Fansubbers having fun


face within sub

Fansubbers are gods among men. Their work is strenuous, frowned upon from a majority of the anime industry and motivated by nothing more than the adulation and gratitude received from their fans. And yet, they still manage to release punctual, accurate (for the most part), and professional translations week after week after week. We recognize the blood and sweat put into their works and we thank them, we rely on them, and we question them, how could mere mortals accomplish such awesome deeds?

However, there is one faulty road that some fansubbers decide to occasionally take that gives me a lot of mixed feelings.


Just when you are about to praise about how a fansub equals or even exceeds the quality of a professionally subbed work, something smart-aleck like in the above screen wiggle its way into an otherwise flawless work. I guess these are the little things that make fansubs what they are, the occasional jab at the characters, translating the Engrish “sankyu” as “arigatou”, and breaking the fourth way and directly speaking to their audience. These methods are a fansubbers way of telling us that they are there toiling day and night trying to get us the latest releases. They are not robotic, like official translations, which are very accurate and to the point, but lack heart and soul.

speak to audienceinner nina

But then this question comes in, does a sub work really need a soul. The purpose of a sub is to help us understand the enigma that is Japanese. If random things start to pop up in between the translations it can be very distracting and can even kill the mood of an entire episode. I realize that they are doing this for free, but it is a huge responsibility nonetheless. Some fansubbers need to understand the weight their jobs carry. Hundreds upon thousands of fans heavily depend on them to bring them the anime they deserve, anime in its original language, in its true form, not defiled by ear bleed inducing dub work and heavy editing. To underestimate this responsibility and pull things like intentionally translating something wrong or ruining a scene can not only be disgusting, but also disappointing as well.




  1. While I do prefer subs that are professional and free of random jokes like that, you really can’t say the subbers have any kind of obligation or that the fans “deserve” good subs. Like you said, they’re doing this for fun, and we’re not paying them or anything, or for that matter the Japanese distributors (since fansubs are still, technically, illegal).

    So yes, nice subs are nice, but even unprofessional subs are better than no subs (well, unless the sub is so bad that it makes the episode even harder to understand).

    • You’re right, fans don’t really “deserve” good subs when it comes to free fansubs. But fans do deserve to watch their favorite scenes without jokes that are totally uncalled for ruining them. I don’t even mind the “random jokes” when it is a comedy anime or if the mood is right.

      • Fans can watch their favorite scenes uninterrupted raw or licensed. They can deserve that, but they shouldn’t look for it from fansubs.

        • I might have used the term “deserve” a little loosely. But random jokes can really ruin a scene much the way spoilers can. The jokes ruin the scene as it plays and spoilers ruin them before you watch them. Fans honestly don’t “deserve” anything from something that was released free, but they still get mad when their viewing experience is spoiled. As a fan, this was just my insight on the subject.

  2. If you are planning on archiving the episode, you can eliminate those things the second time around, provided you have a soft-sub (mp4/mkv).

    Simply demux the subtitle file, open it up in Notepad, remove the offending line(s), and remux.

    • I never thought about that. Although many earlier subs are hard subs, and archiving does not prevent you from seeing the offending lines for the first time, the time it really matters.

  3. There’s always putting forth the research to see which sub groups are historically out trolling for lulz (lol gg <3). Most series will have more than one group subbing, so you do have some kind of choice. I've never personally found the random subs annoying or intrusive, honestly.

    • Most popular shows get more than one subgroup working on it, but there are so many shows released season after season that the unpopular ones often don’t even get one.

      • The unpopular ones are also the ones that are least likely to be bombed with random lulz though. It’s not as fun that way, presumably.

  4. Fansubbers aren’t gods among men. They’re snotty people who think of nothing else but themselves and their fame. The idea of this fun stuff sounds cute at first, but it just shows their arrogance.

    • The only subgroup that I can relate to what you said is CoalGuys (which by the way release some pretty quality stuff). Have you been to their blog, some really offending stuff in there. And there might me more subgroups that are like that. But still, to say fansubbers do it only for themselves is kind of ridiculous, considering the amount of work, risks and time put forth translating, timing the translations, and putting it on the web for everyone to download. All of this on something they already understand in the first place.

  5. This: http://kielmaru07.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/fansub/

    • Hahaha, that is one huge collection you have there.

  6. Be happy, that fansub do the translation for free and share them

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