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Fansubs are foreign animated television shows or movies that are given translated subtitles by fans. Fansubs are incredibly popular and are known for controversy, spanning from from legal copyright issues to various quality debates amongst fans.
Since the beginning of the modern Japanese anime market, a couple of the anime companies would invest in having English speaking voice actors or professional translators come and help rework their cartoons for foreign audiences. During the decade of bad music and bad hair (the 1980s), these works gained lots of popularity and a major fanbase started around the world. Due to the low amount of new titles, people with experience with Japanese started to produce their own subtitled versions. Though, not very popular in its founding age due to the costs, fansubs skyrocketed in popularity once the internet and digital means of production came to be.
Fansubbing is more popular than ever. There is such a large number of groups fansubbing that all new animes get translated, not only into English, but into various other languages such as Spanish, French, Italian and etc. Though older works are still hard to find, various groups have set out with the mission of fansubbing the lost and forgotten.
Fansubbing vs. Professionals
A huge argument rages as of current about the quality of fansubbing in comparison to the quality of professionals that companies hire to subtitle/voice over the anime. It is proven that all professional subtitles/voice overs are better in accuracy and in quality than all of the works made by any fansub groups. Despite this proven fact, hardcore fansub fans will argue this citing the opposite, avoiding the fact that the only reason they defend it is because it's free. If you're caught up in an argument with a fansub supporter, it's recommended you just stop and ignore them, because nothing you prove will change their view.
Destroying the Industry
Japan's anime companies have noticed a common trend between the popularity of fansubbing and their recent loss of profits. As fansubbing gets more popular and more frequent, their profits get lower and lower. Over the past couple years, numerous companies have been filing for bankruptcy due to the bad condition of their finances, most of which can be boiled down to being because more people are focusing on downloading the free fansubs instead of actually giving money to the rightful makers.
- Crunchyroll and gg are known to be the best in terms of quality
- Horriblesubs and Muzai are known to put out terrible works in terms of quality
- FUNimation was streaming a new series named Fractale, but stopped as a form of protest once they learned that fansub torrents were more popular.
- Downloading One Piece is known to get thousands of people sued.
Flunk English? Come translate and subtitle Japanese shows!
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