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So, I was wandering around on the internet a little just now, and found out that a new group that was subbing El Cazador and Heroic Age, Bruised-Ichigo, has dropped El Cazador. Now, that in itself is not a bad thing, nor is it strange in the slightest. They saw that one series was getting more attention than the other, and so they decided to focus. In fact, I’m quite happy about it. They’re the only group subbing Heroic Age, and the second episode of it really kindled my interest in it.

But then something odd happens. I don’t know all the details, but from the information I’ve gathered, they’ve been receiving flack for this somehow. Wandering around on the fansub wiki, I read comments to the effect that they were lazy and that fansubbing is no big thing, and according to Bruised-Ichigo’s site, people accused them of such things as “starting a sub-war.”

It made me feel like an awful jerk for the post I made yesterday, since my venting about series not getting subbed is not much better than those people.

For a short time last year, about two or three months, I tried my hand at translating manga. I am still just a student of the japanese language, and frankly, my listening skills are my weakest point, so manga seemed like the thing to try translating. I figured it would be a good way to practice and apply what I had been learning.

It was the last vestige of something that kept me hanging on to One Piece, but once real life caught up to me and the people using my translations in scanslations disappeared on me, I not only stopped translating, but my interest in One Piece dropped drastically.

Translation alone is a draining process. You have to consider a great deal of things; tone, meaning of colloquial phrases, meanings of idiomatic phrases… it’s hard. And that’s when you already have everything laid out before you on paper.

I cannot imagine the amount of effort that goes into fansubbing, even of the lowest quality. You’re not just translating; you’re listening to everything that’s being said, possibly re-listening over and over just to make sure you heard the right reading of a word. You’re then using the best quality Raw episode you can find and taking every line you wrote and putting them into subtitle form. If you’re starting a new series, the fansub watching community has almost begun EXPECTING karaoke from episode one, so you’ve gotta do that as well. All that is hard work as well, as you have to worry about timing, and because of the pickiness of our kind, appearance and readability. And then you gotta work on size constraints.

And then there’s the fact that there is life outside of the internet or anime. Stuff happens all the time. School, jobs, freak accidents, you name it.

I have a greater respect for the fansubbing community than most of the anime viewing community. The fansubbers literally GIVE us hours of their time to let us see the latest stuff from over the pacific. And it’s not just the hours that they spend working on a sub. It’s the years that they put in to learning the language and its nuances, learning the software to make things in time and look pretty. And they do it all for free.

Bruised-Ichigo did not deserve any of the criticism that they received for their dropping of El-Cazador. Their reasons for starting fansubbing were much like my attempts at translating. The quality of their first works are not to be ignored, either. They output a better translation than I could, even after my four years of learning, and their quality of production is certainly on par with the biggest and best. And it’s two people running it. TWO.

They deserve praise.

And so does the rest of the fansubbing community, from the small new groups to the huge megagroups. To sacrifice so much and ask for so little… it’s admirable.

Next time on DTZ’s random thoughts: Why we should appreciate the American Anime Industry.