Okay, okay, this isn’t really a news-related editorial (even though I promised I would write them soon), but this is recent, and it’s probably going to storm across anime fandom on the internet, so I might as well respond to it here.

Watch the video before reading the following.

Did you really watch all five parts (all 30 minutes) of it? No? Then go back and finish it. I’m not going to have people read this editorial in an uninformed fashion without having completely reviewed the source material (even though that’s precisely what the majority of internet people do).

First of all, I must give kudos to this Paul “OtaKing” Johnson. It’s obvious that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into making that video (it took half a year, apparently). I genuinely found the entire experience entertaining: the original animation was well done (he’s a professional translator, folks, not a professional artist or video director), the video game references were satisfying, and that stereotypical snarky British wit was dead-on funny. I know a lot of people feel that he was being elitist, but he’s British! Complaining that a Brit sounds elitist is like complaining that Asians make everyone else look bad by working too hard.

In addition, this guy is obviously a fan of anime who’s working in the anime industry. With all the unwarranted concern many FANS have of people in the anime industry NOT being FANS and mishandling their precious entertainment, I feel quite confident that a guy like this would ensure I get the quality anime I want when purchasing a commercial DVD, even though I disagree with him on some of the finer points of his so-called documentary (and it’s not a documentary – it’s a video editorial – because a proper documentary documents something impartially and allows the viewer to come up with their own opinions; damn you Michael Moore for changing this!).

Now, I do agree with many of his arguments, which pretty much can be summarized by the idea that fansubbers do a lot of what they do as a way of stroking their e-penis. Granted, some fansubbers are trying to ensure that their work isn’t taken and manipulated without their permission (anyone else sensing some hypocrisy here?), like when an ebayer sells a fansub. Heck, before I knew better, back in the day, I would pay money to rent VHS fansubs from a local video store, even though the fansubs displayed the words “NOT FOR SALE OR RENT” in small print before the episode started (only when a friend pointed this out to my ignorant self one day did I stop renting from that particular store). Still, this does not justify the arrogant emblazoning of one’s name(s) and/or over-glorified typeset all over the main title screen, opening, and ending of an anime. Nor does it justify explaining so much of the story with on-screen notes that the natural and original flow of the narrative is destroyed.


However, there are definitely some gray areas which OtaKing completely marginalizes (arguably, because he has to since he used the video editorial to make a point). While overly literal and sparsely localized translations are part of the weaboo culture of Japanophiles who like to intersperse Japanese with English (i.e. “That’s so kawaii!” or “You’re a baka!”), it is also an indication of someone who knows just enough Japanese that they do not want a jarring experience when reading a subtitle. Take for example how Japanese is “backwards” relative to English, both in the order of names and basic sentence structure. When a character says “Hirano Sakura desu” (a modified example from OtaKing’s video), it can be unsettling to read a subtitle that says “I am Sakura Hirano.” Potentially, even a person with no knowledge of Japanese would be able to recognize the sounds/syllables and realize that a set of them have been reversed. This is similar to the rewriting necessary when doing a dub (so that the words match the lip flaps); enjoyment of the show can be lost when a viewer feels something is amiss. Of course, a translator can take things too far and turn everyone into Yoda by being too literal with the translation: “Hirano Sakura I am.” This was the point OtaKing was trying to make with less obvious overly literal translations like “Even at a time like this.”

I also agree that it is contradictory to REGULARLY write out “onee-sama” or “onii-chan” in the subtitle while refusing to REGULARLY denote the differences in “boku” and “ore” when a character says “I,” not to mention all the different ways of saying “you” in Japanese. OtaKing criticizes the fansubbers for not working hard enough to be creative with their translations to get around such difficulties (and then uses an interesting example from Escaflowne to show how “Who the hell are you” and “Who the heck are you?” can denote the difference in harshness between “kisama” and “anata” and carry across the effect originally intended without just leaving it in Japanese). However, creative translations can only go so far. There are definitely times when the choice to use such Japanese words are a part of the story and MUST be pointed out. Plus, when it comes to idioms or language/culture-based jokes, the task of creative translations can be downright impossible. While I give great kudos to ADV’s work on Azumanga Daioh and its ability to culturally translate one of my most favorite jokes in the series (Osaka’s “Trivial/Bean Knowledge” into equally funny “Grains of Truthjoke), an unpaid and admittedly amateur translator doesn’t have the time and resources to consistently pull off something like that.

In regards to on-screen text, translation notes, and translation of signs, I agree that too much clutter can take away from an anime. If you can’t appreciate the serenity of a peaceful scene or follow the action of a fight scene due to the letters and characters flashing across the screen, then the subtitles are being done wrong. I did, however, have a problem with how OtaKing used examples from fansubs of Pani Poni Dash and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei to validate his points here. In the original Japanese, there is a flurry of text that whizzes by at breath-taking scene, typically on a chalkboard (an identifying feature of many SHAFT studio works), such that a native Japanese viewer would have a hard time following it all. To me, the fansubbers were trying to reproduce that experience (a big point that OtaKing makes is that a translation should give the audience an experience as close as possible to the original). Sure, it becomes difficult to follow, because you are reading the spoken dialogue AND the original on-screen text in subtitles at the same time (I guess the only real way to solve that is to make a dub). However, a lot of good, hard work was put in by those fansubbers to offer the same effect to English anime fans that the original Japanese viewers had. Such fansubs (particularly a.f.k.’s fansubs of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) would go so far as to composite English text directly over the Japanese text as a professional company might do. And if they weren’t composited, the good fansubbers try to insert the English text in as unobtrusively as possible, for which OtaKing criticizes them by questioning if the sign with original Japanese writing had English writing in it originally as well.

I don’t see anything wrong with this…

In fact, when pontificating how fansubs should be more professional, OtaKing somewhat contradicts himself in the comparison of the actual typeset versus translation. He makes a point that using small, unobtrusive text at the bottom of the screen provides a much better experience for the viewer, but not only that, it’s more professional AND LESS WORK than the colorfully distracting karaoke and special moves text made in Adobe After Effects. However, being more professional in the translation by localizing culture references and idioms to English requires MORE work. Still, if I look at it more logically, OtaKing is really complaining that fansubbers are willing to do more work to do something they want to do (make flashy texts that show off their computer graphical skills and are more easily recognized by the viewer) than to do something they don’t want to do (write a professional translation that won’t be recognized, since professional translations, according to all the academic sources OtaKing referenced, are SUPPOSED to be invisible and unrecognized).

Let’s be honest, folks: that’s just human nature. People are always willing to do more work for what they like than what they don’t like (after all, here I am putting off grading papers in order to write an editorial on an anime blog). So what’s the problem? Fansubs are free (at least they’re supposed to be), so why complain about what they’re doing? I remember in the early days of digital fansubbing that some groups would get completely lambasted for having poor video quality (it still happens today, I’m sure). My argument was (and still is), “You get what you pay for.” In addition, a small part of me thinks a “poor” fansub can be a good thing – it gives people a taste of the anime and possibly encourages them to buy the DVD. Don’t want an opening filled with fansubbers’ names, karaoke-effects, or even the credits for the original creators? Then buy the DVD with a clean opening.

I can’t wait to watch a clean opening of this!

Still, there is a bigger issue here that OtaKing did not even address in his video. This “cultural movement” is affecting the industry. Look at the commercially localized manga and anime of today and compare it to 8 years ago. The proliferation of retaining Japanese idiosyncrasies has been on the rise, from the preservation of right-to-left reading in manga to the use Japanese honorifics in a dub (like in Azumanga Daioh) — A DUB!. If OtaKing really has a problem with cluttered on-screen text, then he should check out the commercial release for Excel Saga with the AD-Vid notes turned on (granted, as a commercial DVD, one can turn off all those texts – I guess, one can make an argument that fansubbers should create a matroskva pack that allows their fansubs to have certain on-screen text, karaoke, and translation notes turn-off-able…). This is nothing more than economics at work, actually: there is a market for weaboos, and anime FANS should be happy that the anime industry is the one of the most responsive industries to their consumers out there. However, this market is somewhat gradually taking over, and that does not bode well for the industry. Allow me to explain.

Basically, there are three markets the anime industry is trying to target: fresh blood (people who have little to no knowledge of Japanese language, culture, and/or anime), FANS (people who have some knowledge and/or are overly excitable about anime or anything Japanese), and mature fans (people who have extensive knowledge and/or are mature in their views of fandom). Only FANS desire the “authenticity” of retaining honorifics, name order, and Japanese words that do have a decent English translation (i.e. shinigami can mean reaper). Fresh blood don’t know any better, and mature fans can deal with it, because while they know how it was “supposed” to be, they can understand why the translation went a particular way.

Not only do we have a “numbers dilemma” going on here (where potentially only one out of the three groups is selected for when producing localizations of anime), but that particular demographic group of FANS routinely refuses to pay for commercial anime in the first place! They get everything they need out of fansubs, and they revel in their cliquey obtuse weaboo culture. The anime industry cannot sustain itself on a group of people who are only interested in anime because it’s different and allows them to speak in ways that alienates everyone (actual conversation overhead at an anime convention: “Wai! Tobi-chan! I’m so happy to see you! You’re SO kawaii in that cosplay!”), because eventually such a group (which was undoubtedly be small to begin with) will lose interest and focus on something else that is different and clashes with social norms. This also explains why there are always such huge reactions from FANS to the professional translations and localizations that OtaKing advocates: they don’t want their underground hobby to become mainstream. I’m sorry, but one should not like anime SOLELY because it’s different – that’s what we’d call a fad.

But maybe I’m being overly paranoid. As a teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the assimilation of all things Japanese into the youth of today. Ironically enough, maybe the integration of Japanese and English (both language and culture) will become more mainstream in and of itself, and that will generate a demographic large enough to sustain the industry that produces the wonderful entertainment we enjoy. I mean, it’s not like the anime industry is in trouble…or is it?

– Natron-e?
who is enjoying roasting some popcorn over the flame fest


  1. look i watch all of these parts like ya said. And true he makes some good points but in away he kinda hating. personally i dont care how they translate with all the specail effects and stuff as long as i understand wha going on sheesh aint got ot make a big fuss on what they did in teh old day and what they do now even though ya ca take a few pointers but it all come it all come down to being able to understand what is happening in anime and what the character are saying. He kinda piss me off but he still make some sense but the part about changng the actually daiglog and changing it i didnt agree with that. Anyway in the end like i say and personally for me aint give a damn all i want is that i understand what they are saying and i mean ppl might not be showing off i highly doubt it translators just want you to understand what certain pharases mean and to learn a little japanese in the process.

    P.S I like it when one piece use flashy subtitles for attacks i find it quite cool

  2. Natron-e? that was a pretty good article. I thought it was pretty good, and I do conceed that OtaKing had some very good points as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this. At first when I watched the video I was expecting something very bad, but it was very concise for the most part. I don’t agree with everything OtaKing thinks (you actually hit the points I don’t, and answered pretty much how I feel), but I get his view.

  3. I agree with our dearest OtaKing on pretty much all of his points. Albeit, I also agree that text (such as the example above) should be translated.

    This is the problem in anime now, otakus are dwindling while weeabos are growing. No longer is anime “for fun” but rather a chance for the weeabo populace to give their epeens a weekly stroke.

    I find it kinda funny that OtaKing found some bottom barrel fansubs to illustrate his point.
    @Natrone, I’m amazed you still have some old AJ crap-subs. The “Dethroned Princess” was my favorite of their failures.

  4. It’s funny you post a screenshot of Macross Frontier when there are two sub groups which do the show entirely softsubbed, so with one keystroke you actually _can_ watch a clean opening.

  5. Gattai DID make clean openings of it (as gg does now)… but they’re in the minority these days. The main issue I have with him is mostly how he comes across as displaying his e-Penis as badly as the fansubbers he criticizes. Some jokes don’t carry over (Azumanga Daioh was particularly bad about this), which required either extensive translator notes (which appeared in the manga) or translation of the jokes to English equivalents (which also happened in the manga and anime)… but sometimes they miss the point, or leave the joke out completely, by literally translating it (or not), as ADV did with the ukoncha/chinsuko jokes in Azumanga. Those jokes were explained with a small TL note in the fansubs, which helped me appreciate why Yomi was embarassed by Tomo’s repetitions of what ended up being dirty words… a point that didn’t come across with ADV’s rendition.

    I do agree some honorifics don’t carry across well, due to the way English is structured. Adding ‘neesama’ to every sentence, or ‘de-arimasu’ untranslated can be a problem. Especially when they’re added to the end of EVERY sentence they’re used in, which can be rather annoying to read (especially if the speaker is Keroro from Keroro Gunso or Wilhemina from Shakugan no Shana, both of which use ‘de-arimasu’ an awful lot). One way to rework or reword their sentences is to make them stilted… which creates its own problems in readability (see the way Shampoo gets translated in the Ranma tapes/DVDs).

    All things in moderation is the only thing I can preach: one thing that DOES bother me about the way ADV translated Azumanga is that they basically gave Osaka a ‘New York Italian’ accent to emphasize how the Osakan accent sounds different from Kansai’s… but in doing so really screwed up the feel of the character, since it breaks the suspension of belief that this is about Japanese schoolgirls. You don’t need to localize EVERY piece of a translation, which is a point I feel some translators miss – the xXxHolic translation is probably among the best Del Rey’s put out, because they don’t try to localize the material too much, and leave copious notes in the back to explain the references that they chose not to… while not adding ‘-sensei’ or ‘-kun’ to every line.

  6. The guy made valid points but using SZS as an example?… *shakes head* Also, most people won’t have problems with onee-san and etc, even if they are new to anime/manga. Many anime/manga fans find them cute and only a small minority would rage over their use. Then, some of the problems can be addressed with soft subs, which some groups are beginning to use. People are then allowed to choose how they want their anime to be translated.

    Well for the most part I agree with Natrone. Awesome read, 30 minutes well spent :).

  7. Well, that was entertaining! I have to say some things made a lot of sense, but at the same time I think he was just just being a little too anal~ >_< Otaking wasn’t wrong, its just sometimes you have to be FLASHY. I mean we watch anime to be entertained. O_o

  8. Good article, and good video as well, this OtaKing guy knows his stuff. I can just imagine a bunch of pale-faced, basement-dwelling fanfreaks raging about how wrong his is, and how stupid he is for daring to criticize fansubbers.

    Weeaboos are surely on the shallow end of the gene-pool, get me some chlorine before they type another ” ^_^ ” smiley.

  9. Anyways… people have to realize that digital fansubs is derived more from Warez roots than old VHS fansubs. It’s all about stroking the E-penis. Screw translational integrity. Almost no anime fansub translators I’ve talked to does it professionally. Most of them are engineers or in college training to be one. >_>

  10. I like Del Rey’s work in general. If I have a choice between two mangas that I know nothing about, and one is by Del Rey, I’d usually choose it (not that I have that kind of money to throw around; I’d rather research first).
    It certainly seems like Natron-e?’s opinions coincide with a lot of mine. I would have loved to get angry about the way OtaKing used Zetsubou Sensei in his video, but everything I was mad about was already pointed out. I really think that was just a miss on his part. Too much of that show requires explaining, and thanks to the fact that it’s a fan-sub, it’s possible to pause and rewind the show to catch what the blackboard and such said (something that a native Japanese person watching the show on TV would always have the luxury of doing). Of course, I can’t disagree that to someone that either disliked or didn’t watch that show, the screens he took from it would be extremely convincing.

  11. Excellent editorial.

    But my God, did that video make me furious. While the pretentious British accent should be discounted, there were definitely some very clear moments of unnecessarily vitriolic mocking.

    My major gripes with the video mostly come from how exaggerated the “examples” OtaKing chose.

    1. As you pointed out, Pani Poni Dash, Zetsubo Sensei, and other reference filled shows are really poor choices for cluttering liner notes. There are *far* too many gags and references that need explaining and come far too fast to possible be able to read from a booklet and understand, much less have time to actually enjoy. In a booklet, the lag time towards getting a joke would make the lines even less funny, as if someone explained a joke to you an hour later. Reading ahead of time is not an option, as that would basically be spoiling yourself.

