Hey, Answerman! - For God So Loved The Laserdisc

by Brian Hanson,

Hey everyone! Welcome to another round of informative babble known as Hey, Answerman!

So, last week, the conversation about "Otaku Pandering" spilled into the forums where things got... pretty messy, pretty quickly, as the "conversation" so often is wont to do. For fear of dredging up the "discussion" for an equally nasty bout of Round Two, I won't spend too much time on it, but I will say that I do genuinely apologize if any of the things I said genuinely felt like an attack on a group of people. I never intended it as such, but, well - that's sort of the power that words have. Even with the best of intentions, it's still impossible to control people's reactions. Unless you never say ANYTHING potentially offensive whatsoever; in that case, you're basically saying nothing.

In lighter news, I've got a splendid crop of questions about collecting, animating, and production! I like talking about those things!

Hey Answerman,

I'm starting to have a good-sized collection of anime on DVD, VHS, laserdisc (God's own video format, a friend says), and a few blu-rays, along with CDs, manga, and other goods, so I've started to wonder about long-term value. In 60 years could this be taken to something like Antiques Roadshow, or is its future value likely to be mostly sentimental? If it is likely to continue to have much monetary value, would doing things like getting items signed by directors and voice actors increase the value? I don't plan to sell anything and I hope my descendants will value my collection, but it would be nice to know that it won't lose most of its monetary value after I've spent so much time and money on it. I assume anime goods are more likely to have collector's value in Japan, since everything should be more well-known there and there could be more limited edition items. Do Japanese collectors value foreign editions? A larger question is whether American interest in Japanese popular culture (or even Japanese interest in animation) is just an ephemeral trend, or is it going to continue and will some of the titles existing today be viewed as international classics in the future. Of course, the last anime DVD on Earth will have a lot of historical value.

FIRST OF ALL: the mental image of God Himself, His Holiness, cracking open a beer and flipping over a ridiculous Laserdisc, and having to get up halfway through Taxi Driver to switch to Side B, is amazing. Thank you.

I think the big question here is - in 60 years, won't everything be digital anyway? In much the same way that it's kind of impossible to hook up a Fairchild Channel F to a modern HDTV, I can't really fathom a future where we can watch the original Pioneer Tenchi Muyo! DVDs on our Super TVs in 2072. So, essentially; it will all be sentimental. That's not to say they won't have value, because they certainly will. No doubt there'll be a bunch of old fogeys out there trading their physical media amongst each other while the rest of the world enjoys non-stop entertainment beamed directly into their Visual Cortex. And in that sense, the same free-market principles will apply to the actual monetary "value" of those items. Certain things - the rarer things - will command a premium while the rest will likely rot away in a garage in a future episode of Hoarders. It'll be interesting to see which things will truly stand the test of time, definitely.

Especially since, without question, a good deal of stuff probably (and sadly) WON'T make the transition from DVD and so forth to our all-digital future. I don't think there will ever be a time when the Studio Ghibli catalog won't be perennially available, but there probably isn't much of a financial incentive to digitally preserve something like, pulling a title out of my butt here, Megazone 23. Physical copies of shows that didn't make the jump to digital certainly WILL command a premium and bring you a decent ROI, if only because they're not available anywhere else.

It gets a bit trickier when you bring in Japanese importation into the mix. For one thing, Japanese culture has been rather slow to participate in the Western ways of all-digital all-streaming media as quickly as us. They're catching up, but specifically in anime, selling physical goods - with expensive Limited Editions bursting with content and goodies - has been such an ingrained part of being an anime fan in Japan that I don't think that will ever truly dissipate. At least not anytime soon. No, the only reason reverse-importation ever happens is that Western goods and DVDs tend to be much cheaper - Aniplex USA notwithstanding.

But really - who knows! I don't have a crystal ball. Or maybe I do, but my scrying business isn't really relevant to this column. Nobody knows what the future will bring, and that's exciting part! Supposedly. But at least feel good about this - the day when physical media officially dies is fast approaching, so depending on the size of your collection, you could very well be sitting on a goldmine.

Hello Brian!

You gave a basic overview of the American system of animating for television, about which I know very little, in comparison to the Japanese system, with which I am more familiar, but when dealing with shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and now The Legend of Korra we have a different element in the mix: Korean animation studios.

