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NEWS: Japanese request Fansub Removal

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Joined: 28 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 4:20 pm Reply with quote
Wow first post! anyway, tho it's great that anime and manga is becoming so much more popular and i don't feel like i have to be a closet anime lover so much anymore, being without a steady income makes it hard for someone like me to be able to watch anime titles without scrounging up the cash for them. So i have to watch the one's on television, where i don't usually like the dubbing jobs and the newer episodes are few and far between, or i depend on fansubs. Tho the companies in japan hold the full right to ask a fansubbing group to stop distrubution of their titles.. it still kinda sucks. Is this new popularity wave of anime and manga in america hailing the death of fansubbers?
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Legato 2057

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 4:35 pm Reply with quote
I doubt it. Fansubs/scanlations will always exist.
Sometimes these shows/mangas are continued even after an anime or manga has been liscensed; ie. the Naruto manga or Wolf's Rain anime.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 5:04 pm Reply with quote
I agree that Scanlations and fansubs will always exist. Unfortunately they are in the process of changing for the worse.

And unfortunately, I see requests like this one increasing. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I suspect that the growing importance of the American market affecting the way the Japanese view fansubs. I expect that Japanese companies will pay much more attention to what happens to their properties outside of Japan, and I believe that they will start to do whatever they must to make sure that their titles make as much money as possible when they are released here.

Don't forget that anime isn't the same little niche market it was several years ago. It may still be a niche market, but its a big one, and it has regular and frequent forays into the mainstream.

Fact is, with anime as big as it is, most people are exposed to new titles through something other than fan-subs. And most of those that are exposed via fansubs would probably have been exposed to the title in some other way if they hadn't seen or heard of it via fansubs first.

This puts the whole benefit of fansubs in question. That is, the benefit to the industry, not the fans.

Furthermore, despite the best intentions of most fansubbers, we all know for a fact that not everyone goes out and buys the legit releases. For a lot of people fansubs are a cheap alternative to DVDs. Its unfortunate, but its true. That's why I ran the poll, to see what % of ANN readers buy the releases... but unfortunately this is a poll of ANN readers, who are much more active fans than the average.

Anyways, this highlights the potential harm, to the industry, of fansubs.

And obviously I'm not the only person thinking these thoughts, obviously companies are as well; Japanese companies. Business is business, and the companies will make their decisions based on economics, so the benefit of fansubs to fans is beside the point as far as the companies are concerned. As long as they even remotely suspect that fansubs hurt their bottom line, they will make an effort to stop the distribution of their titles via fansubs.

So, what I wrote all this to say, is that while letters from Japanese companies have been a rarity these past five years, I expect them to become much more common in the coming months
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:47 pm Reply with quote
Well said that man, I have to agree fansubs will always be around but you and I both know that most of the people don't buy the DVD's when they come out, heck they don't even watch it when it goes onto TV "Why would I want to watch Cowboy Bebop on cable? I've got it right in front of me". Once they've seen it once they don't really have an interest to see things again. You always hear about them transfering them to VCDs, VHS and DVD. A single DVD could past through atleast 20 hands if not more.

I didn't know the ethics in the way they did fansubbing, I thought before, they would only fansub animes that would never, ever get released in the west. Two examples I heared a lot (when giving an excuse why they download fansubs) were Azumanga and DNA2 (the latter being used the most) and yet both have been released. Then I hear that every single anime gets fansubbed until it's picked up. So it's kind of a, we'll pirate it for now and when it's taken up we'll take it off our site, of course the damage has been done and there are god knows how many 1,000s of copies being passed around.

It's a shame really because it's usually the popular animes that manage to convince people to buy the DVD. I think I know about 10 people who have Azumanga on their computer although they'll readily admit it's one of the best series ever only 4 of them would be prepared to buy the DVDs (as I mentioned above, "why should I bother I already have it?") The good but not so great animes aren't so lucky, you know, "you can make that packaging as appealing as you want, add all the extras you can but I've seen it already and I don't really need to fork out my money on something I already own on my computer"

I would like to see other ways "checking out a series" (that so many people claim to be their reasoning behind getting fansubs - which really is true most of the time, but who's to say they wont download and keep the lot) I think Newtype, is it? That offers first episodes of series on it's DVD. Offering free first episodes to download on sites would be good but far too costly, you really want to get people interested, but if the series isn't on tv and not getting good exposure then you really need to find other ways and a small review or a page advert in a magazine really isn't going to push it. I'm not really into marketing so I can't really think of better alternatives to persuade people not to bother with fansubs. >.<

It's good to see Japanese companies complaining, I really think they should take it more seriously, okay at the beginning fansubs might have helped (if at all) but now it's getting serious and they need to take notice and tell the fansubs that they don't speak for them, you're not doing them a favour and you certainly are not contributing to their wages. If you want to support the industry, then support it, if you want to be a freeloader then shame on you Joe Fansub Mad lol
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 7:07 pm Reply with quote
Bit Torrent is definitly gonna change the fansubbing community alot, once a fansub group removes the torrent, no one can get it unless the people that downloaded it used another p2p program or used IRC.

