Hey, Answerman! A Good Buy And A Great Value
by Brian Hanson, Apr 22nd 2011
Ah, the soothing, warm evening weather of Spring in Arizona. Normally I know that I've done nothing but complain about the various meteorological forces at play in my desert habitat; but this is the one time of the year where I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Now that I'm relaxed and all, it's time to begin THE ANSWERING:
I've recently been confused by Funimation's DVD releases. I pre-ordered the Eden of The East movie and noticed that it said it was a DVD/Blu-ray combination release. I wasn't really sure what to think of it, but I pre-ordered the DVD anyway, assuming it was a one-time thing. But today I noticed that Funimation's release of Rideback is also going to be a DVD/Blu-ray combo, and that's for a full series.
I can't shake the feeling that I'm paying extra for a disc that I won't use. Is there anyone out there that actually wants to have both on hand? I don't have a Blu-ray player yet, so I guess it will come in handy eventually, but for those that just want the Blu-ray, the extra cost for a DVD must be especially annoying.
The first thing I was reminded of was the $80 DVD/Blu-ray or DVD/HD-DVD release of Wings of Honneamise. Everyone seemed to think that was a bad idea at the time. Is this trend any different?
Well, the key difference with The Wings of Honneamise thing is that it was ONLY released as a DVD-Blu Ray (or *snicker* DVD and HD-DVD) package; there was NO WAY to get the DVD on its own. And bear in mind that this was back in 2007, when Blu Ray and HD-DVD players were less than a year old and both rather expensive.
Now, in 2011? EVERY major Hollywood movie is released as a DVD, a Blu Ray, and as a combo pack containing both that retails for only ten bucks more, or less. That Eden of The East movie you're bemoaning has a list price of 35 dollars, yes - but currently it's only listed for 20 bucks on Amazon, or 21 dollars on Right Stuf. That's not bad at all.
It's called a "Value Add" in the retail business. It's a pretty transparent attempt to make the consumer think that they're saving a bit of money with the combo-pack, when of course they're actually being charged a bit more.
Honestly, though: Is it really that big of a deal? Is the extra five dollars you're being charged for the Blu Ray AND the DVD such a deal-breaker?
Speaking for myself, here: I don't have a Blu Ray player in my room. I've just got an old SDTV hooked up to a DVD player, and my Wii for Netflix purposes and Super Nintendo games. When the Scott Pilgrim Blu-Ray arrived at my house, I watched the movie - and then took out the DVD and watched it again in my room before bed so I could listen to the commentary tracks. That's pretty cool.
The thinking behind combo packs is that they're giving their customers portability. Most Blu-Ray players are affixed to people's living rooms, but DVDs? There's a DVD player in damn near everything - they're in laptops, in cars, in old PlayStation 2s, they're everywhere. Am I seriously going to use the extra "bonus" DVD for everything? Probably not, but I'm not complaining that it's there.
Yes, you *are* being charged more for something you may very well never use. But it's not like you're being charged an extra arm-and-a-leg, here. It's only about five dollars, give or take, more than the usual - And considering how often anime companies like to charge exorbitant prices for "extras" (like the aforementioned 80 dollar Honneamise release), I'd argue that it's a steal.
What kind of impact do you think Tokyopop's closing down will have on the industry in general? Do you think any of the other English licensing companies will pick up the titles Tokyopop has left behind, or is it unlikely? Almost every series I see at my local bookstore is Tokyopop, and without them there won't be much left. What do you think will happen?
What's going to "happen" now that Tokyopop is no more? Well - in my honest opinion... nothing that wasn't going to happen anyway.
I mean, look - Tokyopop's demise was sort of inevitable, sad as it is to say. The company made it no secret that for the past while they've been under quite a bit of financial duress - they took a bath on a lot of OEL titles, and much of their big hits were stolen away by other publishers. I mean, Yen Press and Del Rey basically came in and ate their lunch, and Tokyopop scaled back so much that they were almost invisible.
That said, Tokyopop's back catalog is still huge. Who the hell knows what's going to happen to most of their titles, honestly - with a few exceptions, at least. You can bet your bottom dollar that big hits like Fruits Basket will find a home elsewhere. That's a given. You'll probably be seeing quite a number of older CLAMP titles re-appear elsewhere, too.
