Tag Archives: bleach

On a Side Note

As I haven’t really published anything here in these past few weeks, I felt like I should at least write something to explain this lack of content – or maybe even use this headline in the future to just rant about things.
Anyway, the lack of posts isn’t due to lack of ideas, far from it.
I believe, I could fill more than a month with The Wesen of Grimm alone.
Beside that, is my imagination working as well as it hasn’t had in quite some time. I have a rough versions of several stories or story-parts, but there is one minor problem:
I have them handwritten and I’m too lazy to type them…
Well, at least I managed to motivate myself to finish On the Run (German Story) and The Legend of the lost Keys (German story) in time for their release for Your Picture – A Story.

What else have I written?

You see, my mind was busy these past few weeks, but I didn’t get around or felt like typing any of it. Still, I prefer to write things by hand. I can’t really explain why, but I guess I just like crossing out stuff and not being dependant on technology. Back when I was still writing with a fountain pen, I also liked the way it cast its shadow on the paper…
Though, if any of you know an App or Program for a tablet that manages to turn terrible handwriting into computer readable words, I’d be more than happy to hear about it! A program like that would save me a whole lot of time…
As for the What’cha Watching Wednesday: It’s not that I didn’t watch anything either, but I didn’t really know what I should write about the series I’ve seen and apart from them I mostly watched old movies with certain actors and I still haven’t figured out how to include those things…
Either way, I’m not sure how often I will update the site during the next few weeks. On Wednesday I’m off to the Rockharz again with Anice, Black Kat, Babsi and others and two weeks later I’ll be visiting Fairy, Nazgul and maybe Icewolf, as a mini- Journey through a bit of Germany. Fairy and I will also be at the Noch ein Bier Fest (One more beer feast) by Sabaton, which will be a lot of fun…
Wish me luck that I can think up another Weekend Guess in time for my departure, as I already had trouble with the last one.
See you around
PoiSonPaiNter

Crossing Over: Chapter 10

It again has taken me quite some time to finish the next chapter of my Bleach-Naruto Crossover Fanfiction Crossing Over.
You can read it:

When I posted the last chapter I said that I might be able to continue more frequently, but time and again am I surprised at how well I can guess my own writing habits (See this post and this for another example).

As I didn’t want to let my readers wait even longer I did not send it to my usual Beta reader, so if you find any nonsense in the chapter, please let me know.

Just like the other times I can give a little look at the music I listened to while writing, but to understand the references I advice you to read the chapter first.

Well, there is only one definite song throughout the Renji-fight part (SabatonNo Bullets Fly) and for the rest I let my player shuffle through only Edguy’s Space PoliceDefenders of the Crown at first, but added Sabaton’s Heroes soon after.

The howling part is by the way one of the main points I wanted to portray from the get-go, the midnight meeting and the butterfly came soon after, but neither of it as extensive as in the chapter ..

And another thing that might be interesting to know: Only five chapters and an epilogue to go and I have finally finished this monstrosity of a story … While I hope I will do so in 2014 will it probably happen some time in 2015, if not later … (and now let’s hope that this is one of my reverse predictions again 😉 )

Apart from having finally written something/finished some writing I am again on the road.
Not long now and we will arrive in Hamburg to make camp and participate in the MPS again.

Semi-Medieval Spectaculum after writing about Samurai and Ninja, yup, that sounds more than fitting …

PoiSonPaiNter

The Soundtrack of my life – excerpt

Instead of the 20th Weekend Guess, I wanted to finally cover something Fairy posted over at Darkfairy’s Senf a couple of months ago:

Which song stands for which chapter of your life and why?
(translated from the post)

As I already contemplated the different chapters of my life in a couple of posts and am able to think of a few songs, I guess I might as well do her the favour and write about it – instead of so many other things that are still unfinished, again.

Though instead of choosing a song that would best describe that part of my life in retrospective I chose the songs that have affected me at at those times, which is also why this is only an excerpt as I can’t remember all of them.

Live, PoiSonPaiNter

During my time in the Secondary School (Realschule) I was one of the most avoided people around, but as I described here, was there one song in particular that made me rethink my behaviour: Leb (Live) by Schandmaul.
In particular the lines were they describe a person barely straying away from the flock, unable to lift their head from the road before them and not seeing the nice things that life provides for them. I rarely looked up or went out on my own during that time as the few people I considered friends back then usually had to ask me out. It’s probably not a surprise that I know more about cartoons and anime from that time than about parties and celebrities.
When I changed to Grammar School (Fachgymnasium) my soundtrack changed as well. The defining songs that created my alias (see: link) became more and more important to me. Edguy’s Wash away the Poison and Painting on the Wall became synonyms for how I felt when nearly no one around even thought of interacting with me. During this time the interest for Metal that was spurred shortly before I learned about Leb was broadened to new bands, including Avantasia. This resulted into one of my favourite concerts at the Wacken 2008, my very first festival.
With Avantasia came new songs, most prominent amoungst them Memories. This song accompanied me into the beginning of my studying years, just as the instrumental song Reqiuem for a Dream and Invasion, Treachery and other songs from the Bleach soundtrack frequented my player. The epic-like scoring of the songs just made me re-listen to them over and over again. It just felt like with this „background“ music I could accomplish anything. Even though, in Invasions case, it is still misspelled in the play-list and I still mishear the lyrics…

