1. Everyone wants to know:
What is up with the schedule? - Merrill (condensing billions of emails)
Hmmm… So, so much. It's always evolving.
I'm guessing this is about anime - We had to move some of the anime premieres off of Saturday because the ratings weren't where we wanted them to be. Saturday is just a low viewing night, anyway. So that's why some of the premieres are midnight on weeknights now. Ratings decision.
We're adding 10:30pm Monday - Thursday on March 27th, and 10pm in June. So there's that. We're growing.
Boo Boo Runs Wild every Sunday night at 1am is just something that makes us really happy.
Tons of premieres coming in this year - Minoriteam on March 19th, Robot Chicken on April 2nd, Tom Goes to the Mayor in May, Venture Brothers in June… this is a huge year. Late summer / fall we'll have a new show from Brendon Small, and a new show from the Sealab crew, along with new episodes of Squidbillies, Aqua Teen, Family Guy, and 12 Oz Mouse.
So that's what's up with the schedule, for now.
And what is up with Big O Season 3?
I wasn't in on this, so I asked Jason DeMarco, who was involved in production for season 2, and here's what he said: "Unfortunately, I don't think it can happen. The ratings and DVD sales in the US and Japan were middling. The only reason Bandai made season 2 was because we asked them to, as a matter of fact. I myself am happy with the ending of the story in season 2, though the writer, Chiaki Konaka, told me he did have another idea for season 3....there you go!"
2. A) With Funimation launching their own network, are they going to "steal back" or withhold future licences from [as]? -slurpeeman 86
We have a great relationship with Funimation, and are still actively talking to them about acquisitions, so I don't think it will have any effects on our deals with them.
B) Can we expect more ADV productions on [as] in the future?
We also have a strong relationship with ADV and are talking to them right now about at least one series I hope to get for Adult Swim.
C) Favorite anime theme song?
I love pretty much everything that Yoko Kanno does.
3. Eventually, you're going to have to air the infamous 18th episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, often considered the most shocking and violent fight scene in anime history. Just how much do you plan on editing this? - Rudy P
Neon Genesis Evangeleon 18 doesn't require any editing! It'll air in all of its splendor, with a TV-MA rating.
4. Hi! I'm a loyal ASA viewer, and I'm just wondering if you have gotten any new anime acquisitions? Can you tell me anything about the subtitled anime? - Drew K
We're working on some acquisitions, and when they're finalized you'll hear about them on the website first. I doubt that we'll ever actually go the subtitled route. We talked about doing that last year with a series, but it didn't pan out. That's all I can really say.
5. I'm a huge fan of Perfect Hair Forever. I'm curious as to how you, someone who primarily works in the anime and action division of [as], became involved in the show. Are there any magical, knee-slapping, and/or awkward, embarassing stories behind it? Or did someone just come up to you one day and say "Hey Kim, we're throwing together this thing to fill in the place of the Squidbillies pilot, take this paper and get into the booth"? - Andrew
With Perfect Hair, they were just trying to keep costs down by using people who were around the office. I was originally asked to read for a really small part (that was eventually written out) but that particular day I was tired and hung over and everything came out in a very dry, bored monotone. Or, maybe that's just how I talk, and I couldn't help it. But in any case, the performance was bad enough in just the right way, and they cast me as Gerald.
Reading for Perfect Hair was easy - I was always handed the lines just before I walked into the booth, and it never took very long - but it made me feel pretty completely neurotic. It's nervous-making, to be in a sound proof booth and not be able to hear what people are saying about your performance until they hit a button to tell you to try it again, "this time more bored." Or, they tell you to make a sound like you're being hit over and over until you're very sure that they're smartasses and just testing your limits.
The most embarrassing memory I have from the whole experience is the day that Harrigan gave me a sheet of paper with some random stuff written on it and said "sing this like that lady in Blue Velvet." And there was no music, no cadence, nothing rhymed, um, not to mention that I'm not a singer … I had no idea how to do it. I tried anyway, and it was really horribly bad. So I walked back to my office, feeling like I had disappointed everyone, and as I was walking I suddenly thought I had figured out a tune for the song. So I went back to Harrigan and said, hey, I know that was terrible, but I think I can do it better if you want me to try it again. And he said sure, and got everyone together, and I went into the booth and suddenly realized I only had figured out a tune for the first two sentences - and I sang WORSE. Much worse. It was American Idol audition week worthy. But Dave Hughes worked his magic, and somehow it sounded ok - it's the song that's playing in the pilot when Gerald is floating on the cloud. If you pay attention you can occasionally hear some really off key singing, which is probably going to be from that second performance. But I guess I feel like I got another chance when they asked me to sing for episode 5, they had a local composer work out a tune for that one before they asked me to sing, and I did okay with it (after months of hard core karaoke practice I felt ready). All in all, it was really fun to do - I'm glad I got the chance.
