MH Interviews: Maximum7
Welcome to MangaHelpers' 13th Scanlator Interview Session. As I promised you last week, we will have an interview session with one of the scanlations group this week. So with that said, I proudly present one of the most famous scanlations group around: Maximum7. So with me today is ExiledVip3r, one of the admins for Maximum7.
Maximum7 is a well known scanlation team that releases Bleach chapters in HQ every single week. So be sure to take this opportunity to thank Maximum7 for all their effort if you haven't done so yet. I hope you enjoy this interview.
1. First of all, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Can you please give an introduction of yourself?
I am an admin and the Bleach team coordinator of Maximum7. Maximum7 was my first group. I joined several years back when I was browsing Bleach7 and saw a recruitment for Bleach cleaners. I decided what the hell I'm bored and could use something to do. Lumi (The previous Bleach team coordinator, wherever you are we miss you and hope you're well!) helped me learn how to clean and so I joined. After about 4 months of being a lowly cleaner, I was thinking about leaving Maximum7 as I had grown tired of cleaning, but through some weird bizarre turn of events I ended up taking over Lumi's job instead and 3 years later here I still am, trapped.
In addition to Maximum7, I am also co-founder of MangaToshokan.com along with fellow co-founder anpan. MangaToshokan is an online reader we created out of a hate for all other online readers out there. The first and foremost rule of the site is to respect the scanlator; we abide by every wish they give us and we don't compress the pages or change page orders so they are exactly as the scanlator intended. We provide links to scanlators' websites, and invite the users to visit the scanlators' personal website if they wish to download it and provide them the means to do so so the scanlator can get the recognition they deserve and yet so many other online readers do not give them.
2. Tell us a bit about Maximum7. What kind of group is it? Why the name "Maximum7"?
Maximum7 is an old group that's current primary focus is HQ Bleach scans. A handful of our other "active" projects include To-Love-Ru, Variante, and Darker Than BLACK: Shikkoku no Hana. I use the word active loosely, as we are a lazy bunch when it comes to our side projects. A couple of our past projects would include Trigun Maximum and Mx0, along with a handful of others we did short runs on.
These days the primary focus of our group is to provide the highest quality we can.
The story of "Why Maximum7" is needlessly convoluted. Once upon a time there were 2 groups. The first group, Manga7, founded by l2thez and moonbean, scanned bleach and came out of the Bleach7 community, hence Manga7. The second group was MaximumT, founded by Molokidan and Flipster, and they released the series Trigun Maximum. These 2 groups came to an agreement and decided to pool their resources and merge. Thus making Maximum7.
3. How and why was the group formed? Tell us a bit about the scanlation scene when Maximum7 was first formed. What was it like?
I explained most of that in the previous question. I wasn't too active in the manga community at the time, but looking back I'd say the scene back then wasn't pretty. Scanlation quality in the past couple years has really shot up as a whole. Though that's not to say there still isn't god awful speed scans out there.
4. I noticed that Maximum7 releases Bleach chapters in HQ every week but those releases come out when it's almost the next chapter. Can you give us an idea of the amount of time you spend on each chapter? Do you have any future plans to increase the speed in which you release your HQ chapters?
Cleaning a chapter really doesn't take a whole lot of work for us. We have a decent sized staff and I'd, in all honesty, say the cleaners we have are among the best I've seen; we're lucky to have them. The "slowness" really comes more from our philisophy of why we do it. There are speed scans out there already; if people want to read low quality stuff, they will, and the people who care enough about quality are willing to wait for it, and they're the people we care about. We also take a very relaxed approach to it all. We don't clock in on the weekend like it's some sort of job and bust hump to get it done ASAP; we take our time. HQ pages are tedious and take a while. Hounding the cleaners to do it quickly only burns them out and lowers the overall quality. That being said, we do set ourselves a goal for time, and that's Sunday afternoon, but if we aren't going to make that deadline, we aren't going to degrade the quality in order to make it.