Fear, Anger, Mighty Canines and Knight Shoes

Towards the end of studying more Metal came into my focus due to me attending a couple of more Wacken (2010, 2011, 2012) and the Metalfest. Through this I re-learned about Powerwolf and Sabaton, but also about Letzte Instanz that would provide me with a song that I can no longer listen to while thinking. For many people their studying years become the best years of their life, I can’t say the same for several reasons. One of which is the fear of losing my mum when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, which made Ohne Dich (Without You) such an emotional song for me. On the opposite emotional scale did Alestorm’s Keelhauled provide me with the needed stress-/anger-relief whenever I turned up the volume while driving and sang along just as loudly.
Powerwolf and Sabaton on the other hand gave me songs that just grabbed me and took me along with so much energy that I do not grow tired of hearing them, even after seeing each band live for several times (six and four times respectively).
Prayer in the Dark and Saturday Satan also managed to get into the Soundtrack for the book project of Fairy and me: Warlords (its own Blog: dfppentertainment.wordpress.com), but the most defining one is Sabaton’s Carolus Rex. It not just perfectly portrays our Nameless King, the whole album reminded me of something I had forgotten for some time: My home town used to be Swedish during the reign of Karl XII. (aka Carolus Rex). 😀 Regardless of that do the songs of both bands, like Ruina Imperi and Amen & Attack, still hold enough power without additional (personal) meaning to them.
Currently my new soundtrack is still in progress, but To Hell and Back and Resist and Bite are some of the songs I currently can’t skip when they start playing.
In a way did my Soundtrack change from moody and relatively slow to fast power numbers with strong lyrics and rhythms. This is also portrayed in the way I am now, as I became more outgoing than I used to be a couple of years ago. I am no longer bound to a flock, I travel or attend concerts on my own and pretty much do things the way I want to do them. And I am fairly certain that music played a major role in this development.
PoiSonPaiNter
P.S. If you are interested to have a go at this again, feel free to use my translation, but don’t forget to mention Fairy as original Blogger.

Crossing Over: Chapter 9

It has been nearly a year since I updated my Bleach and Naruto Crossover Fanfiction called Crossing Over and I kind of feel bad for it.

But as I have written in previous posts I had a lot going on.
Festivals and „traveling“ I still have to write about.
My Bachelor’s thesis.
And plain lack of motivation to write anything but an occasional Blog post about some random topic.

But now I finally managed to complete the half(?) done chapter I still had from last year and also publish it and you can find it on Fanfiction.net.

Last chapter an anonymous reviewer on Fanfiction.net asked me to not make the Naruto characters weak. Well, as I had planned to let Tenten win in a fight against Ikkaku from the get go, I think I made quite a decent job at that, or what do you think?
Besides that it was fun to put some more side characters into the spotlight. I’m not sure how much they will get from here on out, but maybe a little more. You might also want to see a part of it as Neji-memorial scene and of course I had to make the Ninja-turtle joke. 😉
Speaking of jokes: As I already used the same „joke“ in chapter one I might as well tell you where I got the inspiration for the, well let’s call it: gourd joke.
Quite a while ago I came across the Konoha Corner podcast for Naruto Shipuuden.
From what I’ve heard – which is not that much – it’s pretty fun. Especially their Manga–Recap’s. 🙂
Anyway, during the first few episodes they started the show with a certain introduction for their „Gothic Gaara“, where he and „Jiraya“ talked about the gourd ending in the former yelling „It’s a gourd damn it!“
Thinking about how I could change my original idea their discussion came to my mind and as you’ve seen in this and the first chapter I took that sentence into a different setting as I found it pretty hilarious and fitting.
Though looking through the meanings for „gourd“ the words I used could be seen as synonyms, at least „gourds“ are used for both things (Sake jar, vases).
Well, if you two ever read this: I hope you don’t mind my interpretation of your little discussion. =)

And let’s not to forget the Soundtrack:
Part I: Letzte Instanz – Von Anfang an
Part II: Schandmaul – Der Teufel
Part III: Powerwolf – Secrets of the Sacristy
Part IV: Avantasia – Spectres

And I guess: Sorry for the long wait, but I might be able to continue this story a bit more regularly from now on.

I currently feel like writing and I might finish some other stuff in the coming days as well – at least I kind of hope I can finish another story for Friday – even though I don’t really partake on any Valentine’s Day stuff, but the story at least would be befitting for it.

I also started another Multi-chapter Fic, but I will cover that separately.

