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View Poll Results: Should fansubs rival DVDs in quality?
Yes - keep those great fansubs coming! 2 50.00%
No - stop making it harder for anime to reach Western shores! 2 50.00%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2004-02-04, 00:29   Link #1
lavalyn
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Fansubs and Licenses - rivals?

When I watch Maburaho as fansubbed by sugar-cube, I look at the video quality and subtitles and see that it approaches DVD quality, to some extent. When I watch Naruto as subbed by TW, I think it's superior to DVD in many respects.

Do you purchase DVDs of series (or via rentals, watch again, legitimately) that you have watched and enjoyed through fansubs? I can imagine that some here have before, since fansubs (remember Initial D or Love Hina?) used to be from 320x240 captures. But with today's high-quality raws, encodes, quality assurance, and special effects, it seems that attitudes have shifted to using these fansubs for "archival," that is to say, an alternative to actually buying DVDs.

So the question here is: do you think fansubs today are a viable substitute for legitimate DVDs? And more importantly, should they be?

Last edited by lavalyn; 2004-02-04 at 00:55.
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Old 2004-02-04, 00:51   Link #2
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Fansubs are never intended to be a rival for the real DVD release, because they are NOT meant to be a substitute. When the uncut version hits DVD, you owe it to the company to buy it if you liked the series enough to keep watching it. Other wise, no matter how good the sub is, you're just getting a free ride off of someone else's hard work.

I still hang onto my old subs, if only for comparison purposes. But they are not the replacement - which is why despite the dozens of Sailor Moon fansubs I still ahve, I'm still working on collecting the whole series (which would go so much faster if they boxed up the rest of the series...come on, Geneon, save me a little time, eh?)
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Old 2004-02-04, 00:56   Link #3
AnimeFangirl
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I didn't understand the second option in the poll: "No - stop making it harder for anime to reach Western shores!" Could you explain that bit?
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Old 2004-02-04, 01:04   Link #4
lavalyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorfl
I didn't understand the second option in the poll: "No - stop making it harder for anime to reach Western shores!" Could you explain that bit?
Why would a licensee want to license a series when the market already has sufficiently high quality fansubs?
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Old 2004-02-04, 01:17   Link #5
Rebochan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavalyn
Why would a licensee want to license a series when the market already has sufficiently high quality fansubs?
For the purpose of profit. They aren't exactly running a charity - lots of people are making their livings producing, licensing, and distributing these shows. The Japanese company and creators also see some of the international profits, which is incentive to keep creating products. If fansubs, which are obtained for free, replace the DVD, then what's the point in putting these series out anyway?

I should clarify before someone misinterprets - I have no problem with fansubs, when they are used for their intended purpose. That being, exposure of a series. They were never meant to be a substitute, only an aid when there was no other alternative. This is also why I replace my fansubs on DVDs - believe it or not, the English productions are always better than the fansubbed versions. There is a lot of material the English licensee can get ahold of that a fansubber cannot. The translations are also genuinely more accurate, or at least in line with the original intent of the original production. The professional polish makes a big difference, which is yet another reason why fansubbers (the ethical ones anyway) encourage you to replace your subs.
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Old 2004-02-04, 01:19   Link #6
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I am not going to make a choice in a poll with at least 1 loaded question in it.
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Old 2004-02-04, 03:56   Link #7
AnimeFangirl
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Neither am I, actually. If nothing else, it hasn't yet been established that good-quality fansubs prevent anime from coming to US shores. This may be just the opinion of the creator of the poll, or it might be a fact, but I just don't know yet. Naturally I'm all for fansubs, but choosing "Yes" when the "No" option is near-invalid feels somewhat pointless to me.
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Old 2004-02-04, 04:28   Link #8
NoSanninWa
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The poll is way too loaded as others have pointed out. On the other hand the topic is worth discussing. Consequently I have closed the poll and left the topic open.

Enjoy.
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Old 2004-02-04, 04:55   Link #9
Lambda
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I'd like to see them a touch below that, at least for new series. If it's an old unlicensed title, or in a few years it still hasn't been licensed, then DVD-quality fansubs become far more consistent with fansubbing ethos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebochan
believe it or not, the English productions are always better than the fansubbed versions.
That's . . . at the very least only arguable. For example, a lot of DVDs don't give simultaneous English translations and kareoke of opening and closing songs. And there can be irritating translation habits in order to appeal to the wider audience, like trying to translate that "just before eating" thing into English which isn't really possible to do accurately, instead of leaving it and putting in a translation note first time. And then you'll sometimes get the picture changed. DVDs and fansubs often seem to be tailored for somewhat different markets, if you're the sort of person that fansubbers are thinking of, that might make their products better, at least for you personally.

"Better" can be a very complicated word.

Last edited by Lambda; 2004-02-04 at 05:05.
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Old 2004-02-04, 05:13   Link #10
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Quote:
When I watch Maburaho as fansubbed by sugar-cube, I look at the video quality and subtitles and see that it approaches DVD quality, to some extent. When I watch Naruto as subbed by TW, I think it's superior to DVD in many respects.
So you think fansubs from a terrible TV source that have been sqeezed down into 175 megs look better than DVD? Err.... okay.

