Anime Vice News

The Truth about the Manga Blogger Conspiracy

It's time to come out of the closet on this one.


 I have a confession to make...
 I have a confession to make...
The ongoing discussions about plagiarism, fanart, and scanlations continue on Twitter, and have taken a remarkable turn: one blogger, Melinda Beasi, noted that a reader and LiveJournal user had made the accusation that all the discussion is, in fact, a "blog/twitter campaign" originating with the licensors (I'm not sure if the author is using this in the correct way to refer to Japanese publishers or the incorrect way to refer to localizers). But the main accusation is that bloggers are somehow involved in a conspiracy with manga publishers to argue against scanlations.

And I'm here to tell you that this accusation is absolutely 100% TRUE FACT.

Manga bloggers and publishers actually have monthly meetings at the Big Sight event hall in Tokyo (the city where we are all secretly located), and that's where we decide that Vampire Knight is going to nestle up against Naruto on the sales charts, while Black Jack has to remain critically acclaimed, but can't sell TOO well, because if Black Jack was too popular then we couldn't keep writing posts asking you to go out and buy it, which would cut our content by about 15%.

Additionally, we have this really coo stealth jet. Whenever we get names and addresses for a scanlation group we go out, knock them unconscious with tasers, and introduce a ton of bad sectors into their hard drives so they fry in a seemingly spontaneous manner while the scanlators are in the middle of scanning or lettering.

And of course, manga publishers pay for the jet, and our cool uniforms. (I can't reveal the designs to you, but they're pretty freakin' sweet, and bulletproof.) They pay our secretly seven-figure salaries, too.

...THIS IS COMPLETELY 100% TRUE GUYS.

But seriously: the very simple fact of the matter is: once you start to know the people who are impacted drops in sales and by the inability to fight the tide of piracy-- once people you know have been laid off from a company that's downsizing or shutting down --it stops looking like such a minor or victimless issue and a bit more like a problem. So, yes, bloggers who start to know industry members and publishers may become less forgiving of scanlations as time wears on, and yes, that relationship often begins when a blogger requests or is offered free review copies. Whether that's a conspiracy or a conscience is your own decision to make. 

 Apologies to All About Manga for making you Jubilee. It had to be someone.
 Apologies to All About Manga for making you Jubilee. It had to be someone.
FoxxFireArt moderator on March 4, 2010 at 10 a.m.
I still believe that if they don't want scanlations or fan subs. Either stop editing content or offer the series in both edited and unedited forms.
When you edit content you risk your base audience not wanting it.
 
I keep going back to this point. I started reading Detective Conan online with the anticipation of buying the series in the US. The only option the US publisher offers is an altered and edited content. I want to be able to read the real series and enjoy this story. If the publisher wont offer me some sort of alternative. I'm going to go with scanlations. It's not the source I prefer. It's just the only place I have to get it.
 
I'm completely open to some kind of alternatives. For example:
1) Offering an unedited volume version online for a higher cost then the edited.
2) A VIZ manga website where you can read it online unedited.
3) A FUNimation Video-like website on VIZ's site but for manga. Where they could present the latest manga chapters with translations so many days or weeks after they air released in Japan.
 
I could go on with alternatives that I would love to support. At the heart of it. I just want the real story unedited. How is that so unreasonable?

These aren't some kind of radical ideas. VIZ has already shown an interest in tapping the market more by putting One Piece and Naruto into higher production. Each US release is only a little behind the Japanese series (One Piece will this summer). I would be buying those One Piece books if I didn't have my over all boycott of VIZ products.
 
Rather then just pointing fingers and saying, "You all are thieves and should be ashamed.". There should be a dialog on how a middle ground can be found. FUNimation's video website really is the prefect example. Their airing of One Piece is very close to perfection. They wanted people to stop pirating One Piece. Their solution was to post One Piece episodes online an hour after airing in Japan. From what I see they don't edit content too horribly. They keep the Japanese Honorifics, Zoro's name isn't altered, Sanji's cigarettes aren't changed to lollipops. When they go to such an extent for the audience. There is no reason what so ever for me to watch One Piece anywhere else. It's everything I could of asked for. Yes, the huge gaps in the story are annoying, but they are filling them.