    2. Worse, OtaKing specifically chose Pani Poni Dash of all series. Guess what? gg Fansubs translated the whole series with liner notes in pdf format rather than subbing in notes! I did not think they worked all that well for me, but they were very thorough and added a lot to the series upon the second viewing.

    Generalizations, exaggerations, and a clear lack of research continue in the video.

    3. One Piece is the worst possible example of over stylized subtitles for techniques in-series. I don’t watch One Piece, but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the first time I’ve ever seen that particular practice done was in *this* video, and all the examples are from one fansub group.

    4. I do appreciate your and to a lesser extent his pointing out the hypocrisy in leaving in all the suffixes -san, -chan, etc, while not bothering to differentiate between the various forms of first person pronouns. There simply is no analog in english, and translating them all to “I” is an unfortunate evil. It would be incredibly awkward to leave them in, though you lose a great deal of meaning in that blanket translation.

    5. Using Trinity Blood as an example at all. No series leaves out more detail all the time. I dislike the series a great deal, and the subbers that translated it *were* very obtrusive.

    6. My other complaint is his issue with “plain font.” According to OtaKing, all professional releases are in plain font. Well…all “professional” releases also are on DVD. DVD’s have to live up to a certain standard to be able to have their subtitles appear on every possible configuration and manufacture of DVD playback hardware. Fansubs require the necessary codecs, which are far easier for the average user to obtain than say…and update capable optical disk player (nowadays, there is only one widely available, the PS3). So fansub groups go a little nuts with it sometimes, I can concede that. But if you look at dvd-rips from the Japanese disks, when those are fansubbed, particularly the .ogg format (replaced by the font-capable .mkv) the fansubs are all in (surprise surprise) “plain text.”

    Mostly, I saw this video as a lot of exaggeration and spin to prove a point that isn’t really there. So basically, it’s just like any cable news broadcast or blog. A lot of sensationalizing and narrow scope to prove a point, incite some emotions (congrats, OtaKing succeeded), and make the statement at the same time. There are a lot of fansubbers that display some (and ALL) of the issues OtaKing mentioned. But there are an equal number that have either cleaned up their ways, improved a lot, or *always* translated “professionally.”

    There’s more to be said, but I’ve written a lot already for a comment.

  12. Dear Lord, forgive me but I could not bear watching over the past 3 videos.

    Yeah I remember what the anime was like back when Dial-up was high tech. He had some nice insight on that stuff but…

    … as he starts criticizing the other fansubbing groups you can almost feel his hate growing. As of the end of video 3 it seemed much more like a rant than an informed discussion.

    I do however recognize how he had some valid points. Fansubbing anime is not about flashy effects and fansubbing groups nowadays are including text files with translation notes on either the torrent itself or on their homepage/irc channel with descriptions.

    I don’t t hink that I would be able to enjoy shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is very kanji heavy, without those on screen notes. You’d end up having a several page section for each episode and who is going to really read and remember all of that as you are watching the anime.

    While you should aim to give the viewer as much of a similar experience as possible to the original product the viewer should not have to read several pages of cliff notes beforehand to understand it either. Otherwise even though the dialog may be in English the entire episode may as well be in Japanese since most of the intrigue is in the dialog and content therein. Basically if you don’t know the language you have to sacrifice something to get a similar experience.

    The people that really have a love will study Japanese. Everybody has time to learn 1 extra language at their own pace.

    Typesetting definitely has it’s own place. Take for example episode 1 of School Days done by Conclave. In the beginning when Itou and Sekai are writing each other notes it is much easier to understand the conversation because of the superb typesetting. If plain typesetting was used their it would be very difficult to follow what is going on.

    The part about making ones group name larger than the actual anime name is true though.. and the ego that goes around. I used to work in AonE and once asked why they had put a AonE (c)opywrite logo next to the Sunrise(c) logo… it just does not make sense. There is a lot of internal competition that goes on in a fansubbing group. People do not want to lose their role to a new guy that has shown some promise with some flashy effects.

    Like the video creator said it is about ego. Everybody wants to be the best, it is human nature.

    Samurai Pumpkin
  13. Before any of you start questioning his competence as a translator, here is his CV:

    *Link removed*
    Sorry, but that’s a bit too personal for my taste. The man requested his CV be removed from here, so I think we should honor that, even though he has yet to directly request that of me.
    – Natron-e?

  14. I guess to narrow down my point, between the overly narrow view, the limited examples that OtaKing took, and the lack of research (the gg fansub PPD pdf files really rankled with me) the whole video just seems to, hypocritically enough, lack professionalism.

  15. @Eh
    If you were reading the sentence that came before that Macross Frontier picture, you would realize that I was specifically referring to original creators’ credits. In other words, for that particular shot during the opening, I wish to see the Valkyrie transform without knowing what the name of the original song is, who wrote it, and who sang it (there’s also that linked shot of Shibusen from Soul Eater, for which I also desire a clear view without seeing the original Japanese credits).

    I’m not so much worried about new fans being “enraged” by the use of onee-san, etc., insomuch as I’m worried about them being confused and deciding to forego a budding interest in anime due to inaccessibility.

    @Samurai Pumpkin
    If you didn’t watch the very end (the end of the 5th video), you’re missing out on when he implies he knows he’s ranting (with that oh-so-wonderful tongue-in-cheek British wit)….

  16. someone might have stated it, but since the rise of .mkv fansubs, most fansubs give you the choice of having subtitles and not having subtitles, so if your really disturbed about the flashy subs, then you could simply right click the matroska icon and click ‘no subs’. but then again, not all fansubs have those, but i’m just saying.

  17. Sorry, couldn’t bare watching any longer once he started referring to fansubbers as a single entity with no diversity whatsoever. I can’t really understand what people have against stylized subs… it’s an awesome way to show who’s talking or what state of mind they are in. It also adds that more feeling to the OP/ED. Also, digging up trash about one group doesn’t say anything about all the other ones.

  18. The only point I actually agreed on was the fact that fan-subbers plaster their names all over the credits and introductions; I really would like the real credits to be put into English. But I do believe that fan-subbers deserve some credit, they give their time and bandwidth (expensive) all for free. Other than that Otaking just full of hot air with how he spews crap about professionalism and a bunch of quotes probably out of context of people I have never heard of that he claims to be credible also note that most of his quotes are form like 40 years ago. He over exaggerates everything such as flashy multicolored moving fonts, tl notes etc. Also most modern fan-subs are soft subs so if you find those translations annoying turn them off, some even include separate no tl notes subs.
    Some of the translation notes are defiantly important such as stuff explaining culture and holidays and stuff most Japanese people would know and maybe unknown to foreign watchers. I wouldn’t want “golden week” to be translated to something like summer/spring vacation it’s really not the same thing but essentially that is the closest thing in American culture. Also you can’t possibly call it by its separate holidays that it consists of. I also have yet to see someone explaining that Boku, watashi, atashi etc have subtitle differences right on the screen. There are hardly ever excessive tl notes in modern fan-subs and they are usually very informative and would have been something that watchers would have wanted to know anyway.
    Also stuff like karaoke effects are a nice way to present the translations to op/ed (if they are readable, not stuff that instantly disappear, that’s annoying) but I have seen it done magnificently even though this stylized, off the top of my head SS-Eclipse usually does a good job they match the mood and the scenery making it very appealing.
    Well anyway now I’m just ranting and getting lazy to write so ill just list my other comments
    I like stylized text with like action scenes having a little after effects is nice and I love the colored fonts (especially the ones that match the characters hair color :D), much better than the lame yellow ones found in dvds. Yellow fonts should be banned; they take away from your enjoyment since you have to stare at these bland subs.
    Leaving honorifics and some words like onii-san I think are essential. Saying Older Brother is just plain awkward and it is not what one would say in real life. And translating something like onii-sama to beloved elder brother and reading that is like shooting myself in the foot, its awkward and it hurts.
    Stuff like translated signs I find fine when they are translated directly over or better right next to it as long as fan subbers do a good job matching the same color and style text. It blends in nice and is less intrusive than another line of next on the top on bottom.
    In conclusion I probably only think this way because I am a so called “japanophille” but dunno. I find dvd subtitles to be taking away from the meaning of the story and just plain awkward. Fan-subbers I believe keep the culture in the translation and that is essential. Anime Japanese so you should preserve the culture of the intended audience (Japanese people). Localization basically just kills all that. That brings me to another point. What this guy wants is more like localization where not only you bring the language but also the culture and present it in the local culture and language.
    Also I really do not like how Otaking thinks his way is the best. Its really cocky and is just like fansubbers who he claims stylize subs to appear to be the best. Even his name shows his huge ego KING, also if he hates leaving Japanese words in translations his name should be geekynerdking.
    He really doesn’t need to complain now; almost all mainstream animes are localized and can be easily attainable. Only the nitch animes are not brought in, but those viewers are usually the people that prefer shinigami over death god and have at least a basic understanding of Japanese honorifics and stuff.

    I’m done, I’ll shut up now 😛

  19. After watching the video I see that the issue of censorship in US licensed anime was missing. I really don’t like watching lollipops instead of cigarettes (One Peice) or having all the blood airbrushed out, or seeing sub sandwiches instead of onigiri. I know that for me, censorship is one of the main reasons I don’t watch licensed anime. I want to know if the charactor in the anime is drinking or not and I’m not such a prude to need all the cleavage erased.

    I thought censorship was one of the main reasons why fansubs are still going strong against a weak DVD market. Until we can get UNCENSORED anime – Long Live the Fansub 🙂

  20. Reading some of the animesuki forum thread after he appears to defend himself…

    It’s pretty obvious that Otaking is probably one of the most successful trolls I’ve seen in a while. He got a lot of fansub staff ripping his arguments apart, and he just keeps egging them on.

    This whole thing has made my night. Thanks for bringing it to our attention Natrone, I don’t got to animesuki much anymore, I probably would not have seen it.

  21. Wow this is a hot-button topic isn’t it? Lot’s of feathers are getting ruffled here. Personally, as an, well, older fan I try not to take things to seriously. This isn’t my life, I have a family to take care of and career etc. but it is what I enjoy as my main means of recreation and fun. Okay, so I don’t watch much American tv, and mostly watch Japanese dramas and anime. And yes I DO use “Engrish” and morph my english and select Japanese words I like together. If this makes me a “Weaboo” then thats fine, I’m to old to care about labels or name-calling. I’ve always knew I was a nerd, first and foremost. From my Academic Decathlon to my D&D. But I think it was thanks to a lot of material being kept in the subs that I have had such an interest in Japanese culture. In my heydays of Macross, Dirty Pair, Akira and even Sailor Moon, I truly enjoyed those Features and shows. But it wasn’t until I began watch fansubs, with all it’s often inclusion of these honorifics and terms, that I really became fascinated by the culture and language. I now study Japanese and am very happy doing so. I think these particulars do not create a greater gap between cultures but helps others to enjoy cultural differences instead of closing ourselves off from the rest of the planet.

  22. I seen this a while ago, and after reading this “long” post, i felt the same. It is, “let fans do what they do, its a hobby of theirs and no one is forcing you to watch it.” And if it is ruining anime, good! Cuzz it will make people buy more DVDs. As for the “extreme fans” they’ll live, and the regular “fans” should grow up, if not, i’m worrying about their future.

  23. Some interesting points.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of a discussion on the issue of interpretation. While “taking a stance” can make the sub easier to read, you may run the risk of injecting your own bias into the scene. I don’t think that there’s a hard and fast rule here. Ideally, if there’s any interpretation to be made into the meaning, it’s probably better to leave it in the hands of your audience. Otherwise, you aren’t really “giving the viewer the same experience as the original audience.”

    While it’s nice to provide separate translation notes as far as parodies and other such references are concerned (especially since the original audience could just as easily miss them), you probably want to keep notes that pertain to spoilers as on-screen notes. If the viewer reads the notes first, then they might infer what happens before they are supposed to know it. If they read the notes after, then they aren’t getting the same experience as the original audience. Everything in moderation, I guess. :p

    While the reference to “defacing art” was cute, it seems to be a difficult ideal to maintain in practice. If what we see on screen is art, then doesn’t any sub constitute defacement? After all, people in Japan don’t have large yellow subtitles pop up when they talk any more than they have English translations written on the classroom signs. The main distinction seems to be that some of these notes “blend” into the original art, but wasn’t the goal to be discrete in the first place?

    That’s not to say that either ideal is better than the other; but you still need to make a choice between them. If you only follow appeals to authority, you’ll get pulled in every which direction. The important thing is to find a set of consistent principles that reflect your own values regarding translation, and to be consistent with them.

    Regardless, it’s always nice to hear what other people think about these things.

  24. Wow, I actually read that whole article in addition to watching the videos. I think I’m gonna like having you around here to write up articles. 😀

    Anyways, back on topic.
    I can agree with many points brought up on the video. For instance, having the name of the fansub group in a bix complex font on the title screen is a bit obnoxious. I know who subbed the video I’m watching, I don’t need half the screen to remind me who it was.

    Oh, like you, I got quite annoyed on how the video used Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei in many examples of bad translations. While there may be distracting text everywhere, that is an integral part of the experience. I don’t think I ever saw an episode of Zetsubou Sensei where my eye doesn’t frantically bounce around the screen trying to read the three sentences of stuff that flash by in three seconds. That’s why I like watching it.

    As for professional translations and subbing, they’re not perfect either. I own both the a.f.k. fansub and official commercial DVDs of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I love this series but the DVDs disappoint me. I still bought the whole set because I love the series and would like to support more of it *cough* *cough* but the subtitles just annoyed me. It was neither unobtrusive like other official subs nor blended it well with the video like with the fansub. It was some large ugly green font that I just can’t stand. That’s why I still keep the fansub with me.

    As for Lucky Star I haven’t gone around to watching that subbed yet. I own the Vol. 1 DVD but only watched the dub so far. If it still disappoints I can always watch the a.f.k. version.

  25. The guy makes some valid points about some fan-subs putting too much of their own text on screen or going over the top with their flashy text effects. But at the same time that doesn’t mean they should all use plain old white text in size 10 font and lord forbid you watch the winter episode and see all the translation obliterated by the snow. All little color is fine as long as it blends in with the show. Of course peoples taste are different so you can never make everyone happy no matter what you do or don’t do.

    As for keeping words in Japanese thats a toss up. Personally I prefer it when they keep the special attack name in Japanese because when I see it fully translated in English I just laugh. I mean seriously most of that stuff they say is ridiculous to begin with and you feel like an idiot when you read it. Makes you look like an even bigger idiot if someone walks in your room and reads that over your shoulder.

    As for notes appearing on screen I have no problem with that as long as they offer a way to either turn them off or release a non noted version. Excel Saga was a good example of this. You don’t have to read them if you don’t want to but they are nice to have especially for a cultural and pun heavy show like that. Because lets face it some things do not translate over into English without an explanation if at all. If I had a choice between Reaper (sounds kind of evil), Death God (to literal, and puts the characters in a whole other class of beings) or Shinigami, I would chose Shinigami.

    And being an American I should add in a capitalist answer to this. If you don’t like it don’t watch it. The internet is full of defunct groups that disappeared because people stopped watching them do to well in some cases bad everything.

  26. Suzumiya Haruhi Bandai Entertainment translation.

    “I have a ponytail moe”

    Granted “moe” is hard to translate but THAT is a example why the whole argument about fansubs collapse, “official” subs can be as bad if not worst that fansubs.

    Also I do recall MY own language (that is not english) of Excel Saga that saying is poor is a understatement, it seems the person responsible for it decided that translating the TEXT of what Daimaru was saying was too much of a trouble and so did not bother to do it after some episodes.

    And yes, there are groups and there are groups …

  27. I actually agree with him on the notes. It’s good to have but only as a separate file or at the end of the episode. I also don’t like small fancy fonts either especially when they appear for half a second.
    Meh I don’t even use fan subs anymore though lol…. I remember those good old days when we had to put those subs of dragonball on VHS tapes lol

  28. @W.Wolf
    I tend to agree with your capitalist statement at the end of your comment, except it’s a little more complicated than that.