However, then there are those fools with alot of money willing to shell out a ton on bandwidth just to have full episodes available for download, and let me tell you from my experience (Over 4 years of running an anime site) alot of webmasters will put up full episodes, including dvd rips of anime licensed or not, and its really just there to drag in hits.

DragonBall series especially were always ontop ripping the newest dvd releases and putting them up. What I dont get though is, they put up the english dub, and yet most fans claim to hate it... maybe they are lying right? They KNOW they love it, I do Smile

Distribution of fansubbed anime these days I dont think will be too much of a problem w/ the BT system, however for manga scanlations, I fear the worst. Naruto is translated by several groups that get the raws from the newest Weekly Jump every week and translate them, and then distribute them, especially amoung the more widely known Naruto sites, and they dont give a damn about being ethical or anything, they just know the visitors will be going through their ads and it'll pay for their servers.

I was thinking of sending a e-mail to Viz, but I dunno if action would be taken. But its nice to see the companies that own the rights take action when they can, it shows they really take great care in their stuff.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 7:15 pm Reply with quote
I see what everyone is talking about. I watched Love Hina on fansub and at first thought that there is no reason to buy the series. I have already seen it. The dubbs usually suck and the extras might as well not exist, but I have already ordered. Only because I realized that it is hurting the industry and that the point of fansubs is for it to be introduced to North America and everywhere else. But not everyone thinks that way or even cares that it is hurting the industry. So I think what fansubs should do is show like the first 2 or 3 episodes to get us hooked. Then make us buy the series. Fansubs are great because you can preview the series, but you get everything for nothing. Imagine if someone gave you a copy of The Matrix for free before it even comes out. And then a month later they are selling it with this nice shiny official box. Why would you buy it? Its not like you only seen half of it, its the same movie with a tricked out case and maybe better quality. My main thing is that fansubs should get you hooked and only that. But I still watch an entire series of anime when I download the fansub. Mainly because I don't know if the series will ever be picked up. So I have started this trend, I download the entire series, wait a couple of months, and if no news of the series being licensed is even being talked about, I go ahead and finish watching the series.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 7:20 pm Reply with quote
dlingaddict wrote:
Is this new popularity wave of anime and manga in america hailing the death of fansubbers?

I don't know about other people, but about 90% of my favorite anime[1] haven't and are likely never going to have a commercial release in the United States. While these are mostly older series, even now some of the (in my opinion) best new series are not going to be released commercially here. Even if anime develops sufficient mainstream popularity in the United States that properties are licensed very early in their run, or if there are more Japanese-American co-productions, there will always be a need for fansubbers who are willing to tackle those many worthy projects that would otherwise be unavailable to the domestic audience.

Can fansubs and commercial releases coexist in an era where digisubbers turn out products arguably as good as the official distributors do, the Internet allows for massive proliferation of subs and all of the most popular series are destined to be licensed?

I have a hunch that all media is going to have to embrace a new concept of getting their product to the consumer, anime included. Domestic distributors either need to get legitimate fansubbers to agree to not distribute a competing product (maybe by only distributing low bitrate digisubs for preview purposes) or to themselves include some sort of value-added content that compels a purchase.

As for the particular OVA mentioned in the news story, I've never heard of it and I'm assuming that it's sufficiently obscure that the Japanese creators have no interest in an American distribution deal: thus they can freely crack down on fansubs, because no word-of-mouth in fandom is likely to bring this over.

The first poster mentions Azumanga, and I'd be interested to know how that was handled. Was there always an intention on the part of the American distributor to license it, or did the popularity of the great Triad fansubs win a lot of people over? On the surface, it doesn't appear to be the sort of series that would be licensed domestically.

