The State of Fansubbing (It’s Dead)

Article, Fansubs — By on May 15, 2015 2:37 am

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.

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Nothing I say here should particularly come as a surprise to anyone who’s been keeping track of the scene. But this is the only site left where you can have an open-door discussion on the subject, so let’s open the fucking doors.


History Time

Fansubs once mattered, believe it or not.


I hesitate to reminisce, since nostalgia goggles are blinding, but it needs to be stated that fansubs were legitimately once integral to the development of the anime scene in the west.

Almost worth playing Phantasy Star for

“Once” being the operative word.

With the exception of anime that aired on cable TV, or shows that people had to buy/rent/borrow on VHS/DVDs, translated series could not be reasonably experienced without the aid of fansubs. As an example, let’s reach back to 2011 (arguably the last year fansubs truly mattered), where one of the hypest shows was Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Unless you wanted to watch Madoka raw (e.g. without subtitles), you had to watch the series with fansubs. Turns out tons of people did, and it took a stagnating anime scene by storm.

Madoka is required viewing, BTW.

Read: this shit is required viewing.

Like many most shows pre-Crunchyroll, Grimdark Lesbians owes much of its western success to the grey market for anime. Without the fansubs that the scene provided, the show would have been forgotten until it would be too late to matter.

Now think about the hype shows of the current gen: Attack on Titan. SAO. DanMachi. Naruto Shippuden filler arcs. People don’t need fansubs for this shit anymore, and fansubbers are certainly not providing compelling reasons to watch their releases over the official options.

Ask new fans what they think about fansubs and you’ll get blank stares — good luck getting a list of groups they like, let alone a definition for what a fansub actually is. The scene has completely lost its mindshare.



Why Fansubs Are Now Irrelevant

The fuck kinda optimism does anyone have for fansubbing now? I have none, and neither do any of the fansubbers I’ve had convos with on the subject. So when I hear whining in the comments here about all this unwarranted negativity, all I can think about is how fucking out of touch someone has to be to ignore the irrelevance corroding the scene.


Downloads (the primary metric by which groups measure their success) are down across the board even as anime itself keeps gaining steam in the English-speaking world.

Hell, even when fansubs can release their subs before official options, they will invariably get fewer downloads. No asterisk needed; it always happens.

FFF released a full two days before Crunchyroll, yet HorribleSubs is tripling their numbers.

FFF released a full two days before Crunchyroll, yet HorribleSubs is nearly tripling their numbers.

The saddest part? This is observable on fansubbing’s “last bastion”: Fansubbers decided to circlejerk the wagons and go all-in on Nyaa torrents to the point where they organized fucking boycotts of all other sites.

Really guys, there are cuter ways to commit suicide.

Really guys, there are cuter ways to commit suicide.

If you go outside of Nyaa and look at the streaming sites (you know, where people actually go to get their anime fix), officialsubs dominate. With a few exceptions, the illegal streaming sites have no interest in making their bed with fansubs. And for the success of legal options… well, when was the last time you saw a fansub group sponsoring an anime con?


Some argue that even if downloads are down, as long as fansub releases still get downloads at all, they’re successful. Everybody wins, right?

You pranking me right now?

You pranking me right now?

Assuming these people are serious, If you aren’t playing to win, you might as well not be playing at all.


Groups are quick to complain about how it’s not “fair” that HorribleSubs gets more attention than they do, the brainless fucks. Here, let me clue you in on something:

Fansubs are not the fucking product. People do not fucking care about typesetting. They do not care about encode quality. They do not care about editing, karaoke, or timing. All the people want is anime. And they want to get it reliably. What you’re selling is the distribution of anime via your subtitles.

Fansubs have forgotten this shit as insularity became their primary goal.


Let’s just take a look at a few of the decisions the fansub scene has made in the past few years that pushed people away:


;_; fansubbing-chan


Changing encoding standards from a strongly supported format (8-bit) to an unstable, unproven one (10-bit) was as boneheaded a move as you can make. Mac and mobile users were completely shut out for a long time. And it’s still not handled perfectly across all platforms.

Whatever benefit was gained from adopting this standard was lost when people jumped ship for releases that actually catered to them. Short-sighted stupidity.


Consolidated distribution

One-site, torrent-based distribution was a stupid fucking idea. Compared to streaming sites’ click-and-play functionality, the standard process fansubbing recommends is entirely “cost”-prohibitive. Not only do people need to acquire specific software to watch shows, they need to either pay for a seedbox or use a local torrent client and hope they don’t get used as an example by some company’s legal department.

XDCC’s even worse and more convoluted, so don’t even come at me with that fucking bullshit, fansubbers. Nobody should be surprised that people don’t want to jump through hoops for their entertainment. This shit ain’t supposed to be an obstacle course.


Take-it-or-leave it release options

You can’t win where you don’t compete. And fansubbers don’t compete at the high-end (1080p) or low-end (480p, hardsubs) anymore. Humorously, the audience of those release types (as seen with HorribleSubs numbers), when consolidated, is often larger than the standard, 720p audience fansub releases are scrambling for.


While hindsight is 20/20, I already called the scene out on some of this bullshit back in 2012. My sagacity is clearly unparalleled.



The Current Fansub Strategy

Fansubbers appear to be resigned to the fact that they can’t compete with officialsubs anymore. They’re wrong, but that’s the prevailing sense of self-justified apathy that emanates from their still-subbing corpses.


"There's still hope! Don't worry guys, it can all go back to how it was when people knew what fansubs were! Just as soon as simulcasting dies, we'll be right there to pick back up where we left off!"

“There’s still hope! Don’t worry guys, it can all go back to how it was when people knew what fansubs were! Just as soon as simulcasting dies, we’ll be right there to pick back up where we left off!”

I can understand where this thought process comes from, but fansubbers, waiting for progress is a fool’s gambit.

To be fair, the fansub scene wouldn’t have too much trouble ramping back up if it came to this. And fansubbers aren’t wrong about this being a distinct possibility.

Oh I'll feed you baby birds.

Oh I’ll feed you baby birds.

The status of official subs in the US can only last so long as Japan wants to share its ball. And with Nipponia having some of the most capricious and short-sighted management around, it’s not like this is the craziest possibility. Western companies don’t exactly own these shows, and I’m sure Japan has enough “outs” in their contracts that one CEO’s drunken directive could wreck Crunchyroll.

But as the years roll on, and a scorched-earth policy from Japan becomes less and less likely, the easy route doesn’t seem like it’s going to lead anywhere.



Now, if the SJWs get their way, fansubbing may just get the Hail Mary it’s been waiting for. But that’s an article for another time.



The Solution

It’s tough being the monarch of a dead scene. But I am a generous king, so let’s talk about how they can finally get senpai-sama to notice them.


Don’t hold your breath, though.


Nobody has more to gain from a thriving fansub scene than me. Ruminate on that for a second and then consider these honest fucking suggestions:


1. Improve Group Branding


Make it clear that the “work” you do is actually done by you; it means nothing if you aren’t recognized for it. Credits, logos, whatever the fuck will clue in the average viewer. Taking the high ground (lol) just means you’re wasting your fucking time.

History time? History time. Branding went out of favor back when competition was only between fansub groups. There wasn’t a need for it, because it was a point of pride — a marketing scheme — that groups didn’t care if they got recognized for their work. Well, that was complete bullshit, as anyone who’s been a teen would know.

Really, branding was unnecessary because the anime-watching audience was relatively informed as to what their choices were. Now? Not so much. Especially since “pride” has been stripped from most fansubbers’ dictionaries.


2. Improve Release Distro

Release your branded work wherever the fuck you can. Official options are limited to the areas in which they can operate, but fansubs have no such restrictions. Go ham.


Every reasonably frequented torrenting site, every streaming site you can find, hell even every DC++ hub you can access… you get the point. Stop viewing downloads as the metric you’re aiming for, and go for impressions.

If you want to use Nyaa as your staging hub, fine. But if you’re not going where the users are, don’t expect them to come to you when they don’t even know you exist.


There are no better ideas at this point. The only path forward is pure propagation. Forget whatever social capital you have to gain by being just another group that keeps its head down and doesn’t rock the boat. Try to matter for once in your non-sagey lives.

I'm wasting my time on you guys, I know that. But at least I fucking warned you.

I’m wasting my time on you guys, I know that. But at least I fucking warned you.



Avoiding the Blade

If fansubbers want to fade into irrelevance, that’s their own prerogative. But if they expect me to keep waving the scene’s flag while they meekly do so, they’re sorely fucking mistaken. I will recommend the best options for my readers, even if they don’t happen to be fansubs. And if fansubs don’t even attempt to compete with the official releases, don’t expect me to hold my tongue about it.

Callow Gallows

If I mince anything, it won’t be my fucking words.

Should this revelation be a great discomfort to some of you, then I guess so be it. I’m nobody’s shill, and the only feelings I’ve ever cared about are my own.

Don’t like it? Blame the scene; my narcissism didn’t come out of nowhere.

Tags: ,


thecowgoesmoo says:

Has CR or Funi recently released any subscriber figures? It would be interesting to see how they compare to HorribleSubs’ numbers on Nyaa. DDL stats for the relatively few groups that still run their own ops for that would also be neat to look at, if only to compare shows that are available through subscription versus those that aren’t.

As for XDCC: if it’s really that convoluted a process with no real demand, I have to wonder why HorribleSubs bothers to run a billion distro bots. Well, at least I think all those CR bots are theirs; not exactly sure who else would benefit from it…

Apeiron says:

His complaint about DCC is that it has no true benefit over torrents while also being more complicated. Difference between “Install torrent client->click magnet link” and “Install mIRC->connect to Rizon->join channel->open packlist in browser->find pack number->/msg botname xdcc send packnumber->hope you’re not queued or otherwise unable to get it to even work”.

asd says:

DCC has the benefit of not being torrents. Sometimes torrenting is blocked and you can’t do shit about it, DCC offers another (high-quality) solution.
At college I was unable to torrent, but thanks to IRC I could still get anime.
Plus, your IP is more hidden than connecting to other torrent users.
Also, no need to worry about a lack of seeders (though, the sub group probably should have it’s own seedbox or some shit constantly seeding it)

Both are good and have their place.

Anonymous says:


Anonymous says:

It’s over fansubbing lost

Fuwaa says:

I have just one question after reading this insightful post, Dark_Sage-sama.

Horizon s3 when? ;o;

Suzu says:

Someday, Fuwaa. Someday. ;_;

rarely_upset says:


pi says:

a candle for fansubs [*]

when it comes to seasonal anime, i only download horriblesubs because they are fast, i never wait around for subs even for shows which are being released by funimation(i hate those fuckers) and i guess i could stream but i hate streaming so fuck that

if we’re talking about older stuff, i usually fetch some batches, which are in BD quality (see, fansubs are useful, yay…)

also, fansubs are useful for shows that are not licenced (mostly old anime) like kino no tabi, for example (which is available in the shittiest qulity i’ve ever seen)

so yeah, fansubs are becoming a thing of the past

just look at how many of them closed down in the last 3 years xD

Dark_Sage says:

Fansubs will do well where they don’t have to bother with any competition. BD & hentai groups will likely always have a place so long as Japan continues prioritizing markets in the way it currently does.

Anonymous says:

The reason fansubbers think that their option is the only acceptable one is because they have “encoder/editor/timer eyes”. I was timer for 6 months and spent the next two years twitching every time I saw a timing error.
But the truth is nobody else notices those small errors you guys(fansubbers) bitch about so much.
Also fuck daiz and 10bit

PP says:

Woah, dem spoilers in the title, not cool.

Fatalis says:

Dead or alive, it doesn’t matter. There will always be fools that sub for whatever reason and there will always be fools who download those releases. It doesn’t matter at all if you say it’s “dead” so why bother making an article about it?

anon says:

Why post a comment? It doesn’t matter. There will always be D_Ss that write articles for whatever reason and there will always be people who read those. It doesn’t matter at all if you say “Why make an article about it?” so why bother commenting?

Fyurie says:

Being fair, Floris, I think the article makes some good points. It’s obvious to anyone that the relevance of fansubbing is waning for anything that gets an official source.

We only really shine on shows like Amagi etc, that don’t get casted. They’re getting fewer and further between, though.

For those that still want a quality release however, by all means, fansubbing will always be relevant to you.

