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Hey, Answerman!

by Brian Hanson,

Woo hoo! Welcome back to the overflowing carnival of fun that is Answerman!

My sketch comedy show has been eating away at my time like a bloodsucking leech. A leech wearing a clown wig and floppy shoes. So, let's just get to the questions:

So being the big fan of both Lupin III and Detective Conan, I was pleasantly surprised to find out a crossover special was made last year. I know neither series did all that great ratings wise here in the US, but I was wondering, since both series are licensed by Funimation and DVDs have and are still being released, is there any chance or hope of this seeing the light of day here in the States?

Potentially? Maybe? It's hard to say, one way or the other.

The key to remember here is that, sadly, neither Detective Conan, alias Case Closed, nor Lupin III have ever been all that successful here in the US. Funimation, bless their heart, has been doing their best to keep them both alive by releasing some of the newer Lupin TV specials and the Detective Conan movies, but who knows how long they'll keep going with them. There's approximately ten million Conan movies and Lupin specials, so there's plenty already for them to choose from.

I don't doubt that TMS probably wants the special to be released here - Detective Conan and Lupin III are two franchises that are quite near and dear to their heart - so, I guess so long as the Conan films and the Lupin specials keep selling, the crossover special has just as good a shot of making its way Westward as anything else these days.

AND NOW, OPINION TIME: Although I gotta say, as a die-hard fan of both Lupin and Conan, that special was rather... uninteresting. Putting aside the obvious story problems that arise from having two completely opposite characters from two distinctly different shows share the same amount of screen time, it's positively freaky to see the angular, big-headed, bug-eyed Conan characters share the same space as the cartoony, squiggly-looking Lupin cast.

That said I'd probably still buy it. I'm a sucker for cheap cartoon crossovers. I think I watched my VHS tape of The Flintstones Meet The Jetsons as a kid more times than any other human being in history has ever watched it.

With the remakes of both Dragon Ball Z (Dragon Ball Kai) and Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) that are true to the manga, do you see any other old series possibly getting remade? I myself would love to see a remake of Rurouni Kenshin, one that finally animates the final story arc from the manga.

That's already happening, actually. Though I suppose it depends on your definition of "old." The past two seasons we've gotten manga-faithful remakes of Golgo 13 and Space Adventure Cobra, and who doesn't love THOSE shows! Oh, right - anybody under the age of 30.

And then of course we've got the new season of Inuyasha Final Chapter, picking right up where they left off to make an "official" manga-sanctioned ending. This is already a pretty well-established thing, and to be honest I don't just think we'll be seeing more of them, I'm willing to wager that we're going to see TOO MUCH of them. I think, and this is just me thinking out loud here, that as anime producers in Japan start to think a bit deeper about how to better suit their product to the Western market, their first inspiration will be to recall which shows have had the biggest impact on the US - and find a way to capitalize on that. After all, it's easier to revisit the well of success than to try and think of anything truly new.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, either. If they announced a new season of Rurouni Kenshin tomorrow that was faithful to the manga, I'd be dancing in the aisles with the rest of the internet. But I'd be worried about a glut of rehashed, lazy product attempting to recapture the success of shows and movies that are still perfectly fine would dilute the market. I don't need another remake of Escaflowne, for example. But that's just me, I guess, worried about the extremes of a hypothetical situation.

Besides, we all know that what we really need is a remake of Heat Guy J.

Hey Answerman!

Do you think many individuals who download fansubs frequently purchase anime DVDs at all? Do you think they make any contribution to the industry monetary or intangible? Or do you think they are just perpetual leechers? I have found that usually I will download a fansub and later, depending on whether or not I enjoyed the series, purchase the series on DVD if it gets licensed. Am I an anomaly or do you think other fans do the same?

Yeah, of course they do. In the realm of digital piracy, there are always shades of grey; there are thousands of folks out there, for example, who sift through literal torrents of mp3's to sample a wide swath of artists they might like, and later go out and purchase the stuff they really want. There are probably an equal amount of fans of shows like Lost and Heroes that had their first exposure to the series as a bittorrent download of the first few episodes that have later sunk hundreds of dollars into collecting the boxed sets.

But of course that's not the sort of thing that makes news headlines. "Responsible Citizen Dubiously Acquires A Product, Then Later Purchases Said Product Legitimately And Everything is OK" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Everything Ever is Being Stolen, Millions of Dollars Lost." For the companies involved, every torrented download and every pirated copy is seen as a lost sale, and it's next to statistically impossible to prove that, every once in a while, those same "pirates" go out and purchase something that they genuinely like. It's 2010, and piracy is so incredibly easy that basically every human being with an internet connection can go out and find practically everything they want, for free.