It is my understanding (I may be wrong) that even though the designs (character, background, mechanical, etc) for Avatar were done in the U.S., almost all of the actual animation was done by Korean studios, mainly JM Animation.

I realize that Korean studios do a LOT of American animation work, and so must probably conform to the basic rules of American animation that you talked about, but do they do anything differently in Korea from what you've explained? Also, in the case of Avatar, where the Korean studio is given so much more responsibility, what style of animation production do they employ? The American style? The Japanese? Something else?

I also find this topic very interesting for two other reasons 1) more and more animation work for Japanese shows is being done in Korea, sometimes even going beyond the usual "in between" work and 2) Thinking about how Japanese studios like Toei used to do so much animation work for the U.S. in the 80s and somewhat in the 90s, for shows like Thundercats, G. I. Joe, Batman: The Animated Series, etc.... in those cases, how much input and leeway did the studios have in the creation of those products? Did the Japanese studios that did animation work for U.S. shows have to follow the American factory layout system?

I hope this will give you more of an opportunity to talk about the physical creation side of animation and cartoons, as your answers on those subjects are very informative!

Well, thanks! I knew my bizarre fascination into animation production would have a positive use someday!

In the case of Avatar - sorry to say, but I think you're a bit confused about the term "actual animation." Because, like you said, all the designs were done at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Hollywood, and so were the layouts. Avatar was storyboarded, recorded, timed, and directed like any other animated series on Western television. Like I said last week, the animation directors (all five of them) come up with incredibly detailed and complex layouts and timing sheets, and those are handed out to the various animation studios - JM Animation, DR Movie, and Moi Animation - who follow those directions to an exceptional end. I guess that would be the "actual animation" by your definition - but all the creative decisions about how a character moves, behaves, talks, and so forth are already drawn and written down for those studios. Now, their job is to basically return the show, fully animated and colored, with everything the directors asked for, but can they sometimes add their own flourishes? Sure, if they have the time - and if you've watched Avatar, they certainly did, and they took great advantage of it.

It's the same with those episodes of Batman: The Animated Series you're probably thinking of. Warner Bros. Animation handled all the "creative" aspects of the animation production, and spared no time or detail on the "exposure sheets" (technical documents that tell the animators how long to hold on a specific pose, how many frames they need to fill in before the next keyframe of animation, lip movements, and so forth) that were handed to the Japanese studios. But if you look at this clip from the Clayface episode, you can clearly tell that scene was substantially improved by the technical skill and prowess from the animators at Tokyo Movie Shinsha. And you'll hear Western animators tell stories all the time of the overseas studios really taking a shine to a particular scene if it tickles them - I remember on the DVD commentary of the direct-to-video Batman Beyond movie, their overseas director worked as an animator on Akira, and wanted to take some extra time to expertly animate a series of scenes of satellites shooting lasers in space. That's quite common.

But in the frenetic world of TV animation production, you can't always count on that, and you've ALWAYS got to have your bases covered to make sure you're getting EXACTLY what you want so you don't cause any delays or hiccups into the production. Hardcore Simpsons fans know the tale of their animation troubles on the first season of the show - you can watch them relive their pain here! and all the headaches that caused them to delay the show several months, all because they couldn't quite figure out the look they wanted before handing it off to their animators.

"But Brian!" you're saying. "You're saying that the lazy American animators are just drawing out rough sketches and handing them off! And that's the 'actual animation' to you?!? Sounds to me like the overseas animators are the ones doing all the heavy lifting!!" That's also a common misconception, and it's a tricky one to get rid of until you see for yourself just how much insane and grueling work it is to direct an animated series. Your job, as an animation director, is to basically ANIMATE THE ENTIRE SHOW except in your head, and then make a stupidly detailed script of every scene, every shot, and every character. And they do tons of drawings themselves; much like how TMS wanted to take the extra time to make that Clayface scene extra amazing, animation directors will usually handle a specific scene themselves - and that means all the key frame drawings and so forth. Going back to The Simpsons, Brad Bird would often handle scenes with Krusty the Clown himself.

