Thursday, April 26, 2012

Advice From The Beast


Back when Let’s Anime was a print fanzine read by dozens, we’d print darn near anything. One popular feature was an advice column written by an abusive, possibly psychotic individual known only as “The Beast”. Throughout the mid 1990s this so-called “expert” dispensed wisdom to every single fake question that the editors wrote for him. No one knows where he came from or what happened to him afterwards, but let’s remember him the way he’d want to be remembered – hurling insults at strangers.

THE BEAST 
By: The Beast (Let’s Anime #3, Spring 1993) 
Well here I am again to dispense my pearls of wisdom to you, my breathless audience. So shut up and pay attention. First off, here are some letters.

 Dear Beast: The other people in the anime club I attend all say that Ranma ½ is unrealistic and repetitive. What should I do? 
Yours, 
Chris Jorgensen 

Dear Chris;
 Show up at the next meeting in a dress, and beat the crap out of all the Ranma detractors. Repeat 115 times, changing genders as necessary.

  


Dear Beast; 
My pal Amuro says that Mobile Suit Gundam is just too complicated and has too many characters and mobile suits to keep track of. Is there any way I can explain Gundam simply to him?
Yours truly, 
Char 

Dear Char; 
Well, if your friend would only realize the inherent political ramifications in the Axis’ alliance with Neo-Jion, he would understand that the Titans meant to force a confrontation with Side 13 against the AEUG, which means that the Crossbone Vanguard would need to utilize the Zabi clan’s intentions to see the Abowaku/Luna 2 defense pact with Shangri-La dissolved in favor of a renewed hard-line policy of dropping space colonies and big rocks on Earth. There, that was easy, wasn’t it.
  
Dear Beast: 
I’m very unpopular with some people that I would like to impress a lot. I try harder and harder each time, but I always end up annoying them even more. What can I do to make these people like me? 
Sincerely, 
Carl Macek 

Dear Carl, 
You know, there are some people in this world that simply will never be satisfied, that will complain and complain no matter what you give them. It’s best to ignore these “nattering nabobs of negativity”, as Spiro Agnew described them, and go on about your business with calm self-assurance.
  
Dear Beast; 
You suck. You don’t know anything about music or advice. All the anime you like stinks. You’ve never had a girlfriend and you drive a badly-made automobile. Please die soon. 
Yours, 
I.M. Pseudonym 

EDITORS NOTE: Please remember to include your full name and address when writing The Beast. Thank you.

Dear Beast; 
My dad told me to ask you if that was your face, or were you just wearing a mask with the features of an abnormally stupid and ugly person who dunked his head into a vat of highly potent sulphuric acid and then tried to make up for it with enrollment in the Hair Club For Men? Huh? 
Your Pal, 
Crusher Ed 
1600 Whitebase Way 
Side Three 

Dear Crusher Ed; 
Thanks for including your full name and address. Hope you enjoy your new life in the orphanage.  

THE RETURN OF THE BEAST 
(Let’s Anime #4, Fall 1993) 
Well, howdy, and welcome back to my font of perpetual knowledge concerning personality problems and bands. I sure hope that those of you who have serious difficulties managing the anime-fan lifestyle will write in and ask for my help. And if you don’t get help here, get help somewhere… and now for our first letter.

   

Dear Beast; 
My pal says that ODIN is a science-fiction film, while I maintain that it is a space-fantasy. Which one of us is correct? 
Yours truly, 
Matt Black 

Dear Matt; 
You both are wrong. ODIN is neither a SF film nor a space fantasy. It is a sleeping aid. Use only as directed.  

Dear Beast, 
Why don’t they make a movie where the Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis and Space Cobra team up with ‘Thundersub’ and Hurricane Polymar to defeat Marvel Comics’ Dr. Doom? 
Sincerely, 
Jim Shortz 

Dear Jim,
Because that would be stupid.

   

Dear Beast; 
If Carl Macek and Sandy Frank had a fight on live TV with sledgehammers and other blunt instruments, who would win? 
Ben Dover 

Dear Ben, 
I don’t know, but it’s nice to think about, isn’t it?
  
Dear Mr. Beast; 
I am currently working on my graduate thesis, which consists of an in-depth analysis of incidences of cultural significance in modern Japanese television animation. I would appreciate your opinion on the following: in your experience, do you feel that the zeitgeist of the common Japanese proletariat’s existence has been enriched by a common Jungian exposure to iconic symbolism through popular cultural media, or, conversely, is there to be seen a resurgence in classical autonomic materialization of total neo-judgmental theory? 
Yours truly, 
Billy (age 5) 

Dear Billy, 
Yes. 

ONCE AGAIN TERROR STALKS THE EARTH… THE BEAST LIVES 
Advice For The Hopeless By: The Beast 
(Let’s Anime #5, Spring 1994) 
Yes, it’s me again. They let me out of the institution just to painfully cobble this column together with crayon and brown paper (no sharp objects allowed) so I’m gonna try and make it a good one. First from my mailbag…  

Dear Beast: 
Why does all Japanese animation look like "Speed Racer"? 
Confusedly, 
Al Coholic 

Dear Al, 
Because you suck.
  
Dear Mr. Beast, 
Why do most of the characters featured in the majority of Japanese cartoons fail to resemble actual Japanese citizens in the least? 
Yours, 
Phil Irrup 

Dear Phil, 
Because your mother wears combat boots.
  
