MH Interviews: Binktopia
Hi and welcome to the first of what will hopefully be many interviews conducted with those wonderful and decent people who work to bring you manga each week - the scanlators and translators of Mangahelpers.
Each...well there's no set schedule, really, but we'll try and get a decent amount of them out every month. We can hopefully continue until we run out of people to interview.
As for myself, I go by the internet handle Lingwe, and occasionally contribute a translation or two myself. After reading some modder interviews on a completely unrelated site I thought to myself why not have the manga community do the same to for the people doing that. I asked Njt about it and it turns out that they had wanted to do it for some time, but never had the time to get around to doing it. So I've started up the initiative myself and will be interviewing the different scanlation groups and the translators who contribute translations.
There will be around 8-9 questions for each interview, mostly focusing upon what they think about manga (since it is a manga site after all) but also asking some other stuff. I think that covers the basics of this new feature for Mangahelpers, so here's our first interview, with Fxu of Binktopia.
1. Please give a short introduction of yourself and your manga scanlation group. What kinds of manga does your group scanlate, how did it get started etc.
My (user)name is fxu, I'm from Uruguay, 19 years old and single I'm in Binktopia, and been in it since December 2007, but Binktopia has been around since early 2006. Most of our scanlated mangas are part of the weeklies (WSJ), Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Reborn, Psyren, Hunter x Hunter, DGM, Eyeshield 21, but we also do a couple of seinens and from other publications when we want, Ciguatera, Vinland Saga, TRC, Fairy Tail. And this... is how we got started:
Thatbabo and mankai intended to do bleach subs for the psp. They did like two episodes, and even though 4 or 5 people said they would help, no one did. So thatbabo got burdened with all the work, had to encode the video, do the typesetting, the timing. After the second one he said "Dude, screw this...I'm spending 20 hours doing this per episode". But mankai wanted to keep on doing it. He thought he was a celebrity and the like, even though a total of 100 people downloaded those two episodes. So thatbabo convinced him that without the man power they would be unable to do the anime. Then out of the blue he said "Let's just do the manga weekly". He had no experience scanlating, and didn't expect mankai to agree since he really wanted to just do the anime. The rest as they say is history. Wait, that's not quite true. He joined Binktopia because he knew Binky. While they were doing the anime and when they started tha manga he would just put up the link at his website. They never intended for the group to be called Binktopia. That was an accident. It had some other name, but he can't remember what on earth it was. It was just that the website was called "Binktopia.net" so whenever people came to grab the manga they were all like "Thanks Binktopia". The name stuck after a couple of weeks.
2. How did you get into scanlating, and how hard did you find it at first? Has it gotten any easier with more practice? Why did you get into it in the first place?
I'm fairly new to all of this actually, I started around late 2007. I had no knowledge about this thing called "manga." I started watching anime on youtube, then I discovered it had a book (manga), and I was intrigued on how people did it (scanlate, that is). It definitely wasn't easy... people might assume that it's just moving a couple of sliders sideways, but if you want it to look good, it goes far beyond that. That's just the first step of many. But with time, it gets easier as you gain techniques from other members on how to do it faster and better, and it's a lot easier if you have people working with you. I got into it because I wanted to see --what has become my favorite-- a certain manga scanlated.
3. What types of manga are your personal favourite? Which manga titles do you like in particular? Any genres you don't like?
The ones that deal with telekinetic powers & the paranormal are my favorite. I'm a complete fanboy for telekinesis, clairvoyance, telepathy, time-travel, etc etc. My favorite manga is Psyren, because it deals exactly with everything I love. I'm also a reader of seinen; Gantz, Vinland Saga, Ciguatera, Kurozuka, Homunculus, Jackals and currently reading Berserk. I'm always taking suggestions to pick up new manga to read :]
4. How do you feel the amount of fan feedback and thanks is for the work that you have done? How do you feel overall seeing people read and discussing the manga that you have scanlated?
It's... uplifting. Just knowing that there are people awaiting for your scan because (according to them) we bring quality releases. Now, I know we're not an HQ group, but based on the time frame from the raw till we release and comparing from other groups, we do bring quality manga to the weeklies, and anything else we touch. /narcissistic
5. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on in your spare time?
What every other MAN in this world loves, VIDEO GAMES (and porn). Also, graphic design. I'm majoring in graphic design/arts so every once in a while I open up photoshop and do... whatever I feel like.
6. What do you feel about multiple groups scanlating the same manga? e.g 5 separate releases of Bleach and Naruto each week while other series go unscanlated.
It's definitely a waste of a manpower. There's a lot of good manga in the dark just waiting to be scanlated. But I'm guessing they're aiming to be known fast, and one of the fastest ways is to release the most awaited manga weekly, Naruto. They can do whatever they please, but it's a waste if it's not with a better quality (this includes better translation), and faster than what it's currently being provided. Or at least a couple of hours after the raw was posted. I don't like too many releases for the same manga, but at least 2-3 is fine, as long as they have DIFFERENT TRANSLATORS.
7. I notice that you (fxu) in particular are very fond of Psyren. How high would your rage level be if it was canceled? Or alternatively how low would your depression levels be if that's the reaction that you have.
To be honest, I've already made my peace (even though there's no date when it's getting axed). There were a couple of rumors in late 2008 that it was getting canceled. I was e-devastated, to the point that I just can't feel anything anymore. My heart is a stone, but inside that stone, my love for Psyren still reigns. If it gets canceled, then I'll have to move on and find another manga to love.
8. Would you like to use this chance for publicity to beg people to join your group?
YES. Binktopia is ALWAYS recruiting for more people. Cleaners, typesetters, translators, proofreaders, cheerleaders, waterboys... anything you could possibly imagine, we're recruiting that! We actually were gonna make a "cleaning school" over at binktopia.org, and we will... but err, the site is down so once everything gets settled, everyone is free to go through levels to be a cleaner (and join binktopia) :]
Shoutout to everyone in Binktopia and all fans who await for our scans!
For those of you who haven't checked out their work, you can download it here:
Katekyo Hitman Reborn
Tsubasa Resovoir Chronicle
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