An acknowledgement of my biases, an apology, and a proposal for improvements

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.


I did not mean to cause any harm with my reviews, but it appears I have irreparably damaged the reputations of several fansub groups. Allow me to present a heartfelt apology.

I’m so sorry


My Bad

It appears that I am biased against bad releases. This has resulted in very harsh (but very fair!) criticism of my review process.

I had previously based my reviews upon the FAPS (Fansubbing Accepted Principles & Standards) system, but it appears that I have been far too subjective with my use of this system. No longer will I create posts that people can use to inform their decisions of which fansub groups to watch releases from. Offering my own opinion is hurtful to people’s feelings and biased.

In my attempts to make up for the use of my brain (which I point to as the number one thing that influenced my subjectivity), I have decided to move toward a fully objective fansub review system.



New Process

I will no longer critique grammar or spelling mistakes. Some people argue that we should spell words phonetically, which means spelling and grammar do not have a consensus for being correct and are therefore not objective. Obviously, this means that good phrasing and context-matching critiques will also be avoided. Furthermore, not everyone watching anime speaks English. It seems a bit xenophobic to focus on English-language reviews, so I will simply not bother talking about English at all. Instead, I have decided to institute a better system.

Introducing the COCK system.






As the name implies, objectivity and kindliness will be the key focus of my reviews going forward.


Replacing the “Visuals” section will be a screenshot of MyAnimeList reviews.

You can see how many people approved a release and judge the quality of that group’s version from there. When I learn how to use Photoshop, I will be taking out the number of people who disapprove so that the bias of their negative opinions will not influence the score. The only number seen will be that of how many people approved of a release, and that’s objective because it’s a number.

  • 0 approvals = Good luck! You’re almost there!
  • 1-10 approvals = Aww yeah! You are great! High five!
  • 11-30 approvals = You guys are super cool. I bet you have lots of friends!
  • 31-50 approvals = WOW! You must have a cool IRC channel!
  • 51+ approvals = OH MY GOSHERS. You are A+!! That means you are all Awesome!!


Replacing the “Script” section will be a screenshot of Nyaa download count that a group has. Again, objectivity comes from numbers, so I can’t be biased here.


  • 0 downloads = Yeah, you can do it! A-
  • 1-1000 downloads = Whoa, you’re doing pretty great. Your subs are fantastic! A
  • 1001+ downloads = Happiness and love! Good for you, friends, these are A+ subs!



A Heartfelt Apology

To all groups whose members I have offended with my harsh statements, I offer my sincerest apologies. Clearly, I was unfairly burdening you with my expectations of quality releases. My assumptions that you were anime fans who wanted to put effort into your subs to make them the best you could were clearly unfounded. Because you are providing a free service, I have no right to criticize your masterpieces and I hope you can all forgive me.

Again, I most humbly apologize.


In Conclusion

By removing all thought from the fansub review process, I will be able to meet the lofty standard of objectivity. And by focusing solely on the positives of releases, nobody will have to feel accountable for their own failure. I apologize to all the groups that I have offended in my 1.25 years of fansub reviewing. But with this new system, I feel that I will finally be able to review your releases in the manner that you want.

After all, placating fansubbers should be my primary focus. Sorry for not realizing this earlier.

79 thoughts on “An acknowledgement of my biases, an apology, and a proposal for improvements”

    • Kusion: I guess everybody’s moved on from the reviews, so slowbro that I am I thought I’d point out here – for #2, the line would probably have gone over better if “legacy” was used instead of “history”. Can’t say that I’ve ever heard anybody use the latter in quite that way so I’ll take your word for it; afaik “protecting [someone]’s legacy” is a lot more common.

  1. Best post ever. The COCK system really speaks to me. Its efficiency levels are off the charts. Can’t believe you even tried fansub reviews without it.

    • Quite agreed.

      Regardless, Dark_Sage puts in a lot of time and is doing us all a favor. Screenshots are screenshots. You just have to use your brain and add or remove half a letter grade or so to every review, based on how diligently the script follows Dark_Sage-isms and other such factors.

  2. Oh, hey! Welcome to the Biased Club! I have been making good use of COCK as well, especially when dealing with VAGINA (VAGuely INcompetent Autism).

  3. Sigh, I know where you’re going with this, but I’m gonna write a srs response anyway.

    The debate on the other thread somehow got strayed, but the point is if you’re going to rate us lower, then at least make our release look worse by posting more obvious errors or just more in number.

    I know fully well our release has worse English than Commie (I can’t agree with Mazui one but w/e). We’ve consciously compromised good English in favor of retaining more meaning in Japanese or text length. I probably undid some of Kusion’s fixes for the very same reason, and he misinterpreted some of my lines as well.

    I’m just saying those reviews made no sense because you posted worse and more script errors for other groups when they’re getting better grades.

    Shit, I’m practically telling you to post more awkward lines we’ve written.
    I must be a closet masochist.