5. There is also a dedicated Bleach website called 'Bleach7'. Do you run that website or are you just affiliated with them? If you do run Bleach7, what's the current status of it? Any future plans for the site?
Bleach7 is a community site for Bleach that was, once upon a time, run by Kon. As I previously mentioned, the group Manga7 came out of its community and Bleach7 hosted their website. Amidst the merger between Manga7 and Maximumt into Maximum7, Maximum7 became an integral part of Bleach7. And as time progressed, Bleach7 went through an extended downtime of a couple months where Kon, the founder, had lost interest in running it. So we wrestled the site from him and took control of it and put the site back up. Where Bleach7 was once the "parent" of Maximum7, it switched roles and Maximum7 can now be seen as the "parent" instead of Bleach7.
6. Some scanlation groups are sensitive when it comes to other groups doing the same project as them. How do you feel about this? Have you ever considered or tried working with other groups before taking up a series?
The idea that a group has a sort of claim on a series is ridiculous, but it should still be considered proper etiquette for a group to ask a scanlation group if they want to joint a series before poaching it from them. And with popular shounen series such as Bleach and Naruto, in the ideal world there would be just a decent quality speed scan and a high quality release a couple days later, as opposed to 5+ groups doing the same chapter (often times with the same translation even) which really just adds to confusion and is a colossal waste of time when there are other series out there to do or current groups doing that series that would absolutely love the help.
Maximum7 is always willing to help out on a joint for a series, or willing to accept a joint for getting one of our slow moving releases done, such as Gintama.
7. Do you have a favorite author or series? If so, could you share?
I'm pretty fond of Urasawa Naoki with Monster being my favorite anime and 20th/21st Century Boys being my favorite manga.
8. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on in your spare time?
I enjoy working on some website programming from time to time. But when I'm not doing that or working on Bleach, I usually find myself battling the evil lord Gratrox through time and space using my super human power abilities of superdom(tm) while the fangirls swoon in the background, cheering my name as I swing my sword of fate and justice through his heart. As blood gushes out and he curses me with his last breath, "I'll get you next time you suave bastard!" I coolly give a well prepared and bad-ass closing sarcastic line (prepared ahead of time). Oh, I also enjoy long walks on the beach.
9. Do you have any advice for other scanlation groups?
Stop treating scanlations like they're a popularity contest. It should always, first and foremost, be about getting the series you scanlate to the people who enjoy it. Anything else is NOT important.
Anybody who has talked to me before about scanlations knows my extreme hate for mirror policies and water marking and this is why. Restricting how soon or who can use a release is just stopping it from getting out there to the fans. Some groups say they do it because if nobody comes to their site for the release they can't recruit people, which is fair, but the fact is recruitment is just plain hard if you're not doing a popular shounen, instead look to recruit in other ways: Become active in some other IRC channels and network with other groups, become more active in the scanlation community as a whole, just plain get out there and recruitment becomes no big thing.
Being so against mirror policies like I am may sound strange seeing as we at MangaToshokan strive to respect them whenever we come across them, but that's because the core tenant to MangaToshokan is respect for the scanlator who's providing us with the content.
But we at Maximum7 invite anybody to use our scans, whether it's to host our releases on another site, make an international scanlation; whatever you want. We'd certainly like to be given credit if you do use our stuff, but we aren't going to make a big deal out of it. We're just glad to have our work out there where fans can enjoy it. We scanlate the series we do because we enjoy the series and want others to as well; nothing more.
10. Thank you very much for the interview! Do you have a message that you'd like to pass on to all of your fans?
The rest of the staff would be mad at me if I didn't use this time to attempt to recruit some fresh meat cleaners. We're a laid-back fun bunch and are willing to teach you everything you need to know about cleaning HQ Bleach from start to finish so just drop me a PM or head over to our forums if you're interested.
We're also always up for a joint if any groups are interested.
And thanks to all the fans that have continued to give us their support; we work hard on our quality for you guys.
You can ask the Maximum7 team more questions or make comments in their Scanlator Thread.
You can also find Maximum7's releases here:
Darker Than Black - Shikkoku no Hana -
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