• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
ANN Reader Survey • If you haven't had a chance yet, please fill out our annual survey, It's so helpful to us. As a thank you for filling out this massive survey, we're giving away 100 ANN subscriptions to people who fill it out. read more
  • remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

Hey, Answerman! - Y'all Ready For This

by Brian Hanson,

Hello and salutations, dear readers!

This week's questions are a bit of a doozy - and prone to some "controversy" as some might say. Which is to say: I'm probably going to set a few people off. Not to pre-stoke the fires of a forthcoming flame war, but let's face it, people's views on dating sims and their opinion on women are decidedly mixed.

But that's also putting the cart before the horse. I've got two other questions to get into first!

Hey Answerman,

As a follow-up to one of your questions you got last week, I wanted to say I understand what you are saying: that as time and technology advance, so would technical quality naturally. But I'm concerned about a few points.

Do you think this rule extends to manga, which seems to have, much more than anime, an "upper limit" when it comes to technological advancement? Certainly new tools are being used and invented regularly to aid in the drawing process. Still, it seems like working within the confines of a static panel of manga doesn't translate perfectly to working within the confines of a television screen. Would you argue that for the same reasons as anime, manga also continues to improve as time and technology go on, leaving older works obsolete?

Do you think the rule holds true for story and writing? When a popular genre is invented or revitalized by a hit (like say, Evangelion or Sailor Moon), there will often be many imitators that come later treading the same ground, adding their own twists on the story in order to just barely make it unique. Both Evangelion and Sailor Moon have been out for so long now that imitators have come and gone. Would you say the formula/genre they helped to popularize were perfected with the repetition of other shows? At the same time though, Evangelion never really died out, and seemed to be immune to the passing of time. Its popularity never really waned and it was never really forgotten. Would you say this because it was the first, it was the best, or simply because they have been updating it with more current animating methods?

You can ask the same question about the Gundam franchise, as characters like Amuro and Char remain popular while their other, technically superior works go ignored: 30 years later and people are still focusing on the one year war. What's more, the original Gundam, as horribly dated as it looks today, wasn't even made popular until the movie trilogy debuted after the series was cut short due to bad ratings. It is also being updated with the help of current technology with "Origin", and it's not the first in the franchise to get that treatment.

What about outside the realm of anime/manga? Would you say a genre like Samurai films has generally improved with time from say Kurosawa's work? You can extend that to older western films like Casablanca or Citizen Kane. Or better yet, there's always Star Wars: (though I doubt there are many people that would rate the new trilogy over the old). Perhaps the best example though is the Artist, which placed severe limits on itself technologically (though in fairness, it did break the silence a couple times) and managed to have a big presence at the Oscars, even winning best picture. Could such ironic technical choices find an audience in anime/manga?

Woah, way to throw down the Citizen Kane card!

"Well, [blank] might be popular now, but it's no Citizen Kane."

Yeah, well, Citizen Kane was no How Green Was My Valley, which was the Academy Award winner that year, to much 2012 historical revisionist teeth-gnashing.

My point last week was that, in terms of pure entertainment product,, by and large, we don't need to go back and watch old stuff aside from Pure Nostalgic Joy. Sailor Moon and Neon Genesis Evangelion and Mobile Suit Gundam are considered, by and large, to be "classics." When something becomes "classic," it endures. And they endure because as dated as they may look, they still resonate with a contemporary audience, for a variety of factors. Whether it's the stellar execution, the unique honest voice they still contain, timeless characters, anything - they endure, while their current offspring live and promptly die by the dozen.

But what about stuff like... I dunno, Saber Marionette J? That was a huge hit at my anime club in the late 90's. Why the hell would anyone wanna watch that today? It's not hard to find a contemporary anime show about a dude and a harem of robot babes that is better-looking and less clumsily executed. Aside from Pure Nostalgia Joy from old farts like me who enjoyed it at the time (actually that's a lie, I thought that show was boring), there is no reason to revisit it. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding - is Saber Marionette J available anywhere? Is it on DVD? Streaming? No? Okay then!

