History of Doremi Fansubs
NOTICE: This text has been retrieved from the old site and converted to work with the current one, there may be errors.
Original Authors: Maceart, Ladholyman
This isn’t actually a release post, but more of a treatise/write-up of the history of Doremi-fansubs.
Doremi-fansubs was founded on August 5th, 2005.
We’re in the year 2012. Doremi-fansubs started out in August of 2005 (although the founders did work for other groups before that, our first release was on August 10th, 2005). That means this group is close to 7 years old. In terms of Internet years, 7 years is quite long. I can safely say we’re one of the oldest active fansubbing groups right now (even though we don’t sub much). According to Anidb, Doremi-fansubs has released 685 episodes of anime, spread out among 44 series.
Part 1 – 2005-2007 by Maceart
Way back in 2003, me and Ladholyman had just come back from vacation in Taiwan where we caught a couple episodes of Ojamajo Doremi Motto on YoYo TV (a cable channel that focused mainly on children’s programming). One episode that especially stood out was episode 15 of Ojamajo Doremi Motto (with Takeshi Hasebe’s mother). We liked it so much that when we came back to the United States, we looked around for fansubs on the show. Sadly, what we saw was quite sad. Only 2 episodes out of the first season by NaDejiko back in 2002 and a seemingly dead IRC channel. Disillusioned, me and Lad decided to go back to playing Diablo II and studying for SAT’s to prepare for college.
It was later in 2003 that me and Lad really started to get into anime other than the Naruto and the occasional episodes of Konjiki no Gash Bell. Ladholyman figured out how to use IRC, and he used it to grab many enjoyable series (PlanetES, Kimi ga nozomu eien, etc). Torrenting was starting to get popular, and we got cable internet around this time, so lots of anime were downloaded.
During the summer of 2004, Kaze from Kazenokoefansubs contacted Ladholyman on IRC and wondered if he would be willing to translate some lines from the Detective Conan 7th Movie for his group. Since Lad and I knew no Japanese at the time, we asked Kaze if he had Chinese subs for us to translate from. He did, so Lad tackled the first 20 minutes of the movie with me tackling another 10 minute chunk of the film. KnKF’s Detective Conan 8th Movie was the very first fansub Lad and I participated in (I still remembered how exciting it was to see our names in the credits under “translation”).
The next year, me and Ladholyman had another enjoyable summer break in Taiwan, where we caught the last episodes of Ojamajo Doremi Dokkaan! and the beginning of Ojamajo Doremi Naisho on YoYo TV. Impressed by the quality of the show and lamenting on the lack of fansub options for it, we decided to form a fansubbing group to sub Ojamajo Doremi. Interestingly enough, a raw provider group called Onegai-raws released Naisho raws in pretty good quality, so I downloaded them. Lad also found some rmvb rips of the Taiwanese broadcast of Ojamajo Doremi Naisho (where there are hardsubbed traditional Chinese subs).
Yes, Doremi-fansubs started out as a JPN-CHN-ENG fansubbing group.
I started going into many fansub IRC channels and spammed for people to join our group. Back in 2005, IRC channels were pretty massive (over 500 people for the bigger groups were pretty common). Basically, I typed something to the tune of “HEY, DO YOU LIKE OJAMAJO DOREMI? JOIN #DOREMI@IRC.RIZON.NET. FREE OPS FOR EVERYONE!” everywhere. After reading up on how to set up a channel (thanks rizon chanserv help), #doremi was registered on August 7th, 2005. People started trickling in, mostly out of curiosity but a couple actually had heard of the anime Ojamajo Doremi and stuck around. I gave ops to everyone who joined back then during the first couple days, something unheard of in fansubbing IRC circles.
One person who joined was Neclos, the translator of Nadejiko (who had subbed 2 episodes of the first season of Ojamajo Doremi but had stalled for a while). Neclos was very helpful. He taught Ladholyman and I how to time using Substation Alpha, what format to type out translations in, and most importantly of all, how to do basic Xvid encoding using VirtualDubMod. He also told us he’ll stick around to help translation check our Naisho subs. He also had raws of the complete first season of Ojamajo Doremi and said he would continue it as long as someone helped him time the episodes.
Ladholyman finished his translation of Naisho episode 1 in a day. I finished timing the episode on August 8th and sent the script to Neclos. On August 10th, Neclos uploaded [Doremi].Ojamajo.Doremi.Naisho.01.avi on Scarywater, and our very first release was out. Episode 2 was quickly translated by Ladholyman and timed by me, and soon enough, after 3 days episode 2 was released.
Three days per episode was our schedule, since Lad and I were both on summer break and Neclos seemed to have lots of time in his hands. I translated episode 4 of Naisho (Onpu episode, woot) while Ladholyman continued with episode 5-6. It was around this time that another translator joined our group, Willy_Sunny. He translated Naisho episode 7 for us and stuck around as a QCer/Typesetter.
