The Anime-ted Library
Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Kat Kan
Two and a half years after our first article, Showing Anime in the Library (VOYA April 2002), it’s high time for an update! Librarians have used our tips to create some great programs for the teens at their libraries. We want to highlight those programs, give a suggested list of newer anime titles, and provide an updated contact list of anime studios to make anime programming one of the easiest events you can stage.
After our e-mail request soliciting examples of how librarians are using anime with teens, we received the following great examples. We also include our own.
Anime Screening Programs
Kristin’s Anime Afternoons at the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Arizona, use the three anime companies’ screening programs to provide materials for her teens in addition to Kristin’s own collection. During the school year, Anime Afternoons meets once a month, culminating in an all-day festival in May. During the summer, the group meets once a week. So lots of anime is needed!
Each company’s screening program is a little different, but joining them is free. Bandai Entertainment’s Anime Addict program provides a free DVD each month during the school year to clubs who then fill out a survey on the Anime Addict Web site to let Bandai know what teens think. Occasionally Kristin receives a more mature title than she would consider showing her teens, but Bandai understands that not every DVD is appropriate for every club.
Funimation’s Operation Anime also provides one free DVD a month from their selected titles. Member librarians simply request the title that they would like to screen from the Operation Anime Web site. Funimation sends the DVD and surveys about a week before the performance date. Although their e-mail communications sometimes arrive late, they really do receive the requests! The one extra step necessary with Operation Anime is to find the age ratings on a different Web site. For some reason, Operation Anime does not include age levels in their information about an offered title.
ADV’s Anime ADVocate program just began in December 2004. It appears that their plan is to send out a compilation DVD of first episodes each month and request that the librarian fill out a survey on the Anime ADVocate’s Web site. They also have a monthly newsletter with anime information as well as an insider’s interview with American voice actors.
How have other libraries presented Bandai’s programs? These libraries use Bandai’s Anime Addicts:
• Morris Area Public Library in Morris, Illinois, uses the program run by anime distributor Bandai. The anime club meets on the third Saturday of the month to view anime, have refreshments, rate the anime for Bandai, and socialize. Young Adult Coordinator Lois Feldman also works to get screening permissions from other anime distributors to meet her teens’ requests. Twelve to fourteen “hardcore” members gather every month.
• Venus Rowland at the Finney County Public Library in Garden City, Kansas, signed up her library’s Anime Club. The club has twenty-five members, and eighteen to twenty usually meet every month; ages range from eight to thirty-six years old, but most members are teens.
• Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Club Otaku at the Brooklyn Branch in Ohio meets to watch anime, play anime-related video games, do drawing sessions, and help YA librarian Mike Pawuk review manga for the library. Meetings draw from ten to twenty-five members.
• The Cesar Chavez Central Branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library in California has created an Anime Addicts Club. Librarian Eva Volin previews each anime sent by Bandai to be able to discuss and rate them with the teens who attend.
• At the Aurora Central Branch of the Aurora Public Library in Colorado, librarian Megan S. F. Ellis started an Anime Club in the summer of 2004, and reports that her monthly audiences number up to twenty-two, with ages ranging from ten to nineteen. The teen response has been so strong that registration is filled several months in advance. She is thinking about starting a graphic novel discussion group for the teens who can’t get into the Anime Club.
Other Screening Programs
• The East Greenbush Community Library in Greene County, Ohio, hosts Quest Anime, a teen group that organized itself. The youth services librarian helps the group obtain screening permissions and attends some of their meetings. Librarian Steve Raiteri, who is a graphic novels expert and reviewer and also maintains a great Web site, sometimes provides anime for the teens to watch.
• Teen librarian Barbara Lundt and children’s librarian Kelly Verheyden at Madison Public Library in Wisconsin work together to run a biweekly anime program. Attendance ranges from thirty to forty at each program, and ages range from ten to seventy years old, with most attendees in their teens and twenties. Sometimes Lundt and Verheyden will show “mature” titles such as Jin-Roh and Vampire Hunter D. All attendees under age sixteen must have a signed parental permission slip. They sometimes hold all-day events on Saturdays. To help the library, Lundt also tries to get the attendees to rate the anime they show on a scale from 1 to a high of 10.
• At the Brandywine Hundred Library in Wilmington, Delaware, Teen Librarian Melissa Rabey started showing anime in May 2004. She screens anime on Saturdays, taking teen requests for what to show. She provides snacks and brings a selection of manga and how-to-draw books to the screenings for teens to check out.