    • The thing is, most people are smart enough to not just take Dark_Sage’s reviews at face value and can make their own judgements based off the screenshots he posts. I like Dark_Sage’s review style because it’s entertaining. Do I always agree with him? Nope, but arguing that someone has to be totally objective in a review is dumb since it takes all the flavor out of it. Hell, there are so many subjective stylistic rules in English that it’d make no sense to just review scripts 100% objectively.

      Dark_Sage stated that he docked gg extra because of the quotation marks thing. I happen to agree that’s a serious mistake, even though it’s “technically” correct in prose. If someone read that review and disagreed with Dark_Sage’s assessment, they’re probably smart enough to go through the rest of the review and think, “Yeah, I don’t think Dark_Sage is right. gg’s script was better than Mazui’s.”

      Arguing about a stylistic choice and giving an explanation for it in the comments is one thing. Hell, Dark_Sage often edits his reviews and credits the person after someone does that. But that’s his prerogative. These are his reviews and he’s allowed to be unconvinced by your argument and grade you accordingly.

      • Yeah, he’s free to do as he pleases because it’s his blog, but you’re basically saying these are unreliable reviews that should be read for laughs and drama. I guess he succeeded if that was what he was trying to achieve, but obviously it’s not very fun when we’re a part of it.

        Personally, I think D_S should stop reviewing like he’s high and try to be subjective but still make his reviews look reasonable, with my Justifiable Intuition with Zero Zonkers (JIZZ) model.

        His new review concept is pretty interesting though.

        If he covered his COCK with my JIZZ, then he can become a Quality Ulimately Engaging Elitist Reviewer like me.

          • Basically. I was pretty tired and not nearly as concise as I could have been when I wrote that. I’m actually kind of embarrassed, because that whole comment is a mess of disorganized thoughts.

        • I’m still not sure how this discussion ended up here, but one thing’s for certain: Dark_Sage is one helluva successful troll.

        • I appreciate that people are acknowleding the importance of JIZZing all over COCKs. Let’s not forget the necessity to BOOBS (Be Objective about Obscure Beliefs in Syntax) when reviewing.

        • Looking at it from a higher level perspective, there really needs to be an umbrella system in place.

          I think an appropriate name for this expandable structure would be an Accuracy and Nuance Acceptable Limits guideline. Hereafter referred to as ANAL. This structure can act as a sheath by which the COCK protocol can be utilized. It would also provide a smooth transition to apply the JIZZ model post-review. Thus allowing the ANAL guidelines to encompass the COCK protocol enabling the JIZZ to provide cohesiveness within the structure of the review.

          • Am I the only one who subscribes to HAND? Hefty Analysis of Nuance in Dialogue. Seriously, this model is superior to all the aforementioned ones. COCK? I’m sorry, but in a fight to the death, COCK finds itself in the palm of its hand. JIZZ? HAND wipes the competition away. ANAL? HAND has five, I repeat, five points to its method. ANAL? Its “logic” is just one big gaping hole. ANAL gives way to HAND’s much more straight-to-the-point analysis.

            Does anybody have an umbrella? ‘Cause it’s raining cold hard facts in here. HAND is clearly superior.

  4. perfect… just what i needed.

    printed this page and used it to wipe clean my cats ass… he actually farts shit when i showed him this page. He doesn't want to eat now that he can't get his doses of anime reviews in the way used to get it..

    (me? i'm fine coz i nevar reed zis revius. de kat das)

    …Furthermore, not everyone watching anime speaks English… cocky deaf

  5. Hontou ni arigatou gozaimasu for providing this free community service, dark_sage. After your fabulous reviews I’ve finally settled for commie’s Hyouka release and commie will be among the first choice for new animes. :-)

    I’ve read way too many horribly translated books in the past which suffered from awkward phrasing in my native language (which is obviously not English). Therefore my tolerance for literalfags is quite low nowadays because the result is usually stuck in some limbo where the text is neither the original language nor fully acceptable in its target language. Worst of both worlds, so to speak. Translators and editors who think that a text should sound awkward in the target language really should consider finding a new occupation.

  6. Personally, I think you should just give everyone credit based on effort.

    I mean, if they made did their own translation, edited, timed, typeset, and all that good stuff; and there must have been a lot of effort put into it, right?

    And even if they just tweaked the script from some other source, that still requires effort.

    So basically, just give all groups an “A for effort.”

    That way all the fansub groups win!

    (The viewers might not win, but screw them. They’re a bunch of damn leeches anyway.)

    • No, there’s a huge problem with that! Some of the people involved are really special snowflakes, and put so much more HEART and innovation into it than the others. They rightfully want to be rewarded above others for their totally unique and unprecedented abilities that saved anime from meanies who want to veer away from the original words used.

      And really, who can blame them, even though they don’t understand Japanese and aren’t long-term residents they’re just so superspecialkawaiidesu they innately KNOW what the original intents were. Why limit their praises to being equal to those of everyone else?

      • The solution, then, is to mail them a “gold star” sticker… provided that they pay for postage and handling.

    • Not even close. This is about the Hyouka reviews.

