Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Anime World Order Show # 6 - Thoughtbird and Other Stories

In this episode we talk about why harem shows all suck, why you NEED to buy Prefectural Earth Defense Force when it comes out, and how to fix conventions so the only people who'll attend them is us. Plus part two of the Patrick Macias interview!

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Now then, the full show notes. Do people actually READ these things?

Introduction (0:00 - 12:37)

We respond to listener voice mail regarding Fist of the North Star, DearS, Love Hina, and Chobits. Daryl steals ideas from posts made by other people at Anime Jump without actively thinking of it. That site has INFLUENCE, so you should go there and check out their reviews and user forums.

Let's News! (12:37 -25:55 or so)

Howl's Moving Castle got nominated for an Oscar, so we discuss whether it has a chance of actually winning. Manga Video lost the licenses to a bunch of titles, so we cross our fingers and hope that means someone will pick them up and give them proper releases. Plus, Prefectural Earth Defense Force got licensed, so we tell everyone why it's absolutely imperative for the sake of future anime releases that you go out and BUY that one. It'll only cost around $13, folks!

  • List of Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature Film

  • Howl's Moving Castle on the invaluable Nausicaa.net

  • Spirited Away on Nausicaa.net

  • Bandai Visual's US homepage

  • A very good Gunbuster fansite

  • ANN's Prefectural Earth Defense Force entry

  • Synopsis and mini review of Prefectural Earth Defense Force

  • AnimeDB's entry for Arion

    • At This Point The News Gets Hijacked So We Can Alienate All Our Listeners (25:57 - 37:00)

      Daryl starts talking about how Ushicon out in Texas has decided to not run conventions anymore, which eventually turns into him and Gerald talking about how everybody in the world of anime fandom sucks except for them. It's not quite the Final Solution, but outlandishly modest proposals are put forth regarding how to "fix" anime conventions. Note that despite our big talk, none of us is willing to put our money where our mouths are and actually staff a convention ourselves so we should really just shut up. Only if we did that, we'd have no show.

      Interview -- Patrick Macias, Your F'in Gaijin Of Darkness, Part 2 (39:15 - 1:07:30)

      The interview with Patrick that started in Show # 5 continues. Cromdor screams and thoughtbirds are afoot, as the notes for this segment illustrate. As with the rest of the interview segments, the volume on Daryl's mic is rather low. Don't worry, it doesn't matter what he says anyway.

      Closing (1:07:30 - 1:09:34)

      This show wasn't supposed to be quite this long, but the Ushicon-prompted Ten Minute Hate bumped things up a bit. We could have just cut it out, but that would have ensured people would actually LIKE us before we have the nerve to beg for votes at Podcast Alley, Podcast Pickle, and all that other stuff. Tune in next week when we do one solid hour of the Patrick Macias interview, featuring a Creator Spotlight on Kazuo Koike that spirals about as madly out of control as one of his plotlines!


      Otaku Generation -- Talk about professional-grade production values: just look at their setup! This podcast only spends a portion of its time talking about anime and manga since a lot of the discussion focuses on technology type stuff, but make no mistake. They are to be feared even more than a soaking wet, revolver-toting, bathrobe-clad Ray Liotta.

      Ninja Consultant -- The terrifying influence of Neil Nadelman's Totally Lame Anime panels extends to the farthest reaches of the Internet! This podcast is actually a lot like our podcast, except with smarter hosts and more Naruto discussion. What can we say, they both majored in film!


      Kendra Kirai said...

      I'm kind of glad that Ushicon's runners have put an end to it..if they aren't having fun running it, they should never, ever be compelled to keep going. That goes for everyone else who is doing things that are completely voluntary and potentially extremely expensive. One bad year, and there could be another incident like that comic convention I believe it was which was like 30 thousand bucks in the red because of what basically seemed to amount to fraud, and no fault of the ones who ran it.

