by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
anime, fansubs

Anime Distributors Learn That Fansubbers Are Telling Them What The Market Wants

from the good-for-them dept

We've discussed a few times how the distributors of Japanese anime have often had something of a love-hate affair with "fansubbers" -- fans who take the original videos in Japan and subtitle them in foreign languages for fans in other countries. A few years ago, we noted that rather than set loose the legal hounds on fansubbers, many anime companies embraced the fansubbers and used them to learn where there were strong potential market openings for foreign distribution. It was like free market research. On top of that, many realized that the fansubs helped increase demand for the authorized product. Unfortunately, not all anime distributors have seen things the same way, but many have.

Matt writes in to tell us about the case of the Dattebayo fansub group, which has been doing rapid, high quality releases of certain popular anime titles. The company behind the anime has never bothered them. Rather than try to shut them down, the US licensee of the series has decided to put up its own free subtitled versions, knowing that if it tries to put significant restrictions on them, it will never work. The group is actually charging people for a week, right after the shows air in Japan (rather than the typical long wait), but then will offer it free. In response, the fansub group is going to stop creating their own versions, noting they only did so in order to watch the videos in a reasonable time frame. Once again, despite what some in the entertainment industry claim, we're seeing that you absolutely can compete with so-called "pirates."

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  1. identicon
    bshock, 4 Dec 2008 @ 8:14am


    First, I'm familiar with the Dattebayo group. They do indeed produce anime fansubs, and do it rapidly and adequately. They also like to post occasional rants where they claim they're going to stop subbing their most popular series. They've done this at least once a year since they started. Don't believe them.

    Second, anime distributors are basically lying schlockmeisters. Distributors mangle translations, choose wildly inappropriate voice actors for dubs (if you can stomach dubbed versions), put out their degenerate versions long years after anyone cares, and generally act like bottomfeeding scum who have utter contempt for their customers. The idea that they'll give away anything for free after a while is about as reasonable as the pusher down the street doing the same thing -- sorry, the first dose may be free, but the next one is going to cost you. The scheme is pathetically transparent.

    Finally, why do you still need subtitles? How long does it take you idiots to learn Japanese? No matter how well you translate it, English takes all the flavor out of what is often a fairly bland product from the start.

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