I like doing what I do, and I like doing the best job I can while doing it, and so regardless of how “dead” or “alive” the scene is, I’ll keep doing it.

MantasB says:

Good job!

Anonymous says:

>I like doing what I do
Aren’t you the guy who is constantly “quitting fansubbing forever”?

Fyurie says:

Not once did I ever say I quit for good. I take breaks. I’ve taken two so far.

Breaks are good for you, you know. Gives you time to do other things you like doing.

ShiroNek0 says:


In any era, there always exists autistic fansubbers (like Daiz) and videophile viewers who only care about quality. CR releases are fast and stable, sure, but it is not the goal of all viewers.

I watch anime with my roommates in recent years, all of us respect the effort of fansubbers for quality releases. CR, Funi rips or anything relevant to “official” are always our last choice.

Fansub is not dead, it is just not lively as before.

Fyurie says:

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel in most cases too. I’ll take a solid fansub over an official sub if I can help it.

Fansubs are more for the people who want a fuller experience these days, and not so much as a general method of anime consumption.

h8GWB says:

^ THIS. ^
I will always value fansubs over official ones due to the (typical) pride and effort that they put into the little things that Crunchyroll and company just don’t give a shite about.
Mainly such things as translating those little background signs and text, since I don’t have the skills(too lazy) to input Japanese into Google Translate. Those itty-bitty details can be pretty damn relevant to the story, and if not, are just great fun infotainment.

I mean, Deadfish making SAO II”s OP “Ignite” translation in a style that mimicked the SAO virtual UI, was simply, ridiculously AWESOME.

(Yes this this late and may have already been covered further on, but the following comments are really TL;DR.)

Bunny says:

Aren’t Deadfish just fansub re-encoders? Or do they actually add typesetting/song translations on top of the fansubs sometimes?

Assirra says:

Last time i watched an official sub was Kara no Kyoukai.
They couldn’t even spell a name right…

I will stay as far from official subs as possible :P

Anonymous says:

The last time I watched a fansub from a group I wasn’t in, they couldn’t spell names right either. The prosubs for that show also didn’t get the names right, though.

This is by no means a problem limited to fansubs or to prosubs. It’s simply caused by a combination of a lack of a style guide, the translator not caring enough, and the editor/QC (if there’s one at all) not knowing Japanese.

Abunja says:

How could you tell both of them are wrong?

Prophet says:

one shining example.. it took 3 seasons for subbers to get Cinque’s (er.. Shinku’s; for anyone who had working fucking ears) name correct. heh.

jabashque says:

IIRC, even the official products from Japan didn’t agree on what that dude’s name is, so that’s a really bad example to use.

Abunja says:

>for anyone who had working fucking ears

Man, you know you should not just rely on those especially on loan words. Hell, even it is written in katakana can be pretty confusing too.

zeroibis says:

Agreed as long as official continues to be lower quality and not supported for integration in xbmc (now Kodi) there is no reason to ever use official releases.

Even if those went away streaming only is shit when your on a 14 hour flight to Tokyo. How am I supposed to sit though the flight without anime after I watch the live action therma roma on the inflight entertainment system. Oh and bluray is no real solution either especially as compared to simply having fan subs.(who the fuck first of all has a computer with an optical drive other than a cd drive for ripping flac files)

But I do think you are right in how fansubbing needs to change in many regards. I strongly agree with branding and a focus on consistency and quality. These are also things that will likely help groups get supporters to pay for hosting costs ect.

Getting your releases on every tracker out there with back links to your site is a great way to get new viewers. I have quite a few friends who do not watch anime except for particular shows I select for them based on their preferences in many cases when we fail to finish the series in 1 night they can not wait until they come over next time and try to locate the series themselves usually resulting in them watching some crap version they found on piratebay ect. When people are starting out they want to use the download sites familiar to them to look for things.

[TRVE] says:

“(who the fuck first of all has a computer with an optical drive other than a cd drive for ripping flac files)”
Everyone who bought their computer in 2000 onwards.

Tobikage says:

Because D_S wants to play Dr.Frankenstein and bring the scene back to life.

Abunja says:

Fansubbing always have a special place in D_S’s kokoro.

Abunja says:


>hype shows of the current gen
>Naruto Shippuden filler arcs

Nice joke, mate.

Mehrwerfer says:

>unstable, unproven one (10-bit)

We live in 2015, not 2010 anymore. Even Youtube can handle 10-Bit videos (you can upload it without problems, but Youtube convert it into 8-Bit). My mobile phone and tv can also handle 10-bit.

Dark_Sage says:

It’s important to understand the problems that occurred in 2012/2013 when fansubbers decided to force 10-bit on everyone, instead of looking at its adoption in 2015 and saying “Oh yeah, this is just perfect, what do you mean people had problems?”

The minor upsides were not worth the long-term damage done to the scene’s popularity among non-tech enthusiasts.

slackzy says:

However if it wasn’t for fansub groups, I don’t think 10-bit would even have had such a wide adoption.

Dark_Sage says:


[TRVE] says:

“wide adoption”
Wide adoption among nerds from deep down the basement who aren’t significant on the market.

Calyrica says:

As someone who watches anime on a Mac, you have no idea how frustrated I was with the advent of 10-bit. Dear lord. At the time, the only player that could handle it couldn’t handle subtitle formatting properly (thank you, libass), so I had to make a choice: do I want to see the video or do I want to see the typesetting? For awhile, I grabbed anime only from groups who released an 8-bit option (until those died out) because it was the only thing I didn’t have to make sacrifices for.

We exist. The problems existed. Not everyone has perfect PCs.

Hell, ask D_S about how bad my PC is and see the colorful use of language he’ll spout at you. I can’t even watch a 720p video on it without major lag (not even talking with subs yet), so to the Mac I go!

jabashque says:

Heh, even worse is that the PC I think you’re talking about is faster than my Thinkpad T400, and my Thinkpad T400 plays anime easily.

Thing is, none of the players will be able to handle subtitle formatting “properly” since libass isn’t VSFilter. Fortunately, nowadays, there are very few cases where the output would actually differ between the two, but back in 2012, I don’t think that was the case.

AsukaLangleyfag says:

I have x200s and it’s slower, but still can play 720p 10bit anime. For subs – well, I’m using bomi on both desktop and laptop and subs works fine (except one time with 8man’s mask with commie’s 8man rises, but hardsubbing isn’t hard, deshou?).

anon says:

>My mobile phone and tv can also handle 10-bit.
I don’t think there is a tv that can handle h264 10bit content much less properly handle any form of typesetting

Also my low-end 2014 HTPC can’t handle 10bit 1080p

CoffeeFlux says:

I’ve seen pretty awful laptops run 10-bit 1080p just fine. Are you using kawaii codec pack with madVR at max settings or something?
If that’s the case, it’s your own fault :P

shinobivdk says:

First, I would like say i’m french so, sorry if it’s mispelled english.

I read the post and I think you’re right but you’re also wrong. I agree that fansub is not only typesetting or stuff, IMO fansubbing should not be typesetting or stuff just, translations with love ;)

Is it really important to say, “it’s our release!” ?
Fansubbing, it’s a hobby that give anime to people, not a job where only the number of downloads is important.

And Personnaly I think that all the fansub ho make crunchy of funimation series should stop to do that.

(I had some fight with that in france because of that)

For the FFF : My PC is sometimes not enough powerful to run all of their typesettings, so I understand why some people prefer to take rip release.

For the Torrent and XDCC : XDCC cost money for the fansub.
Nyaa is user-friendly, right ? Baka-bt is not really good, though.

And tokyo toshokan hum It’s really a mess !

Is there other sites ? (that’s a real question, not irony)

Well Fansubbing shoud be a way to give japan entertaining when there is no other way ;) And while there is no other way, fansub shall not die !

Dark_Sage says:

“translations with love”
This isn’t true of the current scene. Most groups just take Crunchyroll scripts and roll a couple hours of effort on them, then release and pray that people will pay attention. Original translations are now the exception to the rule.

“Is it really important to say, “it’s our release!” ?
Fansubbing, it’s a hobby that give anime to people, not a job where only the number of downloads is important.”

Sure, some people do it for the love of the hobby, or the community that fansubbing offers. But by and large, people want to feel like the work they’re doing matters. And downloads are the only objective means of measuring that.

“Is there other sites ?”

Are you talking about for torrents? Yeah, KickAssTorrents, ExtraTorrents, 1337x… There’s lots of places for fansubbers to peddle their wares. They just need to actually go out there and put some fucking effort forth.

shinobivdk says:

Well, so the french fansubbing scene is not so different from the US one… Since Crunchy is arrived in France, the number of rip is over 9000…

For Torrent site, I personnally don’t want to go to this website because I think they are not safe…

Dark_Sage says:

The point isn’t to redirect people to these other methods of acquiring anime. It’s to reach people who aren’t already acquiring anime from “traditional” sites like Nyaa.

shinobivdk says:

I see.

By the way, do you know if crunchyroll or funimation make some moves (justice pursuit, stuff) in order to stop fansub ?

Dark_Sage says:

I don’t see why Crunchyroll would, considering half their staff are former (or current, but shh) fansubbers.

Funimation… Well, their company culture is not favorable to fansubs (from their staff I’ve managed to get into conversations with at cons/online), but I don’t think they can really afford to get embroiled in those kinds of battles… either from legal fees or lost goodwill.

shinobivdk says:

“I don’t see why Crunchyroll would, considering half their staff are former […] fansubbers.”

So, that’s not a rumor ?

Dark_Sage says:

Correct. It’s an open secret.

One thing that may not be is that Funimation also has ex-fansubbers working for them. Though with their anti-fansub culture, it’s not something those ex-fansubbers are likely to even hint at.

John says:

For what it’s worth, I did get a letter from my ISP (After CR’s complaint) for downloading JacobSwaggedUp’s Kami Nomi Megami-hen, which is apparently based on Vivid’s subs.

So, it does happen occasionally.

buttstalion says:

“so the french fansubbing scene is not so different from the US one”
Is there even a fr scene?
90% of the seasonial shows aren’t “fansubed” and they only rip from crunchy, wakanim and ADN. and they are shit when it comes to fansubing (very bad encoding, ugly fonts, no typesetting, random translations….)

Kristen says:

While fansubs indeed are dying, there are a few things that must be said.

First and foremost, I would not trust the nyaa numbers on horriblesubs as actual watches. Horriblesubs has, through the past 6 years, grown a large fanbase from its immediate releases of shows like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. By doing so, many people have added them onto their RSS feeds to auto-download, as opposed to actually downloading them to watch the show from them.
So while the FFF vs. Horrible is kinda lulzy, I don’t find it entirely accurate.

Second, there is a pretty big reason for fansubs to exist right now – the stuff that’s not subbed. I mean, sure, most all shows are subbed by an official sub right now. However, these streaming sites hardly ever show OVAs, Movies, and other extras.
Unfortunately, many fansub groups don’t do these. Like, look at how many groups did Nisekoi Season 1. Then look at how many of those did the OVA.
And of course there is the rare show like Aikatsu that isn’t streamed, or lilpri that wasn’t streamed for the first season.

Third, of course, are BD groups. You never can expect BD quality from a stream, and they cater to a niche market that only wants the best of the best, so you can’t really call them irrelevant.

However, the points are pretty much all true. Outside of a few examples such as UTW’s Fate/Stay Night works, and thought I hate to say it, Commie’s Monogatari series, pretty much all the time people will go for the official release. Everything else is just water on the glass.
Which unfortunately means that anime sub quality is going down.

Nyara♥ says:

Who the fucks have an auto-download in the first place?

Solaristics says:

I’m having a hard time understanding what you just said. Are you saying who the fuck auto-downloads shows or something entirely different? Because plenty do, including me.

Fyurie says:

Yeah, setting up auto-downloads for the shows you watch weekly is pretty useful.

Dark_Sage says:

Sure, but the level of tech/fansub enthusiasm required for that is significant enough that you can’t assume the average viewer is going to go that route, which I am 90% sure is what Nyara was getting at.

Fyurie says:

You don’t need “fansub enthusiasm” for it, hell, it’s half of the reason HS gets a buttload of DLs really early. People find out what’s airing on CR etc and set up RSS feeds for it in advance. It’s really not that complex to set up either. You can google it and figure out how to do it in around 5 minutes or so tops.

Thee’s no way there’s 10k people looking at Nyaa when ep1 of a new show comes out all pressing download at roughly the same time, let’s be honest.

