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95 THESES AGAINST FANDUMB
by the members of Team Sexy Madam
SUBS/DUBS/EDITS/VERSIONS
1. Dubs are not the work of Satan. Some are actually better than the original Japanese version.
2. Get a DVD player already if you must have subbed versions of everything. You have nothing to lose but expensive, space wasting tapes.
3. Cuts and edits in anime that's being aired on US television are at worst a necessary evil and nothing to cry about. They by no means sully the quality, concept, or memory of the original.
4. Anime is not punk rock; if it pains you that so many people are getting interested in it, find another scene to go save, like Bollywood cinema. If you're bent out of shape that so many "new" fans run around talking about how much they love the televised editions of Pokemon or Sailor Moon, remember that everyone had to start somewhere, even you.
5. Watching raw or subbed-only anime is simply not an option for many people; do not decry them as ignorant, foolish, or somehow missing out on the culture because they can't read the subs or simply prefer to hear dialogue in their native language. You are not smarter, more morally pure, or a better person because you prefer subtitled editions.
6. Pokemon, Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon, et al are toy ads in Japan and they're toy ads in the states. If you spend time arguing about how much better the Japanese edition of Pocket Monsters is than Pokemon, we encourage you to jump off a bridge. If you are buying Pokemon fansubs so that you can see the "pure" version, you deserve to get ripped off.
7. Children's anime aired on television in the west is neither the time nor the place for discussion of nonstandard (for the country in which the show is aired) religious or sexual views; don't bother complaining about what had to be left out because it simply wouldn't fly.
8. In English, "Sailor Moon" is two words. None of this "Sailoryournamehere" nonsense.
9. Romanizations that appear in both official Japanese product and official English product should be taken as canon; her name is Anthy, not Anshii or Ancy. In the case of romanizations which vary within even Japanese product, either the officially sanctioned English version should be used, or, in the case of no English version, the most logical Japanese version. It is "Bang Doll," not "Bang Dool," "Dotta," not "Daughter," and "Xiaolin/Shaolin," not "Syaoran."
10. Honorific suffixes have little to no place in translated anime. (The only exception is that characters involved in the practice of kendo may call their teachers "sensei" and their classmates "senpai.")
11. Anyone who thinks that recent dubs are poor quality must be made to watch Macron 1.
12. Different versions of anime are not to be kept separate from each other like meat and dairy in a kosher home. You can enjoy dubs and subs equally, appreciate the televised version of a series while being mindful of the original, and value both new and old time continuums of an ongoing series.
13. If you get deeply, personally offended over how your favorite show was treated for domestic release, please direct your energies to the many charitable organizations combatting real problems.
14. "Anime" in English has come to mean "animation produced in Japan." "Anime" in Japanese refers to any animated work; in Japan, Bugs Bunny is as much anime as Mazinger. Therefore, if a show on US TV has been modified for broadcast, it's still anime even if the plot is only vaguely related to the original (witness Speed Racer); furthermore, there is no need to have a stroke if someone refers to anime as "cartoons."
15. Nobody owes you versions of your favorite shows presented in a manner according to your exacting specifications. Lack of availability of such versions does not give you the right to steal, either.
FANSUBS/COPYRIGHT/VCDS/PIRACY
16. Anime is a luxury item; if you can't afford it (tapes, soundtracks, toys, cels, anything), you don't need it, period. Find free public showings or start a tape trading club; don't steal it by buying fansubs or VCDs. Live in a rural area where it's not automatically stocked by Suncoast? That's why online retailers and special orders exist. There are enough stores out there that will be pleased to send you legit product in exchange for check or money order (in case credit cards are a problem) that you have no excuse to do otherwise.
17. Fansubs have outlived their purpose and must only be invoked on shows with only the remotest possibility of US release; fansubbing the newest stuff on TV is a waste.
18. Paying more than $7 for a fansub is idiotic.
19. Taiwanese CDs are illegal to sell in the US, and you are ripping off your favorite artists by buying them. They are not cheap substitutes for legit product, and "but they're the only ones available at stores where I live" is no excuse. Either track down and pay the premium for the legitimate versions or do without.
20. Same goes for fansubs and most VCDs.
21. If you don't replace your bootleg gear when you have the first chance (even if this means waiting a few months or paying a higher premium for a cross-import to find the best version) you're a chump and a thief.
22. If you are downloading and viewing entire episodes of a show online, please take up a sport. If you are the one encoding, uploading, and storing the episodes (and you're not doing this under contract with the license holder), please take up a potentially deadly sport.