As far as the Sunbow shows go (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Jem and all that), there's not a lot of reference material on how those shows were produced - but the majority of them were produced by Marvel Productions, which operated like any other animation studio at the time - a gaggle of artists and writers and creative-types were all consolidated there, so it's a pretty safe assumption that it functioned like any other animation studio, who would make all the creative decisions regarding the animation and then hand it off to Sunbow (and then to Toei).

And those shows look terrible. I was watching an "HD" remastered episode of G.I. Joe on The Hub one night (because I am a Sad Guy), and I couldn't believe how crummy it looked. Like a blurry, stilted, awkward mess. Yuck.

Where was I? Right, the term "actual animation" is a misnomer, because while the Western artists aren't the ones physically drawing most of the individual frames, they're certainly planning to do just that. Hope that clears things up a bit.

Dear Answerman,

I've been exposed to a lot of anime over the last year or two, and there's one thing many of them have in common, the endings are rushed and poorly executed. From what I understand, these endings happen because the animators either ran out of commissioned episodes before they got through the entire manga they're adapting, or because they put out episodes so quickly that they now need to wait for the manga to release more for them to adapt, forcing them to choose between ending the anime prematurely or inserting filler episodes indefinitely until they have more source material to work with. My questions are as follows:

1, Are those explanations the reality of the situation?

2, If that's the case, why don't animators wait for a series to be over before they adapt it? By waiting to have the entire story, they can better assess how many episodes they'll need to do the story justice, as well as eliminate the need for directionless filler episodes. So why rush into production?"

1. Yes!

2. I've gone over filler episodes before, but I thought this question tied in nicely to all the nuts-and-bolts production talk from earlier. Here's the thing you've got to realize; when it comes to manga adaptations, there's a lot of pressure to get a successful anime series in the can as quickly as possible. What's a hit manga one week could be gone the next, and once an anime series starts running, that's when they can do what they always DREAM OF - making tons of money on merchandising!

It's all a timing thing. Anime shows are expensive and time-consuming endeavors, and when the production committees are getting all the necessary money together to get a show made, there's usually not a lot of time to think about - much less worry about - what the end result is. And usually, they don't really care. They're not usually thinking, "boy, I hope we can come up with a satisfactory ending for this thing." Usually they're thinking, "I hope we can keep this on the air as long as possible and make lots of money from it before the fans lose interest and move on to the next thing. Oh crap, they just did? Well, let's pull the plug on it. The fans are mad? Meh, whatever. They'll still buy the Blu Rays."

Because there's no financial incentive to "wait" any significant amount of time for a wealth of material to develop, there isn't much of a concern on behalf of the anime producers to do anything. And the other thing I want to point out is - how much better, really, is the ending of, say, Ranma 1/2 the anime versus Ranma 1/2 the manga? The anime has a bunch of crappy filler before it, BUT THE MANGA ENDS ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. The characters realize their wacky antics will continue until forever, CREDITS.

Once a manga series hits, the momentum to make a series and make money on merchandising becomes an all-devouring beast of time and resources, so there's no real time to necessarily think about "The End" in any meaningful way. And, really, outside of something like Lost, most shows aren't developed with a fully-formed ending in mind. They might have an idea or something, but usually, when the writers and producers are sitting down to develop a new series, adapted or not, their one all-encompassing thought is usually "I hope to God this is successful and we get to make more of them and that it doesn't get cancelled. I like having a steady job."

So it's a brutally fierce financial reality - these shows have gotta get made quickly to capitalize on a successful manga - and also just the nature of TV production itself. So much energy is used up in the creation of a series that asking the question "HOW DOES IT ALL END?" is not high up on the creators' list of major concerns. To them, they've got a show on the air, people are watching it, and if we have to make some filler episodes to keep things moving, then that's what we'll do.

And then they do it. And we wind up with terrible, urine-soaked episodes of Naruto. The high cost of animation production, ladies and gentlemen.

That's enough about endings. You know what's just begun? The Spring Anime Season, of course! Last week, I wanted you to wax on and off about your Spring favorites:

We begin with Rex, who wastes no time in getting into the thick of it:

Hey Brian,

I wanted to use this Answerfans response to be sort of an advocate for the two biggest stinkers of last weeks ANNCast. Upotte and Mysterious Girlfriend X.

