Saturday, December 13, 2008

Overdue Update

Yes yes, I know I've been a lazy bum and didn't touch on my blog for a week (I did update on the Starcraft Proleague news though), so go ahead, whack me D:

While browsing through, I saw this by Tadashi, a fansubber, and his thoughts are well, almost exact to mine.

Quoted from his website here.

"This is going to be my second rant post since I started subbing Soul Eater. Bear with me.

So Funimation has been hard at work keeping copyrighted material off the ‘net… Some people responded with angry e-mails, I’ve noticed. I doubt that will have any effect, but if you have a voice, you should make it heard. Some people have responded with ambivalence, or even positively, telling all us heathenous TV pirates to go to hell. Ah well.

The anime industry is pretty unique in that people like to view episodes as soon as possible after their Japanese air date. Downloading fansubs has been, while illegal, a great way to keep the community together.

People have preferences with their translations. There is, I’m sure, a huge amount of Soul Eater fans that refuse to watch my subtitles because I try to make it a full-fledged localization rather than keeping titles and names and honorifics in Japanese (for the record, I don’t see the point. You can hear them say it in their speech, so if you know what it means, it’s redundant). I don’t fret over this - that’s been my style, and there are other fansub groups who can tickle the fancy of people who don’t like my subs. DVD translations are no different. Someone might prefer a more direct (or indirect) localization than is offered. That’s where softsubs come in. Well, where they *used* to.

From what I know of the localization business, here’s what happens - Big Company creates Big Anime and airs it on TV. Big Anime gets popular overseas through fansubs, and Big Business from America decides to buy the rights to localization. Big Company charges Big Business a shitload of royalty fees just for one episode. When you buy those DVDs, you’re helping pay back those huge licensing fees. Big Business doesn’t want to go broke, so they force everyone to buy their English releases by shutting down fansubs a certain portion of the way through the series, and I swear this is a marketing tactic to build suspense for the end, but I can’t prove it. And they do this even when it causes anger among the community (and several people swear to never buy Big Business DVDs). Big Company over in Japan never sees these profits of US DVDs. Big Company gets all their money from the royalty localization fees. Does Big Company give a shit about the localization after they receive their check? No. It’s up to American Big Business to market, sell, translate, and profit from these DVDs…

But it’s often sub-par, and they often send out cease and desist letters to boost their DVD sales, and they waste money on English voice actor commentaries when they could be using that money to, I don’t know, BUY MORE LICENSES or something else that can *help* American anime culture rather than *hurt* it, e.g. wasting money on legal threats.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t buy R1 DVDs. I buy R2 DVDs and raw manga, I pay a shitload for shipping, yes, but I feel that my money is better spent, because I know at least a *portion* of my money goes towards the original creators.

What are you paying for, when you buy, say, a $30 Gurren Lagann DVD from Suncoast? You’re paying overhead for the store, you’re paying minimum wage for the poor clerk who works two jobs, you’re paying for the English dub you probably don’t care for, you’re paying for the printing cost of the disc and box, you’re paying back the high licensing fees, and the salaries of the wonderful people at Big Business that brought the DVD to you. Your dollar is basically helping with licensing fees, which in a horribly indirect fashion, could possibly maybe work its way back into the actual *anime industry*.

There have been a couple, albeit slow steps in the right direction, however. Sony is releasing Bounen no Xam’d on PSN fairly rapidly, and even Crunchyroll is doing something right by allowing people to view anime rapidly on the net while still acquiring ad revenue - similar to watching NBC shows on Hulu or watching Southpark on their official website. All good steps.

Several people have offered to give me donations to keep me going, and I’m greatly appreciative of that, but I couldn’t accept any money. Distributing anime for free over the internet is illegal, and I don’t want to take money for illegal activities (though I still don’t quite understand how a text translation of an unlicensed work is breaking the law). What I do suggest you do, though, is take that money and purchase the official R2 DVDs or even Ohkubo Atsushi’s original manga. Nobody can say you’re stealing fansubs if you own the DVDs, right?

At any rate, as far as I go, [Anonymous] has a good handle on Soul Eater, and here’s to hoping he’ll be able to finish the series in a completely anonymous fashion. I’m looking at other shows to sub, and I discovered RideBack, based on a manga by Kasahara Tetsurou, animated by MADHOUSE and premiering in January. I think it looks very interesting, and I’ve already purchased several of the raw manga volumes. I also wanted to do the Mazinger Z remake, but it looks like it was canceled or something.

If you read all that, congratulations, and thank you for hearing my thoughts. I’ll be around :)"

Heard that?


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