Weebsday Q+A | 09/16/2020

It is Weebsday, my dudes! I asked my Twitter followers for a lightning round of interesting anime questions to answer on this blog, and you guys didn’t disappoint! Without further ado, here are this week’s Weebsday topics…

What do you think the switch from long running series with filler (One Piece, Bleach, Naruto) to series being split up into seasons to wait for more manga to adapt (like BNHA) means for the longevity of big series’s in the minds of the public and sustained popularity of a series? – @JillyBellys

Startin’ off with a tough one! Just speaking personally, I do prefer the interval-based model for adapting long-running shonen series to the year-round marathon. I like being able to take breaks away from a story and characters to try something new, and then I can get extra excited when an anime worth waiting for returns. I also appreciate the greater degree of quality control and relative lack of filler that comes with this release model. However, from a production perspective, I’m sure the anime’s staff would much rather work contiguously on a project for as long as possible. The animators don’t have to worry about looking for their next gig so often, and the directors don’t have to worry about treasured staff members being tied up with another project in the window that they get to start production back up again. Since you mentioned My Hero Academia, I know that their animation director mentioned BONES was able to organize a production schedule that allowed them to work on it continuously in the early seasons, so animators didn’t have to worry about scrambling for other work even with the break, but I don’t know if that’s the case anymore. I sure hope so!

As for cultural longevity, that’s harder to say. While old-school network and cable TV schedules aren’t going anywhere any time soon, the world has largely moved on to a “binging with breaks in between” model of TV digestion thanks to Netflix and Amazon, so that’s what the most profitable demographics have come to expect from most series. I do feel divorced from that trend in that I still prefer following TV as one episode per week for a full season, but I realize I’m in the minority on that one. Ultimately, I think that being able to time a release based on public appetite for it is more important than one model over the other. If you’ve got a One Piece-sized phenomenon on your hands that’s just one wild fantastical concept after another, starring characters everyone can’t get enough of, then by all means, you run that shit into the ground. But if you’re playing with a more flash-in-the-pan hype-reliant property like Fire Force that people can get burned out on quicker, I think giving people time to miss it, around 6 months to a year, is a great idea. And in that time, the staff can theoretically give the material the visual pizzazz it needs to make the right impact without exhausting themselves.

Based on the traffic and interest patterns I’ve seen over the years, I’d say the average anime can wait at most about 2 years before the story risks weathering diminishing audience returns if some kind of memorable continuation doesn’t surface. After that, you risk passing the Attack on Titan or Re:Zero line, two examples where the biggest anime series of the year, some of the biggest anime series of the decade, didn’t put out another season until four years later. Those continuations were still big hits, so maybe that’s not the best example, but my point is that they did lose viewership to newer titles they could have bulldozed with better timing. Titan 2 got drowned out by a season packed with new action series in 2017, and I’m stunned that Re:Zero is having to fight Rent-a-Girlfriend for attention now. I’m an anime lifer, so I’m happy to wait for new seasons of the things I love for as long as it takes, but the life cycle of anime is short!

Hypothetical! If you had to Midnight Sun an anime and retell it from a different perspective, which series would you pick and to who would you assign the POV? In other words, which anime do you think would benefit from an alternate POV retelling and why? – @saraecardona

I wouldn’t mind seeing Gankutsuou from the villain’s perspective! Oh wait, they already did that, it’s called The Count of Monte Cristo. Gankutsuou is already the Midnight Sunnening of The Count of Monte Cristo.

In all seriousness, I will sit snugly at my table for one in wishing there was a version of the Monogatari series without Araragi in it at all. (At least, I think it’s a table for one. Monogatari fans would no doubt disagree with me, but I’ve also seen non-fans who watched Monogatari express similar sentiments as their reason for not digging it.) There are a lot of great ideas in Monogatari, but I know I would enjoy the story a lot more if it was just about the relationship between all these supernaturally afflicted girls and a slightly more fleshed-out version of Meme Oshino, who acts as an authority on their issues but takes inconvenient sabbaticals from his consultation office, leaving Senjōgahara and Shinobu as the perspective characters, with some kind of interesting relationship that forms between them over time. I don’t like Araragi as a character, but more importantly, I don’t like how he tends to affect the arc of stories being told; every new woman’s story tends to end up being about him instead. I’m not saying he’s unnecessary to Monogatari, because he isn’t. I just know I would enjoy the story more if it was rewritten not to include him, because he tends to make an impact in the most predictable or even uncomfortable ways. I apologize if that doesn’t exactly answer your question, since it’s more complete character erasure than a perspective shift, but one would beget the other. I’ll definitely revisit this question if I think of a better example later.

It seems like every time I turn around there’s a new hot series. What would you suggest for someone who still wants to be an active anime fan but can’t possibly keep up with the insane release schedule? – @NobleKind92

Man, you are singing my tune. I have less time for anime right now than I ever have before, and it’s only reminded me of how fast the hype cycle moves and how much content gets churned out, even in these more media-anemic pandemic times. At the end of the day, it’s just entertainment, so the easiest answer is to watch what you want, when you want, and not worry about what your social media bubble thinks about it. If you love anime, you’re an anime fan, and you belong.

