Bonus – Answering Emails the Otaku Way: On Christmas Eve

Christmas is typically a time for family and loved ones. But for us, it’s just another day. So let’s answer some emails. Oh, and announce the winners of the contest we’ve been running for the last several months.

Recording quality is a little tinny/below par since we didn’t run these through the usual filtering methods. We’ll list the notes and links…another day…

  • Gunshow Comic – Daryl will state for the record that he was down with the GSC before the Anime Club saga elevated it to immortality; for ease of reference the Anime Club arcs have been linked via the site. In the event those links someday go down: Part 1 Part 2 Part 2.5 Part 3 (For the record, if you want to know which Anime Club members we all correspond to, all three of us are Mort. We may think otherwise–Daryl thinks he’s Dave, Clarissa thinks she’s Mark, Gerald knows he’s Mort–but we’re probably all Mort.)

94 Replies to “Bonus – Answering Emails the Otaku Way: On Christmas Eve”

  1. That mecha bit was pretty damn depressing, studio BONES makes none cg mecha but they don't make them often. They do have that Heroman Stan Lee show coming up.

    I did enjoy this bonus round and wouldn't mind more like this. For the decade review should probably strictly stick to this decades shows but wouldn't hurt some popular 90s shows like the ones Gerald mentioned.

    Happy Christmas

  2. Thanks for answering my question,guys.In fact,I'd encourage Daryl to attempt to watch Ramayana,Prince of Light in its original dub,which is Hindi,if I'm not wrong.This was cool to me back then,and I'm pretty sure you'd like it as well.

  3. I find it hard to like any mecha anime of the 00's except for the Go Nagai revamps and Gurren Lagann.

    BTW, why were my choices disqualified?

    Anyway, Merry Christmas.

  4. I like the Shin Mazingers of the world as much as the next guy, Imagawa still has what it takes to keep working his magic, but I don't have much of a problem with modern non-retro mecha shows either (00, Geass, Frontier, whatever else comes to mind). Both of them manage to entertain me in different ways.

    I wouldn't say that the older series were necessarily "better" all across the board as much as they were fitting for that time and place. I think we have to accept that there's been a shift in demographics (hey, even the original creators themselves are growing older or dying) and the animation studios would have to be suicidal in order to ignore this. They're just adapting to the new status quo and profiting from it.

    Still, it would be good to take off the rose-colored glasses many critics selectively put on. Even the mecha classics that have been placed in some sort of pedestal had plenty of issues that could be nitpicked to death, given enough cynicism and boredom, which is why a lot of the whining about the new stuff tends to sound incredibly whimsical and hypocritical (hello there, 4chan).

    Basically, people can be extremely forgiving of an idealized past while being totally merciless when dealing with the present, regardless of everything else. I'm not asking for blind praise or no criticism, but having more consistent standards wouldn't hurt.

  5. The thing with Shinto is that it doesn't really have a book… or any real dogma. It's more just a set of beliefs. Most Japanese people aren't religious anyway, but the rituals are simply part of their way of life, now. I did read some stories related to Shinto and Buddhism in Japan for class, but I don't think they're anything significant to adapt from like, say, the Bible.

    Genshiken is pretty true to life… but only to Japanese clubs. The manga club I was part of at Sophia had been around since '75 (here's the site: http://nicnet.ddo.jp/~scs/home.html) I was actually surprised at how similar the club was to Genshiken, sans the romance and drama of course.

    "Internet Terrorist"

    I kind of take back Natsu no Arashi now. While S1 is pretty good, S2 is really spotty… I mainly just suggested it because it references old obscure Japanese music all of the time.

  6. Good to see someone else who likes the grunt mecha. It's funny you mention Gundam Wing as it's the one thing i really still like about that show with suites like the Leo's, Taurus, and Serpents etc… Same reason I like the original Gundam with the suite designs of the Zaku's and Dom's, and Macross with the Cannon Fodder VF-1's.

    And yes review Code Geass, more people need to watch that show so we can get more of it. I love Gundam and all but 00 was kinda meh and it was nice to see something original for a change.

  7. Definitely liked the responding to emails and think using these as buffers between reviews is a great idea. Still informative and entertaining as ever, plus cool for the fans to have emails finally answered.

  8. Yes, that's true about nostalgia. I watched a bunch of 80's mecha shows that a decade ago never heard of and I found them to be hit or miss. L-Gaim was fun and Dancougar was totally fucking awesome (save for the last OVAs which were anticlimactic), but Dragonor and Orguss were very standard and nothing special really. Plus I saw an ep of Galvion which might be the worst 80's mecha thing I've ever seen (sad because the OP and design work would have you believe it would be awesome).

    I know I'll get flak for this (go ahead if you wish), but the Code Geass mecha are atrocious looking. They couldn't make up their minds as to be super or real robots. And to top it all off the fans don't really even acknowledge the mecha so it shows it wasn't even needed in the show.

    I balance 80's-90's mecha anime just as I do with modern moe ones because each symbolize a particular indicative era of anime.

  9. Almost forgot…you guys were talking about Tezuka's Swallowing the Earth, I assume?

    Strangely enough, I ordered that not too long ago but won't get it delivered until February or so.

    Despite having already paid for that manga I don't really know for sure if I'll like it or not, so a review could definitely be useful. The premise just sounded interesting and that's about all I know.

    Btw, responding to something you said in the show and what the first anonymous poster has referenced….no, the mecha in Code Geass and Gundam 00 aren't being animated by just moving around 3-D CG models. That would actually be Macross Frontier's.

    Those are drawn and you can confirm this relatively easily by comparing the mecha sequences in all three series. Obviously almost all animation is computer assisted these days because cels are no longer used (Sazae-san aside?), but I realize you guys already know that would be a completely different matter. Yes, there *are* some structures or buildings made through blatant CG in both 00 and Geass, but not the mecha themselves. They might not be drawn with the highest amount of detail, computers allow for many shortcuts and great mechanical animators are very rare, but that doesn't make them CG.

    @VZ:

    "I know I'll get flak for this (go ahead if you wish), but the Code Geass mecha are atrocious looking. They couldn't make up their minds as to be super or real robots."

    Well, that's a matter of personal interest and taste. I think hybrid designs are quite interesting precisely because they try to mix things up. I liked most of the mecha designs until well into the second season, when they really did start to get a bit sloppy and introduced several that didn't work for me. Overall though, I've seen better but also worse.

    "And to top it all off the fans don't really even acknowledge the mecha so it shows it wasn't even needed in the show."

    You could also say that about other shows, actually, but it depends on who you ask. I don't think people actively deny the mecha just because they prefer to talk about other aspects. I almost never say a word about the mecha unless I'm somewhere where it would be relevant, like on Mechatalk…or right here and now for that matter.

  10. Man look at all these whiny mecha fans.

    Oh wait.

    But yeah, Spanish speaking countries and Italy love their giant robots. I assume you guys have been following Matt Alt's blog where there's been some rumblings (and grumblings from Steve Harrison) about whether or not new anime is inspiring people to do things. Looking at Nico Nico and Pixiv, mecha in general is still a big topic that is producing some great artists, but like everyone is saying there's no incentive to go into the industry with everything being dominated by established designers and the animator pay being so shitty.

    I'm honestly not too broken up by this, because we still have three decades of mecha to catch up on. A lot of 80's and 70's shows are getting legit subs now and as much as we may hate on /m/, there's a sincere heart to the folks who care about mecha. Who knows, maybe someday Koichi Ohata's first foray into the scene, Road Chaser Galvion will get fansubbed.

  11. I don't think of it as grumbling, you know, I think of it as trying to put context and history into the discussion, as many of the people commenting come from the period where anime 'began' in 1999…

    and while Galvion would be nice to see, show me someone fansubbing Galatt. Hell, there's probably only 8 people in the country who even KNOW about Galatt.

    And funny thing, while it was an abject failure when it aired, I think it would be pretty popular if it got released in the U.S. now.

    Of course I think that of Xabungle too, so maybe I'm just a crazy man.

  12. "So anyone wanna bet how many "best anime of the decade" lists will ignore Hajime No Ippo?"

    Forget that, every best anime of the decade thread on every anime forum consists of people listing titles made in the last 3 years and an overwhelming amount of anime based on visual novels.