Much like how, honestly, if you like watching disaster movies, you can live happily just watching whatever new Things Blow Up movie Hollywood will happily throw at you en masse every summer. You don't need to go back and watch every Airport movie that was made in the 70's. The technology has improved for that genre of pure entertainment. The effects are obviously better, there's better sound, and the characters are obviously much more relatable to a modern audience. Sure, there'll be a bunch of persnickety old-timers who'll wave their canes in defiance about KIDS WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THOSE GOOD OL' DISASTER MOVIES STOOD FOR but... who cares? Saber Marionette J was a middling mediocrity that filled a fine void in the 90's and early aughts that is now being filled by shinier, nicer shows a decade or so later.

I think, though, with manga, there's a bit more of an opportunity there to expose people to older titles. If for no other reason than the fact that... well, for one thing, the time investiture to picking up a manga volume and flipping through it is a lot less daunting than sitting through a half-hour episode. Also, manga readers tend to be a bit more voracious in their consumption and are more likely to pick up something off the shelf on a whim if it catches their interest.

But how to do it? Hey, that sounds to me like a nice segue to the next question:

Hey there Answerman,

I have a question for you about digital manga using Viz manga's website as an example (that's just the one I'm most familiar with.) On Viz's website I notice that the titles they provide are either the super popular shonen/shojo titles (Ouran, Naruto, etc) or the titles that might not be selling well but are still new enough. My question is why hasn't a U.S. manga publisher used digital formats to prolong the life of a manga that is about to go out of print?

Let's say that Viz still had Jojo but the contract would be completed next year. Wouldn't putting the series on-line, maybe have a big promotional push, at least get the series out there for fans that missed it and make the company a little extra bit of money? Could that be a way of prolonging contracts on titles?

Well, sure, it could. The problem is: demographics. (There it is again! The D-word!) Also: the Japanese publishers themselves.

Using your Jojo's Bizarre Adventure example - that is a title that is beloved by a certain, very specific demographic here in America. Older dudes like myself and Jason Thompson and Daryl Surat. Dudes like us who enjoy watching bizarre musclemen tear each other to pieces using weird powers that could only be dreamed up by some sort of lunatic: i.e., not your usual Shonen Jump reader.

And actually, I think you're giving Viz's digital manga platform a bit of short shrift. They've got a lot of stuff on there you wouldn't really expect - stuff like Dr. Slump and even House of Five Leaves. Dr. Slump is almost archaically old at this point, and House of Five Leaves is about as avant-garde as any published manga gets these days.

But, back to the demographic argument - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure has, sadly, probably sold as many copies in the US as it ever will. Which is a shame, because it wasn't even finished. Sad to say though, it wasn't ever finished for a good reason. Nobody but us bought it. So, like you say, why not toss it online and make some "free money"?

Because, people - this is a *thing* - it's NOT ever really "free money" to sell something digitally. It's not like every manga publisher has a Magic Ownership Contract that allows them to sell any manga title they have access to across as many platforms as they'd like for pure profit. Even for a company like Viz with major Japanese backing behind them. There's still complicated rights' contracts that need to be ironed out for every digital piece of entertainment sold.

Also, who's to say that Hirohiko Araki didn't put the kibosh on the digital publishing idea himself? A lot of older manga creators are notoriously anti-digital, citing piracy concerns of course, as well as a general displeasure of the idea of people NOT looking at their artwork on paper. As with anything else, you could probably change their mind by giving them a huge chunk of the profits - but at that point, why bother? The profit margin for publishing something digitally would probably be so slim it wouldn't be worth the bandwidth it costs to host. Not when you're charging five bucks a volume, anyway. Charge any more than that and the fans will mutiny and ignore it.

For every argument that releasing something digitally is "free money," in all honesty, there's just as many other reasons not to. Because, of course, it's not really free, and digital distribution has just as many contractual hurdles as physical distribution. They might not be as cumbersome and certainly aren't as expensive, but they're still there - and sometimes, they're just enough that it's simply Not Worth It.

(That said: please Viz please release Jojo's Bizarre Adventure digitally so I can buy it and read it again, all my books are back home in Tucson, thanks, Brian)

Hello Answerman,

I have a two part question for you that I consider to be kind of a "minefield" topic. I've been surfing on Xbox Live Game Marketplace under the Indie section and while doing so I noticed several games in the anime art style. Some of these games featured dating sims, matching games where the longer you go the less clothing the (female) character wears, and the list could go on. I've kept my head on a swivel when it comes to this area, and I really try to look around it. For example I like the show Strike Witches for the aviation references, but I try to completely ignore the fact that the main characters are bare from the legs down. One of my friends believes that the Japanese are mostly about Sexualization of women, and that the only logical explanation to this is the notion that "Sex Sells." I know this to not be entirely true, but still it makes me wonder. So my two part question is this:

1. Could the indie games I described above give a bad rep to the general public, and give the image that anime is nothing but sexually driven nonsense?

2. What is your take on my friends thesis that Japan is mostly about the Sexualization of women, if you don't mind me asking? Not trying to put you in an uncomfortable position. I'm not an avid watcher of anime, so I ask that you forgive me if I may be ignorant towards anything. I really would like to enjoy watching anime for years to come, but this issue has me really bothered.

Okay! Here we go!

Before I begin, everyone, I need you all to click this link here and keep it looped for the duration of however long it takes for you to read this answer.

Y'all ready for this?!?

I'll begin by saying that, yeah, "Sex Sells," and your friends aren't entirely wrong. They're not entirely *right* either, which I think is an important distinction to make.

Since we're talking about the objectification of women, as a Straight White Male I'm not exactly in the sort of position to make a judgment call on that front. So! I took to the internet, to try and find reviews of Strike Witches written by women. I could only find three, which I think is sort of... telling.

First, I found a LiveJournal post by Aniekins:

"When I first started watching the episodes, I had a hard time stomaching some of the in-your-face fan-service until I got used to it, or rather put on my denial goggles and began not noticing it. It's a shame too because this show has WONDERFUL storylines, character development, historical references, and action galore."

So - a positive review, but with some hesitation about the fan service. Next, here is popular anime blogger Yi, from Listless Ink:

"Strike Witches sets out to be a fun, bold character-driven anime. There is no pretense of deep social commentary or mind-blowing plot. It simply tries to charm the audience with all the lovely girls and fan service. And it works! Just as I love the witches' personalities and pants-less outfits (… panties)"

That's another positive. Lastly, here's Alexandra from Zone-SF.com:

"As far as I can make out, the creators have not really made any effort to pull together a particularly cohesive story-arc. Instead, the focus is on the witches' rampant lesbianism, boob-grabbing, underwear-swapping and fantasizing about each other. In fact, I would say that approximately 50 percent of the anime is comprised of what can only be described as a lot of 'crotch shots' and boob jiggling, some of which is really quite full-on. I think it fair to say that it becomes clear very early on in this series that I am not the intended audience for this anime, and as such, a lot of what may attract the target audience does nothing for me."

So that's two positive, one negative, and two that bemoan the fanservice. Sounds like your average mixed reaction about any anime series, I guess. BUT: It took me a good hour and half to find those three reviews. Why the heck aren't there more women writing reviews about Strike Witches?

Probably because, to quote Alexandra, they are "not the intended audience." Shocking though it may seem, but when a solid majority of women see a show that is comprised almost entirely of half-naked women, they tend to stay far away. Because it's obviously not made for them. I'd try to find some reviews of Queen's Blade written by women, but I honestly don't have another hour and a half to spare here.

To get serious now and answer your first quibble: I don't think so, necessarily. Dating sims and, to an extent, even Strike Witches appeals to a very niche audience. The audience of men that would like Strike Witches are the same guys who regularly keep abreast (or in Strike Witches' case, aunderagebutt) of hardcore Japanese otaku culture, to whom dating sims and Strike Witches is obviously, virulently designed for. You'll never see a hardcore dating sim pressed into a disc and published on a major video game system (well, aside from stuff like Record of Agarest War, but those are SRPG first, dating sim second), and you'll never see Strike Witches on Adult Swim.