    Let’s say you don’t like Oreos. Fine, don’t buy Oreos. You do like Chips-A-Hoy, so you buy Chips-A-Hoy. Except, since Oreos are selling well, the makers of Chips-A-Hoy decide to alter the recipe and make Chips-A-Hoy taste more like Oreos. Then, what do you do? Start eating Wheat Thins or Triscuits? And what’s going to happen to the market of cookies when everything starts tasting like Oreos? It will go down, due to basic economics: supply exceeds demand.

    Yes, this is a silly example and maybe it’s an unwarranted fear that the anime industry is struggling in part due to the influence of fansubs on commercial DVDs, but it does make you think, right?

    …OR maybe the REASON why “official” subs can be as bad as fansubs (in terms of not translating words like “moe”) is because the culture that encourages fansubs to retain such words is spreading to commercial releases and infecting the anime industry as a whole…

    I mean, the people at Bandai in charge of localizing The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi KNEW they had to cater to the more hard-core Japanese fans, weaboos, Japanophiles, etc. (just like the ADV people who localized Excel Saga) – look at all those “viral videos” that came out after the licensing announcement was made!

    I’m just worried this behavior will spread, further marginalizing anime as a niche market that will regularly struggle to make ends meet….(IMHO, anime can remain a niche market, as long as it’s not struggling)…

  29. Hey NatronE,

    Firstly I want to say thanks, Your posts have been amazing so far for this site and I’ve enjoyed reading them.

    Now, I agree with you that OtaKing makes a lot of good points and I love how he emphasizes how annoying the screen clutter can be with using English movies. And I do agree that sometimes when I’m watching my anime I do get annoyed at the billions of notes from the subbers that I have to be pausing my video for to read so that I don’t miss the meaning, it would be so much easier of the subbers (and I know they work so hard already) would just take the time to completely translate the speech.

    However, at the same time I do think that the Subbers are also doing a great thing. In that with all the notes and leaving the honorifics it’s basically at the same time as me enjoying my anime I’m learning the language, or at least some basic things. And I’m learning more about the culture, rather than scratching my head during every episode of xxxHolic (which has ohh so many Japanese cultural references, and if you don’t read the note that Shinsen gives you before each ep you get slightly confused.

    I agree with OtaKing where they can give you a text file with a summary explanation that you can read. And to make it even easier they can do like Shinsen with xxxHolic and at the beginning of every episode, after the OP and before the actual show they have a thirty second clip, where they have a static background and they have a page or two of straight text (summarized heavily) so that you can understand what they will be talking about during the show. Just like here

    SO I hope for a day where we find that spot in this grey area which will allow everyone to be happy. Anyways, I will keep enjoying my anime until then.

  30. Otaking is pushing too far…and he forgot to put the culture, mindset, and intended audiance into account…overall I must say I disagree with his video (no matter how many months he put into it)

  31. I need to finish the video. But I watchd he first 2 parts a couple days ago.

    And first of all I heavily disagree with Otaking’s statement that
    Professional Company work = The best.

    I call myself a “cultural diffusion” addict. And that’s because I actually get kind of angry at fansubs that take out cultural notes.

    Alot of people were angry at a.f.k. for their “Tsundere = Bipolar” thing. But I was already abit confused over their removal of Makoto’s joke nickname in Kanon. No offense at all to a.f.k. at all they are a very good group.

    Thanks so much for making more posts on this kind of thing Natrone.

  32. Don’t really wanna organize my comments in paragraph form…so I’ll just list them.

    – There isn’t really anything wrong with putting English translations on an on-screen sign as long as it doesn’t get in the way. In the screenshot above, that one camera shot was shown to briefly let the audience know that the next scene takes place in the infirmary; it’d be weird if a non-Japanese viewer saw that without the translation.

    – I very much agree with “Otaking”‘s comment about fansub karaoke captions; it’s impossible to sing some songs with the custom fonts, the effects, and the fact that the new line appears immediately while the line is being sung instead of a few seconds before.

    – The deal with the honorifics… I remember watching an anime (dvd official subs) with a friend who’ve never watched anime before, and he’d notice the characters saying “-san”, “-kun”, etc without any mention of it in the subtitles and would get confused. At one point he would think that the honorific “-chan” was a girl’s last name and that she was Chinese, but when someone says her name with “-kun”, he exclaimed, “hey, wasn’t her last name Chan?”. I think it is necessary to inform viewers beforehand about Japanese honorifics before the series in case it’s their first time, but it’s kinda unnecessary to keep “-san”, “-kun”, “-chan”, etc, in the subs every time they’re used and in every episode. I also find nothing wrong with translating Ani, Onichan to big brother etc.

    – I think it’s necessary to have footnotes for parodies and references (especially for Lucky Star and Zetsubou Sensei). References and parodies of Japanese media would obviously be understood by the Japanese viewers because they grew up with them, but other viewers will have absolutely no idea what the joke is… I had to go search on google and wikipedia after watching Lucky Star sometimes because I didn’t recognize the obvious Cat’s eye and “Timotei~ Timotei~” references.

    – I personally think Kaizoku-Fansubs is ridiculous for leaving “Nakama” untranslated… I understand how the word “Nakama” is important in Japanese, but isn’t the word “Comrade” or “Companion” important words in the English language as well?

    – I think Natron-e? was right when saying “you get what you paid for”. Fansubbers don’t want to be put through those “severe tests” because they really have nothing to gain from it. They’re pretty much subbing shows they like so other people can watch those shows and say that they like them too, and as long as the translations are semi-understandable, they’ve pretty much done their jobs. I myself pretty much gave up fansubs and is instead watching raw anime since most series require such low levels of Japanese to understand. However I’d occasionally download subs when the Japanese is really hard to understand (like Spice & Wolf…I had absolutely no idea what Horo says half the time… also the stuff about farming and economy…).

    P.S. I really like the MGS3 “Ocelot talks to the president on a secure line after the game” reference in the end.

  33. I really enjoyed Otaking’s documentary/editorial and thought that he was spot on with his assessment of the fansubbings. However, the main problem with his doc. was that he nitpicked about the poor quality of the fansubbing and ignored the more pressing issue that fansubbing is illegal. Should we, as viewers of anime, be more concerned about the amateur fansubbing or about the shady methods that we watch these anime in question?

  34. Anyone who are against fansub need to quit blogging current japanese anime, quit viewing it, leave the community… because even if you have a legal source and can understand the raws, you are only advertising it for those who can’t thus making them want it and the only way they can get it is questionable…I for one thank all fansubbers for all their hard work, for whatever the reasons they do what they do.

  35. I totally agree with the video. Why would they keep such unnesscary things in. It’s annoying because you have to stop the show to read it, and it doesn’t really help you to enjoy it anymore. It just annoys you. They really need to stop screen clutter. I really don’t care about who fansubbed it, or who helped them so I really don’t want to see the names pasted on the credits. I think things are getting way to flashy when they don’t need to be. And as the video said, they aren’t even translating it! They leave everything and hope you know how to say, “brother” in japanese, when it’s so unnesscary.
    They should really just leave it to the proffensionals, and wait until the legal and way better sub comes out on DVD. They should put their little notes in the description box. So those who want to read it can see it, and not force it upon us, and take up the screen space.

  36. @voodoomage
    That’s like saying poor people should never be shown ads on TV, radio, billboards, magazines, etc., because the only way they can get what they have been convinced to desire through said advertisements is by questionable means.

    Oh? You’re saying the poor people should work and earn money to pay for the products they desire? Or maybe you’re saying that questionable means aren’t the ONLY way poor people can get what they want? I don’t see how those don’t apply to the an anime fan, as well…

    (Look, I like fansubs – I watch them – but don’t defend them with faulty logic)….

  37. Don’t care enough to make an account on animesuki, but it kind of irritates me that he keeps falling back on Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy 7, and Mega man. He keeps mentioning them, saying that they’re amazing works of translation, and they don’t have honorifics. Are they great because they don’t have them? Would they suddenly have totally sucked if they’d included honorifics? The argument that “Well it worked before, why not continue?” could be applied to a great many other things as well, like using H-bombs. Those worked great for ending WWII why not use them to end every war? Of course, that’s an extreme, but it’s to illustrate a point, which pretty much the same thing most of his video did. I had more respect for his video before he bothered to try to defend himself really. If the aim of the video was simply to convey his opinion and convince others to agree, it’ll always have some share of BS that’s simply used to make a point. It’d be better that he didn’t bother getting defensive when someone calls that BS into question.

  38. ooh been reading this whole thing, and took aobut 590 minutes reading thru the commetns and everything. most people and i would say we agree but also disagree on this video editorial. though i dont really mind the translations, sometiems they can bother u but if u really want it, buy the DVD. its all good. anyways, another great read, thanks ^_^~!

  39. Oh, and I figure he couples Meitantei Conan in with the works that were butchered because of “fan-subbing trends.” I don’t think anyone in the fan-subbing community was stupid enough to change all of the character’s names (thanks funimation). Professional definitely isn’t always better.

  40. I can agree with some of the points made, but he comes off as extremely pretentious in the vids. I suppose that was his intention, but it makes it that much harder to take his words at face value and accept them rather than simply assume that he’s trolling.

    For one, he quotes all these “leaders” in the field and whatnot. Sure, that’s great and all, and if we were all doing this for a living I could see why all of us might want to hold ourselves to those standards, but we don’t. It’s a hobby, and who says we have to follow a specific formula? In fact, there isn’t really any kind of formula to speak of, it’s not like math where there’s a right or wrong answer/end result.

    Karaoke: Okay, so some of them are flashy. So what? You have a bunch of choices: skip them, download a raw and watch it there, find it online via youtube or something, etc. He’s making it into a bigger issue than it really is.

    Translation: Most fans want it that way. Who are we to deny them of it? I really don’t see the big deal about leaving -kun, -san, etc in or taking them out, or even attack names. For instance, Dragonball Z, everyone’s favourite shounen anime. The trademark technique is the Kamehameha. Even professional translations left it as is without translating it, I don’t see him making a big deal out of it. I’m not that familiar with the Japanese language myself but I’ve seen the Chinese dub of DBZ, and if I were to literally translate Kamehameha, it would end up as something like Turtle Ball Breath Stance. Now tell me, which would you rather look at?

    Meh, I’ve given this troll (Otaking) more time than I should’ve already, so I’ll stop there. I stand by what many others have said in the fact that fansubs are free and nobody is forcing anyone to watch something they don’t want. You don’t like it? Don’t watch it, our feelings won’t be hurt. Complaining about something that other people do as a hobby is somewhat stupid, and that’s it for me.

  41. @sue
    So what about those shows that are never going to get picked up and released on DVD in America (or wherever)? A lot of fan-subbers drop shows that are licensed because the main reason they started them was that they figured it’d never get released here. I’d gladly watch a mediocre sub than wait an indefinite amount of time for a show that may not ever get licensed anyway.

  42. @Natrone: faulty logic… you’re playing politician here… anyone can make a witty comparison to make it seem like the other is wrong, heh console fanboys revel in it…. Why would people want fansubs if they had no klowledge of it… if all we could see is what the current crop of anime that the US industry had available then that’s what we would want. You don’t miss what you’ve never seen or heard of…. if you don’t miss it you won’t be motivated to get it …. it’s simple to understand… go play politics somewhere else.

  43. I have to agree with some of the things in the video but other things are a bit harsh. these people are taking their time out of their own life to provide us with sub works of new anime that may or may not reach america. Please keep in mind that Subbers do this as a hobby and there for don’t get paid for their work. so give them credit for what they do.
    For the time being I’ll withhold the rest of my comment until I get my thoughts together.

  44. I saw the whole thing. While he does make some valid points, such as super imposing their own names on top of the anime staff. However, most of his points are just invalid hating or he tries to find the worst examples in some fansubs and make huge deal out of it.

    Personally, I don’t think flashy fonts are bad, nor do I find karaoke OPs bad. I also ENJOY it when fansubbers try and make the English words fit into the art.

    It seems like he’s merely trying to hate on fansubs while providing justification as to why “professional” subs lose context, are utterly lacking in accuracy sometimes, and look outright cheap/plain. He’s trying to downplay fansubs as bad and unprofessional as a means to say how professional licensed subs are better when they are clearly inferior.

    Was worth the watch, but I find most of his points invalid.

  45. @voodoomage
    I’m sorry if you think I was being political (I’m not – in fact, I rather hate politics).

    I just think it’s quite unfair for you to tell someone, “Hey, stop dangling something I want in front of me, because otherwise, I’ll do something questionable to get it.” Following that logic, if you were punished for doing said questionable act, your defense could be, “No, it’s not MY fault. It’s that OTHER guy’s fault for dangling such an enticing thing in front of me.” It’s like you’re placing the responsibility of you downloading fansubs on to bloggers (or whoever showed you some anime and got you interested in it as a whole or a particular show). That’s ridiculous….

    “The worth of a man is measured by his ability to resist temptation, not in his ability to remain ignorant of temptations.” — Probably some wise guru guy (I dunno – it SOUNDS profound)….

  46. I thought it was enlightening. I totally agree that doing karaoke for insert songs is totally unnecessary. Like do they think we’ll want to start singing or something?

  47. Hrm, “Otaking” has a (select) few good points: I much prefer plain, non-animated, highly readable fonts. I also hate when the original on-screen letters are overwritten by english.

    But Otaking’s stupid example fansub is purposefully dense. The rules and conventions he criticizes
    actually work well, and hes speedgrapher sub could have been decent if he’d followed them.

    I found the Kaizoku-fansubs translation style to be pretty good, if not a touch conservative.
    I do agree their special effects are overboard.

    When I used to watch anime for learning purposes, I found that fansubs really helped to make
    anime into good learning tools, while professional subs only made for more confusion.

  48. Interesting video, interesting opinion… in general, ‘in days of yore’ laments usually sound a lot like this – which isnt to say he doesnt have some valid points – but he does play the hand a bit too much. Honestly – the quality of translation available today by some of the good translation teams is at LEAST as good as the subs on the R1 DVDs (yes, I tend to buy them, so I know). You see groups like conclave sit on a translation after having the raw for a month just to make sure they get it right – or the really good Yesy translation of Lucky Star (which ended up taking so long that the damned thing got licensed). Grab one of the speedsubs of Macross Frontier – and then one of the good ones – it’s not a ‘different story’ but there’s a lot more innuendo (plus – having BOTH translations gives me that ‘somewhere in the middle’ feeling – and i like that).

    Plus – personally – i dont really mind when they throw a pile of editor’s notes in there. I’ve been watching Genjo’s Ghost Hound – and i love their explanatory material. Could they run it in a seperate matroska subtitle? sure… would i be upset if they did it that way? not at all… but then – who actually uses the functionality available in that file format (kudo’s to Shinsen/Formula for the bookend open/close on Allison and Lillia).

    Look – the quality of the animation is SO much better today than it was… the complexities of the stories are leagues ahead of the days of Yamato… why not cut the subber teams a little slack on this one. Yes – I prefer it when they reverse the names… and of course getting the feel of ‘I’ an ‘You’ correct would be substantially helpful in rather a lot of scenarios – and IMO knowing Tsukasa is in the infirmary is better than not… But considering the work involved and the time pressure they invariably operate under I think they do a fantastic job – even if they dont translate ‘breasts’ as ‘meat weasels’ when it would be more stylistic and contextually appropriate. If a subgroup wants to have flying stars off the word ‘star’ in the karaoke for ‘what ’bout my star’ – hey – why the hell not!

  49. Okay I’m back. what ever happened to ‘just enjoying the show’?
    I Think what Voodoomage is saying that without fansub we would have no knowolaoge of thses works of animation and that if we could “Legelly” get a raw sample of one of these shows we would want it eventhough it may not be picked up by an american cumpany for sell in the US, making it “Questinable” to get a translated version of th that show, suded or dubed. Please also note that in order for a American company to pick up a show. it must make them money. no money, no show

  50. I understand where everyone is coming from. But to say the truth I mostly agree with what he says, not on everything but mostly most of it. As an artist myself I understand how this could be disrespectful to those that put in there heart, stressful days and sweat in making shows like this. Plus I would have wished if he would have put some emphasis on what is truly occurring. Which is the lack of devotion from fans. It is nice and all for people to enjoy watching as much fansubs as possible but some fans don’t just watch they keep them which is why the anime market in the United states is starting to go down. We already lost two anime providers that actually do things legally and actually give and reward the actual creators. But don’t get me wrong. I watch fansubs but unlike most that download and burn dvds of shows they like once I see an anime in fansub I like I decide to buy the original from an anime provider, cuz frankly the fansubs kind of annoy me because no matter what anyone says. They do take away from the actual anime, most of the time I am trying to read what they are saying instead of watching the actual anime. But others just burn and move on to the next show. I already know what will happen that is decline in anime, or just less titles aquired from Japan, all we will see is distortions on the actual show.