Dark_Sage says:

If you think a full third of viewers are so tech enthusiast that they’re setting up RSS feeds for automatic torrent downloads then I think the scene would be right to move ahead into 12-bit without reserve.

Fyurie says:

Go spend a little while on /a/ and also go do some general browsing around anime discussion boards, more people know how to do this than you think.

Dark_Sage says:

If there really are a bunch of techies who are hot on grabbing torrents but don’t give a fuck about fansubs, the situation’s even more grim than I thought.

Fyurie says:

You can be tech-savvy and prefer the faster thing still, I don’t see the problem with that.

I don’t see why, to be a techie, you have to have certain tastes.

You may want to hear it a specific way but people are weird, and that’s just how it is.

Some people just prefer the speed and reliability of legal subs and don’t wanna wait around. That’s just a fact of life.

Dark_Sage says:

I was more doubting your claim than anything. Without hard numbers I’m just counting it as wishful speculation.

Fyurie says:

There are no hard numbers available for it (as there really isn’t any way to check), it’s more of an observation I’ve made over time. Take it as you will, I guess.

Tobikage says:

People don’t even need technical knowledge to do this. Torrent clients (like Vuze) have GUI plugins that let you set up RSS auto-downloads in minutes.

Anoni says:

Here’s my expert tutorial for qBittorrent (this time with a mouse cursor visible)

Fyurie says:

>Did you know that Shana Project can automate your anime downloads? Set and forget the shows and subbers you like, and let your computer download each new release without you having to do a thing!

From Shana Project’s homepage.

My point stands. Sites are even doing it FOR you.

Anoni says:

Of course. I was reinforcing your point, not arguing it. I personally like a separate feed per show instead of lumping them all in Shana. I have had a couple issues with them not recognizing a show until a few days after it airs. This is because it pulls from Tokyo Toshokan instead of Nyaa. Either way, automated downloads are almost trivially easy.

Fyurie says:

Yeah, I know, I was doing the same. :P

I haven’t tried Shana’s feature, I just knew about it.

I use Taiga to DL my anime, so it’s not quite automatic but it’s sure useful.

Nyara♥ says:

I’m just confirming this.

HS releases get high downloads at release because they have CONSTANT release schedules (that they also announce in their page, or you can look at CR). That translate in that people constantly loads their page (or Nyaa) a few minutes after the established hour, catching their distro almost since the start. If a fansub would actually announce, let’s say GG two years ago, “hey, we are gonna release Shingeki no Kyojin 02 at 14:00PST”, believe me, it wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to archive at least 300.000 of the 460.000 downloads it had at the end.

Only tech freaks actually auto-downloads their stuff. Now, yes: setting an auto-download is really, really, really easy, and if you think about it, entering and using IRC in a daily basis is also peace of cake, and torrenting, and stuff… What’s the problem? Granted, it is easy… if you understand what the actual fuck are you doing. If you don’t have the minimal hint of what the fuck are you doing, you are completely lost unless someone directly gives you a fool’s proof tutorial (and nobody does that).

Such easy things are completely unreachable for the tech newbie because he/she has far more basic things to understand beforehand… and for the most part, nobody cares, because they can still do what they want to do without that knowledge or experience. Most people can’t even search an auto-download tutorial because they don’t even know that auto-download is a thing in the first place.

Anon says:

>Outside of a few examples such as UTW’s Fate/Stay Night works, and thought I hate to say it, Commie’s Monogatari series, pretty much all the time people will go for the official release.

Tsundere Kristen is kawaii.

Anoni says:

I agree with Kristen. It really comes down to fasnsubs “winning” in the only areas that official subs do not compete in: movies, OVAs, BDs, etc.

What would happen if CR started replacing their TV series with BD releases when they were complete? They would probably charge a bit more for it, but it’s really not out of the realm of possibility. I think fansubbing would almost completely go extinct. With the exception of some few stubborn groups.

Nice post! I always thought the same. ;-)

I just can’t stand hardsubs and those bad video encodings of Funi so I rip their hardsubs. I know people still bash Funi’s translations (even here! lol) but at least they have “consistency”. A thing you never will find in fansubs.

Fansubs are still good for OVAs, specials or material not yet licensed. Otherwise I find they really unnecessary nowadays… :-D

CoffeeFlux says:

“I know people still bash Funi’s translations (even here! lol) but at least they have “consistency”. ”
…please tell me this is a joke

“I just can’t stand hardsubs and those bad video encodings of Funi so I rip their hardsubs. ”
engish, motherfucker
do you speak it?


It’s really fun to annoy people here sometimes, although I’m not a regular commenter because I know when I comment here, I always get a reply of an idiot like you.

Well, when you see a certain “trusted” fansub (at least in NYAA) translating “maji hiku wa” as “Gross!” everytime (FFF’s Date a Live) you can really expect “consistency” of them.

Note: This is an irony…

Not counting that I saw people at 4Chan boards complaining about their translations especially with their Zankyou no Terror and Tokyo ESP releases. Well, some people were preferring the Funi ones.

And of course, you probably noticed they released a v2 immediately after Funi released the first episode of DxD BorN as Funi was delaying with it. I have no idea what they fixed in their release as I don’t really care about them, anyway.

Gary says:

>what they fixed in their release.

Translation. They are deaf, FUNi isn’t.

Anon says:

“It’s really fun to annoy people here sometimes, although I’m not a regular commenter because I know when I comment here, I always get a reply of an idiot like you.”

You know, if you’re aware enough to realize this, maybe you can realize something else; much like how if everyone you meet is an asshole, you’re probably the asshole, if every time you post you get “idiots” responding to you, you may just be the idiot.

AyyMatoi says:


I see you’re one of those people who complain about translations when they’re not even remotely qualified to translate.

Fyurie says:

That’s a hell of a lot of people, unfortunately.

Welp says:

Many fansubbers did. ;_;

Fyurie says:

Yeah, fansubbers are guilty of it too.

At least some of us get someone who understands the language well enough to confirm our statements, though, instead of pretending.

Far too many people who know how to use a couple of J to E websites suddenly think they know everything.

nhkxd says:

Typesetting, Typesetting, and Typesetting

That is why I (still) watch fansubs. I can fix the script if something really bothers me but having nice fonts, color matching, and signs is what I care for.

Nyara♥ says:

– Movies for the 75%> of the fans (potential: 100%).
– OVA’s, OAD’s and extras for the 50%> of the fans (potential: 75%).
– Old shows for around the 25% of the fans (potential: 50%).
– Unreleased shows for the 10% of the fans (potential: 75%).
– Faster than the official for the 5% of the fans (potential: 10%).
– Better quality than the official for the 2% of the fans (potential: 5%).
– BD’s for the 1% of the fans (potential: already archived).

The % comes from the total anime fanbase that gets benefited. Most the time, though, the % is archived in an indirect distribution (streaming and DDL sites using the fansub release). When you consider we are barely working movies, extras, old shows, unreleased shows… while also just a hand of groups can actually beat the official subs’ speed… yeah, the scene is dead.

The potential for the most part comes around distribution, as DDL’s, streams and easy-to-reach MP4 remakes are required to meet the requirement of most fans. While that is already being accomplished by re-distribution at some extent, a lot of movies, OVA’s and shows aren’t getting properly re-distributed, so yeah.

Now I know that GG’s fame and co’ are formidable, but you are not gonna get famous by editing official releases. For the most part people will just not wait that, and for those who do, most of them will find it pointless as months and years goes as the difference is just not that noticeable (because you are watching the show, right? Your focus on the subs is slim at best). Yeah, I know that Funanimation sucks and that some CR releases sucks as well, but for the most part, the official sub is watchable and the fansubs are barely editing them outside the karaoke.

Oh, and yes, karaokes. Most people interested in karaokes actually looks for a OP/ED separated version, and most the time, they look for em’ in youtube. And you know what? People frikking loves when someone actually fansubs the full OP or full ED and releases them to youtube (ads on lyrics sites are recommended to increase the views), that is another niche to fill up.

Orco says:

This is what I’ve learned about watching anime with official subs:

I watch CRrip if there are no other fansubs;
I stay away from FUNIrip even if there are no good subs available, and hope that some fansub group is willing to do their magic T_T

Like nhkxd said above, nice fonts and signs is good enough reason for me to watch a fansubs release :v

CoffeeFlux says:

“And fansubbers don’t compete at the high-end (1080p)”
>implying that CR’s shitty upscales are better

No says:

Not like your average viewer who demands 1080p will notice the difference between 720p and a 1080p.
Fakesubbing and typesetters posting blogs that typesetting is too much effort, so you shouldn’t expect much from their releases, really hurt the scene too.

Googol says:

Haha, and that’s being said by a nobody that names himself “No”? I guess unanimated’s blog post was too difficult to grasp for you. What really hurts the scene is the random guy that probably never typeset any shit in his life spouting BS.

anon says:

Holy shit you are right, he doesn’t have a famous internet identity! How dare him have an opinion of his own? God I hate these nobodies that didn’t spent an unhealthy portion of their adult life trying to achieve celebrity status on a niche community.

ayynewnEmis says:

He needs X amount of twitter followers for his thoughts to have any weight, right?

Nyara♥ says:

It “looks” better.

– Because playback filters’ fault, they look sharper. Actually, it is forced sharp, and it sucks, but only if you were able to notice details without sharp in the first place. Most people can’t actually observe the whole 720p degree of details without a help. Forced sharp, though damaging the image itself, in exchange allows them to observe details that they weren’t noticing before, so it is a positive balance for the average viewer.

– Mere psychology. Apple fans thinks their sucky products are the greatest thing ever because they paid a lot for it, so they are constantly ignoring the negative points and noticing more the good ones (because “for something it must be like that”). The same happens here.

Abunja says:

>While hindsight is 20/20, I already called the scene out on some of this bullshit back in 2012.

I don’t see any problem with these at the present time on my end, except that Crymore was once a very lively place.

Dark_Sage says:

Well yes, I was still in college in 2012. It’s a good week for me if I can get more than two posts done. Not sure what you’d have me do about that.

Hairy says:

Become NEET.

MegaPear says:

Another nicely put article. Definitely see what you’re saying as I started watching anime around 2011. For me it’s kinda painful to watch fansubs struggle to stay relevant as most of my friends who do watch anime veer towards go with whatever subs streaming sites offer. Most know just commie and horrible subs off the top of their heads and the very few who download only do so to archive the shows. Even then with those releases they don’t really know who did what, just the group that nicely packaged it together so that they could watch their cartoons in blu ray quality. (Of course with that you also have the problem of setting up a player for that; which has admittedley gotten easier with the rise of the completely automated kawaii codec pack).

shaddrag says:

No mention of use of memes, D_S? Because that turns off quite a few people from fansubs these days.

Anyhow, I think more fansubbers should focus on OVAs and such not done by official sources. Seeing as so many go under the radar, even when a group does an entire series, they don’t bother to do the extras.

Also, in all of their above-mentioned “irrelevance”, they become even more “irrelevant” when you get one to two shows a season getting oversubbed with 3 or more options, meanwhile a whole bunch go without any decent fansub treatment at all.

Also, let’s change that to Naruto Shippuden canon hype ;)

Dark_Sage says:

Eh, it’s just an overview post. If I were to go into all the problems with fansubbing, I’m pretty sure I’d hit the WordPress character limit halfway through.

Gary says:

>Outside of a few examples such as UTW’s Fate/Stay Night works.

What? Why the fuck shall I wait? Do you really think that people actually give a fuck about these imaginary translation errors? xDDD
Also, waiting 3-5 days for their pitiful TLC? No way in hell. xDDD

Googol says:

Do you really think that people actually give a fuck about your opinion? xDDD

Gary says:

Yes, they do (even if they don’t know about my opinion).

FSN 18:
HS – 70k
UTW – 5k.

Oh, it’s only 14 times more!

Addityo says:

Nice meme

CoffeeFlux says:

nice meme xDDD

STATIC says:

i like this article, ive been watching fansubbed anime for around 10yrs or more now, its really clear things are different now. Less amount of fansubbers really as compared to before i think. The competition back then really brought the best out of fansubbers when it came to improving their releases with each anime season. Ah well, everyone has their own preference and this latest generation is just different. Thanks for the read.

HyakuPercent says:

>Hell, even when fansubs can release their subs before official options, they will invariably get fewer downloads. No asterisk needed; it always happens.