But for the vast majority of their catalog - titles that were licensed when Tokyopop was ridin' high and snatching up everything under the Rising Sun - the future, I'd say, is uncertain and unlikely. So basically, if there's a Tokyopop series you like, you'd best get to buying 'em now, because once they're gone, they're most likely going to stay gone.
The sad truth of this industry - and this applies to both anime and manga - is that older titles simply don't sell. Unless they're big, stupid monster hits, like Fruits Basket. The fans want the newest of the new of the new, and Tokyopop's leavings can hardly be considered "new." It's a bummer all around. A bunch of people are out of work, a company that helped shape and define the manga industry in the US is now gone, and a vast majority of the titles they licensed are likely to disappear. Sucks.
I've been a long time fan of the Mobile Fighter G Gundam since its initial release in 2002. I watched the show religiously, even during the times Cartoon Network wanted to mess with the time slot. A couple years later, I bought the manga released by Tokyopop. I read the Gundam Wing manga by Koichi Tokita expecting a decent read. However, I was sorely disappointed to see how ineffective fitting forty-nine episodes worth of story in to a three volume manga. On top of that it was obvious that Tokita didn't have a lot of experience at the time.
Then this past summer I received a glimmer of hope. Gundam Ace was serializing a remake of the manga, with Yasuhiro Imagawa writing and Kazuhiko Shimamoto doing the artwork. I trolled ebay for weeks to see if someone was selling it, and now I proudly own the first the volumes and have volume four on preorder. I must say, the artwork is GORGEOUS, the fights well choreographed, and the story not even close to being rushed! In the first three volumes, only the first six episodes have been covered. But I'm at an impasse. My Japanese is lackluster at best, and my occupation doesn't leave a lot of time for me to be trolling through dictionaries for hours on end, which is a shame, because there are a lot of very obvious tweaks in the story.
So here are my questions; is there even an inkling of hope that there will be an English language release of the manga? And what else is Kadokawa Comics, Bandai, and everyone else involved planning to do with the property?
Eh, well. Listen, I love G-Gundam probably as much as you. Well, actually, maybe - I'm hardly in the same league of G-Gundam-sanity as a, say, Mike Toole, but.
Anyway. G-Gundam is insane, just to remind everyone. It's a show where everything is ramped up to 11 - the fights, the costumes, the melodrama, the racial stereotypes, EVERYTHING. Suffice to say that it's not everyone's cup of tea. Which is my kind way of saying that... G-Gundam's time in the sun, it's chance of succeeding in any way in the US, has come and gone. It ran for a little while on Cartoon Network, it had its DVD release, and that's it. It's over.
The manga, from what you're describing, sounds great. I certainly hope it comes out here! But I wouldn't bet on it. We didn't even get the new Gundam Wing manga over here - which, from all accounts, is a good thing, because supposedly it's terrible. But! Gundam Wing was irrefutably the most popular Gundam series there ever was in the US - you'd think that Kadokawa and Bandai would be all over that. But no, no - they're fine with just the tepid Gundam 00 manga, for the time being.
As I mentioned previously, old things don't sell. Even new adaptations of old things. They just don't sell. I want more G-Gundam in the world as much as you do; the world needs more products where geopolitical disputes are settled via melodramatic cage fights with robots. But it probably won't happen. Sucks.
Alright, alright, time for me to shut up and let YOU GUYS do the talkin'! It's Answerfans, and here was last week's big Question:
Drew is up first, and he's got bullet points:
For the reader's sake I'll separate my thoughts into three categories: "MUST WATCH", "ON THE FENCE", and "NO THANKS".
1. Tiger & Bunny -- I've been watching anime for many years so it's a joy seeing a series like this give me that Saturday morning superhero cartoon feeling and succeed in a big way. This is a show that makes worried when its heroes get into tense situations and later on makes me cheer when they escape to perform good deeds in the next episode.
2. Hana-Saku Iroha -- When you first glance at a preview of this anime you'll probably think, "Oh this looks like another slice of life all girl series, a la K-ON." Unfortunately you would be very wrong. This show has gotten into the habit at surprising you with each episode, and so far for me it has been very fulfilling.
