WTF?! Dattebayo Drops Naruto?!

Viz Takes Dattebayo from Behind

Viz Takes Dattebayo from Behind

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,, within days of its original airdate in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter.

The same information was written up at AnimeNewsNetwork the same day, and hit the next day.

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.

'You might want to keep some tissues handy for this one...'

'You might want to keep some tissues handy for this one...'

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?

More cheezyass translations?  I hope not.

More cheezyass translations? I hope not.

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.

Ebisu gets a nosebleed - if is isn't expurgated

Ebisu gets a nosebleed, unless it's censored.

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 please, or we WILL call upon the Swayze

Quality please, or we WILL call upon the Swayze

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?

Save the planet!  Write a letter!  (or DIE)

Save the planet! Write a letter! (or DIE)

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

Best regards,

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

Happy writing!


~ by 千手 鼾弟子 Ibiki Teishi on November 26, 2008.

32 Responses to “WTF?! Dattebayo Drops Naruto?!”

  1. well thats disappointing :/

  2. Let them drop, we are planning on pick it up!

  3. …i feel really sick…i just cannot imagine Naruto without Dattebayo..

  4. @ babyfox – I don’t feel sick. In fact, The comment right above yours should make you feel much better. Vered is with Which is one of the premier Naruto sites on the web, if not the best one. So if he’s saying that they are going to pick it up if Dattebayo drops the ball, then you should sleep easier at night.

    Though Dattebayo does a great job and I love them for what they do, there are thousands out there that can do similar work on a different site. Thats why when a popular new series starts there is usually 3-4 different sub groups doing the same show until one is just more popular than the rest and the others fade away.

  5. i can’t belive it, Dattebayo was the best

  6. I don’t think we should be so quick to dismiss what Viz is going to do either… i mean u can’t really say just because the dub is shit that the sub stuff they do will be bad. I’ve always liked DB and laughed at all the trolls people get so mad about.. but when i first started watching naruto it was done by a different group, so it doesn’t really matter to me who is doing it as long as it’s done well and if a few cuss words get cut out in the process it wont bother me as long the meaning is kept pure.

  7. oh thanx Jeremiah!!..i didn’t know..then Vered i hope you guys pick it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU!!

  8. I’ve been following Dattebayo for 2.5 years, and I must say that I am sad to see the loss of their Naruto translations come to be. I hope that Viz can recognize that it is fans like us that power the numbers for Naruto on the web. Also, if they don’t want to chase down people publishing it subbed for US download, then it is our wants that should be addressed. That said, I know Kishi created something that I value. I want him to reap the rewards of the US toy/game/Kid market (Hungry Ghost cereal, with marshmallow chakra conductors), but I just don’t want the cheesy gimmicks of cartoon network. Is an unedited version too much to ask for?
    Glad to hear Narutofan is willing to pick it up, and as a subscriber, I can tell you Narutofan is a worthwhile site.

  9. @ Vered: I wish you well in your efforts and I hope you’re given room to do well. It’s not that I don’t believe you will do a great job, I’m sure you will, but that I’m a little cynical about how the world works.

    With the availability of a licensed sub release, I think you’re going to start seeing a few more legal teeth growing from Viz. Maybe not right away, but soon. In fact, they are searching for an internal legal guy right now.

    I could be very wrong about this, and I hope I am. However, the fact that Viz will have an actual revenue stream from initial downloads puts them in a position to really litigate the hell out of fansubs–because they will be able to evidentially prove loss of revenue due to any popular fan sub.

    To some extent, the fansubs have always been and will always be viral, but I think if anyone becomes too competitive or popular–and heaven forbid, puts a dent in Viz’s revenues–the lawyers will descend like a plague of locusts. Like I said…I hope I’m wrong, but I recognize the groundwork that’s being laid.

    I think continued fansubs could give Viz enough competition to keep them on the right path, but in the end the law will very much be on Viz’s side. So write a letter and tell the corporate powers that be what YOU want…

  10. @bendercu: I haven’t dismissed what Viz is going to do out of hand. In fact, I’m very much looking forward to what they can do. However, if you take a look at the link to their new site (www DOT Naruto DOT com) you will see their promo, and it…*sigh*…truly defies description it sucks so bad. So if I sound bitchy about the sitch I apologize, but the evidence suggests I have reason to be alarmed.

  11. ok, now I have to apologize because they changed the promo from full on dub nastiness to only a little bit of English voice over hell.

  12. I dont mind. as long as Teknoman, DBZ are still available to watch on the net its ok.

  13. ATTENTION! channels like viz and others will use like half a year to catch up to the anime! we have to do something about this! I have a plan, follow these links to read about it:

  14. I’ve only been using Dattebayo as my sourse for Naruto about a year now, and I’ll be sad to see it abandoned as much for their translations as the quips they put at the end of the opening credits. Having said that, I think a valid point to bring to Viz’s attention is that the median age group for Naruto is 16-25 year olds, and as such, we’re more than capable of handling nose-bleeds and cussing. I could understand cutting that sort of material out of the anime on stations like CN, which are geared toward younger audiences, but if I’m expected to pay for a download, I want the uncut version. It’s hard for me to imagine watching Naruto subbed by anyone but Dattebayo, but with enough reasonable letters to Viz I feel confident they’ll respect the fans’ wishes.

