Anime World Order Show # 230 – Finally, A Code: White We Can Mention Without Getting a Stern DM

In a feeble attempt to delay the inevitable even if by just another month or so, Daryl elects to talk about what is only one of the most popular anime currently running, as he reviews SPY x FAMILY CODE: White, the standalone theatrical installment of the mega-hit Shonen Jump sitcom SPY x FAMILY, which is about as mainstream a title as anime gets in America.

Introduction (0:00 – 51:03)
We kick things off by talking about stuff we are thoroughly unqualified to discuss, since we haven’t been paying attention. Namely, what is the deal with those Macross releases we thought we’d be hearing something about in the nearly two years since the announcement was made that we’d be seeing them in the US? We also touch upon a few titles we’re watching in the current anime season…or not watching, as the case may be, and then Gerald follows up with an update regarding the digitization of the various old American anime fandom relics of decades past. Everybody should start checking out his Otaku Archive on, since if enough people do so then it can become an actual curated collection rather than just a topic. AND THAT’S WHEN WE IMPLEMENT ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER.

Otaku In Memoriam: Jim Rosenbaum, Wayne Yin, Donald Tsang (51:03 – 59:22)
Walter Amos, previously a guest, is the one who proposed this project, and after several months finally sent in a submission. It was over 20 minutes long and listed off numerous notable individuals, so for the sake of brevity I’ve gone ahead and edited it down to 8 minutes focusing on three individuals who may not have been historically famous but nevertheless were influential on not just Walter, but American anime fandom nationwide to some extent even if their names weren’t known. Bonus points for invoking Antarctic Press’s Ben Dunn in a positive manner that is a far departure from the polemic material he’s known for doing nowadays.

Review: SPY x FAMILY CODE: White (59:22 – 1:56:19)
While there is typically no need to bother with covering what has for the past few years been among the most popular anime in the world, and one of the most cosplayed things at conventions, entropy unmakes all things and so Daryl has decided to take a snapshot of what may very well someday be a bygone forgotten relic of a time when theaters simply needed something new to put in their multiplexes while still reeling from the aftermaths of those strikes. In any case, SPY x FAMILY is meticulously crafted to be loved and adored as breezy popcorn fare, and so the people who’d say something like this sucks tend to be either edgelords attempting to be contrarian or perhaps people who receive payment from Shonen Jump’s competition. Typically, the Shonen Jump theatrical film that isn’t adapting source material and doesn’t advance anything is something derided, but since SPY x FAMILY is already a wacky sitcom we don’t particularly mind it the way we would for a action/adventure battle type series. Besides, it’s still a rarity to see anime in IMAX (that’s actually got a print formatted for it)!

There have been other anime released in US theaters, but Daryl can’t remember any ever getting the full nerd collectible treatment, not even Dragon Ball. Is this the first to get this treatment here?

8 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 230 – Finally, A Code: White We Can Mention Without Getting a Stern DM”

  1. The Demon Slayer: To the Hashira Training “movie” also got the collectible popcorn bucket and drink cup treatment earlier this year at AMC’s. Seems to be a new thing Crunchyroll is partnering with AMC for with their bigger theatrical releases.

  2. I am glad this was brought up. The assumption that a certain generation MUST like whatever was popular and on TV (in theaters) when they were 6-12 years old. Am I a hipster when I say “do not let your ‘formative’ decade define you?” Maybe. But do not let whatever was popular in your youth define you. When I grew up I saw a LOT of reruns of 80s, 70s, and even 60s media. And even older classic cartoons like Pinocchio. And of course, there was choosing VHSes and DVDs at the library. So I successfully avoided growing up into a man who is shaped like some blank slate by whatever was new and popular on TV. Yes, I remember Shrek, but I remember a whole lot more than that. Plus, some of my favourite things right now are from only a few years ago. I watched Space Dandy when it was premiering in 2014. I watched Gunsmith Cats later than that, on a live stream. By the way, will the OVA be cursed to stay OOP forever? Hope not. Many things I am discovering just now are added to my S ranking, and I grew up with none of that. [I expect Gunsmith Cats Blu-Rays to be reissued under the new Animeigo at some point, though it wuold just be as a Standard Edition without physical extras. –Daryl]

    Also, respect for using Suruga-ya, I thought was something like a big secret for buyers of rare Japanese media.