3. Ao no Exorcist -- I just recently watched its first episode and I enjoyed it. I was expecting it to be another cookie cutter shounen series but so far I'm eating those words. I already want to see Rin, its main character, triumph over every obstacle in his path. I can only hope its next episode leaves the same impressions on me.
4. Deadman Wonderland -- I knew nothing about this series until I watched its first episode, and holy crap did it leave an impact on me. It definitely takes a twisted and disturbing turn for the worst right from its beginning. I've been looking for a new dark anime to watch after Madoka Magica disappointed me, and I think this show might be it.
5. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control -- This is one of those bizarre anime you watch once and can't seem to put down. It's such a refreshing yet phantasmagorical sight to behold. Who knew an anime about money and economics could be so intriguing?
6. A-Channel -- Before you start calling this "a K-ON clone", sit down, relax, and if you can't laugh by the end of one episode then we'll go our separate ways. This show has quirky humor that works well for it, and all its characters are very likable.
ON THE FENCE:
1. Aira the Scarlet Ammo -- Something about this anime just doesn't make me want to commit myself to it. It's almost like it's trying too hard while being too flamboyant about it. I was expecting to be blown away but ended up not caring much for it.
2. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (anohana) -- You know, I've been hearing how other people are comparing this to Hana-Saku Iroha and proclaiming how they're so great and similar. I, however, don't see or feel the resemblances. Right now anohana seems like a poor counterpoint to Hana-Saku Iroha to me. Only time will tell.
3. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko -- It's trying to be cute and different but I have problems with that. First, this kind of odd humor was already done by Arakawa Under the Bridge so I'm ready for something different now. Second, the futon joke lasted way longer than it should have. Third, I currently find most of its characters annoying.
4. Sket Dance -- I wanted to like this show 100% but I'm not too keen on wathcing something that makes me feel like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy will suddenly pop up out of nowhere. Plus, if the mysteries will be solved by the end of each episode then there's no suspense and that's no fun for me.
1. Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai -- Whoever created this first episode must have a masochistic need to cause brain damage from too many characters and plots at once. Just when you've gotten used to one group of characters it sucker punches you into a brand new group of characters. On top of that, you have three or four different storylines going simultaneously which just leaves your head spinning.
2. Dog Days -- Watching this felt more like a chore than fun. How can you take a war seriously when everyone turns into catballs? In short, this Dog Days just left a turd in my front yard and I unfortunately got stuck cleaning it up.
3. Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera -- I watched this because a friend recommended it, but all that was in vain as I just wanted to turn off its first episode. I didn't care much for it as I watched it and I care less about it now.
4. Hen Zemi -- I don't know which is more scary - The disgusting lengths this anime will go to or how I believed it would become a break out hit.
B.J. just threw me for a loop:
I'm betting it all on the "bonus twist" by not watching anything! Yup, after reading through ANN's preview guide and looking at a few other places, I've decided to skip this season entirely. This may seem a little snarky, but I really don't see anything that I need to watch. Oh, I'll probably get around to Tiger & Bunny at some point, that one looks like it'll be interesting, but since Viz probably (if not definitely) has the license, it won't be going away any time soon. But looking down the rest, all I see are the usual slog of visual novel adaptations and cute-for-its-own-sake niche stuff, series that are trying to sell themselves as some kind of uber-edgy avant-garde stuff, or hard-hitting drama series that could have justifiably been made live-action. [Insert sigh]. I don't know. None of this really appeals to me. It's pretty obvious that anime has gotten away from the adventure-driven stories of the 90's that got me into anime in the first place. What happened to fun stuff like Slayers or Outlaw Star? Where's my Guin Saga Season Two?!?!
Perhaps it's all just as well: I'm still struggling to finish stuff from the last two seasons, and I've got a pile of older stuff that I've been meaning to get around to anyway. I see no need to bog myself down further with more titles when I've already got a list I want to watch anyway. I'll check back in for Squid Girl Season Two.
WHAT IS SARAH TO DO WITH ALL THESE STEREOTYPES?
I started watching Deadman Wonderland because everyone was absolutely RAVING about it. And after the first episode I can understand why. This type of multi-level anime is right up my alley. I was really getting a Battle Royal feeling right from the get-go and I couldn't be happier. (BR is one of my fave novels) The animation was amazing and smooth. I loved the score, for me the best type of background music is the kind that adds to the moment and DW has that in spades. Not much else I can say, I loved the first episode, will DEFINITELY be watching the rest, and maybe even pick-up the manga at my next con.