      Unfortunately, unlike what's said in the Penny Arcade strip, it doesn't always require anonymity to be a total fuckwad. ( http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19 )

      If said fuckwads drive people out of the conventions...well...there won't be many conventions out there anymore. Except the ones that are basically run by the various companies, because they'll always be great for advertising. Look at E3, or CES, or any number of coporate-sponsored conventions. And those ones will be filled with only the most devoted, and the fuckwads. (Okay, I don't like swearing, so I'm going to stop that now)

      The fact people use conventions like comic book conventions and anime conventions and video game conventions for babysitting just means that none of them are considered mature yet. They're 'just for kids' and all the adults that go to them are freaks on the level of the people who dress up like Klingons and Elves just because it's thursday. This, along with the fact that if you ask anybody on the street, I'm sure 70% of them will respond with either 'What's that?' 'Oh, like Pokemon?' or 'You mean that sick cartoon porn?' means that anime is not respected here. It's all Pokemon and filthy, filthy smut. Because those are the only ones that get the attention.

      What we need is for a big network, like ABC, CBS, or NBC...hell, I'll even take UPN(!) to show something amazing, during prime time, or just-before-prime-time for a few weeks..something like, for example, Haibane Renmei, or Niea_7, or the Aa! Megami-sama OAVs...something nearly devoid of appreciable fanservice (Besides the fact that the three shows I listed are themselves fanservice in that they're a *reward for watching anime*) but that isn't just another giant robot, magical girl, or 'collect them all' show. and that isn't a Ghibli movie (Which are of course breathtaking, but I'm sure that half of the people who rent them for their kids just do it because of the Disney label, and probably don't even realize that they were done *well* before Disney got ahold of them.)

      (While I'm on the subject of Ghibli films and Disney, I noticed in The Cat Returns that there were several occurances in which the subtitle track kept going, while *nobody was speaking) in the japanese...they had just input the dub script as the subtitle track, and for some reason, they had added lines in the dub. Anyone else notice this happening in any of the other Ghibli films released by Disney? I'm actually pondering finding a fansub of that just to get what is REALLY being said.)

      Also, what in the world could you guys find creepy about Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto? it's *adorable*! I BELIEVE that the basic premise is...that's what cats are actually like. The humans only see and hear a cat, but the cats see and hear each other as *people*. And people who are very similar to what their breed is. The iriomote mountain cat is an oldish mountain man...the young japanese breed which I can't recall the name of wears a kimono and is rather prim...Taruto is an energetic little kitten.

      Of course, I *am* a cat person, so maybe I'm biased towards it...

      With the recent license losses, it makes me wonder more just why the heck licenses from the 80's haven't expired yet, it seems. I want the original Orguss TV series! The Guyver TV series was much better than the Guyver OAV (Even if that isn't saying a whole lot), then there's Star Blazers/Yamato...

      Heck, why not just make CPM give up all their licenses so that a *decent* company can redo 'em? And all of the anime series that were licensed in the 70's and 80's that have just been ignored for who knows how long...like Dancougar! And stuff from the early 90's like Saber Rider and the Star Sherriffs (AKA Star Marksman Bismarck. Basically, if something hasn't had anything at all done with it for ten years or more, just *take it away from them* so that somebody else can pick it up and do something with! Ten years is enough time that theres no hope of them making any money off of it if they don't do a DVD release...especially for the stuff that was never shown on television in North America.

      Besides, that might get us Samurai Pizza Cats from the iron fist (You! Obey the fist!) of Saban, and we might actually be able to learn what the heck that show was actually *about* besides bad slapstick and 70's references put in by the american writers.

      Geoff Tebbetts said...

      I'd have to say that a lot of us older anime fans would tend to agree with most of what you have said about Ushicon in this week's podcast. As someone that had frequented cons for years, I am a bit discouraged by the atmosphere at the conventions nowadays.

