Hey, Answerman! - Anime Is Dead, Long Live Anime

by Brian Hanson,

Greetings, friends! Welcome to another Hey, Answerman!

This has been a pretty strange and stressful week, as somehow my usual creative output has quadrupled, leaving me a dried intellectual husk at the end of it here. Yep, I'm writing a big, big project for myself, which could make or break my sanity, depending on my ability to follow through on it. But this isn't Hey, What's Brian's Latest Creative Headache! You had some questions, I believe:

You know, its funny. I have never heard anyone say Film, Television or novels are dead. Why is is that people feel it is necessary to classify anime not to mention manga/comics this way? I am not just talking about some guy on Youtube saying shows aren't as good as they were in the 90's but when someone whose work I truly respect like say Mamoru Oshii comes out and tells me there is no longer anything worthwhile being made in the anime industry I cant help but feel a bit ashamed for thinking that there are great works. In fact I think 2012 had them in abundance. I really respect Oshii but I don't agree with him on this issue. Obviously I don't know the guy so I cant state my arguments I just have to stew with what he said. How can I deal with this in a healthy way. Is there any difference between some guy on an anime forum talking about how crappy today's anime is and a respected director doing the same? Is it wrong of me to like Oshii's work even if I also like the stuff he despises? I can't help but think your thoughts on this issue will be very interesting.

That's very flattering that you'd assume my take on this issue would be "interesting," because I'm certainly not so optimistic. Here I go!

Here's the thing about Mamoru Oshii: He's a goddamn grump. Same with Hayao Miyazaki. He's a goddamn misanthropic, curmudgeonly old man, who hates anything he hasn't made himself. The fact that Miyazaki and Oshii are old friends is telling, I think, since the two of them do nothing but hate everything the other guy makes. I remember reading an old translation of a magazine article from around when Oshii's certified masterpiece Patlabor 2 was released; Miyazaki did nothing but savage Oshii about the movie, complaining that he hated the antagonist, hating the plot, hating the way the characters moved, basically hating everything. Even then, at the tender young age of 17, I remember thinking, "huh, here's a guy I respect and admire, pulling apart everything from a guy I *also* respect and admire. Maybe... maybe, even though I love all the things he's done, he's still full of shit."

These people are not Gods. It's perfectly reasonable to question some of their choices, their works, and especially, their opinions. Which, if the old adage is true, are a lot like buttholes, and they smell, or something. Also in that same interview: Oshii remarked to Miyazaki about his active disdain for Porco Rosso. What?!? No offense to both of those dudes, but they're both insane. Porco Rosso is one of Miyazaki's best films, and Patlabor 2 *is* Oshii's best film. Either those two dudes are completely insane, or they're wrong. My money's on a little bit of both.

The hard lesson, I think, that people have to learn is the separation between art and the artist. And that can take a lifetime to accomplish. It's a tricky thing. I'm a huge fan of the band Antony & The Johnsons, so much so that I bought their recent live album. The first track was sublime; exactly the kind of airy, beautiful, worldly excoriation of life and love that makes my heart sing and dance. And then... there was a 7 minute long track of the lead singer, Antony Hegarty, talking directly to the audience. I'll be polite and say that it was awful and one of the worst things I've ever heard in my life. It was seven-plus minutes of idiotic ramblings of a poetic moron - an artsy-fartsy dumbass talking about Lunar Cycles and how the human body is 70 percent water (it isn't) and pretending that these pedestrian thoughts were somehow grand moments of insight, unheard of before in the history of human civilization. It was a profound moment for me - the exact moment I realized that, "gee, maybe a lot of the artists I respect and admire are actually really dumb."

The thing is - that's okay! It's fine! Antony Hegarty may be a complete stupid person, but does that make his music no longer beautiful? No way. Only if I was the pettiest and meanest of assholes. Even if a thousand monkeys could literally write the work of Shakespeare, there'd be no denying the power of Macbeth. Hayao Miyazaki, as a person, has all the warmth and compassion of a week-old dog turd, but his movies are powerful, loving, and important. Mamoru Oshii grouses about the sad, sorry state of the anime industry - meanwhile the guy hasn't made a legitimate good movie since 2003. And even that's debatable. (I, for one, liked Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, but... history has not been kind to that film.)

So, no, in other words. You're not wrong to disagree with people whose work inspires you. They are not infallible.

