Mail Desk

by Ridwan Khan with Patrick King

Welcome to another month at Animefringe's Mail Desk. On a monthly basis we're bombarded with all kinds of mail (marriage proposals, offers to try the latest in kitchen technology, pleas for us to pose on FHM or GQ magazine) but we disregard that unimportant stuff to read and answer your e-mails. This month, we look at Final Fantasy: Advent Children, the history behind Rurouni Kenshin, the latest news on Miyazaki's latest flick Howl's Moving Castle, and Patrick has a run in with a rabid Yu-Gi-Oh fan (don't worry, we took him to the doctor afterwards). Remember, there is no mail desk if you don't e-mail us your questions, comments, marriage proposals, and thoughts! So hop to it and you'll be in (and possibly made fun of) on next month's Mail Desk.

How much history is there in the Samurai X series? I mean, it seems like there is a lot of real history in there, but Iím not sure where reality ends and fantasy starts.

The Wandering Swordsman

TWS, thatís a really good question and Iím just the person to answer it for you. Samurai X, better known as Rurouni Kenshin is an anime series set before and after the Meiji Restoration, a period of great unrest in Japan. Because of the arrival of Matthew Perry in Japan in 1853, the country was divided down the middle along political lines. The government, headed by a Shogun, wanted to compromise with the West. So called "patriots" wanted to "expel the barbarians" and have the emperor take control of the country. In the Rurouni Kenshin OAV Kenshin (who is not a samurai or even a ronin, by the way), fights for the patriot side against the Shogunís paramilitary force, the Shinsengumi. Kenshin is a fictional character, though he is based on a number of historical patriots. The Shinsengumi however, is not fictional, nor are its two chief members in Rurouni Kenshin, Okita Souji and Saitou Hajime. Other people in the OAVs, such as the leaders of the Satsuma and Choushu clans are real figures. Most of the other characters from the television series are either historical composites or completely fictional.

It should be no surprise that the OAVs, with their heavy emphasis on realistic art are also more realistic concerning history and language. The television series and manga are more standard anime hijinks against the historical backdrop. For example, in the television series the phrase boyu is often used. Of course, boyu is just the Japanese approximation of boy, which wouldnít have been in colloquial Japanese for hundreds of years. Other television story arcs with odd foreign fighters are as equally implausible.

All of that, is, perhaps, a long answer to a short question, but anyone interested in the history behind Rurouni Kenshin might want to check out Jansenís The Making of Modern Japan.

Whats the deal with Final Fantasy: Advent Children? Is it a new game? Or a DVD movie? And is it a remake of the Playstation game or something new?

John in Minnesota

Advent Children is indeed a sequel to the 1997 Playstation RPG, which propelled the machine to number one against competing game consoles. However, the new release isnít a game, but an hour long DVD movie scheduled for release in Japan at the end of this year. Details havenít been abundant, but the story seems to revolve around Cloud and Sephiroth, who evidently isnít as dead as Final Fantasy 7 made him out to be. Shots from the film have also featured Tifa and Aeris, who isnít as dead as she was made out to be in the game either. It is unclear whether the DVD will be sold by itself or packaged with something else (with Kingdom Hearts 2, Final Fantasy XII, and Dragon Quest VIII all being primed for release by Square Enix, there seem to be a good chance itíll come with something). As the DVD's release date comes closer, I'm sure more information will come out of Square Enix, especially concerning an American release. Animefringe will keep you posted!

From Anonymous (edited for content):

how dare you talk about yugioh like that you [unfriendly word for urine] head i will cut of your [rather forward term for the male reproductive organ] if you say anything bad about yugioh you [think shirt, sans r]!!!

Dear Secret Anonymous Maladjusted Scary Person Who Dearly Loves Yu-Gi-Oh,

We aren't quite sure what we did to incur your wrath concerning the anime series of God, Yu-Gi-Oh, or as you so lovingly call it, yugioh. Suffice it to say that we here at Animefringe are not quite keen on people who desire a cut of our nether regions.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your random hatred with us - it's fans like you that give the Yu-Gi-Oh fan base its image of wholesome, family-oriented, sentience the absurdity we all know it deserves.

Just rest assured that we have no problem with the money making mammoth that is Yu-Gi-Oh, and in fact some of us are even considering a "No, really, Yu-Gi-Oh doesn't suck!" tattoo for our foreheads.

Here's a nicer reinterpretation of your kind letter, with a few words and punctuation added for clarity:

How [are you]? Dare you talk about yugioh? [I] like that, you! [A] [pee] head am i. [I] will [desire a] cut of your [unmentionables] if you [don't] say anything bad about yu-gi-oh. You SHIITE!!!

Actually, I'm Catholic, not a Shiite. And my [unmentionables] are already spoken for. Sorry. Keep watching that great show, though - it's done wonders for your personality!

Dear animefringe,

You're completely missing a great series! It's called "FAKE by Sanami Matoh and it's publish by Tokyopop. With 7 volumes, "FAKE" has got to be one of the funniest yaoi manga I have ever read! The main characters are Dee Laytener and Randy "Ryo" Maclean, who works for the New York City police department at the 27th precinct. Some of the side characters include Berkly Rose, Bikky Goldman, Carol (don't know last name), Jimmy J. Adams (JJ), and Diana Spacely. Each case that Dee and Ryo are put on are unique in thier own way, from regular cases like drug busts to insane cases with phsycotic serial killers. But the main story is that Dee likes Ryo, and he steals his heart one kiss at a time until book seven when... well... X3 Letís just say that yaoi fangirls like myself would very much enjoy it.

Please! Consider reviewing "FAKE" in future issues!

Sincerely,
Haruko Tora

Howdy Haruko!

We always appreciate suggestions from our readers. Weíve had yaoi and general hentai fans as writers over the years but we havenít had a major push in the genre in a while from anyone on staff. You seem to be enthusiastic about Fake: why not submit an article on the subject to us? All our dedicated fans should know that Animefringe accepts articles from the readership.

Animefringe people,

I remember hearing about a new Studio Ghibli film with Miyazaki set for director. However, it doesnít seem like there is much news on the film anymore. Whatís the status of it?

Wolfwoodfan121186

You must mean Howlís Moving Castle. Believe it or not work has continued on the film and we're nearing its release. The netís premiere Miyazaki site, Nausicaa.net, has posted both the filmís poster and a two minute trailer. The trailer highlights a number of the films characters, including an old woman, a pair of children, and a mysterious wild haired person. And, of course, a moving castle. Miyazaki is directing and Jo Hisashi is doing the soundtrack. The main theme of the film will be a song by Yumi Kimura (who sang the theme for Sen to Chihiro and sung by Chieko Baisho. The movie is scheduled for a November release in Japan.

Oops, out of letters. Well, we better quit there then. Until next month!

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