Scanlations: That’s what that shit is.

[If Nakamura Asumiko drew a pirate, that picture would go here.]

So, figured I’d de-flower this new blog with a little post about scanlations, which has been a hot-topic on the manga-twitterverse and blogspere..

…well, at least it was when I STARTED typing this up.

So! A little backstory: In the beginning of the now dead-horse topic of Gene Simmons’ son plagiarizing mangaka’s art (In particular from the manga Bleach) @Debaoki made a post about it…which halfway in became a post about scanlations.

Wait, what?

But then @mbeasi cleared ‘the connection’ up for my slow brain:

They had been using images from scanlations to prove he’d been tracing.

Humm. Okay. I guess.

Now, first off, this post is for all the scanlatin’ holmes out there. (non-scanlators are free to shield away or read on at this point) To you, I say:


Let me explain.

See, because of all the chatter, a “controversial” (read: Pro-scanlations) article was posted at Animevice, a well-known anime site.  The article generated alot of page views and negative comments and is kinda one of those ‘hey, that makes all of us look bad‘ sort of things. There was a nice counter post written by @hermanos that pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter, except for one teeny tiny detail:

I’m pretty sure he isn’t a scanlator.

And I am.
I mean, I don’t attend any of the parties or get a newsletter (though the party thing would be kinda cool), but yup, I edit/typeset for a small BL scanlation group.

And how do I justify scanlations?

I don’t.

I don’t justify scanlations.

And that’s what I’m getting at. If you’ve checked the posts I’ve linked to so far (Another good example of this is in @mbeasi‘s “Confessions of a Former Scan Junkie“) you’ll see that…discussion, gets pretty heated.

It seems like everyone is trying to convince the other side that their stance is the best and all I can think is WHY?

It’s really not an Us vs Them situation. It’s an Us AND Them situation.

They love manga.
We love manga.
They don’t understand how we can love manga while ‘stealing’ it.
We don’t understand how they can limit themselves to what the publisher provides.
(both shameless generalizations, but I had to start somewhere.)

I know it’s hard not to feel attacked, especially when you’re a scanlator and put so much stupid work into your projects. Like, for those who don’t know, I’m talking hours, upon hours, upon HOURS or work. Seriously.

I’ve been reading scanlations for over nine years, but I’ve only been scanlating for nine months, so I definitely don’t claim to be an expert in any sense of the word. In fact, when I was just reading scanlations, getting into some sort of  ‘how I justify them‘ confrontation would have probably evoked the same feelings I get whenever I’m caught doing something bad – to just drop whatever it is and run.

Awkward, but effective in the short run. Now, I’m just open about it. I’m not trying to change anyone’s views on the matter or ‘stick it’ to anyone. It just so happens that most of what I’m interested (think ‘Alternative/indie BL’) has very little chance of being picked up by publisher. I know publishers are there to sell a product. Why license something that probably won’t sell?

But even if they did license everything I could ever hope for (And good luck with that!) I probably wouldn’t buy them anyway.

Because I have an addiction to Japanese tanks. In all honestly if I never bought another English pub. manga again, I’d be 100% A-OKAY.

Another confession? I don’t speak a lick of Japanese. (unless sex-noises count)

The Japanese tanks are just so, so, so NICE. (I mean, sure it depends what you’re buying, but ALL my experiences have been good. And several have been downright AMAZING.)

I get that English pubs don’t have the cash to have that kind of print/paper/COLOR quality and that’s why I don’t bother with them. I import from Japan and happily flip though pages of art (They’re kinda like text filled artbooks to me at this point and could be written in moonrunes for all I know). I read the scanlations, I own the original books.

Well, these days, I pretty much just own the original books I LOVED.

In fact, before all this tank buyin’ started, I used scanlations to figure what I wasn’t going to buy more often then what I actually wanted to own in print.

And that’s just what that is. I don’t like 95% of what the English BL publishers license. So, I don’t buy it. And I read scanaltions. Simple as that.

So, that’s my story. Is the fact that I buy original tanks an excuse for reading scanlations?

Ehh, it doesn’t really matter, does it?

Under alot of these ‘anti-scanlation’ arguments, I should still be supporting the English BL pubs. who just came around in the last few years or so and have graciously decided to offer me loads of  fancy foreign gay goodies in my language. I COULD be buying up the BL because it’s BL in English and yes, (in some situations) I’ve read the scanlations.

But I don’t.

(though, I doubt I could ever really go 100% Japanese, if just for the fact that I love Borders and they seem to give me lots of coupons. True story: I have only ever left a borders without buying a volume of manga ONCE.)

Yes, we scanlate. No, we’re not gonna stop (at least not unless RL gets in the way). And, to bring in one of my favorite ‘sayings’:

That’s what that shit is.

A fellow scanlator put it so:

“Take the high road. Agree to disagree. Pirates are supposed to discourage attention, not invite it in!

Though, I know it’s easier said then done. I mean, I said ‘lets agree to disagree’ with a certain OEL publisher on twitter (during my early introduction into the manga-twitterverse) and she proceeded to spam my timeline until I blocked her. They don’t WANT to agree. I get it. And neither do you. But we should come to a sort of quiet understanding. The same way I don’t bring up politics at dinner with most of my relatives. The goal is to try and keep it civil! Every post against scanlations, isn’t a personal attack against you.

Perhaps a “yeah, well, that’s what that shit is” isn’t the most diplomatic approach, but I’m sure you can come up with something better.



Filed under ramblings, Scanlations

4 responses to “Scanlations: That’s what that shit is.

  1. darkheart510

    Yeeessss!! Take the high road and agree to disagree! I’d rather just lay low about my opinion and not start crap with people who obviously have different opinions. Totally agree with you 100%, tho it is hard to step away from confrontations from industry members, other scanlators, and readers.

    I find the us vs.them mentality really sad. It’s not a battle, nor do we go out to antagonize publishers on purpose. While I do hate that my hobby (which I am proud of) is relegated to the status of pond scum in the eyes of many, I’m okay with not pushing the issue.

    • Sorry for the late reply, but I must say the “thief/leecher/SELFISH” attitude towards scanlators as a whole is definitely the thing that annoys me the most. Well put!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Pingback: The ‘Finder series’…”rescued?” « Isn't it fine?

  3. Wonderful post, really. 🙂

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