  51. I have to totally side with voodoomage on this one; While otaking(otaclown as I prefer to call him) does get a point through with Fansubbers who seem to have their name on pretty much every corner of the OP/ED, which ends up as being disrespectful to the mangakas and animators who spent a huge portion of their time to create these epics. Additionally, he is right about the translation issues, at least, from a professional translator point of view; while I might be no expert in japanese-to-english, I agree that for newcomers to animes, who are watching one for the first time, and having all these weird untranslated words showing in the subtitles can be pretty much confusing.

    However, as much as he is pointing out the e-peen between fansubber groups, he ends up showing off as an elitist than place himself higher than other otakus; his “malaise” against honorifics, notes explaining situations that might otherwise not be fully understood by most otakus (including myself) which actually helps in understanding a scene, or character’s background, and finally his arguments against stylized subs such as the power-ups and special abilities of the one-piece cast, which I thought was pretty original and actually fit the combat, is pure bollocks.

    Finally, let’s face the facts; Fansubbers do this for FREE, for us the viewers. And Mr. OtaCLOWN, should really stick to watching dubbed and “washed-down” version of one-piece for a change. And as for voodoomage comment on Fansubbing-haters turned bloggers (which to be honest I doubt was aimed at anyone here), should really consider sticking to dubs for now.

  52. I can’t help but to feel that I need to say something too.
    He obviously has placed a lot of effort in the “documentary”, and while he has some strong points, it’s rather easy to counter the remaining ones.

    One fact that totally irked me was that he used some live action movies – namely, Star Wars and the Last Samurai – and placed subtitles that seemed to have been made by fansubs to prove his point. This, I see, is a grave error. In a live action, one doesn’t really expect to see too many subtitles (especially unnecessary ones) floating about. It strips away any sense of realism. In anime, however, because of its own nature you’d allow it. It’s okay to see translated words pasted on signboards and stuff, and even if you find it a nuisance, some ability to ignore it should be handy. So, in the end, comparing live action movies with anime only shows a superficial intelligence in comparing and contrasting.

    In some if not most cases, literal translation is acceptable. Personally I have no problem with disjointed sentences such as “Because…because…” or “I…I…” for the reason that they add the ‘feel’ to the atmosphere in the anime.

    As for translating signs and stuff, it’s important too! I just watched a fansub of an anime and I cringed when there wasn’t any…

    What we can all safely say is that moderation is the key. Some details of trivia may be welcomed, especially if it appears necessary for the viewer to get an inside joke or a little more knowledge about what the character is trying to say. Those people living outside Japan or not so knowledgeable about some things may be a little left out when they felt that the show doesn’t try to pull them (the viewers) into understanding.

    All in all, we’re still humans. Our opinions may vary from one person to another, such that what is excessive by some is deemed as meagre by others. So the best way to do it is to go in-between, i.e. being moderate.

    Of course, that’s not to say that “being moderate” itself is relative…

    An interesting but controversial issue, I’m sure. Well, at least it got my brain working…Forgive me if I’ve touch on things that are already mentioned…it couldn’t be helped.

    P/s: I’d be horrified to see “Neesan” replaced with “Big sister”…Which goes to show that I’m too used to see honorifics…

  53. Very mind opening… seriously. I hadn’t realized how anoying some fansubbings where until I saw this. I’m really asking myself now on why did I had to go back and pause something just to read it…

    I’ve got to learn Japanese though. X{

  54. This is such an interesting subject…

    I’ll say first, a whole lot of what Otaking said in his video editorial are valid criticisms of modern fansubbing. Unnecessary screen clutter, overly literal translations and stiff-sounding phrases, leaving favorite Japanese words untranslated (the point is to translate from Japanese to English, not Japanese to… Japanese), TL notes on-screen (sometimes a necessary evil, but not nearly needed as often as I see them), and inflating fansub egos are all gripes I myself have with this or that particular subbing work.

    Not all fansubs are guilty of these offenses (a point Otaking failed to make among his sweeping list of generalizations), but I have found myself annoyed on an occasion or more by the mentioned miscues.

    But in the end, and the conclusion many people here have already come to, these people are not “serious” subbers; they don’t pretend that they’re professionals. Someone said this before, but it’s worth reiterating: They’re just fans who want to show their favorite shows to others. We don’t expect top shelf material, and I’d wager most subbers haven’t even heard of the guys Otaking referenced as the masters of translation theory. I’m willing to cut fansubbers some slack.

    Considering this, I think Otaking would’ve been better received with a gentler, more amicable and instructional tone than to sensationalize modern fansubbing as the Practice of Satan, but I can only blame Fox News for the popularity of questionable journalistic methods.

    What really worries me is what Natrone touched on at the end of his article, that this wishy-washy and admittedly lazy fansubbing “style” is affecting professional works. Like Natrone, I find current subbing trends much too socially exclusive and alientating. I just don’t see commercial anime expanding it’s audience by propagating practices such as these. They should hold the translating principles Otaking outlined (or at least alluded to):

    – Translate everything, all spoken words so that non-natives speakers can understand.
    – Translate phrases and sentences to be coherent and smooth, even if it isn’t the “literal” translation.
    – Attempt to reproduce the original experience.
    – Cut as much distracting and nonessential text by compiling TL notes in a separate document and keeping fonts and styles simple.
    – A good sub should be one you don’t notice.

    It’d be nice if fansubs also adhered to this “Translator’s Code”, but like I said before, they’re more or less free to do what they want.

    A great editorial Natrone, by looking at the discussions in the comments, this article probably elicited the type of conversation you wanted. Great Success!

  55. I have to agree with a few points that he makes, mainly the use of Japanese words when translating it into English. Sure “Kage Bunshin no Jutsu” sounds better then “technique of Shadow Clones!” or however you want to pronounce it in English but, as you said, it really does alienate some new people and really turns some of them off from watching anime. Sure you can quickly pick up what some words mean after watching anime for a while but I am sure for some new people it is really frustrating.

    Personally I don’t care what type, color, etc font they use as long as I can read it. When fansubbers get too creative and I have to pause the video to read the sub it is getting into ridiculous territory. Not to mention the notes at the top. I am trying to watch the anime while reading the subs then you want us to read a note at the same time? translate the damn word or, as suggested, include a text file or something at the end/beginning of the anime explaining the term(like the subbers do for XXXHolic Kei).

    Fansubbing is also definitely about ego. It is about who can get it out there the fastest with the most kawaii translation of them all! Sure it is great to have a fansub the day after it comes out in Japan and I do not want to wait a whole week either for a perfect fansub. It just seems like Fansubbers have lost the idea that they are doing it for other fans and not so they can increase their e-penis.

    all in all I am grateful for fansubbers of the past and the present. I love anime and I am not financially wealthy enough to buy the DVDs whent hey come out. I really do appreciate the work they put into giving us decent quality fansubs at a brisk pace. If they could just remember that they are doing this for fans and not their own pride then I think we could get back to the glory days of fansubbing and everyone in the end will be happy. Because let’s face it, your e-penis can be twenty feet long but when the series ends it wilts away into nothing. All you are left with is 26 episodes of subbed anime and a broken e-penis. do it for the fans and they will stick with you!

  56. I dont know if it was mentioned newhere before, but instead of putting the messages on top of the screen telling more indepth information, I do see quite a few fansub groups putting explanations in their own frames at the very end, after the credits are over. i must say thats a really good way of doing it.

    On a side note, like you said, some of the things otaking mentioned really werent that bad, or may actually be neccesary. If we are to watch as close as possible to how the original audience watched it, extra translations may be neccesary, such as to that sign above. Normally the audience would be fluent enough to read that and know that it means the “Infirmary” Seeing as how most of the fansubs audience can’t means that a posted translation there makes it much easier to understand. And hopefully ppl arent stupid enough to think “oh my how horrible! they messed up wat the sign looks like by adding text!”

  57. I only made it through to the end of the second part, before I had to quit in disgust. Then I decided I’d follow through and finish it. That was 20 minutes of life that I’ll never get back. Wasted.

  58. Peoples arguments about using honorifics are just as bogus as they think his are about not using them. If people understand them so well then why regurgitate the script in the translations? I can hear an honorific perfectly fine without having it regurgitated in the translation. It is redundant. Just like all the other redundancies in translations, such as putting baka, onee/onii-honorific, or putting any noun/Japaneses word in the translation, that is already being said in the audio. I’d rather know what it means in English. I’m not so idiotic that I can’t pick out a Japanese noun, and link it to an English translation. Maybe I’m a minority.

    I do think most subs boarder on laziness, but it is there prerogative whether they want to be lazy or not. I’m just happy to have it.

    Personally, I vote for a universal language.

  59. Cain my aim is definitely not to the guys here… it’s the guys who blog or write about current anime series and then spout the evils of fansubs that get my ire…. The biggest of all is ANN. I, in fact love the anime blog community and am thankful to them for helping me to chose which shows are worth my time each season.

  60. WOW!!!! MOST INTERESTING TOPIC TO DATE!!!!” no offense omni”. everybodys take is intriguing. all i gotta say is GOD BLESS THE SUBBERS ” AND GOD BLESS OBAMA in 08!!!!.

    man! as long as i get the gist of whats going on,i could fill in the blanks, thanks subbing community.

    BROOKLYN otaku
  61. Some people replying here seem to FAIL to understand that referential jokes don’t have to be translated just because the viewer is unfamiliar with the references. And that makes me palm my face.

  62. Oh yeah, and about those Live Actions movies he used, the first thing that came to my mind, these movies are catered toward a western English speaking audience … nuff said.

  63. First of all, Natron-e?, I’ve enjoyed all of your editorials so far and I like your stile. I hope you keep it up.

    Now, on the topic. I woke up a few days ago to see this video over the blogs and watched it. I didn’t bother to join the public wank it generated. I kind of feel that when one leaves their teens behind, they better actually grow up. Not to mention that my life is stressed and hectic enough, I have no time for stupidity. But I can use this place to share my opinion, since the people so far have managed not to degrade this.

    I think OtaKING’s major problem is his exaggerated and pretentious style. I don’t mind his British accent of vitriol, but he just used very poor examples.

    Most quality subs of late have plain white fonts (and honestly isn’t the yellow/green font of official DVD’s annoying and ugly?) that are both readable and easy on the eye. So his examples were just for the flashy effect.

    On the added translations of signs and the argument that they weren’t there in the original video. Well, no shit? (Sorry for the language) But hey, the original video was for Japanese people, and oh, surprise, they can read it. Most people who watch subs? – they can’t. So I rather prefer to have it on the sign that it’s an infirmary. And if it is on the sing it fulfills two purposes – one it is where my eyes are supposed to concentrate initially and it actually provides the information I was supposed to have.
    So basically it was a lame argument that only killed his point instead of supporting it.

    On the flashy karaoke. I personally like my eye-candy. So, sue me. What I basically hate about the original DVDs is how they alternate episodes with romaji and translation. If I am supposed to be able to sing it (as he points out with the disappearing karaoke), how is the translation of any help? I think that some groups actually managed to create simple and still beautiful karaoke that is pleasure to the eye and doesn’t take too much of the screen. And what is more. The latest trend in complete contrast to what was a few years ago is to provide stand-alone .ass files for those that don’t want karaoke and other eye-candy to mess with their experience. That way the viewer can get their raw file with as little on screen during the OP or ED sequence and if the viewer hates this or that, they can edit it in/out. Now, that actually kills another point of OtaKING’s.

    On the Japanese words. I’ll second all those who mentioned the idiotic translations that make you either ROFL or stare dumb folded asking yourself where the hack the meaning of this is. So some special techniques being in Jp that’s fine. Leaving -kun. -chan, -san is pretty much normal by this point so I see no point in mentioning it. It adds a bit to the specifics of anime as opposed to to any other random animation.

    On the size of the group’s logo, I tend to agree that it is sometimes funny, but you know what?, I don’t care that much. I can have the raws and get it out of there, again about the separate .ass file. And sometimes I just smile at their ability to make the logo match the original anime-logo. I shrug and go on.

    But funnily enough OtaKING left out a major trouble for all anime fans. The sometimes substandard quality of animation that original DVDs suffer from. I have a few original DVDs that have quality that is easily to notice poorer than of the fansub one. And I believe that is a bigger grievance than the font size. For in the and I’ll go with quality over all. and poor video quality kills it all with one single shot. And I was talking about same resolution here.
    But with the new anime fasubs mostly being from HD-sources, while Blu-Ray is expensive as hell atm how would a fan want to lose quality and support the industry is a major concern.

    And last I want to make another point. For those from countries where anime is limited to Miazaki and a few other big name movies (and the occasional Bayblade, Yu-Gi-Oh)fansubs are almost the only alternative. I am from such country. I have original DVDs but when your average salary is about $300, to give $50 for the new limited edition that you like so much and then to buy the next 5-9 DVDs that come after is a major problem. And there are quite a lot of fans that are not American out there.

    If anyone actually read this all, they have my deepest condolences for the time they lost.

  64. For what it’s woth he pointed out some generally good points but also I can’t seem to feel that he wasn’t just hating for the majority of it, for one thing he did make a good point about the translation notes being far too distracting and amundant to the point where we getsomething we ust saw in Trinity Blood and Speed Grapher and its even worse for .ass files on VLC when it becomes an unreadable mess on the whole screen not only that putting some on the text like “go google it” not only sounds unprofessional but down right lazy, however some if not alot of the honorifics play a key role in the actually story case in point Funimation’s take on the Dectective Conan movie was less than stellar due to the fact that hey changed the names of the characters to “better suit the American audiences” and the whole story is completely ruined because they took their own way in translating instead of the literal meaning of the word and let’s face it Rasengan sounds a hell of a lot better than “Spinning Spiral” Bankai just doesn’t sound as engaging as “final release” and Gumo Gumo Pistol sounds downright stupid if its called “Rubber Rubber Pistol” sometimes the translation doesnt sound as or just doesn’t fit was is said onscreen to the point where even dubs are have started using the Japanese wording instead of the english translation. As for karaoke fansubs in the opening and ending themes I personally don’t mind it yes while they do ruin any sort of experience within its original viewing its somewhat engaging especially if its a song you really like and once again if you don’t like it either get it in its original Raw or more to the point BUY THE DVDS for the clean opening and endings. I respect Otaking for making this video to but fansubbers in their place that just because you have a high vocabulary of Japanese and vast knowledge of its culture, does not make you a respectable translater however I must point out that most fans either watch streaming fansubs instead of wasting bandwith downloading it on to their computer unless its a DVDrip, in anycase Otaking comments seem to go towards people who dont support the industry and belittle official english translations of not sticking to the original as close as possible, but in the end how much we care into looking on the wording then the action on screen since that is the reason we watch anime is not for the subtitles but for the characters art and storytelling it gives to are senses and lord knows if we all understood enough Japanese fansubs would not be in exisistence.

  65. I find the videos overly biased, condescending and a total load of crap!

    The fact is, the VAST MAJORITY of fansubbers sub anime FOR THEIR PLEASURE, NOT to PLEASE the MANY LEECHERS out there in the net. Simply put, why should they care about bloodsucking parasites?

    The tone OtaKing used is infuriating. Who is he, an authority of fansubbing? More likely, a derelict, no-life, no-future, boy-trapped-in-a-man’s-body that think his opinion is law. It’s vaguely reminiscent of those “documentaries” on the existence of god, evolution or global warming–they all speak as though their points were MORE THAN WHAT THEY ARE: conjectures, suppositions and theories.

    As was said by Natrone, there are basically 3 types of potential audience to any anime: new-blood (people new to anime), fans (fans of a particular show), and otakus (those who watch anime because they’re anime and that’s their life…). Obviously, the 2nd category holds the biggest portion of the audience pie, and predominantly most would have some knowledge of Japanese culture, honorifics, terms, etc. and would be more fickle about the implementation of these various things in the fansub. My point being, why should fansubbers care about the smaller part of the pie (the new-bloods) and shun their main audience–this assuming they actually care about who’s watching them!

