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Old 2007-10-20, 17:31   Link #1
False Dawn
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Do Fansub Groups Ever Die?

Something that I thought of while looking through the Classifieds and seeing that not only have Oyasumi "reformed" but a group called SD Project (who I admit I don't know very well) are apparently living again after suffering brain-death: do groups ever really die?

Sure, there are some pretty major groups that have imploded, usually splitting off into several smaller groups (Ryoumi being one of the latest examples), but a lot of the time, when groups die because of members drifting away - it can be quite likely for them to reform.

I, for one, thought Oyasumi were long out of the picture so was quite surprised to see an ad for them - and it brought up several questions in my mind. 1) Why are groups "resurrected" either from long periods of inactivity or death and 2) why not release under a different group name, even if all the staff are the same (which they usually aren't, as is the nature of most groups).

Just something I pondered over while browsing - feel free to add thoughts if the topic interests anyone
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Old 2007-10-20, 17:38   Link #2
juggen
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1) People might got what's called "a life". And well, things aren't always so nice and easy.
2) If I were to restart my group, I'd use the same name since you might got fans who can recognize you
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Old 2007-10-20, 17:51   Link #3
False Dawn
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So in that case, do we only use group names for "fame", rather than to mark our releases?
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Old 2007-10-20, 17:54   Link #4
cyth
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Digisubbing has been around for, what, eight years? I'd say give the scene a bit more time before setting group life expectancy. We still have folks around who started with BakaMX and the first Anime-Fansubs. Those groups are dead, for sure, but the people behind them continue with their contributions elsewhere.
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Old 2007-10-20, 18:50   Link #5
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In a somewhat annoying twist, group names are like clothing brand names and usually carry a certain reputation with them, which is probably the reason for reusing old group names (building a reputation from scratch takes a while after all). Some people (OK, actually a lot of people) will only download something if they recognize the group name as "good" and will ignore other groups' releases completely. In a similar fashion, once a group gets a bad reputation for some reason, it can be incredibly hard to get rid of. This phenomenon tends to cause surprising amounts of both drama and cirklejerking on forums as well as elsewhere, and I know at least one fansubber who has gone from a well-established group with a pretty good reputation to doing almost completely anonymous releases just because he got sick of dealing with fansubber peers and leechers alike.
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Old 2007-10-20, 20:07   Link #6
juggen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by False Dawn View Post
So in that case, do we only use group names for "fame", rather than to mark our releases?
Isn't it both?
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Old 2007-10-20, 20:29   Link #7
Access
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It's the people, not the group. Often, the name is pure superficiality. Obviously, If all the people disappear or stop working, the group is frozen or dies. If all the people reappear and start working together again, the group is revived. Couldn't be any simpler than that.

Those viewing it from the outside might see a group as a singlular entity or an accurate label, related to quality, important for reputation, etc. But it doesn't really mean much.

Group (A) may have existed for 5 years, and used the same name for that whole period, but at the same time the staff of group (A) may have turned over 3 times, and no original staff members remain. Perhaps they all went on to groups (B), (C), and (D), or quit entirely.

Group (B) could be composed entirely of staff who left group (A), group (C) might be composed partly of members who left (A) and partly from a smattering of other groups, group (D) might have only a few members from (A) and gone on to recruit more members, etc. That's the way the real world is, but one who goes by group names alone will never see that part.

Often quality is a reflection of the people behind the project and the processes used, and group labels are only partly related to those two.
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Old 2007-10-20, 20:45   Link #8
CelesAurivern
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Quote:
Originally Posted by False Dawn View Post
do groups ever really die?
Yes, they do. They all just die in different ways.

AnimeJunkies
Cause of death
- Trolled to death.

Cellphone^2
Cause of death
- Civil war.

