24th June 2011, 10:30 PM #1
What's your opinion of fansubs/scanlations? Some distributors claim that they hurt sales; on the other hand, many anime/manga were only translated because of the popularity of fan translations.
25th June 2011, 12:44 AM #2
A little robot girl.
I have mixed feelings, personally. I feel that there was once a time when fansubs were beneficial to the anime industry. Especially in the days of VHS trading, the popularity of a series would give the various companies an idea of what would actually sell. Once a series was licensed, it would still hold value to those who had a multiple generation VHS tape because the picture/sound quality (as well as the translation quality depending on the skills or lack-of-skills of the group) would be much better. Plus, many companies also released laserdisc as well, which further increased the gap in quality between legit product and fansubbed VHS.
Fansubs today still will be a sign of what series will be worth licensing, but there are factors will always keep sales down. First, fansub groups of today are able to get quality video captures of their shows, and through the speed of todays internet connections, someone who captured video in Japan can easily send that video to a p2p program or even directly to a fansub group shortly after the episode aired. Second, the quality gap no longer exists, as there are no multiple generation VHS transfers involved in bringing fansubs to their fans. Third, a company who licenses a series will not have the series available on DVD as soon as a fansub group would have the series available online (with exceptions of sites such as Crunchyroll who are able to have an episode up soon after it is aired). This leaves a lot of people who do not want to wait on a series to be released on DVD or Bluray who will download a fansub, and because the quality is generally high, they will be less likely to buy the official licensed product.
So, I personally feel that fansubs had their place in the anime food chain once upon a time, but now they can harm more than help. This does not apply though to series that never get licensed because of having a small audience or because they are considered "too old" to be marketable.
Also, moderator's note: Discussion of the legality of fansubs, how they help or hinder the industry, and the advantages or disadvantages of fansubs vs. official licensed product are welcome. Discussions of where to find fansubs, or of groups who make fansubs are against the rules, and thus should not be discussed in this thread. Same goes for scanlations.
Last edited by Satoshi-kun; 25th June 2011 at 01:46 AM.
25th June 2011, 07:32 AM #3
Who am I?
One thing that's always confused me, is these days, when companies have made anime available within 2 hours of Japanese airing (legally!), you still get groups fansubbing those shows. Sure, in the UK, you have to pay to watch Tiger & Bunny (Which is only £10 a season; and as the show will last two seasons, only £20 in two payments of £10 every 3 months). But things like Naruto Shippuden and Bleach etc are simulcast worldwide for free (well, you have to wait a week without a paid subscription, but is a week really that long to wait?). In those kind of situations, fansubs are merely damaging.
These days, it can be argued that the role of fansubs showing popularity of a series has been replaced by official streams too. Two examples are Linebarrels of Iron which was first streamed on Crunchyroll, then later acquired by FUNimation, and Tiger & Bunny, which was first a simulcast only license, then when the popularity became known, Viz Media announced they had obtained the merchandising rights, and Manga UK announced that they will be releasing the series on DVD (and possibly Blu-Ray) in co-operation with Kaze.
However, "It shows companies what people will buy" argument...doesn't really work well in 2011, where money isn't everywhere, if someone already has fansubs on their hard-drive, they aren't going to readily spend £25-40 (high street prices; online is around £10 cheaper) on a series they've already seen and own (albeit in an illegal fashion). It's like when Beez Entertainment tried to release Durarara as a sub-only release, despite the series being on Crunchyroll for free. Many people just waited for the American releases and imported those, which had the English dub. Hell, Beez Entertainment were reluctant about licensing Lucky Star due to, despite the apparent demand in America, there simply weren't enough sales of that series (The last limited edition volume was cancelled as a result), so when they finally caved in and released it, they just released all the episodes and the OVA at once under the budget "Anime Legends" line. Also, despite Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood being so critically acclaimed, sales of the Blu-Ray version of volume 1 were so low (only around 700 copies were sold) that the blu-ray release of the series was cancelled after volume 2; this led a lot of angry blu-ray owners to then import further volumes from America - Although fansubs weren't named as a cause for low sales (the £10 difference between DVD and blu-ray was probably a bigger contributer), although, for a series that apparently has such a strong fandom, it does make you wonder.
Then there's the opposite; where fansubs shows when a series is unpopular. Take The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for example. Remember the huge outry there was over the Endless Eight arc when the second season aired? Yes, there was a large outcry in Japan that was so big Aya Hirano publically apologised for it, but the western outcry was similarly as huge - and how else would the westerners have known about it?
Season 1 was released in the UK by Beez Entertainment (Complete with limited edition releases for each volume). However, Season 2, the net shorts and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya will be released by Manga Entertainment UK (with the second season being bundled into one release; although this fits the recent trend of 12/13 episode boxsets). Why? Because quite possibly due to the public outcry in regards to season 2, the Japanese licensors would only license The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya as a package with season 2. Beez were understandably not willing to take the risk, despite wanting The Disappearance; whereas Manga UK are the largest distributer in the country, so they'd be able to fall back on a failure easier.
In the UK, fansubs have become a major problem due to anger at the major UK anime distributors; although most fans tend to rely on region 1 imports (which still damages the UK side of the industry). Hell, Manga UK's twitter account was pleading with people not to import K-ON (due to our Blu-Ray release being delayed until next year, despite DVDs being available later this year).
16th July 2011, 10:38 AM #4
Personally I have mixed feelings about this. My number 1 rule which I absolutely is to never look at material that is legally available on the market and if I looked at it beforehand is to buy it as quick as possible. As for fansubs and scans, I do believe they help in exposing the kinds of popular material that people are interested in. However, these companies still remain very shortsighted and paranoid, where their attempts to create further restrictions with the Protect IP Bill and the Anti-Streaming bill will be more hurtful and cause more problems. What is needed more is new kinds of legal streams where people should pay a small fee for the kinds of things that can't be released in DVD/Blu Ray. Personally between that and the American TV shows that aren't put on DVD (Such as Disney's 90's cartoon series) it would be more of a step in the right direction.
I am also a supporter of the copyright reformist group Pirate Party (has nothing to do with actual piracy) and similar group like Demand Progress since these companies are perverting what the original copyright laws were meant to do. Right now the groups that the movie companies are forming into will end up causing more problems than it fixes.
Last edited by Tyler53841; 17th July 2011 at 11:42 AM.
17th July 2011, 02:40 AM #5
I translate for Pokemon fansubs myself, which I don't really have a problem with since no one else is releasing the original Japanese dub to the western world, and even if people wanted to import the Pokemon anime, their options are extremely limited due to the entire series being rental-only in Japan (with only the movies and a scant selection of TV episodes being sold commercially). Of course, nowadays almost all anime getting a DVD release are expected to have the original version available with English subtitles, so Pokemon's among the very few exceptions still existing in the post-4kids era. That said, if I were subbing for any other anime, and it got licensed, I'd comply with shutting the project down. Also, I watch fansubs quite regularly, but I will try to buy the official DVD release when the chance arises (and now that most anime are being released in cheap season sets, there's almost no reason not to, assuming you have a disposable income at least.... if this were back in the days of single-volume releases, or worse, if DVDs had the kind of outrageous pricing and low episode counts as they do in Japan, I could somewhat understand not paying for that). With the advent of streaming, it is a miracle that fansubs are still a problem, but I guess territorial borders are still around to fuck everyone over (as I understand it, Hulu doesn't even extend over to the people in Canada).
Yup, classes again. I'm gonna be at this for a while.