Are Fansubs really that Great?

One imagines how the Dragonball Z world would be without fansubs. Without them a whole load of people would not know the story and dialougue that go along with the series (it would be great to just see the action but you also miss a great deal of the atmosphere when you donít know what the characters are saying)

But are Fansubs really that great? I mean isnít that why we want American DBZ to be uncensored, so we donít have to put up with the many problems that Fansubs have? Well thatís exactly what this essay is about, the problems that Fansubs present and what Fansubbers could do to correct them. Personally I know nothing about the actual process of fansubbing so if I say something erroneous (or if I just sound like a fool who knowís nothing what heís talking about) please e-mail me.

Video Quality

Letís get one thing straight, a fansub can never match the quality of a real video (a fan sub compared to one of the Pioneer made tapes of DBZ makes the fansub look atrocious) Add to the fact that the original copies might not all be that great to start with (depending on how the broadcast was received) and then copying off the same tape after awhile destroys the master and this passes onto the copies. Every new batch of a tape is a little bit worse then the last.

All sorts of things happen. The picture gets fuzzy, they get interference, colors go out of wack. And eventually it will be hard to see details and the text gets even harder to read. And since most fan subbers probably donít have the money to afford things to clean up the picture things get worse. Also with DB being subbed for quite awhile the video quality problems have arisen quite all over the place

How to Solve the Problem

The International Channel I think solves the problem quite well. With them running DBZ now, new masters can be created and subtitled. Thus begins a new generation of tapes with better quality then the tapes of yore. These copies will last long enough to ensure will get decent subs until the American DBZ gets uncensored and we wonít need the Japanese ones anymore (Except if you want to hear the Japanese voices, which some might do.) Also SVHS VCRís and LD could be used in place of normal VCRís (I donít know if normal VCRís are used by subtitlers a lot so if subtitler pretty much use SVHS and LDís then forget what I just said)

Sound Quality

Same as above. Over awhile the sound gets pretty scratchy (the sounds sometimes goes quicker then the video, and sometimes starts degrading before the video) As well the problem can be solved by getting new copies from the International Channel.

Errors in the Subtitles

Another problem with some fansubs is the errors of the subtitles. The subtitles either fly by too quickly, are too small on titles or other things. I find that some errors range from the subtitle going off before it can be read or that the text for some reason is smaller than it should be.

How to Solve the Problem

I think the subtitlers really just have to catch themselves here. In some Anime Labs videoís for instance the titles are way to small in the beginning (how this got by them I do not know how) and some periods in places they shouldnít be. Then in another Anime Labs video it was done flawlessly(but then the person who did the subtitling was different)

Well thatís enough with my rant for now. People say "Oh I rather watch a fan sub then try and convince Funimation to undo the damage they did to DBZ" Well thatís just ignorant. I mean eventually the fan subs are going to get absolutely atrocious and will really look bad in the eye of the watcher. Thatís why people keep on fighting the good battle for DBZ in America. Well that about ends it.

- Sean S.
<siberios@aol.com>