I just read koda’s post about fansubbing and I couldn’t agree less with it. She claims the same thing she’s claimed already when I showed up on Rizon four years ago: fansubbing is dead as it’s pointless to keep it up with simulcasts all over the place, and people who still stick to it are either delusional in that they can do better than the official, do it for the e-peen and/or simply don’t have a life.
I still call that bullshit.
I come from a minor local fansubbing scene. Download counts meant nothing. A few hundred would be satisfying even after experiencing a thousand times more on the global scene. I don’t even remember my initial reason – maybe just doing something productive that gets appreciated by some (any) people.
Sure, there were the days when I’d pick up shows and be disappointed when some other release got the blue on Nyaa, and it’s always been a small joy when /a/ says something nice about my work. (However rare that happens.) There were review wars too and oh-so-damn-serious fights about who’s right and who’s wrong. Been there, done that.
I wasn’t around in the “glory days” koda talks about, but watching those releases now, all I see is that they aren’t different from those put out today in any way. Their reason for working on shows was that there were no other options. You could wait years for a show to (maybe) get licensed. Even I picked up shows for no other reason than that it’s out there in the open and no one else is doing it.
Not anymore though. When I had the free time during my university years I’d hardly decline if someone I know asked me to do a show with them. I don’t have that kind of free time anymore, but even now, if I really wanted to I could probably roll out a good bunch of shows. Instead I just do what I’m really interested in and I can have fun doing – because of course there’s always the show that’s just awesome, but it’s too much effort.
For me it’s enough that I can do something I really like, and translating for fun is such a thing. If that’s appreciated by people, all the better. Of course, as a translator, the direct “conflict” with simulcasts takes a much different tone than for people focusing on other parts of the process. They have the option to just edit and try to improve a simulcast release. Checking someone else’s translation just isn’t the same.
There were days when I’d say that doing original translations for shows that are simulcast is outright stupid. That’s because the reason for doing it was the satisfaction from (preferably positive) leecher feedback and download counts. Now I pick up shows I like without thinking even if they are simulcast – because translating itself is my reason to do it.
Might be just a difference in personal philosophies, but I can’t look back at my past in such a negative way as koda does. Sure I made mistakes and I argued I’m right even when I realized I was wrong. But I wouldn’t say any of that time was wasted. I was enthusiastic about it and that was enough. Just how there were days I’d spend trying to get out of bronze, just how I’d spend countless hours leveling “just one more” character in Skyrim and just how I’d struggle my way through map after map in KanColle. Those hours weren’t wasted either.
Also, I never really cared about leechers being impatient. “When?” When it’s done. Of course, the faster the better, but I’ve never had sleepless nights because I’d delayed something. Not to mention competing with simulcasts in quality isn’t such an impossible task either. (I hear) nowadays painfully many simulcast subs are just terrible quality, with translation mistakes and derpy English.
Point is: fansubbing isn’t dead, and it won’t be as long as there are people who like doing it. For whatever reason. Even if that reason isn’t something that the burnt-out leader of gg can identify with. (I didn’t write about a few aspects of her post that I’d end up going emotional about.) Of course it might never be the same mainstream phenomenon it may have been once (I wasn’t around to see for myself nor did I look into numbers), but who cares?
While I agree with your reasoning too, part of why I feel koda’s blog post is dumb is because she doesn’t even watch anime these days. She is completely uninformed about how fansubbing works anymore, or what CR’s subs are like. CR has changed so much since the last time she was really invested in fansubbing that it’s hard to take anything she says seriously. Like you said, some of CR’s simulcasts are very, very low quality, which is only apparent if you actually watch them.
>but watching those releases now, all I see is that they aren’t different from those put out today in any way.
gSS G00 19 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umjtA_57RNA
Macross F 25 – gg|Arutha #712
and pretty much all of R2. You just don’t see Moving Embassies, Illegal Chess Moves, or 200% Loyalty in anime anymore.