I always read Zac's reviews first. Usually it's the shows he really loves or the ones he really hates that I will watch. Part of my anime optimism always leads me to believe a show "can't be that bad" when Zac trashes it. Both Upotte and MGX blew my mind, I was laughing my ass off watching the first episodes. Yeah I was also creeped out by the content, but it's so insane I have to keep watching. To the defense of these two shows, I say watch the second episodes.

Upotte's second episode ditches all the creepy gun/body parts. It also ditches the whole "horned up for the teacher" bit, in fact we see very little of the new teacher in that episode. The second episode focuses on a competition between the middle school girls and the high school girls. Naturally the competition (a game of capture the flag) focuses on guns. The characters have balloons tied to their heads, and it the balloon pops, that person is out. Bamboo said in the podcast that she likes learning about guns, and if you do too, watch episode two. It's full of info about stuff like how Swiss assault rifles use special ammo because of the mountainous terrain of the country. It was very interesting to learn that the amount of gunpowder in a bullet greatly effects the way the bullet travels when going through water (it's like anime catnip for me). I also laughed my ass off when one of the girls realized she was standing under a chestnut tree, and the chestnuts were saying "we are going to pop your balloon".

Mysterious Girlfriend X is creepy, and I have not been creeped like that by an anime show for a long time. But there is still some entertainment value in that. If a show can raise a strong sense of emotion and reaction (even a negative one) I still find value in that. The second episode raises some questions that I want to know the answers to. Firstly, whats up with her crazy scissor abilities? Nice skills I say. And how is it she can read his mind by tasting his drool? I really think this show is going to head down the "she's an alien" road, if it does I will be a little bit disappointed, but it least it doesn't start the show that way. And in the back of my mind I think that when the two of them consummate their relationship physically (That's the nicest way I can think of saying sex), something amazing or terrible will happen. Either it will trigger the end of the world in Evangelion style, or all war will end and humanity will be at peace and we will all give up our money and worries an become farmers or whatever. My own thoughts about the possible ending to MGX make me laugh.

So I will continue to tune in along with Space Brothers and Bodacious Space Pirates, but MGX and Upotte will be my weekly dose of weird. And at the end of it all my crunchyroll membership doesn't cost me a lot of money, so I never feel like I'm every losing anything when watching new shows.

Robert, if that Ice Hockey anime ever happens, you and Bamboo should do some sort of Rifftrax-style jokery;

The shows that I'm currently watching are Tsuritama, Sankarea, Acchi Kochi, Medaka Box, Kuroko's Basketball, Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos. I'm waiting until Kids on the Slope and Space Brothers finish since I feel that they would be awesome to marathon with friends.

The Big Winner:

Tsuritama - Of all the shows that I have watched this season, this one seems to be the only one that can truly be taken beyond face value. The pacing is nice, the cast is rather deep and entertaining, and above all else, the show is just simply effortless to watch. It also helps that the show is absolutely gorgeous, with the hard/bright colors working well with the fishing/ocean theme that the show has been pushing.

The Stinker:

None that I have watched really offended my senses too much, but I'm truly afraid of whatever the hell Upotte! is.


Kuroko's Basketball - Just another interchangeable sports show. Still waiting for the day that someone makes an Ice Hockey anime (which of course will never happen) so I can complain mercilessly about every little detail while shamelessly watching every single episode.

My Guilty Pleasure:

Acchi Kochi - It's kind of boring, waaay too safe, and has about the same amount of substance as a capri sun pouch. That said, I'm just a sucker for how adorable the characters are.


This season really showed its stuff, offering delicious amounts of content in every flavor. The two that exceed all others include "Kids on the Slope" and "Space Brothers." The former conceives a very untried concept in any type of series: high schoolers playing jazz in the 1960s. By the end of the first episode you have no idea where it plans to go unlike almost every other show this season, but you know it's going somewhere. It is easy to imagine that because, in a really surprising fashion, instant chemistry between the characters insures an engaging storyline despite a lack of over the top action or any gimmicks intended to lure viewers. You stick around to find out what happens to these people, not because it provides some hook, but because they're interesting. Following "Tiger & Bunny" and "Usagi Drop", more producers seem to be opening up to the possibility of anime series with leads old enough to be parents of tweens without it looking creepy. Of course, these shows aren't really aimed at the younger otaku, but it validates reaching more diverse audiences who, again, don't need gimmicks like robots, action-adventure every episode, ridiculous concepts or fan service to get them to watch. Just gives us some interesting characters to root for and a well written story and we're all set.

