Article: The end of Fansubbing?
The end of Fansubbing?
Last week something interesting happened to Fansubs. For the first time a Japanese company, namely media factory, requested that fansubbers stop distributing titles that they have a hand in. Until now Japanese companies have been silent on the issue, especially with shows unlicensed in America. Is this a one time deal or is this the beginning of the end for fansubs?
What drove Media Factory to do this? I can't be exactly sure myself but I have a couple of hypothesis. The first and most obvious is that Japanese companies are starting to realize that America is a valuable second market for anime and fansubs eat into company profits. Another possibility to consider is that since fansubs are still in the Japanese language that people from Japan are watching fansubbed Oavs rather than buying them. I have reasons to believe this. The first is that the decision came just after the release of the Akane Maniax Oav. The second is that Oavs cost an arm and a leg in Japan, so I never complain about the price of anime in America.
In my previous article about fansubs (the ethics of fansubbing) I mentioned that fansubs are not as necessary as they used to be do to the increased market for anime causing most titles to be licensed eventually if not sometimes while still airing in Japan. Part of this is the fact that fansubs themselves have undergone a transformation from being tapes of obscure series that you probably would have never seen to files that can be downloaded of the Internet of shows that aired the day before. Needless to say translation quality has suffered as a result.
What does this mean for the anime community at large? Many point to the idea that fansubbing helps promote a show abroad and thus helps it's sales when it is licensed. Companies will have to compensate for this factor. For the less scrupulous there is always Mirc, which is so rife with illegal material that it makes Animesuki (the site that was ordered to take down the fansubs) look like a saint in comparison.
What does this mean to Anifanatikku? It is true that I do watch fansubs to increase the amount of reviews on the site. If fansubbing becomes obsolete I will simply review what is licensed. As annoying as this may all seem if companies have a good reason for it I will simply live with it without complaint. After we should remember that especially now since anime licensing companies are often either A. Branches of companies that make anime in Japan (Geneon, Bandai or even Viz) or B. help produce some anime now (Adv) every dollar you spend on anime helps new anime to be made. For me the choice a true fan would make is very clear.