Addressing hypocrisy in regards to the fansub issue

March 3, 2008 at 8:00 am 10 comments


It’s a funny thing, really.

Debates on fansubbing have never fully convinced me of siding with anyone. Everyone goes on reusing tired plot points everyone and their mothers (and pet hamsters, I might add) have heard over a million times before in the past, and the same thing happens. Poop flies, massive e-drama occur, and the pro-industry side calls the pro-fansub sides names and vice-versa.

I got sick of the arguments, and decided to dig deeper. What I found out, I didn’t like. And I got a free economics lesson out of it. Apart from the economics lesson, I didn’t like what I discovered.

What did I find out? That the ‘debate’ is nothing but pure hypocrisy.

The pro-indusrty force is made up of primarily 3 groups: The greedy businessman, The disillusioned ex-fansubber, and The exploitable fan.

Their stand is admirable, and is not just morally correct, but also economically correct. Why is that?

For one thing, supporting the creators has always been the right thing to do. Like how Christians/Jews/Muslims give thanks to God for everything in any way they can (prayer, tithes, just to name two), we should honor the creators of our animated TV shows by buying the DVDs, etc. I know everyone has issued with religion and all, but if there’s one thing we should learn from them, it would be giving thanks to the creator.

The Chinese knew this concept well, and had an idiom for it, 饮水思源. It means simply, remembering where something came from. Taken in this context, it pretty much means we should honor the creators of a given work and give him his or her due honor, and payment, if need be.

Economically, well, guess what. It does seem that buying the DVD does help the industry back in Japan. I don’t really approve of such a method since all we would be doing is propping up what seems to be a dying industry in Japan, but it is the right thing to do, economically speaking.

As we all know, money has to be spent before a show is made. Most of the money spent is recouped primarily by DVD sales. Well, in the Japanese domestic market, anyway. However, in recent years, starting in 2002, there has been a worrying trend. Less and less people were buying DVDs. Primarily because of things like P2P applications and the massive increase in bandwidth and hi-speed internet connections (and silly things like fan expectations), people began to buy less DVDs and decided to get most of their stuff online. Comiket helped fostered much of this apathy to DVDs. (Yes, Comiket seems massive and making much cash, but get this: NOT ONE SINGLE YEN OF THE MONEY GENERATED AT COMIKET GOES TO THE COMPANIES WHO PROVIDED THEM THE SHOWS, AND AT A STRETCH, THE CREATORS AS WELL. IT’S NOT CALLED A FAN EVENT FOR NOTHING.)

Seeing falling profits, Japanese animé media cartels (Or it could be just Namco Bandai Holdings, I dunno), distraught with fear and greed, turned to the West (after turning to Korea and Taiwan, LOL), where they knew it would sell, mostly due to the exposure (read: fansubs created interest and doomed the industry right from the start). It was a purely economical move.

However, with the explosion of hi-speed internet connections in the West (You can thank or curse Al Gore for this, he signed the legislations to allow the wiring up of America), and the massive popularity of BitTorrent, the hypocrisy of the Japanese fan travelled to America. Demanding seemingly impossible standards, they turned to the Internet, grabbing fansubs and the like. (I apologize for going off on a tangent like this, but one has to understand how the pro-industry faction was formed.)

Which leads to the creation of two of the three groups. The same two groups whom I am accusing of being hypocrites. (One can excuse the exploitable fan, for he has his heart in the right place, even though his eyes are blind to the truth.)

Why is the disillusioned ex-fansubber a hypocrite? It’s a simple answer: Because they turned their backs to the people they once were. I can understand why they would turn their backs, but it does not give them the right to insult people who do not listen to them, nor does it give them the right to act all high and mighty and dehumanize other people who just want to watch their animé. Acting like a prude does not absolve you from all wrong. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say these people are doing this out of pure revenge.

Hidden agendas and prudish behavior, they are no better than the Pharisees. In fact, they are nothing but whitewashed tombs. On the outside, you may seem all right, but deep inside, they are nothing but depraved, vengeful beings.