What I did however discover with this chapter is, that Fanfiction.net doesn’t care about line spacing…
You can tell your document-file it should have a 1,5 spacing, but the site will ignore it.
But if you make a new paragraph (enter) instead of a line-break (shift+enter) it makes the document on the site look ridiculous.
If you then include the content on a page on e.g. WordPress you can look through it again to get rid of additional paragraphs (empty lines)…

Somehow Fanfiction.net likes to mess with my profile there as well…simply underlining almost everything…so annoying and I just can’t believe the unordered-list tag is the right HTML-tag that causes it…if I include it the list is formatted strangely (on the far left side instead of with a gap before the list-icon) and of course the underlining. Changing the list to not be a pre-programmed unordered-list makes it looks less strange, but not as I would like it to look…

Well, maybe I’ll find a proper solution one day.

Until then I have to bear with a strange looking profile and continue to explore already existing characters in a new setting. 😀
(I am by the planning on writing a post on Fanfiction’s in general … some day …)

PoiSonPaiNter

Crossing Over: Chapter 8

As it so happened I managed to finalize another chapter of my Fanfiction Crossing Over.

Well, with this chapter I was finally able to complain about something I don’t like about the Ninja-World. The kid-soldiers. But putting it in the way Chouji does, it kind of makes it reasonable. Besides, as I said, the average dying age of a Shinobi is pretty young, so they would have to start teaching them early on as they might not be there when they would come to a reasonable age. I still don’t like it, but seeing as Renji is someone who experienced fights from a young age I think this would be how he would react. Originally this whole conversation was different and longer but I kind of forgot to write that down back then so I had to rethink it and ended up with this version.
Some of the things were only said in thoughts, as I didn’t want to repeat the whole Rukongai thing once again. Used too often, repetition gets boring. 😉
Anyway, this chapter was also a nod to one of my favourites of Naruto: Chouji.
He is such a kind and gentle person with so much compassion for his allies…he’s great and even cute. And I would have clearly defended him from every bully. =D
Therefore I’ve chosen a special song for the part with the little butterfly: Crematory’s – Left the Ground. A song that I consider to be fitting for this character. I don’t know why but I had to think of him when I heard this song again after reading the chapters 533/534. And if I would be allowed to make a random wish I’d like to have an AMV with this song and his butterfly-ification from episode 274. I think that it would make one awesome combination…he deserves something like that.
Oh, and of course I had to make him get into an argument with Renji.
Despite both of them having a big heart I imagine it to be pretty funny hearing Kentarou Itou (their Japanese voice actor) talking to himself. =D
Guess there might be some more of those two. 😉

Other than that I’d like to add some thoughts on the library part.
This is basically my explanation as to why there are no Hollows in the Ninja world. A natural barrier seemed reasonable to me as they were able to develop all the Jutsus in the first place. If you disagree with that feel free to leave me a note. =)
My reasoning for why this whole Crossover thing is possible will be explained some time during the finale. So basically some time in 2014 judging from my pace so far…I am so sorry for always taking this long and it probably won’t get better as the following chapters rarely have any of my original ideas, but I will continue regardless of that.

And of course I will not leave you without naming the soundtrack:
For a change I had the German songs Rapunzel by Letzte Instanz and Eulenspiegel from Saltatio Mortis for the library part. During the conversation I listened to a playlist containing those two and other songs by them, Sabaton, ASP and Dr. Stein by Helloween, so nothing concrete here. Well, and the original Tenteikurra-conversation didn’t really include the reactions of everyone, but I thought I might as well add them too. =)

So, see you around. =)

PoiSonPaiNter

Crossing Over: Chapter 7

I can now proudly say: I have finally managed to finish the seventh chapter of my Bleach-Naruto Crossover-Fanfiction Crossing Over!

As I said in my previous post:

I had the chapter nearly written out for quite a while, but it was not what I wanted it to be like. I wanted to add better transitions and better phrasing. Maybe even some more scenes.

And it’s not like I didn’t know what to write, but I just didn’t really have the time to do so. Going from one Semester to the other. From one exam to the next and so forth. Barely even had time to take a breather at all. But with the Christmas days and some vacation days I finally managed to get it done.
I can’t promise the next chapter will be online faster, but I kind of doubt it will take as long as this one.

As for the chapter itself, I can give you two new songs:
Both Rangiku-parts were accompanied by Stratovarius “Hunting High and Low”, while Byakukay’s part held another Blind Guardian song: “Curse my Name”. I made a list of which songs I already used and discovered that this is the forth song of this band and the second time I used it for that character.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy(ed) the chapter and you excuse my lack of updates these past months and the months to come.

Again I have the next chapter planned, and partly written out, but I have more phrasing to do with this one. I do have a planned out storyline, but I have a tendency for shoving some of the topics around to regain a certain balance within each chapter. For the last chapter I even got a positive Review regarding the balance of character-time. I am always grateful for input like that.
An author can only do so little to ensure their work is liked by his audience and this is even worse when it comes to fiction about stories that already exists. But I will have a closer look into the depths of Fanfictions with one of my upcoming posts. 😉

We’ll see how far I’ll come with the next chapter and every other plans as my bachelor’s thesis is just around the corner.

But fear not!

I will still update the blog regardless – as I have done so far as well.
As I said there will be a post about Fanfiction, also the second part of my Wacken-Review is in the making, as well as posts about other festivals and conventions I’ve attended (*cough* last year*cough*).
I also got some ideas for a set of short stories centering around a society of dwarfs. One is even already typed and will be published soon, others so far are mere ideas.

Other than that I started making a recorded version of the chapters of Crossing Over so far and I might add other things that I’d like to rant about.

But still there are exams that want to be passed, a bachelor’s thesis that wants to be written and a hand that wants to be healed.

So stay tuned, I will return. =)

PoiSonPaiNter

Crossing Over: Chapter 6

As this has been on Fanfiction.net for quite some time now: Chapter 6 of Crossing Over my Bleach-Naruto-Crossover Fanfiction that I started to write to improve my English skills. If you haven’t already read it you can start here with the Prologue (or click the link above for the Fanfiction.net pages of the story).

With chapter 6 the second „main“ character of this Fic – at least from the tags I used on the Fanfiction side – entered the stage: Abarai Renji from Bleach. (The other one being: Gaara from Naruto.)

And just like in the previous post about this Fanfic I’ll tell you which music I listened to while writing/editing. An as back there: The songs do not necessarily fit the storyline and you might want to read the chapter beforehand to know to which part I’m referring to. 😉

I listened to „Fade to black“ by Sonata Arctica their Metallica cover song for Rukia’s part. Which is kind of funny as the Rukia-centered Bleach movie is also called by that title. I am not really sure whether I was aware of that when I first started writing the raw version of her part.
The movie is by the way quite interesting. You not only see more of Rukia’s (possible/non-canon) past in Rukongai, but also see how people are effected by the influence of the enemies. I think I should re-watch the movie some day and maybe write something about it and the other Bleach movies.
However, for Rangiku’s part I used HammerFall’s „I Believe“ and beside hinting at my last post about concerts for a little review of a Hammerfall concert I’ve been on last year,there is not much to say about it. Other than you should give both songs a try. 😉

When I couldn’t properly write a chapter for quite some time I added this little sneak preview on Fanfiction.net:

While Rangiku tries to fill her two moronic colleagues in on what had happened, Byakuya reaches a part of the forest where he can sense a familiar Reaitsu and is finally reunited with his beloved sister.

At the point I wrote that I did not see any sign of time that I might have been able to spend on what I have so far as chapter. I wanted to let my readers know that I needed quite some time longer on finishing this story.
By now this problem has changed a bit as I am currently waiting for the results of an important exam and can’t really do anything else – beside working and stuff.
Therefore I might find some time and motivation to continue with the editing of the remaining chapters.
What I have so far for the next chapter is not satisfying…it contains the ideas I had for it, put the way it is portrayed is not what I wanted to show with it…
Just as I am not satisfied with the length of this post…put I’m probably just bugged by it because of the length and more or less importance of my other posts…
Anyway, throughout the last semester I at least managed to change one tiny part of the next chapter.
But it’s still not what I would like it to be.
Therefore I need some more time and see if I manage to get it right this time.
We’ll see what I can do about it.
PoiSonPaiNter

Manga & Scanlations

What you can read below is the basis of my presentation for an oral English exam.
I couldn’t cover everything in the short time frame we had, but at least you will be able to read the entire composition.
Would have been a waste to just stash it away.

Do you know this guy?
What about him?
Do you have any idea what the general difference between them is?
No?
Well, let me tell you: Thor is a comic, while Nura is a Manga.
And  I hope you will be able to tell the difference between them after you read this post.
According to my topic – Manga and Scanlation – I will not just talk about Manga, but also about Scanlations, what they are, how they are made and what is good and bad about them.

But let me begin by looking at the difference between Manga and comics.

As you might know Manga are the Japanes equivalents of Western Comics like Marvel’s Thor for example.

But what exactly is a Manga?

The word itself can be divided into the Japanese phrases Manaimless or whimsical and Gapicture or drawing, giving an impression of unplanned continuity as the term is originally used for both comics and cartooning.
Comic in turn is used for both Comic strips (or Cartoons) and Comic books of certain series.
As a result the word Manga mostly stands for Comics originally published in Japan.
An exception for this are „Comics“ that copy the style of the originals, but are from a different country like Germany for example.
Unlike the western versions Manga are not published page- or strip-wise, but as chapters.
Varying from series to series they are published in anthology magazines in a weekly, monthly or random rhythm – which I’ll return to later on – and in lower frequencies as volumes of collected chapters.

Prejudices and Genres

The most common prejudice regarding Manga is that every character has huge eyes and cute looks.
While this might have been the case with the first series that swapped over the ocean in the 1970s/1980s, it is no longer. Or at least only characters that are intended to be the cute ones (especially children and/or young girls) have this features.
Nowadays character designs have more harsh lines and look rather realistic, yet not as abstract as a western Character like Thor does.
The stories itself range in the same genres as their western counterparts.
You can find pretty much everything from mere Romance over Action up to pure Fantasy or SciFi.
This again is diverted into Manga for females (Shoujo) or males (Shounen) and those in turn into different age groups (children, young adults, adults).
But the way it is portrayed differs from the majority of Comics.
While having a tendency to using comic relief characters and scenes, they always have a serious narration.
Even Manga for children have certain morales within them, while wrapped in light-hearted stories suitable for the reader’s age.
Regardless of genre or anticipated reader-base Manga always teach you something about the culture and/or history of Japan.
For example the rather new series called „Nurarihyon No Mago“ (literally: „Nurarihyon’s Grandson“, translated: „Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan“/“Nura – Herr der Yokai“).
Like several other series this one centers around a young boy, Rikuo, who has a rather unusual heritage. He is the grandson of the leader of all Youkai (Japanese monsters from folklore) and Rikuo as quarter Youkai not only has to take over his grandfather’s position, but also has to cope with being human for the majority of the day and Youkai at night.
And while doing that you also learn about the different types of Youkai that are believed to exist on the Japanese isles.
Additionally, it criticizes the thoughts of excluding someone because he/she is different, which is one of the main topics of a lot of Manga.

In short: Manga are Japanese Comicbooks with a variety of genres for all ages.

Manga vs. Graphic Novel

Though some people – retailers even – claim Manga to be „Graphic Novels„, which by the common usage of the term is quite incorrect.
As I said at the beginning: Thor is a Comic.
It is full of colour pages, has either a concluded or ongoing plot and is read from front to back and from left to right.
This, can be considered Graphic Novel.
It also consists (mostly) of colour pages and is read the same way, but is sturdier than the Comic and potentially also contains short narrative texts.
And Nura thus is still a Manga.
It has usually black and white pages, occasionally colour pages and most importantly is read from back to front and from right to left.
And while Comics and Graphic Novels have glossy paper Manga usually have sturdy, yet still more paper like pages.

But regardless of those differences, let me digress a moment into the Japanese Manga market itself.

Contrary to the way Manga are usually published in Western countries (almost) everything in Japan starts with an anthology magazine.
Within each magazine – as the name would suggest – you have the newest chapter of several different Manga series.
Furthermore, these series are collected according to their topic and the magazines theme.
For example the most famous magazine – the Weekly Shounen Jump – only contains Manga series primarily aimed at boys (Shounen) with lots of action, fights and comedy.
Series which are published in one of the Jump magazines (Shounen, Monthly, V Jump for example) are most likely to become bestsellers, simply because these magazines attract a lot of people ranging from the youngsters up to adults who have bought these magazines in their youth.

You can imagine a magazine like this: The Weekly Shounen Jump for example has currently about 21 series. Every week the creator of the respective Manga writes, draws and simply finishes a new chapter of about twenty pages – with the help of his/her assistants.

The German and the American Manga publishers tried to adept this concept, but failed in both cases as the Western audience seems to prefer the collected Volumes instead of buying the anthologies and then buying the volume versions as well.
The American version „Shonen Jump“ was based on the Weekly Shounen Jump, but modified for an American audience including information on Japan itself and other gimmicks.
It lasted from 2002 until winter 2011.
The German versions BANZAI! for boys and Daisuki for girls had a similar demise. While BANZAI! only lasted from November 2001 to December 2005, due to a discontinued license for the published series, Daisuki managed to stay in business from February 2003 until June this year (2012), when the sales became too low the be bearable any more.
Two to three months after a Chapter is published in the magazines the original chapters are collected into a volume per series; the so called Tankoubon.
When this is released the official translators begin their work, causing a gap between the original and the translated versions (i.e. the series „One Piece„: current Japanese chapter: 685; current Japanese volume: 67 – until chapter 667; current German volume: 63 – until chapter 626) that the Scanlators wish to fill.
Therefore the Japanese magazines provide the basis needed for Scanlations.

But what is a Scanlation?

The word „Scanlation“ is a portmanteau of the words scan and translation. This way the meaning of the word lies within the word itself.
Basically a Scanlation is the process of scanning, editing and translating Manga/Comics from their original language into the translator’s language.
In most cases this is done by non-professionals, by fans who just want to provide a certain series for other fans/readers.

But before Scanlations had been even thought of there were the so called „FanSubs“, which provided fan-made subtitles for Anime (Japanese Cartoons) that aired at that time.
In the late 70s to early 80s fans started to send tapes with the translations from fan-group to fan-group, to share their work.
Coming from there people started to buy the Japanese magazines and/or Manga as well.
They bought the original and put a translation note inside it and send it off to whoever wanted to read it as well.
It was a small community at first, but „thanks“ to the Internet the whole process evolved.
People started to scan the pages, but still only enclosed the translation until the point when some of them started to include them in the scanned pages.

The Scanlation process

From that time on many Scanlation groups went by a simply yet effective process that can be seen in the following chart:

The Process of Scanlating a Manga chapter

What you also can see is that in each stage there are different people involved.
But it all starts with someone buying the magazines I mentioned before.
This magazine is then dismantled into single pages – either by cutting the spine of the book with a razor blade or putting it in a microwave causing the glue to melt.
The scanned pages are now called „Raw“s and are put online via different file sharing systems or send directly to the Translator and/or Cleaner.
This position can be hold by the same or different persons.
The work of a translator is what the name suggests, he/she translates everything in the chapter from sound effects, over thought- and speech-bubbles, to author’s comments, as close to the original meaning as possible.
The work of a Cleaner is a little less clear, it consist of cleaning up the scanned images (removing spots that shouldn’t be there as well as removing the original texts), converting them to black-and-white and adjusting the brightness and contrast levels until they look like the versions you see in published volumes – the scanned pages usually have a more grey colour instead of plain black and white.
When both the translation and the cleaning are done the Typesetter uses both things and puts them together.
Depending on how fast a Scanlation group wants their work to be published the finished chapter has to go through a Proofreader, who checks if everything is done correctly. Afterwards the result is right away posted online or send off to Aggregation websites, who basically are libraries for all the different series. With this the newly released Japanese chapter is scanlated and shortly afterwards available for the foreign audience.

Summarizing this into a few words: Scanlations are fan-made scans and translations of (mostly) Japanese Manga that are published online and (usually) available for everyone.
Yet scanlating and distributing any series is illegal.

Reasoning against Scanlations

I’d like to give you some of the reasoning of the publishers and retailers and show you why they are not that valid.

Demand and Prices

The main reason for publishers and retailers to claim that Scanlations are evil is that they ruin the sales. When people have a free version the companies do not see a reason why they should buy the official version.
But that is not really the case.
A lot of fans still buy the volumes and the merchandise accompanying them.
Of course there are still those who only read and not buy it, but the overall tenor in Germany is still positive.
Even though the sales for the anthologies I mentioned earlier dropped that far that their cancellation was necessary, the sales for Manga were and are still increasing.
It is a bit different in America though, where you can see the negative effect on the demand-supply curve.
The demand is still there and increasing, yet not that many people are willing to buy the volumes at their current price, still their non-buying causes the publishers to increase the prices again, so they will be able to cover their costs, which again leads to less people buying it and so forth.
But with the current prices it really is not that surprising that people stop buying the printed versions.
An average Volume in Germany costs around 7 Euro, while the American versions are around 10 Dollars, which adds up to quite a fortune with each bought series.
Besides it is quite a temptation if you have to pay for this when you could have this for free and just some days after the official release.
Manga fans want to stay up to date with their favourite series, explore new ones and simply want to try out things. Scanlations grand people access to these things without having to pay for them.
This gives people a chance to read them, not just when they are short on money, but also if they simply want to try it and are afraid to make a misinvestment.
This way of thinking is similar to what people think of libraries.
If you wish to try a book without having to buy it you go to your local library and take it from there.
The Aggregation websites I mentioned earlier are nothing different.
Like in every other scene as well: Those who want to buy them will buy them – regardless of the price.

Besides, not wanting to buy the Tankoubon volumes doesn’t mean a fan isn’t willing to buy other merchandise or special features, such as plush toys, figurines, special volumes, artbooks, novels and so forth.
Yet theses things are rarely sold in your local bookstores.
Though you might have the chance to buy them in a well-equipped Comic store it still is very unlikely.
The best chance fans have to buy additional stuff is by using the Internet or attending Conventions.

Just a small excursion on this before I continue with the next problem:

Conventions or Anime Conventions are meetings for fans from fans and/or supported by studios or publishers. For several days fans can indulge in their fandom: Buying the stuff I mentioned before, attending discussion panels, participating in workshops, while dressing up as their favourite Characters – called Cosplay. (There are all kind of other Conventions as well, but covering those does not serve the purpose here.)

Wrongful profit

The next problem with Scanlation is that some of the Aggregation websites try to make a profit of their work, by forcing readers to log in and pay a monthly fee (like libraries) to read (and/or download) as much Manga as they wish or simply gaining money from advertisement on their sides.
But this is in my opinion an even worse Copyright Infringement than hosting the Scanlations in the first place as the authors (and other people involved) don’t see a cent of this money (as they’d to through library fees).
In 2010 36 Japanese publishers and American publishers like VizMedia, TokyoPop and Yen Press formed a coalition to fight the “rampant and growing” problem of Scanlation.
They tried to force these sides into closing.
Though only the three biggest Aggregation websites at that time – OneManga, MangaHelper and MangaFox – are remembered to have closed their doors because of this.
Still from their ashes several other websites like MangaStream or MangaReader rose to popularity, as the readers looked for a substitution.
Afterwards not that much has been publicly heard of similar actions.
For a short period of time MangaStream had put down its releases of the Weekly Shounen Jump series due to VizMedia starting a new campaign, claiming that they will only host reviews and release notes for the chapters.
Only a few weeks later they started to publish the series again by saying, that they will be removed after 60 hours.
By now they stay longer in their directory but less than the amount of time on other sides where you can read them years after they were published.

Declining sales?

While it is good that the publishers and creators wish to protect their rights this might not been the best way to try this.
It is the same principle as with the movie or music industry.
Publishing without permission is forbidden, yet it is still practised – regardless of the consequences.

The Sales of the Weekly Shounen Jump magazine

In Addition to that did the sales of the anthology magazines in the Japanese Manga market decline in the recent years.
It is still higher compared to those in the western market; yet lower than their own former sales.

From 1995 to 2005 the sales of the Weekly Shounen Jump magazine halved, only having a slight increase again in 2005.
I would have liked to explore more on this graph, but the data it contains is slightly biased as it sometimes shows the circulation of New-Years‘ issue, the average circulation or the bestselling issue, but it gives a good overview over the situation.

Therefore I’d like to show you this graph here with the First Week Sales of the Manga series Bleach for its last ten volumes.
As the sales are cumulated from the day of their release until the Sunday of that week it is not always the same amount of days a volume has been available.

Bleach Sales per Volume in the first three days

For better comparison I calculated the amount of sold volumes for three days, as this was the number of days the most volumes had been published.

Seeing these sales figures would suggest a decline, but it is not as simple as that.
The story of a series is just as important as the overall popularity of it.
For example volume 48, which is the peak here, is the ending of the first major plot arc in the entire series, so everyone wanted to have it.
Volumes 49 to 54 are an interlude arc for the main character to regain the powers he had lost in the previous arc.
With 50 and 51 being the ones with the most progress and 53 being the one with the return of much anticipated side characters.
And even though it is the final arc the sales for volume 55 are still lower than those of the previous arc.
When this volume was released in June 2012 the story had just begun and it wasn’t clear where it would lead, so people might have wanted to look at what will happen before they bought the volume, besides they probably were still disappointed at the interlude arc, which wasn’t that good.
Looking at the complete sales figures this volume would have been the second bestselling one beside volume 46.
My prediction for volume 57 is that the sales will rise again, as the story this time is pretty cool.

You see a decrease in sales in this field is not only because of general reasons like lack of money or interest, it also depends on what the volume contains that the buyer wishes to read over and over again.
Regarding Scanlations this can be done on the Aggregation websites as well, but it is always a different feeling if you hold the volume in your hands and turn page by page than simply clicking a button on your keyboard to do the same.

But not everything is bad with Scanlations

Thanks to Scanlations a lot of series made their way into peoples mind.
Scanlation groups came across series they would enjoy reading and translating, thus creating a fan base for series that none of the official publishers would have thought of.
And this effect can be seen in both the German and the American market.
For example the series Ao No Exorcist (Blue Exorcist), which is a huge success in Japan, had its first Cosplayers long before it was even licensed in Germany.
The new(!) German publisher „Kazé“ then took it into their repertoire to give in to their needs.
As well as the series „Maid-Sama„.
If I remember correctly some girls suggested this series to be published when representatives of „CarlsenComics“ and „TokyoPop“ held a panel at the Hina Matsuri – a Japanese cultural feast in Hamburg.
And what happens if publishers do not comply to their readers wishes can be seen by the American branch of TokyoPop, which had to close because they diverted that much from their main aspect – selling Manga – that they weren’t able to uphold their business.

Another reason for fans to prefer the Scanlations is that these translators put more heart into their work, they translate what is said – unlike some publishers who translate what they wish it to say – and try to keep it as close to the original as possible, even including some of the Japanese words.
Official translators try to translate everything, only recently did they start to include words like „-sama„, „-san„, etc. simply because they noticed the audience know these words and a formal translation wouldn’t work.
Though you feel kind of stupid when you read the translators note still in the 50th volume as if you still don’t know what it means.
Often the official translators change the names to become such the western audience are more familiar with or translating it with the wrong pronunciation – especially with names that contain an „R“ – (Luffy  -> Ruffy – One Piece).
Sometimes they try to include the pun intended with the name to be in the translated version as well (Usopp -> Lysop – One Piece).
Scanlation translators simply leave the names as they are and do the same with catchphrases and speeches.
They look at the tone of the conversation and translate it that way, while the professionals create a rather unemotional translation.
This, beside the fast and free availability, is one of the reasons readers tend to use Scanlations.

Anyway, to summarize this:

Publishers do not like Scanlations and try/tried to stop them, yet at the same time they use them to gauge peoples interest in certain series to see whether or not it would be profitable to sell them.
Yet with the prices they are selling them for, they consequently force their readers to look for alternatives, thus supporting the Scanlation market – if you want to call it that way.
With the current way of thinking and the lack of money within the reader’s hands it is most likely that Scanlations might exceed the printed volumes, thus causing the downfall of the print media.
Yet there still will be people who wish to buy these things – either to collect them or simply to read them as book.
If both Scanlation groups/Aggregation websites and publisher would find a compromise for their readers that would be affordable and have at least the same standards the Scanlations already provide they would be able to stop this conflict.

But let’s recap what I told you today:

I talked about Manga and how to distinguish them from Comics and Graphic Novels.
Then I talked about Scanlations and the process of making them.
Additionally, I explored a bit on how Manga are generally published in Japan.
At the end I looked at the pros and cons of Scanlations, leaving you with the thought that both parties – publisher and scanlators/readers – have to change their minds on this „problem“, so they might be able to solve it.

And I hope you can now look through the links above and are able to tell the difference between Comics, Graphic Novels, Manga and Scanlations.