    The bottom line is:

    If you want something done in a particular way, DO IT YOURSELF!

  66. During the old days, I thought that the only anime available online was those “fansubs”. However, living in Japan since I was 2 allows me to understand the japanese culture/jokes/language. So my point of view is similar to Otaking. English is still my first language so when I watched my nicely downloaded anime, for some reason my eyes would unconciously read those “damned” subtitles. Before I knew it I was rewinding the video file to make sure that this time I’ll listen to the japanese coz I can understand it for god’s sake so why am I reading subs?! I can remember I used to have a notebook on the bottom of the screen to cover the subs. Then I found the exsistance of RAWS. They were available faster and they were clean and not “busy” and no “annoying, dirty subs”. Best subs are clean and I agree with the 3 bar karaoke subs, and the colorful pop out animated subs. Its cool but you end up watching the subs move than the anime.I forgot about this fansub issue after getting RAWS and its funny to watch this video and realize that I went through the same thing. However I have to say that some of the fansubs that keeps some honorifics weren’t so bad, coz it did keep the culture a bit. The “ore” “dayo” “san” can be removed (it does sound wierd in eng) but even if you translate things into smooth english, people wil never “feel” the character’s true personality. Naruto’s “dattebayo” is one, and Reno’s(FF7) “dazotto” at the end of sentence were what made them loveable to the japs.Keeping them will help non-japs understand them better. But yes, it is weird in english. Honestly its hard for me to understand coz Im of those fortunate ones to understand japanese. Best way is to probablly learn the language, or study anime styles. Ultimately, fansubs are suppposedly “FREE” so who cares if the subbers wants a bit attention. (i.e. adding logos)

  67. THANK YOU!

    besides what other people are talking about which way too long

    this is why i did not even bother watching Mr. Despair because every 5 seconds i had to pause at the screen for a lame translation of what was on the board. I dont even give a damn about the OP

  68. You have to pardon me here.

    I lost all hope when, during the early days of e-penis stroking, some jerk (who goes by the name of Hideaki Anno from Gainax) had shown us his white sticky stuff on Shinji Ikari’s hand.

    Spending half a year to create something about fansubs…

    If I spent half a year creating anime; it would probably include more action/adventure/drama and less info-penis stroking.

    Slightly Bald Wizard
  69. Well, pardon me for saying so, but despite not being a FAN I still do understand the want to maintain the nuances of the original japanese version of an anime’s dialogue. “Professional” translations of things like japanese wordplay or the removal of honorifics in favor of english colloquisms alllways seems akward to me, and it’s not all that hard to pause your anime for a second to read the little explanations they’ll add in. Besides the more anime you watch the more things like “shachou” or “banchou” become just another part of your vocabulary, so eventually you just end up ignoring the tidbits of text, no harm no foul.

    One more thing… pertaining to the whole “underground” aspect of anime, the only reason I tend to try and steer clear of overpopular anime is because when something like say… D.Gray-Man becomes a mainstream thing, HUNDREDS of bandwagon jumping moron FANS will latch on to it, making the product in question (pure and good though it may be) tacky by grace of their own retardation. I know that’s what ruined the Naruto and Bleach animes for me… thank god there’s still SCANlations out there 😉

  70. Very interesting “documentary”. I agree that a lot of his points are valid, particularly on having three lines of subtitles and flashing fonts cluttering the screen. But I also disagree with the issue regarding the insertion of English labels, so long as it is done discreetly (like the infirmary sign).

    Concerning translator’s notes, I agree that it is distracting to see two sets of subtitles: one translating and another set explaining a concept. The fansub I watch for “Mononoke” (not Princess Mononoke, but the spin off of the horror anime “Ayakashi”) opts for a set of translator’s notes to appear at the end of the episode, after the ending credits, which I find better than an additional pdf or intermittent boxes of explainations.

    If the reasoning behind keeping “onee-sama” and “otouto” in translation is because it’s cute, I don’t think that’s a valid reason; one could argue something like proficient English speakers do not usually refer to their siblings as “honourable older sister” or “younger brother”, but by their names.

  71. “but that particular demographic group of FANS routinely refuses to pay for commercial anime in the first place! They get everything they need out of fansubs, ”

    For the most people it isn’t even possible to get it commercial…

    The most japanse anime never appear in the most country’s and if one appears it is some
    thing terrible that the most japanese don’t even want to see……………….

  72. That was very ….insulting. This guy is a moron. Espacially the “funny” “best fansub” at the end. Here’s a note: you don’t get your point across by exagerating.

  73. Personally, it’s a F’ing FAN-subbed. If they want pink teddies dancing on the screens, then let them do it. You don’t like it, don’t watch it. It’s not as if someone has a gun to your head, forcing you to watch it, then take a test about it afterwards.

    Though I do agree with some of what the video said, it’s like Random stated, “You get what you paid for.”

    I remember when getting your hands on a fansub was EXTREMELY difficult. It wasn’t rare to have fansubs of your own and ‘traded’ them for other fansubs. Hell, you had to intimately know those you traded fansubs with back then.

    I, for one, am happy that there are more fansub groups out there now and that there are more animes to fansubbed, as well as resources to get them. Though yes, I do miss the old days when you were able to catch 80% of the artwork, while retaining 90% of the dialogue at the same time – in one sitting, I consider it a necessary evil.

  74. “Professional” subtitler is all butthurt by what he perceives as a bunch of vulgar amateurs daring to trespass in his field. Take your ‘My way or the highway’ attitude and stuff it.

    Are there poor fansubs? Yes. Problem is he takes the worst examples (or even exaggerated examples, where that’s the whole point – ie. screen clutter in Pani Poni Dash) and painting all subs and sub groups with the same brush.

    What few good points he does bring up are overshadowed by a lot of bitching and moaning about minor and inconsequential issues, be it different policies on honorifics, font styles, on-screen TL notes, whatever.

    Until the technology exists for us to plug a disc into our brains and become fully fluent and culturally-aware of a foreign language/society, there’s going to be compromises in delivering the story to the viewer.

    Again, are there bad examples of fansubbing? Yes. But the ‘professional’ subbers make just as many mistakes, be it bad QC on translation, over-literalization, localization, pandering, whatever. And if the technical limitations of DVDs were looser, you’d see just as many ‘professionals’ taking liberties with fonts and on-screen placement.

    Get over yourself, OtaKing

    Wild V
  75. It was an interesting watch, and he certainly brought up some issues that I’ve been complaining about for years.

    I think the thing that bothers me the most in fansubs is flashy karaoke translations of songs during an episode, a fight scene for example.

    I find that leaving words untranslated can work sometimes, but a lot of the time it’s just rediculous. I remember in Maria-sama ga Miteru someone said “I’m going to my Ike-Bana class” with a note at the top saying “Ike-Bana is flower arranging”.

    I have to disagree with a lot of it though. I think having a translation of a sign on the sign itself is a lot less intrusive than sticking it at the bottom of the screen, forcing you to look away to somewhere a native speaker wouldn’t. I also found it contradicting how he complains that fansubbers just want to stroke their e-penis and show off their knowledge, while he blatantly does the same thing with an endless barrage of academic quotes.

  76. woooahhh… that was a LOT to take in!! :D. i think that was the most i’ve read in a day since school was out. lol. anyways…

    i’m fifteen, so i haven’t really thought about any of this stuff. now that i’ve wasted thirty minutes of my very early saturday morning, i think i can agree with most of the stuff otaking said, like the special fonts, honorifics, and japanese words. however, for zetsubou sensei, there’s too much going on that it’s kinda necessary to put in english words dubbed or off to the side instead of just not having it at all, and the japanese audiences actually read those words, so why can’t we??

    it’s not so much of a big deal really; at least fansub groups take their own time and effort to translate anime for us to watch.

  77. I agree with Otaking and this article on the karoke, honorifics, footnotes, and bad grammar in fansubs. I usually try to watch a new series in raw format but whenever I’m forced to watch a fansub, I get a headache in the first five minutes (I couldn’t watch his mock fansub for long, funny as it was). It’s an effort to watch an episode for its story when their translations are there sometimes. Especially when they’re translated improperly or used in the wrong context. (ie: “Asayake is a sad color” for something that’s more like “I’m worried that it’s dawn already.”) However, fansubs are just what they are: fans translating for fun so other fans can enjoy it for free. I try not to hold it against them and buy the DVDs when I can.

  78. pfftt, he’s right about things and he isn’t right about things. But You see one guy can’t change it and imo he’s a bit exagerating all things and he’s a bit TOO pessimistic about fansubbing future.

    He made some good points but overall if he’s so idealistic, if he’s so restrictive,… then just stop watch anime

  79. Saw it all and it’s sure interesting, I also understand his point of view but I think he’s exaggering a little, I believe that if anime viewers really found this to be a problem it would have have been fixed al ready, I myself do not.
    I totally agree with Omni, I see no problem in a lot of things he mentions.
    I also believe culture has changed indeed, I mean everyone here knows what a ”baka” is! My friends even call me this sometimes in real life! And if you’re new to anime and you really don’t have a clue you can look it up for god’s sake, there are complete internet pages dedicated to the word.
    And also please don’t forget: these fansubbers are FANS, yes FANS!!! not payed translators, they do it in their FREE, yes FREE time and for NO money.
    Please show some respect to these people who sacrifice great ammounts of spare time to give us the anime experience we have today.
    If you want a plain screen buy the DVD for god’s sake. And about the logo and stuff, I always though most people skipped the OP and ED, or at least pay less attention to them after having seen them 12 to 24 times.
    I could care less about all of this.

  80. I lol-ed that video was GREAT!! So badly agree with some not all the points. One thing he didnt mention was the fact sometimes after the credits they subbers will add a massive descriptions about almost every single thing mentioned.

  81. Agh, so many comments.. well, I guess whatever I think will be thought and spoken by others either way, so I’ll write this without reading all the other comments.

    I think the intended message in OtaKing’s “Documentary” is somewhat clear, but it kinda feels like he’s comparing something he doesn’t fully understand. It’s definitely more opinion-y (damn you, Michael Moore!). Fansubs have alot more freedom and flexibility in font types and video editing. Because of this, the bar for fansub quality is higher than DVD subtitles.

    On DVD, you have only a single font type and maybe two simutaneuous subtitles at most (at the bottom of the screen), because you have to uphold compatibility levels for DVD players. The bits of text you sometimes see to explain signs, I think they’re drawn directly from the subtitle file, so the timing can be off. Same for multiple lines at once, like for multiple people talking. It might not happen in newer DVD players, but that’s exactly the point. They have to work with old ones.

    For fansubs, fonts can be freely changed, if they’re softsubs. If not, the fansubber can change the colours and font type. The fansubber can directly edit the video file to add sign translations.

    Regarding signs, that’s the only bit of hipocrisy I found in OtaKing’s video. He quotes from other professionals as well, but he says the translation should give an experience virtually like the original. The lack of sign translation could possibly break the suspension of disbelief, but it will also deprive the viewer of information. He doesn’t separate typesetting with translation when he’s talking about the signs. He does when it’s for karaoke, though.

    To try to sum up the video in a paragraph, OtaKing basically shows these comparisons. DVD subtitles all look the same, and are completely static. They appear on the bottom virtually always. Fan-subtitles in a digital file can have different colours and styles, and can be placed anywhere. Fansubbers exploit this. But, they are unable to determine what limits they should place on their works.

    Pro translators have a limited area to make a translation, Fansubbers are unlimited.
    Having boundaries, the professionals can and will concentrate more time on being faithful to the original artistic direction of the anime.
    With so many tools, Fansubbers can and will experiment with their abilities and are more likely to follow their own interpretation of the anime, and test and explore their proficiency at video editing software. They get distracted. The majority of fansubbers are blind like this.

    Professional quality fansubbers do exist though. I don’t think OtaKing ever mentioned them, but this minority can seamlessly integrate the translation without disrupting the art-form. But with amateurs obtaining video editing software, they became a small minority, and will continue to grow smaller. I’m not surprised he didn’t mention them. They’re virtually invisible now. Indistinguishable.

    Pro translators don’t think about artistic form in typesetting, since, well, they can’t make any. OtaKing is saying that the whole thing was unnecessary and should be discarded.

    “A translation should be a invisible as possible. Unobtrusive.”

    I don’t know if any other fansub watcher/fan will say this, and I certainly don’t speak for all of them, but I think you could consider the subtitles to be an obtrusion too. That’s what I can say about DVD subtitles.

    That’s actually a wierd thing about society. People never bother applying arguments they make onto themsleves. Oh well.

  82. I do agree with Otaking in many ways, including the parts you deem acceptable, as what he did emphasized, Subs are to be “Invisible” to the viewers and not “Captive” to the viewers attention and many way as he tries to imply, that being a “Subber” does not gives you the full right to “doodle” over the whole piece of anime.

  83. This is why I watch Chihiro subs, minimal text and straight to the point, they only sub the dialogue everything else is kept as original.

    (I really don’t see the point of Karaoke as people said in OP and ED’s, it’s flipping Japanese anyways, the song DOESN’T suit english -I just listen to the song and enjoy the OP and ED animation.)

    At the end of the day, you really can’t complain, fansubbers are doing this for free in their own time, if you don’t like it, there are other groups.

  84. Wow, this guys uses the worst examples of fansubbing as an example of how bad fansubs are. Too bad he lumps all fansubs together. It’s like me selecting the Ford Pinto and saying all Ford cars are fiery death traps.

  85. Wow that was an amazing video and the fan reaction is nothing short of hilarious. Still Otaking makes some good points and so far few people seem to be disagreeing. More often than not people are pointing out exceptions to his criticisms which I kinda think is the point. Isn’t he just pointing out the worst in fansubbing? I mean what was he supposed to do list every single fansub group and list each group’s pros and cons? No he lists the worst and then we are supposed to decide for ourselves if we are watching a bad sub or not.

    I for one hope fansubbers take some of the advice Otaking is offering. The more and more they appeal to the FANS with their –chan, -san and –sama (these themselves are fine but terms can only get more obscure from this point on) the more it stops fresh blood coming in and effects the industry (i.e. ADV and the rest trying to appeal to the FANS to make any money at all). In the end we are left with FANS who have never even watched anime but only want in because it’s underground. Once again this is only one possible scenario which may or may not happen, but I wouldn’t like to take any chances. Remember fansubbers if you hadn’t decided to use the word jutsu in your naruto subs then we wouldn’t be listening to English voice actors’ screaming it in English dubs.

  86. Well, i didn´t pay the fansubgroup and they also didn´t get paid to do the subbing, so I have no right to complain, and I´m quite satisfied that they already sub the anime, it´s better than watching the raw, and for me they did quite a good job, so if that OtaKing want to have a “proper and professional” anime`s sub, why don´t he make his own fansubgroup and sub the anime himself.

  87. Arghhhh I cant help it anymore !!!

    The dude is an elitist. Asking for quality and professionalism? Yeah it’s true that some fansubbers have their ego but why is he complaining about the unprofessional doing a professional job? It seems to me he did mention why subbers exists. But I think he doesn’t fully understand what fansubers are for.

    Why old fansubbers subs an anime more professionally as to modern fansubbers? The answer was already given. It was REALLY hard to do fansubing back then. When something is hard to achieve, a person would normally do it more carefully and perfectly. When you spend a billion building a building do u aspect it to last for 100 years or a year?

    So why are people complaining about quality when the item is free and easy to get?

    To the people who live in 1st world countries: Not ALL animes shown in japan are in the stores and what do someone who was introduced to anime do when the country he lives in DOESN’T SELL ANIME?

    Just be thankful despite of the method that there are still means to get what u want.

    Giving an english live action movie as an example thats funny…. Does he realize that if the english language were not well known throughout the world and the universal language is Japanese. These english Sitcoms, Movies, Cartoons or whatever will be subtitled just like an anime and the Animes and the Jap dramas that u see now will be like those english movies amirite? Just picture yourself…… u don’t know a single word in English and u only know Japanese.

    It just so happens that the world we live in has the English language to be considered a universal language well many wont agree on that, but its true. Im not really good with english myself either.

