The debate over scanlations continued this week, coming out of the brouhaha over Nick Simmon’s “homage” (his words) to Bleach. It grew out of the post by Deb Aoki at Manga.about.com, where comments exploded, with readers of scanlations coming to scans defense, while anti-scans tried to convince them otherwise. This “debate” led to a post on Anime Vice by a guest writer who tried to defend his reason for reading scans. More debate continues in the comments there as well. Watching people’s reactions to the scanlation debate has been interesting to say the least. It’s like discussing religion, politics, or “dubs vs subs” in the anime community. There is no real debate going on, because there are two groups with a set of beliefs that they are a prepared to defend to the death it seems. It’s become a shouting match with both sides making points and counterpoints to each other’s arguments. So, it becomes like talking to a wall, with neither side gaining ground or able to claim victory. While it does appear to be a wasted effort, these debates can be useful. You don’t argue with a fanatic to change their mind, you argue in the hopes that a fence-sitter, or newbie who doesn’t know better will see your arguments and be persuaded by them. That’s what makes all the frustration and sometimes anger you feel worth it.
Getting to Know You
Manga Views, the website that brings manga reviews all together in one place has started a feature about the people putting up the reviews. They will be posting profiles of manga bloggers. Just answer a few questions and the whole world will know about you! The first has already gone up. It’s Ed Sizemore of the Manga Worth Reading Blog. Check it out and all the other great things going on there!
Yu* Must Go
The January 2010 issue of Shonen Jump USA marks another change in the magazine. Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the first 5 titles to debut with the magazine ends in this issue. This makes it the only other title from the debut line up to complete it’s full run. Sandland, a single volume title by Akira Toriyama was the other. Yu-Gi-Oh GX “graduates” from SJ this month as well, going graphic novel only now. So much for “there’ll always be a Yu-Gi-Oh title in Shonen Jump.” And of course, the long awaited One Piece jump starts in this issue. I haven’t cared for some of the changes to SJ in the past, but a natural end like Yu Yu Hakusho is the way it should be.
ComiPress, one of the first manga new reporting sites is hanging up it’s news hat and has moved over to a more timely topic: Scanlations. There has been a lot of talk about scanlations, especially since the economy took a dive, but do you really understand what scanlations are or how they came to be? Inside Scanlation seeks to answers these questions and more. The site looks at the history of scanlations, interviews scanlators and publishers for their takes and even explains some of the nuances of the community. I think this is an interesting project. And while people don’t agree with what the scanlators do, I think it’s worth the time to find out why they do it. It’s the anthropologist in me.
I’ve written before about how much I enjoy manga trading. It’s a great way to try out a series or find volumes of older titles. I’ve been fairly active on Mangatude and usually check for new trades every week or so. While doing my usual check this week, there was a trade offer titled “Manga series on cd many rare ones.” Yeah, scanlations. This didn’t really feel right. When I go looking to trade, I’m looking for same to same. It might seem like a great deal, to get a bunch of different manga for one print volume, but it seems to violate the spirit of the site.
Anyone can go out and find scanlations, download them, and burn them to a CD. It’s not the same as going out, finding and buying a manga volume. Getting a CD full of titles doesn’t seem to have same value. It becomes a bunch of files that can get tossed to the wayside. Because no work went into getting them, there’s no real value in reading them. With trading, there’s the offer and counter trade, sometimes working out, sometimes taking more work, so even a trade that ends just costing the amount in postage has more worth. And physical copies stare back at you, demanding you read them. They aren’t hidden away on a disc of in a file folder to be forgotten. I really hope this doesn’t become a trading trend.
Wandering around the web yesterday, I stumbled upon a Livejournal group for an unlicensed manga called 07-Ghost. It’s a shonen sci-fi that I read a few chapters of a few years ago and liked. No new chapters came out after the initial few, so I figured it was dropped as happens so often in scanalations. But, on the community, there was a message about the possible licensing of this manga based on a Take Down notice Tokyopop had sent to this manga trading website. The list of manga Tokyopop asked to be taken down can be found here. The Take Down notice was sent in January of this year.
I found this list rather odd though. Yes, all of Tokyopop’s titles were there, as well as 07-Ghost. There were also a couple of other titles on the list that were not announced licenses such as Saiunkoko Monotagari, Sayuki Gaiden, and Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam. These are all series I would love to have, and Sayuki Gaiden just makes sense since Tokyopop has published Saiyuki and Saiyuki Reload.
But, what made me wonder about the reliability of this list is that there were several series’ on this list that were licensed, but not by Tokyopop. Mamotte! Lollipop, MPD Psycho, Shugo Chara, Star Wars, and Togari have all been licensed and released by Del Rey, Dark Horse and Viz. So, is Tokyopop looking out for the well being of their competitors as well as themselves? I hardly think so. It seems to me that the list, beyond the Tokyopop titles that have been released, is just a wish list of titles they wanted to get.
So, how serious should a list like this be taken? Not very I would think. Tokyopop has a right to demand that titles that are licensed and in print be taken down from sites that offer them for download. But, I think it’s going too far to demand a laundry list is really just a working print of titles they wanted but couldn’t always get. At the very least, they could take off the titles licensed by other publishers.