I had basically been asked to respond to a blog post (located here) regarding my last Anime News Editorial. If you are at all interested, certainly go ahead and take a look at the well-formed blog post first. Following that, check out my response (located below):
I’d like to agree that most Japanese probably don’t consider a world market when it comes to their comics. So much manga is produced by mangaka who are just trying to get off the ground and are not yet ready to start thinking grand scale International release. I mean, think about it. Even American comic artists or web comic artists aren’t REALLY thinking about world domination with each one of their works, right? Usually, I mean, of course who doesn’t want to take over the world? But usually, you find a lot of web comic artists groping for success at their local anime convention, begging people to read their work, or stop and buy a comic sketch or what have you. Japanese artists are no different. It’s just that someone managed to get ahold of the comic or the scans and decided to translate it. Then, it gets put up on a manga aggregator site, and everyone thinks it’s huge and that they HAVE to read it. There’s so much manga that gets produced, it’s astounding. Sure, you get names like Tite Kubo or Akira Toriyama, whose names will surely sell a comic with very little work. But for anybody else? Well, they’re scraping and working long hours with a crew of a very small amount of people trying to make deadlines and ear whatever dough they can. And at that level of their career, I can almost 100% guarantee that they aren’t thinking about a world market yet.
I personally would far prefer to read a manga in paperback rather than on a monitor. Look at most manga aggregators, such as this week’s situation with One Manga. I’ve never read manga from that particular web site, but if it’s anything like others I’ve seen in the past, the entire page doesn’t fit on one screen, and you have to scroll down to read the whole thing, and SOMEtimes, the “Next Page” button is at the top of the page. So not only do you have to scroll down to read, but then you have to scroll back up in order to continue. I realize this really isn’t that much work, but I can control my eyes and my brain much faster than I can control my hands or how quickly a page full of images and advertisements and pop-ups load (who wants ads all over their manga, anyway?).
And I guess I want to make it clear (because it seems that it wasn’t from the video) that I had no intention of villainizing scanlation readers. I wish it hadn’t come off that way, but I suppose it did. Sure, if you read them then you probably are less likely to make a purchase (not in every situation, mind you), but that’s not the point. The point was that it’s the aggregators who are the source of the problem. Unless Japanese law has changed from when I last read up on it, it’s illegal to distribute copyrighted material, and thus far the only people arrested (which have been quite a lot lately, actually) have been distributors, not downloaders.
I still don’t think fansubs, scanlations, their distribution, or their viewing is correct (or at least that it isn’t legal), but either way, aren’t we all fans of the medium? Let’s just enjoy it. Whether you do it one way or another, you still watching anime and reading manga, and for that, we are the same kind of people. I’m happy to be an active member of the community.