• After attending several workshops that encouraged anime clubs, Ruhama Kordatzky at Burlington Public Library in Wisconsin just started an anime club in late September 2004. Initial response from the local teens is very enthusiastic, and Kordatzky has noticed some teens who hadn’t used the library before. Now they are viewing anime and discussing manga and their own drawings in their monthly meetings.
Anime Review Groups and Other Teen Participation
• Jane Halsall and her colleagues at McHenry Public Library in McHenry, Illinois, started a teen Anime Review Board more than three years ago when they discovered that most anime were not rated. Halsall contacted high school art teachers to recommend students to help preview anime titles for the library. Over the years, the teens on the ARB have enjoyed watching anime with others of the same mind; Halsall describes the screening sessions as “like nothing so much as Mystery Science Theater 3000” (an old television series that showed old movies to a misfit crew making sarcastic comments about the movie). The library holds a Comic-con every year during Teen Read Week, and the ARB has a booth to screen anime.
• Reference Librarian Victoria Vogel started the Japanese Anime Advisory Board for the Dayton Metro Library system in Ohio in November 2002. There are currently ten to fifteen members on the board, ranging in age from twelve to twenty years old. All participants under the age of eighteen must have a signed parental permission form because the group reviews some anime that have the equivalent of PG-13 and R ratings. The library reimburses Vogel for the DVDs that she purchases, and the teens discuss the anime after screening to rate it for quality of animation, plot, quality of dubbing, subtitles, and fight scenes. They then use the MPAA ratings (PG, PG-13, R) to assign an overall rating. The teens also help plan additional activities, such as anime movie marathons and cosplay events (costumed play, dressing up as anime characters). Most of them do other volunteer work in the library and help plan other YA programs as well.
• Haney Mussa, Youth Services Librarian at the Albion Branch of the Toronto Public Library, believes that her AnimeShon Club is the only anime program in Canadian public libraries as of November 2004. She runs the club with the AnimeShon Teen Advisory Board (ATAB), whose first screening in May 2004 attracted seventy-six teens. The ATAB selects the anime and organizes other events such as their “supreme otaku contests,” also lining up guest speakers. Mussa handles screening permissions, record keeping, and equipment, “playing devil’s advocate” in the discussion sessions. The ATAB grew out of the Youth Advisory Board that already existed when Mussa started her job in February 2004; three teens from YAG started ATAB, and then five more teens joined. The group meets monthly to discuss programming and event ideas.
• The Cape Coral Anime Club at Cape Coral-Lee County Public Library in Florida started in August 2004, mostly because of the efforts of high school senior Erin Timberlake. The biweekly meetings see attendance of thirty-five to fifty-five members, who are ranked in seniority (Minions, People, and Underlings) based on their contributions to club activities. The members take care of everything during the meetings. Since they’re not too far away from Orlando, the club has also engaged in fundraising activities so that they could attend the Orlando MegaCon in February 2005. Young adult librarian Keith Schuerman assists with screening permissions, snacks, and the fundraisers, which have included car washes, bake sales, and garage sales. The club members have also come up with programming ideas for the library and have helped with suggestions for collection development. Schuerman reports that one of the teens remarked “You know, it doesn’t even feel like I’m in the library any more . . . this is cool!”
Anime and Manga
• The Manga Mania club at Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, started at the request of a teen in June 2002; its beginnings were described in Kat Kan’s article, Really Getting Graphic (VOYA October 2002). The club has continued to flourish with the guidance of Young Adults’ Services Manager Mari Hardacre. Currently, about twenty teens meet monthly to share their drawings, discuss manga and anime, and watch anime. When the main library moved to temporary quarters in Fall 2002, the regular monthly Anime Festivals, which Kat started in 2001, halted for a while. In 2004, Young Adult Services began using the Silent Reading Room for occasional programs and have held a couple of Anime Festivals. Manga Mania gamers branched off to form Game Knights, a group that meets monthly to play video games and Magic, a collectible card game. Manga Maniacs’ artwork adorns the teen art wall in Young Adults’ Services and appears in the online gallery at ACPL’s teen Web site.
• Teen Services Librarian Nathalie Demers at the Wilmington Memorial Library in Massachusetts started a Teen Comics Club about two years ago. The club meets every three weeks, with attendance ranging from nine to twenty-five middle school and high school teens. This informal group invites guest speakers, watches anime, draws manga and comics, plays Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic, and gets “first dibs” on the new manga and anime titles coming into the library collection.