Sure, there’s a show every now and then that tries to save anime (e.g. Kill la Kill), but it’s really the people that made the glory days glorious. Watching the raw R2 stream at 3am every Sunday together, 8 people stepping on each other’s toes to collaboratively QC a script that was uploaded to google docs, koda calling your cellphone to come fansub while you’re in the middle of a church sermon, reading TheFluff’s blog about other people’s terrible encoding practices, shittily editing 400 lines of a shitty Macross Frontier script translated by either a crazy trilingual German or a balding, passive-aggressive creep because you have to leave for a shitty job deep-frying seafood in 30 minutes, and silly shit like that made it what it was. But now that most of the people from that time are gone, the present fansubbing scene is palid in comparison because we were there to experience it first-hand. Kids who just finished playing Portal for the first time in 2014 aren’t running around, yelling, “the cake is a lie!” repeatedly. They just weren’t there for it to be funny to them.
Man, I put entirely way too much effort into this post on a blog written by a person I’ve never talked to.
Just because you’re not the part of it anymore, it doesn’t mean things like that don’t happen.
There are fansubbers even today who have lots of fun working on shows, together with other people of similar enthusiasm. There are people who like to spice up their scripts with inside jokes (especially those of us who studied the art at gg) and there are shows that allow for that.
Geass wasn’t neither the first nor the last good show ever aired. There were many and more shows the past few years that I enjoyed working on a lot (and especially with the people I worked with), and even among those airing this season there are a few I just can’t help but want to work on.
Maybe our way is different from your way, but you were there when this all began while it’s always been a given for us. That doesn’t mean our way is any less than yours.
I never said that the post-2009 fansubbers didn’t have fun or similar experiences, I tried to elucidate how much we enjoyed the scene at that point in time and how we came to view it as a golden time, which resulted in koda calling the current scene dead, which, in turn, generated this blog post.
You’re trying to objectively compare subjective experiences (one of which you weren’t around for) in an effort to validate your claim that fansubbing isn’t dead. That’s like trying to solve a multivariable differential equation with 1 more variable than the # of equations. Whether fansubbing is dead or not is also subjective, however objective it may seem. For me and a plethora of ex-gg, fansubbing is very much dead. We see CR subbing most shows and a token few groups trying to sub one of the non-CR shows, often burning out after a season or two. All the big groups, AnimeONE, Anime-Keep, Anbudom, Ayu, BSS, Eclipse, KAA, Menclave, Shinsen, Ureshii/Frostii are all dead. To every pre-2009 subber, the scene is toast in our eyes.
Don’t let my wall of tl;dr dishearten you from fansubbing or anything, but koda’s wall of tl;dr isn’t bullshit. You just don’t have a special pair of rose-colored glasses that were handed out a long time ago in a channel far, far away.
Your scene of fansubbing is dead all right. You grew up, I guess? There are other big groups now, working by different principles.
Of course I can’t compare our experiences, but I can’t accept you write off the current scene just because you’re not a part of it. You say that to you this scene seems dead, to which I can only say you should wipe those “special pair of rose-colored glasses”.
You expect me to just nod and accept that “fansubbing is dead” when I see it’s not? Just because we’re riding bullet trains instead of steam engines, that doesn’t mean train transportation is dead.
You don’t have to accept that we’re writing the current scene off as dead. We’re still gonna do it anyway. You can’t enforce your views on koda or myself because the nature of rose-colored glasses is exactly that: they’re colored. Nothing happens when you wipe them. Sure, you may call it bullshit, but that doesn’t make it bullshit. I may not take an active role in the current scene, but that doesn’t exclude me from it. I still run #news and host ftp space for some reason.
Also, this isn’t related to our spiel, but in your metaphor, bullet trains are apparently killing train transportation? I’m not sure how that works, considering bullet trains are, in fact, trains as well.
No, but you claiming that the scene is dead because it’s different from how it was in your days is the same as if people who rode trains 200 years ago would claim train transportation is dead because it’s different now.