[1] Legend of Galactic Heroes, Yawara, Oniisama e and Kodomo no Omocha being the most prominent, though I'm one of the many people who wonders why Kodocha was never brought over; American distributors tend to be skittish regarding shoujo, I guess. I was a big Hana Yori Dango fan during the years it circulated in fansub form, and it's a fine example of prolonged fan interest compelling the release of an otherwise overlooked series.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 10:58 pm Reply with quote
If I was the head of a major animation studio I don't think people giving out my product for free would bother me as much as people making money off my creation. I think they should really tackle the growing bootleg problem. If you can buy an entire 26 episode series for the price of one legitimate US dvd, which one would most people choose?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 1:00 am Reply with quote
There's a few things I'd like to mention.

The larger (for me) problems with fansubs these days is that they "are done by the fans, for the fans". Total nonsense. Even the "proper best groups" will more than likely never translate credits, and you're constantly patronised by flashy logos and "tricked out subbing". If not that, then you have the groups that leave things untranslated for no reason ("baka" and "arigatou" are the most common). If you don't have that, then your'e still left with annoying kids who constantly want you to come to their channel for badly done 0-sec releases.

And after all of this? Of course, the subbers take due credit. Why not? I mean they've helped promote this series to- oh hold on, wait, we've done it in xvid beta corru[ptioin 8 with demultiplexing amplification blah blah blah blah blah. That's SO much better than DVD, so why bother? I mean really, lets forget the fact that mpeg2 is old, or that companies have to play by rules and contracts, #anime-kingzorz version is more l33t. That's the big problem with subbing "HQ" TV series, then going on to subtitle the DVD rips that come out. Isn't that defeatoing the purpose of promoting a series? Why bother taking so much damn credit if you're trying to beat those releases down? Makes no sense to me.

As for the DVD-ripping groups, atleast most of them are being honest about ripping people off. Others will insist that they're doing them (them = the companies) a favour by allowing a preveiw of a series. Once again, I fail to see how they're doing them a service when they constantly gloat about how damn good their own releases are. Others complain about price. Too expensive? Boo-[expletive]-hoo, don't see me stealing a BMW simply because I want one yet can't afford it. The world doesn't always work in your favour, so meh.

Third off, this really isn't that important. Oh wow, an OAV got taken off the site. I can see this turning into another massive AnimeJunkies Vs the world kind of thread. Not meaning to sound mean, but if we can keep this thread from turning into "fansubs are illegal" "but fansubs are good" "But fansubs are illegal" "hOw DaRe Dey TellL DeM Wut 2 Do Lol" "But fansubs are good!" bitch-session, then I'll be well and truely suprised.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 1:31 am Reply with quote
I better go grab a beer because this thread is going to turn into a flame fest agien like the AJ thread(of course i notcided they haven't released anything in a while thank god good riddence) I do agree that the majority of digi sub has turned into a warez scene instead of what it used to be(yeah it was there but not as much exceptions to every rule) It used to be about I love this show its never coming out or take so bloody long Im going to sub it. Nows its How long will it take it us to get a raw from jp slap some translated subs on it and release it. (record i belive was a little under 12 hours for a Ghost in the Shell S.A.C.ep irc doesnt matter much but you get the point) Im not Anti Fansub Im anti bootleg My main gripe is a show gets liscned they still sub it(not all some dont such as Elite and a couple other but for the most part they still sub it) yeah I know it sucks when a show gets liscned and you cant watch it till the end but you know what your not entitled to Free anime or Free Manga or Free Whatever. Its a privilage not a right. Atleast this group removed it per requested (they get a thumbs up in my book for that unlike AJ who basicly said F*** YOU) we need more of that its called ethics the industry for the longest time knowinglt turined a blind eye to fansubbers becouse for the most part they all played by the rule of once licsened stop distoring Bittorrent makes this a little easyer since once you remove form tracker everyone else is screwed. of course they can get it somewere else but the subbers can show there playing fair.
We really need to stop this crap or the indusrty is going to start throwing there weight around and ruin alot of peoples day.
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Legato 2057

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 1:59 am Reply with quote
While I certainly can't remember the last time that I saw a fansub group translate the credits for a show, I have also seen plenty of R1 releases where they only have given credits for the American company, either not translating, or completely ignoring Japanese voice actors and such.

While there are certain groups that will continue to sub a series even after it has been liscensed, the better groups will remove these series the day that the liscense is announced. For after the AJ incident, almost every fansub site that I visited did it's best to distance itself from AJ.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 2:33 am Reply with quote
I don't want to sound negative, but fansubs in NO WAY WHATSOEVER hurt the japanese anime industry. What do I mean? Well, all japanese people get to see anime on TV first to begin with. And, in the age of Tivos and DVDR recorders, and even VHS recorders, oh and lets not forget Blue-Ray recorders, many japanese people simply record a show if they want to see it again. So who do fansubs hurt?

Well the anime industry is changing. Now with anime becoming more popular in the USA, companies here that license it see profits from DVD sales. And yes a lot of these profits make their way back to Japan, but initially it was not this way. So... fansubs are hurting anime in america, not in Japan.

But, that's the rub. What is? Well the difference I explained. Yes anime is not a right, it's a privlidge. But I don't believe it is "fair" or even "reasonably fair" for Japanese people to get to see this stuff on TV there, even have the chance to record it, and we (Americans) are denied that privlidge and must BUY the DVDs. Generalized even more: Japanese people see it for free, and the ideal view of anime companies in America is Americans should be forced to pay $120 for a series only to find out it sucks, but there is that 5% of the time it doesn't. Yeah, so I don't think that's fair and thus will always support fansubs.

Now, do I support the view of saying "well I have them on my PC already, so I won't buy it." No. I don't support that view. But I do support the view of "I wouldn't spend money on this anyway, so it's okay for me to keep them" or "I have no money to spend on the dvds so I'll stick to the fansubs." But determining which subjective view someone holds is virtually impossible.

What the the heck am I saying? Well I think anime companies should re-think their business plan because even if the anime is licensed, I think Americans should be allowed to see the show first and come to a determination if they want to buy it, just like doods in Japan. And yes it will lead to reduced DVD sales, but hey, look at Anime DVDs in japan. They simply raise the prices to like $50 a disc. I would be perfectly happy paying that amount for a series I love while being allowed to download licensed anime on fansubs. And yes, while some people are greedy bast*rds and feel they have to own it all, in reality you don't need but 1-3 series on DVD because how many do you really watch again? There are only a few good ones out that that appeal to you so much you love to watch them again.

And rambling on, for any studios out there. What I want is not some anime channel which airs shows that have already been released in japan years ago. No, I want an anime channel that airs anime simultaniously in Japan + America as it is released. Yes, that would be my ideal channel. Wink

Edit: and I wanted to address the comment that is always posted after something like this: "Japanese people have to pay for cable, which the anime airs on, and thus it's not free." Bleh. don't give me a crappy argument like that. We all pay for cable now as it is and don't get anime. Plus basic cable, which includes anime in japan is cheap. And plus you will probably say "what about the advertisments?" Well personally, I haven't bought something because of an advertisment I saw on tv in honest to God, over 20 years.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 2:42 am Reply with quote
These kind of situations make for difficult ethical decisions for me. On the one hand, I like fansubs, especially since I have gotten the chance to see some series that may not (but hopefully will eventually) be released in the states. On the other hand, I want to support the anime industry, both in Japan and in the U.S.

I will readily admit that I continue to download fansubs. But I try to give industry support, mostly by buying DVDs. Even though the visual quality of the fansubs has increased significantly in the past years, there are still good reasons for buying DVDs:
1. DVD quality video and audio
2. Extra features (Many titles have very nice features packed in)
3. DVD case & covers (I know it's nothing substantial, but actually owning the case [or box, in the case of sets] gives me a special feeling to satisfaction)
4. Support of the industry (which will result in more titles coming over, and due reward for the companies)

Despite all of the above, I admit that I keep fansubs of anime titles that have been released domestically. One of the reasons for this is money. As a college student, I just don't have the financial resources to buy all of the anime I want. My hope is that once I actually have a job (in 2 years or so), I can begin buying all of those wonderful titles. This doesn't make it right, what I do, but it is the reasoning.

And on the subject of bootlegs, I don't like them at all. They are making money off by leeching off of the industry, and should be shut down. I accidentally bought a bootleg of the Tenchi Universe series. Although it is pretty high-quality for a bootleg, I'm still going to shill out the $200 for the licensed version (whenever I actually have that much money).

Okay, I'll probably get flamed for this, but I just wanted to add my (highly erratic) thoughts.

(Oh, and on a final note, I am downloading the fansubs of the 3rd Tenchi Muyo OAV, but the moment the series is released in the U.S., I am snatching it up. Anime smile)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 3:28 am Reply with quote
This debate will run and run just like all other simular ones. But I glad to see that the Japanese studio's are finally trying to do something about it. This I believe is down to economics. the japanese economy is still in a sever domestic ressession. Lots of job losses, lots of high interest, Their money is not very stronge on the world markets. This all results in not many people buying much of anything but the bare esentials and just saving what money they get just in case things get worst. Therefore Japanese companies are finding they have to look overseas for their profitable markets and finding that it is riddled with this decease of pirates. However it is partly dueto their onw neglict of this overseas market that has allowed it to get that bad. I personally have been in discussions about this problem of pirating fansubs with a well known studio in Japan but their response still seems to be the same. "We know about it, but we aren't prepared to do anything to stop it because it might cost too much." which to me is very lame. I argue that it couldn't have cost the pirates too much and they certainly feel it's return is well worth the effort. but they still refuse to open their eye's. Hense when their best selling production went to market in Japan this summer two days later it was on the world in a pirated fansub.

On the other side of the coin, it's all down to ethics and conscience. I for one have never, and will never download a fansub, or buy a HK silver from e-bay, no mater if it's cheap, or free. A little voice in the back of my mind tells me "It's wrong, It's theft. No matter how much you try to make it rightious, it's a criminal offense." And I have to look at myself in the mirror when I shave, so I won't buy it. But that's just me. Others are too young to shave yet and are just too clever with their computer, and like to boost too much, and are just too ignorent and selfish to realise what damage they are doing, to be not tempted, but I digress.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 10:13 am Reply with quote
Izlude wrote:
Bit Torrent is definitly gonna change the fansubbing community alot, once a fansub group removes the torrent, no one can get it unless the people that downloaded it used another p2p program or used IRC.

The problem is... we don't see that happening on all of the BT sites. There's at least one big BT site had its cowboy bebop movie BT link up (as of last month) even tho it hasn't been linked to on the site for months.

When these sites talk about "removing" the torrent, they actually simply mean delinking it. If another website exists that links to the torrent, or if someone saved the .torrent to their computer, they can still access it.. that means the torrent hasn't been deleted.. merely delinked.

In fact, a 2-minute search turned up yet another site, with BT for Noir, which they claim has been removed, but if you take one of their active links and replace it with the Noir filename (which they provide), you get a valid link.

Legato 2057 wrote:
While I certainly can't remember the last time that I saw a fansub group translate the credits for a show, I have also seen plenty of R1 releases where they only have given credits for the American company, either not translating, or completely ignoring Japanese voice actors and such.

i only have ever seen a handful of fansubs that do that.

it's not something that was _EVER_ common.

also, thanks to the difficulty of japanese names, it's entirely possible that even fluent speakers wouldn't be able to _READ_ the credits, due to the multiple pronunciations of some kanji, or due to the use of old (otherwise unused) kanji. even common names like tanaka have several variant readings. most are old and disused (denchuu?) but some of them still sound like they could be found in modern japanese ('hiroka' in particular), possibly even using that kanji.

and what's worse, to borrow an anecdote from a professor, is that some people don't even know their own name. they might've been born and raised under one name as a child, but grew up and people re-interpreted the kanji to mean a different name later.. so now the child 'hiroka' may have become 'tanaka' and no longer has a preference for either. translating names in japanese can be a painful experience. :)

I don't want to sound negative, but fansubs in NO WAY WHATSOEVER hurt the japanese anime industry. What do I mean? Well, all japanese people get to see anime on TV first to begin with. And, in the age of Tivos and DVDR recorders, and even VHS recorders, oh and lets not forget Blue-Ray recorders, many japanese people simply record a show if they want to see it again. So who do fansubs hurt?

The problem is... in Japan, even if it's on TV, -someone- is still paying for it. You pay for the cable (or satellite) service. Advertisers pay for space to show their products. Because of that broadcast, someone is getting paid. In some cases, rather than advertisers, the anime that's being fansubbed is being taken off of pay channels (akin to our own HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc).

Do you really think a few subtitles will make japanese speakers NOT want to watch something for free that they would otherwise have to pay for? It's kinda in the same vein as American anime fans who buy bootlegs. Sure, the subtitles are bad (sometimes), but who cares, as long as you can kinda understand what's going on? Likewise, why complain if you're getting to see [for free] something that you normally would've had to pay money to see? So what if there are a few measly subtitles in the way?

Reverse-Importation of fansubs IS a problem, one that the earliest pioneers of digital distribution was concerned with. Digital Anime Distribution had cut access to their servers from Asian TLDs to help prevent Japanese people from using their fansubs _as_ bootlegs. Modern anime distro groups don't do that anymore, and so now if you netstat a BT connection, you'll typically see 1-2 .jp users per 20 shares..
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