Posted by: Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | 03/15/2010

Blog Post #7

Never to Be Seen Here, A Follow-Up to Blog Post # 4

-more after the jump-

-warning, link heavy; links are important to understand the post-

In my previous blog post, I touched on the issue of fansubs mainly because, well, I’m a part of it. I don’t profess to being one of the translators (Professor Fujiwara here at GMU would laugh her head off if I attempted to) or one of those in the team. I’m just one of the many people who watch the fansubs. I profess, I am a poor fan. I do not have the cash nor the budgetary justification to buying DVDs of shows I watch. But I do devote one shelf to the precious few books and DVD collection I have. There is though, the issue that there are just some shows that I will never see in the United States, and fansubs are my only choice at ever seeing them.

Why do I watch fansubs? There are those who hold the opinion that fansubs take away from the overall experience. Often claiming that the fancy work and sometimes either too literal or inaccurate translations (sometimes both?) take away from the overall viewing experience. As this blogger points out (be sure to watch the 30 minute Michael Moore-style documentary), fansubs are more or less a hit or a miss. I don’t want to repeat Natrone’s well written viewpoint-from-a-teacher-who-watches-anime blog post, but he more or less provides a counterpoint to the documentary.

But that isn’t why I’m writing. It would be an act of plagiarism if I did, since I am not that great of a writer. What I came to write about is my own personal experience with this. And why I continue to do it regardless of the signs that the industry is failing and is doing little to help stem the tide. But there is hope for the industry, if they can spot the main issue why fansubs are popular though.I watch fansubs because there is sometimes no alternative for me to view shows, especially for shows that seem to only hold a small niche of the fanbase.

An example of a show where the sheer logistics of dubbing and distributing, as well as retouching and getting the actors to play the part, would be Legend of the Galactic Heroes. A massive undertaking, several movies, a prequel series, and a 110 episode long series. A massive cast of characters, from the simple civilian to a one-scene soldier fighting in the front, up to the main characters, have been voiced by their own particular voice actor. In fact, many of the voice actors are well-known in the industry. It is a beautiful series full of political intrigue and drama that has had it compared to Romance of the Three Kingdoms or War and Peace. Certainly something to watch if one is a fan of politically driven anime, thought-provoking anime, or ‘historical’ anime. (Historical as in the series provides a fictional history of the world from the 20th century to the series setting in the 35th century)

Unfortunately, due to the reasons above, the costs of working to bring this series to the United States would far outweigh any profit gained from the small group of people who advocate the release of the series here. I’m one of those people, having been introduced to the show (called LOGH or Gineiden by fans) by others who loved the series, and although the animation isn’t as clean as modern-day shows, and there are garish GermanĀ  and English translation errors in the anime, I still love it because it delivered on the plot.

I guess that doesn’t fully account for why I still watch fansubs. And it’s just one show out of close to a hundred now, of shows I’ve obtained from fansub groups that were eventually released in English, or never released at all. But it seems, refreshing,t o provide a counterpoint from my earlier post, which I felt was more in line with the industry’s view on things. It seems, regardless of what happens to the general anime industry in the future, especially during the recession, I believe as fans get more mature, there would be those who realize that anime is no different from, like, The Simpsons or Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy here in the United States. It’s just the fact that it is an animated medium from Japan, and there are going to be some work in order to find a market and then release it here, an English-speaking country. Fansubs may seem as a stopgap measure for me now, after I’ve sufficiently delved into the legal aspects of it, something I haven’t done 5 or so years ago.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually go back and study/relearn Japanese, and watch Anime in its original language. Or I earn enough money to buy DVD collections or pay a fee to watch the official subtitled versions in the distributor’s websites. But for now, I guess I’ll keep utorrent up and running.

I may make this a series of posts. I’m not sure.


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