Anime News Network is a long-running and well-read English-language site for anime news. I follow it for news updates but I am not so keen on its commentary. That aside, the site has (or had, I am not up to date here) a segment called Anime Answerman. As the name suggests, the Answerman would respond to reader questions. A 2013 article on Ex Urbe re-printed a hilarious Answerman question and answer with which I had not been previously familiar. I could not find the original Anime News Network article, so I will assume that Ex Urbe’s quotation from it is correct. The question and answer reads as follows:

Q: Dear Anime Answerman, my friend tells me that Inuyasha is a more violent show than Elfen Lied, and I don’t believe them, but I can’t tell them they’re wrong because my Mom won’t let me watch Elfen Lied.
A: Dear kid, please tell your friend that no one has ever been more wrong in the history of time.

Openclipart image of a lightbulb with no idea about what is being asked.
This public domain Openclipart cartoon is intended to express having “no idea.” I am using it to demonstrate a reaction to a terrible take.

I laughed. If you have even passing familiarity with Elfen Lied, you will know why I laughed. Because this is a family website, we will certainly not be reviewing it. But suffice it to say, Anime Answerman’s answer was not hyperbole. He was 100% correct. No one has ever said anything more wrong than Inuyasha is more violent than Elfen Lied.

Inuyasha, to the best of my recollection (it has probably been 14 years since I last saw an episode), was fairly anodyne and somewhere in the PG-13 range (upgrade to NC-17 if you consider copious whining to warrant a more severe rating). Elfen Lied is most well-known for its gratuitous, borderline comical, levels of violence in its first episode. Were I to make a list of recommended anime series from the 2001-2010 decade like I did for the 2011-2020 decade, it would not include Elfen Lied. I don’t think people still pretend that Elfen Lied is a good series on the whole, but I could be wrong.

I am confident that the Anime Answerman question was a joke. It was a funny joke, but there is no way it could be real. While I do not know how old the “kid” who asked the question supposedly was, I submit for the record that Inuyasha aired on Cartoon Network at strange very early morning hours back around the time the question was submitted (which incidentally made it one of the better-known anime series in the United States at the time). I have trouble believing that a kid who would have been staying up that late would have asked for his mother’s permission to watch things (I recall having elementary school classmates who played Mortal Kombat, for whatever it is worth). Likewise, if he or she was streaming anime I doubt that he or she was asking mom for permission before downloading from one site or another.

But jokes aside, the Answerman question is a clever joke. It presents a bit of a conundrum. Person A tells Person B something which Person B rightfully suspects is patently absurd. However, Person B, for one reason or another, lacks the means to confirm his or her suspicion that what Person A said is patently absurd. How can Person B stand athwart Person A’s tyranny of lies?

Anime Answerman, apparently.

(This sounds like a prompt for a Justin and Justina dialogue…)

If there is some matter upon which you believe that you are being misled but cannot confirm, and you believe that I possess the requisite expertise to resolve the matter, feel free to submit an email inquiry or comment on the relevant article suggesting that I employ my expertise using