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Ani-Gamers Podcast #003 – Fansubbing Panel w. Greg Ayres

What’s this? An episode of the podcast that comes out less than three months after the last one? BLASPHEMY I say! This particular episode contains voice actor Greg Ayres’ AnimeNEXT 2008 panel, “Fansubbing.”

It’s all about the negative effect of fansubs on the American anime industry, and Greg really gets his point across well. Listen. You owe it to yourself. Also, I sat down next to Scott from AnimeAlmanac for the duration of the panel. He had just finished his interview with Ayres, which you can read about in the show links. Show notes (really really long this time) and supplementary links after the break.

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[0:00:00] Opening song: “R.O.D. Theme” by Taku Iwasaki (I’m thinking of using this opener/closer combination for all future episodes)[0:00:23] I get with the awkward introductions as always. It’s a panel hosted by voice actor Greg Ayres, who has been in Air Gear, Beck, Full Metal Panic, Gravion, Negima, Spiral, and Welcome to the NHK. He talks about his stance on fansubs, so listen up. Unfortunately, I missed the first half hour of the panel, so you’ll have to live with that.

[0:01:41] “The anime industry only makes up 1% of the entertainment industry… Do you think that ‘millions’ is a number that anime distributors ever hear?”

[0:03:04] “How many of you were around when the subtitle vs. dub VHS’s were released?…The dub costs more money to make, so why was the dub cheaper?”

[0:04:03] Name-drops The Humanoid.

[0:04:57] “One of our biggest allies was Suncoast…One of the only companies that had to sell at ‘maufacturer’s sugested retail price.'” Best Buy takes a loss on one item (anime) and jacks up prices of others (keyboards, etc.) Greg lavishes praise on Suncoast.

[0:07:00] “How cheap is anime in Japan?…NOT CHEAP.” $60USD for 2 episodes a disc!

[0:08:30] “The saddest thing is, guess who put more extras in their boxsets than anyone around?… Geneon. Guess who doesn’t exist…”

[0:10:52] Greg’s awesome rant. “I refuse to call it anything but stealing.” He talks about Zac Bertschy’s definition of “fan.” This part is the highlight of the panel. “You’re not a fan, you’re putting fleas on an already flea-ridden dog.” Incredible stuff.

[0:13:33] “To say that anime is not popular is false too, because every convention I go to every year, their attendance grows.”

[0:16:36] “Companies are trying to reinvent DVD sales.” Thinpacks, whole-season releases, 2-DVD-at-a-time releases, etc.

[0:17:51] Things are doing better, but anime companies can’t just reinvent themselves without revenue to survive with.

[0:20:25] My point: “Entertainment is a luxury, and in a time of recession, luxuries are the first to go.” I forget where I heard this, but it was probably Anime World Order.

[0:21:46] Mackenzie report about how many people download vs. buy anime.

[0:23:34] “Who can think of ways to watch anime legally for free or cheap?” The audience lists off a bunch of places, many of which are actually illegal. Veoh? BleachExile? Hurf durf, guys.

[0:25:11] I bring up CrunchyRoll, and Greg discusses its questionable legality. “CrunchyRoll is a place where maybe we will get to see anime for free.” Greg thinks GONZO is the most forward thinking anime company out there. Let’s just ignore the fact that Welcome to the NHK is one of the only shows they’ve made that hasn’t sucked.

[0:29:52] A college student gives her touching anecdote about a school library that helped pay for her anime club’s manga collection. Pretty cool story.

[0:39:10] “Newtype USA, they’re gone. The only thing left is their horrible, imposter little brother, which is not a replacement for Newtype, unfortunately.” Some AWO/Otaku USA fanboy yells out “Daryl Surat would like to have a word with you!” Idiot. Greg shuts him down, and covers Newtype USA with oodles of praise. I don’t agree with his opinion of Otaku USA, which is a fantastic magazine, but he makes good points supporting Newtype. Also, “here’s one thing I can say good about Otaku USA: they’re still striving to bring DVDs in every issue.”

[0:41:52] The biggest issue: fansubbing because something isn’t licensed. Shows like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Macross: Do You Remember Love. He discusses the separate licenses that are sold off in parts, making old shows hard to relicense. Also, ways to legally/ethically watch old, unlicensed shows.

[0:51:30] Talking about Beck licensing issues, including the real Beck’s support for the show, and the crazy problem with the Lucille guitar. He also tangentially mentions the “real reason” why Detective Conan was renamed Case Closed, and some points about merchandise and TV rights.

[0:59:10] “Censorship and editing is always a big hot button issue with anime fans.” Adult Swim censored Trinity Blood and Fullmetal Alchemist, not FUNimation. “The man’s f***ing head explodes!” Classic. 4Kids has the blessing of the Japanese in everything they do. Wow, surprising, huh?

[1:04:51] “Adult Swim is not our friend.” He tells us a story about when he visited Adult Swim headquarters, and saw a shirt that said “because anime is teh suck.” Yes, he’s not lying.

[1:08:49] Hilarious autograph line stories about people who ask for autographs without knowing what shows the actors are in. “If you don’t know who I am, why are you waiting in line for my autograph?”

[1:11:02] Yoshitoshi ABe didn’t understand why Serial Experiments Lain was so popular in America, because the show is a slam on American culture. Most fansub groups missed this, and Geneon intentionally ignored it.

[1:12:53] “All the fansubs my friends have start with: Now, my Japanese isn’t so good, so if you find any corrections, send them to” A couple minutes about translation, both on the fansub and the official dub side.

[1:15:50] I mention this series of videos to Greg. Also, he likes his toilet paper under.

[1:17:43] He pimps YouTube recordings of his panel, especially the one right after Geneon collapsed. (“You can see panic on everyone’s faces.”)

[1:18:55] Translation notes, cultural notes, and extras. According to Greg, there are restrictions in the DVD format that cannot include some of these things (or make it hard to include them).

[1:20:23] Instead of asking, “What can the industry do for us,” as he usually does, Greg asks “What can we do for the industry?” He namedrops, too.

[1:22:03] Closing comments. Greg provides some really nice, inspirational speeches about why anime fans are good people, and how the anime industry still has hope. It’s a little cheesy, but this is a nice ending for the panel.

[1:23:55] Closing song: “H.T.” (Trigun OP) by Tsuneo Imahori

[1:24:24] Generic footer. Check us out on iTunes (finally)! SRSLY! Also, I’m trying my best to get us on Digg, but for some reason that site doesn’t think we’re actually a podcast… Go figure.

Greg Ayres and the Fight Against Fansubs (Scott’s piece)
The History of Fansubs (video: very critical of modern fansubs)

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