ANBU
Cause of death
- Collapse of alliance with AonE.
- Licencing of flagship project.
- Retirement of key translator.
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Old 2007-10-21, 02:16   Link #9
pichu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by False Dawn View Post
Sure, there are some pretty major groups that have imploded, usually splitting off into several smaller groups (Ryoumi being one of the latest examples), but a lot of the time, when groups die because of members drifting away - it can be quite likely for them to reform.
Let me clarify about the downfall of one of the groups you mentioned here, Ryoumi Subs, where I was part of the leadership for that group. The group started off with two projects, Chocotto Sister and Tonagura, during the summer of 2006 - all working out quite nicely. Later on, Sky Girls OVA and Hanoka were added to the group's projects list. And with those two projects, the group's progress was slowing down, but she survived.

The downfall all began when the founder added a couple of projects in the fall season of 2006 only because he acquired some shaky translators to work on. Those projects included: Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ and Sumomomo Momomo. Needless to say, I suggested him to drop one of the projects, because I noticed that the staff couldn't handle more than 4 series at a time. Hence, we dropped Sumomomo Momomo shortly after episode one was merely translated. The group was functioning so-so with Tokimeki Memorial episodes being only one or two episodes behind the broadcast.

However, in Janary/Feburary of 2007, the founder happened to add three more projects - Manabi Straight, Saint October, and Venus Vs Virus - and one joint project - Tokyo Majin Kenpuchou Tou - to the group, since he acquired a few more shaky translators to work on. This was really when the downfall all began. Even though the joint project was dropped due to the lack of motivation in the partnered group, Ryoumi wasn't able to complete any episodes in a timely manner. I was extremely displeased by this action, but since he already hired and assigned all of the staff, there was nothing much I could do, knowing that he wouldn't listen to me at all. I ended up working on all of the series, which included around 6 projects at a time - all typesetting; he was the timer to all.

In spring of 2007, I had decided to fold up the group after learning that the founder had opened a new group (Anime-Yoshi) for the sake of 'fun' in order to do one more project (Kaze no Stigma), as it showed how little he cared about the people, who were working on the series he added. Judging from the previous experience with him, I see him attempted to add around 5-6 projects to his new group, hence slowing down the overall progress of his new group. Another downfall?

---

Last but not least, never follow a leader who's too selfish to even concern how much his/her group can do, especially when (s)he's not paying you. The downfall can begin when the leaders are incompetent, are too selfish, are not willing to listen, and/or leave the group. Yes, maybe I am incompetent, as I wasn't able to lead the group well. I think it's a smart choice for me to disband Ryoumi, as there's no point continuing with any of the "leftovers." I don't wish to spend my time fully in leading that group to survival, especially when I have so little interests in the projects he added. I have better things to do.

---

I hope this clears up about this specific downfall.
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Last edited by pichu; 2007-10-21 at 03:00.
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Old 2007-10-21, 03:19   Link #10
False Dawn
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So, leading on from that example, pichus, would you say that the longevity of a group largely depends on the actions of the leader? I've known leaders to change in groups before, but then, I've also known groups to die when the leader has decided it's just not worth doing (usually resulting in the group disbanding and the leader retiring or fading into obscurity).
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Old 2007-10-21, 03:33   Link #11
pichu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by False Dawn View Post
So, leading on from that example, pichus, would you say that the longevity of a group largely depends on the actions of the leader? I've known leaders to change in groups before, but then, I've also known groups to die when the leader has decided it's just not worth doing (usually resulting in the group disbanding and the leader retiring or fading into obscurity).
Yes - largely. However, this may not be true for groups with dedicated staff. Ryoumi failed in this area, so Ryo depended solely in the leaders' actions.

Often switching the founders can damage the group or the other way around. So it really depends. Take AnimeYuki, for example. Even though the original founder founded the group and acquired all the necessary staff, he was overthrown from the group by the majority of the staff for reasons I do not wish to discuss here. Although the current founder doesn't do much in that group - from what I heard, there are still staff and leaders dedicated to work for that group. Thus, that group survived. (And, I have to admit that switching the founder may improve the situation as the original founder wasn't being liked)

As for SD_Project, I've known uska for a few years, and I know he's not willing to disband the group because he still has some motivations left on and off. So that group's survival depends in the leader's choice. According to him a while ago, he still has some dedicated staff, which prevented the group to fall apart.