This says otherwise:

HyakuPercent says:

Just realized it has only been an hour since HS was uploaded. My point still stands. Commie gets more downloads than HS 720p. Only when you add up all their downloads do they have more. It just goes to prove that people will only care about what comes first.

btw raws get more than HS combined. Not that it’s relevant to this post.

Dark_Sage says:

…wait, hold on, you were serious. lol

If you want to act like the 1080p/480p releases “don’t count”, that’s cool, but that’s some heavy goalpost moving just to suck up to RHE’s underlings. Over the past 6 releases, HorribleSubs has managed an average of 13,000 more downloads than Commie. Nobody reasonable could chalk that up as a “win” for your buddies.

HyakuPercent says:

I mean even if you exclude people who download 480p for whatever stupid reasons, commie will have more downloads. Numbers are still numbers but what can you expect from retards?

In this day and age, I see no reason why people should be downloading 480p unless the source comes in native 480p.

Nyara♥ says:

On 18′ or smaller screens, the human eye can’t notice the difference between 480p and 720p. With that said, people actually borrows the 480p for their Smarthphone, Tablet, (old) TV or small laptop. It also comes handy for those with aged hardware (some people/companies doesn’t change up their oldies for as long as 10 years), as they have troubles watching anime in any other mean. Finally, some people likes them for their size: faster and easier to download and upload, specially handy with limited, slow or unstable Internet accesses. Or for storage, to save shows to watch later or re-watch in the future, as 720p ones becomes very hard to save with the time. Or because you are just running out from free space. Also, some likes em’ because they can start watching the episode a few minutes earlier as downloading a 480p release is indeed faster.

lotusgg says:

>On 18′ or smaller screens, the human eye can’t notice the difference between 480p and 720p

I can easily notice drastic differences between true 480p, true 720p and true 1080p on a 5′ phone.
And more than that, I can notice a properly encoded 720p vs cr stream 720p on the same 5′ screen.
Encode is more sensible than you think, don’t spout nonsenses about human eye that, human eye this without any concrete proof than your bad eyes or ignorance.

jabashque says:

The human eye can’t see past 30fps!

But yeah, even on laptop screens, I can still see a difference between 480p and 720p. I think Nyara only mentioned half of the story because I’m sure it was supposed to be a certain viewing distance proportional to screen size where the person cannot see the difference between 480p and 720p.

Googol says:

You can definitely see the difference between 30fps and, say, 60fps. Example:

Try watching at 480p and then either at 720p60 or 1080p60. It is way smoother at 60 fps.

jabashque says:

I was being sarcastic, you know.

(But yes, there is quite a huge difference between 30fps and 60fps, especially if there’s no motion-blur happening on the 30fps video)

Googol says:

My bad, it’s difficult to pick up sarcasm in written form lol

jabashque says:

Heh, I’d figure that my outrageous claim would’ve clued you in, but then I forgot that people actually believed that. :/

anon says:

>if you exclude people who…
And if we remove the blacks from crime statistics Detroit is a great place to live.

Solaristics says:

You’re kidding, right? Yahari episode 1 for HS has more downloads than Commie (720p). As time goes by, HS numbers will surpass that of Commie’s. Atm, commie has more on the other releases by a small margin of 1k-3k (For episodes 1-5), but that’ll change over the course of weeks just like Ep 1. Episodes 5 and so on will reach the same point and then surpass too.

HyakuPercent says:

That’s only the case because HS has a strong set of followers who don’t care about anything. I mean commie has their own too but HS’ is obviously bigger. People will flock to HS regardless.

Dark_Sage says:

It’s easy to rage against the download machine, but people are making their choices based on the information they have available to them. And I think generally they’re making logical decisions based on what their individual needs are. Should you think they’re misinformed, I would encourage you to rectify the situation yourself as best you can, rather than silently seething for the rest of your life.

Not everyone in the world is going to be a carbon copy of you, and part of growing up is understanding that.

ayynewnEmis says:

So, what you’re saying is that they are a bunch of stupid fucking normies?

Dark_Sage says:

I never gave a timeframe, so technically you didn’t catch me on a technicality~

duplex says:

>And fansubbers don’t compete at the high-end (1080p) […] anymore.

Did they ever?

Fyurie says:

Wasn’t it stated this season that there are (technically) only ~4 shows that doing this on would be viable, else you’re just upscaling the content and technically degrading it as a result?

duplex says:

Pretty much, since there are few anime that are truly >720p and few high-quality 1080p sources.

Fyurie says:

Yeah. Granted most of the people that go after official sources don’t seem to care about that fact. It has more pixels therefore it looks better, amirite?

This is probably one instance in which our want for quality does technically cost us some impressions as we refuse to do 1080p for the sake of doing it when we understand that it’s a quality downgrade to do so.

Nyara♥ says:

Explaining more often why not 1080p would tackle some part of the negative impression. Even today, nobody has bother in doing an easy-to-understand guide about why it is stupid.

HyakuPercent says:

1) It’s an upscale and it’s fucking stupid.

I think that’s pretty much all that needs to be said. Unless it’s native 1080p, which is pretty rare, that’ll be the reason for almost every case.

Dark_Sage says:

If you can’t communicate why these things are actually bad, in an easily understood manner, don’t be surprised when people dismiss your opinion as easily as you dismiss theirs.

James says:

Which four shows?

Dark_Sage says:

Yes. Shounen groups were able to put up a decent effort versus HorribleSubs with them. A number of unknowns (like a group that came in just to do Ozma) also took it as a marketing point.

duplex says:

>A number of unknowns (like a group that came in just to do Ozma) also took it as a marketing point.


Abunja says:

Trusted torrent by anons on Nyaa were usually seasoned fansubbers themselves, and you only need to ask some guy around to confirm it. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Dark_Sage says:

The implication I actually remembered anything about Ozmasubs, let alone Ozma, is entertaining.

Anonymous says:

What do you think of Sidonia no Kishi, Underwater and Netflix?

Dark_Sage says:

I think they all suck and I wouldn’t shed a tear if they disappeared tomorrow.

pi says:

you never fail to make me laugh, thank you dark ;)

Dark_Sage says:


ng says:

Among my anime-watching friends (3D, not online) there is only a single one (besides myself) caring for “a good release” or fansub groups at all. We both also don’t really care about speed.

However, everybody else is either watching anime on their old TVs (therefore going for 8bit encodes with a simple h264 level) or using some kind of these “input your anime and I give you links when EPs are released” websites, which use HS in most cases.
Visiting fansub group websites is out of question for these people (too much effort). Even visiting nyaa is something they’d consider a bother. They don’t want to know about fansub groups or a “better” release than the one they are currently watching. Heck, usually they don’t even know which release they are loading. It just happens and they are fine with it.

Is this called consumerism?
You can see similar things in the regular video world. Streaming so called “HD” movies from e.g. Netflix is fine for 95% of people, although the “HD” found on a BluRay is of way higher quality. But in turn streaming is soo much easier (and usually cheaper).
I think what we see here (with fansubs) is the same that’s happening (or already happened) in other fields, like the previously mentioned streaming of videos, or music. Normals (no offense meant) just don’t care if X is a bit better than Y when the effort for acquiring X is even remotely higher.

Is anime more widespread outside of Japan today? Acquiring anime in the past was more tedious, at some points you basically had to know things like IRC to get your stuff. Since it’s getting easier by the day certain groups of people are no longer left out (again, I don’t want to offend anyone).
To word it differently: your average anime freak is a bit pickier regarding the best release to watch, after he had to go to such great lengths.

Oh and not everybody’s living in the US.
Crunchy’s offering contains less anime where I live and I know for a fact at least some of the scripts are based on crunchy’s English script, not the Japanese original.

PP says:

Can TVs play .mkvs nowadays? My TV is some years old already and can’t.

QQwerty says:

Dunno about you guys, but virtually no media player I’ve found can do .mkvs of fansubbed anime properly on TVs. I just hook up my computer instead.

ng says:

Since long. Both my BD Player (Philips) and TV (Samsung) can, however, they are pretty picky about the used video codecs. You should not use a h264 level above 3.1 baseline and 8 bits (there are exceptions for sure, though).

Google is full of people asking why their mkv files don’t work with their Samsung TV because they are usually very picky. But it works fine as long as you operate within their specifications.
I doubt their competitors don’t offer a similar set of features.

Qrius says:

They surely can – it’s just that there exists no piece of hardware that handles .ass subtitles properly…

ng says:

That’s where 480p hardsubs come in. :S

Also, using things like Plex running on a HTPC or NAS (streaming with DLNA), even ASS should work as Plex is doing the actual work? Not sure.

Qrius says:

That’s the software approach. What I meant was that there’s no device you can use to play ASS softsubbed anime with just the press of a button, like you do with ordinary .mkv or .mp4 files.

Googol says:

Yup, there’s nothing. That’s why if I want to watch something on my TV, I simply hook up my computer to it.

janice says:

Fansubbing is still useful for a few things… Foreign films not likely getting a Western release soon and anime that has been forgotton. I wish groups would start focusing their efforts on something people will appreciate.

mii-tan says:

Thank God fansubs are dying.

Marina says:

Honestly, I don’t care about fansubs providing more options like 1080p or 480p and I barely even care anymore about encoding or karaoke. I still care about typesetting just because the cleaner it is the better. I think fansub groups should focus their efforts at this point on older shows that never got subbed or were dropped partway through, ovas, specials, movies and other extras we’d never otherwise get subbed. Things like interviews, panels, commentary tracks, visual novels, etc. Anime shows are mostly covered by official subs now, that gives fansub groups the freedom to go off and sub things that appeal to the real nerds that most simulcast watchers don’t even think to look for.

CoffeeFlux says:

Like everyone else in this comments section, you don’t get the mindset of modern fansubbers.

Spoiler: nobody gives a shit that you want fansubs to release stuff for your old, bad shows

The “real nerds” are more interested in having quality releases of currently airing shows than they are in subbing all the other random stuff. They’ve always had the freedom to do what they want, and subbing commentary tracks sure as hell isn’t it. While you may be perfectly happy with official subs, I can assure you they are often lacking in a multitude of ways.

This article, and most of the comments, seem to assume the goal of fansubbing is to gain as many downloads as possible and to beat out all the other groups. That’s simply not the case. It’s possible for people to desire something other than e-peen y’know.

Fansubbers sub for people like them, people discontent with the majority of official subs. As Daiz puts it, “I am my primary audience.”

If you want further elaboration, read this comment chain:
and this reply:

For the record, this has been explained to D_S, though he refuses to accept it, so I’ve marked him down as a lost cause.
Apologies for going off on you, Marina. Yyou were just a convenient opportunity to post this. I was gonna dump it on Nyara’s post from earlier but was busy at the time.

Dark_Sage says:

Modern fansubbing is like modern art, except not even the hipsters want fansubs.

Look, if you’re really subbing just for yourself, keep your subs to yourself instead of releasing them publicly. Cuz currently it’s coming across as a defense mechanism to explain away failure to achieve an audience.

pi says:

oh snap! coffee got rekt

James Dean says:

D_S, you’re too smart to be this stupid.

Think of it this way: I ask you to go buy some cheese. What do you do? Obviously, you go down to your local Crunchyroll Supermarket and pick up some Kraft Singles. You might even spring for the Babybels, but you’re very unlikely to make the extra time and effort to find the closest mIRC Farmers’ Market and purchase some handmade, locally-sourced artisanal cheeses. Who the fuck eats artisanal cheeses anyway? Normal people just buy the cheap stuff.

So do we conclude that making artisanal cheeses is pure folly? Do we declare that although there was a time, centuries ago, when all cheese was handmade, now that modern manufacturing and distribution techniques are available to us the privately manufactured cheese is irrelevant? After all, if something’s not as popular as an alternative, it must be “dead”!

No. The answer is “no, we do not do that.” True, the artisanal cheesemaker will never again be the nation’s primary source of cheese; most children will forever be introduced to their products through the processed crap slapped on top of school lunches; the higher class of cheese will always and only be appreciated by a very small sub-group of cheese consumers. But those bearded hippie bastards enjoy making their artisanal cheeses, damnit; they enjoy sharing them with as many people as possible. They do not expect to compete with corporate giants. They know that the reward of personally watching a single customer take a bite and exclaim, “Jesus fuck but that’s good cheese!” is a thousand times better than sitting in an office watching their sales numbers skyrocket.