    Where can I find this otaking? His ignorance leaves me in ZETSUBOU !!!.

  88. Wow, I pretty much agree with the points exposed by Natron-e.

    On the use of japanese words…I don’t know, I like better “shinigami” than “soul reaper”. But the last one is a good translation, so I don’t complain.
    Nevertheless, the honorifics theme is more complex; because there are some series where the use of honorifics can be quite meaningful.
    Let me give an example…Tsubasa Chronicles. Sakura calls Shaoran “Syaoran-kun”. Every fansub leaves aside the “-kun” part and writes only “Syaoran”. Nothing wrong with that.
    Except that in this example, the whole “-kun” thing is quite meaningful; Sakura used to call him as just “Syaoran”, as a sign of trust. The latter addition of “-kun” turns out to be quite painful for Syaoran. What do you do in that case…skip the honorific part along with leaving behind some important element of the plot?

    A different example. I remember laughing a lot with a joke on the 1st episode of Ouran; where Haruhi ends saying “Should I use ‘ore’ from now?” and Tamaki making a fuss because she should use ‘watashi’ or something like that. Luckily the Lunar fansub pointed out that explanation.
    And that’s a sutile example; everytime I watch Lucky Star or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, I feel rather thankful for all the liner notes. I don’t dislike them; in fact, I love them. They can make quite a difference on the way you enjoy the series.
    Liner notes in a PDF? Nah, I’m too lazy for that xD and certainly, it’s not the same…

  89. @Tokki: not exactly so… there is no such thing as “wrong” in translation… it’s just that the meaning of the statements differ in construction from group to group (try different subs of Lucky Star… you’ll see that the statements more or less share the same meaning…)

    My own reaction: yes… it was like an ad for you to buy the original dvd subs of the anime… hey i can’t do that… i need to stay up-to-date with R2 (and believe me… fans wouldn’t want to wait for 18 months to get the original…)

  90. @Tokki: None of them are completely wrong but some take too much creative subbing and change meanings totally around. Take the time to download a few episodes of different animes subbed by different groups and you will see that they differ in opinion on certain Japanese words…when, if they would just “english-ize” the Japanese words and make it readable to the English reader they should all end up witht he same thing.

    @Kasumi: Notes are fine, they should just put them at the beginning and/or the end of the episode so it is our choice whether to read them or not. Then it won’t clutter the entire screen and make us focus of fifty different things when we should only be focusing on the episode and the subtitles.

  91. The main problem right now with the down turn in anime and manga sales has little to do fansubs or scantalations… it’s the fact that companies like ADV and Tokyopop worry more about releasing as much as possible in as short of time possible. This sounds great, and it should BE great. The problem is that the anime fandom base isn’t near as large both companies seem to think it is. There is not yet a large enough fanbase (which itself is broken up into many smaller fanbases based on genre) to try and license 90% of anime/manga released in Japan.

    This is one of the main reasons I think fansubbing can co-exist with licensed released series. There is just no way in the world the north american market can sustain sales of so many different series at once. Especially when the primary audience for anime is in the teens and early twenties. A time when most people don’t have a whole lot of money to spare. An example: Let’s say tokyopop releases 10 new manga volumes a month. They average $10USD a month so to get every new release would be $100 a month for anyone one person interested in all the series. Most people aren’t going to spend that much money to get that much manga every month. Instead, they’ll get 1-3. A couple months later when volume 2 of all those series comes out you’re only likely to get the next volume in the series you’re reading. You aren’t going to grab volume 2 or 3 of a series you’ve never read. In that case, Tokyopop ends up competing with itself. Losing money doing too many series at once.

    This is even worse with anime series where the norm now is $30 for a DVD with 3-4 episodes. ADV had to raise the price of DVDs because they release too much at a time and end up competing with themselves for sales. That’s not even considering competition they face from other companies.

    What’s the solution then? The big anime and manga companies first have to realize it’s not the fans that are hurting their bottom line… it’s themselves for over extending their resources. Instead of focusing on 90% of series like they are doing, the whole industry has to take a step back and try aiming for 50% or maybe even lower. Focus on getting the licenses to the great series. This has MANY benefits. First of all, it’ll cut down on the shelf clutter. Someone new to anime walks into an anime section of the store and they are overrun with titles. Most of which aren’t very good. Especially not for someone just getting into the scene. Second of all, it helps the company bottom line. You waste less time on less desirable series that won’t sell well. Yes, this means downsizing the companies a bit, but if it’s necessary for the survival of the industry so be it.

    The third major consequence is it gives a place for these “fans” you mention in your article. It gives them a home that’s non-destructive. It allows them to delve deeper into the genres. What may be left un-licensed may not be huge titles like naruto or bleach… but that’s fine as most of these “fans” dislike such main stream fodder anyways. Even without those series there would be tons of gems for the hardcore to watch and enjoy. How they enjoy them would be up to them.

    How’s that? I ended up writing a nice long post and manage to completely avoid the flame war~

  92. The editorial was alright, I did agree with a few points, but was more or less annoyed at the rest of it.

    To me, he is being just as hypocritical as the subbers whom he is putting down for not being as professional as he is (A professional subber). Any professional editor can go nit pick at whats wrong with his editorial because it is not perfect, and the amount of biases shown in the video kind of takes away from his point.

    What I found particularly bad about it is:

    1) Examples – He uses horrible examples for his points just to prove his biasness. Pani Poni Dash and Zetsubo Sensei are probally the worst examples you can possibly give about screen cluttering with massive amounts of information. I’m actually surprised he didn’t include Lucky Star into his examples. Some animes just have too much information at once, or jokes relating to the culture where many people would not understand.

    2) Lack of understanding – I don’t believe he keeps in mind that most subbers are already hard pressed on time issues (mostly due to competition). Many subs come out within 1-2 days of when it is aired in Japan (or at the very least posted here). Unless the subbing group is very popular, than theres a high chance that their subs won’t be viewed as much as one who comes out a day prior, regardless of subing quality. I know for a fact that I will watch what gets subed first, unless I really enjoy/trust a specific sub (Dattebayo and A.F.K to name a few).

    3) Problem with honorifics – I do agree on some points of his arguement, but I can’t imagine anime without the honorifics. Actually I refuse to watch professional subs partially for that reason. I don’t feel that I get a full grasp of what is going on and don’t get a full understanding of the characters and their relations to each other. Many honorifics denote differences in age, formality, and different ways of speaking. I don’t see why there is a problem with wanting to include all of that since many fans of animes do their own research and figure out and look up character biographies and back stories to specific characters. Simple honorifics like -kun, -chan, or -sama help fans (who know what they mean of course) get a general idea of what relations,age differences, and formalities are between others without doing research. It’s part of the language, just like how many other Asian languages have their own way of doing it. It adds to the description, because honestly the English language isn’t as… “romantic” if you want to call it that as other languages. You can do fine without honorifics and still get the point across, but it still takes away from from other languages. All it does is dumb down other languages to fit ours.

    The good parts I did find were:

    1) The problem with not doing the “I” and “You” thing with the honorifics

    2) The leaving in favorite words/randomly translating others

    3) Unnatural translations (Quotes translated directly from Japanese to English without fixing grammar)

    I still feel that fan subs are perfectly fine the way they are. Obviously if there was a problem with it, then they wouldn’t be as popular as it is. I believe the anime culture is still becoming bigger and bigger as we speak (or type rather). I myself rather enjoy some rather text heavy anime subs such as xxxHolic or Zetsubo Sensei because many of them help enrich me in the Japanese culture. Where else would I learn it? The current anime sub thing is a culture of its own. I don’t think its fair to call it good or bad, and I don’t think you can say it adds or takes away from the content of what you watch. The current anime culture in America is pretty much a hybrid of Japanese and English cultures, and the way its subbed is almost like a language of its own (broken Japanese if you want to call it). We already do that with the Spanish language, and we call it Spanglish (yes its a real word) and I you don’t really see people complain about that. The way the subs are right now, anime watchers slowly become immersed in the Japanese language and culture, because they want to know what’s going on in the anime they’re watching. They’ll probably never get to the point where they can learn enough through just anime to watch RAWs, but it does give a slight feeling of accomplishment when you can think to yourself and say “Hey I understood everything that was going on in that five second window of speech without the subs.”

  93. One part of the video is correct: Fansubs still loose meaning, even with many words explained instead of translated.

    Please understand the word “compromise”. Many fansubbers try to achieve the best viewing experience for the AVERAGE WESTERN OTAKU who’s watching fansubs WITHOUT adding separate explanations. Apart from maybe what a.f.k. did for Zetsubou Sensei or Static did for Mai-Hime etc. which is a text at the end of the episode. Unlike your “examples” in The Last Samurai, most notes actually make the animé easier to understand. I don’t mind watching a scene twice or pausing for subs if the cultural differences make it necessary. Showing up mistakes of a few fansubbers doesn’t proove a point.

    However, I agree on a few points concerning how fansubbers treat the original authors. Overwriting the original authors’ names or putting their tag before the title in the filename are such things. Still, crediting the Staff and marking the release is something I don’t dislike. With different releases on one anime, it’s meaningful who to download from. Noone really thinks of fansubbers as comparable to the people who produce animé.

    Overall, I prefer the fansub style to the “professional”, which often means backward subs, ugly aggressive SRT stuff popping up and missing Karaoké. Yes, I like Karaoké, even if it’s these triple subs.

    The heavily overstyled stuff is not something I produce or download. Subs must not stand out too much, and very often, fansubs achieve that better than original subs.

    And finally: We do it for FREE. We are treated like CRIMINALS by the industry. WTF do you expect?! -_-

  94. i thought your article was right on point. I also agrred with part of what he said, but at the same time some fansubbers put alot of time and effort into doing this. And in the end, its all illegal anywayz, so why is he complaining so much??

    p.s. I also prefer some very common words to stay in japanese, (shinigami, onee-sama, baka, etc…..)

  95. While I have not watched this “documentary”, I seem to have enough of the gist of what this person is talking about. And I’m listening to all sides of this conversation to get an idea of what people are saying. Given what everyone is saying, this piece does not present a fully balanced overview of the situation.

    However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own opinions.

    Now for my side:

    1. Honorifics and forms of even pronoun address (e.g. boku v. ore v. atashi v. watashi for first-person): I can only somewhat understand some people’s frustration that the Japanese version has come over to an English sub or even dub. However, there are two situations where you find yourself in a VERY tight pickle.

    One is general use. Japanese etiquette has a much finer-grained method of determining standing than English does. As it presently stands, more people are understanding this nowadays, so this one is not too bad.

    At the other end of the complexity scale is the other is when they actually debate which honorific or form of pronoun address to use. One example of the latter, in this case first-person, is what happened around episode 17 or 18 of Kanon (I forget which episode it is offhand) where Yuuichi quizzed Ayu as to why she addresses herself as “boku”, a gently-familiar masculine address. Then she tries other forms, including “ore”, with mixed–if not comical (well, to those in the know, anyway)–results.

    This one is MUCH harder to handle. For our release of Kanon, we pretty much counted on the fact our viewers would already have a basic understanding of Japanese etiquette’s intricacies. However, we put brief notes to further explain the specific intricacies.

    However, there is no easy answer for this one if you’re trying to sell this one.

    2. Notes themselves: Our credo is that stuff which doesn’t have a decent translation to English and/or is key to furthering the plot do we put a note in. And as brief as we can manage yet still be readable. Plus we don’t jar the viewer, but instead, fade it in then out.

    I will also note that telling someone to go to a web page link is not only unprofessional, but also ill-advised because what if that page has undergone changes or is outright removed whether by editing or by domain expiry?

    My rule of thumb: Anything where a few words would suffice, an in-show note will work. Anything requiring a bit more might warrant an end-of- or beginning-of-show reference. I do not like the notion of picking up a separate file just for notes.

    3. Further notes on Japanese language creepage: The example cited earlier of Haruhi Suzumiya using “moe” is, IMO, a rather poor example. That’s one of the terms which really SHOULD become a loanword in anime fandom only because those of us who have been watching anime for years will know what it means, or more specifically and accurately, what it connotes. Calling it a “turn-on” doesn’t have the same connotations in English as “moe” does in Japanese. This is a time where it almost pays to have this word come over.

    When it comes language creep, some groups really raise the bar here. One which REALLY got under my skin was TV Nihon’s excessive use of “-tachi” when used in the context of “Person’s name-tachi”, meaning “Person’s name and the others” or something like that. I don’t know whether this was a deliberate decision, like Kaizoku’s “nakama” instead of “comrades (in arms)” or simply sloppy translation. For what it’s worth, I give Kaizoku credit for documenting the fact they changed this as a matter of choice of style.

    4. Obliquely related to in-show notes, but more along the lines of shows which have heaping helpings of Japanese cultural references and/or linguistic jokes: I think the whole problem with shows like Excel Saga and Pani Poni Dash!* is a far more fundamental one. These shows are VERY MUCH niche shows. They require knowledge of Japanese culture, general and especially popular, at a level far more intimate than many anime fans can hope to understand–you almost have to LIVE there to get most of the jokes that aren’t manga-/anime-/tokusatsu-/dorama-related. Bottom line: These shows and shows like them do not belong in the hands of an anime initiate.

    5. Censorship: Unfortunately, I will have to sound off and say that if you want to watch anime, the best way is to NOT watch it on American TV, even on cable. Not to mention, if a given title is licensed to 4Kids, you know the rest. As for One Piece,

    6. Overall thoughts: My own style tends to be a mix of keeping Japanese in and localizing. I have seen subs which run the gamut between both extremes, by both fans and state-side licensing houses. I try to strike a balance so it can be easily understood while at the same time, trying to capture the essence of the prevailing culture. It’s not always easy, but I’m happy with how I’ve done things thus far.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter, such as they are. I agree that something should be done, but I’m not so sure that what’s been proposed thus far is necessarily the right way. Perhaps a happy medium can be met?


    * I’m hesitant to put Lucky Star in here because it’s teetering on the border. There are enough references to make it relevant on both sides of the Pacific, but there are a few references which fit into Japanese culture only.

  96. Oops, I notice I hadn’t completed point #5:

    As for One Piece, I’m not sure if it’s the creator’s direct reaction to seeing the cuts, his reaction by way of fans’, or perhaps a mixture of both, or perhaps some other factor(s) at work that 4Kids’ license to One Piece got revoked and given to FUNimation instead. Whatever happened, there was a bad reaction SOMEwhere. And this wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened (though one other time it happened, it was with another licensee, Nelvana, and their holding, Cardcaptor Sakura, and it was purely fan reaction). I just wish it happened to more of 4Kids’ anime library.


  97. i do think that while most of otaking’s arguments were valid, it seemed to me that he was already sort of bashing the fansubbers.

    i just hope that through that vid, fansubbers would be more aware of how they should do or place their subs. something really simple with few translation notes would really benefit not only the viewers but also the subbers themselves. ^^~

    m o m o
  98. Hahaha, oh wow, weaboos everywhere are completely miffed, this guy gets kudos just for that. There are many times when explanations for whatever romaji is in the sub pops up, for maybe 2 seconds! Now tell me, how the f*ck am i supposed to read that? Rewind and pause? that disrupts the flow of the show altogether. And then we have the ‘true and exact’ english translations. ‘even at a time like this’ and other such examples are so common they could be a meme. ‘for fun’? yeah i get that, but i see that as more of a defensive cop-out than a reason.

    i’d love to see more fansub groups get creative when odd phrases like the one mentioned pop up, and that take a step in the explanation issue so that we either get them in small amounts or have a nice notepad file to reference without the annoying 2 second limit/pause if we really want to know what said word means or how it stands in japanese culture. and on that note, i learn more about jap culture from Danny Choo than anime. His use of examples and rant-esque can be used against him, but you can’t deny that a lot of subs these days are complete shit. Small translated words on signs are fine, huge explanations taking up space that could otherwise be occupied by a lovely woman is not.

  99. I feel like since I don’t pay for fansubs I don’t really have a right to complain. Also, some things he complained about I prefer. Like the poster, I don’t have a problem with the English word “infirmary” on the sign that has infirmary in japanese. Some things I can do without like the flashy subs and the explanations, but I usually don’t watch anime with flashy subs.