Have you ever reported an illegally distributed video? Have you ever pardoned an illegal streamer for whatever reason? I ask because I found myself in "Peter Parker's Dilemma." I was looking for a promo for the dub of Bodacious Space Pirates, but what I found first was a youtube channel full of the BSP English dub eps. I found fault with this, but I just decided to pay it no mind. The next day, It was still on my mind, so I went back to the site, took note of the URL, and reported it to who I could.

I can't say I've ever hit the "Report" button on any YouTube video, actually. Not out of any moralistic high ground or anything; to be honest, YouTube isn't my go-to destination for things that may or may not contain copyrighted material. YouTube is where I head whenever I feel like watching 90's GamePro TV episodes, or videos of ocelot kittens.

I get it, though. That's what the "Report" button is there for, I guess. And in actuality, this sort of thing is a really great help for these smaller companies to avoid this sort of thing happening on YouTube and other streaming sites. Bigger companies like TV Tokyo and Viz and so forth have filters on YouTube that automatically recognize certain visuals on uploaded videos in order to make sure that nothing from, say, Naruto or InuYasha gets uploaded (much to the annoyance of AMV creators, however); Sentai doesn't exactly have such a luxury, and I doubt they have such a huge number of staff on hand available to police ever single corner of the internet in order to make sure nobody is uploading stuff without their permission. I'm sure any help that can be offered in that area is greatly appreciated.

And to be honest, this method of reporting these things is one of the few ways we, as fans, have of kind of defending our favorite shows from the abuses of content thieves and so forth. It's a small thing, but an important one. Doesn't take a lot of effort, either. The sad thing is, though, is that once any specific stream is cut off, another one springs up in its place; its sort of a futile effort to find and destroy every single illicit stream of any given anime, because there are far too many other avenues for it.

Not that I'm trying to dissuade anyone, or anything. By all means - you, WE have all been given the power to both upload things that don't belong to us, and find and flag those very same things. Even if it is only to assuage your own feelings, it's a perfectly valid response, and you are to be commended for it, certainly.

Hi Answerman!

Recently, we've seen a huge surplus of various movies and TV shows released to Amazon.com and other websites on DVD through a process called "Manufacture-on-Demand" where the discs themselves are only burned as people order them, usually through Amazon's "CreateSpace" service, saving a LOT of money on storage costs, and the studios don't have to worry about how many units they're going to sell. However, this hasn't seemed to really catch on much with anime, other than Tokyopop trying it with Rave Master a few years back, Sony trying it with a couple of their anime titles, and Tokyopop and RightStuf are doing the print/book equivalent with Tokyopop's unreleased manga (notably Hetalia: Axis Powers). Why aren't companies like Sentai, FUNimation, and especially Viz jumping on this bandwagon? What reason would they have to shy away from such a format for their more niche titles (Viz could especially get use out of it to finally release the rest of Monster, Blue Dragon, Hikaru No Go, and many others to DVD), since it appears to be doing very well for companies like Warner Bros, Sony, Universal, MGM, FOX, and many others.

There's certainly a lot to go over with on that front - chief among them the fact that the catalog titles for movie studios like Warner Bros. and Universal aren't titles that are licensed from another company, and in fact are titles that those studios wholly own - but rather than jump down that particular rabbit hole, I'm going to let my friend Justin Sevakis, DVD author himself, speak on this topic.

Justin: I attempted the print-on-demand format DVD thing with anime back in 2007 with the short-lived TMS Anime Classics line at ImaginAsian Entertainment. The project itself was a trainwreck -- the company contracted to do all of the manufacturing and delivery went out of business before paying anybody. That particular disaster aside, there are a few factors that make print-on-demand DVDs less than ideal, particularly for anime purposes:

1. Unlike regular mass-produced DVDs, recordable discs don't have region codes or CSS copy protection. While both are fairly useless in stopping any self-respecting nerd from copying or importing discs, most Japanese producers contractually require SOME minimal form of protection, however ineffective. (Region codes are easy to break, but they still stopped enough people from importing cheap American discs back to Japan that reverse-importing was never such a big deal with regular DVDs.)

2. Dual layer DVD-Rs are unreliable, slow to burn, and have huge compatibility problems. So that means any discs have to be mastered as single layer, restricting the data to 5 GB, which means fewer episodes and/or lower video quality.

3. It's not really known how long DVD-Rs last, but the cheap ones die pretty quickly. They also die if you leave them in the sun by accident.

4. While blank DVD-Rs are pretty cheap, the added cost of burning and printing them one at a time eats into profits.

5. Most of the cost of selling anime DVDs isn't in the replication, but in producing subtitles and menus, which you can't skimp on or the fans will eat you alive.

There are ways around all of these, but those obstacles are big enough (and anime fans are picky enough) that making money on them is a little dicey. If you're going to sell more than a few hundred copies you're far better off just replicating real DVDs the old fashioned way. And if you're not going to sell a few hundred... well, it's probably not worth releasing in the first place.

So, there you go. Manufacturing-on-demand isn't exactly as cost-effective as it may seem. And speaking of Justin's time at ImaginAsian, you can now watch the immensely devastating Nobody's Boy Remi on Hulu!

Dear Answer-human,

I usually refrain from asking you questions since, you know, most of them can be answered with a bit of self-reflection, a bit of logic and are often a bit of intelligence!

But hey! These stupid questions are what fill your paycheck, so I thought, what the hey?

You see video games with high quality cel-shaded visuals such as Ni No Kuni and the Naruto games which quite frankly look almost or (in Naruto's case) even better than their source material ( I know that this is subjective, but this is art we're talking about). So I wonder: why aren't more anime trying out a fully CG art style? Surely panning right to left in a still shot is more interesting when you're not just moving three still images in opposite directions. I know you'll give the usual "money drives the medium" response, but I look forward to your more educated and more humourous response!

Although, the anime I watch these days is limited to my Uni's anime club twice a week, so maybe I'm not looking hard enough for this CG anime I speak of.

Twice a week at your Uni's Anime Club? How decidedly retro.

Alright, so, CG animation. Here's the deal with that - every single anime studio currently running has a CGI department. It's unavoidable. So, why aren't they expanding that aspect of it to make it more in line with the global trend of animation? Even American cartoon shows are slowly drifting into CGI territory, as the costs regarding development have dropped significantly and readily available CGI animation tools have become much easier to use.

Still, there's two things, as I see it, that effectively stop anime from going the full-CGI route.

For one, budgets are still a big problem. It makes sense to use CGI for static things like backgrounds, vehicles, and stuff like that - one of the big hidden costs of CGI animation is a thing called "rigging," which is the process where you alter the "skeleton" underneath the CGI character to add, you know, personality. Unless you've got an unlimited amount of time with your CGI model, you are very limited with what you can and can't do regarding facial animation and things like that. (NAMEDROP ALERT!) I remember I had lunch once with Eddie Fitzgerald, who has been working in TV cartoons since the 80's, and he was getting frustrated while working as a storyboard artist for a children's TV cartoon show that was being done with CGI. He had to draw a squirrel, and he gave the squirrel a very distinct and funny facial expression - and the producers were furious. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE AND HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST TO RIG A MODEL THAT COULD DO THAT POSE?!?" And so on. There's a lot of hidden costs to CGI animation that people don't necessarily think about, unless you're Pixar, and you can afford to spend years and millions of dollars to write custom programs that effectively render things like clothing and fur.

It's no secret that anime still operates on a rather shoestring budget, and the punishing deadlines aren't exactly in their favor, either. I mean, Production I.G can turn around an episode of Guilty Crown in maybe four to five months, but remember that they had to delay the full-CGI opening of the original Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex because the animation wasn't finished, and for the initial airing of the first two or three episodes they had to use some hastily cut-together footage from the show itself.

The other thing is - the content itself isn't right for it. And by that I mean, most anime that we end up watching is, in some form or another, an adaptation. Most of which are based on manga, others are based on Light Novels (which usually have character illustrations of some kind) - either way, there's already a predetermined "look" of the characters that are familiar and beloved by the fans. Unless there's some kind of seismic shift in the look and tone of your average Shonen Jump manga, I cannot fathom how any of them would successfully - and cheaply - translate into full CG animation. I mean, it would definitely be interesting to see how something like that could be done - and it probably could be done - but there's always the chance that they'll end up completely alienating and enraging the current audience.

Case in point: the gnashing of fanboy teeth over the cheap CGI models in the new Berserk movies.

There are of course plenty of studios pumping out purely CGI product, mostly for things like commercials, interstitials, children's programming, and visual effects for live-action movies. Studio 4C has a great CGI department that does a lot of kooky things like that. But those aren't the sorts of things that'll garner several hundred-thousand views on Crunchyroll.

