WTF?! Dattebayo Drops Naruto?!
Let me see if I (Mollie, aka: IbikiTeishi) can give you the straight scoop on this, and cite the sources so you can judge for yourself whether or not this is another attention grabbing attempt by Dattebayo. I don’t think it is, but they have been jerkwads about press releases and announcements in the past, so I prolly over researched this one just because I didn’t want to have to retract it later.
On November 17, 2008, Viz Media announced the following (click to see the press release):
“Beginning on January 15th the latest episode of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (English-subtitled) animated series will be available for free viewing on the ultimate destination for anything NARUTO – the official NARUTO website, www.naruto.com, within days of its original airdate in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter. ”
This is both good news and bad news for the fandom. Good because they will be publishing North American versions of the manga much faster. Bad because we’re losing Dattebayo and they have just been SO damn good. There are other little bits of information in these press releases that you may find interesting, but I’m going to focus on the Shippuuden subtitles.
On November 21, 2008, Interactii posted a very sincere letter about Dattebayo‘s history fansubbing Naruto. The gist is, Dattebayo will, out of respect for Viz Media, be dropping Naruto fansubs effective January 15, 2009. Here’s the part to pay attention to:
“Why did Dattebayo start subbing Naruto? Because we loved it, and because we felt the fans deserved to see a good-quality subtitled version promptly after the Japanese release. And come January, you can do that legally for a small fee, or for free after a week. Viz’s subtitling work on the show is respectable, though a little stiff. And sure, it’s not the same having a nice AVI that you can watch on your TV or whatnot, but its going to have to do.
If we continued to sub Naruto, it would be a direct affront to Viz, a company that, for the most part, has been pretty amazing to us as fans. Sure, you can say that their dub sucks, or whatever other axe you have to grind, but never once did they ask us to stop subbing Naruto or Bleach, something that is well within their rights and power to do. We have episodes that have gotten almost a million downloads. We’ve had episodes that have gotten more downloads in their their first 24 hours than they had viewers when they showed on Cartoon Network.”
Lafnear, DB staff, posted a new press release on December 3, with even better information, feel free to check it. Apparently, the charging and the reason for it stems from TV Tokyo, who is the one who will be doing the official subbing from here out. Kinda cool. Maybe we should write them, too?
Did you catch that? If you want to see if fast, you’re gonna have to pay, BUT you can still see it for free if you’re willing to wait. I do like that the eps will be fully legal and licensed, and I’m willing to pay for that–if it doesn’t suck. And what does that mean to me?
Translations that capture the spirit of the show. This is something that Dattebayo, as fans, clearly took seriously. They weren’t just punching a time clock and clearing their to do list for the day, they actually cared that the subs stayed as true as possible to Kishimoto’s work. Anyone who has ever translated anything or has the barest inkling about how difficult it can be to capture the implied meanings, cultural references and jokes should be able to see what a tremendous job Dattebayo has done–out of love.
Unsanitized subs. Any “corporate” entity has to be careful with this one, as they have a reputation and other operations/projects to protect. This means, the temptation to sanitize Hidan’s filth will probably win out, just as the blood got cut from the ridiculous dubs on Cartoon Network. I’m an old bag, so I first got introduced to Naruto through the Cartoon Network dubs–which even then I recognized as atrocious and stupid. But when I first saw the orginal Japanese, uncut and subbed versions I fell in love. (And later got obsessed when I started to read the manga.) So, I’ll say this to Viz: you want to keep my fan business, don’t freakin’ sanitize, chop, cut or otherwise spindle and mutilate Kishi’s work.
Quality video, good sound and legible text. Naruto is a household event at my house. I download and convert my files and we watch new eps on the big screen. Crap quality makes the experience severely painful, and leads to game night. If I’m going to be paying now, I want high-quality, fast, unsanitized subs that stay as true as possible to the spirit of Kishi’s vision. Is that too much to ask?
So, what can we do about it? Probably not much, but I do encourage every single one of you who feels a little sick to their stomach right now to write a letter to Viz Media and tell them your concerns. While you’re at it, you might want to thank them for their efforts, so they don’t burn your letter without reading it. If you want to be heard, it’s probably not a good idea to call them a bunch of a-holes or f-tards because they’re putting Dattebayo out to pasture. More flies can be caught with honey words than ones doused in the vinegar of profanity. In fact, Dattebayo is working really hard to make sure we’re nice about this, a decidedly new tone for them:
“…you have to know when its time to move on. That time has come…I, and the rest of the staff, know that if we continue to subtitle it, they will have to ask us to stop. That’s something they probably don’t want to have to do, because it will most likely make all of you very mad at them. That’s something they really don’t deserve…While I wish some things about the situation were different, a lot of things are being done right. Who knows, perhaps even more will be done right in the future.”
That last statement inspired me to make this post. Write a letter so more things can be done right in the future. Voice your opinion now, BEFORE Viz gets started in January. While you’re at it, a nice letter of thanks to Dattebayo for all their hard work would probably be a good idea, too.
Don’t worry. I’ll make it easy for you. I’m going to post the mailing address for Viz Media (*address has been confirmed). Please direct your correspondence here:
VIZ Media, LLC
P.O. BOX 77010
San Francisco, CA 94107
All you have to do is copy and paste the letter I’ve drafted below, print it, sign it and stick it in an envelope. If it doesn’t say what you want, please revise it. I just ask that if you MUST say things like douche, dickwad or quim muncher that you NOT use my form letter and come up with one on your own. Slap a stamp on that bad boy and take it to the post office.
Also, if that kind of ahssle is too damn troublesome for you, type up a letter (or, hell, copy and paste) and e-mail it to: ibikiteishi[AT]gmail[DOT]com. I will print your messages once a week and pay your frackin’ postage to Viz. Please do no correspond with me there, as this address is only for this letter campaign.
Dear Viz Media,
I am writing to you as a concerned Naruto fan.
Fansubs have been so successful because of their love of the show, and I hope you can continue to capture the spirit of the anime, as fansubs (such as Dattebayo) have done. Sanitized and cleansed versions fall flat compared to Kishimoto’s original work. High-quality, quick translations that celebrate the show’s genius have become the hallmark of successful fansubs.
I hope that you understand how important these things are to us, the fans of the show, because we want the show and your efforts to be as successful as possible. Success for you means better availability and access to exactly what we love; please listen to us.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing your efforts on Naruto.com.
John Q. Narutard
If you want to send Dattebayo a message, you can do that by copying the letter below (or writing your own) and pasting it in this form at their website. I urge you to be nice and grateful for all they have done for us over the years. Here’s a sample of a suitable message (again, avoiding the use of f-tard and a-holes):
Dear Dattebayo Staff:
When I learned you were about to drop Naruto, I didn’t really believe it, but now that I know it’s true I wanted to take a minute and thank you for all your hard work.
What made your subs so great was your love for the show. You stayed true to the story, the characters and Kishimoto’s vision, because of that love. You even did it for free. Thank you for everything you have done. Fans like me are going to miss you. In fact, I just wrote a letter to Viz Media explaining all the things you did right, in the hope that they will do their best to copy you.
Thanks for all your hard work over the years.
Jane C. Narutard