So, in a way, who cares, right? Dating sims on the Indie Games channel and Strike Witches appeals to its fans and we live in a free country and we like what we like, right? What kind of freedom-hating jackanape gets to decide what Is and Isn't Right for people to watch?!?

Nobody does. Your Freedom to watch what you want exists and no one will take that away from you. But, due to that same Freedom, people like myself and the author of this question get to say that this sexualized, objectified portrayal of women is worrisome and kind of creepy.

Man, you are so far from ignorant. Feeling a slight twinge of compassion against something that is so blatant with its disregard for tastefully portraying women is a far sight from ignorance. Especially because, judging from the two positive reviews from the women I quoted, there ARE things to like about Strike Witches. I hear the animation is fantastic - it's Gonzo cutting loose with insane, over-the-top effects animation and top-notch direction. And it sounds like the writers involved had a lot of fun creating this bizarre alternate-universe to go along with it. And if you're a plane geek, you get TONS of plane geek stuff!

I'm not against any of those things. I like those things. Especially cool animation of sweet aerial dogfights. But what I *don't* like is fanservice THAT BLATANT. NONE OF THE GIRLS WEAR PANTS. EVER. Yes, it's funny - "War On Pants." I get it. BUT IT'S NOT ACTUALLY *FUNNY* IT JUST SOUNDS LIKE A HALF-BAKED EXCUSE TO WALLOW IN DEPRAVITY UNDER THE GUISE OF CLEAN WHOLESOME FUN BUT HHRKJGkkghhkkkkk..pgugbhsut.

Now, I've made the mistake before of casting a pall against anyone who likes a specific show as a creep or a weirdo. And that's not true. As a writer, sometimes I get caught up in the moment and hyperbole takes hold and it makes me say things that aren't true. Not everyone who likes Strike Witches is a creepy weirdo. Hell, the two girls who dig it don't seem like they are, and the guy asking this question isn't.

But! Can't we agree on something? Something that's been bothering me lately? Can't we just agree that even in our most disposable and forgettable of mindless entertainment, TV shows and movies and manga and comic books that are just meant to be a quick brainless jaunt through our most basest desires, that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE... we don't need to be so gross about women? Or, uh, girls, even? Young girls, too? I know Sex Sells, but wouldn't it be nice if it didn't as much?

I mean, wouldn't that put more of a pressure on people to spend more time on crafting things that actually matter? Look at the Fate/stay night series - started out as a hentai game, took out the sex, doubled-down on the story and characters, and wound up with something as respectable and enthralling as Fate/Zero. Why can't we have more of that? Why isn't the message more of "The story and the characters are what really matter" instead of "It has cute characters in little clothing so I'll watch it"? I understand the biological impulse of looking at nude or near-nude women, but all the time? In everything?? Is this my Howard Beale moment??? Will Ned Beatty yell at me in a conference room now??? WHAT IS GOING ON????

Look, whatever I feel about it, I will say this to the guy who wrote the question - you're not wrong. These things aren't "mainstream," but the problem with the sexualization of women isn't exclusively the fault of Japan and anime - it's a global one, and it's in every geeky subculture out there. (NSFW link, FYI.) I'm hopeful that at some point our surprisingly gender-diverse industry won't feel the need to objectify women (or men, really) for the sake of a quick buck. It's nice to want things, I guess.

Hooray! I get to stop ranting about sexism now! Off to Answerfans we go, as I set you all to task in answering This Here Question:

Beginning our Tales of Terror and/or Delight is insaneben;

Dateline: Katsucon 2005 (February 18th-20th)
Location: Marriott & Sheraton Crystal City

This was my first Katsucon. Granted, it wasn't my first anime convention, having attended Anime USA for the first time back in 2004 and Otakon continuously since 2001, but this convention had a number of firsts (none of them good)- it was split between two hotels (as mentioned above), and it was the first time I had to endure 20-degree weather for the entire duration of the con.