23. The purchase of a series for US distribution is a cause for joy, not for sorrow.
24. Fansubs are almost never going to be better than the legit version for the simple reason that fansubbers do not have access to the original scripts. Fansubs are not more "authentic" or "pure" because the subtitling was a "labor of love" as opposed to a professional job. If you come across a translation that feels awkward or a cultural detail that seems out of place in a legitimate release, consider the very high likelihood that such changes were mandated by the Japanese production staff.
25. That's very nice that you feel that way about copyrights. You're free in the US to vote that way if you're ever on a jury reviewing a piracy case. But be aware that the men and women who make their living creating and selling the material to which you believe you have a right feel otherwise, as do lawmakers in just about every country except Taiwan. Anime isn't open source.
26. Don't lose sight of the fact that, if you are an anime fan in America, you are very lucky to have such a range of anime professionally translated and subbed/dubbed easily available. This does not mean you should purchase everything that comes out just to support it, but you should be respectful of the work that goes into what you watch. Recognize that the popularity of anime puts food on the table for many people on either side of the Pacific. Things could easily return to the days of fifth-gen taped from tv blurry no sound fansubs; don't take your anime for granted.
27. If you have ever uttered the words "glad I got my fansubs," kindly get over yourself.
COSPLAY
28. Don't cosplay as any character who's been seen at more than two or three US cons in succession. If you've worn the same costume to more than two conventions, keep it a floor costume; don't compete in the same outfit with the same lame gag twenty times.
29. While you shouldn't let body image issues get in the way of a good costume, neither are you striking a blow for gender equality by looking ridiculous.
30. Don't cosplay as Card Captor Sakura if you're over 20 and look it.
31. Masquerade/skit contests are over; let's hear it for an open mike cabaret night for the skits and a formal judging for the costumes.
32. Cosplaying as a character with different haircolor/style from yours? Invest in a wig; it will make all the difference.
33. If there's a chick who's cosplaying in something tight or revealing, do not ogle her, do not grope her, and do not lamely scam on her with the mistaken notion that she wants it. Compliment the costume and move along.
34. Don't sing in the cosplay; take it to karaoke.
35. Yes, we know most of the cosplay skits are lame and most people at karaoke couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. This does not mean you are free to heckle them however.
36. Even if you think the costume's kind of lame, you cannot fault someone who has made a good faith effort to construct a costume. Likewise with websites or other fan media. Everyone's a beginner sometimes, and understand that some people just don't place as high a priority on scouring the land for the best costume gear or spending hours coding as you do.
37. Cosplay is an expensive and time consuming hobby; make no mistake. Merely putting on an outfit similar to the one a character wears just isn't good enough, and 95% of costumes seen in anime simply can't be store purchased.
38. There is no shame in commissioning costumes for cosplay if you can't sew or engineer the right outfit. However, you must always credit the actual people who constructed the costume, especially if the costume wins awards. Do not make a cosplay website about yourself if all of your costumes are commissioned works; there's little difference between doing that and doing a website with pictures of you in the outfits you bought at the mall. Make the website to showcase the work of the costume producer instead.
39. The masquerade is not a platform for you to express your political views.
40. If you've seen one masquerade sketch of characters from thirty different shows and games beating each other, you've seen all of them; if you're considering doing such a skit, don't.
WEBSITES/FANART/FAN MEDIA
41. You don't need a web page, you don't need a message board, you don't need $1k worth of cracked software to do such, and nobody owes you a domain. Pay for these items yourself or find something else to do.
42. Don't think you're safe using Japanese fanart on your website just because the artist might speak poor English.
43. You do not need to make an anime "collective" site if you only have one website to showcase.
44. Your link-to buttons and banners should not outshine the rest of your website. Also, nobody is interested in seeing stupid animated SNES-style images of the "characters" you've "adopted," especially not on your front page. If your site's front page features a bunch of prominent links to your friends' sites, your own site must not be very worthwhile.
45. If the creator of a series has requested his or her material not be reproduced on sites, respect such requests; do not complain that he or she is being selfish and you're only trying to promote stuff. Find another series or do fanart. Even if the artists haven't made such requests, don't scan entire artbooks, doujinshi, or manga volumes without the artist's consent.
46. Building a gallery? Make thumbnails, and this means separate, smaller versions (or close-ups) of larger images, not just images you resized in the HTML. A few extra k of thumbnails won't hog that much space; if space is that much of a concern, find another host. Always include ALT tag, as as there are plenty of people who use text-based browsers.