  100. also in my belief, if more fansubbers start minimalizing on-screen explanations that have to be paused to read and putting them in notepads or whatever file, the trend will move towards that as a standard.

  101. Very good article Natrone. In fact it even encouraged me to write my first comment here after reading this blog for more than a year.

    As a non-english speaker I beg to forgive for any strange sentence structure I may use in the following lines.

    In my humble opinion otaking made some good points, but he fails in terms of getting a unbiased/objective point of view. As far as I understood his background, he wrote a dissertation which means he has a degree in either japanese studies or translation with the focus on the japanese language.

    I definitely agree with otaking about karaoke captions. I don’t care about those captions in the intro or ending theme. But they bug the hell out of me in the middle of an episode. Just take macross frontier as an example. Episode 5 had some concert scenes mixed with a major space battle. I’m a mech(a) freak, so I want to see some nice space action and not the karaoke captions of the background soundtrack…

    Translating each and every japanese word on the other hand isn’t necessary. I will stray a away from the general topic, back to my teenage years. I loved reading SF/Fantasy books (and I still love them) but some german translations were pure crap. One rather funny example? There was a translation of some short novels playing in the warhammer 40k (a tabletop game from the UK) world and a faction called “Imperial Fist” were translated into “Kaisergrenadiere” (german for “Emperors Grenadiers”). Some words just sound childish in your mother tongue. German words may sound cool for all those guys from all around the words, but as a native german speaker names like “Panzermagier”, “von Kämpfer” or “Dämon Kraft” are just plain silly for me. They are either wrong like “Dämon Kraft” or some kind of unused combinations like “Panzermagier”.

    Sure, some fansubs do a better job than others, but we are talking about unpaid people, most of them don’t work as a translator in their real life. And popular animes will surely be subbed by nore than one group. If you don’t like honorifics or the style they use: switch to another or hope that some company get the license and dub it. I know maybe ~5-15 japanese words, so unless the fansub don’t make a huge botch like animejunkies did in the screenie natrone provided, I surely would not be able to tell the difference between a good and a mediocre translation. As long as the sentence structur looks right I’m fine with a sub.

    Footnotes are a mixed blessing for me. Zetsubou Sensei without footnotes would be too hard to understand and some japanese jokes& wordplay have no english equivalent. But notes like “londinium =London” or “Rosenkreuzorden” are rather annoying. We’re living in a google world. Search for rosenkreuz, browse the google hit (german wiki) and switch to englisch version… tada: “Rosicrucian Order” … gosh, what would I’ve done without that

    Otaking has some good points but he ruins them thanks to generalisation and biased rantings. Not all fansubs are full of footnotes, honorifics or flashy karaoke captions and fansubs are fansubs, no professionals getting paid for their work. And rants about bad fan translations are misplaced as long as the professional industy cramps out bad dubbed DVD versions…

    just my two cents and thanks for all the fish

  102. When I first watch this so-called ‘documentary’, I can hear arguments here and there (yeah, that flame fest for instance).

    I do agree on some points, especially the one on putting the fansubbing group’s name along with the title in the opening credits. Then again, I’m tolerant if it’s written small enough so it won’t clutter the screen.

    One minor thing (it’s minor bcos it’s a little unrelated) I can’t help noticing: doesn’t “Otaking” have an updated references? 1976? 1964? C’mon, get a latest one if he can (this is me being a referencing geek XD).

  103. @Koji
    I agree that the anime/manga industry has “flooded” itself into the current problems it faces, but that’s not the sole reason – like anything complex, there are MULTIPLE factors explaining why the anime industry is struggling.

    Thus, one of the main reasons why there isn’t a large fanbase yet is because there is a decently-sized and VERY vocal contingent of animefandom that doesn’t want a larger fanbase (maybe they don’t explicitly say so, but their actions to retain their cliquey obtuse culture reflects this and prevents new people from getting into anime). If we let them have our ways, the anime industry will have to continually struggle against them.

    Like many have said, we need to reach a balance to this solution. The problem is that I feel many FANS do not even recognize the effect they are having in the industry – they just keep complaining and complaining no matter what: “that’s a bad translation!”, “why didn’t they leave that in Japanese?”, “I hate the DVD subtitle fonts and colors!”, etc. And in some cases, the industry actually responds as best as they can, but the FANS keep on complaining, as the industry paints itself further and further into a corner, where it struggles to make ends meet. Then, these same FANS wonder why their favorite series aren’t getting licensed….or maybe they don’t wonder: maybe they jump for joy, so that they can continue to get free entertainment without paying anyone (not even the original creators) anything….

    Ok, so why do I care about anime being “open” enough so that new people who know hardly anything Japanese can enjoy it? That’s just the kind of person I am – I like to share things I enjoy and have more people enjoy it with me…

  104. I don’t think the video of Otaking was hating, he’s a professional translator and he knows what he’s talking about… fanboys should cut the crap and accept the fact that on-screen text, karaoke and stuff like that does affect the viewing experience. I have watch anime for about 12 years and knowing that the character is -sama or -san has nothing to do with the overall impact of a series/movie… obviously I watch fansubs but it’s nice when they add a text file translations apart from the video.
    And for the love of God don’t use examples of anime comedy… yes they all inside jokes, but I don’t watch anime comedy to have an encyclopedic knowledge of anime and japanese culture… that’s not the point!!

  105. I agreed with mostly everything that guy said in his video editorial. It does alienate would be new fans to leave all the little things in. Not everyone who is getting into anime is going to know what onee-sama and onii-chan mean. As far as the flashy subtitles, while its nice to demonstrate your artistic talents, they tend to just detract from the actual show. For instance, Gurren Laggen, I loved the show and I personally loved (I watched Nyoro-fansubs and later the Anon subs when Nyoro dropped it) when they did Giga-Drill Breaker with the big flashy subs.. but was it really “needed”? Not really, it just emphasized an emotion that the translator felt when they subbed it. This makes an assumption of the viewer, that everybody is going to cry man tears during every super attack (like me and alot of us Super-Robot/Mecha Fans).

    I’m not sure if the subtitles in fansubs directly affect our industry. If you think about it, new anime fans aren’t going to necessarily get into anime by searching the web and downloading a fansub. They might, like I did that one fateful day many many years ago, just buy the show off the shelf and give it a spin- then do more research later on the web. Furthermore, there are also some fans out there that will go out and buy a series once it hits the stores in their area if they liked the fansub, like myself. I’m still waiting on the second season box set of Aquarion to hit the stores so i can get season 1 and 2 all at once and for Gurren Laggen to hurry up and get translated (apparently delayed). The only thing i think fansubbing detracts from the industry is a willingness to spend money and support the people that worked hard at producing the series. Lets face it, a lot of us are poor college kids.

    Oh and Natrone: Like yourself, I too was foolish and rented the fansub from the anime store back in the day.. ~_~ /wrists

    However, once i found out it was not for sale *or* rental, i kept it. They tried charging me late fees, but had no way to make me pay since technically it was illegal to rent out in the first place 😛

  106. I think one thing that many people here forget when referring to how the script should be presented (practically fully translated or leaving certain Japanese terms in or some combination of the two) is that a lot of it is based off the translator for the group. The rest of us may all want the -kuns and -chans taken out but if the translator wants to leave them in, are we going to risk upsetting them by leaving them out and having the translator quit the group? Translators are hard enough to find as-is most of the time, so most groups will (understandably) bend over backwards to please the person who essentially keeps the group up and running.

    Luckily the TL my group works with is pretty understanding in most of the cases. For instance, the last time we subbed something, the character specifically said “cook’s hat”, but no one here would usually refer to it as a cook’s hat, but as a chef’s hat. Our TL told me that I could change it to whatever is normally used, and so I changed it to chef. But what if they had wanted it left as “cook” so we’d be accurate to what the character said and what the staff had intended? We would probably have some people like OtaKing coming after us saying “Yo, what’s up with the engrish?” Well, sorry. We don’t have the luxury of having paid professionals who are less likely to leave over small creative differences.

    Keep that in mind the next time you see a ‘baka’ or ‘nakama’ in the subs.

  107. @Andue
    How you described your fateful day many many years ago, buying a show off the shelf, is precisely what I’m (possibly overly) worried about. If the current fansub culture of inaccessible Japanese translations and difficult-to-view-in-one sitting on-screen-text proliferates from fansubs and into the anime industry itself (it’s crept in with some ADV works like Excel Saga and Azumanga Daioh), then you will have a potential new fan picking up a DVD, watching an anime, getting lost, and never touching anything anime-related again. Again, I’ll admit that I might be too paranoid about this, but it might be another factor for why anime licensing and distribution outside of Japan is struggling….

  108. Quite interesting to see the quality of fansubs went down-hill so fast. I agree with the man for the most part. Disagreed a few times but no point in repeating what others have said. Well made and amusing, many kudos to the creator.

  109. I didn’t agree with most of what he said, though I could certainly understand where he was coming from. Still, with all his references to the good old days of fan subbing, he did come off sounding like a cranky old timer. He could have represented a professional subtitling (Like ADV) for a modern anime (like Haruhi) that has recently been introduced to western media. I know he’s talking about FAN subs, but he still made comparisons to professional subtitling, so it still might have helped his argument to use them as a reference tool. But he didn’t – all he did was reference 80’s and 90’s anime as “Good material” covering only modern anime as “Bad material,” so his rant, while mostly valid, came off sounding arrogant and egotistical.

    Like I said, I didn’t agree with most of what he said, mostly because what he was pointing out doesn’t bother me so much. I’ve come to appreciate the way modern fan sub groups do things, and I don’t get annoyed at the flare they put on things. But like I said, I would certainly understand why someone would have complaints, especially when they’ve grown up around the older fan subs.

    Kraven Ergeist
  110. @JC
    I wrote the article, because it was a recent event that was relevant to anime fandom, and I had a feeling (which has been validated) that a lot of people would have a lot to say on the matter.

    I’ve already mentioned in one form or another that OtaKing is not balanced in his arguments, that he contradicts himself, that he presents himself from a rather extremist side of an issue with a huge gradient scale, and that he acknowledges HIMSELF (for the most part) that he is trolling.

    But, just because you hate the messenger doesn’t mean you should hate the message. And I see a much bigger underlying yet extremely important message here for fans of anime……

    (I really don’t want to repeat it, since I’ve done so already in my last two comment-responses)…

    Truly, my article was not solely about him – he was merely a catalyst for me to discuss and make a much bigger point….

  111. 1. The guy refers to himself as “Otaking” (king of Otaku) AND he’s brittish (in other words, he’s an egomaniacal elitist prick). So right there you can pretty much toss anything that he says out the window with the bath water.

    2. Fan subs are FREE. If he has such a big gripe how they are done to go about creating a documentry about it… why not create his own fansubs? Do it the way you think it should be done.

    I’ll tell you why he doesn’t. First of all he would say that it’s because he’s a professional and there is an ethical issue (plus it’s technically copyright infringement), but the real reason is that if he put out his “invisible” translations nobody would know who he was. He couldn’t stroke his massive ego.

    One thing that I hate about professional fansubs, and dubs (especialy the dubs) is that they localize too much. Anyone remember when they used to translate rice balls as “jelly doughnuts”? I do. What’s wrong with learning something about another culture? Why do a lot of professional subs try to rewrite it as if it wasn’t taking place in Japan? Azumanga Daioh dubs did that, it was (imo) terrible. Otaking would probably be ok with changing the names to western names, you know… they used to do that too.

    As for the side notes, there is one group that has been including a text file with their Macross F subs (don’t recall who). And Ayako has been including a splash screen right after the opening with notes as to avoid having them occur in the middle of the episode. Yoroshiku’s subs of Chi’s sweet home are very professional as well. He doesn’t talk about groups like that though. He basically presents a one-sided argument, and that is bad journalism.

    Lastly Natrone, thanks for writing about this. I wouldn’t have come accross it by myself for some time. I have mixed feelings about people like Otaking, but I enjoyed your editorial.

    MC Sam
  112. @klo
    Right on target, he is a professional translator. His job is just to get whatever has been said in some inferior foreign language to the superior language of the human race. However, despite TWELVE years of watching anime, you fail to mention that japanese, as much as it’s alien to me specially when watching raws, then followed by fan subs which I love way more than professional japanese-to-english subbing (dubbing lite).

    Let me give you an example,
    (1) yesterday, john-senpai helped me to solve this equation in my algebra class
    (2) yesterday, john helped me to solve this equation in my algebra class

    The honorifics, while it might be confusing to newcomers (which we all were at one point), help to show the relationship between a mere classmate or friend, to something bigger, a person we held in high regards.

    And for the part where you mentioned that he is not hating on fan subs, please, re-watch the video and turn your sound on.

  113. edit: However, despite TWELVE years of watching anime, you fail to mention that japanese, as much as it’s alien to me; specially when watching raws, then followed by fan subs which I love way more than professional japanese-to-english subbing (dubbing lite), that it wouldn’t make sense to remove the honorifics because of this example below:

  114. Well, for either the good or for the bad it’s obvious that many fansub groups have heard Mr. “OtaKing” message and either agree with him, or disagree with them and have started to alter their fansubing style accordingly.

    Either way, some of the most recent releases have been cleaned up of screen clutter, which I personally like better. Had this whole debate not been brought up though I really would have never noticed/mind the flashy subs mainly due to the fact that I’m not going to complain about something that is free.

    All in all I just hope this moves toward a different mindset towards anime as a whole to be more open rather than the cliquey nature it has now.

  115. After watching this video I am very depressed, all this time I thought that the growth of sub titles was linked to creating a better easier to understand pleasing to the eye almost seamless addition to the videos we watch.

    Was I ever wrong? It seems that subtitles are meant to be so dull and boring that they are barely noticed or even read and attempts to create fan following for subtitle groups is borderline egomania.

    In truth if I knew more Japanese and perhaps could read it too I’m sure I could find Japanese fan subs of British and American shows with equally offensive material to the Otaking or should I say the Otaku sama.

    Perhaps I’m jaded but I like fan subs vs the more professional versions because you never know what you will get in text. Next to Engrish versions of Japanese Anime from Hong Kong even the worst fansub offenders are a delight to the eyes.

    By the way I enjoyed the latest Fan Dub of Mai Otime, god only know Otaking probably shat himself when he saw it, it could be the wave of the future.

  116. I DO agree with almost everything he said!
    I mean, I’d rather see a plain text than all those unnecessary effects! XD
    the stuff about the karaokes, and the names of the fansubs are very true!!
    but I also think fansubbers do this stuff because they like it, and it is
    free after all… so, if we want something more official, then we should
    buy the dvds or something!

    I’ll be leaving now! P.E.A.C.E!
    (sorry for my english…. u_ú!! it may be wrong!)

  117. I don’t even know what to say he chose the worst possible animes to complain about not only that but I didn’t agree with almost any of his points notice I said almost meaning that I did agree with some but my minds to cluttered right now to go into details so all I can say that I respect ALL fansub groups because they take time of their own hands to sub for us, no matter how inaccurate or cluttered it is because the thing is people who watch fansub don’t friggin understand japanese that’s why they watch it and all of these fansubbers have other jobs or they attend school so to even have time to sub is a miracle

    but then again my japanese is good enough to the point I don’t need to watch subs so….yay

  118. fansubs being ‘free’ doesn’t protect them from complaints/criticism/hate/whatever comment someone has to say about it. it’s like saying an ostrich is safe from a poacher because it sticks its head in the ground. yeah fansubs are free, so what? free =/= magical protection.

  119. I believe the primary aim of the “they do it for free” argument is to point out that if you don’t know Japanese well enough to watch RAWs, don’t be an ingrate and bitch about how people go about making their fan-subs. Otaking is criticizing from the point of a professional translator. I mean, everyone has their right to be a whiny little bitch and post on the internet, but he does have some credentials, so he at least has some weight to throw around when he’s casting his criticisms.