So the group's survival depends upon:

* Leadership
* Staff's Dedication
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Last edited by pichu; 2007-10-21 at 03:48.
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Old 2007-10-21, 07:13   Link #12
Access
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Group leadership is mostly a peripheral issue, you either have a working group, working/project teams, or you don't. If you don't have working teams or good people, the best leader in the world can't change that. A well-managed group without working teams still dies, and a non-managed or poorly managed group with good working teams or units can often survive regardless. It mostly comes down the discipline and maturity of the people doing the work.

That said, poor leadership can drag a group down, especially if people are willing to submit to a bad leader (or a 'ruling clique'). The reality is that decisions should be limited in scope, they should be made by the people they affect, the people doing the immediate work, and only that. In most cases, this is the project's 'working group', which often has a leader or manager of its own.

All too often "Leadership" is done by a virtual outsider, just one person trying to assert themselves over the group, sometimes politically, sometimes trying to control what is done and what's not; the best leaders do very little. A perfect example of "bad" leadership would be a leader who orders a popular (within the group popular) and well-supported, active project to be canned, or a leader who holds back a ready-to-be-released episode out of fear the content is 'too girly' and might affect the groups image negatively.

In this way, the best groups pretty much lead themselves. When a groups downfall is claimed to be due to leadership, or lack thereof, it is often just a lack of motivated people or teams that don't work anymore. It's easy to blame a single person or 'mismanagement' for a failure, it's much harder to admit that: people weren't as productive, teams weren't working out, etc.

http://forum.live-evil.org/index.php/topic,1430.0.html
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Old 2007-10-22, 14:07   Link #13
Ayanami9870
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Ryoumi's downfall is a story which is all too sad and familiar to me. They were caught in what I typically call an overload situation. They do too many projects with too little time and people on their hands, hoping that the extra work and newer shows will motivate people to work harder and attract new members to somehow keep the group alive.

Groups that tend to survive usually have a manageable amount of work relative to their size and enthusiasm. For most groups, this is no more than 2 projects, or even one series at a time. The difference in pace and quality is noticeable. For a hobby nobody is paid to do, no group (or leaderhead of that group) should put needless pressure on themselves or the people around them. You'll usually end up with burnout, and we know how that ends -- people quit, retire, disappear, or get so irritated that they drift away from anime entirely. For any groups that are in this situation, please get out of it immediately. You'll be glad you did.

Last edited by Ayanami9870; 2007-10-23 at 05:54.
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Old 2007-10-22, 18:14   Link #14
cyth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayanami9870 View Post
people quit, retire, disappear, or get so irritated that they drift away from anime entirely
I'm a bit saddened about the majority of fansubbing retirees, the ones not just quitting fansubbing but quitting anime completely. In my eyes, the biggest tragedy of fansubbing isn't groups dying or fansubbers retiring, but fansubbers, who were overly enthusiastic about anime at first, quitting the hobby completely. I know a good deal of people who only watch what they fansub, which is kind of... orz
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Old 2007-10-22, 20:21   Link #15
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Some groups have managed to remain for the long haul, though.

I know Shinsen Subs has been around since sometime in 2002, I believe, and they are still churning out about ten series a season, of varying quality . Anime One is still around, and they've been around for a few years. TW did, alas, finally disappear, though

Also note that while I'm "new" to the boards (actually I'm not...I just registered in 2006 with a new ID, rather than trying to resurrect my old one, which I couldn't even remember the name of), and very new to actually trying to encode stuff, I've been following the anime "scene" for about five years.

Of course, I followed the gamine "scene" for about 20 years before that, but...we...won't...talk...about that
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Old 2007-10-22, 22:19   Link #16
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Well Oyasumi folded over a bit for certain reasons. But a few of the original staff members decided they wanted to revive it, could be they liked the name, or that they missed working under the tag. But the new founder approached my upstart, then a big fat(well small...)gattai-action, and spontaneous rebirth happened.

