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THEM Anime Q&A #3! Part 2

March 4, 2014

Time to continue the THEM Anime Q&A #3! You ask us questions, and we give you answers.

Here are the remaining members' answers except for Melissa (I'll add her in when I hear from her!).

Here's the breakdown on the five reviewers who joined this round, and their colors for the answers.

RN - Robert Nelson
DM - Dallas Marshall
SA - Samuel Arbogast

Hi, I heard from the site that you would have us ask you guys some questions so I thought I'd ask you some stuff if it's ok with you.

1.) What were the best and worst anime's you've reviewed in 2013 last year and why?
2.) What's your favorite review and why? (Meaning which did you have the most fun reviewing and talking about?)
3.) What show (anime or not) reminds you or makes you think about real life?
4.) Do you have a favorite cartoon that isn't anime? Least favorite?
5.) What shows did you grow up with? Did they inspire you to do reviews and talk about them? If not, then what?
6.) what was the first anime you ever saw?
7.) What's the first thing you think of when you think of a good or bad anime to compare others to?
8.) Have you ever read any anime related doujinshi (fan made manga) or fan fiction? If so, then what's the best one you've read? I won't say worst cause that would probably be mean to the author who worked hard on it, if ya catch my drift but you could still answer that if you want to...

Thank you for taking time for reading this, sorry if this is too long for you and I can get if you can't answer all this. Keep on trucking/reviewing~

-Celeste <3 :3

1.) RN: I don't believe I contributed any reviews this year :(

DM: I personally had a fun time reviewing Star Driver. Admittedly, at first, I was not too fond of the series; but upon watching it again, it began to grow on me. Here was an anime that was not only complex in its form of storytelling, but was also funny and beautiful to look at. Also, the pretty boy transformation of Takuto was the high point of every episode for me. Just Fabulous!

As for least favorite, it was difficult for me to review Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. So difficult it was to review this fecal matter of an anime (both figuratively and literally) that I could only do a partial review of it. It may have a cool soundtrack and some edgy art; but it fails miserably in everything else.

SA: N/A, hadn't submitted a review since the last Leap Day(2012) due to work/deployment.

2.) RN: I love my Cool Devices review. Honestly, as twisted as it sounds, reviewing hentai can be very fun. In the right environment, it can even be funny to watch.

DM: I'm the kind of guy who likes to dissect plots to their finest details, and then break down said details into even smaller chunks and then analyze the chunks. One anime which still makes me think isRevolutionary Girl Utena. Here was a series which fits perfectly with my already pedantic (wink,wink) style of reviewing, and it is completely justified. You have bested me yet Utena! I shall completely unravel your secrets just yet!

SA: I'm fond of my Pumpkin Scissors review because I was significantly older than when I wrote my original batch of reviews, but I have to say Guardian Hearts wins, just because how crazy the show was bleeds through into the review enough to make me chuckle to this day.

3.) RN: Azumanga Daioh. As a teacher, I was able to point out students I taught who fit the archetype for each character.

DM: Although it is not my favorite slice-of-life anime, I would have to say that Lucky Star reminds me of my life in many ways. At least bits and pieces of it. Also, the short-lived (but very well written) Mission Hill was very apt at representing humble urban life.

SA: No comment.

4.) RN: I still love the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not sure if I actively hate cartoons since I generally avoid the terrible ones.

DM: Do I ever! Lets see; I enjoy watching reruns of King of the Hill. It definitely one of the funniest animated sitcoms I have ever seen. I also really find a lot of joy in watching (so sue me) My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic;One of the best looking animated series I have ever seen done entirely using Flash animation. Say what you will about the Bronies, it is a fun show! As for other animated series, one cannot go wrong with the Saturday morning cartoons of the 90's: Batman: The Animated Series, The Tick, Sam and Max: Freelance Police, etc. I'm also currently really digging Bob's Burgers.

Now, on to the least favorites. I never really liked Tom and Jerry; I don't know, maybe its just the cat lover in me. I also find the current episodes of Family Guy to be very lacking in substance. This is a shame because Seth MacFarlane is actually very talented.

SA: Favorite: Space Ghost Coast to Coast for WTF factor. Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Archer for honorable mentions. I absolutely loathe The Simpsons.

5.) RN: See above. Also The Simpsons, Reboot, G.I. Joe. would be other cartoons I watched as a kid.

DM: A lot of the aforementioned shows above were shows I grew up on. I never really got into writing reviews until I was about 19.


SA: Speed Racer, a wee bit of DBZ, etc filling up time 'til I ran into Gundam: Wing and encountered something with meat on its' bones, leading me to start researching shows in advance and stumbling across T.H.E.M.

6.) RN: Like most others in the boom, Dragon Ball Z.