There are obviously those for whom making a legitimate purchase with Real Money is completely anathema, a foreign concept that they don't understand. And there are those who, for some reason that utterly infuriates me, think that pirating music and movies and anime is their own form of anarchic political rebellion. Yes, that's right: your downloaded mp3s of Modest Mouse and your episodes of Negima?! sure are making those crumb-bum fatcats in D.C. feel the pain! Those are all just one extreme side of a rather complicated issue.

At the same time, though, my heart goes out to those who really are feeling the sting of piracy. Ask any manga publisher why their profits are down and they'll probably start sobbing and muttering "Scanlations" under their teary breath. There's more than just two sides to this issue - the argument is far more involved than just "fansubs are a CANCEROUS BLIGHT and the fansub kiddies NEVER buy any DVDs" or "fansubs promote anime the way it is INTENDED and they should be FREE FOR EVERYONE." Companies that own a product are well within their right to legally protect their product to the fullest extent of the law, but at the same time it's hard to dissuade an entire generation of kids who've grown up being accustomed to having things delivered to them rather easily and completely free of charge. Luckily, some of those "fansub kiddies" have come to the realization that professional DVDs are actually worth something compared to their badly-encoded, clumsily-translated insta-fansubs and are eager to make a real purchase. And once the anime companies finally find a way to turn those instantly-gratified fansub hounds into paying customers, well, that's a victory for everyone.

No flakes this week! I think my "Anigao" video scared away the faint-of-heart. I'll consider that a success.

Anyway! On to Hey, Answerfans! Now, a funny thing happened last week - a complete snafu occurred that made me post the same question twice. To my pure chagrin, though, people still had some really great responses, as well as some from last week that just slipped by the original deadline. So, here we go again! Here's that question, just one last time:

Starting us out again on Answerfans 2: Dark Territory, Tyler hopes to take my job someday (and don't worry, laziness will not preclude you, as I can clearly attest):

There are, mainly 2 things that I would want to do in the anime industry, should I be a part of it.

1) This comes as no surprise, I want to make my own anime or manga. You see, I daydream a lot, mostly about anime, going back to when I was just wee little kid who stumbled upon anime on AS around the age of four, and had barely any understanding of it, but the concept stayed and influenced those daydreams. By the time I became a teen, those daydreams blossomed from rip-offs of the anime that 4kids show, to sophisticated ideas, like one I had of a post-apocalyptic series. Unfortunately, however, I can't draw very well, and, I'm too lazy to actually develop a full plot. The former is solved by my uncle, who happens to be a tattoo artist, thus very adept at drawing, and the latter, I guess I'll just have to work on.

2) I want to be some kind of reviewer/columnist involving anime. I started considering it when I saw that question about getting into such a career that you answered, and I then gained confidence from my answers being chosen by you twice, so thanks Brian. I find this a much more practical career, not that I completely gave up on the first idea. Writing about anime, yeah, I could do that. Heck, I've gotten good enough at talking about anime, bugging that friend I mentioned in one of my Answerfans responses to try new anime. With any luck, I might be working for ANN one day.

And now, Troy shares with us his true calling. By the way, can I send you my screenplay?

A desire to pursue a job in the anime industry was, in a way, one of the main reasons why I decided to go to college and pursue a degree in Radio/TV/Film.

That was years ago, and I'm sure there was a bit of fanboy syndrome influencing that decision, but I'm very glad I chose that method to pursue it. If the anime industry path didn't pan out, I could shift gears and pursue a job in the TV or film industry. Either one was a promising path that could be just as satisfying, if not more so.

In 2006 though, I had a tough decision to make. In addition to my studies at CSU Fullerton, I had been an active staffer at Anime Expo for several years and had naturally built a few contacts. I was about halfway through my path toward a Bachelors Degree when one of those contacts recommended me for a position at Bandai as a production assistant. Here was my chance! After all, this was the goal, right?

With great sadness, I turned it down. The offer came in mid-semester, plus the hours required of the position were impossible to work around any sort of class schedule. Getting a proper education was important to me, and I'm extremely proud I had the discipline to make that decision. It is a sad fortune that the current state of the industry frequently reminds me how smart that decision was.

Years after graduation, I'm currently employed at a small independent film studio, and the sky's the limit.