• Ximena Miranda, children’s librarian at Allentown Public Library in Pennsylvania, started the Otaku Club in April 2003. Her first six-week program was geared to fifth and sixth graders, who ended up being more interested in playing Yu-Gi-Oh. For the next six-week session, she opened the program to twelve- to fifteen-year-olds. The members read manga, watched anime, and brainstormed ideas to produce their own manga. The most recent incarnation of the Otaku Club started in September 2004 and met every Friday afternoon for an hour. Miranda, who also has a degree in Fine Arts, guided the group of mostly boys through basic exercises in comic design and inking. A new session started in January 2005.
• Gretchen Ipock works at Sellers Library (or Upper Darby Township and Sellers Free Memorial Public Libraries in Pennsylvania) and reports that Sarah Ryan, a library employee who is an illustration student at Moore College of Art and is passionate about anime and manga, runs an after-school drop-in cartooning club once a week during the school year for sixth through twelfth graders. More than twenty teens show up every week, after first going home to change into their “artist black” for the meetings. During the summer, Ryan runs a six-week session in which teens create their own comic book, from character development through binding.
After hearing from librarians across the nation, you’ll want to pick up some great anime to watch with your teens! Organized by genre, here are some titles that we and our teens have particularly enjoyed.
Initial D (Tokyopop)
The first five episodes of this car-racing anime series is the first story line and race. This series is great for discussing Japanese teen culture and has fantastic use of computer-generated illustrations and techno music. Unfortunately Tokyopop has broken it down into two DVDs. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Jubei Chan the Ninja Girl: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch (Bandai)
When the famous samurai Yagyu Jubei was dying, he asked his disciple to find hissuccessor. After 300 years of searching, he finds Jiyu, an eighth grade girl who has no desire to wear the Lovely Eyepatch. This thirteen-episode series is funny and full of satire on the samurai films. The first DVD is a good stopping point, but the whole series can be viewed in two sessionsas Kristin’s teens did. For ages 13 and up.
Read or Die, Original Animated Video (Manga)
Yomiko Readman is a schoolteacher with a real jones for books—she dragsa suitcase full of them everywhere. She is also “Agent Paper” for Section A of Library Special Operations. Someone is re-creating historical people through their DNA and using them to steal valuable old books. Yomiko,using her special powers over paper, must prevent the thefts. Thisminiseries is heavy on the action with a little violence. For ages 13 and up.
Read or Die the TV series (Geneon)
Michelle, Maggie, and Nina are the Paper Sisters—they can create weapons and battle with paper. Hired to protect author Nenene, they travel to Tokyo with her and learn of her obsession to find her teacher, Yomiko Readman, who disappeared years ago. This series starts out slowly but builds up suspense and picks up the action by the second disk. For ages 13 and up.
Tsukikage Ran: Carried by the Wind (Bandai)
This thirteen-episode series follows the wanderings of female samurai, Ran, and her not-so trustworthy sidekick, Meow of the Iron Cat Fist. ThisJapanese sword drama is easy for anime screenings because the episodesstand alone. For ages 13 and up.
Azumanga Daioh (ADV Films)
High school hijinks abound in Miss Yukari’s homeroom class, where the teacher is ditzier than the students! This comedy shows what Japanese high school is like (athletic festivals, cultural festivals, and plenty of afterschool clubs), while provoking laughter. The short episodes make it easy to show in an anime program. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Excel Saga (ADV Films)
Excel is one of the very few members of ACROSS, an organization determined to take over the world, one city at a time. This series is hilarious and pokes fun at many different anime and manga stereotypes. Although this title is rated 17 and up, Kristin thinks the rating applies to the last episode, which is very over the top. The first DVD is fine to show teens with its exaggerated violence (i.e., the main character, Excel, dies several times in the first episode and gets back up; and her partner, Hyatt, continually dies through illnesses.) The manga is also available.
Super Gal (ADV Films)
Watch out,, Shibuya, here come the gals! Three friends, Ran, Miyu, and Aya, live, shop, and play in the Shibuya area of Tokyo. This hilarious look at the Kogal (for a good definition, see http://explanation-guide.info/ meaning/Kogal.html) lifestyle is a hit with Kristin’s teens. ADV rates this series 15 and up. The manga is alsoavailable.