DM: Well, I watched anime all throughout my life, but the show which really turned me into the gaga-for-anime nut that is here today was Pokemon. I was ten when I first discovered it (coincidentally Ash Ketchum was also the same age in the show). I could tell the show was different from a lot of the other cartoons I grew up on. I searched for answers and found out the show came from Japan. Since then, I picked up whatever anime I could (much to my mother's chagrin; and detriment to my mental health).

SA: Speed Racer. On VHS.

7.) RN: Not sure I understand this question.

DM: So long as an anime never stoops to the vomit inducing, hatred spewing, misanthropic-misandric-misogynistic, fecal matter that is Violence Jack; I think I will survive. Hell, even Garzey's Wing had some so-bad-its-good moments.

SA: Gundam 8th MS Team and some of the other older series for having solid well motivated characters on both sides. When I need a convenient whipping boy, shows like Final Destination, W Wish and love love, which we used to heckle, MST3K style, naturally spring to mind.

8.) RN: I don't read fan fiction.

DM: Yes, I have. However, I am trying to keep this Q&A as clean as possible so the majority of the DOUJINSHI that I read would not appropriate to go into detail about. Tee hee.

SA: N/A, I tend to stick to canon.

I've been wondering for sometime how to become a reviewer. I'm 16 (almost 17) and wish to put reviews and ratings up for the site. I come here often to read the reviews and ratings given for shows. I find it quite helpful and hope to help people too with my reviews. So if it's possible to become a reviewer please tell me how.

Yours Truly, Danni. - Danni Henderson

RN: Write lots of reader reviews, be really good at it, then hope one of us quits.

DM: Yes, I have. However, I am trying to keep this Q&A as clean as possible so the majority of the DOUJINSHI that I read would not appropriate to go into detail about. Tee hee.

SA: I think that is around the age that I started, I don't recall the exact circumstances, but I think some affiliates were needed, so I typed up a review to see if my writing style/temperament were agreeable to the rest of the folks on here who were physical members of T.H.E.M.


I've been watching anime heavily for about a year now, after spending most of my adult life plugged into visual art. (I also need to mention here that THEM has been an invaluable guide to navigating Sturgeon's Law. I truly owe you all money for it, and will remedy this shortly.)

Here are my questions:

1) Why do so many anime series exhibit a kabuki-like allegiance to certain tropes: the school festival episode, the beach episode, the culture festival episode (yukata!), and perhaps the New Year celebration too. I love that show makers feel compelled to do these things, but wonder if it's a voluntary nod to cultural tradition, or a great way to demo one's chops in remaking old tropes anew (I seem to see a lot of that), or some formal obligation imposed by the producers for business/political reasons. In any case it's one rooted meme, and I'd love to know why.

2) What criteria do the THEM reviewers use to judge anime music (and here I refer to the background music rather than the opening or closing themes). Aside from obvious geniuses such as Yoko Kanno (plagiarism charges aside), there seems to be a wide range of composing talent going into anime - most conforms (sometimes brilliantly) to the pop filler genre, but some stands out for its pure musicality to such an extent that I'm now following specific composers across shows. For example, Kotaro Nakagawa does striking work in Hayate and Stella Women's Academy - but then I wonder if by your standards such music can be so striking it actually competes with the story and visuals (arguably the case with Stella).

3) What is up with the persistent theme of h3nt4i-mockery which seems to run through so many shows? I have to assume fanservice exists for commercial reasons, but many show makers seem to go to great amounts of trouble -- often artistically brilliant trouble -- to include shots, scenes, or even (in the case of Beyond The Boundary) entire episodes devoted to making fun of the presumed fanservice demographic of slobbering p3doph!le h3nt4i-gentsia who for all I know keep such shows afloat financially for the benefit of the rest of us (for the record, fanservice makes me laugh rather than horny). Are the recipients of such mockery expected to suffer through such treatment in order to savor their beloved up-skirts? Or do they actually enjoy seeing themselves mocked? The whole phenomenon strikes me as recursively complex and uninterpretable, so any cultural perspective you can offer would be much appreciated.

Thanks (for both your answers and your fine work with THEM),

Richard Gleaves

1.) RN: I think those events are easy to do because everybody in the target audience can relate to them. The uniqueness of the events also leave a lot of room for creativity which can be used at the creator's discretion. It's also possible that the episode happens to fall on or near that holiday and specials of that kind coincide with the time of the year. Other times, it may be included in the original source material and the director is committed to using it. So yeah, lots of reasons.

SA: I think it's drawn from cultural aspects that the creators grew up with, even if in some cases things have fallen out of favor in popular culture.

2.) RN: I normally evaluate it in conjunction with the scene itself. BGM should set the mood and not necessarily sound amazing outside of that context. However, my roommate is a musician (guitar, drums) and thought that the soundtrack to Princess Mononoke was extraordinary and that was without watching the movie (he overheard me watching it). So to each their own in that area.