Moving on, the greedy businessman. They are hypocrites for precisely the same reasons stated above, with one added thing: They are biting the hand that feeds them. It is not just good business sense, but also morally right to keep your customers happy. But they’re not doing it out of revenge. They are doing it for the money. Well, at least that’s what companies like Bandai Visual is interested in. (Odex is on a completely different level. I will refrain from delving into this topic.)

The pro-fansub, on the other hand, is made up of only one group: the selfish, nascent communist who has issues with authority and responsibility, does not care about the value of the created product, and thinks he is entitled to anything on the Internet just because it is there. It doesn’t matter how you justify fansubs, and I’m not going to beat anyone down with the Berne Convention, the thing is, most of us want fansubs because it is free. I’d bet my lunch that if the DVD is much better than the fansub, most of us would take the fansub because it is free.  To me, making justification for your own selfish needs is like a Catholic Priest justifying his need to touch little boys, or Bush justifying torture. It reeks of hypocrisy.

And besides, I’ll bet my dinner that most people who grab and watch fansubs would never take responsibility for the crime. If it is revealed tomorrow that if anyone who violates a copyright, the violator would die, would you own up and die doing what is right? Or would you run away? My guess is that everyone would choose the latter.

Hypocrites, the lot of you. You all disgust me. And I disgust myself too.

Entry filed under: Anime, Bitching.

I never knew epic boredom was even possible. The Man-lancholy Of Suzumiya Haruki (or why the series should be genderswapped)

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chris Fritz  |  March 3, 2008 at 9:52 am

    I’m not sure how much of this post may have been tongue-in-cheek, so I’d better be careful on how I reply here =P

    I’ve seen some fansubs in the past, but don’t watch them now. I mostly bought those series on DVD so I’ve paid for what I’ve seen. Consider it like taking an apple from someone’s over-abundant apple tree, knowing full and well that they’ll never miss it, then going back when you have a job and paying for the apple you took two summers ago. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, because I’m left with a DVD I can now watch dubbed into English if I want to… I don’t like analogies for just this reason…

    Everything I watch right now is bought on DVDs. I follow a number of blogs with posts on the latest raws and fansubs, but there’s only been one series I’ve thought would interest me, and that would be Shugo Chara!. Maybe I’ll pick up the first manga release here in the States by Del Ray, but I try to avoid un-finished series.

    I suppose I can be placed as “The exploitable fan”, as I’ve bought the Japanese remastered release of Cardcaptor Sakura, and I’m considering starting to save up for the Japanese releases of Ojamajo Doremi next year. And I have to see if I can get my paws on the Japanese releases of Saint Tail, hoping beyond all hope the video quality will be superior to Tokyo Pop’s region one release. Well, so long as I have a job and only spend a relatively small fraction of my income on it all, I should be all right (not that I have any issues with eating instant ramen for a few months 😉

    Personally, when I buy a DVD, I’d like to know where my money’s going. It would be nice if ADV (for example) would come out and said, “When you buy this overpriced DVD box set (which is actually 20% of the Japanese region two equivalent, which lacks English subtitles and an English dub), $X.00 goes to the price of the DVD and packaging, $X.00 is for shipping to stores and warehouses, ADV pockets $XX.00 for its own expenses, and the rights holding company takes the last $XX.00.”

    The way I look at Japanese companies producing anime and American companies subtitling and dubbing them is this: they’re taking out a reverse loan. Rather than getting money, they’ll paying money (for the artist, voice actors, etc.) Now that they’re in the hole, they need to get that money back (via DVDs sales as you wrote).