In all honesty. I think the site could use more commercials. My experience on the site. I was surprised how many episodes I could watch without a single commercial appearing.
giaon March 4, 2010 at 10:09 a.m.
@FoxxFireArt: I think people would argue with your point less if you also imported the Japanese copies-- then you're supporting the creator and the original material by paying for it, while still not giving your funds to VIZ Media. (The manga volumes are only 410 yen each, about $4.60 USD, on Amazon Japan; shipping is expensive but if you were to pile together, say, ten volumes, it'd be about 8920 yen, about $100 even, including shipping to the US. That's only $10 than buying VIZ's books at a bookstore in California with tax, and probably the same price or cheaper than buying on Amazon with sales tax and shipping. (It might be a little more if you live somewhere with no or low sales tax, but not a lot.)
 
Just a thought :) 
FoxxFireArt moderator on March 4, 2010 at 10:33 a.m.
@gia: 
I get what you are saying. Completely.
 
That is just asking me to jump through a lot of hoops because some publisher wanted to ignore the online audience and chose to edited the content. Then they claim the online audience is hurting the industry. That audience didn't make them do the changes. It was their decision to ignore that built in audience.
 
I actually currently am studying to read Japanese for part of that reason, but kanji is very difficult. The point of having a book is to read it. Not to just to have it on your shelf and look at the pretty pictures. A lot of the times those saying that I should be buying the imports aren't the people who have had the stories they read altered (not a hard fast rule of course).
 
I want alternatives. I list three what I think are rather sensible ideas. I have even more. I want a discussion on trying to find a middle ground, but if all people are going to do is argue that both sides don't have some valid points. We get nowhere.
SimonJoneson March 4, 2010 at 12:05 p.m.
>I still believe that if they don't want scanlations or fan subs. Either stop editing content or offer the series in both edited and unedited forms. 
 
Can you explain why series that are uncut/unedited still get scanlated, or ripped?
DJTyranton March 4, 2010 at 12:13 p.m.
Damn, our plan got out :( 
 
Who leaked the memo?
giaon March 4, 2010 at 12:16 p.m.
@DJTyrant: It was me. I did it. </warcraft peon> :D
JBon March 4, 2010 at 12:31 p.m.
As far as I can tell, OneManga and MangaFox are US operations located (at least at the top-level) on US servers. And they have highly obvious ads across the web advertising Naruto and other "name" licensed  titles. Why hasn't Viz hit them with a cease-and-desist order? Is it just too expensive? Are they afraid of negative reaction from fans who also read scans?
FoxxFireArt moderator on March 4, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
@SimonJones: 
It's the reason why I keep pointing to my example of the editing of Detective Conan when I post comments on this topic. I can't speak to the motives or the thinking or other people.
I can only tell you why I do something. I do it because the local publisher wont give me an unaltered/unedited option. I'm not some aberration of man and science. There is a chance that if I think this way there are others who do the same. Am I in the minority or the majority? I have no way of knowing.
 
Everyone keeps looking to me to have all the answers. I'm not omniscient. For that answer you'd have to ask someone who does only use scanlations of an unedited series. I can't tell you why they do that. I purchase Negima!,Fairy Tail, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei because they are so accurate to the original. I would purchase the unedited VIZ series, but I have a boycott against them in protest of the edits they did to Detective Conan.
 
Everyone who is anti-scanlations keeps expecting me to have all the answers for them. Yet they never even want to try and consider that there are people who use scanlations that might have a point. Who want to reach out to the industry and find a middle ground. That's why in that first reply here. Rather then just ranting against something. I try and suggest something as well. Maybe i need to write another article highlighting some alternative ideas for a middle ground.
Rather then anti-scanlation people pointing the finger and calling us thieves, why don't they try and suggest a reasonable alternative? What are their ideas?
Sometimes I feel like the topic of Scanlations is like the discussion of Health Care Reform. Everyone is so fixated on both sides. They don't seem to want to try and find a middle ground. Both sides are thinking. "I'm all right, and they are all wrong.". I've yet to meet anyone in this world that is 100% right about anything.

It's just, is asking for the option of purchasing unedited and unaltered content so radical and beyond the norm?
 
@DJTyrant:
Yes, because sarcasm and demeaning those you disagree with always adds to an adult conversation.
 
I had someone complain on my article that it wasn't about "fixing the industry" or "getting people to talk". How does sarcasm help?
crusader8463on March 4, 2010 at 12:56 p.m.
@gia: Your reverse psychology is not going to work on us gia. Make fun of the secret meetings, the jet and the cool uniforms all you want but we all know they are real! When the day comes that we can over through this repressive form of media, sympathizers like yourself will be the first to be hung! Laugh now, but people like you will get your comeuppance.
JackSukeruon March 4, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.
I didn't voice my opinions on these matters before, and I'm not planning on doing it now either. What I do have to say though is "WTF GIA!? Jubilee is awesome! She has those cool glasses and she shoots fireworks, FIREWORKS! Now that's a power I'd like to have if there ever was one."
 