Now, one would think that having a medium-sized convention split between two hotels would be a good idea, right? Guess again. One hotel hadn't finished renovations to the lobby, so not only was it out of commission, it and the entire first floor had no heat (thus marking the only time during a convention where I've had to wear a coat indoors). To make matters worse, lines to the Dealers Room barely budged (especially since the Dealers Room was assigned way too small a space to begin with), but that wasn't the weirdest thing to happen to me.

On Saturday, February 19th, I open the door to my hotel room after taking a short nap to discover a line of people snaking around the hall. Now, I'd already seen my fair share of long lines throughout the convention, but had things gotten so out of hand that lines stretched as far back as the front door of my room? As it turned out, due to lack of space, Katsucon was holding Guest panels in a larger room a few doors down from mine, and the long line was a result of Richard Ian Cox's panel. Needless to say, I was quite amused. Later that evening, after standing in line for Richard's autograph, I hinted that he should try to convince Kirby Morrow to show up for next year's Katsucon. Surprisingly, the following year, both Mr. Cox and Mr. Morrow appeared at the same con.

DaisakuKusama went to Comic-con in '98, way before it went LAMESTREAM:

Convention anecdotes, did you say? My friend, have I got some stories for you. Tales which I would not believe myself, were I not there; easily dismissed as falsehoods if the person they had happened to was somebody else, and not me.

Many of these memories took place at Anime Expo; since I live in California, both AX and the behemoth which is known as the San Diego Comic Con are almost literally in my back yard. Factor into the equation that in 1993, I made the move from otaku to protaku when I got my first job in the animation industry, and I was really meeting some movers and shakers. I found myself hanging out in the green room at Anime Expo chilling with GOH's, at restaurants or parties with people who were creating the very anime I was watching!

Usually I would not find out exactly whom I had rubbed elbows with until long after the elbows had already been rubbed: A group lunch at Bakers Square in Anaheim during AX99, sat directly across from a GOH whom I later learned was Toshihiro Kawamoto, character designer of Cowboy Bebop (No WAY!!!), Swapping drawings at AX2K with a dude who turned out to be none other than Range Murata (That's who that was???); Chatting on a couch that same year with a nice lady named Chiho Saito of Utena fame (I wasn't hitting on her, Guys -- honest!!!); Many such incidences and several that will remain untold because what happens at The Con...stays at The Con!

However, my all-time favorite happening took place at San Diego Comic Con in 1998. A group of us decided to partake in some dinner and Gaslamp festivities in downtown San Diego. Along the way, we ran into three people who joined us because we were all mutually acquainted. The first of these persons was Jan-Scott Frazier, whom I'd known and hung out with at several Anime Expos. To this day, I consider Jan to be one of the warmest, most intelligent and wonderful human beings I've ever met. The second was Steve Bennett, another legendary figure whom I met for the first time (Why is this guy wearing a Civil War cap?). Last and certainly not least was the founder of a tiny company which was just starting out named Tokyopop, and his name was Stu Levy.

There I was, hanging out with basically The Rat Pack of Anime - the Sinatra, Dino and Sammy of the otaku world, dining and drinking and dancing and conversating and basically having an all-around amazing time that was, like I said, something that I wouldn't have believed if I wasn't there myself. But it gets better!

The next day, Jan was already jetting back to Japan, where she lived at the time. I decided to swing by the SDCC Exhibit Hall and say hello to both Steve and Stu. Mr. Bennett seemed to have no memory of me; Comic Con can be like that. You meet hundreds of people and I didn't mind, even as he grabbed my arm and plunked me in front of a manga artist, who signed a flyer, handed it to me and the line continued to move. That hello lasted all of ten seconds, so on to Tokyopop I went. At the time, the Tokyopop booth was a small table with several volumes of Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth and Mixxzine arranged in neat rows. Mr. Levy did remember me, and in fact, his first words to me were "I really have to go to the bathroom - do you think you could watch the table for me until I get back?" I said sure, and that's what happened. Stu returned, shook my hand and said "Thanks so much - I owe you one!"