      This is probably the "old fogey" in me talking, but the explosion of fan culture in America has given people the idea that anyone can be a celebrity at conventions. Fans no longer come to conventions to buy anime goods and manga, listen to what their favorite voice actor has to say, or get an autograph from the Japanese guest. The convention is no longer an event to be a fan at; it is a place where someone goes to get noticed in any forum. Perhaps they come to play 35 straight hours of video games. Perhaps they come to perform a 15-minute costume skit on stage, complete with karaoke. Perhaps they come to run around with signs saying "Will Pose in Yaoi 4 Food" to force a laugh from young fans and grimaces from old fans. Perhaps they all crowd into one room and have a collective 4chan orgasm. But they will try to do anything to get attention from the convention majority, and Ushicon just finally got sick of providing for them.

      And good for them. However, they really should understand the truth behind any convention. They should have been prepared for things like this. A convention is made to unite fans, and there will be those who want to stay an individual while attending these things. There is a breaking point for every event, something that forces them to reevaluate the strategies they came up with in the first place, and this was it for Ushicon, but they should have seen the apocalypse coming.

      So what can be done? I think it starts with the "prizes". Back when conventions were young and small in number, prizes for contests were necessary to get interest, motivation for attendees to show up. However, now that there are thousands flocking to these things, the contests need to be eliminated at the costume level. Cosplay probably will not die out even after the contests are eliminated, and I hope that people understand that cosplay is not meant for competition. Hell, Comiket forces cosplayers to pay 600 yen for four hours of posing; why not charge cosplayers if they want to be in a contest?

      This is going to remain a controversy for a long time, but I will still try to work at them. I feel I've been to them long enough to give something back, and I hope other attendees understand the need to be humble at these events. Whether it be contributing time or just toning down the annoyance level a few notches, fans need to understand that cons are operated by people too. Give them a little respect, and they will give it back.

      Addendum: Kendra, the idea with CBS, ABC, or NBC showing something in prime time...that will never happen with a series. A Ghibli movie...sure. ABC would be smart to put Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle on a Saturday night slot, but it will never happen to a series.

      Kendra Kirai said...

      You are, unfortunately, right about it never happening...but that's what it will take for people to stop looking at anime as nothing more than pokemon or disgusting cartoon porn.

      It makes me mad that Ralph Bakshi movies, which have some animation but mostly rotoscoped to psychedelically-colored photographs and movies are more respected than anime. I want the time I spent watching the Lord of the Rings film done by Bakshi back! That's over an hour I could've spent watching *actual animation* and not just silhouettes of people against swirly tie-dye backgrounds! Or at least something that would kill fewer brain cells than watching it and trying not to siezure....like Survivor. Or the Battling Super Siezure Robot Show.

      Anonymous said...

      I just had to press pause during the part about UshiCon to say I much prefer the con crowd of today. I was eleven years old when I first discovered anime at a con, and yes, my mother dropped me and my sister off, and came to pick us up later.

      Now, at these cons, I didn't realize that I was a young newcomer, who should be polite and not presumptuous when entering the company of these older, mature, and established fans. My viewpoint was rather that they were basically a bunch of scary-ass creeps whose connection to anime I could not fathom. Sure, they seemed to know a lot about it in a factual sense, but this "anime" stuff was full of energy, bounce, passion, and appeal. It was charismatic. The tattooed, bearded, and bebuttoned lumps who appeared to regard themselves as speaking for anime seemed a million miles away in spirit from the things which attracted me to anime in the first place.

      There were hardly any otaku my age in the 1980s. To score tapes took you to places that felt like a combination smack house and NAMBLA meeting. The people I liked best were the skaters and punks who were into it, not the "big-name fans." I was delighted when the rave scene discovered it, too. Not because it needed to be justified by "outsiders"—we're all outsiders to anime; no episode was ever made to please the sensibilities of the fucking C/FO—but because these people seemed to respond to it with the energy I always felt.

      Thank God the cons today are dominated by kids who don't know the proper way to comport themselves in church. Jesus, it would be horrible if it was all people my age—that would mean the scene was dead instead of alive. I don't presume to know everything that they're about, but that's the point. They've got their own thing. Imagine the scandal: shows intended for 14 year-olds in Japan, being watched by actual 14 year-olds in America! Don't they realize you have to be 35 to understand it?


