Friday, March 28, 2008

In My View: Why the Otakusphere hates to love and loves to hate Answerman

(I want to thank The Animanachronism for this idea.)

So Daryl, Gerald and Clarissa may try. Scott and Rym may deserve it. Mike Nichols and crew may avoid it.

But no other non-blogger raises the amount of pure
emotion (either
against) in the Otakusphere as one man:

Zac Bertschy and his Hey Answerman column.

So the question remains, why? I mean there are a lot of reviewers on ANN who say bad stuff about shows. There are other people with just as loud of opinions and to be fair with worse opinions (though I won't say who.) In fact the Internet in chock full of people with something to say and a soapbox to say it on.

But none of them have the type of credibility Bertschy does. Now I'm not going to go into whether he deserves that credibility or not, but I will say that when he speaks, we tend to listen for better or worse.

And he's a jerk.

Now he personally might be a man among men. He might deserve sainthood and be a great guy to get a beer with after work. But as soon as the first words of Hey Answerman appear on the screen, I know I'm going to get an unequivocal opinion (whether it's well informed or not). There's simply no doubt about where he stands on any particular issue. There's no gray area. And there's certainly no wiggle room. So when he states that he thinks Seven Seas shouldn't release Kodomo no Jikan in the United States (and calls the people who read it a bunch of names), there isn't any doubt about it. And when he states that fansubbers are a bunch of entitlement freaks. It makes a large section of the Otakusphere notice.

And it makes it really easy to disagree with him. In fact, his arguments are generally so narrow that any slight deviation makes for a good column. All you have to do is change a number. For instance in a somewhat recent column he stated that three episodes was an adequate preview for a series. After that people should start buying the show. And if they aren't buying it after that then they're stealing. And if they are stealing then they aren't really fans. Now parts of that I agree with. Yes, I think people should buy anime. Yes, I think freeloading off of the fansubs is stealing. But three episodes? Come on, I couldn't tell that I liked Twelve Kingdoms until I watched the first eight episodes.

And that's just one example. There's dozens of them. In fact, there's at least one Bertschy revelation every week. Even someone like me, who generally agrees with him, can disagree on some of his particulars. And if you disagree with more than just the particulars. Well then you're in post heaven.

But all that said, he writes opinion columns. He should, well, have an opinion. I don't fault him for writing his opinion, or stating his opinion. Granted, I do miss the short-lived Hey Ms. Answerman. But Bertschy's columns aren't bad, and I'm not going to fault the guy for making a living.

But I do think there's at least a small case of Trenchcoat envy going around. I mean here's a guy who gets paid for what bloggers do for free. Now personally, I think he's put his time in, so I don't really get jealous of him. Even worse than that here's this guy who got a job that we'd kill for, and he's not even a fan. He's pretty much blantantly stated that. On top of that he's got credibility that only the likes of a tj_han or a dannychoo or a darkmirage has the hopes of attaining. (Granted there are some people out there that are fairly well known and well respected but those are some of the biggest names I've seen in these circles.)

So it's easy to dislike the guy and he's got the dream job. I mean what's to like. Well unless you agree with him and then what's to dislike.

But believe it or not, I'm actually grateful for the Bertschy's of the anime world. I mean without him, I wouldn't have half the stuff I write about. He does provide some good insight into what's going on in the industry. And whether I agree with him or not, I can usually get a good post out of one of his columns.

No comments: