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Some things about Fansubbing

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Okay I’ll say that I watch a lot of anime. It’s my replacement for TV because America likes reality TV and that blows. So I watch anime. I am also penniless and can’t buy all the anime I watch. Well that and lots of shows that I borderline worship will never ever get licensed. Hence, fansubs. Lots of different groups and lots of different ideologies on how they shoud be carried out. I’m a pretty open person. I mean I watched gg’s release of Toradora even if though it had the grain to feed a herd of livestock. But I’ve begun to scrutinize a few practices and found them to be nonsensical, japanophilic, or just lame in general.

I guess I’ll address it first because it’s practically a sin or something but hardsubbing is bad bad bad and shouldn’t be done. I don’t understand on one level because it seems like a bigger hassle to hardsub something than to pack it all in an .mkv container and call it good, and on another level because it is entirely unnecessary in this day and age. If somebody can’t manage to run softsubs on their computer than they probably don’t use it for watching anime to begin with. I guess there is that argument about watching releases on your iPod or whatever but can’t they run .mp4 files as well? And aren’t things coming out that can run .mkv’s anyway? And why would you ever weant to watch a subbed show on you iPod? Sure the screen takes up the entire face of the damn thing but it’s still only a few inches wide. Show some restraint and wait until you get home.

On a related note I’m not a fan of hardsubbed karaoke either for a couple of reasons. It often ends up being abused in giant penis waving competitions to see who knows more After Effects magix than who. This takes up time and hurts my eyes. There are a few karaoke effects that are absolutely kick ass and make me drool all over my keyboard like Menclave’s karaoke for Gundam 00 season 1, but that is drowned out by all of the hardsubbed effects that achieve little more than something I can cook up in Aegisub with k tags and a few fade or alpha tags sprinkled in the mix. Or you can go the other way and complain about the karaoke that are so overstylized that they are borderline unreadable.

Moving on to the actual subs themselves here are a few tips for those of you prone to fits of gaudy, garish style decisions. Do not ever make the dialog text a strong color. By ‘strong’ I mean candy-apple red, radioactive green, sunflower yellow, or Navy blue. It’s ugly and hurts the eyes. Overly dark colors are almost as bad since they are hard to read and adding a stroke to increase legibility only makes it worse. Stick with a white, off-white, or some other muted color or shade with a darker stroke or border around it. Don’t use shadow because it looks stupid and avoid overly bold or thin and stringy fonts. Shit needs to be readable at all times.

Credits are frequently abused as well. You put some hours into working on a release and you think you deserve to have your name in the video somewhere. Sure. Fine. Just please don’t make it really fucking big. Also please try to avoid translating the ‘real’ credits that are shown for the OP and ED ok? It’s pointless and some people actually watch those things. they don’t want their eyes accosted by the same thing in two languages.

And I might be the only one but I don’t want the dialogue itself to be riddled with Japanese. I know the language sounds really cool and stuff but can you at least try to translate the words that have an english equivalent? Everytime a word is left untranslated in order to ‘leave the japanese flavour’ or whatever I can only recall my art history teacher who always referred to the gods of Shintoism as Kami. It bugged the hell outta me. Kami has an explicit direct English equivalent.  The word is God. We’ve always referred to powerful ethereal beings as gods and no matter how you slice it a Kami is the same damn thing but it lives in a tree or rock instead of a magical land made of clouds and happiness.

More on Japanese flavour and things that don’t translate over very well. Honorifics. I know very well that they are pivital to Japanese conversation and are regarded with the utmost importance. That doesn’t change the fact that every time I read “Yuki-chan” I stumble harder than a drunk on a Friday night. That shit does not flow properly when read in English. Cut it out. Somebody will pipe up with an arguement along the lines of “but it’s important when a person changes how they refer to another character”. If you are unable to discern how characters think and feel and respond to each other without the honorifics being read  to you than you are a socially inept clod even when you are alone in your basement. Try reading between the lines a bit. Besides, if you’ve watched subbed anime for more than maybe a month than you should be able to pull out the honorifics anyway. It’s not difficult if you have two (or even one) functioning ear.

And now for the real edgy one. I’ve never seen it presented quite as vehemently as the responses to gg’s Toradora release but I’m not a frequenter of forums and other such places. Of course I’m talking about the swearing. Along with the fabulous grain count, gg’s release of Toradora had Taiga swearing like a sailor on a regular basis. Some people seemes to take offense to this and buckled on their weaboo helmets so they could baaaw about how wrong it was to have Taiga swearing on a basis no more solid than “My adorable Taiga-chan cussing? Never!”. Once again maybe I just fail to be weaboo enough to see it but I really enjoyed gg’s translation. It had character and wasn’t as palpably stale as other translations. The fact is that the swearing fit her character perfectly given her outbursts of anger. I personally can’t ever imagine somebody that infuriated and screaming at the top of their lungs “Crap!”. Contrary to popular belief every line in a show isn’t solid literary gold with enough DEEP meaning to knock the socks off of a philosopher and a degree if paraphrasing is perfectly fine. I’d rather get a paraphrased message than feel like I’m listening to a robot talk.

I’m out of rage steam and don’t feel like writing this anymore. Fact is it’s hard to do to begin with because I simply don’t care enough. There are a number of groups I watch releases from and they all display the things I’ve listed above and I still choose their releases above other groups’. Brand loyalty ftw.


Written by PIR

January 15, 2009 at 18:44

Posted in Uncategorized

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