      Clarissa said...

      Carl -

      It's not so much that we're opposed to young people in general, though sometimes we're guilty of overgeneralizing the really annoying ones into the whole age group. And we want anime conventions to be fun and exciting.

      You mention being thankful for younger anime fans. And I agree, the fandom will always need new blood. It's not about saying that they can't come to cons and be energetic. It's just that, well, to us, a lot of them don't seem like anime fans, and that's what the conventions are for.

      The fact of the matter is that fandom and conventions are for the geeks, the hardcore. If there are kids who like watching Inu-Yasha on Cartoon Network, that's great, but if they're not interested in fannish activities like producing fanworks, being involved in panels, learning about anime, etc, maybe they shouldn't be at conventions.

      I mean look, tons of people watch American TV shows like, say, Buffy. But some people are people who just like to watch the show, while there are others who are devoted fans. There's absolutely nothing wrong with just liking to watch Buffy on TV, but that's not who conventions are for.

      But for whatever reason, anime and manga conventions seem to be full of people who are not like fans, they're casual viewers. And well, that's not really what conventions are for. If all you want is to hang out with your friends and talk about how much the newest episode of Inu-Yasha or Naruto rocked, and you're not interested in more dedicated fannish knowledge gaining and involvement, you can do that on My Space or livejournal or over AIM. Why spend $30-$40 to go to a con?

      For example, there's a difference between a casual fan meet-up and a convention. Conventions are for a weekend hiatus from regular life in order to dive into some full strength fannish activity with other people who are as obsessed as you. (In terms of sci-fi/fantasy/comics, there are conventions like MegaCon where the point is often to meet media guests and get autographs and buy stuff, but generally speaking anime conventions don't really impinge on that area much.) Whereas if you just want to get together with other people who like the shows you like and chat, that's what meetups and viewing parties and such at people's houses or clubs are for. They each serve particular purposes.

      And well, those of us who are the more committed fans are going to be bothered when conventions are dominated by what amounts to people who just like to watch the shows on TV but aren't actually the type of fans that conventions were made for.

      Honestly, unlike Daryl and Gerald I don't totally hate the peripheral things like video games and raves and whatnot. But the fact that around 90% of the people I encounter at anime cons are only there for that, and basically don't seem to care much about anime at all, or like anime but are not really fannish and are more just casual viewers; and more than that, their presence and numbers seem to interfere with fannish pursuits that conventions were designed for...that does kind of bother me.

      Because what's the point of a con then? They might as well just call them off and everyone can just chat on Live Journal and at clubs or parties.

      Anonymous said...

      I am not saying that older fans are obliged to understand the younger ones (indeed they might resent the presumption...as most 14 year-olds would when you try to show them that you're hip and with it) but I very much reject the idea that younger fans somehow aren't "real fans," because they might do things that annoy us or that we don't understand or because they talk about shows we don't watch or because they're claiming yaoi or nekomimi. I like the fact they DDR, I like the fact they dance, I even like the fact they get drunk and stoned on occasion.

      I've interviewed some of these cos-playing competition teenagers on occasion and found they are often as dedicated and committed to their shows as any old-time fan. Just because they have their on-line fan networks, why shouldn't they get to represent at cons? They are real people, after all. There are many "old-time, real fans" whom I suspect are only attending cons out of force of habit...if you ask them, they might admit "I haven't seen any new anime since..." In such a case, who is just hanging around pointlessly? Not the kid all fired up about NARUTO.

      As I said, when I was 11, 12, 13, 14, I certainly never had any sense that "gee, if I learn the ropes, maybe this old creep with the mustache and glasses will eventually accept me as a REAL FAN!" I somehow sensed—correctly—that he had no more right to the anime than I did, and that his view on it couldn't possibly be the only one. Those kids at cons today are me in the 1980s, and while I'm not one of them anymore, I believe I see where they're coming from. And don't forget, they will be us in twenty years—doing podcasts about great old shows like NARUTO that none of those damn kids today would appreciate.


