Scanlation crackdown and 2ch

I’ll be announcing the next project this week and posting it next week, but first a little fun.

You might’ve heard that a couple of the bigger English scanlation sites were shut down recently.

And while it might be a long long time before anyone cares enough about this place to shut it down, I still found the whole mess interesting in the same way that car accidents are.

Clearly the English speaking fandom is growing up if we were deemed a worthy target for the scorn of 2ch, the monolithic Japanese messageboard. Someone posted about the demise of these sites, including translated forum comments. Not to be outdone, vocal peeps from our own side fired shots back across the bow in response to translated 2ch comments.

After reading the fallout on both sides, I never saw any source for any of these translated comments. Half of the responses on their side and on our side are dedicated to blasting apart straw soldiers. These comments or something like them were probably made by somebody at some point, but anybody who’s spent more than a second on the internet could tell these were either trolling and/or written by a 13 year old.

Over at 2ch, after all the comments that our tears taste sweet and other schadenfreude, and the never-passed up opportunity to get in a shot at Koreans, there was some pretty interesting stuff. That’s why I’ve put on my translating hat and cherrypicked the better comments, instead of the worst ones, and posted them here. I knew 2ch was full of trolls and threadshitting, but I never knew they knew so much about us.

My quickie translation from the site Itai News, an aggregator of 2ch comments to cringeworthy stories. So you can go ahead and verify that these comments were actually made, or take issue with my translation, but I don’t think this is going to start any more wars. You won’t find a whole lot of staged outrage here.

So sit back, put some tea on, and pretend they’re not taking about you.

Source

415:
If they can make money selling manga in other countries, by all means.
But it doesn’t seem to be expanding very well. I wonder why.
Just seems like a lost opportunity …

427:
>>415
Japanese companies have always sucked at that.
If they did it right they could seriously cash in, too.

445:
>>415
Yeah. Crushing these sites isn’t the be all and end all.
The real work’s in the business side.

429:
>>415
Probably a language thing too, right?
I mean could you imagine them getting the jokes in gag manga?

504:
>>415
Isn’t it obvious? It just ain’t selling.
Manga is popular over there because it is free, plain and simple.

416:
If there’s that much demand, they should chuck manga online the second it gets done.
Five hundred yen a month.
The trades’d sell plenty.

459:
Hey foreigners – if you don’t like it, how about making your own manga?
Why haven’t you been?

462:
Of course manga’s free! It’s always been free!
… if this is what manga fans around the world actually think, the industry’s doomed

493:
>>462
It’s what an entire generation of Japanese are thinking too. Music, games, manga are stuff you don’t have to pay for.
Seriously, I wish they’d crack down on these sites more.

528:
I read somewhere that if you add up all the overseas sales of manga it doesn’t even come close to Japan

555:
>>528
It’s about a 5 billion yen slice of a 2 trillion yen industry

Overseas
(blue: USA, red: France
Y axis: hundreds of millions of yen, X axis: year)

This is a little outdated by now tho

562:
>>555
That’s NOTHING
(;^ω^) Are they ALL leechers over there?

565:
>>555
Wow, do we even need these guys

581:
>>555
Pathetic
The whole market does less business than one Pixar movie

602:
And yet they’ll pay in the billions for Pokemon
Only Pokemon
What a shitty market

660:
They can buy trades at five bucks a pop, right?
There’s gotta be people who are legitimately buying, which makes these guys all the sadder

710:

>>660
American prices:
Dragon Ball, vol. 3 (VIZBIG edition) [Paperback]
Akira Toriyama (author, illustrator)
List Price: $17.99
Price: $12.23

718:
>>710
Damn, that’s pricey …

728:
>>710
no way hahahaha

707:
They’re just gonna make a new site anyway

745:
Is it just me or do foreigners who are into Japanese culture have no morals whatsoever

749:
>>745
The ones that do would buy in bulk from Japan

752:
>>745
In the past, you would only get those who would at least be able to stick it out and learn Japanese
… thanks internet

768:
>>745
The idiots are always the loudest
How’s that any different from us?