47. If you are undertaking to build an anime website defending the honor, virtue, or purity of a character, please take up a different hobby. The only excuse to make a character shrine is "I think foo is cool and here's why."
48. Anime websites do not require DHTML; no fan site is worth downloading special browsers or plugins. Testing for cross browser compatibility is as simple as cornering a few buddies on a message board or online chat and absolutely worth your time. A note that says "my site is visible only in a certain browser" is a note that says "I have no worthwhile content."
49. Nobody wants to hear your MIDI.
50. Do not wail when your free site host has blitzed your MP3 archive, your storehouse of entire episodes in AVI format, or hentai doujin clearinghouse. If you are unwilling to pay a premium for host services that allow these items, you have no place to complain.
51. Do not read the riot act if you see a website whose layout is similar to yours. There is only so much one can do with HTML, and lifting code from other sites is a common, accepted method of learning scripting. Get upset if the content is lifted. However, recognize also that there are limits to what one can do with the same basic set of info and graphics from a given series; your site is not necessarily being ripped off if a site has general information similar to yours.
52. If you're considering doing a website on a very popular series, particularly one such as Sailor Moon that has ceased production, reconsider very carefully that you absolutely have something unique to contribute to the discussion of this work.
53. Web page review squads: Who asked you?
54. If you think there's a conspiracy against your website because some folks with similar websites pal around with each other but not you, or because you were passed over for recognition by Anipike or such, consider taking up a different hobby.
55. Webcliques are dumb.
56. Fandubs were meant solely as a parody medium, not as a stepping stone for serious artists (unless you're that nutcase Axelrod).
57. There's more to CG fanart than running a photoshop filter over a scanned image.
58. There's more to fanart than tracing something outta Newtype.
59. While at-con fanart auctions are a time honored thing, don't put your fanart up on eBay.
60. Don't write fanfic where you're an all-powerful, godlike character who always gets the girl/guy/money/power/candy. Spend some time reading all manner of different fanfic so that you may know and avoid those concepts that are completely played out.
61. In all but the rarest of cases, fanfic is little more than a fun writing excercise; it is not your springboard to a lucrative future career composing speculative novels about Maison Ikkoku/Votoms crossover worlds.
62. Nobody wants to see fan videos synced up to power ballads or Queen.
CONS/PUBLIC SHOWINGS
63. Nobody wants to hear your MST3K comments during public screenings.
64. School clubs are a great way to get lots of your pals into anime. Please make sure, however, that what you are showing at a general showing is of PG-13 or lower content. Do not howl when your high school club is disbanded because you aired the director's cut of Perfect Blue.
65. Do not destroy convention facilities. You are only hurting the folks who put on the convention, and by extension your fellow con attendees, not the hotel.
66. Don't go to room parties to score drinks if you're underage. If anything happens to you after you've had a few, the hosts of the party are liable for your actions.
67. For God's sake, bring enough dough to a con so that you can afford to buy items in the dealer's room, eat, pay for your room, and get home. And don't camp out in the lobby, either; it gives cons a bad name.
68. Do not attend convention panel discussions and act like a jackass. Do not ask the same questions repeatedly, do not ask questions the panel moderator has requested not be asked, and do not shout comments at random. Do not be surprised if your question about some obscure detail of a show at a creator's panel is met with a response to the effect of "uh, because it looked cool?"
69. When lining up for an autograph session, be patient, be polite, don't arrive with everything the guest has ever touched, and don't expect a sketch as sketches can take away from the time other con attendees have for autographs. Know the guest; do not ask producers or writers for sketches. Bringing something for a guest to sign? Don't bring bootleg gear. Better you should get an autograph on a chemistry textbook than on a Taiwanese pirate CD.
DEALERS/MERCH/CELS
70. Always learn to tell original yen price (or most common range of asking prices) so that you may draw your personal line for acceptable markup. Do not, however, berate dealers who sell items for more than you would consider acceptable markup. The laws of economics will take care of them.
71. When in a dealer's room, learn to bargain politely; do not say "I'll give you so and so," and do make a point to purchase additional material from dealers who are willing to work with you. Note that many dealers will only bargain if you are paying cash; be prepared with cash on hand if you open negotiations.