Goodness gracious, is it that time already? Yup - I get to shut up now! Last week, I wanted to get your opinion on today's hottest anime studios of the day - and this was BEFORE KyoAni blew up the internet with its "Swimming Anime" kerfluffle!

Let's start with Aaron, who goes a bit left of center with his pick:

The studio that I feel does the most consistently good work is Studio Silver Link from there adiptations of established properties like C3, Oniai, and Baka and Test to the art direction Silver Link makes consistently good looking series. That has a visual style all their own such as the superlative choreography in the first opening to C3. To the “censorship be dammed” opening animation of Oniai to the ability to take a concept like the body swap elements of Kokoro Connect and use it as a way to explore relationships to what it means to “be” someone Silver Link does it good.

Honorable mention also goes to Studio Arms which while it's made some of the worst series ever (I.e. Ikki Tousen) they have also been unafraid to take on projects such as Maoyu and Genshiken, always keeping it all very interesting so that's the two I have to hold up as examples of good studios.

HEY JOSH I LIKED MARS DAYBREAK. Or, uh, I think I did. 2004 was a while ago:

Hey Answerman,

When it comes to Anime studios that seem to do consistent work, I'd have to side with Studio BONES. I might be a bit biased in this regard because I'm such a huge BONES fan, but the quality of their animation is always very high. I have actually attempted to watch every anime by Studio BONES and I have gotten very close to reaching that goal, right now I'm only missing three series. While it is true that the story lines that they come up with may not always be the best, the anime they produce are always a joy to watch.

There have been some series that they have absolutely hit out of the park, for instance Eureka Seven, Wolf's Rain, RahXephon, Both series of Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, and Darker than Black. Rahxephon, which was released in 2002 still holds up fairly well today in the animation department, and I believe that Eureka Seven Astral Ocean was a very beautifully animated series, even if there were some plot holes, I found myself enjoying it.

Of course, some of the animation quality for a couple of their series are sub par, like in The Mars Daybreak. But, I truly believe that the majority of their anime are very slickly produced shows, and I am interested in seeing what sort of anime they could be cooking up next.

Pascual throws another bone to BONES (hah! good one, me!) and some others:

Hi Answerman,

There are two studios in particular that I have a soft spot for and they are Madhouse and Bones.

Madhouse - At first they were the go to studio for edgy, dark anime such as Death Note, Black Lagoon, and Casshern Sins but in the past couple of years they have been branching out doing all different types of genres with works like Chihayafuru, Kobato, and Hunter x Hunter. What I enjoy about this studio in particular is no matter the kind of work they choose to adapt, it's more likely than not very well polished and consistent. I think this is the case because they choose to work on shows they have an actual passion for. You can tell when you're watching a show that the studio has a genuine love for and that's very apparent in Madhouse's works.

Bones - The thing that about Bones is not only are the shows they do polished and boast high production values, they animate works that are very unique not only in terms of story but in execution too. Being founded from the guys who did Cowboy Bebop I expect no less. Wolf's Rain, Ouran High School Host Club, and Un-Go are just some of the many examples. Bones' works have a certain cohesion to them that other studios rarely are able to pull off in the amount of episodes they are given to tell a story. I'm particularly enjoying their latest work Blast of Tempest because of the aforementioned reason.

As for studios I don't particularly enjoy, recently I would have to say A-1 Pictures. Their works are VERY HIT OR MISS in terms of animation and artwork. The shows they do well are always knock outs like Working!!, Space Brothers, and Tsuritama but the shows that aren't fall HARD. Recently they have been working on so many shows at one time the quality suffers as a result. Magi and Sword Art Online are the most recent offenders and anyone can google examples to see what I'm talking about. This is just my personal opinion but I think A-1 needs to take a step back and only work on a few shows per year and pour their hearts into them instead of working on every show under the sun because they can.

An underrated studio that doesn't get enough attention but should is David Productions. A fairly new company, they have carved out their own niche of doing shows that you don't see in the current anime industry or wouldn't see otherwise.