  3. I’m a little behind on my listening, so I apologize for putting the replies to episodes 229 and 230 in the same message ^_^”

    I did once actually witness an incident of maid-on-maid violence in Akihabara—one maid was passing out flyers on the street (outside the McDonalds, I think), when another maid walked up and shoved her, with the attendant scattering of paper and shouting. This was in 2010, so if that represented the gentrified Akiba, maybe back in 1999 it really would have been a .40 round to the twintails, or at least a shank to the frilly apron. I remember Akihabara before it was an otaku district per se, although sure enough the first time I went there (in 1987) was to buy anime LDs and soundtracks, simply because they had the big electronics stores. My moe-moe-kyun memories of Akiba are of the storefronts with plastic bins right outside the station that you could see then, full of resistors, capacitors, inductors, and diodes in every stripboard flavor. It used to be, and may yet be, that you might still find such gear in Akihabara, retreated now to the back alleys, in stores run by elegant old men, as if Natsume Ono had been put in charge of Radio Shack.

    It occurs to me that the instability of streaming in a strange way is like the pre-home video days of fandom, when you were more dependent on whether a TV show you liked happened to be in re-runs on a local channel you could pick up. If so, you had to watch it while you had the chance—you had no way of saving a copy for yourself. Obviously, most fans of, say, 1960s and 70s science fiction TV series were in just such a position, yet this era of being dependent on a show’s real-time availability on broadcast television (again, comparable to today being dependent on its availability streaming) lasted longer than many people might assume.

    We have an image, for example, of C/FO meetings being a place where everyone brought their VCRs from home and hooked them up to make copies. Certainly this did happen—but it happened later in the C/FO’s history, and even then, not everybody attending had a VCR to bring. It may not always be realized that many fans attended C/FO meetings precisely because they *didn’t* have a VCR at home, and the monthly meeting itself might be their only chance to watch anime. Fans often have a reputation for being early tech adopters, ahead of the curve; at the same time, however, it is true that in 1980, three years into the C/FO’s existence, fewer than one American in 40 actually owned a VCR. That percentage would begin to increase rapidly in the early 1980s; even so, it wasn’t until 1986-87 that the *average* American household owned a VCR (my dad bought one in 1984, by which time already US ownership rates had gone up to 1 in 6).

    Controversies over tape copying within local C/FO chapters may have become obscure and petty after a certain point, but such copying was once a matter of national interest; issue no. 4 of C/FO The Magazine (also known as The New C/FO Bulletin) alludes to the legal situation of personal video copying at the time of the issue’s publication (1983); the 9th Circuit had held that home video recording, even of a show being broadcast on TV, was an infringement of copyright. This ruling would not be reversed until Sony (history has a poor rhyme scheme) prevailed at the Supreme Court in 1984. That it turned out to be fair use to record broadcast TV wasn’t a slam dunk, by the way—the decision was 5-4. Suppose it had gone the other way; the dude in Keel’s “The Right to Rock” would have been strolling down the street carrying a Betamax.

    While it may seem unbalanced that the top anime shows in English are all shonen action series, a similar line-up is seen in manga sales—19 of the top 20-selling individual manga volumes in English last year were from shonen series (the exception on the list was Berserk). In a sense, perhaps we’ve just finally fallen into alignment with Japan, where the top-two selling manga magazines are Shonen Jump and Shonen Magazine (all 19 of the shonen titles on the top 20 list come from those two magazines), and shonen manga dominate the list of all time best-selling manga series.

