a big part of your life, you should do your damnedest to make it known. It's definitely a big part of my life (keeping up with Soul Eater has made me late to work on occasion), but I'm not adding "nano desu" to the end of all my sentences or answering the door in my Hetalia cosplay. The "otaku" label is a heavy burden to bear, and I won't be making an effort to obtain it. For those that are true otaku, wear your "I would die for Haruhi" shirt to the family reunion. Read your manga at the dinner table. Debate with your coworkers about Kubo Tite trolling the Bleach fandom. Do what makes you happy. I'll stand in the background and nod silently in agreement.

Tyler is checking over his shoulder:

For the most part, I'm open about anime around others. I take manga I get from the library, I read in front of my family, and the part of my collection that's not mostly Shonen Jump, and can fit on the shelf is right next to the doorway. There are some things anime-related that I don't really want my peers to see. There are some things that make me feel like they kind of discriminate against me. A few things keeping me form being as open.

1. In some cases, I'll get worried about my parents seeing, no matter how small and insignificant, you guessed it, Fanservice in an anime or manga I'm watching. I completely agree on that one column you did on how all it takes to make an uproar about anime is for a dumb kid to be caught with a stash of dirty japanimation comics for the media to blow the whole thing out of proportion. As I said, it's not much, but I definitely don't want to bring up the topic of Maburaho or Welcome to THe NHK, because I'm always afraid they won't let me be involved in anime anymore. My room is a loft. I have a fish tank that one of my relatives comes in to check on constanty. My computer is next to said relative's computer, both of them in a corner that's right across from the hallway. If I'm watching an anime that has any kind of sexual situations, you can bet I'm always looking over my shoulder in case someone decides to pop up out of nowhere in the hall, where they can see the screen. In school, when I bring my manga, I'll mainly read it on a patio that we go to during lunch after we eat. Yeah. Lots of kids. Chances are one of them are going to make some kind of "tentacle-rape" comment. Also, I'm afraid of a teacher seeing my Negima, and something similar to Chris Handley case will happen.

2. Most people think that all anime is like Naruto or something. If they don't think of it as "tentacle-rape", they'll probably think something like "that crazy Chinese crap he watches". I like to listen to j-pop/j-rock, but of course, you all know what that implies. I'm still not sure if my family still regards anime as a phase. I don't know if my family will ever really understand anime, really. I try to get others into it, but that's not going so well. One of my friends can't sit still, and half the time wants to go outside after the first few minutes, where he'll have thought of nothing to do once we do go outside. Though he enjoys it when I show him, he still doesn't think much of anime beyond shonen. In fact, one time he said anime makes people crazy, saying it was a fact just because some of the kids he knows are crazy, at least by his perspective, and watch anime. Yes, too much of any kind of TV will have an effect on you, but really, I think he failed to mention that they went to a school where there are a few crazy people, at least by his standards. The other actually likes anime, but he kind of has a bad memory, as in he changes what happened, ant there is a point to this. He's only seen shonen anime pretty much, and remembers only DBZ and Naruto. I tried to bring him out of just shonen by showing him Zero No Tsukaima, but things suprisingly go awry with my plan. He puts on a negative attitude about it before, because I've been bugging him the whole day to watch it, and only sees a few minutes, excluding the opening theme. He doesn't even get to where she kisses him to make him her familiar. Then, as I bring it up in conversation, his memory of it is more negative everytime. He said it was okay after he watched that little bit of it, but the last time I talked to him about it, I recall him saying he hated it and/or said it was stupid, and I'm sure he called it a rip-off of Harry Potter. He's cool, but he's definitely stubborn.

Where was I? Oh yeah. So I'm open about anime until someone starts bugging me about it. Hey, writing a 4-paragraph essay is pretty easy.

Two more and then we're done! Blue Jay Curtis sure ain't afraid:

How open am I about my love for anime? Let's see…………I'm pretty sure someone once saw me and screamed “ANIME FAN BOY!!!!!!!” and ran off. I'm not that bad actually, but I do put out the image that I really love anime. It's to the point where I am always wearing my Death Note “L” necklace. I've bought my own fake Death Note, got a few action figures out on display, and I often leave my anime and manga out for people to look at/watch. I also have a bad habit of bringing my anime stuff to other places so I can show it off (you should have heard the buzz that my Digimon Season 1 box set got). And that's just the “normal” stuff I do.

Once a week, my old High School runs an after-school anime club. I provide shows to watch and I watch them with the other kids who come. But as much as I am known for providing the some of the shows, I'm more known for the fact that I always wear my Shinsengumi (Peacemaker, Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X) jacket. It does make sense though, because I am a security guard. And whenever you come over to my house and come into my room, you'll notice all of the typical anime/cartoon/comic book fan figurines in certain poses and “scenes” and all of the posters/wall scrolls on the wall, but what you won't notice is the full-size practical use Reverse-Blade katana sitting on my headboard that I paid a whopping $255 dollars for! My #1 anime of all-time is Rurouni Kenshin, so it makes sense that I'd get a reverse-blade sword but I paid $255 for the real thing! It even shares the same hilt design…..

And I always make sure to have some manga on hand to read on the bus or whenever I'm bored. My brother reads them too (mostly). And I also buy a shirt or two every once in a while. And I have a Gintoki Sakata (from Gintama) and Hyakushiki (Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam) keychain attached to my house key. And that's about it. I'm not afraid to show my love of anime.

Oh! I forgot to mention that I cosplay as well. It's fun.

Last one! Kate, you even have photographic evidence:

I am completely open about my anime love. I wear t-shirts and read manga in public. I bring manga to school so much that people stopped giving me that "what in the world is that, its backwards...?" My room used to have white walls, but I printed out pictures from some of my favorite animes and put them up. I have successfully wallpapered my own room! Everyone I know, knows that I like anime. I even got some of my friends to like it!

Alright! Whew! That was an awful, awful lot of terrific responses. Great job. Will next week's question prove as popular? Well, here it is:

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.

Have at it, everyone! Remember to keep sending me all your questions and answers and thoughts and wishes and cares at answerman (at) animenewsnetwork.com! Bye for now!

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