The only way you get a better looking DivX encode is when you rip it from the DVD and go insane on it, or the original DVD has some problems, which you fix up.

And yes, DVDs sometimes do things that annoy me, especially in the editing department, but it's the whole geek VS corperate technology thing. The Geek can tweak and canter his product for his specific market over time, the corperation can't.
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Old 2004-02-04, 05:27   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambda
That's . . . at the very least only arguable. For example, a lot of DVDs don't give simultaneous English translations and kareoke of opening and closing songs. And there can be irritating translation habits in order to appeal to the wider audience, like trying to translate that "just before eating" thing into English which isn't really possible to do accurately, instead of leaving it and putting in a translation note first time. And then you'll sometimes get the picture changed.
Let's rip this apart line by line and then add some commentary.

On simultaneous translations, it depends on the company. Bandai has been very good about including both lyrics on the discs I have, and IIRC most of the other companies will alternate between romaji and translation. Believe it or not, this used to be the fansub standard before digis as well.

Karaoke subs are greatly overrated. They can look pretty when well done, but under the DVD subtitling spec (2 colours + clear + outline) they are a bitch and a half to do. You NEVER get scrolling karaoke subs on a DVD, you get a change in a syllable from colour 1 to colour 2 and that's it. Add to this the fact that the spec actually demands a blank frame between subtitle changes (most companies, esp. those who make karaoke specific discs have found ways to work around it), and you can see why this is unappealing.

Translation habits are up to the individual translator (and sometimes, depending on the company, the editor). Everyone's familiar with the Trish-isms on Viz's version of Ranma, etc., but it's really up to the person producing the script, and fansubbers are the same way. Some companies, like AnimEigo and Synch Point will leave these things untranslated and explain them in liner notes, but Joe Otaku (who according to statistics will never even watch the sub track) will be listening to the dub which needs to have a colloquialized expression as well. Also, on-screen liner notes are a luxury for fansubbers and are VERY unprofessional. As said before, there are companies putting out liner notes with their titles (this trend is increasing, thankfully), but understand that there are different rules for being professional and doing things for shits and giggles.

Finally, you mentioned changing the picture. You get this one, and it does piss me off that companies like ADV have a great aversion to using the original Japanese logos. Overlays are, thankfully, a pretty dead trend, and while I don't care that title cards get changed (usually they're just text on a background anyways), it bothers me that they futz up the OP, especially with the ugly crap coming out of ADV (Nadesico truly is the red headed stepchild of their catalog). ADV tends to claim that the Japanese are making them do that, as they always buy the TV rights for their shows and the Japanese want it in English for exposure or something. Media Blasters had to change the logo for Rayearth at the request of CLAMP, but still managed to sneak the original in underneath the overlay (it's translucent).

------------

Editorializing time.

The big advantage that commercial releases have over fansubs is translation. Period. The raw script from the translator is, in most cases (shows like Excel Saga aside) because they have the ORIGINAL WRITTEN SCRIPT to work from. Confused about what someone's saying? Look it up in the kanji dictionary. Fansubbers have to play it by ear, and having done my own translation off a language I'm familiar with (German), having a written source to translate from makes a world of difference.

I really don't think that fansubs are killing the industry, no matter what Matt Greenfield might say. If he's really that scared of losing sales to fansubbers, he should be announcing co-productions as soon as the first episode airs or make sure there's a big "ADV FILMS" in the credits so that people know a show is hands-off. While the popularity of anime is still increasing (as I'm sure we'll see reflected in early convention attendance stats), it's about to reach the fad peak, and the industry isn't doing much to protect itself from the bust that is bound to happen.

Similarly, as long as there are shows which are in overlooked genres or complicated licensing scenarios (ie Macross 7, GaoGaiGar, and a buttload of OVAs whose studios went under), there will be a role for fansubbers to play. What we don't need, though, is 17 groups doing the same series which is obviously going to be picked up anyways (esp. if the manga's already coming out in the US).

Also, DivX and XviD really don't look as good as a DVD. I wasn't raised in a videophile household or anything, but I can easily tell the difference. Maybe we *should* make it a point to cripple video quality on fansubs to give people an incentive to buy legit...

Oh, and while I don't buy every series that I've got fansubbed on DVD, I do my best to pick up the ones I like most. I have so much money for anime/manga, and this usually keeps me good for 2 series at a time and a couple books of manga (I *do* consider buying the manga as an acceptable form of buying legit, it still supports the creator and the story writer).
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Old 2004-02-04, 07:06   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirCanealot
So you think fansubs from a terrible TV source ...
This isn't 2000 any more, Japanese HDTV broadcast quality is, in some cases, at least as good as, if not better than DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebochan
The Japanese company and creators also see some of the international profits, which is incentive to keep creating products.
I think you will find that the anime makers don't really care about markets outside Japan, they would keep making stuff even if their shows were not licensed.