SA: For me it primarily depends on wether or not the music fits the mood of the scene, with the actual sound quality(or lack thereof) coming in a distant second place.

3.) RN: A form of satire I suppose. I think it's in response to shows that rely too much on it for comedic value and an attempt to mock them. I'm sure people can handle being made fun of a bit.

SA: I blame the "Y" chromosome. "Sex sells" is an adage that has been around for a long time, and more than likely won't be going away any time soon.

hy do you guys do "partial" reviews?

Reason why I ask is, I looked up a review of Suzuka (my first time discovering the site). It was givin a 1 out of 5 stars, I was wondering why it was so low and I scrolled down to see Review Status: Partial (2/26). I then thought that's why the score is low (please excuse the bold print... I do not now how that happened or how to fix it). I know you said "no questions about why you guys gave the score you did" but it bugs me that you guys judge a anime before seeing all of it. "Partial" reviews don't help me tbh, I mean, I love the site and use it to read up on anime I'm interested in, but when I see that "partial" review at the bottom I look else where. I know you guys have your own lives to get back to and cant watch every episode of every anime, but it doesn't seem fair to judge a series buy one or two episodes, it should be from beginning to end (unless its 100+ episode series). That's my thought anyway. - Jake Ripper

RN: Completely agree. It would be my desire to see some of those reviews revisited and updated.

DM: Yes. But it should not be the norm. Partial reviews are acceptable if there is an anime that is so hard to sit through, that a partial review is in order. For example; the only partial review I have done is that of Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt. Why? Because it's an anime that is so shoddy and mind-numbingly stupid that it was a miracle for me to sit through half of it. If six episodes of an anime is bad, chances are that the rest of it is not going to save the whole work.

SA: I have give up on some series, either due to revulsion at the series itself(seldom the case), or because I'd been going off of fan-subs prior to the series being picked up for stateside distribution and I would prefer not to wait for the official releases to catch up to wherever I'd progressed in the series before typing up the review. Also work tends to get in the way on a colossal level lately, tending to work 80+ hours per week at best.

Hi Tim. Here is a Q&A for you. I intended to send to you a few weeks ago, but I accidentally sent it to Nick instead. In case he didn't forward it to you, here it is:

Hello Tim. I've been a long time reader of THEM Anime Reviews from the Philippines (which happens to be Carlos' native country; I already e-mailed him about that a year and a half ago). I can't remember exactly what year I discovered the site, but it was before 2008, and that I discovered the site while searching reviews for Najica Blitz Tactics, and I've been reading the site ever since.

Since you're one of THEM's most prolific reviewers, and also because I have a non-Q&A question for you after this set of questions, I'll ask you some:
2. What was the anime that you watched that made you decide to take your interest seriously?
4. What are your tastes in music? (Optional: If you have an interest in anime music, who are the artists you like or the composers you admire?)

Thank you very much, and hopefully you can answer most or all of these questions. - Fredrik Ezekiel de Jesu

2.) RN: Neon Genesis Evangelion.

DM: My Neighbor Totoro; That was the first Miyazaki film I have ever seen, and convinced my mother that anime was not just big boobs and big robots.

SA: Ghost in the Shell.

4.) RN: I grew up in the 90s. So 90s alt/grunge rock is pretty nostalgic for me. I also enjoy listening to classic rock and early gangsta rap (80s/early 90s). I used to listen to Asian Pop music quite a bit (comes with living there for four years), but musically and talent-wise, it's pretty weak. Japanese pop music is slightly more evolved, but not so much.

DM: I prefer classical music above all others. But then again, I enjoy many other genres and I have always had very eclectic tastes in music.

SA: I listen to pretty much anything, though I have a limited(or no, in some cases) tolerance for modern rap or country.

1.) Are you going to make a best-of list by genre?

ie: What shows should serious collectors have of various types of anime, old and new.

2,) Rahxephon vs. Neon Genesis?

Neon Genesis == first, and historically interesting, is Rahxephon better? If you were having/educating kids, which would you toss them first? Or only?- A Very Defiant Duckling Named Ender

1.) RN: Not sure.

DM: Probably not. But thanks for the suggestion!

SA: I'm not about to do so, I try to explain my opinion so others can use it to gauge if they would be interested in a given series, not act like I'm the empirical expert on what's good or not.

2.) RN: How young? I don't think I would use anime to educate anybody in the conventional sense. Those are great shows, but I wouldn't show them to anybody under the age of 13.

DM: I would have to go with Neon Genesis Evangelion purely because (gasp) I have never seen Rahxephon! Although it is on my to-watch list.

SA: I've seen most of NGE(including the movies and the newest remake), having only seen an episode or 2 of Rahxephon I refuse to venture an opinion on the matter.

Thank you for being so patient, everyone. I'll add Melissa in the future when she finishes her questions. Have a good day, everyone!

- Tim Jones


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