    There was a shitload of good anime made this decade, and I'm sure it will be covered by the AWO.

  13. Considering the comments above are in response to things we said well after the 16 minute mark–mecha anime discussion, the contest winners–I can only conclude that your file download was truncated. The full file is about 30 MB in size. I just downloaded it via the feed link and it works.

    VZ: If you really must know, you didn't win because 1. Denno Coil is 26 episodes, 2. Devil Hunter Yohko isn't very good and the first episode is softcore porn (a recurring theme in many of your series recommendations), and 3. I don't feel strongly about the 1988 Appleseed OAV one way or the other. I don't even own a copy, legal or otherwise.

  14. Hmmn, I wasn't even thinking of the softcore porn parts of Devil Hunter Yoko when I chose it. Actually, I should have picked Dominion Tank Police since that and the other two would have made a theme of "depictions of the future."

    Ah well. You guys should consider Dennou Coil in the future anyway. Yes, I did come for the meganekko but it actually has an engaging story (helps the the pre production on the show was for 10 years and won some awards in Japan).

    "VZ: Does Metropolis count as "mecha"?"

    Eh, i didn't dig that movie. Maybe it's the Rintaro "love it or hate it" notion at work.

    BTW, I got Riding Bean for X-Mas. I'll see it's exciting as Gerald says it its.

  15. Since there's a mech-a-thon going, I thought I'd throw in a cent or two…

    First, what did people think about the "robots" in Eureka Seven? They're not really mechs since they're actually life-forms covered in armor and whatnot, but there have been comparisons between them and the mechs in Code Geass, justifiably.
    (I googled a bit and found this: http://i2.tinypic.com/207um9x.jpg)

    What's sad to me is that I can't remember a show/movie for a while now that even attempted to connect form and function. I really liked the mechs in Ghost in the Shell for this reason — you could *see* that their drive mechanisms looked the way they did because of what the robots were supposed to do. The second episode of GitS:SAC is a masterpiece in this sense (the one with the runaway tank), even if it's obvious where the 3D/2D seams are. (and yeah, I know that some people call the GitS mechs "bubble bots" — all I can say there is: look closer).

    Just one last question for the AWO guys: I was the one who suggested Claymore/Spice&Wolf/Planetes. Which one/s didn't make the cut? I'm assuming it was Spice&Wolf, but I was wondering if there was any other reason?

  16. "They're not really mechs since they're actually life-forms covered in armor and whatnot, but there have been comparisons between them and the mechs in Code Geass, justifiably."

    That actually makes a lot of sense since Eiji Nakata was one of the animation directors for both Eureka Seven and Code Geass. It seems he did some of the design work too. The guy has mostly worked on Sunrise shows but those two seem to be his main projects to date. I assume that would be the most influential factor.

    In any event, I thought the E7 designs were pretty good. Haven't re-watched the series in years though (nor have I seen the movie either).

  17. Happy Holidays!

    I think doing an email only show and less editing when you are busy with other things is a good idea. We still get an entertaining episode and you have less unanswered emails:) And what is the most important, while answering the emails you'll manage to still make a lot of educational comments.

  18. The anime club discussion as well as the mecha disucssion felt fairly disheartening, although I have been reading 'Welcome to the NHK' as a christmas present so my heart is already fairly damaged. I recently joined an anime club at university and there has yet to be one showing, meeting, or even facebook discussion even though they claim to have around fifty members.

    Also I hope that you can get around to discussing Code Geass at some point, if only for the amazing trainwreck of a second season it had.

    Happy Holidays (just so I'm covered for new year.)

  19. Jack:

    It's funny you would say that, because the only possible reason I'd look forward to a Code Geass review at this point in time is if it's something other than just blindly parroting what the loudest voices on the Internet scream and troll all year long. By this I'm referring both to the "10/10" and the "trainwreck" crowds (or even the overlap). You don't need to like the show in order to expect something better than all the self-serving rambling both sides engage in. I guess that's what comes with being shows that are simultaneously over-rated and over-bashed.

  20. Daryl Surat, when will I get my darn Irresponsible Captain Tylor review? I'm disgusted by the amount of anime fans who still haven't watched it! Dave and Joel already did a Violence Jack episode so throw that out the window. No one has done Captain Tylor so there's no messy pickings.

