In class last week, we talked about file sharing and pirating and how common it is for almost everyone to download pirated materials these days without a second thought. In another class of mine, Global Cinema, we also talked about pirating. Denison’s article “Transcultural creativity in anime: Hybrid identities in the production, distribution, texts and fandom of Japanese anime” discusses fan creativity in the subtitling of anime films and how these fansubbed versions are distributed through torrents. New digital technologies are allowing more access to anime for people outside of Japan, giving them also more access to illegally pirated materials. Fans are flexing their creativity in the reproduction of anime texts with subtitling, but through this, they are enabling the illegal consumption of these texts worldwide (Denison 229).
Groups of fans can work on subtitling together by splitting up tasks, whether they live in the same city or are geographically far apart. Most of these subtitling fan groups reside within the United States however because that is where fast internet speeds are most prevalent, and the original subtitles are usually in English because of this. Fans can get creative and can use cheap technologies to reproduce their fan-subtitled anime. Fan groups occasionally battle to create the quickest, best subtitles. They have the freedom to use any special fonts they want and they can incorporate group logos into their reproductions (Denison 230).
Fans have the ability to be creative in their use of unconventional fonts, scrolling text, and atypical font colors. These fansubbers are challenging “industrial norms of creative practice, introducing new aesthetics and transcultural audiences for anime” (Denison 231). Fansubbed versions of the original anime films become available to the public long before the production studios are even able to negotiate the rights to do their own subtitled versions. The speed of these fansubs, and the ease of distribution, has put this fan community in conflict with the anime film industry. Active fans who reproduce and subtitle anime films may be creating a large disengaged audience who do not pay for anime texts, causing issues for the industry. Acts of reproduction in the subtitling of anime by fans are making anime even more transcultural and hybrid, creating a shift in what we consider to be anime’s true roots of Japaneseness. Anime is becoming more and more of a global product (Denison 230-232).
Denison, Rayna. “Transcultural creativity in anime: Hybrid identities in the production, distribution, texts and fandom of Japanese anime.” Creative Industries Journal 3.3 (2010): 221-232.