760:
Yeah, how about an apology?
Haven’t you ever heard of modesty you fucking foreigners hahaha

809:
They arrest Japanese people for this, when’s it gonna be their turn?

857:
Anyway, foreigners aren’t used to paying for manga.
You suddenly start charging for it and they’ll be pissed.
It goes without saying that Japanese people are more aware of where manga comes from and what goes into making it.
If you set up a system where they can’t read if they can’t pay, I think you’ll find there’ll be less of these guys (freeloading foreigners) in ten years or so.

862:
>>857
But they’ll pay for American comics, right?
If you think about it, how is this different from books or newspapers?

868:
Anyone who would stop reading manga because of this would never pay a cent for it anyway, so who cares.

934:
If you truly love manga, learn Japanese.
At a manga cafe you can read until you drop dead.
Better yet, write your own damn manga.
Write one that we’ll want to read too.

813:
I’m glad I was born in Japan.

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28 Responses to Scanlation crackdown and 2ch

  1. Milkman Dan says:

    I’m kind of confused about the “make your own manga” comment, which I’ve seen twice. Do they really see manga as being all that different from bandes dessinees or comic books? Or do they just not know?

  2. Tsubasa says:

    Someone could comment back to 862-san that most Western people who read manga have never been reading Western comics in the first place.

  3. Daniel Lau says:

    Tsubasa:

    Yeah. The situation is actually much worse than most of them realise.

  4. Kudryavka says:

    Great post! I can see why you didn’t post their reaction to translations of a certain website’s comments section regarding the OneManga shutdown, but I kind of wish that it was there nonetheless. (Sweatdrop)

  5. TUM says:

    Holy hell. I heard that xenophobia was pretty common in Japan, but damn.

    Also lol at: “Hey foreigners – if you don’t like it, how about making your own manga?
    Why haven’t you been?”

    THERE ARE NO COMICS THAT ARE NOT FROM JAPAN HRGLBERGLBLERG

  6. I think that the “make your own manga” thing is pretty ridiculous, considering the entire comics market is totally different here. Not to mention, there is a cultural thing. American comics came from a very different place than Manga– not to mention, we have history of more censorship in our comics, which has really reduced complexity. We are only now coming out of that.

  7. octothorpopus says:

    I like how they think the piracy of manga is specious because we are these elleged “greedy foreigners.” Yeah, I’d admit to the west tending towards having cultures of excess, but come on! There’s piracy over there, too, without a doubt. The only reason people like Daniel do this is to make available what wasn’t an option in the first place. If there was an official translation from Dark Horse I’d buy all Junji Ito’s stuff immediately. No lie.

  8. Bro says:

    Am I the only one here that had an absolute blast reading these comments? Seriously, some of them caused me to erupt into fits of giggles. Thanks for the quick translations Mr. Lau.

  9. Grotesque says:

    ASJAGHSJAGHSJAGHS

    “Holy hell. I heard that xenophobia was pretty common in Japan, but damn.”

    YES. FUCKING HELL. I agree with TUM’s entire statement!

    Jesus, I knew the Japanese were assholes, but I didn’t realise they were POMPOUS, CLUELESS, *RACIST* assholes!

    (Seriously, I thought they were all just rapists. LOL JK…Sort of. Okay, not really. Pedophiles and racists. STOP MAKING YOUR WEIRD PORN IF YOU DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE YOU THAT WAY, JAPAN.)

    But this is ridiculous. These sites may be hosting mangas, but they’re not the only sites to host people’s works for free. This is not a new concept. And maybe if A) mangas didn’t cost so damn much and B) we got more than just fucking Naruto and Bleach and actually GOT the super-rare mangas they have on manga-hosting sites (for example, Franken Fran, which I love), THEN HEY MAYBE WE *WOULD* BUY THEM. It’s like a library. You go there and read a series and if you love it THEN you buy it.

    Fuck, Japan. Wake the fuck up. Oh and also lol @ “make your own damn mangas.” Why, so you can complain later that we’ve commandeered your culture and that we’re a bunch of dirty yankee pig-dogs? (Not me, I’m Canadian.) Thanks but no thanks. Plus, originality can only go so far when it’s not OUR culture. We all saw what happened with Nick Tweed-Simmons. No thanks. Besides, that’s like someone reading a Stephen King novel online or, again, at a library, and because they didn’t pay for it, you say, “Well go write your own fucking novel!” …Yeah, because it’s TOTALLY AS EASY SAID AS DONE.

