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by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
anime, competition, fansub

07th expansion, mangagamer

'Approved' Fansub Anime To Compete With Licensed Version

from the sub-competiiton dept

We've discussed the state of "fansub" anime video and video games in the past, whereby many fans will team up and help translate a release for different markets. While there have been some complaints, many in the anime community have figured out how to embrace this and use it to their advantage -- in some cases using the fansubs to determine what other markets to look at for official releases. Earlier this year, we wrote about how one developer from 07th Expansion was thrilled about the fansub work being done -- thanking the fansubbers for "loving" his work so much.

An anonymous reader points out that 07th Expansion recently sold the rights of a new game to the company MangaGamer, which includes the right to translate the game. But the fansubbers were already working on their own version. So, would there be a clash? Apparently not. Both versions are moving forward legally with the approval of 07th Expansion. MangaGamer even did a good thing, offering to hire the fansubbers to do the translating for the official version, but they were unable to do so for work reasons. This did follow one bad move -- where MangaGamer asked the fansubbers to take down their version -- but after MangaGamer went back and learned of 07th Expansion's embracing of fansubbers, it changed its mind, and told the fansubbers they could continue with their effort.

Of course, even with the "competition" from fans, MangaGamer should have a huge advantage. The fansubbers admit that they're slow and doing it as a hobby -- so they fully expect MangaGamer to beat them to market by a long shot. But it's nice to see MangaGamer realize that this isn't the end of the world and to just compete in the marketplace, even without an exclusive monopoly on a translation patch to the game.

Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    Chargone (profile), 6 Oct 2009 @ 2:53am

    I'd imagine the licensed version would be significantly more convenient than trying to track down the original, make it work right, apply a translation patch, and so on.

    so, a reason to buy is present, at the very least.
    as long as they don't charge too much [and a translation project should be a lot cheaper than an original, after all] it sounds like it should work.

    always nice to see stuff like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Random anime fan., 6 Oct 2009 @ 3:55am

    Looking at the story dates, it appears this was somewhat old (by a month or two), but it is an interesting situation to say the least.

    I recently tried out one of the free demos MangaGamer put out, KiraKira, because a friend kept bugging me to try out a visual novel. The demo itself was 5 or 6 hours long, and contained a large percent of the game, and then I purchased the game once I completed the demo. I ended up loving the game, it was basically like a novel, with great background music and a decent story which was better than half the books I have read.

    Now if only they could fix the problem with numerous typos in the script, but I suppose that because it is longer than most novels (2.3MB worth of text, according to my friend, and I see no reason to doubt this), and because they are a newish company still getting a handle on things, I suppose it was to be expected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    FanMugger, 6 Oct 2009 @ 4:18am

    Inuyasha / VIZ Media

    Something I thought that was cool. VIZ Media simulcast the new Inuyasha series in Japan and on HULU. The hulu version was subbed already.

    -- Wikipedia: "The following week, Viz Media announced it has licensed the new adaptation, titled Inuyasha: The Final Act (犬夜叉 完結編, Inuyasha Kanketsu-hen?).[5]. It premiered October 3 in Japan, and the episodes are being simulcasted via Hulu."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2009 @ 5:45am

    Looking at the links provided, it would appear that this Japanese company allows derivative works of all the stuff in their series, excluding the game music since they don't hold the rights to it. Compared to the norm for companies creating games/books/music/video, This is a very nice policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    maclizard (profile), 6 Oct 2009 @ 5:47am

    If only...

    If only other industry could take something away from this situation. This is very strong evidence that copyright does not promote better production, competition does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Mechwarrior, 6 Oct 2009 @ 5:56am

    Its noted though that the fansubbers are slow, especially if they're trying for a proper localization and not a straight up translation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon (profile), 6 Oct 2009 @ 6:08am

    For work reasons?

    I'm suprised to read that those fansubbers did not find the time to become the "official" subbers. Quality german fansubs of high profiles shows like Lost or Heroes usually are released the same day the capped show hit peer 2 peer networks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2009 @ 6:26am

    Re: For work reasons?

    Very popular shows tend to have a much larger team backing the fansub effort that usually involves a very large number of people. This is a very different world from fansubs for smaller communities. So to me, it isn't very surprising that they turned the offer down as it really is a hobby for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2009 @ 7:04am

    Re: For work reasons?

    They aren't translating the show, but rather the visual novel. There are two halfs of the game being released separately, and the total amount of text is staggering, around 750,000 words (5.5 Megabytes worth of text), a good deal longer than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Translating 25 minute episodes is nothing compared to the sheer amount of work needed to translate this. MangaGamer is trying to translate this within a year of picking up the title, it is understandable that the fantranslators would have difficultly keeping up at this pace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Geekish, 6 Oct 2009 @ 12:12pm

    Nice to see fansubbers appreciated for once by a company involved with the anime. Quality can be hit-and-miss depending on the fan-sub group, but I have often lamented that a particular official translation was less accurate/more awkward-sounding than a fansub.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    CJ, 6 Oct 2009 @ 12:21pm

    As a related aside, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When the Cicadas Cry, fansub, When They Cry, official US release) is a really fun show. ^_^

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    UBW, 6 Oct 2009 @ 1:56pm

    The Visual Novel industry right now

    This post addresses a small part, but there has been many interesting developments like this in the visual novel community.

    1.) MangaGamer has hired for this game (Higurashi) someone who is a well known fanatic in the community who speaks Japanese and English as an editor for Higurashi.
    2.) MangaGamer has also hired a fan translator for another one of their games, Soul Link. Also a representative actively check out fan translation groups to see if any cooperation would work, including showing up in the IRC channel of a fan translation group
    3.) JastUSA, another visual novel translation company, has hired multiple fan translators (and editors, etc) for their upcoming big title (relative, since it is a small market) games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    another mike (profile), 6 Oct 2009 @ 3:55pm

    send us up the bomb

    So you and the fan subs are working towards an accurate translation for official releases. The fansubs, being more intimately familiar with the destination language, can go for a hyper-localization, with the slang and colloquialisms that just aren't in the Rosetta Stone course.

    But before either of those versions come out, you crank your original game through Babelfish and release the "Zero Wing Edition" as a teaser. Drum up interest for the official localized release with the gameplay, graphics, and hilarious "translation".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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