To pull out of this cheesy allegory, if you want to claim that fansubs are a shrinking subculture of a shrinking subculture—it’s true! If you want to claim that Crunchyroll will continue collecting larger and larger subscriber numbers, with old-school fansubbers attracting only a dedicated audience of regulars—I can’t know the future, but that sounds quite likely. If you want to say that the “success” of fansubbing is tied to its download numbers—that right there is where you fall off the logical cheese wheel. Do you really lack the imagination to conceive of any standard for success apart from popularity? And finally, if you want to posit that all fansubbers are really only in the game for purposes of masturbatory ego-gorging—dude, are you a psychic? Because you can only possibly make that claim if you’re a fucking psychic, able to determine others’ inner natures from the thoughtless tripe they spew on the Internet.

(Or do you make that claim because people tend to attribute their own motivations to others, such that thieves assume everyone is trying to steal stuff from them, harmless people assume others are harmless, and attention whores assume that everyone else is an attention whore? I hope not, because I don’t want to believe you’re just an attention whore.)

So go buy a farmstead cheese today, and download an FFF release. Or don’t. Either way, hobbyist-creators of cheese, fansubs, postmodern art, custom-built furniture, hand-knitted wool caps, mustache wax, 18-hour-long non-interactive video games, and bacon-cream-soda vodkas will continue happily catering to their niche markets, letting their corporate competitors take the bulk of the customers not likely to appreciate their wares anyway, and the circle of life will grind endlessly on.

Dark_Sage says:

>fansubs are a shrinking subculture of a shrinking subculture—it’s true!
Fansubs are a shrinking subculture of a growing subculture.

>Who the fuck eats artisanal cheeses anyway? Normal people just buy the cheap stuff.
Right, but fansubs are free, so…

James Dean says:

Yes, fansubs don’t cost anything, but as you pointed out they do require a greater investment of time and energy to obtain (thus the “Crunchyroll Supermarket” and the “mIRC Farmers’ Market”).

My point didn’t really have anything to do with the size of anime fandom in general, but is it really growing? How do we know, apart from CR subscriber numbers or con attendance (not exactly the best metrics)? Personal observation suggests that it’s about the same as it’s been ever since the bust, but bleeding the more dedicated kind of fan quite quickly. I’d be happy to be corrected on that count…

Dark_Sage says:

If there were objective numbers, I’d love to see them. But otherwise I’m inclined to favor my observations over yours, as I have full context for them.

James Dean says:

I have no idea what context you have I don’t, but I’ll just end this line of discussion here because it’s really not that pertinent.

ng says:

>Look, if you’re really subbing just for yourself, keep your subs to yourself instead of releasing them publicly.

But people don’t think that way. With such a mindset sites/communities like Github wouldn’t exist. But they do and we have an incredible amount of repositories, programs and code probably nobody (except the owner) ever looked at. The same applies to the worthless opinions of random nobodies published on their countless random blogs.

But why should this be something bad? I’m in no way harmed by this. I don’t have to read random blogs and I don’t have to download someone’s fansubs. But I could. That’s inherently better than not having this possibility, if you ask me.

Dark_Sage says:

Where did I say having fansubs to download was bad? I’m calling hypocrites out, cuz I can’t stand the bullshit.

ng says:

Oh, I didn’t intend to imply that.
However, I see absolutely no reason for your suggestion: “keep your subs to yourself instead of releasing them publicly”. Why should they. The internet does not work this way, everybody is sharing his crap.

Kristen says:

>Look, if you’re really subbing just for yourself, keep your subs to yourself instead of releasing them publicly.

If you sub for yourself and somebody else is of the same mindset as you in regards to preferences, wouldn’t you want to let them share in it?

Dark_Sage says:

The peddled myth that fansubbing is an act of charity by selfless heroes is one I reject in full. It’s an ego-soothing tactic to release something publicly and then say “Eh, I don’t care if anyone downloads this”, cuz it means they don’t need to own up to their failure if the release performs below expectations.

Yes, fansubbers are often defeatist shits with no self-respect and an inclination toward sycophantry, but I don’t believe they’re wholly stupid enough to actually buy into the lies they’re selling.

Kristen says:

Then how do you explain the coalgirls Aikatsu release? I knew full well when working on it that it’d only get a couple hundred downloads.

Anonymous says:

>I knew full well when working on it that it’d only get a couple hundred downloads.
>I knew full well that it’d only get a couple hundred downloads.
>I knew that it’d get a couple hundred downloads
There is your reason.

That hormone therapy must be frying your brain, you answered your own question.

Dark_Sage says:

Ice. Cold.

Kristen says:

Then, Mr. Anonymous who can’t seem to leave gender issues out of any real question, if you think I did it for downloads, why would I do Aikatsu which had 114+ episodes and required quite a few tweaks, over a show like Isuca which had 10 episodes and would get thousands?

Anonymous says:

Because I never fucking said it’s ONLY ABOUT THE DOWNLOADS. I said that downloads matter.

Of course you enjoy doing it at some level you cunt (by the way by calling you a cunt I’m not trying to encourage your narrative that you are in fact a woman), but you also know that other people, including me, are going to download it. You wouldn’t fucking put it on your site otherwise.

So let me explain to you again
Yes, downloads matter, you wouldn’t waste space on your server with a 100% personal project.
But you probably wouldn’t work on something that you dislike even if you knew you get thousands of downloads. And I do mean you because some other groups that get a lot of donation money do that for popularity and the end result shows how little they care.

Did you get it now?

Kristen says:

Server? What server?

Anonymous says:

Also why do fansubbers and friends get so buttblasted with people who don’t care about having an internet persona?
Is it “triggering” for you guys to see people whose lives don’t revolve around a niche community inside a niche community?
Just wondering.

Kristen says:

Because posting as anonymous is an act of cowardice. If I say something stupid, it is attributed to me.
You on the other hand just have to pretend that you didn’t do it. You don’t have to risk ridicule or making enemies when you post something critical.

It’s nothing more than a coward, which is why it is very hard to take anything you say seriously.

Even people like herkz are better than scum like you.

lotusgg says:

May posting as anonymous be forbidden, the drama would destroy its own cogs and never happen again.

Anonymous says:

>Because posting as anonymous is an act of cowardice. If I say something stupid, it is attributed to me.
hehe, well you know that better than anybody here I guess

>You on the other hand just have to pretend that you didn’t do it. You don’t have to risk ridicule or making enemies when you post something critical.
It’s about not having to own up to something when people find out the truth then?
So say I tell everybody I’m a girl and then a ex-roomate I pissed off with my autism tells people I’m not a girl and since I built this online identity I’m trapped with it. I think I get it now.
On the other hand it might just be related to not being part of the circlejerk and considering I’m not constantly interacting with you or any of the people who are part of fansubbing community there is no point of picking an arbitrary name for you to identify me as. Could be that.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by laziness.

>It’s nothing more than a coward, which is why it is very hard to take anything you say seriously.
I agree with you , any idea or commentary should be judged based on who said it not the actual thing that was said.

>Even people like herkz are better than scum like you.
Now that was just rude.

I could try to include a tranny joke on every single comment so you can identify me, or even better you could pick a handle for me, that way you won’t be triggered by my anonymity.

Kristen says:

The frequency of transexual references you make shows me that your arguments have no real basis in them outside of hate for me as a person. Your goal is not to make me agree with you, but to try to insult me.

Please come back to me when you get a real name, coward.

Patient0 says:
D_S, why not do some investigative journalism and find out exactly what Gratipay are doing to help kill fansubbing.

Dark_Sage says:

Awww, poor eien. Now he’ll need to get a job to finance his e-penis.

I dunno, not much research to be done. Gratipay can no longer be the domain of pedophiles anymore so fansubbers are fucked if they wanna keep getting free money. If you go to Gratipay itself, they outline what happened and how they have to change: That’s about as far as it goes.

lotusgg says:

For what do pedophiles ask money for? Money to buy lolipop and other candies?

Anonymous says:

Video equipment, a wig and a ticket out of Sweden.

lotusgg says:

why a wig

Abunja says:

Prob he’s bald.

lotusgg says:

Makes sence, since kids hates bald adults.

lotusgg says:

fuck internet explorer and its pt-br corrector messing my already messed english

FalseDawn says:

Long rambling comment incoming.

Lots to pick apart in this post. Though, my first response to it has to be “best get your money back on those nostalgia goggles, Sagey-kun.” I think you’ve been generous suggesting that fansubs mattered up until 2011 and it’s probably fair to say that the only time fansubs were really integral to the industry was in the pre-digital days. There’s a vid on youtube somewhere of a con panel held in 2008 or so (hosted by none other than Tofusensei) where the industry reps from Funi and Media Blasters explicitly stated how little the fansubs of the day mattered in their decisions on what to license. The Media Blasters crew did credit early VHS subbers for their work though, because they did bring anime to Western shores, but by the time BitTorrent came around, any altruistic motivations were laughed at even by fansubbers themselves (anyone remember the Lythka golden pedestal? :D)

You also list the whole 10-bit thing as something “pushing people away” but it’s what the fansubbing scene has always done. I mean, .mkv, h264, releasing only in 720p/1080p – fansubbers have always been early adopters of technology advances (mostly driven by the rippers who joined fansubdom between 2005 and 2007) and the response to the leechers who complain has always been the same: upgrade or die. This 10-bit thing is nothing compared to .avi vs .mkv back in the day – and remember, .mkv was hardly compatible with any player at the time. That’s part of the reason we have CCCP. And for ages, you were fucked if you didn’t have Windows as your OS (not sure how much that’s changed now). This is nothing new.

And now for the controversial part of my comment: there is no solution. Fansubbing is dead. It cannot regain any former “glory” it once had. Because you’ve forgotten one important part in your analysis of why HS gets more dl numbers. It’s very simple. It’s because they’re first.

You could produce the perfect release that’ll wow all viewers but unless you release it first, it counts for diddly squat in terms of download numbers. We’ve always known this. It’s always been the same. Why do you think speedsubbing even became a thing? Why do you think Eclipse and gg are the most famous groups of yesteryear? The core viewership of anime will always download/stream the first release. Always. I witnessed it when I was editing Ouran for Solar competing with Lunar – the only week we beat their dl numbers was the week we released before them. So let’s face facts here: there is no solution to getting those dl numbers back.

Now is this a bad thing? I personally don’t think it is. There’s a reason why there aren’t many fansubbers from my era still around – official streaming has taken away the need for us to be here. Back when Animesuki used to have a fansub discussion subforum, we’d often talk about what the American anime industry needed to do to effectively end fansubbing – and as of 2009 when CR went legit, that’s what they’ve done. There is now an easily affordable way of watching zero hour anime in fairly decent quality (certainly no worse than what we were outputting at that time). Other than epeen-wankery, what is the point of modern fansubbing?

I probably have more to add, but I’ll stop there to let everyone rip this post to shreds first (come at me, yo) :D

o0oo says:

*slow claps* I completely agree with this as this is no reason for fansubs to exist anymore. People can claim karaoke and typesetting all they want, but the “measure of success” that everyone for some odd reason, uses is download count and that is clearly won by CR/Simulcast rips. Fansubs obviously care about said rips themselves due to the amount of simulcast edits out there. The viewer obviously doesn’t care about what fansubs have to offer as indicated by these “precious” download numbers. They just care about what’s first and that certainly isn’t fansub groups.

Though, to completely blame the viewer/simulcasters is completely asinine and missing the bigger picture. First off, the community’s “measure of success” in general seems to be either download count or the Nyaa A+ system. Both of these measures are inherently flawed, as download count matters very little unless a group happens to beat a simulcast’s release, which rarely happens. Or the simulcast happens to have such low quality that even the viewer, someone who doesn’t really know Japanese, can notice blatantly. The latter scenario is even rarer. The Nyaa A+ is based off opinion and the selection system can never be perfect as there will always be a form of bias as long as a human being selects which release gets the award. That opinion maybe based of fact, but the facts are filtered and splintered into an opinion. The whole notion of speedsubbing is entirely pointless because only one group can get that A+ and download count is largely irrelevant for reasons stated earlier. Another common reason I see for speedsubbing is that the lack of time. If one lacks time for this hobby, then honestly don’t do it at all as all lack of time results in half-baked projects that better off six feet under. This hobby is one of the most time-consuming ones I’ve ever partaken in and if you can’t find time, then just admit to yourself that you can’t and focus on reality as that’s more important. This hobby is already thanksless enough and all speedsubbing leads to ungrateful clowns asking where the next release with no real appreciation. Let me ask you guys this, “Is it really worth it?”