6. Do y'all hate sharing an office sometimes? Does he smell? -Muffin_Pirate
Yes, he smells like flowers. Delicious, manly flowers. And he says "love you" to almost everyone he talks to on the phone. But I think it's sincere. I like sharing an office with Nick, it makes it easy to keep up with what's going on with development, and he always has something exciting to show me. Like the Hasselhoff video "Hooked on a Feeling." But in less that a month we're both going to have our own offices, and I can't say I'm not kind of looking forward to it… we both have a lot of stuff and it's a little cramped in here right now. And we'll still be neighbors.
7. What specific adult swim anime series have you been responsible for acquiring? - SirKenSword
Pretty much all of the anime since 2004 - Fullmetal Alchemist, Samurai Champloo, Super Milk Chan (shut up, I still like it), Paranoia Agent, others.
8. What does it feel like to be the seemingly most powerful woman of Adult Swim? *tear* You make us girls proud! - ILuvMyMiroku
This is actually a really interesting question - it's something that I get asked a lot, so I've thought about it a good bit. I know people think that it can be hard to be a woman in this industry, and I know that there's some truth to that. But honestly I've never thought of how hard it would be, and I think that if I had thought about potential barriers I wouldn't have made it very far. I love that I work for Adult Swim, because it's something that I'm passionate about - I was a huge fan of Space Ghost and Cartoon Planet before I got my job here, and to work close to those writers / creators everyday is amazing. I think if you're passionate about what you're doing, it's hard not to succeed, perceived barriers be damned. Women power on!
9. Do you believe that it has become harder for Adult Swim to acquire anime because of the competition, and how is Adult Swim fairing against the other networks competing for anime to show? - lithium_green
There are some shows that I've really wanted that we've been outbid on, which is always disappointing. But for the most part I think the competition is great - the more exposure that anime gets the more popular / mainstream it can become. I have to say that I continue to find it a little heartbreaking that anime pretty much never does as well as I hope it will. It's interesting to me that a series like Lost - which is serial, with science fiction elements and intrigue, a formula that is very common to anime - can be so mainstream, but anime never quite hits that way. Fullmetal Alchemist is a great show, but I don't think that a mainstream audience is ready to expect that level of reality or give that much commitment to an animated show just yet - animation is still escapism in the US, even if it's not just for kids anymore. So my hope is that the more exposure it gets, the bigger it will get, which in the long run will help us.
10. Is AS getting soured on anime in general because of the lackluster performance of recent series? - herbkir
I can't say that it hasn't soured us a little. It has. I admit I've made mistakes - it was a terrible idea to try an all action Saturday, because as nice as that sounded it really hurt the ratings. We're not going to abandon anime, I'm still a fan, and I think it has a place on our air. Right now we're trying anime premieres on nights other than Saturday, just to see if that will help. But we do have to keep it late night for now. I'm afraid that anime will never perform as well as comedy, unfortunately, and I think that's because, as I said before, it's seen as escapism - anime asks a lot from the audience, if for no other reason than because it's serial. But if you're willing to give it some commitment, it's easy to become a fan. And I can think of no other fan base as devoted as anime fans - if anime hits big, it will be because its fans continue to work to spread the love. As corny as that sounds, I'm totally serious.
11. First of all, do you enjoy what you do? Second, what did you want to be when you were younger? And reflecting on that now, are you happy with the way things turned out, or do you still wish to be something different? - mustang
Honestly, it's still a job - some days are more tedious than others. But most days I love what I do, and love the people that I work with. It's a great place to be, and it's not hard to work when you're interested in what you're doing.
I guess when I was younger I wanted to be a writer. I have tons of bad novellas from when I was little -all of them are knockoffs of books I loved. I wrote about teenage detectives, how hard life is on the prairie, kidnapping, babysitters, best friends who grow apart… I even wrote a bad Hercule Poriot style story that has some pretend French gibberish in it. One of my stories has a chapter that ends with "The phone rang, but nobody heard" that never connects to anything. I was a master of suspense. They're all unintentionally hilarious.
By the time I got to high school I had pretty much lost direction - I had no idea what kind of career I wanted. I didn't know anyone who enjoyed work - work was supposed to be hard, and soul sucking. I got a job at a movie theater while I was in high school, and continued that through some of college as a projectionist / manager. Then I started working at a comic book shop. I had some other very short term higher paying jobs, but quickly realized that I wasn't able to make myself get out of bed if I wasn't interested in what I was doing. My college degree was in English with a History minor, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it. There was a short period of time when I took Cantonese with the immediate goal of moving to Hong Kong to teach English, and the long term goal of getting a job translating movies, because I was in love with Wong Kar Wai and Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, but I decided that it probably wasn't so realistic. So I took a bunch of internships in the entertainment industry - indie music and local theater, mostly - and kept my paying job at the comic shop, where I started an anime DVD rental service. I feel like I was really lucky to get an administrative job at Cartoon Network that turned into a programming job for Adult Swim - and I'm happy about how things turned out. I'm not sure what I would be doing if not this. Maybe raising llamas for show, in the country somewhere on a self-sustaining commune.