Fruits Basket (Funimation)
Orphaned Tohru Honda is befriended by the Sohma family, who take the homeless girl into their household. She stumbles upon their secret—when hugged by a member of the opposite gender, the Sohmas change into animals of the Chinese zodiac. But Kyo turns into a cat, which makes him an outcast. Can Tohru help the Sohmas and Kyo deal with theircurse? For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Princess Nine (ADV Films)
Nine girls from an all-girls school team up to take on the boys in baseball.This series is great for a feel-good experience. The DVDs include a lot of fun extras like how to Cook Oden noodles. For ages 12 and up.
Tokyo Godfathers (Columbia Tri-Star)
On Christmas Eve in Tokyo, three homeless people find an abandoned baby girl, and they team up to solve her mystery and find her parents. Along the way, they each learn to face their future. Kat’s son considers this film his favorite Christmas movie. For ages 13 and up.
Descendents of Darkness (Central Park Media)
Afterlife supernatural detectives work to stop vampires and the like from preying on living humans. The first three episodes provide a complete story arc. This title has been requested by Kristin’s teen girls because it has the pretty boys and shonen ai undertones. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Witch Hunter Robin (Bandai)
The Japanese team of a special organization, STN-J, hunts witches who abuse their supernatural powers. The most powerful member of the team is Robin, a teen girl who is able to control flames. This series is episodic in nature until around the thirteenth installment, after which the episodes continue into one another. The series is good for the gothic teens. For ages 13 and up.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (Bandai)
War has been going on between the Earth Alliance and the Coordinators’(genetically enhanced humans) ZAFT forces. Then the ZAFT attack a neutral colony to capture the Alliance’s new secret weapons—Gundams, gigantic fighting robots controlled by a human pilot. Teenage civilian Kira ends up being the only one capable of operating a Gundam to help the Alliance, but as a Coordinator, to do so means betraying his people. These Gundams are new but have the same mecha action as in previous series. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Robotech Remastered (ADV Films)
This classic mecha anime is back, restored to its original anime form. A giant alien spacecraft crash lands on a war-torn Earth, and the people unite to deal with the new technology. Humans then must face the alien race when it comes to reclaim its spacecraft and seems determined to destroy anything in its way. The SDF-1, as an Earth fortress, must go into space to defend the planet. For ages 13 and up.
Case Closed (Funimation)
Brilliant teenage detective Shin’ichi Kudo is poisoned by men in black who want to kill him. Instead he shrinks in size to look like a first grader again. Taking refuge with his high school friend Ran and her private detective father (who don’t know his real identity) and using the name Conan Edogawa, Shin’ichi helps them solve cases and searches for the men in black in hopes of finding an antidote. After the first disk, the series will not repeat anything already shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and all the names will be Westernized. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
His and Her Circumstances (Right Stuf International)
Yukino wants to be adored. She works hard to be perfect and to get that admiration. Now beginning her high school career, she thinks that she will be #1—until she meets Arima. From that very moment, she hates Arima and wants to beat him. He is the real thing—perfect without even trying. The first two episodes are hilarious and a great introduction to this fun series. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Kimagure Orange Road (AnimEigo)
In a three-way romance series whose main boy has paranormal powers, Kyosuke is in love with Madoka, but her best friend, Hikaru, is in love with Kyosuke! This sweet series has hints of comedy and science fiction as Kyosuke’s powers sometimes get the best of him! For ages 13 and up.
Marmalade Boy (Tokyopop)
Miki just wants a normal family, but it’spretty difficult when her parents divorce and swap partners with another couple, with all four living under the same roof! Immediately against the preposterous relationships, Miki hopes that she can find some solace in her friendships at school, but her new stepbrother, Yuu, transfers to her school. Soon she discovers that life with four parents might not be so bad, especially when she realizes that she could have feelings for the dashingly handsome Yuu. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Inu-Yasha: Affections Touching Across Time (VIZ)
Most will have heard of the titular half-demon and his partner Kagome thanks to the Cartoon Network, but the movie is a great one-time program screening option. Essentially a stand-alone long episode, this movie has action and romance. For ages 13 and up.
Voices of a Distant Star (ADV Films)
This thirty-minute show was created by one man and is incredibly moving and beautiful.When Mikako volunteers to fight in an outer-space battle against aliens, she must leave behind her love. With cell-phone text messages as her only means of communicating with him, she goes farther into space, and as the distance between them grows larger, the time between messages increases as well. For ages 13 and up.