Ummm, Sket Dance...yeah. It's not really my thing. I'm open to all sorts of different shows and genres but wow, I really did NOT like this one. There was barely a second when someone wasn't talking, yelling or running around. The music was blaring ALL the time! (To the point where I was glad there were sub-titles so I could tell what they were saying) I barely got to know the main character's name before they shoved the 'real' main cast in my face. Oh god, those three, don't even get me started on them. SO MANY STEREOTYPES! You've got the smart, glasses one, who, for good measure, talks like a computer. You've got the bi-polar girl who obviously beats the crap out of anyone/everyone. And of course the Haruhi of our group, Bossun. Yeah, did not like this one at all. I'll be skipping the rest of the episodes.
The title of [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, caught my attention. Usually you want a title to be short, catchy, and easy to say. But [C] is a total mouth full. So I started watching it and to my surprise I really like it. Some of the character designs are so cool and, being a poor student myself, I can REALLY identify with Kimimaro's situation. (I'd totally take the money too.) If the series continues to be this interesting then it might just be one of my new faves.
Finally I want to talk about The World God Only Knows II. I LOVE THIS SHOW! The first season was awesome, I was really sad when it ended but now I get to go home to my beloved Keima~ Everything I loved about the first season was in the first episode. Nerd humor, gaming, awesome animation, THAT OPENING! The 8-Bit recap of season one was an awesome idea and I loved the fourth wall humor. I'll definitely be watching this one every week!
Barbara is over the hill about Tiger & Bunny, less so on another:
So here goes...the anime I am watching this spring season is: Tiger and Bunny.
When I first heard the title of this anime, I thought “Its gotta be about a cutesy girl with a cutesy friend and the impossible adventures they get themselves into,” in other words, not worth my time. How wrong I was! I read the synopsis and realized that this show was about crime fighting super heroes. Now, that I'm interested in! It must be said that the concept of super powered humans is not new...I have to wonder was there any time in history when there wasn't a story about a human with some god-like ability? Probably not. But, after reading the reviews of the first couple of episodes of Tiger and Bunny, I wanted to give the anime a shot. I found it to be totally worth my time because it grabbed me and held my attention through the super long intro (that was ten minutes? I really didn't notice because I was too busy watching the heroes doing their thing). And that wasn't the only reason it hooked me. Wild Tiger is immediately relatable. All Tiger wants is to help out the innocent, but he's constantly reminded that “if it weren't for the sponsors you'd be nothing” so just do what you're told; don't make any waves. This isn't some fluffy shonen action series where the young hero suddenly discovers his super awesome power, and that he must learn to use it in order to save humanity. Oh, and on the way he has a whole village of people to support and encourage him. Tiger and Bunny forces the viewer to live in the “real” world where even a middle aged father, no matter his power, is subject to the same reality that affects everyone. This is especially true when the company Tiger works for goes belly up leaving him to be scooped up by another. This is so familiar in today's society that it's like looking into a mirror. How many people have been laid off only to be “forced” into another occupation or lose their jobs entirely? This is another fact where Tiger and Bunny hits home. Give me more anime like this, please. I am completely caught up as of right now, and cannot wait for more episodes to arrive. On a smallish side note, I really hope this baby gets licensed and dubbed over here. I've been making a list of voice actors I'd like to hear in some of the roles.
For the twist, the anime I tried to watch but most likely will not continue is: Steins;Gate.
I managed to get through the first episode of this new anime. While it is cool in concept; time travel, a text message that is sent to the past (cue spooky music here), and a mad scientist(?) the whole thing is a bit too weird for me. Mr. Mad Scientist Rintarou Okabe aka Ryouma Hououin shows definite signs of crazy. While this may not be his fault, although he does believe in conspiracy theories (doesn't every young male go through this phase?). I would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he actually made sense once during the entire first episode. I managed to keep up with what was going on, although the story does its best to derail you at every step. This is a mind game to the extreme. I'm curious to find out what happens, but also afraid to be let down. It's so easy to create a wacky storyline, but much harder to try and explain it, if you explain it at all. The TV series Lost comes to mind as a perfect example of this. However, my initial response to this series is one of disappointment. Perhaps this is because I'm a woman, and I don't care one way or the other about what the government is keeping from “us”. But its mostly because I find this sort of storytelling to be extremely lazy. Here's how I predict Steins;Gate will end: Okabe (the mad scientist) has been hallucinating this whole thing. He is, in fact, a paranoid schizophrenic and has been locked in a cell in some high tech psychiatric ward. I have no idea what these doctors want with Okabe or anything like that, this ending just seems appropriate from what I gathered from the strange first episode.