    REALITY CHECK. GET YOU ONE.

    /rant…for now

  10. Andrea says:

    First: lmao: “MAKE YOUR OWN MANGA!” … um.. if it was from us, it wouldn’t be manga. It would be American comics. And we have made quite a few manga-styled comics. To be honest, I find them insulting. It’s like when a thug japanese guys walk around in FUBU…

    Second: I own every (EVERY) American released translation of Ito-san’s works.. I don’t download because I don’t want to pay. I download because I have no choice other than to move to Japan.

    Third: We use to have comics that were controversial. They were the Tales from the Crypt comics (Vault of Horror, etc). Do you know what our releasing of horror comics did for us? Parents going into fits over the violence and gore, and our comics getting BANNED in the U.K. and other places in Europe. (look it up, it’s very interesting.)

  11. Daniel Lau says:

    “Thanks for the quick translations Mr. Lau.”

    No problem.

    I think what we’re seeing here on both sides is a tendency to lump together the other side as one person responsible for every comment made by their side. If you do that, of course they come across looking like a bunch of arrogant xenophobes. But we have to look in the mirror and realise that lumped together as a group, we’re coming off as a bunch of petulant freeloaders in an age where manga creators are doing it seriously tough. And a s a group, no, we haven’t made any comics that Japanese people particularly want to read.

    Most people here would disavow themselves from the worst of the fan community, the ones that 2ch are attacking. If we want them to understand that each of us have our own reasons and that we are a diverse group, we have to extend them the same courtesy.

    At the end of the day, even as a scanlator I have to cop to this: I am getting something for free that isn’t free. Whether my reasons are convenience, not being fully catered to, not being able to afford it, this is a very hard position to justify. And I think that if I’m going to continue doing it, the least I could do would be to do it under the radar, and not parade it about by making a for-profit site with a bazillion pageviews that might as well just be a giant middle finger in cyberspace.

    If I ever met Junji Ito and he asked me to stop, the first thing I would say would be “OK”. And the next thing I would say would be “sorry”, not “you’ll be sorry”.

  12. ken the hero says:

    745:
    Is it just me or do foreigners who are into Japanese culture have no morals whatsoever??

    This guy would so throw a shit a brick if he learns English and looks up Value Dissonance on tvtropes.

  13. Boya says:

    Haha they are pretty damn funny. XD If Dark Horse kept translating Junji Ito I’d buy it all… I’ve already did even though I read them online… If they want to stop those websites than all they have to do is translate more mangas at a faster rate… At that point when the stock and variety is high the need to go online will lower. I mean… I only read online manga that isn’t available in stores. That’s all of them though… :P

  14. Aya says:

    the only Ito manga released in my country is Uzumaki, and that’s it.
    HOW ELSE am I supposed to read this great mangaka???
    IF they sold more Ito here, I´d buy it, no doubt.

  15. Vodka says:

    “If there’s that much demand, they should chuck manga online the second it gets done.
    Five hundred yen a month.
    The trades’d sell plenty.”
    This guy has it right. I admit that the reason I read manga online is that being from Finland, I really can’t buy many things. Sure, I’m buying most of the things that get serialized here, but other than that it doesn’t really work out.
    I could always mail order English releases, but with that the mailing would cost more than the actual comic. Also, with the Finnish releases I can just bike to store and buy volume for 6 euros. English releases cost considerably more, usually being around 10 euros or up.

    Five hundred yen a month is ridiculously cheap when you think about it. That’s the cost of one issue of manga magazine in Japan. If I could read all the releases within few days of it being out over there, I’d gladly pay even 15 euros a month for it, even if it is digital release.
    Western market is there, the problem is that nobody is making sensible use of it. The gaps in releases and prices do nothing to help the current situation. This is the same thing as with anime, Crunchy Roll is the only site that has the right idea about how to handle things.