72. Missing out on cels you really wanted is no reason to cry, complain, or howl about how cruel the hobby of cel collecting is. Missing these cels is occasion only to say "aw, rats," and move on, or possibly request a trade with the actual buyer. Should the buyer decline your trade request, move on. Under no circumstances should you decry the bidder who outbid you on a cel (or other item) as driving up prices or somehow depriving you of the chance to own the item in question.
73. Do not complain to dealers that their prices are too high for you. If you cannot afford it, you do not need the item, and your life will go on.
74. Negotiate prices only with dealers who are willing to do so; if they say that the price on an item is firm, do not press them on it.
75. Do not chide dealers at a dealer's room for selling illicit gear, be it bootleg tapes, SM cds, or model kits of recast repute; that job is the province of con administration. Express your concerns to a con staffer, make note not to purchase from those dealers, and drop the issue.
76. If someone has purchased an item, be it a cel, toy, or doujinshi, from you and places the item on auction for a higher price than you received, you have no place to complain. Once the item is out of your hands and the deal has been done, the item is the other person's to sell as he or she sees fit.
77. If you ordered a cel online, send the payment as soon as you possibly can, and don't offer lame excuses why you can't pay that week. If you don't have the money in the bank the minute you request the cel, you don't need that cel. This goes double if you're ordering internationally; triple if the seller's English isn't that great. Flaking out on payments and making weiner excuses for why a dealer should lower the cost of that cel makes it harder for responsible cel buyers to deal internationally. And for the love of a centered, eyes open Ayanami Rei, don't bid on Japanese auctions unless you understand Japanese.
SEX
78. The quality and enjoyability of hentai is directly proportional to the age and consent levels involved.
79. If you dig yaoi, make no mistake, you are enjoying hentai; there's no distinction between yaoi and hentai. Yaoi hentai may be different from yuri or "straight" material in theme, content, and art style but just because yaoi is prettier doesn't make you somehow better than a yuri or "straight" fan.
80. Just because you don't like or approve of hentai anime doesn't mean everyone else has to conform to your POV, nor should either side condemn the other for disagreeing.
81. While straight nude/cheesecake shots of characters don't constitute hentai in and of themselves, do be cirucmspect when displaying such images in mixed company (a website on a freehost, your desktop).
82. If you are well over the age of consent and go on and on about how cute (in a physical way--we don't mean Pokemon here) any anime character well under the age of consent is, you are creepy.
FAN ATTITUDE
83. Bubblegum Crisis, Sailor Moon, Tenchi, Dragon Ball, and Ranma are fine shows that introduced many people to anime, but they are not the be all end all of anime; please move on.
84. You are not smarter, prettier, or a better person because you like certain shows and consider other shows "beneath" you; neither are you smarter, prettier, or a better person for dismissing someone for liking what you do not. You are also not smarter, prettier, or a better person because you started watching anime before your buddies.
85. Don't give away spoiler details of shows unless you've made sure the person to whom you are speaking doesn't mind.
86. With a few rare exceptions, most potential dates will not be impressed with your knowledge of mecha arcana.
87. Nobody thinks you're cute, smart, or clever if you sprinkle your conversation with Japanese phrases you picked up from anime or tack honorifics on to your friends' names.
88. Yes, you're very adept at playing video games. This has no bearing on your penis size.
89. Final Fantasy 8 is not the Greatest Love Story of Our Time.
90. Don't pretend to understand or dig a certain show because it seems trendy. If you didn't "get" Lain or Eva, admit it. If you watched Fushigi Yuugi and decided you just weren't into it, say so. If you aren't really interested in Cowboy Bebop, don't put the characters on your website.
91. Interest in anime is not necessarily indicative of larger interest in Japanese culture. Sure, plenty of anime fans like the music, decide to learn the language, or take up ikebana, and that's great. But those who do go in for further cultural studies aren't any better or worse than the fans who just like to watch giant robots beat each other up--you're simply fans with different interests.
92. Likewise, you're no more or less of a fan if you don't want to be a part of fandom as a whole. If you don't want to go to conventions, if you aren't interested in merchandise or cosplay or games, if you just like cartoons as a casual fan, that's your perfect right and you're no better or worse than anyone for it. No two fans have the same "fan agenda."
93. Remember the anime that came before what you watch now. Utena did not spring whole from Saitoh's forehead, nor is it coincidental that Spike Spiegel looks like Lupin III's cousin.
94. Japanese snack foods are overrated.
ABOVE ALL ELSE
95. All of anime, and everything that goes with it, is about cartoons. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing to take personally.
© 2000, Team Sexy Madam. No portion of this document may be reproduced without our permission.