"Polar Bear Cafe" and "Folk Tales from Japan" stand out as the least anime like shows of the season. I imagine "Polar Bear Cafe" as the polar opposite (pardon the pun) of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". As a series really about nothing in particular, it avoids being cynical or resorting to shocking scenarios in order to be entertaining. As a Westerner, and a writer, "Folk Tales from Japan" brings a welcome exposure to Japanese culture that otherwise requires a lot of digging in textbooks. (Coincidently, the character designs in this show look a lot like the ones for characters in my Japanese Language textbook.) Based just on the first three episodes, in a bit of irony considering most anime characters are in high school or lower, many of the stories involve elderly characters. It says quite a bit about the flip in presenting stories to audiences over time. I'm interested to see what their take on the story of the Bamboo Cutter would be like.

"Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos" surprised me the most though. Plagued by many of the conventions of a typical anime comedy, a series like this makes or breaks itself on the strength of its leads, and boy do the male lead Mahiro and magical girl Nyaruko make quite a dynamic duo. The choice through me for a loop to decide on developing a girl who is the human embodiment of a Lovecraftian monster in a Loli-Goth style maid outfit with silver hair as a bumbling, over-excited and cheerful heroine. Of course, that type of character annoys even the most tolerant fan without the right complimenting lead, and Mahiro really surprised me the most. Typical for an anime comedy, he comes off as ordinary and soft spoken as the male protagonist down to his brown hair, a very unassuming color in a very vibrant field of styles. However, far from the passive main character in so many of these wrappings of foil, he takes a proactive approach to his nonsensical situation, often keeping Nyaruko on point for their goals. And unlike so many male leads in similar scenarios with a high tolerance for abuse, indignity and neglect, he doesn't take Nyaruko's hyperactive behavior lying down. He chastises and confronts her insufferable antics head on, often with the aid of a fork. And in truly revelatory depictions of role reversal that I have never seen in an anime before, he pummels her for her perverse sexual transgressions. That aside though, it does not speak well for the long term health of the show. Unless real development pops up in the forthcoming episodes than this refreshing take on a standard otaku bait relationship happened for nothing.

I think Josh might be on to something with his "everyone likes breasts" theory:

You wanted to know what I think is the big winner of the current Spring season and what I think is the big stinker? Well, I don't really want to start this email on a low, but if I'm perfectly honest, it's just the easiest one to think of - the big stinker of 2012's Spring season has to be Sengoku Collection. I often have a rule when trying out a new anime - I watch the first two episodes before I make a judgement. That's because I know for a lot of shows, episode 1 is the hook, while episode 2 is where things start making sense. With Sengoku Collection though, I had to force myself to just make it through the first episode. Why? Because of the horribly static and bland backgrounds, the lack of any real explanation and the fact that the emotionless, personality-less male lead perfectly believes that this young, busty girl is Oda Nobunaga simply because she didn't flinch when a gun was pointed at her. Yeeeeaaaaaah. The first anime in a long time that I've been able to label as absolute rubbish from the first episode. I certainly hope that with its mediocre-ness, that it also becomes the most forgettable one.

This season's stand out title for me, has to be Polar Bear's Café. Now, who would have thought that we would ever see an anime where a polar bear, a panda, a drunk penguin, a llama, a sloth and a young girl would be able to sit and watch cherry blossoms together? While I may find Panda annoying, I can't help but find Mr. Penguin badass, then there's Mr. Polar Bear's puns which are so bad that they're amusing. When I first read the synopsis of the series, I thought "What is this crap?". Now I'm thinking "What is this awesome thing?"

As for the best of this current season? Lupin III: The Woman Named Fujiko Mine. I can't say this through nostalgia-tinted glasses as I could with Shakugan no Shana III -FINAL- last season (hey, I enjoyed it!...despite being the only one of my friends watching it T_T) as being fairly young (20's young?!) my only experience with the Lupin III franchise is the odd movie I've been able to see and a few episodes of the first season. However, so far this series has shown a visual style that really stands out from the rest of the crop, giving off a rather nostalgic "retro" feel that could possibly appeal more to someone like myself as opposed to someone who lived during those times (who knows? But I know I've been well and truly seduced by the old, yet new, appearance of the show). As we're only three episodes in, I can't really comment too much on the story - but I am really liking the pace it is taking. Despite being from a well established franchise, it's definitely feeling like one of the more daring series' this season.

Personally, I'm feeling that this season is a huge improvement over the last one. It's such a shame that there has to be a title that I can call crap on from the outset...I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure right?...right?

Anyways, those are my thoughts. Probably sure to start plenty a flame war (people do seem like to like boobs after all...but then why have Sengoku boobies when you can have Fujiko boobies?). But yeah, feel free to agree, disagree or feel neutral about the whole thing while you sit back with a nice cup of tea (possibly served by a polar bear?)

Tim literally runs the gamut:

First, I'll get to the Stinker. This one was easy since it's so rare to see a show with absolutely zero redeeming qualities. Although it's difficult even to recall the specifics, this particular show featured (if one can call it that):

- The most superficially cliched main characters I've seen since "Debutante Detective Corps";
- The most superficially cliched background characters I've seen ... maybe ever;
- Non-memorable character designs;
- Non-memorable and incredibly cliched locations;
- Very stilted dialogue (probably due to the editing - I'm no Japanese speaker, but I am bilingual and have listened to enough Japanese over the years to be able to tell when it flows and when it doesn't);
- Unbelievably superficial and cliched dialogue;
- Characters all lining up everywhere (next to each other, behind each other, walking along ...);
- A plot that tried to put me to sleep within the first 5 minutes (how I managed to stay awake for the whole first episode I have no idea);
- And a (very poorly executed) Big Foreshadowing at the end of the episode.

I am of course talking about Shining Hearts - Shiwase no Pan. For the record, the only other show I've already given up this season on is Hiiro no Kakera. And there are a few shows that for some reason I just don't feel like watching at all - the soccer ones for example.

The Winner is a little more difficult, since I've only had time to watch the first episode of most shows (and of course, there are still one or two that haven't started yet). First of all, some Honourable Mentions that I think just don't qualify:

Fate/Zero (started in Autumn)
Kore wa Zombie desk ka? Of the Dead (second season)
Mouretsu Pirates (started in Winter)

Anyway, in the running are:

Accel World - This one surprised me - I thought it was going to be fairly bland, but it's been a lot of fun.

Acchi Kocchi - I like silly slice of life done well, and this is.

Haiyore! Nyarko-san -The show so far has been insane, and I love the references ("Cola of Cthulu" in the second episode - who comes up with this stuff?). But I'm worried it's not going to be able to maintain its momentum.

Jormungang - The preview for the following week has the lyrics "Koko is loco" going over it. That pretty much sums up this show. It's insane and violent, and has only just scratched the surface. Think Black Lagoon and you won't be too far wrong. I think this one is going to be a lot of fun.

Kuromajyo-san ga Tooru - Easily the best short this season.

Lupin III - The Woman Named Fujiko Mine - It's Lupin III! Focussing on Fujiko! I'd love to give it to this, but unfortunately it's still not quite grabbing me the way I had hoped.

Ozma - Technically it started during the late Winter season so maybe it should have been given an Honourable Mention, but it was late in the Winter season. It's Leiji Matsumoto, with all that entails - immediately recognisable character designs, thoughtful story, environmental themes ...

Sankarea - Mainly going on potential here - it's competently done so far, with indications of at least one interesting character. But I just can't get past Chihiro's hair ...

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia - I love the manga, and think the first episode of this did it justice. I really liked the gimmick of showing the first 8 minutes of the episode twice. Production quality is high. There's lots of good material in the manga to draw on, so high hopes that this will continue to stay good.

Tsuritama - This one is weird. I haven't made up my mind - it's either going to draw me in completely, or I'll reject it.

Uchuu Kyoudai - The first episode was excellent, with soaring dreams being the central theme. It could be hard to maintain the quality though.

After all that, I think the Winner is likely to be one of Jormungang or Tasogare Otome x Amnesia.