  120. all i can say is…..WHAT A JOKE.

    and i’m dissapointed in any fans who aggreed with him for many reason.

    a fan will always be a fan and a pros must alway show some lvl of professionalism

    u cant expect a fan work which is release 3 hours to 24 hours after that episode is air in Japan to be in the same quilty as a slowpros who release their work 6 months to 1 years after the series is completed in Japan.

    comparing this 2 is liek comparing the graphic of real time in-game graphic of game that is rendering in real time Final Fantasy 7 to already beign render CGs graphic like Advent Children. they r both computers graphic but 1 is sure better then teh other. doing what this cheap jerk doing is like hating on in-game graphic say how they can be so much better if not like Advent children.

    as for the I, U, and Dunames-onesan stuff…here an example of why fan sub do what they do

    i dont now how it is in other countries, but here it eh US, we dont use it. since we dont use it, its hard to accurately translate stuff liek Haruka-onesan or stuff like that. just eh name with eth title alone tranlate into a lot of stuff. to me, Haruka-onesan mean, she Haruka, although she not my blood sister, she a very good and close friends, some1 i trust and consider a sister of mine. it show how close the relation is between teh 2 persons as well. in a fan sub, i would rather have the indication there then to have it delete since such title is regional. ina pro sub, sicn eu knwo htat the pro version gonna be release in a certain region, then the sub can be tranlate to fit that region.

  121. Very nice video. Anyone who’s filling up a screen of Kanji during a song definitely needs to watch this video. NO ONE CARES, stroke that epeen harder typesetters.

    Some of his nick picking was a joke though …. as in case with One Piece, leaving “Nakama” (with an intro footnote at the beginning of the ep) was JUSTIFIED, wellllllll over 200 episodes ago. It made sense back then, it makes sense now …. very important word and translating it to “friend” is just silly.

  122. I’m one of those evil translators who regularly leaves things like “Onee-san” untranslated, while translating “boku” and “ore” ubiquitously as “I”. Why? Because saying “Sister, where are you?” sounds awkward in English. At the same time “Boku am over here” also sounds awkward in English.

    My rule for these sorts of situations is more or less: If the word has no accurate English equivalent or would sound unnecessarily awkward or clunky translated literally AND flows well grammatically in English if left untranslated, it’s left in Japanese.

    “That’s so kawaii” fails this rule because “kawaii” does have an accurate English equivalent and does not sound awkward translated.

    “I’m being attacked by a kappa” conforms to the rule because there is no English idea equivalent to “kappa”, translating it as “turtle-shelled water sprite” is needlessly clunky, and leaving it as is does not interrupt the grammatical flow of the sentence.

    But all in all, everyone has their own translation styles, and as long as the point of the dialogue is being accurately reflected and is readily understandable in English, honestly, who cares about anything else? There are simply some nuances in Japanese that CAN NOT be expressed in English, and it’s pointless to try in the subtitles themselves. This is why most fansubbing groups have forums, where the translator can answer any questions about deeper nuances in depth.

    Things are inevitably going to be lost in translation because of the vast differences between the two languages, and it’s downright elitist to stick your nose up at the average anime fan who doesn’t differentiate between “ore” and “watashi” or “kimi” and “kisama”, and just wants to know what’s going on this week in Bleach.

  123. Well I watched all 5 vids and read the cool article written by Natrone, and well… I don’t really agree with most of the stuff that Otaking ranted about.

    About typesetting
    Well now day there’s this amazing tech called softsubs and you can just put whatever boring font you like to the subs.

    Too much Translation Notes
    Well you can always download the release from another group that doesn’t use tl notes, the examples he used where just wrong. I mean, in PPD the chalkboard was already clustered with text, fansubber just tl that stuff so we could read it you wanted (I actually paused those PPD eps a lot to read those things, some where really funny).

    It all depends on the fansubber, they can either be really fugly and unreadable or cool, and you can sing along with the intro.

    Kaizoku no Fansubs
    Their job is just cool, I don’t know what the heck he rant so much about, the effects for the powers are just cool, and actually I loved the 224 eps of one piece I saw with their subs, I never found them intrusive or anything like that.

    So yeah, actually the only part I liked about his video was the first one, I never lived the old fansubing days. Back on the VHS days I just rented my anime from a store (most of them where from MANGA Video) or I just whatched them on TV (Rurouni Kenshin, DBZ, Sailor Moon, Samurai Pizza Cats, Tekkaman Blade, others) when they still aired anime on national tv here (I’m from Panama ;)), then came the internet and now I just watch any anime I want from the fansuber I like the most (I’m quite picky from whom I dl from :p).

  124. karaokes are fun only if you can read and sing with the singer. Why to put the name of the fansub group on screen? (equal or bigger than the anime title)… and he forgot one thing, quality over quantity.

  125. Some things in the anime fansub docu might be exaggerated, but a lot of the stuff he mentioned also makes sense.

    What I think… translate the words that can be translated into english and leave those words that don’t have a direct english equivalent. (the ones that can only be translated in the form of a phrase)

    I’m not a fan of subs that clutter the screen with explanations (the one that requires you to pause every few minutes). There’s a fansub group that puts the explanations at the start and end of the show, I guess thats one solution to lessen the text on the screen.

  126. I agree with OtaKing for the most part. For example, I don’t find superimposing the translation that bad, since the fact of the matter is that already by subbing it, your audience is already seeing a completely a wholly different series than the original viewers. Would it be any different from having a giant yellow “INFIRMARY” in the lower part of the screen?

    “I’m one of those evil translators who regularly leaves things like “Onee-san” untranslated, while translating “boku” and “ore” ubiquitously as “I”. Why? Because saying “Sister, where are you?” sounds awkward in English. ”

    But a with a bit of rearrangement to something like, say, “Where are you, sis?”, it doesn’t sound that awkward. That’s his point. If a direct translation is awkward, you find ways around it instead of leaving untranslated Japanese dangling there. Similarly “kappa” could be translated as “river imp” or “river sprite” without it sounding too awkward or off. I agree, though, that if a show takes place in Japan, there’s no reason to modify it to make it seem like it takes place somewhere else. Complete and utter waste of effort on some of the professionals’ part.

    But like the original article says: it’s human nature to spend work on things a lot of people notice instead of things they don’t. But sometimes humans are dumb. I don’t mind the karaoke subs, they are good practice for whoever does them and they look nice…BUT OtaKing does touch the issue about fansub groups competing (but doesn’t really delve into it). At times it’s ridiculous! Trifles about the stupidest of things: who “deserves” to sub a show, who “deserves” to watch the subbed show and who “pwns” the other group by putting out a sub faster than the other groups. Less of that, more care about the quality, please.

  127. Fansubs these days feel rushed, perhaps they are taking longer to release but the quality is not presented, only the effects are. I used to be an encoder, not a translator and work going into translation and editing, the sweat and blood that went into them was amazing. Sometimes we would be seconds from release only to have one mistake in the subs, just one and still would force a re-encode. (These were times before soft subbing, where they were hard coded, one re-encode via nandub could take a few hours on a fairly high end CPU). To be honest some things are just blown way over proportions though, the translations and stuff all over the intro and OP don’t bother me, nor does limited explanation boxes. Nothing upsets me more though then shitty translations, the point of a translation is to form it to the native language of your viewers and not to half foreign half native language. This commentary was a very good view, and sort of scares me to the future of fansubs, though given it is a free service is there any real right complain? not really. I do hope this spurs some fansub groups to change their ways, as for dieing anime I think online distribution is the biggest good for the industry as a whole, as well as MPAA protection for copywrited american material.

  128. I agreed with a lot of what he said. I don’t watch one piece but the subs there were waaaay over done. I feel for the group being used as his bad example tho XD.
    I like karaoke, provided it’s not huge and over done. They’re just credits, I want to know what the song means, it’s not a clean opening/ending anyway.
    Don’t mind -san, -kun etc but by now I speak enough japanese that I don’t need subs to hear it, plus all the different words for you and I. I thing onii/oneesan should probably be translated for any time it’s ment literally. But for non-relations it’s ok if it’s left in jap. But I don’t really mind.
    Things like Baka, hitsuzen etc should be translated. If there’s an english word use it.
    Nothing wrong with a nice font. So long as they don’t over do it. I think we need moderation.

    He was channelling Yahtzee at least once there.

  129. An excellent editorial, to be sure.


    Dare I ask why the heck all of this is such a big deal?

    People, Japanese and English are JUST languages. There is nothing sacred about either of them. Indeed, half the reason English is such a pervasive language is that it doesn’t hold itself up as sacred–unlike, say, French. *cough*

    The real problem with the fansubbing community is that people are so obsessed with preserving the sancity of Japanese/English (Japanese 95% of the time) that they completely forget they are translating INTO another language. Japanese is not English, and vice-versa.

    I’d rather see fansubbers completely rewrite dialogue to make it flow better in English than run around trying to inanely preserve every little thing. To put it another way, the problem with the fansubbers today is their ENGLISH sucks, not their Japanese. They have no idea how to manipulate their own language. Anybody can look things up in a dictionary.

    You know…I think I’ll go make a follow-up rant on my blog. Hee hee.

  130. I’ll try to not repeat some of the arguments that was posted earlier. As someone who has followed fansubbing in it’s early years, I can agree to some of the points pointed out by OtaKing such as too much translation clutter that happens and the Karaoke being a distraction at times. However, guess what happens, I simply switch fansub groups. I’m going to just say it, I whole heartily disagree with anyone who supports full translation because I was first expose to this kind of translation and I always felt that it ruined the atmosphere of the show. I’m actually glad that fansubbers today keep as much of the Japanese culture in their translation because it makes the shows more enjoyable. I always bear in mind that this is a Japanese show, not an American show so by taking away all the cultural references kills the show for me. As for honorifics, I deemed it important in slice of life shows but for everything else it doesn’t matter if it is used or not. As for fansubs not being friendly for newcomers, I will agree with that statement to a small degree simply because of the change in the fans to fansubs culture that is happening. I’ve introduce anime to many newcomers and they like the honorifics and found it strange when it wasn’t used. I was expecting this kind of video to come out because it’s not like we haven’t seen something like this before in other formats. It is just what happens when a certain culture may it be large or small goes through a rapid transition.

  131. And while everyone else agrees with OtaKing. I will jump to the defense of the subbers.
    There isn’t a written law saying that subtitles must be translated professionally and things such nakama must be translated (eg Kaizoku-fansubs). Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the subs. Fansubbing is now competitive and subbers strive to make it faster, better and prettier in a shorter amount of time. Subbers aren’t getting paid to do this (at least most aren’t) and it’s out of our own free time so beggers can’t be choosers.

    So to summarize, who the fuck is Otaking to say which way is the bad way to subtitle anime? He’s just making a comparison between the old ways to the new ones.

  132. i definitely agree on most of the argument… If i was the director or the animator and found these fansubs online, i would be extremely enrage…
    Though, i don’t mind the way they left some of the japanese words on the subtitle, “haruki-nessama” doesnt have to be translated as “haruki-oldersister”…

    P.S: can somone tell me the anime ending theme song at PART 3 from 5:17 to 5:22, sounded really catchy >.<

  133. ooh… i also agree on acidflower’s argument…. fansubbers are doing these traslation for free and hence they deserve some kind of attention or credit for it…
    Some fansubs already start releasing their episodes in .MKV format… so that you can turn on/off the subtitles…

  134. About the Translator’s notes on foreign names…

    He showed 2 examples, one was a name of a secret society in German, while the other was a name of a place in Latin.

    If the director didn’t need to explain to the Japanese viewers the meaning of these foreign words/names during the show, why must the Translator pepper the screem with trivial explanations. In a way, OtaKing does have a point.

    You end up with a lot of text (important and unimportant) vying for the viewer’s attention at the same time.

    I’m not a fan of this style, but I’ve gotten used to these Translator’s Notes popping out all the time… I just ignore them most of the time and probably read them after I’ve watched the episode.

    If you think about it, trivial stuff like this can always be put at the end.

  135. i think that the creator of this movie obviously worked real hard on it to come out. however, in the 2-3 years i’ve been watching anime, i have never cared about the way that fansubbers use their editing in episodes. in fact, i kinda like it. i have plenty of questions in my mind when i read text on screen that isn’t subbed, or notice references that aren’t explained. i’m sure the fansubbers translate or explain those too per request of a majority of the fans. normally when they include those notes, i either pause it and read them or i read them REALLY quickly as i have that ability. and if otaking says that anime watchers in japan can’t pause these shows to look things up, he obviously needs to be introduced to tivo. this reminds me of a quote i saw in a political cartoon a while ago that i feel is very relevant to this case. the quote says:

    “a candidate is a person who will seek to convince the public that he or she is a hero when compared to other assholes.”

    i’m not saying that otaking is running for president, but that what he’s basically doing is making himself look like an asshole by proving himself superior to all other assholes (fansubbers).

    i think the real message of his documentary was that he was basically saying “their way is wrong. my way is right. everybody love my method and hate anyone else’s.” i made a spelling-issue comment to a fansub company and got flamed before its many patrons on how they go through so much work to get them done. and it’s true. it takes so many people and so much time to sub anime, even before the flashy graphics. and they don’t pronounce themselves like they used to. sure, it was a problem in the past, but times change and so do people and their habits and styles.

    oh, and the “not for sale” thing. that doesn’t just refer to fansubs, but also to the actual show. you could get in SERIOUS trouble yourself if you were to sell it. they aren’t just protecting themselves; they’re protecting you, too. besides, most fansubbers VOLUNTEER. those donation drives you see are for servers and bandwidth. so, in an essence, “what’s been created for free should STAY for free”.

    and the credits thing; now that’s the only thing i side on. they should do what the subbers did during jigoku shoujo: either put them in the eyecatch or put them in the slides that show who sponsors the show. other than that, i think otaking went a little overboard with this documentary.

    so in the end, i think that otaking should basically put his own foot in his mouth. if you really have a problem with all of these fansubs, here’s two solutions:

    1) sub/edit them YOURSELF


    2) watch the raws

    you don’t have to sit in front of us and talk about how much of a lost cause this is.

    and there’s my $.02, folks…

  136. I have to admit, he does have a point most of the time (sometimes exaggerated), but these things no longer bother me because i’ve gotten used to them.

    What do you guys think, OtaKing did this anime fansub docu because…
    A. He was bored?
    B. He wanted the fansub groups to improve the quality of their future translations?
    C. He just wanted to pi$$ off the fan sub groups and start an argument?

  137. he sounded like a pompous twat the whole way…

    get over yourself, really. he kept repeating himself over and over. and most of his points were things i liked to be kept in subs. things like honorifics, original attack names, last name first, some japanese, and a modicum of TL notes.

    though trinity blood was a hot mess and zetsubou made my eyes cross at times… its not that big a deal. if he understands japanese enough then DL the raws and leave the subs be. i’m not reading a text file later for the show i just watched… pass.

    the whole thing was some blowhard that had way to much time on his hand and thought WAAYY to much of his own oppinion.

  138. I think that he’s taking it a little too seriously. sure, he raised a couple of good points – having words to the songs disappear in flashy font effects before you can read them is one. Having far too many Japanese words left untranslated (barring things that are actually names, such as “gigai” in Bleach) is another – it can alienate people. But in general, I think that he’s complaining about the quality of free, illegal, subtitled foreign cartoons, which is about as effective as complaining about the quality of pirate DVDs. (Oh, and I’m English. Even I think his elitism is too much.)

    And I admit – I like fansubs. If I don’t like the way something is fansubbed, I simply don’t watch it. I don’t consider it an insult – but then I am not a professional translator. I guess it all boils down to personal opinion.

  139. – first off, he does have some good points but i wish he didn’t sound so pompous about it.
    – i watch fansubs, mainly because i can’t understand a lick of Japanese and seriously give thanks to all the fan-subbers out there that take the time to sub these animes
    – i cant agree to the fact he keeps comparing how a professional sub to a fan-sub and how would a “professional” do it. The fact is a professional gets paid to sub a dvd but a fan-subber does it more or less as a hobby. So how can someone fault them for having their own style and doing it their own way? Honestly if a fan-sub group comes up with something enough people don’t like, most likely they’ll die out and just disappear. My point is, if you don’t like it don’t watch it.
    – i do agree on the point on how some fan-sub groups that plaster their name all over the anime but really can you blame them on wanting their 5 seconds on fame for something they essentially did for free? (not to take anything from the actual creators of course)
    – last thought: i actually like the random fonts on the fan-sub One Piece; to me it actually goes with the silliness of the show but that’s just me…


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