However, if keeping up with the seasonal conversation is important to you, then the simplest solution I’ve arrived at is to try picking up at most five things in a new season that interest you, just restrict yourself to the stuff that excites you most, and give ‘em all the classic three-episode test, which is still pretty tried-and-true for weeding out the stuff with a great pilot but no long-term legs. Then, you should straight-up drop any of those five shows you don’t care enough about to see how the season ends. That’s about two hours of anime a week if all of it keeps you on the edge of your seat, and if not, you don’t have to feel guilty about trimming that down to two or three standouts. If you managed to miss something truly amazing, I promise it’ll stick around in fandom memory after the season’s over, and then you can watch that gem you missed during the next season, in place of one of the other five new things you would have ended up dropping. Good luck, and don’t feel the need to limit yourself to what’s hot right now! There’s always more great anime to discover out there, even if it’s been out for decades already!

What’s your relationship with Clamp stuff? Do you like tokyo babylon and X? – @tallesfsr

I like CLAMP! I generally enjoy exploring their work. I do not love CLAMP, since they’ve yet to make anything I would consider an all-time favorite. Generally, when I think of CLAMP, I think of their inimitable art style and immersive fantasy concepts, with a story that starts promising but tends to paint itself into a corner of contrivances the longer it runs. Magic Knight Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura, and Chobits are probably my favorite works I’ve seen from them, but Chobits is the only one I’ve read the original manga for. Everything else has been anime adaptations only, which can vary wildly in quality compared to their source material.

As for Tokyo Babylon and X, I’ve seen X the Movie, which is somehow equal parts incredibly dull and indelibly memorable as a too-complicated apocalyptic fantasy that’s been retro-fitted into this abstract, existential theatrical experience. By the end, it doesn’t really matter if you actually understand what’s going on, and I totally respect that. I’d never object to watching it again, it’s a neat little artifact of its time, and even the boring parts are strangely hypnotic. You can’t deny the power of Forever Love!

I don’t know much about Tokyo Babylon, but I did know just enough about it to get an incredibly hot girl into bed with me once. It was her favorite anime, I encouraged her to gush about it, one thing led to another, and now I’ll always associate Toyko Babylon with booty. I guess there are worse wires to get crossed.

If Naruto put a shadow clone into a Star Trek teleporter, would the teleporter not know the difference and just clone another Naruto? – @krormwrorm

I hesitated to accept the responsibility of answering this question, perhaps the most important question of our era, but I’ve done my research, and I believe there are two plausible answers to this dilemma.

The first answer kind of nullifies the premise of the question, because it’s possible that a Star Trek transporter would just eradicate Naruto’s shadow clone entirely instead of being able to transport it anywhere. Regardless of where you stand in the debate over how much of a person’s body or mind is transferred versus how much is atomized and then replicated elsewhere during the beaming process, it is undeniable that the transporter does shatter the subject’s body into atoms initially. Regardless of how much chakra they contain and how powerful Naruto has become, shadow clones do go up in smoke permanently if they’re struck with a sufficient amount of force. Getting exploded into atoms is such an inherently violent act that even the millisecond between the shadow clone getting “killed” and copied/transported may be long enough for Naruto’s chakra to return to him and nullify the clone’s existence, before the transporter could complete its copying process.

But let’s say that the beaming process doesn’t register as a violent enough act to nullify the shadow clone. Let’s say that he can be processed in the transporter as normally as any other object or person. If we were going by the older pop Trek theory that the transporter completely destroys its subject, copies them into its temporary memory, and then reproduces them elsewhere, then it’s possible that the transporter could create another completely autonomous Naruto, but that theory has been out of vogue in Trek fandom for years, due to complications introduced by the plots of many episodes across Next Gen, Voyager, and beyond.

It’s all very convoluted to my non-STEM brain, but the short version is that Trek scholars now see the transporter as a more complex machine that does destroy and replicate physical matter, but also transports active brain-wave patterns in a quantum state to preserve the subject’s personhood, their soul as well as we can define it, without the need for complete eradication and reproduction. After all, if this wasn’t the case and the miracle of life was easy to copy and save, then you could store any person’s physical and mental data in the computer and make them practically immortal with the use of a replicator. Because the transporter would not be taking the shadow clone’s distinct individual consciousness, which does not actually exist, through the beam stream, it would just be moving Naruto’s partitioned consciousness to a new location, where he could then recall or manipulate the clone like he usually does. Unless there were a transporter accident, I guess, and we all know that never ever happens on Star Trek…

So, we’ve got two options here as far as I can tell, but in both cases, the answer is no. The transporter as defined by current Trek canon would not create another autonomous Naruto. It would just teleport his shadow clone, which would continue to act like a shadow clone.

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