12. On TCM they are playing 9 movies by Hayao Miyazaki. How/why did they end up on TCM? Do you have any plans to show them on [adult swim]? Do you have any thoughts on TCM showing Anime? - Baltazar
TCM is sharing some of those movies with Cartoon Network, but we're not getting any for Adult Swim. I think it's great - I love Miyazaki. I still think Totoro is the best kid's movie ever made.
13. What do you guys do for fun? Kim, how are show line-ups chosen? Do you arrange them on purpose or do you pick them out of a hat? Is there an anime scheduling vote at Williams St. office, or do you just play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" until the line-up is finished? - 1nicole
For fun, I keep a vegetable garden, play with my dog (Egg), make soup, buy creepy dolls off of e-bay, go to karaoke bars, play dance dance revolution (badly - but one day I'm going to be a dance dance superstar), read independent comic books, steam clean my carpet, play sudoku, drink too much, talk to strangers, tell off color jokes, send embarrassing text messages, throw up, apologize to people, think about joining aa... you know, exciting things like that.
Show lineups are arranged very much on purpose, and usually based both on ratings and flow - we try to think about how shows work together (Tom Goes to the Mayor should never be next to Robot Chicken, for instance, because it would totally ruin our Feng Shui). We argue a lot about what we're going to do, and when we're stuck we call our research department to rescue us with ratings information.
14. Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk? - Martin B.
I'ma get get get get my trunk
Get my big trunk to the dump
The dump the dump the dump the dump the dump
The dump the dump the dump the lovely little dump
And recycle it
15. What video games have you been playing recently? -Faedeur
I got Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 for Christmas, and I've been playing that a lot. I really wish I owned Guitar Hero, because I'm in love with it. We Love Katamari is the best game ever! But I finally found all of the cousins and rolled up the king and queen, so I recently put it away. Dragon Quest 8. Electroplankton for the DS, very addictive. So, there you go. The toonami guys say those are all girl games. I'm not much into shooters or fighting games - I like RPGs and music games.
16. How do you go about acquiring the anime? I mean, the start to finish process of getting anime from the early talks to getting it on my television. - myrAdamWest
We look for interesting stuff in a lot of ways - by reading magazines, going to Tokyo Anime Fair and other trade shows, checking the boards, etc. A lot of stuff just comes directly to me from various distributors. When we decide that we want a show, we typically have to wait until someone licenses it for the US, because we're not interested in merchandising rights (DVD, toy sales, manga, etc) and because we aren't set up to do translations here. From there we start negotiating. It's fairly simple.
17. I'm wondering: is there any criteria you have for deciding which anime shows to acquire? - Adam Bomb
The thing I'm always interested in first is the storytelling. Even with our comedy, the writing is always key. Then, what is demand like? What are people asking for on our boards? What's getting the most fan subs created, what has the most buzz? We want shows that move fairly quickly, that don't become too dialogue heavy. Shows with stand alone episodes are great (but rare)… I think the episodic nature of anime makes it hard for some people to watch (which is one reason that Bebop was such a big hit - almost all of the episodes were entertaining even if you weren't up on the story arc). Great action sequences and good looking animation are also things we think about. Really, the bottom line is - what do we want to watch? Do we like this? Cause if we're not interested, we can't expect our viewers to be.
18. Have you ever cosplayed? Cause, you know, I don't do that stuff myself, but it looks kinda cool. - venus_df
I have, actually. My friend Lindze (who was the dancing girl in purple in the Aqua Teen commercials, and the Dr. Girlfriend in our cosplay commercials) talked me into being in a Space Ghost group with her way back before I had a job here. I was the Black Widow. I made my own costume, and I think it was pretty badass for a first attempt. I do not have any photos of this.
19. How long have both of you work for [as] or WS? If it hasn't been from the start, did you ever watch [as] before you started working there? And, to whichever of you is the parent of that beautiful baby baboon, what's the name of that cute little guy/girl? - PenguinBoss
I've been at Cartoon Network since September 2002, and at Adult Swim since May 2003. I was a huge fan of Adult Swim before I worked here. I remember when I started I worked in programming with Andy Merrill, and I had to be all cool and not annoying when he was around, but when I heard him doing his Brak voice for a radio interview I sent instant messages to my little brother saying "OMG!! Brak is next to me and he's talking about baloney sandwiches!!" Or something equally stupid. I was a secret fan girl for a while. I was afraid they'd fire me if they figured out how excited I was by it all.
20. Kim: What is one anime series (even if it's unlicensed or held by another network) you would want on AS? - Maenos
I can't talk about unlicensed shows, because there are lots that we're after right now. But one that we can't have that I'm super jealous of is Spike TV's Afro Samurai. Am I allowed to say that? I don't know, but it's true.
21. What is your favorite anime on adult swim.....and why?
Right now it's Fullmetal Alchemist. It's just great storytelling.