Vashfanatic translates her feelings to words:

There is one area within the “anime industry” (and if you want to expand it out, in the “manga industry” as well) that I would love to work in, and that's translation. Let me explain how I settled on this:

About a year ago now, having decided against continuing to get a PhD in my field and realizing it was going to be harder to get work in Japan than I'd imagined, I was facing a bit of a quandary on what I wanted to do with my life. I don't exactly have the most marketable degree, and what's more I really had no idea what job I should get into. I went in for career counseling with someone who, in retrospect, was absolutely horrible at his job. I took this long questionnaire asking me about things I liked doing, at the end of which I realized the answer was “nothing that they mentioned.”

So I started thinking for myself, well, what do I like doing in my spare time? Obviously I love to read, I love to write; I read a lot of manga and watch quite a bit of anime. But you can't exactly make a living doing just these things (or at least, only a very small few can).

And then it hit me: I also worked on a fansubbing team at the time (unlicensed material; you should all know my opinions on the role fansubs by now), and I would check books out of the library in Japanese just to translate them, and I did the same thing with manga. I love translating. I love the whole process of rendering one language into another. I love the decisions you got to make in interpreting the language, in interpreting character voice. I love getting to use my own strong writing skills to try to mirror the original.

With this I realized I would love to be a translator, which means I'd perhaps been focusing on the wrong classes for the last seven years (though I don't regret studying Japanese religion for a minute). It's also intimidating because now I really need to get work in Japan to improve my fluency.

Not am I necessarily limiting myself to manga or anime here, though obviously those would be the most fun and the most personally rewarding, since I love the mediums. That kind of work won't always pay the bills, so obviously some of what I'd be doing would be work on other materials, plus I might still need another source of income to supplement it. I'm trying to be very practical about this.

Meanwhile, I'm working on my Japanese volumes of Master Keaton that I bought. I'm learning a whole vocabulary set for the insurance industry. Would any international insurance companies be interested in hiring me in the near future? ~_^

Lianna, if Troy turns down my screenplay, will you hire me in your bookstore?

I do not want to work full-time in the anime industry. I consider anime a wonderful hobby, but for that hobby to become something I have to do every single day to earn a paycheck would drive my nuts. My dream is to own and run a little bookstore – with a fairly large manga section, of course.

However, being a massive bookworm as well as completely in love with the Japanese language, I would love to translate Japanese novels, light novels in particular, into English as a sort of side job. I find it incredibly depressing that so many of the novels I love haven't been released in English (Story of Saiunkoku), were cancelled before they could all be released (Slayers), or were completely butchered in the process (Kino's Journey, aka Kino No Tabi). I can't even find fan translators for most light novels, and what few there are tend to be to focused on translating the text as exactly as possible, resulting in overly literal translations that read like some of the example sentences from the back of a English-Japanese dictionary. To be able to do something to remedy this without having to dedicate myself entirely to anime and manga would be nothing short of wonderful.

Keep practicin' them pipes, Daniel:

If it were up to me, I would love to pursue a career in the anime industry, more specifically Voice Acting. I've always been fascinated by acting onstage, and I've always liked auditioning for plays, but there's one little hang up between those two: I'm a male who stands at about 5'4". I've always dreamt about being cast as the lead role of a play, but that's not happening unless the entire cast is short. So I turned to voice acting. I have a fairly decent vocal range, and, living where I live, I'm pretty close to a major anime licensing company. According to a lot of panels I've seen, it's not exactly an ideal career on its own, but it can still be something done on the side. I'd probably get some amount of guff for doing a bod job with a voice or something, but it's a labor of love, I guess. Then again, what anime fan doesn't wanna be a voice actor for their favorite show?

Don't worry, Battlecoat, drawing like an 8-year-old certainly hasn't stopped me:

I have wanted to pursue a career in anime for quite a long time. I would love to do voice work for a living. It seems like it would be a lot of fun, and I'd get to see whatever I was working on before the general public. The only reason I haven't made an attempt to get into the industry is because I honestly have no idea how, and don't know where to start.

The idea of writing is also rather appealing because I already write sometimes. The only difference would be that I'd have to get someone to do all the artwork for me because i draw like an 8 year old.

And finally, the delightfully named Amsterdamned would be too drunk with power:

Hello Answerman,

Would I like to pursue a career in the "anime industry"? Hell no!

I do love anime. But pursuing a career in the industry wouldn't work for me. It would be like an alcoholic working in a bar. Working professionally with anime will kill the buzz due to overexposure.

For the same reasons I have turned down working in a coffee shop (the Dutch version) and in a LAN-café. It's nice to enjoy a hobby. But being around that hobby for 16 hours a day is just too much of an overdose.

Delightful! And hey! Guess WHAT! There's a WHOLE NEW QUESTION THIS WEEK! Yes indeedy! 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.

And I am outta here! Remember to pester me at my puerile late-night comedy shows and also send all your questions and answers to answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com!

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