Fast forward two years... I had just finished up working on a film about a Giant made of Iron, and I was out of work. Several months passed, and one day whilst browsing Monster.com, I saw an opening at Tokyopop for a Graphic Assistant. I called them up, and shortly thereafter was interviewing in the T-pop offices, when Stu walked by. He glanced into the office, saw me, and said "YOU!" I shook his hand and said Hi, and he looked directly at the people who were interviewing me and very firmly said "Hire him." And thus, I spent the next year as a Graphic Assistant at Tokyopop, working on manga such as Sailor Moon, Gundam Wing and Parasyte, until animation called me back into its clutches. For the record, I enjoyed working and hanging out with Stu very much during my time there, and will always fondly remember Tokyopop.

So, in the words of a very wise man, be kind to everyone you meet, Kids, because one day, you too will have a story or two about how a chance encounter led to a great opportunity. I can scarcely believe it myself, but I was there, and it's all true!

This would be where I say "SOUNDS LIKE LORI HAD A REAL 'BLONDE MOMENT' FOLKS" if I were the sort of person who hated comedy:

As part of my costume for Anime Boston 2011, I had dyed my hair blonde since my character had a "normal" hair style and my natural hair was roughly the same length, so I could get away with it. This is an important detail to the punchline of this story.

When I was in an autograph line for the Evangelion cast (Spike Spencer, Trina Nishimura, Brina Palencia, and J. Michael Tatum) I was having everyone sign my program (I only really had an "Eden of the East" DVD for Tatum to sign because I had just bought it downstairs). As I'm going through the line, I asked them to sign it to "Lori." Since it's one of those names where people automatically want to spell it one particular way, I usually have to specify which spelling it is. But I was amazed when Brina and Tatum got it right without me having to specify how to spell it.

By the time I got to Trina, I said, "Wow, I usually have to spell it for everyone!"

Trina just looked at me sheepishly and said, while pointing, "It's right there on your badge."

I looked down at my con badge and suddenly remembered that my real name was on it.

I did a quick facepalm for myself, then announced to the rest of the table, "I'm dying my hair back tomorrow!" Which cracked up the entire table as soon as I made that announcement.

Andrea has reminded me that all of *my* favorite convention experiences involve being drunk and running into people (sometimes literally) as well:

All of my favorite experiences with guests of honor happened at a tiny convention held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, called Sogencon. This convention is pretty small, with probably not even 1000 attendees, but has managed to get some pretty cool guests over the years.

Running into Greg Ayers at a hotel ice machine while drunk off my ass AND in my pajamas was pretty fun if awkward. Being a shy Midwesterner, myself, it was also pretty short, basically a hi/bye. And that elevator ride with Crispin Freeman where I insultingly referenced Jonny Bosch's band Eyeshine without realizing I was sharing an elevator with the guy's colleague was an entertaining experience, though I can't decide if it was good or bad. Speaking of Eyeshine, those three Eyeshine concerts were pretty fun (and funny! because "Jesus brought the nachos" is an actual lyric on one of their songs) too, though again I can't tell if they were good or bad, because dang, that's some kind of music. It sure was interesting. Yup.

So any way, guest of honor story. Probably my second favorite experience with a guest of honor occurred during a panel. The set up here is that, the same weekend of Sogencon the hotel was also booked for a wedding, so mingled amongst the cosplayers on their way to the rave on Saturday night were the wedding guests in full formal garb heading to their banquet, which was a hilarious sight. The next morning, Greg Ayers held his fansubs panel, which was pretty interesting in and of itself. It was pretty cool that pretty much ALL the other guests of honor for that year were also part of the panel too. Anyway, during the panel the wedding party gathered outside and sent their bride and groom off in a horse drawn carriage, and we could see it all through the window of the conference room. I even have video proof! In this youtube video! It was a short but hilarious cap to an entertaining and informative panel, a type of panel which seems like a rare bird at anime cons, in my experience at least.