1. Level E- Sci-fi Comedy from a manga that's nearly twenty years old with highschool characters that don't look like moe blobs
2. Ben-To: Revolves around students fighting in super markets over marked down lunches with an over the top style and soundtrack
3. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure- Getting glorious praise in Japan right now, a 25 year old work that just screams GAR and a throwback to the anime days of yore like Fist of the North Star

Jeez, you guys really dig BONES. Dem BONES, am I right? God, I'll stop. Here's "Hfrempel":

The one studio that always leaves me in awe, both in terms of actual animation and overall series quality, is Studio Bones. Something I've learned from speaking with many staff members at cons is that Bones doesn't do much outsourcing work. There is a very good reason for this. Its the belief that Bones staff should work on Bones shows. Because they want there properties in there control and therefore as high quality as possible. I wish more studios were that dedicated.The comparison I would use is one the video game industry often makes of Nintendo. They never “cash in” on what the competition is doing. Instead forging there own path. They never repeat themselves either. Something many studios are reluctant to resist. Every single sequel or reboot they have done has been different tonally to what came before fleshing out a franchise in different ways. In fact I would argue that Darker Than Black season 2 and Eureka Seven Ao change what a sequel can be. But I wont turn this post into a defense of those two criminally underrated shows. The Rahxephon movie takes an approach to the compilation movie idea that is as far as I know lost on the rest of the industry, Rather than using the new footage to water down the series for those to lazy to watch what came before or providing merely a new ending it instead focuses on fleshing out details not clear in the rest of the series. In the process creating a compilation movie that actually adds to the enjoyment of the show. As an aside, if they were after nothing more than a quick buck with there property extensions wouldn't they make a new FMA movie every year?

There are some other qualities that they have in almost all of there projects that I'd like to make note of as well. Just about every single one of there works have anti establishment themes. The most blatant examples probably being Un-go ( has anime ever seen a more wonderful political commentary?) and eureka seven. Many specific directors obviously have these themes as well but I think its very interesting to see a studio take such a bold stand. Another thing that I really appreciate is that they take my favourite approach to any form of entertainment. Which is that there entire catalogue works solely as entertainment but if you look deeper there is always a bevy of other themes to chew on. One thing that many would see as a detractor but I personally love is that many of there series try to expand on and capture the tone and even some themes presented in seventies anime and manga. But they don't ever rip them off like many others might attempt. They put people intelligent enough to understand this approach and who are creative enough to build on that starting point and create something different and often better. Something else I really dig is that its put very clearly that with each world they allow us to visit we only see part of a much larger whole. I could go into how each of these qualities fits into there shows and other good stuff that each work has in it but this is a love letter not a company history.

While I don't love all of there titles (Ghost slayers Ayashi and No.6 are the two made this century that really leave me cold), the ambition and thought are always so clearly there. Its hard to explain but I can tell a lot of consideration is put into each project they do. No matter how it turns out quality wise. I find myself disappointed that lately none of there series seem to have really caught on. it seems to me that recently they have been making an effort to break out of there comfort zone I think a good way to describe the bones catalogue would be 'too mainstream to be cult and too cult to be mainstream.' And with Shinichiro Watanabe making a new show at the studio and all I don't think I d have it any other way. Bones, I apologize for this rambling, disorganized letter. Just know that whatever the critical mass says you'll always be my favourite. And Brian I appreciate the opportunity to get the chance to crystalize all these thoughts that have been swimming around in my head for years.


That is an excellent question, especially because, right when I was going to write this answer, I saw the resumés of the companies I *thought* I was going to put here and... well, they're not really as consistently good as I thought. For example, Madhouse is usually very stylish and competent, but sometimes they make BeyBlade, or Sakura Wars or Super Doll Licca-chan. Production I.G. is usually also really fluid and great looking, but then they make Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan. I could go on. Point is, most studios I thought were really good are inconsistent: they make some really crappy stuff sometimes (and then there are those like A-1 Pictures, that seem to do great stuff half of the time, sub-part stuff the other half). So... in the end, I'll have to say Kyoto Animation (I KNOW, SHOCKING, RIGHT?). Even when I don't like what they produce, I can't deny it looks great, amazingly fluid and they never seem to "get lazy" with it. And unlike some other studios, they never got "worse", just different. Not always amazing writing, but always a feast for the eyes.

Now, as for the worst, I'll have to pick two. And technically, I don't think they're the "worst" studios ever; I think that honor goes to Synergy SP's incredibly cardboardy animation, but they produce so little, it seems unfair (actually, now that I think about it, it's weird that a studio messes up so terribly when they do so little). So I chose two that are consistently bad and yet somehow seem to get a lot of work.