Btw, anybody know a good place to buy subtitled anime dvds? that ships worldwide?
Nikoon March 4, 2010 at 1:21 p.m.
@gia: You know, All About Manga could have been Cyclops, Longshot or Dazzler...ok, that last one isn't any better.
allaboutmangaon March 4, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.
It's ok, Gia. I still love you. I hope you find the couch comfortable.
SimonJoneson March 4, 2010 at 1:28 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt: 
 
> I can't speak to the motives or the thinking or other people.
 
Well, your first post made it sound like you believe ending edits would stop scanlations.  Doesn't seem at all likely to me.  I'm not asking you to explain the manga cosmos, only to explain why you believe that to be possible.
 
>but I have a boycott against them in protest of the edits they did to Detective Conan
 
And you're perfectly entitled to boycott.  I don't like alterations either.  I don't know who does.  But I'm willing to accept that this was done to maximize profitability, which is what publishers are charged with doing.  Maybe Viz made the changes so the book could be sold through the lucrative school book club markets.  Who knows?   Again, I'm not pro-editing, I'm not here to defend Viz's strategy with this particular title.  If I were the king of all manga, I wouldn't alter anything unless real legal liability were involved.  But I'm not.  They do what they think is best, with all the responsibilities and rights accorded them by the original creator.  And among those rights is making modifications.  Choosing not to buy the book is the right stand.  Choosing not to buy the book, only to read it online, seems... well, maybe a little less noble, a little less than an act of personal sacrifice to advance a position.
 
> It's just, is asking for the option of purchasing unedited and unaltered content so radical and beyond the norm?
 
Unfortunately, yes.  Printing two versions of a book is much more expensive than printing one.  It doubles the amount of paperwork.  It confuses the market place, segments readers, and annoys booksellers.
MoonStormon March 4, 2010 at 1:32 p.m.
I would say something more but all I can think about is 'All right we're Gambit'.
giaon March 4, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.
@RockmanBionics: I was always pretty neutral to Jubilee when I was watching the X-Men cartoon, but once I saw the movies and how they fused one of my FAVORITE comic book characters ever (Rogue) into the mediocre character of Jubilee, I was soured forever. 
 
@MoonStorm: Out of politeness I should have made us Jubilee, but Gambit is another one of my favorites, and he's not as popular as, say, Wolverine or even Rogue (and not as annoying as Scott/Cyclops), so I ran with it :D
FoxxFireArt moderator on March 4, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.
@SimonJones: 

" Well, your first post made it sound like you believe ending edits would stop scanlations.  Doesn't seem at all likely to me. "

Why is it up to only me to give everyone all the answers they could of ever wanted. I can only explain why I do something.

" Maybe Viz made the changes so the book could be sold through the lucrative school book club markets.  Who knows? "

That doesn't excuse editing content. I can't think of anyone who is pirating the altered versions of Detectve Conan. They are scanlations of the Japanese versions. I've never seen a single scanlation of the US "Case Closed" version. That kind of tells you that the online audience doesn't even want it.

When they decided to alter the series. They were telling me that they didn't want me as an audience, but I want this story.

" Unfortunately, yes.  Printing two versions of a book is much more expensive than printing one.  It doubles the amount of paperwork.  It confuses the market place, segments readers, and annoys booksellers."

It's not unreasonable. If they have to make the unedited versions more expensive. I'm fine with that. If be only offer the unedited versions for purchase off their website. They offered Dragon Ball in two versions both edited and unedited.
 
I'm not asking them to do anything they haven't done before.
John_Martoneon March 4, 2010 at 4:42 p.m.
Ha, great read. And duh, of course we're Gambit. Though gia likes it when the guys dress up like Jubilee
Lanon March 4, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.
We should be Storm because this topic has sure been causing one oohhhooo....two drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff *buh dam tchh!* And because I always liked Storm. :)
Papasanon March 4, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.

I wanna be a Precocious Curmudgeon, too!!! 
 

 
 
giaon March 4, 2010 at 5:04 p.m.
@John_Martone: Lies. 
 
Jubilee blows, and not in the good ways.

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