As far as the topic is concerned, fansubs and commercial release can be rivals in some sense. For example, since only a single license is available, there is no competition and since it's a company (primarily concerned with profits) quality could suffer - less money and effort to make a "good enough" product. Whereas with fansubs, there is no profit motive and usually competition, so fansubs may have an overall quality that rivals a commercial DVD release.
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Old 2004-02-04, 07:50   Link #13
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As a french person I would say that if they stopped licencing fansubbed anime I would rarely get to see french subbed anime, which for me isn't that much a issue but for most of my friends it is. And dvd and fansub have nothing to compare. with a fansub you get the tv show at home, with a dvd you get the show at home, it's always better in dvd even if the fansubs quality has increased in the last 2 years.
and a dvd will last longer than a burnt cd even if you take really great care of it. That's the main reason I buy the dvds when a serie gets licenced, beside the fact that buying dvds keeps the anime industry alive ( helps it anyway ).
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Old 2004-02-04, 09:56   Link #14
lavalyn
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Perhaps I'll ask the same question differently:

Are the fansubs good enough for the series you are watching to not buy the DVDs?

Because frankly, I don't think there are going to be 12,000+ buyers of Naruto when it becomes licensed.



(P.S. Sorry for making the poll so loaded as to make it worthless.)
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Old 2004-02-04, 10:05   Link #15
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maybe all the guys who DL Naruto's releases every week won't buy the dvds but there also are guys who only buy the dvds.
we all know some guys who dl fansub would never buy licenced dvd, they just rather have it free but that's not all of us . and there are also guys who don't have dsl or even a computer and who can only see them by dvds.

there is place for both,
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Old 2004-02-04, 10:50   Link #16
exedore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavalyn
Are the fansubs good enough for the series you are watching to not buy the DVDs?

Because frankly, I don't think there are going to be 12,000+ buyers of Naruto when it becomes licensed.
It depends on the show. I tier everything I see into the following categories:

-Must Buy, even if it means import
-Must Buy R1
-Worth Buying R1 at Pricedown
-Worth Buying the manga instead
-Worth renting
-Worth downloading
-Worth watching at club but not on my own
-I want my time back

Very few titles ever make it into the top tier (LoGH, Macross 7), and only a handful into the second one (Berserk, Brigadoon). I've got a couple titles in the third tier (Full Metal Panic, Hana Yori Dango), but the 4th tier is the big one for me, as it's where all the "that was fun but not worth buying on way too many DVDs" titles go. This is where I class things like One Piece, Detective Conan (which will probably be a "buy the movies" instead of "buy the manga"), but I've also put things like Gasaraki in there (I liked it, but not when it was $80+ for the set) and Initial D (which is now at "worth downloading" because of poor treatment from Tokyopop).

In other words, it's a case by case basis. I do like replacing my fansubs (esp. when I can reclaim some space from it), but there is so much money to go to animanga every month, and the line has to be drawn somewhere.
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Old 2004-02-04, 12:19   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K_R
This isn't 2000 any more, Japanese HDTV broadcast quality is, in some cases, at least as good as, if not better than DVD.
I know, but since when were all shows broadcast on HDTV first time? I understand some shows are reran on HDTV, but fansubbers when the fast decent sources, not the slow godly looking ones :/

I'm always happy when I see "BSI" in the corner of a show, one that's gone straght to HDTV ^_^
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Old 2004-02-06, 08:50   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavalyn
Because frankly, I don't think there are going to be 12,000+ buyers of Naruto when it becomes licensed.

Isn't 12,000 a fairly small number, as far as sales are concerned?
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Old 2004-02-06, 09:14   Link #19
Lambda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exedore
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambda
That's . . . at the very least only arguable. For example, a lot of DVDs don't give simultaneous English translations and kareoke of opening and closing songs. And there can be irritating translation habits in order to appeal to the wider audience, like trying to translate that "just before eating" thing into English which isn't really possible to do accurately, instead of leaving it and putting in a translation note first time. And then you'll sometimes get the picture changed.
Let's rip this apart line by line
Well, taken completely and grossly out of context, maybe. I was suggesting reasons why someone might find a fansub preferable, not reasons for fansubs being definitely better in all cases.

That's what I mean by "better" being a very complicated word. There are lots of different types of people.
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Old 2004-02-06, 09:22   Link #20
lavalyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAppi
Isn't 12,000 a fairly small number, as far as sales are concerned?
Don't think a quarter million dollars of revenue is small. And that's at $20 a disc.

Let's play the Fermi game, shall we? "How many Anime DVDs are sold of a given disc?"

Population of North America (Region 1): 330,000,000.
Percentage of population that watches anime as a genre: 0.1%
Percentage of anime fans that like this specific series: 15%
Percentage of those that buy DVDs at all: 85%
Percentage of those that like this series enough to buy DVDs: 60%

Well, that makes total sales ~ 25,000 discs. And I was generous on the last filter.
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