Apologies for the wait, but I had a number of university assignments keeping me occupied recently.
Today's interview is with Mr Death of the group J.A.C. (although some additional members have also answered some of the questions). They're currently working on the Jump SQ series 'Tegami Bachi', a series that must have the record for the longest first chapter ever (120 pages). So you should check it out.
Oh yeah, I also want to give a big thanks to c_k for helping to provide some of the questions for this interview.1. Please give a short introduction of yourself and your manga scanlation group. What kinds of manga your group scanlates, how did it get started, etc.
Well let’s see...my name is Mister Death
and I am the leader of my failed attempt at a group called 'J.A.C.
'. The projects we are currently working on are Tegami Bachi
, Bloody Monday
, Death God 4
and we may pick another Jump Square series...I'm not sure yet. Well the name J.A.C. was used before on something else, so when I start the group I brought the name as well. My group started with just myself working alone on my typesetting by practicing on one of the Tegami Bachi chapters, number 11 I believe. Then I decided to do Volume 1 of it, then when I started doing Volume 2 of Tegami Bachi, Thsv and Blackhowling joined. Afterwards Mikessc88 joined for an unknown reason (the truth is I can’t remember why he joined…) and then Arhazivory joined I think she followed Mike…then redfuzzy, ninjastik and Kiiragi make up the rest of the list.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?
Well I first got into scanlating by helping my friend MLL in Mangashare typeset a few chapters of One Piece before the merger with Binktopia. It was a little difficult at first when I would get confused with the bubble order but I got better with time. But the thing I hate is cleaning; I try my hardest to avoid that and so I normally delegate the task to Mike or Ivory… In fact I will let them explain…
Mike said at first editing manga is a pain. But sticking to the basics and never sacrificing quality will pay off in the end and all will become easier because of it.
Arhazivory said that she learned scanlating at the same time as Mike and was driven to learn by curiosity, and probably the need to not be left out. "Seeing everyone really getting into this and putting out such great series, really peaked my interest and inspired me to learn Photoshop and then get into the scanlator's world. It was challenging at first because I get so nitpicky about the entire thing and want everything to be perfect. It's gotten easier but I'm still not very fast because I pay so much attention to detail, which is why I'm comfortable with monthly series as opposed to speed scanlating weekly manga."3. What types of manga are your personal favourites? Which manga titles do you like in particular? Any genres you don't like? And if you had to name one manga series that everyone should read then what would it be and why?
Well I like all sorts of manga type, some of my favorites are One Piece, Dragon Ball, Gokusen, Rurouni Kenshin, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Death Note, there are others but I can’t remember at the moment… I can’t think of any genres of manga I don’t like I will try and read a bit of it before I decide if I like it or not. The series everyone should read is One Piece (even though I should use this time to try and get more Tegami Bachi readers)… One Piece is one of the few manga series that still keeps me interested after 300 chapters…4. How do you feel about the amount of fan feedback and thanks for the work that you have done? How do you feel overall seeing people read and discussing the manga that you have scanlated?
Well I like the feedback, I also like comments so I want more comments people, but really I don't care if I get the thanks or not to be honest…
Mike says “Although we are not a largely popular group. The fans we have been very cool. I appreciate their thanks and I look forward to bringing them the next chapter of whatever series of ours they choose to read.”
Arhazivory says "I absolutely love seeing the download count (especially for Kurenai, which is my 'baby') and the thanks and comments are appreciated. Even without the thanks and the comments, just knowing that persons are reading something I worked on makes me feel good."5. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on during your spare time?
Well besides taking people souls and sending them to hell, I play games and read books, for the most part a series ever one should start reading is A Song of Ice and Fire b George R. R. Martin, because I’m bad at doing a summaries of stuff I will just give a wikipedia link to it - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Song_of_Ice_and_Fire
…6. J.A.C has done a lot of work on the manga series Tegami Bachi. What prompted you to start working on this series? And what are the parts of the story that make you want to continue working on it?
Hmm, I started working on Tegami Bachi as a random thing to practice typesetting as stated on the first or second question… Well I like the interaction between Lag and Niche, plus it’s a story about a mailman; what’s not to love… If I was to drop Tegami Bachi I think Niph would try and kill me…7. You also recently started working on stalled manga called Bloody Monday. A drama for Bloody Monday aired a number of months ago in Japan and was very successful, usually attracting far more viewers than even the viewership of the One Piece anime. Why do you think that was? And will manga and anime ever receive mainstream appeal in countries outside Japan?
Well Bloody Monday is a very good series, also it might have to do on what time it came on and such if it beat One Piece. Additionally the One Piece anime has been on for close to 10 years, I expect their ratings go up and down a lot… Anime and manga could eventually get mainstream in other countries, but it’s going to take lots of hard work and there need to be even more simulcasts of anime…
Similar to what Funimation was trying to do with One Piece in North America by releasing it an hour after it was released in Japan, then some idiot screwed that up. The thing that annoyed me about that was that some people from Europe who wouldn’t get the simulcast thought it was funny, because they don’t get the simulcast they don’t care if it was ruined for us… The thing with that is they didn't realise if the simulcast would work here then maybe the anime companies from Europe would consider simulcasting anime as well, like a dominoe effect. Especially if they see Funimation making money off of it…
Also for manga they need to release the Tankōbon at a faster rate. For example Viz has had the One Piece license since 2003, but up to now Viz has only released 21 volumes, only releasing 3 or 4 volumes per year… while other series are pushed to release giving them 3 or 4 releases every other month… Also the other thing that would help would be a whole anime channel on cable or satellite and the conservatives would have to take a chill pill, because they would boycott it, if it’s unacceptable in their eyes…8. What are some things that you want to improve upon or are trying to improve upon in your scanlation work?
The obvious thing would be cleaning, there’s always improvement for that, I think our typesetting is pretty good, if ya think otherwise let me know… Also we could use a better QCer, Verixed gets lazy at times…9. What effect do you think the manga scanlation community has on the manga industry? Is there anything you are doing personally to help support it?
Well I think there is a positive effect on the manga industry because scanlation help bring series to people who otherwise wouldn't be getting the series for several years. Then when they are released in that person's country they will go purchase it… The only thing I can think of supporting the industry would be to purchase the volumes when released…10. Have you ever thought about learning Japanese? And if you did learn it what series with currently incomplete translations would you most want to provide translations for?
I have but I am also incredibly lazy and don’t know where to start on learning Japanese… Redfuzzy from my group is apparently learn Japanese… and Mike says “I always have wanted to learn Japanese, at least enough to translate Manga. I feel it would be the ultimate way to embrace the culture. The series I would help out with is World Embryo.”
Arhazivory says "I have been learning Japanese for about 6 months now and I'm at the beginner's level. Now when I scanlated, I tend to waste time reading the hiragana and seeing what I understand from it...which is minimal so far (lol). I've got hiragana down, and brushing up on my katakana skills....kanji - mada mada dane; it'll take me a while. But I'm doing my best. I want to be at the level where I'm able to translate Kurenai and seinen series that get little love (not sure which though)".
I don’t know any series that I would want translated at the moment…You can check out J.A.C's releases hereBeelzebubBloody MondayDeath God 4Kure-naiOut CodeTegami Bachi