      Anonymous said...

      No comment, just a question.


      Can you guys explain this to me?

      Kendra Kirai said...

      ...I don't think there's anything to explain about it besides 'It's an incredibly messed-up japanese music video of some sort'.

      Kendra Kirai said...

      Myself, I've only been two two cons...the same con two years in a row..and it wasn't an anime con, so I can't really say about anime cons...but I'm not really a hardcore fan of anything...except maybe big robots...and I felt fairly at home at the cons I went to. They were relatively small, but I didn't go to the rave or cosplay contest..I mostly just went to buy stuff and meet and greet folks. Of course, this was a furry con, so there weren't nearly as many walkins as there would be at an anime con..for one thing, furries are generally seen as being deranged perverts. (Sometimes deservingly, most times not)

      Now, I was fairly knowledgable when I went to my first con, so perhaps that was why I felt more or less at home.

      But I also tried my best not to be a dick. It's not the age of the attendees, or their knowledge about anime which annoys people. It's whether or not they act like spoiled brats and dickwhistles. If there's 300 thirteen year olds, and 250 of those 13 year olds comported themselves with some form of maturity, I'm sure nobody rational would be too upset about the 13 year olds. When there's 300 13 year olds and 250 of them act like crack-addled Furbys...well...people are going to be upset at the 13 year olds. And rightly so.

      Basically...there's a large percentage of the younger crowd which is just there to be babysat or for the video games or to show off...and that's what makes some(Many?)folks upset. It's not *JUST* the younger crowd of course..but there's a larger percentage of dicks in the younger crowd, just because they aren't generally as interested in things such as common sense and being polite to people who don't have clear authority over them. They're fairly anonymous, nobody can do anything to them, so they (the dicks, not ALL younger congoers) just do whatever the hell they want, without fear of reprisal. Their parents aren't there, and even if they were, how would anyone know who's kids they are? They can't lock 'em up for being jerks for six hours until their folks come back to pick them up.

      Anonymity + audience - basic consideration for other people = total fuckwad.

      Daryl Surat said...

      Perhaps it's that Florida--or The Danger State, as some call it--would seem to have anime convention attendees of a slightly different stock than those I've seen at other cons in North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington DC. It's not even like it's a case of "Daryl thinks these whippersnappers like the wrong cartoons or don't like the cartoons in the right way" so much as "these whippersnappers don't actually like the cartoons AT ALL." The possibility exists that the new blood have evolved to the point where they have internalized their geekish pursuits and made them invisible to the naked eye, and as such I shall place myself on the front lines in the weeks to come and conduct vox populi interviews with the masses to find out the truth once and for all!

      Incidentally, I don't think we've reached the point in the interview where it's suggested by Patrick that we get Carl on the show. I think my response was something along the lines of "you must realize that interview will consist entirely of us being categorically exposed for the shams that we are, with nothing but defeated silence to offer in response time and again."

      In other words, I ABSOLUTELY want it to happen!

      Alexander Strange said...

      I'd comment further on this, but my head exploded when Macias mentioned 4chan. Sorry.

      Since you mentioned Taruto, though, I want to point out that Kaishaku have a show named Kagihime Monogatari running now that's actually even worse than everything else they've made.

      Also, I hope your future section on Kazuo Koike will tell me where I can find a copy of Mad Bull in any form.

      Clarissa said...

      Carl -

      I can't speak for Daryl or Gerald here, since we have slightly different viewpoints on this issue, but since you seemed to be responding to my reply I'll go ahead and mention that I think we're talking at cross purposes here.

      My problem is not that newer fans do things like cosplay or like shows that I might not like (though I personally happen to like a lot of things these newer fans do that Daryl and Gerald aren't fond of). The people you're talking about, that cosplay or do panels/talk about shows that we might not particularly like are not the people I'm talking about, and often not the people that Daryl or Gerald were talking about. Those people indeed *should* be at conventions, even if they happen to like different things than we do or engage in fannish activities that we don't. Because as you mentioned, they are still fans engaged in fandom, which is what cons are all about.