Answer away, Chantal, you've earned it:
Yes! A "Question of the Week" I can actually answer. ^_^
The shows I plan to watch during the Spring 2011 season are:
+ Steins;Gate. I wanted to watch an anime that strayed far, far away from the typical "add fanservice in order to gain popularity" formula and that had some good science fiction mixed into it. While that show had me scratching my head in the first episode, it also kept me intrigued well enough that I want to learn more. Not only am I curious about the characters but also how time-travel will be used in the story. I haven't been this curious about an anime in a while so it's a keeper.
+ Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi. Okay, three reasons why I'm watching this show. 1. I like yaoi anime/manga and I'm not ashamed to admit it. 2. I like how the story involves a male protagonist working in the shojo manga division of a publishing company; I always wanted to see how manga, in general, is published in Japan. The show, in my opinion, is sort of like a "boys love version of Animation Runner Kuromi replaced with manga publishing" so I like how unconventional it is. 3. Shungiku Nakamura is the same author that wrote Junjō Romantica & I'm a huge fan of that series!!!
+ Hanasku Iroha. First episode was just...WOW. A huge slap in the face (no pun intended) for me especially since I usually don't really like dramas that much. Taking a young city girl from their domesticated life and implanting (or in this case, dumping) her into the rural life isn't new to me. I've watched, and gaged, many a live-action "chick flick" movie with this theme but here it seems to be actually believable. I can actually make a connection with the heroine when it comes to family troubles and trying to fit in to a brand-new environment.
+ Gosick. Well....not so much as "start watching it" rather than "continue watching then possibly buying the light novels later on."
+ Tiger & Bunny. Life lesson: never judge an anime by its title. My exact words while reading the title were, "What the heck, an anime about furries?" Luckily, after watching the first two episodes, I was surprised, amazed, and ready for more!! Personally, Tiger & Bunny is to superheros and NASCAR (because of the advertisements) as Cowboy Bebop is to jazz and western films. In other words, it's a Japanese anime that incorporates American themes and does a fantastic job at it.
+ Blue Exorcist. I want to know if it's worth all of the hype.
+ Deadman Wonderland. The first episode wasn't bad. I always enjoy a good violent anime but this show seems like there's going to be some traumatic moments as well. Who knows how horrible it must be being a falsely accused teen living in prison while having some "stone" implanted in your body that does "weird things" to your body.
Shows I don't plan to watch this season are:
+ A-Channel. ....I'm sure it "might" be a good show but I really don't want to watch another show based on the everyday life a typical Japanese high school (or middle school) girl.
+ We, Without Wings. Oh no, not another anime with ecchi, fanservice, and nothing that actually intrigues my interest. XP
+ Astarotte's Toy. No just...no. Not into anime with 10 year olds being used as fanservice bait.
Michael ends this reverie on a sour note:
I'll keep this short and sweet - or, more accurately, short and bitter.
I am not watching "Deadman Wonderland", "Steins;Gate", "Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko" or (much of) "My Ordinary Life" - because the streaming sites won't stream them to Australia. (Actually, I've managed a little My Ordinary Life via YouTubed bootlegs - so I'm a bad person.)
The ANN new season reviews are a depressing experience "That looks interesting - Can I watch it here? No." - repeated many times.
Happily, I can get "Tiger and Bunny" through ANN (2 eps watched) and "Hana-Saku Iroha" and "Sket Dance" through Crunchyroll (not watched yet, but I'll try them.) Some Crunchyroll series are available, some aren't - so at least they're trying. I've never got anything from Hulu or Funimation.
Ouch. Sorry Michael.
So! Next week's question! Read it, remember it, respond, et al:
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.
That's all I've got this week, but remember once again to force-feed my inbox full of queries and responses over at answerman((at))animenewsnetwork.com! Bye for now!
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