  21. As far as the wordpress thing goes, you can always choose a pre-made theme and slightly customize it, or if you're going to edit the CSS, make sure the files are writeable (if you're using the admin dashboard editor). Or you edit them in notepad and upload manually. They'd change then.

  22. Speaking of Code Geass mech, I was in Japan back in September and didn't find one art book that showed it off, not one. Character art coming out the wazoo but nothing for the mech designs.

    Curse you CLAMP 🙁

  23. ^You can find some mecha art, such as designs and lineart, in the DVD booklets (the U.S. release of season one has included those) and in the two official guidebooks. Granted, neither of those deals exclusively with the mecha so you'll have to sort through a lot of unrelated material, but it's better than nothing.

  24. Victoria: If it was as simple as that, I would have done it 4 months ago. There's a style.css file in the default theme, but changing the values in it doesn't actually result in changes being made to the layout. I can only conclude there is something overriding those settings, but I don't know where that is.

  25. With Code Geass though finding stuff for the mechanical designs is still pretty slim pickings. As they talked about in the show the robot stuff is generally overlooked even in Japan. When I was over there trying to find mech related merchandise other then toys I found it a surprisingly tall order. Even Gundam I was disappointed to find books with mostly character art and very little with actual robots. Only series that I found really good art for was Macross (and one really awesome Patlabor book which detailed all the mechanical designs). Even then these were all old school books from the 80's and early 90's, if you try to find anything from Macross Frontier for example there's hardly anything detailing the mechanical aspects of the show. It's really telling to flip through these books as it really illustrates how much the times have really changed.

  26. Don't worry VZ, I like Devil Hunter Yohko and talk about it if & where I have a podcast.

    From what I see of Code Geass, I like Mecha in the show. I may go watch it one day if you review good enough, but it not on top watch because:
    a) Soap opera story.
    b) Escaflowne formula: put everything in it so everyone will watch and buy it.
    c) Know the ending to the 1st series thank to Anime Pulse.

    At of everyone list of 2000's anime. You guys are the only one I like to hear. I pretty sure the most lists will have Bleach, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, Code Geass, Visual Art's s**h, and maybe Inuyasha & one of the gundam. I won't mine if Haruhi Suzumiya and Gurren Lagann show off everywhere. But it nice to have a list that not the most popular shows.

  27. I kinda regret not checking out the anime club at my high school a couple of years ago but doesn't sound like I should from hearing stories about how they go down.

    "In any event, I thought the E7 designs were pretty good. Haven't re-watched the series in years though (nor have I seen the movie either)."

    Don't bother with the movie, ever.

  28. Thanks for answering my question.

    I don't read American comics at all, so I didn't know Kick-ass was a superhero book. I also didn't consider Buffy, Angel, Firefly or Heroes to be "Super"hero books. Like Clarissa said, I think of costumes for "Superhero". I think I have a good idea of a few titles to send his way as an example of the varying styles.

    Thanks guys!

  29. i'm definitely looking forward to hearing the judge review. that OAV is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. I just got a copy of beautiful dreamer on dvd and watched it again for the first time in like 12 years pretty different than i remembered it 13 years old. i'd definitely like to hear what you guys have to say about it.

    ALSO, it is criminal that you guys haven't reviewed the devilman OAVs yet. i was very glad to hear those suggested and i do hope you get to them eventually.

  30. I think eventually the anime industry might start asking itself about paying these animators the wages they derserve. This slump shouldn't go on for much longer.

    I can't say whether or not gunshow's Anime Club strips are an accurate portrayal of anime fans in America. I will say this however: Mort is the most accurate portrayal of Daryl Surat I've seen in years. He might look nothing like the guy, but it's obvious from reading through that KC Green has, within the ink and paint body of Mort, truly captured the essence of Daryl.

  31. Oh yeah.If you guys ever want to do another manga episode,can you guys review Strain?Just by being a collaboration between Buronson and Ikegami Ryoichi,and being set in Malaysia(I can guarantee you,100%,that how they depict Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur is exactly like that in the early/mid 90s) makes me feel all good and everything else.

