Thursday, July 10, 2014

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Over at BakaBT, the moderators in their wisdom have decided not to accept offers for recent TV anime series but instead wait for the inevitable BluRay resubs. The discussion of this change has veered all over the map, but one thread struck a nerve. The leader of a fansub team pointed out that this decision would end up excluding TV fansub teams and depriving them of publicity and representation on the tracker, because BluRay releases are invariably labeled with just the name of the encoder. At first, I felt some sympathy for the team leader’s complaint. When Iznie Bijznie used Orphan’s scripts for its BluRay release of Blazing Transfer Student, without credit other than as a footnote in the torrent offer, I felt a spasm of irritation. (That was mostly because I didn’t like the new styling.) But on further reflection, I realized, in the immortal words of Rhett Butler, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Publicity doesn’t matter to me. Orphan has no IRC channel looking for lurkers, no web site looking for page views. This blog has three whole followers, and that's fine with me. I don’t care if the only people who watch our releases are our team members. I do this for fun, not for ego.

In the Good Old Days, before simulcasting, credits were a simple matter. The value chain in fansubbing was pretty clear. Fansub teams had to translate their own scripts, then time, typeset and QC them, find a raw and encode it, and so on. No one else was involved, and the fansub team’s name in the finished file reflected its status as the sole creator. Nowadays, though, the value chain involves numerous parties, usually starting with a streaming simulcast. Should every party in the value chain be credited in the file name: the translation company, the streaming site, the original sub ripper, the fansub group, and the BluRay group?

Different resub teams have come up with different solutions. In the non BluRay-world, Jumongi-Giri always acknowledges the original fansub team in its file names; ReDone acknowledges them in the in-video credits. In the BluRay world, none of the groups credits the original team anywhere, from what I can tell. Orphan Fansubs, my own group, has been inconsistent. If another group provided a major part of the finished product, then they’ve usually, but not always, been credited in the file name, and every contributor (where known) is acknowledged in the in-video credits. However, as in Hollywood, not every contributor gets a title credit. For example, Orphan’s Nagasarete Airantou was labeled as Orphan-Polished, because it started from the Polished Fansubs release; but Polished used Ayako’s scripts and someone else’s raws to begin with. Should all the sources have been included in the file name? It doesn’t seem practical.

For the future, I’ll try to be consistently inclusive in naming files, because I think that people who have worked hard should be recognized. (That’s also the reason that Orphan releases always have staff credits, a practice that has fallen out of favor in most groups.) Accordingly, the recent release of Rain Boy was labeled as Orphan-OniDragon, because the latter provided the raw. However, I draw the line at more than two names, so when multiple groups are involved, there will be an arbitrary value judgment about which one other team made the most significant contribution. Thus, the recent release of Amatsuki is labeled as Orphan-Ureshii, rather than Orphan-DmzJ, because I feel that the Ureshii contribution - the original scripts - is more important than DmzJ's - the raws. (That's the editor in me, prioritizing words over visuals.) This sort of compromise won’t please everyone – hell, it may not please anyone – but it works for me.

As for Blazing Transfer Student, I'll either get over it or do my own BluRay version. If I choose the latter, it will be labeled Orphan-Bizjnie rather than just Orphan. Credit where credit is due.


  1. At least some DVD/BD releases on BBT do include the original fansub group in the tags, or at least they should imo.

    For those who might not have seen my [ReDone] releases, I do provide in-video credit for the original group. I don't include it in filenames because it might create the wrong impression that the original group was directly involved with the release -- getfresh of Anime-Empire actually asked Kaishakunin to stop including [A-E] in his Yakitate!! Japan re-release file names, and the batch on BBT retroactively removed it from earlier eps.

    I'm more conflicted about actual staffer credits. Though with 100% hardsub -> softsub conversions, I do all new TS and karaoke from scratch, and end up retiming most OCRed/transcribed scripts line-by-line. And sometimes I change the TL/editing so much that I'm accused of trollsubbing, as with Ryoumi's Tonagura! Perhaps I should strive to include staff credits in the Aegisub Properties, so that anyone who extracts/DLs the scripts can still see them.

    1. I like your idea of adding credits in the Aegisub properties, because that way, the credits "stick" with the file.

  2. I usually put the name of the group in the track name before merging the files, but it's actually for me so I'd know from what groups/person the encodes or subtitles it came from. Similar to what coldhell did for his release of Sword Art Online, he put the sub group's names, UTWoots and NyanTaku, in the corresponding track name for the subtitle tracks. So say if I were to edit it or make a little change to it, and I'd use his encodes, then I'd put his name at the video and audio track names of the mkv, and retain the subtitles' track names. And then put my name in the filename. Just my 2 cents ;)