Geisters (Anime Crash)
On an Earth devastated by an asteroid impact that has created a dangerous new life form called Siliconians, the Geisters are an elite force designed to protect humanity. Humanity itself is sharply divided, however, and the Geisters are caught in the middle. Lots of action keeps interest, while the political machinations will spark thought. For ages 13 and up.
Wolf’s Rain (Bandai)
In the future, the world has become inhospitable, and wolves have been extinct for a century. But one man, Quent, believing that the wolves still exist and are evil, hunts them. Meanwhile the wolves have learned to take human form as a disguise and seek Paradise even as they struggle to stay alive. Lots of action and some violence. For ages 13 and up. The manga is also available.
Anime Contact List
Why should you get screening permission from the anime studios? Beyond the issues of copyright infringement, Japanese licensors require screening requests to be on file.
ADV Films, Inc.
5750 Bintliff Drive, Suite 217
Houston, TX 77036-2123
Phone: (713) 341-7100
Fax: (713) 341-7199
Information needed: E-mail Rod with the title and date you would like to show. He will check to see that ADV is allowed to grant permissions and then will send a screening agreement for the librarian to sign and return. Keep a photocopy for your own records. For the Anime ADVocates program, you must register at their Web site at http://www.advfilms.com/advocates/index.asp. This new program offers monthly DVDs to libraries with anime clubs whose attendance is at least 15 teens.
Creative and Marketing Director
13929 Lynmar Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33626
Phone: (813) 925-1116
Fax: (813) 925-1247
Information needed: When requesting titles, please remember that AN Entertainment can only give permissions for the anime titles that they distribute and not for the anime titles that they sell through their retail division, AnimeNation. E-mail Krystyn with the anime title, date of screening, and the name and location of the library.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
The Crash Media Group, Inc.
244 West 54th Street, 9th floor
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 757-0700
Fax: (212) 765-1987
Information needed: Formerly an anime retail chain, Anime Crash is now the newest distribution company in anime production. Send an e-mail with the anime title, date of screening, name of the library, and the location of screening. James will respond with approval or refusal. E-mail is preferred.
P. O. Box 989
Wilmington, NC 28402-0989
Phone: (910) 251-1850
Fax: (910) 763-2376
Information needed: E-mail Anita with the anime title, episode number, date of the screening, and the name and location of the library. Anita then will check to assure that they are able to grant permission and get back to the librarian. E-mail is preferred.
P. O. Box 6054
Cypress, CA 90630
Information needed: E-mail Fan Support to ask permission to screen specific titles. Include the title, the date of the showing, and a declaration that the screening will be free and that no illegal taping will be allowed. The fan support department of Bandai will respond quickly to your e-mail. You must register at http://www.animeaddict.org for the Anime Addict program that provides regular screening opportunities for anime clubs. Registration is free, and every four to six weeks, except during the summer, they send a DVD for viewing and some flyers or other freebies. In return, your teens must fill out a survey on their Web site. Kristin usually puts the survey into a Microsoft Word document and photocopies it for the teens. She inputs the information in the actual survey because teens are unlikely to remember to go the Web site. The twenty-plus-member requirement is not required for libraries.
Central Park Media
250 West 57th Street, Suite 317
New York, NY 10107
Phone: (212) 977-7456, ext. 201
Fax: (212) 977-8709
Information needed: Send an e-mail to John with the anime title, date of screening, name of the library, and location of screening, and state that the program will be free to the public. John will e-mail back approval or refusal. To see what anime titles CPM offers, go to their Web site for their catalog.
6851 N.E. Loop 820, Suite 247
Fort Worth, TX 76180
Phone: (817) 788-0627
Fax: (817) 788-0628
Information needed: E-mail Sophie with the anime title, date of showing, and the address where the screening will be held. Sophie will e-mail permission or decline. For Operation Anime, Funimation’s monthly screenings for anime clubs, you must register at http://www.operationanime.com. It is free and you can request one DVD per month to show your anime club. The Web site says that clubs must have twenty or more members, but they might waive that requirement for libraries. The librarian signs in to the Web site to request one of the available titles. Sophie will send you the DVD, some flyers, and a questionnaire for the viewers to answer after they have watched the DVD. In return, the teens get to take home a coupon for 40 percent off the DVD they just watched from Funimation’s online store. It’s painless, and unlike Bandai’s Anime Addict, you choose the titles that are shipped.
