Rabbit Rant: Scanlation is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Force is weak to Electric

Read on for your go-to guide on how not to be a scanlation group.

prettyprophet: A bit of retrospective, bit of some ego-stroking. Run, if you don’t want any of that.

Alright, anyone left? Let’s set it off:

Starting Up

Part I – Initial Recruitment

You need people. To get people, you need projects. But that leads to people joining just for a select project and not giving a fuck about anything else. So stick with getting people first. Now how are you going to do that without a project? Easy, grab together friends and hope for the best.

funny_bunny, group leader/idiot of the Rabbits, basically asked everyone he knew for help. This includes people without any Photoshop skills, people with no relation to manga or comics in general, people who would never have dealt with scanlation period. The number had to have amounted to over 50. That was three years ago. As of this date, we’re at less than 10……and that’s if everyone’s active. But we couldn’t have started up without that initial mob to make things all hectic………….but this was only because we did a licensed work (ouch, old shame). Technically, we shouldn’t have been able to start up at all since we didn’t have a translator……..which leads to the next point.

Part II – Staff Positions

You’ll want to categorize your staff so you’ll know who’s who and who can do what. Otherwise you get the Rabbits, where we got the majority of the editing staff doing scanning, proofing, cleaning, redrawing, and typesetting altogether. It’s fucking messy.

You may notice one position I left out: translator. This is by far the most important position; obviously, without a translator, you can’t do jack shit of real scanlation, right?

Wrong. If you’re a Rabbit, you can cheat your way out and piggyback onto other groups: we do joints and hire ourselves out as raw providers/editors. Note: other groups’ll be more receptive if you’ve done a few releases; totally new groups probably won’t make much of an impression to established scanlators. Again, Rabbits got lucky on that respect.

Part III – Projects

Now you get to pick something you all want to do, or if you’ve got some wannabe dictators in group, something only one of you wants to do. If you want to lose all credibility, go ahead and do something ten other groups are already doing. If you want to…oh, I don’t know….actually promote fucking manga, maybe you should pick something no one else would do? Course, this could totally backfire, since no one’ll download your stuff if it’s not mainstream.

And that’s why the Rabbits have a whole variety of projects: doujinshi, manhua, manga, porn. You could argue this ALSO alienates viewers……but fuck it, it’s part of the group philosophy. I’ll get to that part later.

Part IV – The Site

Unless you’re running IRC only or….well, just filehosts like mediafire…….you’re going to need a site to host all this. Announcements, direct downloads, whatever. These days, WordPress and Blogspot are godsends to startup scanlators; WordPress was what the Rabbits use and in a way, still use. You want to be clear, organized, and the complete opposite of us. We load up our posts with our chatlogs and random quotes from random shit because………..frankly, just releasing things like that’s boring. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Rabbits aren’t exactly a proper scanlation group.

Part IV and a half – Filehosting and IRC

You need to host your scanlations; how else are people going to read it (aside from online sites but fuck that noise, that’s low-quality)? Filehosts like Mediafire, Megaupload, Depositfiles, they changed everything. Direct downloads for free…….question is, how long is it going to last? Well, that applies to pretty much all servers……so it’s best to have multiple links and multiple ways to get your scanlations. We use both filehosts, an IRC bot, and occassionally BT.

NEVER FUCKING DELETE YOUR FILES. And keep them on a bunch of different computers; you don’t want a single crash to fuck the group.

Survival

Part I – Basic

So you started up a group; that wasn’t so hard, was it? That’s why you always see a new group on Mangaupdates every day, right? And how come you don’t see that new group ever post another release again? Oh right, BECAUSE WORKING ON A BUNCH OF SERIES IS TIME-CONSUMING SHIT.

Ok, it’s not THAT bad, but let’s face it: lifespan for a group ain’t long. Ain’t long because a scanlation group is expendable. You drop a project and a month, a year, two years later…….someone else is going to pick it up and no one’s going to give a shit about your past work. Scanlation means jack all to the rest of the world; you as a scanlator benefit in no way aside from growing resentment at all the annoying motherfuckers who pester you to do things faster; there’s a good chance the author of the work you’re scanlating hates your guts for illegally redistributing the thing and possibly misunderstanding whatever meaning the work had.

That kill your morale? Then fuck off, don’t even start a group.

Part II – Reason

If you start/join a group, honestly ask yourself why you’re doing it. Because I just gave you a bunch of reasons NOT to do it.

So why do the Rabbits do it?

Ask -_-, it’s because he’s bored and/or owes Funny.