References:

Other interesting things to read:

© I own none of the above mentioned Comics or Manga, though I do own issues of them, but no Copyright at all. They all belong to their respective creators. The pictures provided here, were simply used for visualization.
The Chart for the Jump Sales was taken from „The Rise and Fall of Jump„, as well as the data for the Scanlation process chart and the Bleach volume Sales were taken from „Scanlators tell their Stories“ and „Bleach Volume Sales„.
No Copyright Infringement is intended by any of this.
If you would like to use my graphs (Scanlation Process and Bleach Sales) or any of my conclusions please send me a note as I’d like to know how you interpret (and use) them.

Crossing Over: Chapter 5

Nearly a year after I’ve posted the prologue I can give you the fifth chapter of Crossing Over.
My Bleach-Naruto-Crossover Fanfiction.

It is quite impressive that I managed to write six chapters in one year. And I’m not sure whether this is positive or negative.

Every now and then I write in the Author’s comment on Fanficion.net, what music I’ve listened to while writing or editing.
As I leave out the comments when I post the chapters here I thought I’d use this chance to give you the playlist for all the chapters so far – including the new one.

A word of advise: The topics/lyrics of the songs don’t necessarily fit to the part they apply to. Still I hope some of you might like getting to know new stuff.
That goes for about every song I will introduce you to. Please bear with me here. =)

And I’d suggest you read the chapters beforehand to understand the references, but you could also skip that and just look for the different song titles (in italics) throughout this post.

Chapter 2 – The Lion’s Den:

I’ll begin with the one starting to play in my head, well and on my player, whenever I read the headline „In the Forest“, or worked on that part of the chapter: It’s Blind Guardian’s wonderful „The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)“ (There is also a version by Van Canto, if you want to try out something different.)
To raise money for Japan after the Fukushima and tsunami incident they also participated in an auction offering a singer to put his touch on one of their most famous songs.
Anyway, it’s one of the most amazing acoustic songs I’ve ever heard, only topped by it’s even more amazing live version. Especially if you’re standing among those thousands of people and everyone is singing this song…totally epic…
Awww…man I wish I could turn back time…=(
Same goes for „Mirror Mirror“ another Blind Guardian song I listened throughout the first part of the chapter and I don’t really have anything to say about it.
Therefore we just go to the third and last song for today: Grave Digger’s „Rebellion“ – a song for freedom and independence (according to their singer Chris Boltendahl) – , that I listened to during the Suna – part. Next to the original version and again a Van Canto version there is a recording of their concert in Wacken 2010, where they play it in an amazing version together with both Van Canto and Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian.
Well, and this leads us to the first song again. 😉

Chapter 4 – Traces:

In this chapter we have Sonata Arctica’s „Don’t say a word“ for the Suna part and „Reign of Fear“ by Crematory for the other two. Both are pretty interesting songs,  helped me to get this put together.

And for the new chapter – Chapter 5 –  First Stages:

As I tend to do mean things I am going to tell you which song I’m starting to sing when I read the beginning phrase of the first part – „Early in the Morning“.
It is an evil song.
A song that will stick with you for a long time. An „Ohrwurm“ (literal translation: „earworm“, metaphorical: A song that sticks in your head and won’t leave) as we’d call it over here.
You cannot flee from it.
It’s the „Drunken Sailor (Song)„. =D
There are so many different versions of it out there that it’s hard to pick one, but currently I’m fascinated by Saltatio Mortis‚ way of playing it.
They are a folklore/medieval band that only sings one strophe and the refrain, but have an awesome instrumental part afterwards…if you like bagpipes as much as I do, then you will like this version a lot. =D
And of course sing it for the rest of the day. 😉

Part two is somewhat dedicated to Blind Guardian’s „Hallelujah„.
A song I really enjoy listening to currently and therefore want to introduce you to.
A song originally played by Deep Purple, but the cover is way more epic or as acrisiocam put it on Youtube:

„Blind Guardian didn’t make a cover. Hansi just decided that he was too awesome for mankind, so this song would have eliminated 97% of the population due to an overwhelming amount of epicness. So, he let Deep Purple do it before them so, that the mortals could get used[to it].“

I totally second that…=D

For reasons unknown to me I picked „Fullmoon“ by Sonata Arctica for the last part. I just like the song, as one of the most interesting werewolf – themed songs I know.

Ah and: Yes, I know. I picked a pirate – like song to listen to while writing a story about Ninja and „Samurai“. I’m just weird like that. 😉 And it will probably happen again, as I have quite a variety of sailing related songs…it only can get worse. 😉

Have fun listening to those and reading the chapters, if you don’t already have done that and liked/hated what you heard/read.
And even if you did, just listen to them/read them again. 😉

Aside from all those fantastic songs, I will be giving this story an AU tag on Fanficion.net.
I mean, the way Naruto flows right now it would be pretty unlikely that there will be a truce or even the people I am using in this still alive. =/ It’s more likely that the story will end than that…
Besides what’s your opinion on Rangiku/Kakashi? Right now I put it off the list of what I want to write in each chapter, but I do have an idea for some interaction between them, I’m just not sure if I should use it or not…
Just tell me what you think about that or generally about the chapter/story in the reviews. I’m looking forward to it. =)

PoiSonPaiNter