    Except that we don't have Chinese/Japanese hookers wearing wigs and blond cops here.

    P.S:If anyone here is Malaysian(or knows our political situation),you'll understand me when I say that its not Japanese hookers,its Mongolians for the politicians.

  32. "In any event, I thought the E7 designs were pretty good. Haven't re-watched the series in years though (nor have I seen the movie either)."

    Don't bother with the movie, ever.
    >>>

    Seconded. The movie manages to sully your memory of the series. I don't know what they were on when they made it, but there should have been someone there when the production ended to say "burn this and never tell a soul". I know that ANN ratings are usually biased upwards, but this is nuts, I wish I could un-remember it.

  33. To Anonymous :

    The trainwreck description only serves to highlight that the train (plot) has gone off the rails and who knows where it will end up.

    Futhermore just because someone is voicing an opion doesn't mean it was taken from someone else e.g. the internet. People on the web say many things so it isn't surpsing when thing overlap. Sometimes people just say something is really good or really bad because it actually is something that commands those responses.

  34. Jack:

    But sometimes that's not the case, either way, to a greater or lesser extent, particularly as far as memes and glorified fads are concerned.

    So forgive me…I don't know about you but I prefer to hear something refreshing or at least different lines of reasoning from time to time instead of recycled arguments and polarization that leads nowhere.

    Though I could always try pulling off some sort of bait and switch using your proposed definition too, but it's probably for the best to let the matter rest.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  35. That's fair enough, although I would still say that an opinion is sometimes just an opinion.

    It also bothers me greatly when people just dismiss things out of hand without any kind of reason (as if often the way on the internet) and so I can see how my comment would appear to be of this kind, probably because I wasn't thinking about it very deeply when I wrote it. Which actually leads me all the way round to agreeing with your initial complaint, even if I feel that in my case I was just stating a personal opinion.

    Anyway apologies for cluttering up your comments section!

  36. Jack: Why are you apologizing? Yes there are "fanboys" and "haters" out there but your point is equally as valid. Sometimes a show truly is awesome/awful regardless of the character of the proponents who endorse it. Like you said sometimes an opinion is just an opinion.

    I don't pay mind to buzz so I go into all shows with as little hype and expectations as possible and I found I also was really drawn to the dramatization and sensationalization of the first season of Geass and devastatingly disappointed by the abysmal travesty that passed itself off as "R2". Which, incidentally, people seem to prefer…

  37. Maur:

    Then let me ask: would you listen to someone who tried to argue something else? Would you just want someone to echo your own conclusion -or that of those with the exact opposite opinion- without bringing anything new to the table?

    One of the things I like about this podcast is how, with a few exceptions, from time to time there's a real sense that the hosts are at least trying to back up their own positions and saying relatively unique stuff that's not just more of what can be found around the corner. I don't even agree with them half the time, but I can appreciate where they're coming from regardless.

    Anyone can say anything, all opinions are supposed to be valid at least as a starting point, but many are content to just follow along, sadly, because that's incredibly easy. You didn't like something? Just say it sucks. You liked it? Just say it rules. That's simple and requires no effort.

    Particularly when you're talking about shows with a certain amount of controversy surrounding them, it's usually preferrable to cut through the trash and find a few better things to say, both positive and negative, that aren't just yesterday's news all over again.

  38. "would you listen to someone who tried to argue something else? "

    Yes. I accept other people's ideas/perspectives even if I don't necessarily agree with them. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, assuming it's a valid/informed one and not just fanboyism/haterism.

    "there's a real sense that the hosts are at least trying to back up their own positions and saying relatively unique stuff that's not just more of what can be found around the corner"

    These are the only kinds of opinions that count. I just don't subscribe to the belief of assuming everyone belongs in the other group, especially with so little to go on as a solitary comment.

  39. Anonymous : Comments in these show posts you probably aren't going to be fully formed and fleshed out arguments. This is not the venue for them, if I wanted to write about something in depth and with some originality perhaps I'd construct my views elsewhere, like on a *shudder* blog. So I just voiced my opinion because if the show ever is reviewed on this podcast it will certainly be very interesting . There is no need to pick a fight here, in this space, and say that some unkown commenter has no opinions of their own. Those kind of criticisms are better suited to be used againt an article or a blog.