Is there a solution? As fansubbers currently are? Nope, but if the community as a whole is willing to change perception, then perhaps there might be a chance for one. I’d forget about speed entirely and just focus on quality. I’d also change my measures to success, but that differs from person to person. Why play a game where the house always wins?

I’ll stop here for now. Take of this what you will. Humility is something we could all learn.

Kristen says:

“First off, the community’s “measure of success” in general seems to be either download count or the Nyaa A+ system.”

Honestly, the only people who consider the Nyaa A+ system to be a measure of success are the people who are staff members in Nyaa and their related groups.

CoffeeFlux says:

Yet again someone with no understanding of why people fansub.

Not everyone is happy with CR’s quality, and the idea that download numbers are the goal is simply no longer true.

Please stop acting like a retard.


FalseDawn says:

I’m not entirely sure who this was aimed at, but if it was me, I know all the reasons under the sun for why people fansub (and there used to be a lot more discussion on it back in the day). You having what you see as a valid reason for fansubbing in no way detracts from D_S’s overall message that current series fansubbing is largely irrelevant now. If the groups fansubbing current series packed up and left now, there probably wouldn’t be anyone to fill the gap because let’s be honest, official streams are fine and even those who aren’t “happy” will make do with them.

Justify what you’re doing to yourself all you want (and as fansubbers, we always have), but that doesn’t change the fact that the whole practice is now pretty irrelevant. So don’t be too surprised if not everyone shares your views about subbing ongoing, already-licensed series.

jabashque says:

>Because you’ve forgotten one important part in your analysis of why HS gets more dl numbers. It’s very simple. It’s because they’re first.

D_S already pointed out that even though FFF released Kyoukai no Rinne two full days before CR, the CR rip ended up getting many more downloads overall (even though the CR release was very… questionable, to say the least). Speed is definitely one thing, but I’m inclined to believe branding does play a part too, especially considering that people seem to be not trusting fansubs anymore for whatever reason (even if their reasoning is invalid :P).

Dark_Sage says:

Funimation is very anti-fansub, and Media Blasters is… uhh, Media Blasters is…

Claiming that fansubbers embrace technology when they can’t even release in 1080p at a time when all official options can… lol

As jabash pointed out, I pre-empted the “speed is always king” argument. Fansub brands are poisoned. Hope I don’t get blamed for that~

jabashque says:

For what it’s worth, releasing 1080p encodes when most anime aren’t even animated at a resoultion beyond 720p is fucking stupid unless you want to trick your viewers into thinking that they’re downloading better quality when they’re only wasting space and bandwidth. I mean, I guess it makes sense to make a 1080p encode of a show that isn’t animated at 1080p for any post-processing that the company (or the encoder) may have done, but for a TV broadcast encode? The source is usually so shitty that there is really no point in making the 1080p encode. (Also, BS11 went to shit now by using a heavy denoiser that kills detail, so 1080p encodes from them are now worthless. So much for having high bitrate being in 1920×1080 resolution.)

Dark_Sage says:

You say there’s no point, but there’s clearly a significant market for it. You wanna tell your average anime fan that their 1080p Crunchyroll streams look worse than a 720p anything? Be my guest, but that’s not a battle that a scene struggling to survive is capable of winning.

jabashque says:

I only talked about it not making logical sense. However, people believe the marketing that higher resolution = higher quality, despite the fact that a low bitrate 1080p stream will look shittier than a high bitrate 720p stream. Oh well.

>You wanna tell your average anime fan that their 1080p Crunchyroll streams look worse than a 720p anything?
A 1080p Crunchyroll stream will certainly look better than a 720p YIFY encode because the YIFY encode is bitrate starved to hell and back. But unless anyone can somehow get the fact that sufficient bitrate is more important than resolution and the fact that higher resolution does not mean anything when the source isn’t even in that resolution into the minds of the viewers, people will continue to want 1080p everything for the “quality.” And since fansubbers are not salesmen, that will be a very hard task to do, especially when dealing with actual marketers that continue to push the idea that higher resolution = better quality even if the release is bit-rate starved.

Also, no I do not want to tell an average anime fan that their 1080p Crunchyroll stream looks worse than a 720p anything (even when the 1080p stream is worse than the filtered encodes fansub groups release) because I am not going to waste five hours of my life trying to explain everything when the average anime fan clearly does not give a shit.

lotusgg says:

The point to 1080p streaming is that sometimes the “master source” is higher than 720p, and in these not-so-rare cases the 1080p may look better than the 720p as upscaling is more stable than downscaling.
AFAIK that’s the case of crunchyroll’s danmachi, which has a native resolution much higher than 720p.

jabashque says:

Yep, but how often does that happen? Another show I recall being animated at 1080p is Nyarlko W, but very rarely does a show actually get animated at higher than 720p.
Also, I don’t think that was the point of 1080p streaming, else they’d have rolled it out only for series animated above 720p.

lotusgg says:

Like 20% have >720p. The most common +720p I see is ~800~810p, 850~864p, and 900p. As for true 1080p, that one rare as fuck.
And they need to mantain some consistency there, else the noobs will always come asking “where the fuck is my 1080p?”

curious fact: only arslan senki has <720p this season
and grisaia is the only one with that true 1080p

KoolKidsK says:

Fansubs can release at 1080 but don’t because unless the actual anime was animated at resolutions higher than 720p, there’s no actual point and to my knowledge just gives you blurry shit since you’re technically upscaling (idk how this differs from upscaling 720p to 1080 when you fullscreen an episode, actually. uh, encoder feel free to correct me/follow up? duplex? idk)
The .ts may come at 1440×1080 or whatever, but that doesn’t mean the content is actually that resolution.
Same marketing ploy just about everyone uses with the whole “bigger must mean better” bullshit.
I see it as the same thing with 4k TVs. Like look, your TV might support 4k but what in the fuck is made/shot in/at 4k at this time besides some porn? I don’t even think ps4/xbone supports 4k. PC games should be able to use it, at least but I can’t think of a single thing else.

But anyway, even when an anime is animated at 720+, fansubs generally don’t release in 720+. I saw this one group on Nyaa from a link posted here that did it. Seemed pretty neat but I think they also stopped on following the next episode. I’d like to see more 1080 releases if the content actually benefits from it.
I honestly don’t think there’s a way to convince people that bigger doesn’t mean better because of what has been pushed by the media for years on end. Would you blame that on the fansubbers, though?

Anonymous says:

This season, there’s at least Chihiro doing “1080p” releases of Grisaia no Rakuen and DDY doing 864p releases of Owari no Seraph.

Under the assumption that we’re talking about a show that is not >720p, the difference between doing a 720p encode off a 1080i transport stream and a 1080p encode off the same source is that, with the former, the content ends up being scaled at least thrice (~720p original, 1080i broadcast, 720p encode, 1080p fullscreened), while the latter removes two of those scaling steps. Every additional step introduces a little bit of distortion, so minimizing that would be ideal; however, this distortion is typically invisible if a good resizer is used, and doing 1080p encodes also comes at the cost of spending more bits to code upscaled detail, so for the same bitrate, a 720p encode would be better than a 1080p encode.

Furthermore, Japanese TV broadcasts tend to already be bitrate-starved, so oftentimes there’s not as much detail as there should have been, which makes doing 1080p releases far less compelling even if the show would otherwise have deserved it. This is one place simulcasts have fansubs beat for the most part, though they’re still far from perfect.

FalseDawn says:

Sure, those two might be anti-fansub, but there’s always been a lot of undue weight on fansub downloads of a series equating to a title being picked up, when really what we as fansubbers tend to forget is the people at these companies are, by and large, anime fans too. They’ve never needed fansubbers to show a title will be popular because they have their own market research people to do that for them. We just get god complexes sometimes, I feel :D

Fansubbers do embrace tech advances, though. You’re speaking as an editor rather than an encoder. When 1080p started to become a regular thing, I knew of encoders who would specifically not do them because they didn’t want to upscale. Hell, mentar even had his own completely different method (known as mentar-HD) instead of doing full 1080p upscales. Is it all that surprising that a number of today’s encoders don’t see any value in – or would rather steer clear of – doing 1080p releases?

Okay, so in that particular example, speed is less of an issue. I think it’s not really a case of brand poisoning though, but more that HS has now become the one-stop shop for anime. It is noticeable how many more dls FFF get if they release before HS than if they don’t (I count at least a 6k swing) but it means that the downloaders going to HS aren’t looking for that specific series by itself but could be serial downloaders who just search for HS and download all they have to offer every week.

Either that or they’re like me and think CR is fine, so I’ll take that release over a fansubbed version because I don’t give two figs about typesetting or songs (which I usually skip anyway).

Kristen says:

“There is now an easily affordable way of watching zero hour anime in fairly decent quality (certainly no worse than what we were outputting at that time).”

This is taking a reality and pushing it one step beyond the line of truth. There is no way you can say a release like Funimation’s Owari no Seraph was better than a release like Nightspeed’s Code Geass R2. Funimation compared to almost anything in those days (Except like Chihiro speedsubs and Anonymous Speed Subs) is a complete joke.
Now, when we look at Crunchyroll, things take a slightly different turn. CR has much better video than existed back in those days because that was when we all used share raws. Yet CR has fallen below 2009 releases in pretty much every other category.
Translation – While a CR translation now is typically better than a fansub translation, I wouldn’t say it was better than a 2009 one. First, 2009 many of the CR TLers were in fansubbing at the time. Second, people were pickier with TL quality, looking for JLPT 1 instead of people like Xythar who read a couple pages of a VN with google translate and thinks he knows Japanese.
Editing – Editing has been hit or miss with CR lately, and that is exactly how editing has always been.
Typesetting – 2009 had typesetting. CR does not.
Song TLs – 2009 had song TLs. CR does not.

So no, I wouldn’t say that CR is any better than what we used to put out in 2009 in short time spans.

KoolKidsK says:

>Second, people were pickier with TL quality, looking for JLPT 1 instead of people like Xythar who read a couple pages of a VN with google translate and thinks he knows Japanese.
Isn’t JLPT1 just middle school-level Japanese fluency? I wouldn’t call “great” especially when translating content meant for 18+ audiences. Not talking about the typical shounen shit whose manga have furigana anyway, but the seinen shit or anything with tougher/less common vocab/grammar.

Also, groups actually recruit people who can just read VNs with a text hooker/J-J/J-E dictionary? (btw that’s what he’d use, not a machine translator lol it requires you to actually know /some/ Japanese) The groups I’m in and have seen (have) all require(d) the tl applicant to do a test, often times required to get it back within a set amount of time. If the groups you’ve seen actually do that, I feel bad for them lol

Hell, even the scanlation group I was in had a test and time limit. The test was an except from a Japanese novel because the test grader wanted to see how well you actually knew Japanese and not “oh hey, I can look at pictures and guess what’s going on with my limited Japanese knowledge and context clues”

Anonymous says:

Kristen must be projecting from the experiences he’s had in his group. Only bad groups use JLPT N1 as a benchmark for translating ability, because as you said, it’s no more than just middle-school-level fluency, and more importantly, also because translating is much more than just understanding what the original text says.

It certainly does give some confidence if a translator applicant has passed JLPT, but that’s by no means a substitute for a proper test.

Kristen says:

“Advanced Level: The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances.

Reading – One is able to read writings with logical complexity and/or abstract writings on a variety of topics, such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend both their structures and contents. One is also able to read written materials with profound contents on various topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers comprehensively.

Listening – One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a broad variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents comprehensively. One is also able to understand the details of the presented materials such as the relationships among the people involved, the logical structures, and the essential points.”

And no, the translators in the scene today are certainly few and far between, but it doesn’t really help when people at JLPT 4 or below are judging translations (and tests) to be good or bad. Especially when they have the ego to pretend they know more than a professional.

fnord says:

The line for passing N1 is still only like 60% correct answers.

I’d rather not have a translator who’s correct 60% of the time.

Kristen says:

The line for passing the NCLEX is 60%, which determines who can be a nurse and who can’t. Would you also rather not have a nurse who is only right about what medications to give you 60% of the time?