    Daryl brought up the difficulties of marketing anime films that were not part of a franchise—I realized that even in the early and mid-1990s the adult-oriented Akira and Ghost in the Shell were released to theaters as part of a franchise; Marvel’s Epic imprint was publishing Akira and listed the theater schedule in the back of the manga issues, whereas Dark Horse had released the manga series of Ghost in the Shell as an eight-issue mini-series just before the English dub of the anime hit US theaters.


    P.S. Miyazaki, of course, didn’t even show up in person to collect his Oscar for The Boy and the Heron, just as he didn’t show up for Spirited Away (he did make an appearance for his Academy Honorary Award in 2014, but only because it was a chance for him to meet Maureen O’Hara). There was, however, that video message he supposedly sent to the audience at the ceremony—although rumor is the message got cut from the live broadcast once it became apparent he intended to follow his thanks to the Academy with what he called “a special message to AWO” that consisted entirely of him doing a 360 spin, and then grabbing his nuts. Personally, I felt the gesture was uncalled for, especially in a man of his age; after all, you had only been expressing your honest opinion of the film.

  4. I always assume if any anime licensed to Disney Plus, it’s actually on Hulu for the US market since Disney doesn’t want to promote anime to Americans and want to be Marvel, Star Wars, and their original IPs in America.

    I really feel like Spy X Family Code White just follow the juggernaut movie franchise known as Detective Conan. Code White is basically an extended standalone episode of Spy X Family but with so many explosions and going to exotic locations. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the creator drew inspiration from the Conan movies since there’s a chapter in the manga that parodies Detective Conan. Even the recap of the characters in Code White is something that the Conan movies always do which they give a brief summary of the characters and gadgets so you don’t feel lost.

    I did enjoy the movie but my one friend wasn’t buying the lipstick catching fire which I just said “It’s the 60s. I would accept lipstick having alcohol in it.”

  5. Went to a Thursday night showing of Spy x Family and there were only three other people in the theater. I’m glad to hear it did so well because part of me wondered if this was one of those “Only popular in Japan” series seeing that turn out. I try to go to whatever anime theater showings I can make and I think the only showing I ever went to with less people was The First Slam Dunk which just had an elderly Japanese couple as the only other people in the theater besides me and my friends.

  6. I don’t know if you allow two comments, because I want to mention something else. You talked about how the first Pokemon movie being in theaters was a big deal. And it was, it definitely was. Anime that is NOT Miyazaki, and in the news?! Unheard of! (in 1999) But now I am also reminded of how good the dub was, of both the show and the movies. The much maligned 4Kids really did their best, and I am not being ironic. The English dub of movie 1 could have been absolutely perfect, if not for a few script changes. It’s really only a few bad changes, but those changes are…not good. I wish a miracle happened, and someone allowed a partial redubbing of maybe 5 minutes of dialog overall, no more than that. But why not just watch the sub, some may ask? Well…the replacement musical score made for the English dub was spectacular; spectacular for all of the first 3 films, actually. This is the stuff that rivals Joe Hisaishi or Taku Iwasaki, and I am not exaggerating. And the replacement score is tied to the English dialog. The exact same situation happened with the 2nd movie: new music is as good as Shinji Miyazaki’s original, and the dub is excellent, if not for several dumb changes that ruin the story overall once again. I just wish there was a way to watch the first two Pokemon movies with English music, but no disrespectful translation. A man can dream, I guess…

    A man can ALSO dream for the first 5 movies getting a general subbed Bluray release. Japan had only the first two remastered, and the rest got upscaled (despite theatrical prints existing, which makes this very illogical). It all was released in a limited edition 10 movie Bluray box that has been OOP for a decade now, and obviously will cost a fortune now. The collective “West” had the first 3 movies released on Bluray dubbed, and all 3 were properly remastered. All easy to find and affordable. Come on Nippon, what are you thinking?