      Anyways. There are plenty of non-fansubbers here, D_S – even if most of us only lurk. I hope this post dropped the tension levels and made the fansubbers/nosy fans take a step back and realize that your posts are your opinions – and meant for the fansub-watching community. :P

      Keep up the good work! (Both D_S and the various groups)

  7. I agree on the irreparably damaged part, D_S. I don’t think Commie, gg, nor Mazui will ever recover from this.

  8. I propose a system where each fansubbing group is allowed to review its own release. Think about it guys: who best knows about the time and effort spent on each release? This way each group can determine what they deserve and they don’t have to dispute the grade that they receive with any outside reviewer. As such, total objectivity can be achieved. Unfortunately I am not very good with coming up with acronyms, so I will have to give myself an F+ for that.

  9. D_S did it again.

    Simply put, his reviews are the most useful thing when choosing what group to watch. If I did it I wouldn’t have a clue what to look out for. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the show with a ‘worse’ group, just that I would enjoy it more with the ‘better’ one.

    Remember, I can’t understand Japanese. Therefore, I just want subs that tell the story without jarring me. Sub-reading is automatic for me, so something small that sticks even slightly can pull me out of my ‘suspension of disbelief’. As soon as that happens, my mind whirs and I start questioning the show, and my enjoyment of it plummets.

    As far as I care for accuracy: in an ideal world, subs would be able to convey to me every nuance of the audio. Let’s face it, that ain’t happening, not now, not ever. So, as long as the most important parts of the meaning (so I can easily understand what’s happening) I’m happy. What does not make me happy is being jarred: sure, it may give me more understanding, but I watch anime for enjoyment, if meaning reduces enjoyment I don’t want it.

    These are my personal opinions – I gotta say I don’t often hear non-fansubbers disagreeing with D_S, or complaining because of his reviews. For that matter, fansubbers are the only ones who really complain. And when they prove something right, D_S isn’t a dick and refuses to change it. He (afaik) argues the point pretty logically and fairly.

    Between 8thsin’s blog and these reviews, I always pick what I feel is at least near the best of the bunch. I’ll freely admit: I often read D_S’s for the lulz. F-grade reviews never fail to make me laugh.

    As a suggestion: D_S should start a poll. It’d be interesting to see the results.

  10. Why would anyone want to read a review that looks like a wikipedia article? If I didn’t give a shit about his personal opinion then why the fuck would I waste my time reading a review by him.

    Don’t get butt frustrated, a bad release is still a bad release.

  11. Over time I have formed two short lists (my “preferred fansub groups” list, and my “not my first choice but since no one better is doing it…” list) of fansub groups who I know I can count on to have what I feel are the best fansub releases available. That being said I don’t really read the fansub reviews for their information value or even to influence my choice in which fansub groups i get stuff from; I literally read the reviews and the comments for their comedic value alone. I mean come on, does anyone but me find them to be genuinely hilarious??? I for one want to know, why the hell do the reviews have to change?

  12. Why is it that people are wanking about Hyouka? I will concur that Hyouka is a beautifully animated show but has terrible writing in exchange.

    • > Hyouka
      > Has terrible writing

      oh, yet another funny line from Mr Funny. Well, what next? da Vinci is a terrible painter?

  13. Although you place too much importance on typesetting… And the guy who reviews timing should really start working more :P But your reviews are great to choosing which group has the best editing, that’s for sure.

  14. Honestly, I hope you’re not really thinking about changing the way things work on your reviews D_S. I’m almost certain that this post was just random :rant: but still, you can never be too sure. I’ve really enjoyed the way your reviews have been working for the past anime seasons, so I hope that doesn’t change. Cheers.

  15. uhuhhh…. damn… cute, lil’ autistic me is not sure wether i’m being trolled… or really start to feel dissapointed by the dissapearance of fun to read reviews…

    i go with… troll… i think… hope… >_>

    • I find your reviews to be heartfelt and sincere. I would love to see you review even more groups in the same way. Perhaps with enough criticism they will stop being butt hurt, and learn to QC better. I understand most of the people are doing this for free, and in their spare time. I can appreciate this, but I would also like to see some pride in what they do, and how they do it. In short don’t change your methods to protect their pride, make them rise to a new standard. Thank you for your work.

    • I didn’t expect you or anyone else to take this seriously. I’m not going to change my review style just because a few fansubbers got their feelings hurt, which is one of the points I was trying to make with this post. So no worries. Whiners won’t become “Complimenters” anytime soon.

  16. On a completely unrelated note, is not doing so well in the second round of the aniblog tourney. There’s less than 24 hours left of the matchup as well.

    • Unfortunately, I do have a full-time job that sometimes requires me to stay late in the office. Combined with the 11 kbps download speed at the hotel I stay at, and my terrible laptop, my review output on weekdays tends to be very bad.

    • Well-written garbage. Constructive criticism is useless? Bollocks. I think the author would write better with a lobotomy.

      My reviews are filled with constructive criticism. Unfortunately, many people tend to associate sycophantry with this form of criticism – a stereotype which I hope my blog assists in rendering invalid.


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