After a couple weeks and around 8 episodes of Naisho released, things were getting done pretty fast. Our channel was still pretty tiny (around 30 people) but we were churning out Ojamajo Doremi releases on a pretty regular basis (both Naisho and Season 1). Around the middle of August, Apterous from the group SailorSporkProductions contacted me about a possible joint project on a new anime called PetoPeto-san. I poked around to see if there were Chinese subs for them, and sure enough there were. I agreed to the joint project and thus Doremi-fansubs has their first new project. Petopeto episode 1 was released on August 23rd, 2005.
Ladholyman and I started junior year of high school and Doremi-fansubs was going strong. #doremi grew to around 50 people when we released both Petopeto and Ojamajo Doremi Naisho on the same day. Eretan, an OP from #trackercoalition wanted our help in QCing the last three episodes of Kaleido Star for his group ATC, which we gladly obliged. More importantly, ATC’s translator, bd_ joined our group as a translation checker and Weedy, their tracker provider, also joined Doremi. Now we actually have a tracker (instead of using Scarywater all the time) and an actual Japanese translator. Weedy also provided some FTP space for us to store scripts and raw files.
It was around October 2005 when we picked up Mai-Otome, one of our most popular projects ever.
This Animesuki post pretty much summarized our evolution as a group during Mai-Otome: http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?p=462360#post462360
The most important point was the creation of DLQCT, aka the Doremi Leecher Quality Check Team, a way of crowdsourcing QCing of episodes so we can stick to a specific deadline (in Mai-Otome’s case, Saturday releases). One of the main reasons we picked up Mai-Otome was because we wanted to show it to our anime club at school, but Static-Subs had inconsistent release schedules. Thankfully, there were 3-4 Chinese groups on Mai-Otome, releasing at a brisk pace. Around episode 10 of Mai-Otome, xat, a karaoker and encoder joined our group. I remembered when we released Mai-Otome episode 1, we made many careless mistakes in terms of naming and grammar. Even then, episode 1 was one of our most downloaded files ever. It almost crashed my Comcast connection. Our channel bloomed to around 150 people. #DLQCT was created as a sort of staff channel (before, all staff discussions occurred in the main channel).
As we started releasing Mai-Otome weekly, leechers started noticing and joined the main channel in droves. I remembered every week our !peak statistic grew and grew. The Mai-Otome staff was pretty much set by episode 11 when I gave xat the encoding role (before then I was just using ghetto 1 pass Xvid encoding with no concern for filesize). Episode 23 was when we reached our highest user count in #doremi: 785 users. Comparatively speaking, we were bigger than #gg, #lunaranime, and #eclipse at the time. The channel was a riot to be in, as we would do countdowns for the release of Mai-Otome (usually around 5pm PST Saturday). The two times we released on Fridays resulted in version 2’ed disasters. Episode 25-26 were vulture-subbed by a new group called Your-mom (who became Ayako-fansubs) so we didn’t break any channel records when those episodes came out..
After the Mai-Otome era was over, we started poking around anime season charts to see what shows we should pick up. We did a side OAV project called Itsudatte My Santa with Anisquad (who promptly folded after the joint, how quaint). My Santa wasn’t one of our best projects; the translation was average, the typesetting was atrocious and my 1 pass encode looked terrible. Still, we were the first out for that anime. KazenoKoefansubs contacted us again asking if we would like to translate Kashimashi: Girl meets Girl for them, and since Ladholyman is a sucker for anime with lesbian tendencies, we agreed.
The joint with KnKF went all right. While we did translations promptly every week, on Kazenokoe’s side, they ran into problems with their typesetter and encoder, delaying the release by days, even weeks. Towards the end we were releasing slower than Xabin-fansubs, another group on that show. Thankfully, we finished the show on July of 2006.
After picking up Kashimashi, we looked around to see if there were any interesting shows to sub. Doremi-fansubs approached AnimeLito (who did Rozen Maiden) and Kazenokoefansubs to see if it was possible to do a triple joint on REC, a 9 minute anime. None of us realized just how hard coordinating three groups was, and REC was promptly dropped after episode 1 when disagreements arose with AnimeLito and KazenoKoeFansubs. Us dropping wasn’t exactly an issue; Lunaranime was already subbing REC faster and better than our triple joint.
Trackercoalition and Hongfire wanted us to fix up a sub of Pale Cocoon they did (timing wise) and we helped them out. Pale Cocoon was released on Feburary 10th, 2006. People had problems with the release because the encoder went for a larger than usual resolution of 800 x 480. Still, Pale Cocoon was one of the most enjoyable OAV’s we worked on.
Mendinso, a QCer from DLQCT had some reconstructed Sonic X raws, and he wanted me to translate a couple episodes. As much as I love Ryou Hirohashi, after I did one episode I was ready to give up. Shounen video game anime just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Interestingly enough, bd_, our translation checker wanted to start a on a new airing anime for Doremi-fansubs. Simoun was picked up and episode 1 promptly released. Sadly, bd_ ran into some real life issues that took time away from translating. Ladholyman picked up the slack, but the anime wasn’t exactly his cup of tea (something irked him about the animation) and we dropped it on episode 5. Simoun-subs picked up where we left off, so at least Simoun viewers weren’t left hanging.