    [The English music track for Pokemon: The Movie is forever immmortalized by being plagiarized without attribution by Herman Cain, multimillionaire Republican crackpot and COVID-19 antivaxxer who died of COVID-19, as he was suspending his failed Presidential campaign. As Discotek repeatedly points out, there is not enough consumer interest to sustain doing subtitled releases of children’s shows, as the paying audience for that sort of thing only wants the version they saw as kids. –Daryl]

  7. I also wanted to thank Walter Amos for his calling to remembrance of Jim Rosenbaum, Wayne Yin, and Donald Tsang. Even though my parents lived in Texas during the 1990s and I was often there myself, I don’t think I knew the people in the Austin and San Antonio fan communities as well as I should have—it’s a big state, and my family resided in Houston. I do think there’s at least a good chance we were all present together at A-Kon; when I first attended in 1993, the whole thing was still held in a Holiday Inn (with Astroturf around the swimming pool), and the cool thing about that was you crossed paths with everyone at least once over the course of a weekend.

    At the end of 1994, when Wayne was shivering to get those Future Boy Conan tapes out, the show was already 16 years in the past, but it’s worth remembering that it would still be another 27 YEARS after that before it finally received an official North American release in English.* Many fansubbing groups went for projects that were hot and trendy, which was understandable. As I’ve said before, I may date my own otakudom to the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean my attitude was any different from the average fan of the 2020s—I was so excited by the stuff that was coming out “now” that I often neglected the stuff that had come out “then.”

    So Walter’s group, The Conan Project, was not only providing an accessible English version, but by doing so, encouraging fans watching the hot titles of the day to take some time to discover the richness of their heritage. As they (and I) should have—after all, Future Boy Conan was already reverenced by the hardheads before Reagan’s first term.** If you doubt it, recall the scene in Aoi Honoo (Blue Blazes) where Anno, so far down the spectrum he’s emitting cosmic rays, bum rushes Yamaga’s room just so he can watch Lupin III #145, affectlessly proclaiming to the bewildered Niigatan that the villain’s aerial atomic bomb factory is clearly influenced by Gigant, the flying wing from Future Boy Conan.

    I didn’t have to do nearly as much work as The Conan Project, which after all was tackling a 26-episode TV series, but I could relate to their task in a lesser way; I was part of a team that had produced fansubs using the same Amiga and genlock hardware, and there was even a University of Texas connection to my distribution—around the same time as them (1993) while in Houston, I had taken a job as an audiovisual librarian at the UT-affiliated Texas Medical Center; a major reason was that it would give me access to a half-dozen VCRs on site that I could use to make copies for people of the subtitled Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise.

    Walter’s account of Jim, Wayne, and Donald’s struggle to get the fansubs of Future Boy Conan out was of course just one short story from the lives of three different individuals. But that struggle, after all, was an act of communication—not only directly between their subtitling group and those to whom those envelopes were addressed, but indirectly, between anime’s greatest director, and those fans who had never had the chance to fully appreciate the only TV show that Miyazaki ever directed in its entirety. They reached them; they informed and made positive contact with people that are surely still with us. Since we all have to go, it would be good to ensure that while we’re here, we do the same.


    *There was an irony in that many Texan anime fans in the late 1980s and early 90s could simply switch on their TV at 9:30 AM and watch Future Boy Conan with no trouble—in Spanish, on Univision. We used to hear a rumor that the reason the series hadn’t been released in English was because of concerns with the Robert E. Howard estate (the same reasoning that supposedly gave us “Case Closed”), but heck, the Spanish dub was called “Cónan el Niño del Futuro,” and it’s not like they didn’t know about Conan el Bárbaro en la Hispanoesfera.

    **In more recent years, of course, Future Boy Conan was the anime that inspired Asakusa to become a director in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! The English version of the manga features a blurb advertising the Japanese Blu-ray (the blurb had been in the original edition of the manga, and the English edition was released before GKIDS announced the English-language Blu-ray).

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