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Cool Find: Anime and Manga Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange LogoHi folks. Yes, we’re still here. Sorry for our recent hiatus. Things have been pretty busy lately.

As I may have mentioned in the past, my attempt at getting a higher education (beyond high school) was brief and ended in tragedy. The culture shock of going from living a fairly sheltered, overprotective life at home, to the absolute freedom and chaos of life on campus was too much for me, and I let the freedom of finally emerging from behind the iron curtain of my parents’ rule get to my head, and basically crashed and burned in pretty much all of my classes. I have fortunately learned a great deal since then; but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

However, there was one positive thing to come out of this debacle. Coming out of a sheltered childhood, it was my first taste of what the “real” world was like, and as such, I learned a lot about how life and the real world work, and how to survive in them. I learned how to communicate and socialize with other people – not that I do it particularly well, even now, but I at least can cope in a social situation without falling over in a heap. And I also met a lot of cool friends, many of whom I remain in touch with to this day.

One particularly enjoyable aspect of dorm life that I miss even now is the long hours we spent, lasting way into the night (and often well into the next morning) sitting in our dorm rooms talking (and often arguing) about various and sundry topics such as religion, politics, current events, social/cultural issues, music, books, movies, TV shows, Mac vs. PC, or vi vs. emacs (hey, we were all computer geeks/engineers, okay?) Often these discussions would morph into arguments, and pretty heated ones at that, with each of us defending our position with a fiery passion. But these arguments never got out of hand, and we always seemed to make up (or at least agree to disagree) and return to our usual amicable (if perhaps somewhat sleep-deprived) selves by the next morning. Well, one of the many topics we discussed/argued about, perhaps with a particularly high level of passion, was, of course, anime, and I couldn’t help but reminisce fondly on these good times when I ran across today’s Cool Find, the Anime & Manga Stack Exchange.

By now you probably know that, as part of my day job, I work together with a group of friends on various computer hardware and software projects; they bring me on whenever they need some additional help. I work on various jobs and projects on the side as well. So I suppose you could say that I’m a sort of “geek gun-for-hire.” (I’ve been wanting to change my business cards to have my title say “Ninja Consultant”, but sadly my boss hasn’t been too keen on the idea.) Two websites I absolutely depend on in my line of work are Stack Overflow and Server Fault. These sites are a great way of getting help with your computer and programming questions. First of all, odds are that your question has already been asked (and answered) by someone else. But if it wasn’t, then all you have to do is submit a new question (be as descriptive as possible) and you are likely to have some answers within hours. The site is heavily moderated and is reputation-based, so answers (and questions) are usually of very high quality.

Well these two sites, as it turns out, are merely the tip of the iceberg that is the Stack Exchange Network. They host a ton of sites dedicated to all manner of topics — not just computer-y things (gaming, security, UNIX & Linux (not only in general but also Ubuntu in particular) but also plenty of non-computer-related topics, such as home improvement, photography, cooking and even bicycles! And yes, they’ve got anime covered too.

Anime & Manga Stack Exchange is, as its name implies, a place where you can ask (and answer, if you happen to know it) questions about anime & manga. What sorts of questions, you might ask? Well, if you ever had a question about a plot point, or how a character’s special ability works, or anything like that? For example (and these were picked completely at random, so they should represent no bias whatsoever) “Did Jiraiya meet Naruto by chance?” Or “What technology/jutsu do the Akatsuki members use to communicate with each other?” Or perhaps “Will Sasuke’s Kirin work against Obito?” Or even “Is Haku a man or a woman?” A site like this can help put a stop to (or perhaps even start up) one of those long dorm-room-style “discussions” between friends (which is why I thought of that when I found this site.)

All joking aside though, the site is also a great place to ask about other, more down-to-earth topics, especially about Japan and the anime industry itself, such as “What are the anime censorship laws in Japan?” or “Do Bluray releases contain more scenes than their DVD counterparts?” In particular, it is a great place if you have one of those “name that anime/manga” type questions. Do you vaguely remember seeing an anime that looked interesting — maybe during a convention, at an anime screening room or during an AMV, or at a friend’s house, whatever — and can remember parts of the plot, some of the fight scenes, or what the main character looked like, etc., and nothing more? Well, post about it and you might just get your answer. Try and be as descriptive as possible, include pictures/screenshots if you have ’em, etc.

Like all the other Stack Exchange sites, Anime & Manga Stack Exchange is reputation-based, so not only do you need to create an account to ask and/or answer questions (it’s completely free) but you are also encouraged to vote up (or down) other peoples’ answers — and if you submit answers to other peoples’ questions yourself, your answers will be voted up/down as well. This helps keep the site friendly, open and relatively troll/flame free, as opposed to your typical web forum, which is quite refreshing if you ask me.


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