  16. Bro says:

    Are you guys seriously getting upset about this? Even after reading that 2ch is famous for being filled with trolls? I mean, look at this little exchange:

    745:
    Is it just me or do foreigners who are into Japanese culture have no morals whatsoever

    749:
    >>745
    The ones that do would buy in bulk from Japan

    I can’t be the only one that giggled at this?

    And then there’s this guy:

    768:
    >>745
    The idiots are always the loudest
    How’s that any different from us?

  17. TUM says:

    When I posted my comment I did not intend to imply that I thought all Japanese people are xenophobic. Sorry if that is what you took from it. Just wanted to clear that up.

    Anyway, Thanks a lot Daniel for all the amazing work you have done on this blog.

  18. Hox says:

    If any of you seriously believe that anonymous posts made over the internet is an accurate indicator in any way of racism present in an entire nation, well… That’s just sad.

  19. Ike says:

    For me, 416 nailed it. If there was a service where I could read manga legitimately and the fee went to the artists, I would be a paying customer on its inaugural day.

    I could wait months, or even years, for current issues to make it to the states, but what fan wants to wait that long? :-/ This is the internet age where people have friends and access to information across the globe 24/7. Once media hits the ground anywhere on the planet spoilers will reach you whether you want them to or not.

    All media companies need to come to grips with the fact that anyone with internet access is a potential fan and consumer of their content, not just their domestic market.

  20. Carol says:

    Well, I’ve also got all the English translated Ito, and would buy any new releases as soon as they came out. Ok, 2ch? I’d crawl through Amigara fault to get more Ito! :)

  21. r0b3rt says:

    “At a manga cafe you can read until you drop dead.”

    …or, you can read them online? For the same price?

  22. Monomon says:

    “Jesus, I knew the Japanese were assholes, but I didn’t realise they were POMPOUS, CLUELESS, *RACIST* assholes!

    (Seriously, I thought they were all just rapists. LOL JK…Sort of. Okay, not really. Pedophiles and racists. STOP MAKING YOUR WEIRD PORN IF YOU DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE YOU THAT WAY, JAPAN.)”

    - The above comment is a reason why some Japanese are xenophobic. You’re calling the Japanese racist and you’re saying that “I thought they were all just rapists..” Stupid bitch.

  23. Mature Related says:

    Every form of print entertainment is free the moment someone digitizes it, anyone who doesn’t “Pirate” is supporting the out dated idea of ‘intellectual property’ and capitalism. Supporting the “artist,” is also stupid, they can support themselves by doing real work ie: farming.

    Also they seem to be oblivious to the fact that american comics exist.

  24. Jomann says:

    “Is it just me or do foreigners who are into Japanese culture have no morals whatsoever”

    Trollin’

    also if I were to respond to this I would have to point out just how little morals the Japanese have in general. (just to troll them back)

  25. Vick's VaporRub says:

    Publishers in the west don’t come out with the manga volumes nearly as fast as the online scans. I mean, the manga tends to be much more pricey. Plue I don’t want tons of bulk taking up my bookshelves. What’s the difference between reading manga for free online, or going to the bookstore, grab a manga, read it right there, then putting it back? You’re not paying for it either way and most people don’t have the money to pay $20.00 or more for a single volume. It also appears they are COMPLETELY unaware you can read Marvel and DC comics online for free, and the publishers don’t bitch about that.

  26. Vick's VaporRub says:

    Also just wanted to add

    581:
    >>555
    Pathetic
    The whole market does less business than one Pixar movie

    Trollin’ in hurr

  27. Daniel Lau says:

    I’m pretty sure that’s actually true.

    And who would they be trolling?

  28. Demut says:

    ZOMG, Japanese nationalism. It’s the same pathetic shit everywhere, isn’t it?

    Still, I don’t see what their problem is with people that read those manga that aren’t available in their country and probably never will be. It’s not like this does any damage to the company. Not even theoretically (as some people argue in the whole pirating debate). And who the fuck gives a shit if Kishimoto, Oda or Kubo earned a million less? If your manga also goes into print in a foreign country you’re rich anyway.

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