Ask ak, he’d probably say something educated-sounding that makes you go, “Damn, this guy knows what he’s talking about”. That and Leiji.

Ask Fallen, she’d definitely say Leiji.

Ask Ghost, he’ll tell you he didn’t have a choice.

Ask holstein, she won’t say anything, but it’s out of spite against Funny.

Ask Lavie, she’s doing it out of the kindness of her heart; not for the readers, but for the Rabbits.

Ask nde, he’s doing it because Funny’s doing it.

Ask Pat, she’s doing it because I’m forcing her to. She’ll probably quit soon.

Ask Funny, and you’re not getting an answer to the question you asked.

And ask me………well, I could go into a whole thing about showing off artists that I like, the power of editing and subtle/not subtle transmission of personal agendas, and promoting philosophies that would normally be ignored………..but I’ve talked about that shit before. Just know that I’m continuing this because we got a good thing going here.

So that didn’t really explain much, did it? Hey, I think it did. See a trend? Funny. That fucking idiot wants the Rabbits to go on……and it will. That makes everything completely disorganized, but that’s why I’m on the admin end. This leads onto another problem, however…….

Part III – Factions

The Rabbits split apart in name early on, The Reich and the Cowslip, to divide between the ‘regular’ releases and the porn. That didn’t change the staff roster at all.

No, the REAL factions are the ones you won’t see: Funny and all the kids he knows off IRC/other scan groups, ak and Fallen representing Leiji, Lavie and myself on overall management………..and a fuckton more with everyone crisscrossing. I say ‘faction’ and it seems negative, but it’s really just a fancy word for saying “everyone’s partial to certain things and tend to have their own motivations within the group”.

See, I’ll want a couple Cowslip releases every so often, for the spice of sex. Pat wants yaoi all the time. We’d compromise, yeah? On the surface level, sure….but what ends up happening is Pat goes to Funny to have him go to Ghost to translate yaoi, sucking away resources from Food Girls. Yeah, we’ve had secret releases within the Rabbits that other Rabbits don’t even know about until the release date. This is what you get for having a group made up of people with totally different motivations.

Part IV – Brand

Then why are the Rabbits still intact? It’s because we’re Rabbits. Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits. Notice the capitalization of that? Notice the repetition? We hammer in the word ‘Rabbit’ into you and by fuck, you’ll remember us. It’s cult brainwashing, yo, making us seem more important than we really are. It doesn’t matter whether or not the public buys into your image; it’s your own people that need to buy into it. And when I say “buy”, I don’t mean thinking “this is really important, what we’re doing here”…….unless that’s the angle you’re going for (but don’t because that’ll probably lead to disillusionment quick). I mean thinking “heh, Rabbits, that’s cute.” Then by tossing around bizarre phases like “Gut ist tot” and “La Revolucion no va ser Bein”, you’ll give your crew something to laugh about and the rest of the world something to go WTF about.

It’s really all about being part of something that ain’t totally scanlation. You don’t want to be a scanlation group just about scanlation. You’re going to have a hell of a turnover rate.

Part V – Rivalry

You’ll want enemies. Enemies’ll make you go, “Look at those fuckers. Jacking our projects that aren’t really ours because it’s not like we’re actually publishers or anything.” Or “Wow, that’s shit editing. Makes our shit editing jobs look like platinum!” Not going to say who our enemies are because I don’t give a fuck but I know Ghost and Funny do.

Part VI – Drama

Say you got a group implosion on your hands. Don’t let your readership know……..because they don’t care. What seems life-or-death to you is fuck all to them. Have I ever mentioned how close the Rabbits are to collapsing? Course I have; I’ve said it so many times it’s totally normal for us. And that’s the Rabbit trick; we make it seem like we’re all at each other’s throats throughout every post (ok, we really are at each other’s throats) because it’s so much more amusing for ourselves that way. But you’re not going to know about old school Rabbits dropping out of the group unless I’m specifically mentioning them to generate interest in some recruitment post.

Keep the actual drama low; exaggerated stuff on high.

Part VI – Genre

Fuck genre.

That’s all you have to know.

Part VI – Porn

Wait, let’s backtrack to genre. Genre should be fucked because it labels your group as a “girls club” or “boys club” group. That’s bullshit. Maybe in Japan, but you’re in Wonderland now. We do whatever the fuck we want, age and gender be damned. Naturally, since the majority of group would be of ‘adult’ status, we lean towards ‘adult’ series. We got ladies and gentlemen and we cater to both……..but since our translators are both male, this leads to our porno wing being dominated by hentai. That’s the official stance; unofficial is because hentai’s shorter and easier to do compared to yaoi. Plus the boys are less picky.

