It’s Valentine day!
Let’s talk about love, shall we?
And no, I’m not talking about love between couples or any kind of relationship, I’m talking about a different kind of love. One that gets less talked about, even though it’s as powerful as the kind of love that occurs between two individuals. I’m talking about the love for creations.
Love for creations is the love you have for the creative works of another person. It’s the love you have for your favorite TV series, your favorite novel, your favorite comic book, or any other kind of creative works. It’s the love for stuff that’s shared by everyone, so the love for your shoes or your gadget doesn’t count, since what happens to your belongings happens to you alone.
(for example, when Darth Vader reveals himself to be Luke’s father, millions other viewers would also feel your astonishment, however, when your favorite shirt gets torn, only you would feel the sadness).
So, what prompts me to talk about this? Well, earlier this week, Mangastream announced that they will no longer scanlate Shonen Jump series due to a complaint from VIZ Media. Then, this morning, Red Hawk Scans also announced that they will stop scanlating Shonen Jump series because of the same complaint. This is very troublesome for me since both of them scanlate some series I really care about such as One Piece, Hunter X Hunter, Beelzebub, or Bakuman.
Just get it from the official channel, you said? First, tankobons are like 2 months late compared to the chapters on Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, so I would be at least eight chapters late, it’s just not acceptable. And that’s for japanese tankoubon, it would take more times until the english one is released since they have to translate it first.
Well, they actually have this new thing called Shonen Jump Alpha, which is an application that will receive new manga chapter weekly, just like a manga magazine in Japan, only in digital form. This leads to the second problem though, it’s only available for US and Canada! The library is pretty limited as well, there are only 6 series that readers can subscribe. Oh, not to mention that it will still be three chapters late =/
The third and last problem, is the translation. I definitely am not fluent in Japanese, but I can tell that the translation from scanlation group is way better than the official translation. It’s completely unbelievable that some professional, paid translators would get beaten by some guys who translate for free and doing it in their spare time. Beaten by some guys who do it purely out of their love.
And now we’re getting back to the love part. The power of love is pretty scary isn’t it? These guys, the scanlator, the translator, spent their precious time for free just so the rest of world can enjoy something they love. Well, I have been a scanlator once, both forming my own group as well as working for Mangastream, so I know first-hand that scanlators do what they do just because they love the series they are working on.
It’s very interesting to see how far people would go for something they love. Kickstarter is one of those who has managed to harness this power of love really, really well. One example is Order of the Stick. It’s an epic webcomic based on Dungeon and Dragons (seriously, check it out, it’s amazing) which recently used Kickstarter to get funding for printing the comics into book form. Guess what? It blew past its target and now has been 1000% funded, all thanks to love (from its fans).
It’s also very interesting to see how some people never seem to understand love. VIZ Media seems to be one of those people. Did they really think people don’t buy manga because there’s a FREE alternative? Hell no, it’s because there’s a BETTER alternative. And true fans usually go to the one that provides better quality. Not to mention that these true fans are the ones who would spent their money on what they love.
All in all, internet has enabled us to easily share things, it has enabled us to find other persons with the same love. And thanks to that, the power of love has been amplified on the internet. It is interesting to see if anyone could make use of such power, so far only open source community has benefited from it.
As for the manga series? Well, I believe in the power of the Internet and its users.
You can’t stop love.