Dear Beast: 
Why does Ultraman always wait until the last possible minute before using his Spacium Beam and destroying the monster? Why doesn’t he use it at the beginning of the fight and kill the monster right off, saving countless lives and untold millions in property damage? 
Yours, 
Eiji Tsubaraya 

Dear Eiji; 
If the big silver guy used his big gun right at the beginning of the fight, it’d be over in a second! Where’s the fun in that, smart guy? Plus, it’s a little known fact that he owns controlling interests in several large Tokyo construction companies.  

Dear Beast, 
Whenever I use cheap, no-name brand videotape in my VCR, the copies always come out lousy and the shedding tape ruins my video heads, causing expensive repairs. 
Yours, 
Al Jalikakik 
 
Dear Al, 
Good.
  

UNTERKALTEN MIT DER AUFGEKOMMEN POKERT!! 
DAS BEAST 
(Let’s Anime #7, Fall 1994) 
Welcome back to the column that tells it like it is, when it was, and how it will be. Got a problem? The Beast has the answer! Let’s dip right into that mailbag and see what we come up with.  

Dear Beast: 
I’m confused. I could swear that the term for video-only animated releases is “original video animation”, or OVA. However, my pal Freddy claims that the real title is “original animation video”, or OAV. Our silly feud has escalated to the point where I am afraid to go outdoors or use power tools. Please end our dispute once and for all. 
Timidly yours, 
Matt Finisch 

Dear Matt, 
Obviously you’re the kind of guy who likes to spend hours arguing over incredibly stupid trivia that nobody else on the entire planet cares about. So here’s your answer: the real term used everywhere is “cartoon.” Deal with it.

 Dear Beast: 
I recently heard that, instead of renting anime at Blockbuster Video or buying it at the local comic book store, some fans are actually getting anime by trading videotapes with pen pals through the mail! What’s more, apparently they are getting anime that hasn’t even been released in America! Yours, 
Moe Ron 

Dear Moe; 
No shit.  

Dear Beast; 
The Lion King is a completely original film and is in no way a total ripoff of Tezuka’s JUNGLE EMPEROR. Really! 
Yours, 
Michael Eisner  

Dear Mike: 
Yeah, right. And Garuman/Gamilon space submarines might hyperwarp out of my butt. Heh heh. 

HE KNOWS EVERYTHING THE BEAST: ADVICE FOR MORONS 
(Let’s Anime #8, summer 1995) 
Greetings, puny mortals. It is I, The Beast, back to dispense my indispensable jewels of knowledge to the undeserving, ungrateful masses that teem around me, like a teeming mass of teeming things. Or something. Well, on to our first letter.  
Dear Beast; 
I really wanted to catch the next solar eclipse, but all my friends say I’ll go blind if I stare at it. I say they’re full of you-know-what. But what if they’re right and the blazing photosphere of the sun burns my retina like a surgical laser at full power? What then? 
Yours, 
Anita Drink  

Dear Anita; 
What then? Then you’ll be blind, stupid.
  
Dear Beast, 
My cousin Eddie says that Robotech was originally five American TV shows that the Japanese took and edited into three. Is he wrong, or am I correct in saying that Robotech was animated in Japan from a script written in Sri Lanka by Tamil rebels and then translated by UNESCO as part of an abortive peacekeeping effort in the Middle East? 
Sincerely, 
Ivan A. Beer 

Dear Ivan; 
You’re both wrong. Robotech was originally conceived in the tenth circle of Hell as punishment for the earthly misdeeds of certain members of Studio Nue. As it turned out, we all wound up suffering, but so the heck what.



Dear Beast; 
I’m hosting a little get-together for some close friends during which we will screen some examples of animation from the nation of Japan. I’m wondering if it’s permissible to serve wine, cheese, and other minor comestibles during the screening proper, or should one wait for an appropriate “halt in the action,” as it were? 
Snidely yours, 
Asfrum Holein Ground 

Dear Asfrum; 
When to hand out the munchies is a serious question facing those of us who entertain with Japanese cartoons. Thoughtfully, most animation producers have provided us with an “eyecatch”, a short intermission in the middle of the original animated video that is perfectly suited to a small interruption, and this includes the serving of refreshments. Of course, if the evening’s entertainment is a feature-length film, no such “eyecatch” will be present, in which case I suggest you use the goddamn pause button.
  
Dear Comrade Beast; 
Is it not true that the vigorous continuation of the class struggle results in the unequalization of People’s Justice as it applies to roundly condemning those who seek to undermine the revolution of the masses? Or what?
Yours,
No Wei
  
Dear No; 
A vigorous examination of the principles involved shows that normalization, though approaching at an increased rate, is still not within the realms of a classless society. I suggest you rededicate yourself to the eradication of anti-collectivism. Either that, or go fishing.

Dear Beast: 
You are so full of shit! I saw you at the con trying to impress the chicks with your so-called “knowledge” of Gundam and SPT Layzner. However, I happen to know that Amuro Ray’s father’s ambitions did not include political office or animal husbandry as those back issues of C/FO Magazine would have us believe! And Eiji’s fits of rage are certainly not irritability caused by caffeine withdrawal, as you slyly intimated in between shots of cheap bourbon – any idiot would realize that his enraged behavior stems from his home environment, and not from any questionable chemical factors! And what’s more, maybe next time you can take criticism in a slightly more mature fashion, instead of beating me savagely across the head and shoulders with a length of hard plastic pipe! Painfully yours, 
I Mista Buss 

Dear Mista: 
What the hell are you talking about?

======

Sadly, The Beast’s advice column never appeared again. The whereabouts of this helpful if abusive sage are unknown, and even though Let’s Anime enjoys a new life on the internets, he has not stepped forward to claim his place in its renaissance. And that’s probably OK.
 
original subscription form for the print Let's Anime. That will be $10 please