This leads……..surprise! To another point!

Part VII – Legitimacy

Kotonoha. If you’ve paid attention to the scan scene at all for the past years, you’d know who they are and not because they’re a godawful speedscan group; hell no, they’re the opposite. They’re the closest we got to arthouse. Mangascreener. They’ve been around for fuck knows how long. They’re the closest we got to Hollywood; not in the derogative sense, but for sheer longevity and variety. I like to use those two groups as examples of ‘legit’ groups. They’re not ‘insert-genre’ groups; it’s pure ‘comic’.

The Rabbits aren’t legit. Rabbits won’t ever be legit.

One: we do porn. Even worse, we’ll do extreme porn. Even worse than that, we’ll do porn for both genders. That’ll cause division in the public and raise the morality police.

Two: we’re outsiders. Aside from Funny’s contacts in the scan scene, the majority of the Rabbits don’t deal with any of the other groups outside of joints. We don’t deal with Mangahelpers, we don’t deal with Bakaupdates, we don’t deal with Manganews. We’re not a community outside of ourselves and even then we’re fractioned.

Three: we’re freaks. I’m the PR Rabbit and I’m not exactly the pinnicle of friendliness. The group leader’s an insane pixie and the rest of the Rabbits are so haphazardly organized, any new member not scared off by the initial confusion is going to peace the fuck out once the reality sinks in.

Four: we did a licensed series to start up the group. Old shame, yo.

Five: we do doujinshi. That’s right, fanwanks put alongside actual artists. Course, we also realize actual artists do doujinshi as well, so naysayers can fuck off. To be fair, I was a naysayer myself for awhile.

Six: we whore ourselves out for money. Commissions, mostly porn for now, but that pretty much ruins any chance we have at being a group doing it for the sake of scanlation, no matter what we say.

Seven: we’re Rabbits. We didn’t start serious and we ain’t ending serious.

Part VIII – Luck

You feeling lucky, punk? You better, because that’s what you’re going to need for a scanlation group. You’re going to need luck and you’re going to need moxie to gather together a group, keep them intact, and continue scanlating some longass series that could end halfassed. A number of us were ALREADY friends before the Rabbits. ak just so happened to VOLUNTEER his translating services. A few donations that were HUGE boosted our finances. We have a maniac leader who won’t bow down to things like rationality and common sense.

The Moral is…

In all respects, the Rabbits shouldn’t exist. We’re not that impressive of a group in comparison to any other group. But we’re here and we’re doing our own thing. Maybe one day we’ll switch gears, become a full-blown anime-dedicated site (not fucking likely)…..but we’ll still be Rabbits, whatever the hell that means.

What do I think it means? I think when I see jackbooted jackrabbits stomping down the street…….everyone can look back at us and say, “Those fucking bastards, they made the Rabbit Apocalypse.”

Fuck it, I’m playing some Megaten.

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  1. No Comment’s avatar

    That was pretty good to read through, and it shed some light on things.

  2. Fallen’s avatar

    Ahhhh …. your words of wisdom never seize to amaze me 😉

    “Ask Fallen, she’d definitely say Leiji.”

    Let us see if this is true:

    “So, me, why are you scanlating?”

    “Because I want Leiji and I want him now. F*ck the companies! F*ck them!”

    There you go ^^ Thus proven.

    Ah. But some of the Rabbits do have morals. I know that I buy manga that I have read online, when it comes out in English. And you know that you will take down a series if it is licensed.

    I know that Leiji is hating me somewhere, considering that is pushes for copyrights, but I know that if I can bring the fans Leiji – and there is a large enough fanbase – the companies might bring him over. Plus I love his work and I have had a long enough wait …

  3. funny_bunny’s avatar

    IT’S ALL FOR BEAUTY AND DECADENCE!

  4. prettyprophet’s avatar

    Yeah, but the whole licensing thing is mainly about being legit; what legit group would ever do licensed stuff? Then again, here we are doing porn, so that kinda fucks up any moral sense we got.

  5. iskra’s avatar

    Always thought of you doing porn as your strong point, no?

  6. funny_bunny’s avatar

    Viddy VIDDY strong point!

  7. Fundefined’s avatar

    You guys are so hip you hop, like Rabbits. But seriously this was the first post that’s made sense to me.

  8. prettyprophet’s avatar

    It’s too bad Funny’s gone off and bumped it down with………..what do you know, PORN.

    But yeah, I’ll probably write something up on scanlating porn in general later because……..well, people still ask questions about it.