TotallyNotGovna says:

Considering nurses don’t determine which medication to give you, I’d rather have a nurse not thinking that’s her job.

qq says:

Lolwut? Nurses *are* ultimately responsible for delivering medication in a hospital. They sure as fuck don’t prescribe it, but they’re the ones who physically give the medication. You ever been in a hospital?

As an aside, plenty of nurses are terrible at their jobs from my experience. In my country, nurses have to sit a test on basic arithmetic as it applies to their job and get all 20 questions right, and half of them fail it multiple times. I’d check the dosage I’m given if I were in that position.

fnord says:

A translator who has passed N1 may or may not be actually good. The JLPT does not include speaking or writing and it is a multiple choice test and thus fundamentally flawed.

Someone who is good will pass the test, but someone who is bad might also pass it by improvising and guessing most of the questions and getting 40% outright wrong. The JLPT provides a certain baseline, and if you have no desire to test candidates for their language skills yourself, it can be an acceptable guide. If Japanese skills are not actually important for the position, it can be a gimmicky additional qualification.

For translator recruitment it is imperative to test the candidates using adequate translation tests, because someone’s JLPT credentials prove next to nothing.

Kristen says:

Here’s a little probability for you about guessing.

A person goes into the test with no level of knowledge of Japanese. If it’s a 4-choice multiple choice test, the probability of them getting 94/180 or above is 0.0000000000002%. Passing is 108/180, and I can’t give you that data because excel won’t give me data past 15 decimal points.
Let’s say someone knows that answers to 54 questions, or 30%. So to pass, they’d need 52 correct answers of the remaining 126. This probability is 0.0002%.
Only when someone can guarantee 40% to be correct do probabilities become reasonable. At 40% correct and the rest guessed you have a 2% chance to pass the test.
It isn’t until you can guarantee 48% of all questions to be right that you have a 50% chance to pass. AKA, if you are at 80% of the passing make, you have a 50/50 shot to get it.

Multiple choice guessing always creates the illusion of miracles where somebody can pass by randomly guessing. Indeed, somebody can, but it usually only just gives leeway of a couple points here and there – which is often calculated into the required passing scores in the first place.

In the end, these professional tests are designed to be tricky and test the hardest of the elements around. I took some tests for Actuary exams, and they are no joke. Every question would be similar to the hardest question a teacher would pose in a year. Most people who passed got 40% of the questions right.
However, situationally, those events hardly ever come up and you can (and should) ask a colleague to check your work in the real world when it does come up.

Kristen says:

This is the excel sheet to determine success rates if you want to play around with it or check my work. Only change the bold number.

fnord says:

I didn’t check your numbers. I’m sure they’re correct, and even if they’re not, it doesn’t matter. I never said someone could realistically pass it who had no Japanese to speak of. I only said someone could pass it who had fairly awful Japanese, and certainly not enough Japanese to translate for any audience bigger than his shower.

It’s meaningless to debate this with me because I remember several TL applicants who claimed to have passed N2 or N1 (an information irrelevant for me) and failed the translation test I gave them.

If you wish to claim that the translators of yore were more skilled than modern ones – well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. But don’t drag the JLPT into this. There’s a reason modern groups don’t request any particular JLPT status, and that is because it’s basically meaningless when confronted with actual translations you have to do yourself from scratch, and from past experiences we’ve learned that it is meaningless.

And that, Kristen, is why there is such a thing as a translation test.

Kristen says:

Maybe you don’t remember 2009 since you weren’t in the scene back then, but JLPT was a requirement to apply to many groups. And I’ve had my fair share of dealings with all levels. Let me tell you, the difference between people translating at each level is astounding. JLPT 4 was worse than a Chinese -> English translation and usually took the person 6-8 hours to do. JLPT 3 was usually 4 hours and needed a good TLC. JLPT 2 usually did a TL in about 2 hours, but they more did the TLC. JLPT 1 were able to TL almost in real time and didn’t need a TLC to go over their work.

Failing a couple people who claim to be JLPT 1 or 2 could have a numerous number of reasons, including dishonesty, or a failure to comprehend the English language. It doesn’t say anything about the test itself, nor its ability to gauge Japanese ability. Not to mention, a lot of the “translation”s and errors you guys claim tend to be nothing more than editing and word choice.

Regardless, this is not the point I was trying to make. JLPT 1 knows a lot more Japanese than JLPT 4, 5, or people who pretend to know Japanese. However, many translation qualities nowadays are judged by people like Xythar or herkz who pretend that because they know “Hai” mean “Yes”, they can give accurate judgments of professional and peer translations. This is totally different than when people like midsummer, Southrop, and Tofusensei were making judgments.

TotallyNotGovna says:

I’m confused. Isn’t exactly what you’re complaining of Xythar and herkz supposedly doing exactly what you’re doing right now?

CoffeeFlux says:

You keep saying Xythar’s judging translations. Would you like to provide an example of this? He’s made it extremely clear that he’s JLPT 4, and for that reason is certainly not a translator.

Kristen says:

Coffee, simple google search led to an example like

Not only that, but he claims to know enough to actually TL

Anonymous says:

Can Kristen actually speak Japanese? How is he qualified to be arguing about this?

Also, I didn’t know Xythar and herkz ever translated things?

KoolKidsK says:

>Coffee, simple google search led to an example like
That just means he knows enough Japanese to know what that particular line means.

>Not only that, but he claims to know enough to actually TL
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it was TLCed. Should ask him, though. I used to translate a manga series called Donyatsu but the end product that my audience got was tlced and proofread. Probably like 10% of what the end-script became was mine after tlc and proofread went over it. It’s a great way to learn since the TLC gives you notes and such about why/how you interpreted something wrongly.

ps all my post last night were made while half asleep and this one was made when I just woke up. Sorry if something’s incoherent lol

KoolKidsK says:

Whoops, time ran out to edit the post, but I tled a couple of the Donyatsu OVAs as well. TLCed and edited, of course, by a reputable fansub tl and same person who edited/proofread my manga scripts, respectively.

But yeah, I don’t think he’s ever claimed to actually /know/ know Japanese. Just enough to do some things. I sure know that I don’t!

Kristen says:


Tell me, which is made by a professional chef, and which is made by an amateur?

And then tell me, how much knowledge do you have about culinary arts?

Same goes for translating.

anonymous says:

Except it doesn’t all. You can’t tell if a translation is good or not because you don’t know what a good translation looks like in the first place.

TotallyNotGovna says:

You never answered the question of how you’re somehow qualified to judge translations.

fnord says:

Xythar and herkz do not judge translation quality for Nyaa. Perhaps they proclaim the verdict, virtue of being the most vocal outposts of Nyaa’s staff. The decision, however, invariably originates with someone qualified to judge a J-E translation.

None of what you just said is pertinent to the case at hand. I didn’t claim someone who passed N4 is better or equal to someone who passed N1. I’m sure that in practically all cases an N1 holder will possess superior Japanese to an N4 holder. None of that is what I was talking about. I said, and I’m not sure how often I can rephrase this without exhausting the English language, that the JLPT is not a reliable measure of Japanese skill and translation quality. It’s not entirely useless, but it’s simply not sufficient to judge an applicant.

It’s exasperating to deal with these endlessly shapechanging conspiracy theories time and time again. Come the new moon they appear in a different dress, tales of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Kristen says:

What conspiracy fnord? At what point did I ever mention anything about nyaa? This has nothing to do with nyaa. YOU’RE the one who’s trying to make it be about there.

Stop trying to make everything that comes out of my mouth a conspiracy theory, because sometimes you’re just plain wrong.

CoffeeFlux says:

idk kristen you’re the one coming across as nutty here

maybe you should get some rest and re-read what you’ve been saying

Kristen says:

CoffeeFlux, of course I sound nutty. When there’s 7 different people ganging up on you out of personal vitriol towards you (rather than any real opinion or care about your opinions and/or facts), you’re going to sound like you’re insane for arguing what you are.

Honestly, a psychologist could make a fortune studying this case to see how the rampant transphobia that exists in you people effects your treatment of my statements.

Abunja says:

Hmm, 7 people were ganging up Kristen, huh? No wonder his butt is sore. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

qq says:

This isn’t Tumblr, Kristen, where the mere insinuation of discrimination stifles criticism, and you’ve sufficiently pissed off the white knights in fansubbing, Xythar and his ilk (Hi, Xythar!), that they won’t come to your rescue.

Pretty hilarious that you think people calling out your idiocy has anything to do with you wanting to be a woman. Given you’ve managed to piss off the very people who would suck your cock over your fetish, I’d say it has fuck all to do with the matter.

Ash says:

To add some outside perspective, I’ve been reading this and I had absolutely no idea Kristen was transgender until Kristen blamed any criticism being received as the other commenters being transphobic. Additionally, I didn’t see anything that appeared to be transphobic in any of the previous comments.

Kristen says:

qq, it easily does. It is the primary motivating factor for people to hate me as they do. How can I tell? I play video games and have a guild. I have friends in real life. I have colleagues at school. I don’t act any different in any of those cases than here. We have arguments, put out theories, etc.
What’s the difference between any of them and the fansub community? The fansub community knows I’m transexual, they do not. That’s it.
So no, the entire thing is transphobia. If you didn’t know anything about it, we’d be having a calm civil argument now instead of people calling me insane.

qq says:

Wait, no-one in real life knows you’re a transsexual? How the fuck does that work? You sure you’re not mixing that up with transvestite?

And fansubbers don’t ridicule you because of your transsexuality, they ridicule your transsexuality because of you. The hate you have accrued stems from your conduct and actions over the years. In fact, the only reason we know of this transsexuality is because of your behaviour. Indeed, this evidently abhorrent uncivility is a direct result of you arrogantly and obstinately refusing to admit fault. So really, stop preaching. You’re not fooling anyone by playing the victim here.

TotallyNotGovna says:

I’m pretty sure people shit on you because of the blatantly ignorant and inflammatory things you say, kristen.

Kristen says:

Govna, then I would have been treated the same way in 2009.

TotallyNotGovna says:

But you do. In fact, the only reason you hate the cartel now is that you see it as an extension of jaka.

Kristen says:

Govna, reread what I said.

Googol says:

That’s a bullshit comparison. You can recognise a well-made cake from a badly-made one because you know how a well-made one looks like.

To claim you can recognise a good TL from a bad TL means you have enough knowledge of Japanese to determine the accuracy. Unless you can prove you are an expert in Japanese, you are doing the same exact thing you fault Xythar and herks for.

If you don’t know Japanese, you can only find badly-written dialogues (à la Dark_sage), which fall under editing, not TL.

Kristen says:

Watch Eclipse’s Hayate no Gotoku. Then watch Chihiro’s Vampire Knight. It’s very easy to tell the difference between a good TL and a bad TL, even if you don’t know a lick of the language. Just like I could tell you all about how a biscuit was overmixed, making gluten develop, leading to it being chewy and tough, but you don’t need culinary knowledge to understand that a biscuit is tough.

Googol says:

That’s more akin to an assumption. I haven’t watched that series, but I assume you mean Eclipse’s TL was better, right? How would you know that without any Japanese knowledge whatsoever? You’d simply rely on reputation and common sense. It may work on blatant errors, but it definitely won’t when it comes to subtle errors.

Your comparison still doesn’t stand. That’s the same thing as saying: “I don’t speak Japanese, but I understand it”.

Anonymous says:

>However, many translation qualities nowadays are judged by people like Xythar or herkz who pretend that because they know “Hai” mean “Yes”, they can give accurate judgments of professional and peer translations.
>It’s very easy to tell the difference between a good TL and a bad TL, even if you don’t know a lick of the language.

YOU FUCKING IDIOT LMAO. You’ve seriously lost you’re fucking marbles, Kristen.

Anonymous says:

Oh, and also. As much as I fucking depsite Xythar, he’s even said himself that majority of the time when he talks about a translation being bad, it’s after an actual good TL has told him it was so. I’d wager that the same thing applies to herkz. And anyway, both can speak Japanese better than yourself, so I don’t know where you’re getting off questioning their ability, since, you know, your Japanese is a lot worse.

Dark_Sage says:

Herkz can’t even speak English, so maybe get off his dick.

Kristen says:

Caps lock is cruise control for cool anon. Keep using it, it might hide how wrong you are.

anonymous says:

You are trying so fucking hard to dodge the actual content of that post lol.