The last experience involves Chris Ayers, who is pretty cool! My friend and I were taking a break from drinking the alcohol and had just gotten out of the nothing going on in Ballroom A (veni vedi Mon-Mon) I think, and I had a strong craving for pizza. Being overwarm and, in my friend's case, in need of a smoke, we were sitting outside the hotel on one of the benches flanking the doors. On the bench on the other side of the door happened to be Chris Ayers and a posse of fans. As it was one in the morning, my friend insisted that no one was open because it's Sioux Falls, South Dakota. However! I happen to live in a much smaller town than Sioux Falls, and the Dominos there is open til 2 am on Friday nights. This argument was ineffective. As I was somewhat intoxicated, I was also speaking rather loudly, and the group across from us could hear every word. My argument was won when a delivery driver pulled up and delivered a pizza, and my victory shout caused laughter from the other group. After the car left I dragged my friend over to say hello to Chris Ayers, and to get her to ask the question that had been burning in her mind for several years: whether they shared an ancestor in a silent movie actor or circus performer or something, whose name escapes me because he's not MY ancestor. Anyway, they do happen to share that ancestor, so there you go. Also he gave her a hug (aww) and was just all around a really cool guy.

Also, we ordered pizza the next night instead, so all was well.

George, meanwhile, highlights the sad downfall of regular con guests over the passage of time:

I live in a very small country, we have a few thousand anime-fans at most, and most of these just follow the big popular Naruto, Bleach and One Piece. Nevertheless, there are a few cons every year, and in the community's "Golden Age" (2007 or so) we'd actually sometimes get two cons during the same week, absolutely crazy.

Since no big-shot from Japan will ever get here, and not even from the USA, we have to be content with what we have for Guest of Honor. Now, I admit I haven't been to a con in 4 years or so, but when I was still going EVERY con would have the same guest of honor - that one Japanese guy who lives in our country and used to work in animation. And he pretty much always talked about the same things, he had like 2 or 3 lectures he would juggle around, and that one presentation he had in every con.

My best experience was the first time I saw him, it was incredible to find out someone related to the big anime industry in Japan was so close. My worst experience is probably my 10th and up time seeing him, re-realizing every time it's going to be another terrible convention with nothing new to offer.

And finally, Kaycee reminds us that if you want people to like you, Macadamia Nuts, all the way:

Hi Answerman,

I think the best experience I've had with a Guest of Honor was at Sakura Con in Seattle this year. But I should backtrack first. I've been a fan of Kanon Wakeshima (visual kei cello player and singer whose mentor is Mana) ever since she went to Otakon in Baltimore a few years ago, around the time Vampire Knight was airing still on TV. Last year, I saw her again at AM2 in LA. My husband and I gave her a birthday present (since it had recently passed) of a fan letter written in Japanese and 2 boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, since we live in Hawaii. Kanon was a guest at Sakura Con this year, so we obviously had to go. When we ran into her, she remembered us before we could even say a word to her. She thanked us again for the macadamia nuts and fan letter and that she was glad she had overseas fans that supported her so much. We also somehow got to talk to her 1 on 1 (only other person there was her translator) for 30 minutes during Sakura Con's Guest Reception Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe before anyone else came up to chat. That's simply an opportunity you don't really get with celebrities, much less foreign ones. I'll never forget it because it probably won't happen again to me with anyone else! :)

That's delightful. And lovely!

...I wish somebody and their husband would give ME macadamia nuts.

Jealousy aside, let's take a gander at what I want you all to answer for me next time! This one was obviously sparked up by the last question I answered, so please folks, take your time with it;

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.

Alright guys, I need to log off and eat food IMMEDIATELY. I literally haven't eaten anything all day and according to most people, that's a bad thing. While I stuff myself full of comestibles, don't forget to plug all your questions and answers into my answer-box over at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Food night, everyfood!

discuss this in the forum (255 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

Answerman homepage / archives