|So, How's it Going?|
|Well, seeing as how I'm all caught up with the episodes from Season 1 and 2, not to mention the fact that we've now passed the magical "90 day mark," I think the time has come to look back on what has been accomplished with this site so far, and decide in what direction to go from here on out.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the site, and I think it has been very successful. Judging by the mail I have received, everyone seems to like what's going on here to one degree or another, and I haven't received a single, solitary piece of hate mail. A few disagreements every now and then, but nothing serious, and in general the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
So, let's get a little more specific. I'll go over each section, and discuss what criticisms, suggestions, etc. people have given me.
Not much to say about the introduction, of course. I was a little worried at first that it was way, WAY too long, and I was trying to find ways to cut it down, but no one seems to have a problem with it. And I personally think that it is fine the way it is, so it'll stay.
I'm glad to see that people are enjoying the editorials, (I didn't even think most of you would actually bother reading them) although I took some flak for the Bukujutsu one because I "didn't know what the hell I was talking about." Heh, yeah I guess you're right, I was a little uninformed, but that's just what I felt like writing about. (Although even after having it explained to me by several people there are still a few things that don't add up...)
Anyway, the "big one" is of course the "Series" section, and I've got several things to say about it. The comments I have received about the episode comparisons have been overwhelmingly positive, people seem to enjoy my smart-ass nature and the way I discuss and analyze each alteration. This section is definetely the main bulk of the site, and the place where my views on the English version get the most exposure. For a while there, I was convinced that I was doing a good job, being fair, while still having fun, etc., but one day I received an e-mail from someone who told me that he realized, after reading through a few of the episode comparisons, that I was in "pure bullshit mode" when I wrote the following statement in the introduction:
"My goal is to be firm but fair, being very critical, while at the same time respecting FUNimation and their choices. By "respecting" I don't necessarily mean "agreeing with," but having an understanding and a willingness to give constructive criticism and a balanced viewpoint. You will soon find out that a whole lot of the content of this site seems to be breaking that rule, but deep down, I really am a lot more fair and rational than I may sometimes appear."Reading over this, as well as a few of the opinion essays (most notably Andrew Hosking's), and then going back over the episodes, my own opinion essay, etc., I realized something.
These guys are right, that statement is pure bullshit.
I'm not "fair" a lot of the time, if not most, and I often show obvious disrespect to FUNimation, as well as their choices! And then to say that "deep down, I don't really mean it" just sounds like a copout to allow me to have my cake and eat it too. Look, the truth is I really DO have an understanding and forgiveness at some level for what FUNimation is doing, the mistakes they're making, etc. If I met these people on the street I wouldn't attack them or anything, I know that they're just normal folks trying to make a living, that they are doing what they think is best. And I'm aware of how unbelievably meaningless the "censoring and editing of Dragon Ball Z in the US" is in the great scheme of things.
But that part of me is miles away when I'm working on this site; and has little to do with what I'm trying to accomplish here. I'm out to present the angry fanboy side of me, that's what my fellow fans want to see, that's what I feel like doing, and therefore, I must be held responsible for the opinions that I express to the readers. I can't "cheat" with this "I don't really mean it" business. So, I'm going to change that paragraph in the introduction fairly soon, because I don't believe I have lived up to, or even WANT to live up to, that statement. And from what I hear, neither does 90% of my audience, they are just as angry as I am. Besides, you won't get noticed by those in control unless you are vocal, honest, and straightforward about your opinions.
On the other hand, I do think that I am a lot more fair and open-minded than some of you have given me credit for. No less than a QUARTER of my opinion essay is a discussion of the things that I think are GOOD about the English version, and, in the episode comparisons, I never miss an opportunity to commend FUNimation for something that was handled well. So, if I may say so myself, I AM balanced to a certain degree.
Having said that, though, I have realized over the months that the "balance" is not perfect. There's still that three quarters of me that is intensely dissatisfied with the English version, and it shows, just as it should. I wouldn't have created this site if I thought that it was "good enough." And I don't think negativity is such a bad thing, as long as it's honest.
FUNimation should see this site as a very positive thing, in fact. They can consider it one big "viewers response survey," and I would think that my opinions, as well as those of you who have sent in something for the opinion page, would be invaluable to them. As far as I'm concerned, this whole site is a suggestion on how they can improve the show. Seeing as how the response on many points is almost unanimous, they should be realizing at this point that there are a few things that definitely need to be changed.
Speaking of the opinion section, I think that it's been working out great. It's not being overloaded, nor is there a lack of material there. It has served the exact purpose that I had been hoping for, namely that anyone could express their opinion in an environment that would not be hostile to their point of view. Robert Peeler e-mailed me to say that he was very surprised and pleased that I printed his essay at all, and if you read it, you'll know why. Even though I disagree (I have some VERY good arguments) with just about every word he says, I think that keeping the presence of US DBZ supporters on the opinion page is very important, and makes everyone think about their position just a little bit more.
