Picture by 嘉志 – Source
This is it. For each little step I take, I go deeper into the dark, scary and unknown territory. All alone, only accompanied by hundreds of distant glances from lurking monsters that are waiting for me to do a mistake and trip over. I wish them no harm, not at all; I only want to ask some humble questions. Will you please listen to them?
With the poorly dramatically written beginning of this post thankfully over, let me get to the point. This is what you could call a very delicate matter and I believe many might feel annoyed or maybe even offended (though I wonder about that), so please, you should know that I am merely curious. There will be different questions and I will speculate about them on my own. This is not hate or anything. Just simple questions.
Now, why do people even fansub?
Back in the good old days I never experienced, fansubbing was pretty much the only way you could watch anime without knowing Japanese. It was a time full of joy, happiness and VHS, or so people claim.
Now fast-forward to the present and look where we stand today. Goodbye to the VHS and enter the Internet. Now anime is everywhere, even legally! This has raised the question whether fansubs are needed, as their main reason used to be translating unlicensed series. Noticed that I said: “used to be”. Even though a series is legally available, sometimes even streamed for free, people still fansub. Now, why is that? This will be my first question (this is the time I wished I had a blogging partner).
Why do people continue to fansub, even if a series is legally available?
First off, what I mean here is series that are actually available outside Japan in English and all that. Not Hyouge Mono which most likely will never see Western release and where fansubs are the only choice. Instead, I mean stuff like Natsume Yuujinchou or anything else available on legal sites such as Crunchyroll. Now we have anime legally and for free! What could possibly be the reason for fansubs?
Here comes the tricky part: I do not know, I can only speculate. Here are some thoughts:
- Fansubs have better visuals.
You are restricted to SD-quality on Crunchyroll as a free viewer, that is true. If you want higher quality you have to pay 7 dollars/month. Though, as a fansubber, should you not be happy about it being licensed? Some say no, some say yes.
- Fansubs are faster.
Correct me if I am wrong, but are there not a lot of simulcasts today? On Crunchyroll, however, you have to wait one week after the episode first aired unless you pay, which at least I feel is a bit lame. We live in an era in which we want it now. So, you fansub to release episodes to the fans faster?
- Fansubs are free.
Most of the streams are free. But let us get to the next question.
- Fansubs provide better translation.
I do not know Japanese, not in the slightest. I cannot tell which translation is better than the other. But what I do know is that I rarely have any problems with, for example, Crunchyroll-subs when it comes to understanding the message. I have as much problems with fansubs as I do with legal subs, to be honest.
- Fansubs are available in the whole world.
Now we have, what I would call, a valid reason to fansub that is not nitpicking. You see, a lot of series are still not available worldwide due to dumb region locks (read a related post HERE). This means I, who live outside USA, have no choice but to watch Nisemogatari by other means than legally on Crunchyroll. If fansubs did not exist, I would not be able to watch it. This reason to fansub goes hand in hand with what fansubbing was originally about: spreading anime.
So when it comes down to it, are region locks the reason people still fansub? I find it to be a good reason, if it really is why. But who knows? I do not. And what about series that are available worldwide (are there even any?)? What are the reasons then?
I will try to ask some fansubbers after I have finished the second post on this matter. It will focus more on the fansubs themselves. In the meantime, how do you feel about fansubs? I am very curious!
AND DON’T KILL ME ALRIGHT