    As I’ve learned more about the pricing of Japanese DVDs, I’ve come to see how difficult they make it on someone who wants to casually watch a series and move on. If I ever decide to go around personally chastising fansub watches for not supporting the company (assuming they don’t support in any way that will pay the company back for its watched production), I’ll wait until one can buy, download, and watch anime in a way comparable to torrent downloading the latest episode of Minami-ke, or what have you. I’m still waiting to see fansubbers release copies of the subtitles that one can modify to play alongside a DVD, so someone who wants to “support the industry” and buy the DVDs in raw Japanese can still enjoy the fruits of the fansubbers’ labor. Any fansub group I’ve contacted about this hasn’t gotten back to me, though =(

    Hm, I wonder how I can move from “The exploitable fan” to “The greedy businessman”. If I can work that into “The greedy capitalist”, then I might run with it. …except, I can’t make that pertain to anime with me personally in any way.

  • 2. Tyrenol  |  March 3, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I’ll be the hypocrite. I had a bunch of fansubs. I utilize the torrenting software. I also bought the DVDs when they get R1ed. Especially the adult anime DVDs.

    Yes, we have problems here and there. I believe that the only way to curb them is to utilize the law to clamp down on the “free Free FREE” crowd whilst, at the same time, giving everybody what they want. (Superior animation, superior English dubbing, superior plot, superior customer service, et cetera. Basically; FUNimation.)

    Only one problem, though:

    Japan’s anime industry will forever be written off as “inferior” as long as it continues to be for loser otaku, by loser otaku, and (usually about cute girls that make noises they wouldn’t make in real life, but hey…) about losers (who borderline being otaku).

    Not giving thanks is a problem that should’ve been dealt with quickly. Sitting on behinds, hiding thy collective self from reality, and nagging about how the world is evil; that will not make the problems go away.

    You have to go upfront, contact the companies the best way you can, tell them “Yes, I buy their works” if you buy their works. And afterwards; tell ’em that you’d buy more of their works if the Japanese anime industry sold them “Michael Bay’s level of Awesome” instead of “Shinji Ikari’s white sticky stuff on his hand near comatose Asuka Langley.”

    (Oh yeah. I’m Pluto in terms of the fansubbing argument. I’m so far away from it, I don’t even know who people are anymore.)

  • 3. serial  |  March 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

    In brief…
    So, in the end, there are no innocents. Everyone has at least something to be blamed for… Not admitting this is being a hypocrite.
    But even admitting that you’re a hypocrite doesn’t mean you won’t be one. Just by entering the “circle” and taking “a side”, you’re doomed to be one.

    VERY well said. I applaud you, good sir.

  • 4. TP  |  March 8, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Hur hur, taking from an outsider’s point of view, then the way you painted it, I see that all people in the anime community are a bunch of Sodomites and Gomorreans.

    Interesting. Let’s see the community’s downward trend of destruction. (And just a food for thought: some Christians saw themselves as someone “carrying the burden similar to that of Christ.” Explain.)

  • 5. Tyrenol  |  March 8, 2008 at 7:12 am


    Pretty much: Most religion is all about believing in something other / higher than yourself. Evolution… Those homosapians back in BC time feared the wrath of weather! 😛

    So yeah. I lost my faith in whatever’s faith-based when 1) a higher power indirectly tells them to hijack planes and 2) a self-proclaimed believer of some higher power can’t even gather enough of his own power to save a bunch of New Orleans from drowning.

    I’d give the anime industry 10 more years. I’m not a “magic 8-ball.” ^_^

  • 6. drmchsr0  |  March 8, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    TP: Technically, a bunch of Pharisees and Sauducees. Sodom and Gomorrah were more known for their debauchery than for being hypocrites.

    Ty: And since when any religion teaches anyone to kill? All the texts point to good things; it’s up to the individual to determine what is right.

  • 7. Tyrenol  |  March 9, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I’m not blaming the texts. I’m blaming the individuals.

  • 8. aldeayeah  |  March 10, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Er… just a nitpick…


    …There have been industry stands in Comiket for years now, you know.

  • […] no other non-blogger raises the amount of pure emotion (either for or against) in the Otakusphere as one […]

  • 10. cheap hats  |  May 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

    You people are all forgetting Godwin’s Law damnit. This post should never have been commented on.


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And the prophet spake, saying: "Frak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!"

- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI

Email: DrmChsr0atgmaildotcom (at=@, dot=.)


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