  40. Oh, about the designer of Zeorymer, there were several but the main one was Moriki Yasuhiro. I've seen his art for not only Zeorymer but also the Mobile Suits of Hathaway's Flash and Metalder. They all share that epic aggressive flare.

    http://www.zincpanic.com/view_character_designer.phtml?characters=238&b=0&e=29&sort=Name&page=1

    And yeah, the interest in mecha isn't dead but many of the SAME people who been around in the 80's are still there. New stuff is usually from toy lines.

  41. You started with a guy asking for manga for his brother, who didn't read superhero comics, but turned out to have read Heroes and Buffy and Hellboy and such.

    Your idea was to start out by avoiding the Shonen Jump style stuff.

    I'd suggest the opposite. Don't ignore it. It's probably exactly what he wants. The American comics that he reads are mostly about characters who are a lot like superheroes, but don't have codenames and costumes. Guess what–that's exactly what the Shonen Jump style shows are all about too.

  42. @arromdee: You kinda have a point. Given his liking of Heroes, where normal people have their lives changed by being given super powers, he might like the story of Bleach, where a group of normal people have their lives changed when they discover they have super powers.

    Or, given his liking of Buffy, where a normal girl is destined to be a vampire slayer, he might like the story Hero Tales, where a normal boy is destined to bring a country together.(a bit of a stretch.)

    Then there's his liking of Kick-Ass, where a normal kid, through determination alone, makes himself into a "Super" hero. Some what similar to something like Saint Seiya, where the main character, through shear determination and will, makes himself strong enough to defeat anyone.

    That's all fine and dandy, but it's about the style more than anything. He has said to me, "I don't like that "Japanisie" style", I take it to mean shows like, Bleach, Naruto, Pokemon, Moe, Moe, 80's shows, and Moe.

    So far I'm thinking about, Blade of the Immortal, Bokurano, Full Metal Alchemist, Gantz, King of Thorn, Mad Bull 34, Pluto, and Uzumaki. I hope those books will provide a good spread of styles.

  43. I just wanted to say that I think this format is fine and a nice way to respond to emails/voicemails in between 'real' episodes.

  44. It wasn't exactly brought up during the show, but…latest news is that Big Windup seems to have done rather poorly for Funimation, which isn't what I'd call "good" since the second season is coming up fairly soon.

  45. WHAT?! Of COURSE it wasn't brought up on the show; we released this podcast on Christmas Eve and the only way you or ANYONE knows the fate of Big Windup is because of the episode of ANNCast that came out a few days ago, followed by the announcement of same. It wasn't exactly brought up in the show because there wasn't exactly any way that anybody could have known about it at the time.

    Ken: Believe it or not, I did consider your suggestion prior to answering, but perhaps I made the mistake of assuming that anyone with even a passing idea that "manga" or "anime" exists already knows full well of the existence of the Shonen Jump style titles you speak of. I generally assume when someone says "I don't like anime/manga" that they are people who saw the Naruto/Bleach/DBZ fare and wasn't impressed. Still, an apt observation nonetheless.

    The remainder of the comments remind me that there is probably no need for us to discuss Code Geass anytime soon, as people have already seen it and made up their minds. This incidentally is also the reason we don't really bother to talk about Gundam. Someone wrote or called in once to ask "why do we hate Gundam?" I don't hate Gundam. Gerald does (except for Movie III of the originals. He hates all of the rest of Gundam, though). But everyone's minds are made up on that one already, so we may as well talk stuff that's a bit less known.

    Release of the next episode of the podcast is delayed somewhat by the onset of people having the flu and nagging coughs. We'll shoot for either this week or next week.

  46. @Daryl: I guess I should apologize, but that wasn't meant to be a criticism. It was more of a preemptive disclaimer in case you figured it was somehow off-topic to bring the subject up. Sorry for the bother.

    And just to make myself look worse, let me say this…it's not like you guys haven't talked about other well known shows before, the review index speaks for itself, but you know there's actually a fair amount of Gundam that's never been on U.S. TV, much less released on DVD, which makes it essentially obscure outside of hardcore mecha circles.

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