2265 East 220th Street
Long Beach, CA 90810
Phone: (310) 952-2606
Fax: (310) 952-2142
Information needed: Under new ownership, this company was formerly Pioneer Entertainment. Contact Stephen either by phone or e-mail for permissions. He needs the basic information: title and volume number, date of screening, address of the screening location, and a statement that the show will be free. Make sure that he has your e-mail and snail mail contact information because he will send out a screening agreement form to you via both. The snail-mail agreement must be signed and returned for their records. Kristin loves Geneon’s titles, but Stephen is difficult to contact. Once you get in touch with him, though, the permission is easily attainable.
Unable to contact in time for the article. For their information, contact Kristin.
519 8th Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 868-0991
Information needed: Send an e-mail to John with the title, the date of the screening, where it will be shown, and that it is free to attend. Although the screening is free, John still needs to be asked but gives permission immediately.
Right Stuf International
P. O. Box 71309
Des Moines, IA 50325
Phone: (800) 338-6827
Information needed: According to the Web site, you should send a letter to the above address stating that admission will not be charged for the showing itself and that illegal copying of the show will not occur, and include the title of the show you want to screen. You will also need to state that you inform viewers where they can purchase the program, either from a local outlet or directly from The Right Stuf.
Synch-Point (Broccoli International USA)
Director of Operations
12211 West Washington Boulevard, Suite 110
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone: (310) 313-1850
Fax: (310) 313-2850
Information needed: Please e-mail Shizuki with title, date, organization name, location, contact information (mailing address and e-mail), expected attendance, and mention that it is a free screening. Synch-Point and Broccoli can provide promotional items and prize donations if contacted at least four weeks in advance.
5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 692-6700
Fax: (323) 692-6701
Information needed: Please e-mail Grace with the anime title and date of the screening, and state that the showing will be free to the public. Grace will get back to you about the permissions.
Urban Vision Entertainment
5120 West Goldleaf Circle, Suite 280
Los Angeles, CA 90056
Information needed: According to the Urban Vision Web site, you should send an e-mail with the title; the name of your organization and your affiliation with a school, library, or convention if applicable; your name and contact information; dates and location of the screening; and whether you will be charging an admission fee.
P. O. Box 77010
San Francisco, CA 77010
Phone: (415) 546-7073
Fax: (415) 546-7086
Information needed: Go to the above Web site and fill out the .pdf file. It must be signed and mailed or faxed to VIZ. If there are no problems with the screening, the form will be signed and returned to you. Viz is in the process of changing their format, but this information is current.
To Fansub or Not to Fansub . . .
Lately there has been much discussion about using fansubs in a library anime program. For the uninitiated, a fansub is basically an anime that has been translated and subtitled in English by fans for fans’ use. This version occurs before an American company has bought the rights to an anime. Typically the fansubbing group requests that the fansub is destroyed once the American product is available, but there is no way of enforcing this request. With the advent of the Internet, many fansubs are now available for downloading. Technically fansubs are in the gray area of copyright. Is it intellectual theft or is it okay to show something that is unavailable otherwise? We’re not here to judge one way or the other. Each library will have to decide for itself. But here are the positives and negatives for you to contemplate.
+ If you use fansubs, libraries can be on the cutting edge of anime for their teens.
+ Showing fansubs raises awareness of anime and provides a wider range of genres.
+ A fansub is true to its original form and is not affected by possible censorship or weird license agreement requirements.
+ Many teens use fansubs because of easy access to them on the Internet. Although it would be better to get their anime fix by paying for the American release of the anime titles, price is a huge deterrent.
On the other hand . . .
– Anime get licensed all the time and sometimes are not announced officially for months. One cannot be 100 percent certain that a title isn’t licensed already and the company just hasn’t made an announcement.
– The quality of taping and subtitling varies drastically on fansubs. With American-released anime, you get quality material throughout.
– Many librarians have neither the time nor the knowledge to navigate the fansubs world.
– Many fansubs might not have the extras that American DVDs have.
– With hundreds of anime titles available in America already, surely there is something an anime club can show without using fansubs.
Kat Kan, VOYA’s Graphically Speaking columnist, has been watching anime since she was seven years old; currently she lives and works in Panama City, FL, where she is a freelance library consultant and selector specializing in graphic novels and manga. She is also a judge for the 2005 Will Eisner ComicsIndustry Awards, the first librarian in that position.
VOYA reviewer Kristin Fletcher-Spear watched anime as a teen without realizing it was anime. She was formally introduced to anime during her first date with her now husband. She works at the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, AZ, where she is a teen librarian. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.