      But I don't think we're talking about those people. In the case of cosplay or AMVs or whatever, we're talking about the people who aren't doing it out of dedication to a show but the people doing it solely for the sake of attention and prizes. But really, while we bitch about things like cosplay and peripheral panels, that's not mostly what the problem is.

      The problem is that cons are about fandom, and yet at least around here, they're filled with people who might indeed like to watch a couple of anime shows, but who aren't "fannish"--they're not engaging in fandom. There's nothing wrong with people just liking to watch a show but not wanting to sit around and have long involved discussions/panels or cosplay or write fanfiction. Fans who do those things aren't superior to fans who don't. But fandom organizations and things like conventions are generally not made for the non-fandom fan, they're made for the people actively engaged in fandom.

      Heck, every other person I know who is actively engaged in fandom (whether vidding, fanfiction, cosplay, whatever) has other shows/books/movies/comics/etc that they are fans of, in the sense that they enjoy and love them, but that they are not fannish about; that they don't feel the drive to participate in fandom over. That's the way it works, and there's nothing wrong with that.

      I love procedural shows like Homicide: Life on the Streets or CSI or Law and Order. But I don't really engage in fandom for them; I don't read/write fanfiction or essays, I don't vid for them, etc. There's nothing wrong with the fact that I don't, and that I just like to watch them, that's just how I engage with those programs. But I sure as hell am not going to go to a convention for Homicide or Law and Order. Precisely because I'm not fannish about those shows, and that's what conventions are for.

      If these new people are actively fannish, there's no reason why they shouldn't be represented at cons as well as online, just like every other fan who does stuff online and goes to cons. Maybe those people aren't always on the same page with me, and maybe sometimes they're annoying, but they're in fandom and so they should be there.

      The people that we're talking about are not those people, not the active fandom participants who happen to be different from us. It's the people who aren't in fandom, the people who are fans only to the degree that they like a couple shows on Cartoon Network. And that's fine, if that's what they like and that's their desired level of involvement.

      But honestly, cons have never been about the casual viewer, they're about fannish individuals. The reason people truck across country for cons is because anybody can chat with their friends about that TV show they watch on Tuesdays that's kind of cool, but finding actively fannish people tends to be harder as they're a smaller crowd and those kinds of things don't really fit in everyday society.

      For example, there are plenty of people who watch, say Star Trek or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and just like the show and chat about it with their friends now and then. And that's cool. But those people are not the people you see at Buffy or Star Trek cons, it's the fandom people who write fanfiction epics and publish zines and dress like Klingons.

      So bring on the younger fans who are doing stuff and are passionate about their shows. But what the cons are not for, and what only clogs up the works, is the people who aren't engaged in fandom, who are not the crowd that cons are built for, who get nonetheless dropped off by their parents for some babysitting.

      Then of course there are the people Daryl mentions that don't actually seem to like anime at all, they *only* care about video games or getting drunk and raving. Which in that case, I think they need to go to something that's centered around their interests.

      I used to not care about this. I used to think that hey, if non fandom people want to for some reason pay $30-$40 to be around a bunch of fandom geeks, whatever. But it's become the case that those people are making it difficult to impossible for the passionate people actively engaged in fandom to do the things that are the entire point of cons. So I've come to the point where I say look, cons are for fandom, and if you're not interested in fandom--in whatever form, so long as it's actual active fandom--you shouldn't be there.

      Kendra Kirai said...

      Well, since I seem to have completely misinterpreted what the complaints were about, I'll shut up about that...

      Hey, how about a suggestion...how about letting us download the unedited segments seperately? An edited hour-or-so-long podcast, then entries for each of the segments, seperately and unedited? I'd listen!

      Chris Sobieniak said...

      I'm still reeling after the last few shows! I personally wish VIZ would release both "They were 11" and "Area 88" again (and someone get off their rears and bring over Tezuka's "Jungle Emperor" while we're at it).