  15. @Protester: I think it’s good you want to do something about this, but having heard from Dattebayo staff, I’m certain that the hit count is not going to change their minds.

    In fact, I think increased hit count might even get them to pull the episodes sooner (pure speculation on my part). Popularity and potential competition of pirate vs. legal distributer is only going to be made more intense by increased popularity of DB.

    Please, honestly, if you want to take action write a letter, (write a hundred letters!) and send your opinions to Viz.

    lafnear, DB Staff, responded to my letter with the following: “Obviously Viz is willing to listen to what fans want…so if people let them know what they want, they’ll hopefully listen.”

  16. Just had an idea. You folks don’t want to print and spend a bunch of money on stamps…I’ll pay the postage. Send me your letters and I will be your post office.

    Send your letters for Viz to:

    This e-mail has been set up only for this mail campaign (please do not send me messages here, I won’t answer. Each week I will print the e-mails and ship them off to Viz in a batch. So drop Viz a line, online, and I’ll see it gets to them.

  17. I know this sounds crappy and lazy but shouldn’t we just let them fall an their face and let another group just pick it up. Viz doesn’t care what we want, they never have. If they are really going to fall behind or censor the language then there we will be more than one group willing to pick up the slack.

    It’s just weird to see corporate goons like Viz try to step in the ring with us. Its just not going to work. I dismiss anything they attempt to do on our level and believe whole heartedly in the sub groups lining up to do this in the face of this bullshit. Grrrr >_< I hate capitalism.

  18. All I know is that some thing great is leaving this world. The fact that Viz is going too put up the episodes on their web site is great, but that won’t stop people from putting up torrents and downloading the show. This whole move by Viz & DB will only change the prefix of the torrents we all download.

  19. lafnear, DB Staff, just posted a press release with better information than I was able to dig up last week. If you’re interested you may want to check it out.

    Please do still write Viz and let them know what you want. =)

  20. Fellow Narutards, listen: It’s gonna be okay. We survived the loss of [ANBU-AonE] and we will survive this!

  21. what about people in the UK or outside of america, sites like, hulu etc. that dattebayo say will stream their subs (regardless of the quality and cencorship) are not available if you are outside that region, where can you watch it then? I agree that they shouldn’t cut out the swearing etc, especially because it will be on the internet not exactly broadcasting as day time television.

  22. I Hope Viz Media do a good job on this but I’d rather dattebayo continue with there work, what is the difference in combatting piracy when the service they offer is the same giving them just as much popularity with no extra cost?

  23. You Have Been Trolled by DB again, yet with the biggest impact.
    I’m currently downloading Naruto Shippuuden ep. 92 from Dattebayo.

  24. @whitelighter: Nothing would make me happier, but the fact is this today is the 15th, and the last day they said that they would publish Naruto. So, I would love if that were true, but I don’t think so. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

  25. oh well.what can u do?

  26. Dattebayo announced this on January 11th 2008:
    “We have made our decision, our final episode of Naruto has been released, and we’ve moved the staff to other projects”

    The FINAL episode they referring to was ep 91 which they released last Jan 8th or 9th.

    Today is Jan 15th. This day, they’ve released ep. 92

    Jan. 11 – they said the final episode was released
    Jan. 15 – they released ep. 92

    Clear enough?

  27. Sorry, Today is Jan 16th. 😉

  28. Dattebayo said this on Jan 11th, 2009:
    “…We have made our decision, our final episode of Naruto has been released, and we’ve moved the staff to other projects…”

    The FINAL episode they were referring to was ep. 91, which was released Jan 8th or 9th

    But on Jan. 15th, they released ep. 92

    Jan 11 – they said that their final episode was released (ep. 91 on Jan 8th/9th)
    Jan 15 – they released ep. 92

    Clear enough?

  29. Sorry about my post which said “Sorry, Today is Jan 16th.”
    It was a correction to my earlier post where I told that today’s 15th though it’s already 16th. The post was gone. Dunno what happened.

    Anyways, let’s just be happy that Dattebayo is continuing subbing Naruto Shippuuden. 🙂

  30. I just saw ep. 92 from DB. It’s a FAKE episode.
    ep 91 was most likely their final episode.

    sory for the trouble..

  31. It’s just sad. Honestly, I really hate watching dubs or censored version from any North America TV channel. It’s just so different and suck. Streaming… dealing with “The Requested video cannot be display in your region”, it’s just disapointing.

    Let’s just help dattebayo to be legalized just like VIZ, be their competition. I’m willing to chip in few bugs per month, just to watch their subs. Million of fans chips in a little, could make a huge different.

  32. @yeung: I agree, but Dattebayo has always stated that they want no money for it. If you wanted to show your support for them you should buy their shirts, cups, etc…(I have a shirt, they’re decent quality). You could also follow the advise of the 1/11/08 PR post, and write Viz about the subs. ‘Til then go to to get your Naruto anime fix. I Suggest you install the CCCP codec and play it in media player classic as suggested in the help link on

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