But my urge to write a response to Robert's essay got me thinking... Maybe doing so would actually be a good idea. And not just his, there are several people whose opinions I disagree with, and I would like to respond to them. I'm sure that some of you out there have the same urge as well. Several people have mentioned other peoples' essays in their own, but it has never been very in-depth. Maybe I should start a full-fledged "Response" section? Hmm... I don't know, I have mixed feelings about this idea. Doing such a thing might just create problems, flame wars, etc., not to mention that it would be a little unfair and disrespectful to the original poster, who may have simply wanted to say what they thought and be done with it.
Then again, wouldn't a dialogue type of situation be much more interesting and valuable? I don't want to respond to some of these essays for the sake of argument, but rather in the hopes that I might correct some of their errors, assumptions etc., or maybe even persuade them to think again and change their position.
Well, it's up to you guys, shall we start a "Response" area? And, if so, how exactly should it work?
Aside from all of that, I would like to mention that I am quite aware that the "Powers that Be" section is woefully thin, and as of this time, I've only gotten one interview up. Another one is coming (eventually!), but I've really got to begin concentrating on contacting more people on the "other side." Now that the episodes are done, I can devote more energy to this end. To be honest, though, I am still quite pleased and surprised that I've done as well as I have!
Another idea I have been batting around is reprinting interviews with FUNimation personnel and the DBZ voice actors that have appeared in other places (Animerica magazine, other sites, etc.) so that all of them can appear in one, convenient place. But I need to get permission before I can do this.
So, let's see, all that's left are the odds and ends...
I've been told, in varying degrees of politeness, that the "me" section is too damned long, which took me by surprise. I feel like I didn't even get started describing myself! Oh well, that's just my natural human arrogance again, I suppose. Besides, the link is rather small and out of the way, so I feel like I can go on for however the hell long I want. Hey, SOMEONE might find it interesting!
The 10,000th hit was obtained by Prince Vegeta (one of many!) but he declined on the reward of a half-eaten box of Jujubes. Don't worry though, those of you who didn't win, I'll put them up for grabs again at 20,000. And they'll be aged by then, like fine wine.
Otherwise, in case you are wondering for some reason, the hit statistics break down like this: The busiest days are Sunday and Monday (neck in neck!), the most popular browser is MSIE by almost 20% (boo!), I average 132 hits per day, and about 90% of you are Windows users.
One last thing I'd like to mention are the interesting reactions I have received about the browser blurbs on the front page. Basically, this was just my funny way of simply saying that the site looks best when viewed with Netscape. In addition to that, my older sister ordered me to generate propaganda for her employer in any way possible, and I fear her wrath, so I obeyed.
I thought it would all be taken with a grain of salt, but my goodness people, you really take this stuff seriously! UNIX people grumbled about me suggesting that there "wasn't an alternative to Windows," MSIE users have been fairly quiet (although, sadly, I get most of my hits from that browser), and the poor AOL folks feel like I'm attacking them personally when I say that AOL sucks. Let me expand on that one: I used the service for about 10 minutes before I was angered and frustrated beyond belief, and I don't understand why you guys put up with it. And my problem is with the PROGRAM and the SERVICE itself, NOT necessarily the users! I even received a message from some poor guy begging that I allow AOLers like him to enter the 'DBZ For the Needy' contest, even though I "hated" them!
Please, don't get the wrong idea, I would never do anything like this. Unfortunately I know there are people out there who have a real attitude about AOL users, and my advice would be this: if you ever come across anyone who is SERIOUSLY judging you and assuming things about you merely because of the '@aol.com' in your return address, (and not just joking around like I often do with AOLers), then you need to get away from that person as fast as you would any other kind of bigot.
At one point, I was thinking of removing the blurbs from the front page, but the mail I get over this stuff is just too damned interesting.
So that's about it, I guess. For the time being, this site will only be sparsely updated, at least for a while. I've been working on it for three months, and I'm tired of looking at the damned thing! Also, I need to pursue other things that I have been neglecting for far too long. This site was basically a summer project, something to keep me occupied during the vacation months. Now that it's over, I must return to the school and work grind once again.
To conclude this, I just want to reiterate how happy I am to see that everyone is really enjoying this whole thing. I never mentioned this in the introduction, but I had a reason for creating this site that goes far above and beyond the subject matter, which is, in fact, merely a vehicle by which I was able to accomplish a far deeper wish: To feel the joy of creation, and to have that joy multiplied by knowing that others have participated, and taken pleasure in, that creation. That's what it's really all about for me, and the one thing I most want to do again and again in my life. But the thanks must go to you, the readers, because I couldn't have done it without you.
NEXT TIME: So, what's up with the English version as of this fall? Sadly, it appears to have left syndication, but thankfully, it is now being shown daily on Cartoon Network. Next time I'll discuss the past, present, and future of DBZ in the states.