Here's Alex, proving that the reaction to Tsuritama is a bit all over the map:

The jury's still out for my top pick of the season, mostly dependent on where Kids on the Slope goes in the next few episodes. Right now it's good, but I feel like it can push itself to be great. I'm a big fan of jazz and loved Yoko Kanno's soundtrack for Cowboy Bebop, so I'm hoping the soundtrack picks things up a notch as Nishimi gets more into jazz. Lupin III meanwhile is already great, but I feel like it has massive potential to drop in quality. Fujiko spending a large amount of time scantily clad has worked so far because she's using her sex appeal as a weapon rather than the animators simply exploiting her. I hardly think it'll slip into Queen's Blade territory, but there's always a fine line between being sexy and being a sex object.

I don't have a big stinker for the season as I seem to have successfully avoid all the really bad shows thanks in large part to the spring preview guide. I salute the efforts of those who helped me to avoid the gun fetish show and the drool fetish show. Of the shows I have watched I'm probably least interested in Tsuritama, but it's far from "stinker" territory.

Keenan tosses his vote in the Tsuritama camp:

My simulcast anime list is bulging. Too many shows to check out, and too many shows to continue with. How am I going to have time for all of them? No idea. Will I try my darndest? You bet. I have checked out a total of 7 new anime series this lovely spring season, and i'm not even a third of the way done. Crunchyroll has a total of 21 new simulcasts this season. Have they ever had that many new shows all starting in one season? Thankfully, FUNimation's simulcasts haven't started up yet so I have a little bit of a buffer to peruse the depth's of Crunchyroll's spring offerings.

Looking at the actually quality of this season's shows may be….a little bit difficult. I have only found one series that I am solidly hooked on for the season - tsuritama. (get it? Hooked? Fishing show?…..well I thought it was funny). I read about this show in ANN's feature on it, and what drew me in was the cool-looking art and the premise. I, for one, have never heard of a tv show about boys fishing.

It's SO GOOD. It's really unique, I've never really seen anything quite like it. Some things about it have obviously been done before (transfer student) but I really like the originality that the staff takes in showing it. The imagery in the show is pretty well done - I really like the parts with Yuki's drowning freak outs - and it's got a quirky, warm kind of atmosphere. It seems something more might start happening, as the main character keeps dropping hints. Who doesn't love some well-placed foreshadowing? Oh, and the opening rocks. So anyway, this is so far my favourite of the season. (as of this writing I've seen the first two episodes.)

I can't really talk much about the season's duds in too much detail, as I've only seen a couple episodes of some shows, but the one that's turned me off the most is Upotte!!. The whole the-girls-are-actually-the-guns concept might be a little different take on both the genres of girls-with-guns and moe, but honestly….it's pretty creepy the way they portray it. The main character keeps almost shooting off (in which way, I'm not entirely sure) whenever she imagines her teacher's big firm hands around her gun…. disturbing. Shudder-worthy, really.

So obviously, I have a lot of anime watching to do. I recommend everyone check out tsuritama, because it's pretty intriguing and entertaining. Happy spring anime season!

And finally, we all need to find out what job Aya's got:

Because of internet troubles I haven't gotten to see to much, mostly my viewing time is while I'm at work, but I have managed to catch a few things on Crunchyroll.

[insert well deserved praise for Kids on the Slope]

As someone who does enjoy not only jazz music but coming of age/out of your shell stories this show is right up my alley. This is the first show where I had to go back just to admire the craftsmanship animation wise, and it's also the first time I have ever said "Man that trumpet solo was AWESOME!"

I also have to step up here because I feel like Folktales from Japan is getting a bit under appreciated. Does it look like it was done by a committee to sell to tourists? Yeah, but does that make it any less worth a viewers time? No. It a time when anime is mostly moe shows with large boobed or underage girls doing things that are unrealistic, irrational, or just down right weird it's nice to have a show that I can hold up and say "Look this is worth your time." I can show Folktales to friends and friends children and at roughly 5 mins a story (3 stories per episode) it's not a huge commitment to those looking to sample it. Is it the most amazing thing in anime ever? No. Is it worth your time? I think so.

There's some Spring Picks to keep you guys busy! BUT WAIT! I have another question! This one I sure hope will get my foreign readers riled and eager to respond!

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 that's all! Off I go to memorize Shakespeare until my eyes bleed! Don't forget, throughout the course of your busy week, to pelt my email haven with questions and answers - over at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com, of course! See you all next week!

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