The first is XEBEC. No shock here, right? But, y'know, I don't think they were always bad. I think that back in the 90's they were sort of okay: Nadesico looks perfectly fine and their cutscenes for the PSX Mega Man games were also nice to watch. But some time around the turn of the century they got worse and worse, and nowadays the stuff they make is just unwatchable. Their CGI still looks like it was made in 2002. Their characters always look like they're made of rubber. Their backgrounds are always lazy. Their actions scenes are laughably slide-show-y. I could go on. People react really badly when a given anime is produced by Studio DEEN, but I think they pale in comparison to XEBEC. At least they're not doing much action adventure anime nowadays (since they're my thing), only fanservice comedies and the like (since they're not my thing). Still. They're bad.

The second is...Toei Animation. Oh yeah, I'm going there. Like XEBEC, I think they weren't that bad in the 70's-80's-90's, but after the switch to digital animation and painting they got terrible. But I have to give them credit: at least they suck in different ways. I like to say that Toei Animation's animations fall into two categories: first is the incredibly cardboardy one -- which is to say, the characters don't look - too - off model, but they move so little, it's kind of sad (examples: most Digimon series, their version of Kanon, and Shinzo). Second is when they *pretend* their animation is fluid and their characters are moving, but their animation is so bad, the characters move so clumsily, that if you pause the video at any given time chances are someone's face will be deformed, or someone will have some extra fingers, or someone's body will break, etc. (examples: Saint Seiya Omega, Toriko, some Pretty Cure series. But seriously, Saint Seiya Omega). And I rank them even below XEBEC, because they get *a lot* of work. I just don't understand why.

(also, Studio Pierrot seems to be getting lazier recently. If it keeps up, by 2020 they'll be the new XEBEC! And that would be a shame)

"SONIC X - Eh whatever, f*** it." - Tokyo Animation, courtesy of Kevin

This is a topic which absolutely fascinates me, and I have some very strong opinions about which animation studios' work I admire and those that infuriate me. To effectively answer the question, I should put an overall view on what I deem "good animation" vs. "bad animation". Good animation means that the animators don't go off-model while using shortcuts and repeated animation scenes as rarely as possible. Bad animation is that which is off-model, lazy, and resorts to an abundance of CG and my least favorite animation technique EVER... freeze-frame (where the animation is clearly a still picture that just gets bigger or smaller to suggest movement).

As far as studios that I see pulling forth quality, consistent work, I would put Studio BONES at the very top. Their track record is nothing short of breathtaking in the animation department. Fullmetal Alchemist, Scrapped Princess, Star Driver (beautiful animation, nonsensical story), Professor Layton Vs. Ace Attorney... so many wonderful pieces of animation! One thing that I appreciate with Studio Bones is that action is always given the animation it deserves; Soul Eater always had dynamic, engaging action scenes, and watching it was like witnessing moving graffiti. Incredible camera position, fluid fight scenes, excellent artistry. Delicious.

Now, as for the studios who I believe are either overrated or don't put out quality work, I have to put the studio in charge of Sonic X at the bottom of my list. Tokyo Animation, I believe. They do good work with Detective Conan, sure, but it seems that because Sonic X is a property aimed at children, they used that as an excuse to go consistently off-model, use CG whenever possible, and abuse "freeze-frame" to death. (Incidentally, that's a suspicion of mine to be addressed in a separate answerman)

I might get some flak for this, but I also consider Toei Animation to be a major offender of using freeze-frame, repeated animation, and short cuts to create the illusion of animation. It seems odd that a studio that had no problem with producing good animation (Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon) somehow lost its way in the late 90s once digital techniques were introduced. I will never understand how a show like Rurouni Kenshin and its legendary Kyoto Arc's animation completely surpasses shows produced in 2013. While shows like One Piece have decent animation, it pales in comparison to shows like Yuyu Hakusho, almost a decade its predecessor. Also, it's obvious when One Piece is having a good day and a bad day animation wise... I just wish it were less obvious to tell.

Alright folks, so while we're talking about animation studios... time to grade their current output! Here lies next week's Answerfans question:

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 for me, everyone! Time to drift into my eternal 8-hour slumber, only to be awoken by the nagging dragon of self-publishing or something stupidly poetic. Anyway, please send me all your questions and answer things to my email at answerman(at)animenewsnetwork.com! Until next time!

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