Friendly reminder of what you’ve said;
>However, many translation qualities nowadays are judged by people like Xythar or herkz who pretend that because they know “Hai” mean “Yes”, they can give accurate judgments of professional and peer translations.
>It’s very easy to tell the difference between a good TL and a bad TL, even if you don’t know a lick of the language.

qq says:

If you can’t see the hypocrisy, Kristen, I’d have to declare you brain dead.

Really though, we shouldn’t be too harsh on Kristen. They’re a very confused individual in general.

FalseDawn says:

Considering how Eclipse fucked up a very important line in the first episode of Hayate no Gotoku, I’m not sure I’d count either of those as examples of “good translations”.

(And yes, I do still remember it 8 years after it aired – that’s how much that one line pissed me off and I don’t even speak Japanese!)

KoolKidsK says:

What was the line? Kinda curious since I watched the anime then picked up the manga where the anime left off. Iunno if I missed something

FalseDawn says:

The bit where he meets Nagi in the park for the first time. I’d have to go check my manga to find the exact line, but the basic gist was there was meant to be a misunderstanding between him and Nagi where she thought he was going to kidnap her but he was asking something mundane and non-threatening. Eclipse completely ruined the pun and in so doing, messed up the plot because that whole misunderstanding was central to their characters as well as the following episodes (where Nagi’s captured by the Yakuza or whatever – working entirely off memory here).

I’m being a little unfair to Eclipse though. They did have good staff (the translator and editor were both from Lunar, I believe, a group I rated pretty highly), but I think the time constraints they placed on themselves just didn’t do them justice so that lines like that fell through the cracks when they should have had more time dedicated to hammering out the kinks so that it all made sense. If you watch back Eclipse releases now, I bet you’ll find a number of places where the lines are more Engrish than English.

Gary says:

> to determine the accuracy

It’s irrelevant.
Go with Google TL if you need “accuracy”.

Kristen says:

Not exactly. My sister is a hospital nurse, and she tells me all about the dealings. Nurses in general are the ones in the most contact with the patients and are the first to notice signs and symptoms. They usually go to the doctor on the floor, tell them exactly what they believe the problem is and what should be done to fix it, and then the doctor goes in to confirm it and prescribe the medication the nurse recommended.

You’re probably just too used to pediatric nurses that just take your blood pressure and weight.

But even if you’re going to rail on nurses, it’s true for doctors too. Doctors take an exam called the USMLE. Step 1 has a passing score of 192/300, or 64%. So it’s the same idea.

TotallyNotGovna says:

No it’s mostly I’m a cert nurse and don’t go off the frustrated musings of relatives from work.

fnord says:

Xythar is not a translator, has never been a translator, and has never claimed to be a translator.

lotusgg says:

CR is not about being good, it’s about being acceptable and accessible. God, I used to stream 720p to my phone using my school’s poor wifi

QQwerty says:

CR would be better described as solid and dependable rather than merely “accessible”.

The reason people flock to CR/HS is because it’s reliable and has decent standards. The masses have little idea what they’re getting with a fansub release, so they naturally default to officialsubs (those who even know about fansubs anyway; most anime fans just watch whatever, which is usually officialsubs).

FalseDawn says:

I’d agree with the ‘solid and dependable’ tag. CR are streaks ahead of the official subs we used to have to put up with even a few years ago (and you still see some of the bad habits in Funi’s output) and there were plenty of subbers in fansubbing at that time purely because of the horrible quality of official subtitles.

FalseDawn says:

Even if, as you hypothesise, a number of the more better 2009 fansub tls are now working for CR, are you trying to suggest that 6 years extra experience translating won’t have made them better at it?

And CR does have typesetting of a sort, it’s just more circa 2005 ts than 2015 :D It’s generally readable though. I know Funi’s attempts are eye cancer but never had any issues reading CR’s signs.

I also said they were “no worse” not that they were better. I don’t ever see official subs beating fansubs in their entirety any time soon – but then they don’t need to. The people who care about TS and kara are an extremely small proportion of the anime-watching audience.

Kristen says:

Well, CR isn’t exactly a TL group. They outsource to several companies to produce translations for them, and then publish them. So their experience doesn’t really matter since it is more about the companies they hire. But to be honest, I really feel like their average quality has actually degraded over the past six years. Six years ago, I don’t think I’d have ever seen them put out a 24 fps video as 30 fps bobbed.

But yeah, no worse means the same or better. They’re definitely not better, and you can’t call them the same since they have worse TS, worse song TLs, and many times, worse TLs and editing in general. To me, CR is marginally worse, but not below the line of acceptability. I know there’s a word for worse but not enough to matter, but I cannot think of it…
Funimation is a whole different story though…

FalseDawn says:

“To several companies” – citation needed. From what I’ve heard, there’s one core group that does all the work and it’s only in rare circumstances when subs come from different sources (such as the anime studio themselves, as we found out was the case with Sailor Moon).

Kristen, how on earth you think you’re in any position to judge translation quality or editing when you were the butt of every joke in fansubbing in 2009 is beyond me. On the other hand, I was in some pretty well-known groups, as you well know yourself. When I say that CR’s overall quality with regards to editing and translation (as I said above, I don’t give a flying duck about TS or songs) is no worse than what was being produced in 2009 (and I’m only basing that off the top groups – not even the mid-to-shit tier groups who were numerous at that time), then I do have a good base to know what I’m talking about.

I don’t know much about encoding so I can’t comment on that side of things, but from what people say here and on IRC, it sounds like CR generally has the best video for every series so they must be doing something right, yes?

Kristen says:

Hindsight is 20/20.

FalseDawn says:

If that were true (which it isn’t, as proved by D_S’s nostalgia goggles), then how is your hindsight any better than mine, hm?

As ever, Kristen, you’re talking out of your ass. I know a lot of commenters on this page weren’t in the “scene” in 2009 but I was, so you can’t pull that shit with me.

Kristen says:

I know, I think we both are the only people here that were in the scene in 2009. What I’m saying is MY hindsight is 20/20. So I can look back at 2009 and realize how wrong I was about many things regarding editing/tl and general quality, even though back then I was a laughing stock.

FalseDawn says:

I dunno, it sounds like you have nostalgia goggles for what everyone else was doing around then (which is easy to do: I’ve done it before and D_S does it in this very post). There was a lot of dross released back then, which is less prevalent now because there are less groups willing to compete with official simulcasts, meaning you get fewer outliers in quality terms. The general accepted tone in subtitling has shifted too – fansubs as a whole are more liberal than official releases whereas less than a decade ago, fansubs were a more literal alternative to official scripts.

Which I suppose proves that, no matter what official anime licensors do, there will always be people unhappy with their output.

Dark_Sage says:

I mean, I’ll agree quality output is higher now than a few years ago. My nostalgia is just for relevance.

HyakuPercent says:

Regarding the encodes, that pretty much only applies to Aniplex shows. All other CR encodes are questionable. In the case of a Sentai licensed shows, they’re terrible.

qq says:

>implying Kristen hasn’t been a laughing stock since 2009

Kristen says:

“I think you’ve been generous suggesting that fansubs mattered up until 2011 and it’s probably fair to say that the only time fansubs were really integral to the industry was in the pre-digital days.”

Do you think Japan would have authorized Crunchyroll to start streaming in 2009 if fansubs didn’t exist? Streams were a direct result of fansubs, and have greatly contributed to the industry.

FalseDawn says:

My only concession on that is that yes, they were a direct causal link to the streaming we have today, but only because fansubs showed that the western anime licensors were absolutely terrible at making money out of their audience because they hadn’t embraced new technology and kept on furrowing those traditional channels.

It’s also probably fair to say that if CR hadn’t got into the game, Funi and Viz wouldn’t have taken to simulcasting (and their strange idea of simuldubbing) even now. I guess they figured it was too big a risk until CR started charging ahead and showing the way.

Kristen says:

From the Western audience’s and company’s angle, that is exactly correct. Crunchyroll saw an opportunity of profit (riding on the coattails of the very fansubbers who created their audience in the first place), so they seized it.

However, I am more looking at it from the Eastern perspective. Why would TV Tokyo allow things to be streamed, knowing the streams would lower DVD and BD sales from licensing. This is where I believe fansubs played a major roll. I think TV Tokyo realized that no matter what they did, somebody would sub a series and distribute it. When this happens, they lose the DVD and BD sale and they gain no money. So, by teaming up with CR to simulcast, they start earning money on these lost sales.
So in those regards, I feel like fansubs were a very important aspect, as I don’t think TV Tokyo would have allowed streaming without fansubs stealing a chunk of their sales.

FalseDawn says:

You do realise how weak an argument that is though, right? I mean, yes, causally that’s true, but that’s like saying piracy of dvds and tv shows has caused more series to be released on dvd and simulcast across the world sooner. It’s true to an extent but it’s not something to be proud of or to claim you’ve “achieved”. As I say, fansubbing showed the anime industry how bad it was at making money from the potential audience it wasn’t reaching and they’ve now plugged the gap somewhat with official streaming.

That’s not exactly a “win” for fansubbing.

KoolKidsK says:

idk about you guys but I sub for the enjoyment of working together with internet friends whom I like playing games with and talking over irc lol

CoffeeFlux says:

yeah but they can’t seem to get that

i sure do love being told why i’m fansubbing by others
apparently downloads are all that matters


I think you hit the nail on the head with reliability. Simulcast has that, and fansubs do not. I remember the time when getting subs out was the priority for groups but that is not the case anymore. I remember the time when instead of hitting the simulcast site, I would make my rounds on all the fansubs sites. See what they released, what they were saying, caring about the group status, etc. Now it’s a constant running thread of why something is late. In truth, if the insane typesetting, karaoke, etc. would get dropped then you would get a release out more reliably. Taking a moment to realize the majority of fansubs now are just “QCd” simulcast scripts.

I use to wait for fansubs of my favorite groups but that died out a few years ago to now it’s just archive. As you said what’s the point? The passion is pretty much lost from that community. What I wish is the fansub leaders would do shows that aren’t being simulcasted (or only do them if the subs are truly terrible or arguably a real high profile show that can use some polish) and focus on shows that ARE NOT simulcasted where community needs fansubs! Specials, OVAs, movies, and again non simulcasted shows. If fansubs want to make a stand then do shows where their efforts and talents are needed.

FalseDawn says:

In fairness, there are still groups out there catering to the specials, OVAs, movies and non-simulcasted shows. It’s something the groups I’m in work on, to some extent, but obviously we can’t do them all because that’d require more manpower than we have right now (we also do old unsubbed/badly subbed series too). I mean, have you come across many specials, OVAs and movies that haven’t been subbed recently? In my experience, the non-simulcasted shows are largely shit which is why they don’t get much attention.

Kristen says:

Aikatsu has been the best anime from October 2012 to present and was only subbed for a few months. Nor can you prove me wrong.

FalseDawn says:

A show about idols? Yeah, that really proves me wrong :p

Kristen says:

At least you understand the superiority of Aikatsu to all other anime.

Ladholyman says:

Precure > Aikatsu.

Shut up idiot who "wrote" this "article" says:

Shut up fag. Fansubbing is epic for the win and you’re a fag for not liking fansubs *bodyslams you epically through a table*

Googol says:


LotusGG says:


lilke says:

I believe you are missing that many people thinks HorribleSubs is fan subbing group, and when they see that they release most episodes and that faster then other groups they only naturally think they are the best sub group out there and will primarily download theirs releases, but when people become true fans of animes they start to wonder about other groups work and they search for fansub comparison, then they realise that there are better translation then official crunchyroll’s and they start following quality fansub groups.

Fansubbing isn’t dead or irrelevant, people who value quality will always archive BluRay releases from fansub groups over Web Rip’s :)

Gary says:

> true fans of animes


Cochambre says:

Ever since I started downloading RealMedia videos in the 90s things have only gotten better for the audience.

Back then the fastest way to get stuff was to meet with people in real life and exchange CDs with episodes they themselves had ripped from a VHS. It wasn’t that long ago that we finally reached a point where you could basically get anything you wanted and start watching it in a matter of minutes.

For me, the only thing that this “death of fansubbing” has changed is that now shows tend to lack karaoke. I still download torrents same as always, from the same sites with the same client. There’s also a distinct lack of incompetent groups using ugly multicolored fonts or made-up translations, while the people who could actually translate are now getting paid for it.

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