Nothing really odd about it, they got sick of where they were, and decided to get together under their old name again.

I can see why people might do that. If the group you are in dies, and everyone moves on to new, or other groups. Then some people don't like where they are for certain reasons, but they KNOW that they work well with people from their old group. So they start talking, gathering old allies, and decide to strike out on their own and rebuild their old group with old friends, who they enjoy working with. Makes sense to me.

more on topic... yeah groups do die... mostly little-knowns, unknowns, or upstarts who didn't get through the gate. But from time to time a major group dies, and never gets back because they were: 1) Hated far too badly... 2) Intra-group drama/hate... 3) Every member is happy where they went to afterwards... etc.
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Old 2007-10-23, 11:27   Link #17
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Quote:
hoping that the extra work and newer shows will motivate people to work harder and attract new members to somehow keep the group alive.
that is one thing I dont like about all these new anime fansubbing groups. its like the revolving door of the dot com bust. (and then I go and slap our game guild label on episodes as a new fansubbing group )

some of the older groups post on their website, we need help, this series, like three months in advance. then when the new show comes out these kids want to be famous and make their own group name instead of helping the other people, and try to steal the thunder by releasing an episode or two. very few of these groups stay together, they usually split as soon as the series is done, or they get tired of actually doing *gasp* work.

Sure, if you love the series, feel free to release your version of a fansub, that's a good thing. I wasn't trying to step on AQS' toes when I released ToHeart2, I just love the series. Of course, I even offered them help with nanatsuiro drops when they posted for help.

However, I'm not your mom and you can do whatever you want.
alot of people have this mentality that because no one can see you on the internet, it's ok to do whatever you want.
well thats not a good basis to build a community upon, regardless if its virtual or not.

This is a hobby, though. Family matters, jobs, etc. are all more important. some people have trouble setting their priorities, then one day they realize they are in too deep and just quit fansubbing cold-turkey.

Getting your work done fast is not the important thing about working with others in a fansub group, its about realistically looking at what you can accomplish, set a schedule, and follow through with your work. If you need longer than others in the group, thats fine, as long as you do what you're supposed to do by the time you said you would do it.
when u keep pushing it back, pushing it back, pushing it back, and others are waiting on you, it causes more problems than if you never even worked on it in the first place.

in the end, regardless of what label is on the fansub, the true fans will still be around helping out somewhere. Alot of people who are dedicated actively belong to many various groups I think.
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Old 2007-10-23, 13:13   Link #18
juggen
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So you're a bad guy if u start your own group?
Or join a group of friends? Wouldn't that be much nicer than being a work whore in an older group?

I don't really mind what series I'm doing, I just find it funny to typeset, and work with my friends etc.
What's most important in your workplace is that you enjoy it right? And that you got nice fellow workers (probably most important)?
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Old 2007-10-23, 14:21   Link #19
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So you're a bad guy if u start your own group?
Or join a group of friends? Wouldn't that be much nicer than being a work whore in an older group?
Really? I've so far found small sized groups to be a bigger load and more demanding speed/work-wise than big groups... Though I think this mostly depends on the people already in the group.

Though I do sort of agree with Potatochobit with people forming lots of small groups (quite often doing a half-assed job) and the rest that he said in his second paragraph. But then one cannot say for sure. Who knows, it might become a really good and well established group in the future. Everyone has to start somewhere...
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Old 2007-10-23, 15:13   Link #20
juggen
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Really? I've so far found small sized groups to be a bigger load and more demanding speed/work-wise than big groups... Though I think this mostly depends on the people already in the group.
Well, all new groups seem to be in over their heads, thinking they can pick up lots of projects. That might bring them down eventually, but apparently that goes for several groups, Shinsen-Subs, AniYoshi etc.
In our group, and we are fairly new, some with fansubbing bg, but nevermind, we like u said, put our rl before fansubbing, and don't want people getting stressed or burnt out, and we prefer quality over speed, so the environment is pretty nice.
I guess our downfall will be when the releases stop getting done, and people stop caring.
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