What are your thoughts on fansubbing and scanlations?

So it was kind of hinted at in my last post, What is Goblin Cave? But I am currently doing some research into the history of fansubbing and scanlation in the anime and manga community, more specifically the yaoi and boys love side of things and I decided to ask people for their opinion over on Twitter and so far have been getting some interesting feedback.

So I want to know anime and manga blogosphere what are your thoughts on this subject?

3 thoughts on “What are your thoughts on fansubbing and scanlations?

  1. My thoughts are complicated. I am a content creator (I write novels that are professionally published.) It’s how I make my living. So, I respect the fact that, for instance, when the mangaka of Gangsta. asked people to stop stealing her work because it cut into her ability to make a living that that’s a serious concern. The last thing any of us fans want is for the artists and writers we love to suffer because we can’t buy a subscription to Weekly Shounen Jump or have the patience to wait for an official license. HOWEVER, there is a lot of content that never gets licensed in English (or whatever other languages outside of Japanese that people might read.) Getting access to that is important because a lot of the time… that’s the queer stuff. For instance, I suspect most of the people who respond to your survey don’t read bara, but I do. I have very, very rarely been able to find ANY bara that is licensed in English.

    Moreover, I feel like this debt is a little like the one that goes around my community about fan fiction. When I first started writing professionally people were sending cease and desist notes to fan writers because, frankly, fan work does often violate certain aspects of trademark and copyright. But, what was discovered over time was that fan works act as free publicity for canon, if you will.

    I suspect a lot of that same dynamic is at work with scanlations and fan subs. If a manga or anime that otherwise was not licensed in English gets a lot of demand and attention due to what is essentially pirating, then there is more pressure to make those deals, which eventually makes more sales for the original creator and their publisher. I feel like most of the time this works to the advantage of the creators.

    As a fan, I try to do the best I can. I subscribed to WSJ for years because I was a mega fan of Bleach. But, in order to participate in the fandom I had to read the scanlations, otherwise I was often one or two weeks behind (or day, but you know how fandom is. If everyone is reading the scanlations, the spoilers are out the same day those drop.) Likewise I subscribe to Crunchyroll and Funamation, and so when I go off to Kiss Anime or another fan sub site I don’t feel that badly. I am throwing money at the proper channels when I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think when there is no licensed release of a publication fan subs or scanlations are fine because otherwise the audience has no access to a title. No one loses a sale in these instances because there is no way to buy it. That said, once there is a licensed release fans should support it.
    The whole issue could be solved by companies just releasing things in multiple-languages to start with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a Dutch fan, my relationship with fan subs and scanlstions is that without them, I wouldn’t be exposed to Anime or Manga at all outside of the huge things like Pokémon and DBZ. Years ago it was really hard to get official releases of Anime and Manga, or you have to import them from UK or US (if you want English versions), or from other countries. Importing adds more costs, and in my case, as a teenager I couldn’t afford that. There are also very few official Manga in our own language. It is easier right now to get English Manga or Anime, but still sites don’t have everything. Some shows like Demon Slayer are not available on any streaming platforms, so if you want to stream it before buying expensive dvds/Blu-ray, you have to pirate it.


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