Our next completed project was Today in Class 5-2 OAV. Having read the manga and found it hilarious, when we heard there was going to be an OAV covering the whole manga, we started looking for help on typesetting and encoding (xat didn’t like Today in Class 5-2 and didn’t want anything to do with it). Deltaanime-fansubs, a relatively new group, approached us and agreed to help us encode and karaoke Today in Class 5-2. Since Chinese subbers already released softsubs for them, translating the show was as easy as pie. DA-subs had some snazzy karaoke effects for the show, and we finished the OAV on June of 2007 (the four episodes were released at a pace of one every three months).
The spring 2006 anime season was starting, and once again Lad and I looked to see if there were any anime with gratuitous lesbian tendencies and that weren’t getting picked up by big groups. Surprisingly, Mentar, the encoder from Eclipse approached us and asked if we would like to work on Strawberry Panic. He would provide raws and encoding support, while everything else was on Doremi’s side. Since that show met all of our criteria, Ladholyman agreed and he became the translator. SPanic was probably one of the easiest shows to translate, although looking back, Lad was too stiff in the Chinese-English translation (not enough pronouns, not translating ‘in character’). There weren’t a lot of lines in the show though, and some episodes I managed to time faster than watching the episode itself. We ran into trouble on karaoke for the second half of the show, when xat was AWOL. Thankfully, a member of DLQCT, Klins, knew how to typeset and karaoke and whipped up a script for us relatively quickly. Strawberry Panic was finished on October of 2006.
Another show we picked up from spring 2006 was Ouran Host Club. Xat was really enthusiastic about it, having read the manga. My sister also wholeheartedly recommended the show. Things got off to a great start when we released episode 1, but we ran into trouble when the Chinese subs for the show got slow. By episode 4, Lunaranime was already releasing faster and better than we can (they had a dedicated translator) and Lad was finding the jokes pretty hard to translate. We dropped the show after 4 episodes.
By April 2006, AP tests were over and the two of us (Maceart and Ladholyman) had plenty of time outside of the occasional game of Diablo II. I was poking around on a Chinese emule site and found that someone had ripped the Region 3 DVD’s for Keroro Gunsou in convenient MKV format with softsubs. I downloaded the first 7 episodes of Keroro subbed by Soldats to see whether this show would be our cup of tea. Keroro Gunsou’s genius blend of alien comedy and bishoujo characters won us over. The R3 DVD releases were up to episode 52 at that time, so we started working on them. There was also something known as the “Keroro curse” around fansubbing circles because the show is notorious for its abundance of on screen signs, a nightmare for any typesetter. Since the Keroro fansubs were way behind, we figured the best way to sub this show would be to simplify the on screen text (just put translations on top for them). Doremi-KERORO was thus born, a dynamic two man team dedicated to speedsubbing Keroro Gunsou at a blistering pace. Ladholyman translated from the Chinese subs, while I did everything else. We managed to do around 30 episodes in less than 2 months, a staggering number of releases. I remembered Animesuki’s webpage being spammed with Keroro Gunsou. People were gracious of us though, for finally breaking the Keroro curse. We even released the first movie as a joint with Apterous from Sailor_Spork. I remembered TV-Nihon releasing before us, but whatever. Apterous had put some awesome karaoke on it and our translations weren’t as “kisama-tachi” literal.
Animanda approached us to help translate Ar-Tonelico OAV. Ladholyman had no clue what the anime was about, but since it had pretty girls singing, he agreed. Our release was probably the most terrible of the groups that worked on it, but since we were first, people still downloaded it. I guess it just wasn’t a good idea to translate something that you have not played the source material.
Remember PetoPeto? Apterous from Sailorspork went absent without official leave for 3 months, leaving that project hanging. Amazingly enough, he came back with another project for us to do, Dai Mahou Touge. Directed by the same person who did Jungle wa Itsumo Guu, Dai Mahou Touge was a strange blend of comedy and gore. Since it featured Ladholyman’s favorite seiyuu, Mamiko Noto, he agreed. Apterous also managed to help us finish Petopeto-san (took us a whole year to translate a 13 episode anime) but hey, at least we finished it.
After dropping Sonic X, Mendinso came back with this bright idea of attempting to sub Powerpuff Girls Z. I agreed to help him translate check it from the Chinese subs, but after 2 episodes, Mendinso couldn’t keep up and we promptly dropped it. Sadly, the PPGZ anime just wasn’t very good. TV-Nihon finished it, thankfully.
By this time summer of 2006 has rolled around. Ladholyman was busy translating Keroro daily, while I was just bored since Keroro didn’t require timing (the Chinese scripts were pretimed already). I looked around on AniDB to see what shows groups have started on, and Happy Seven ~The TV Manga~ caught my eye. The promo picture showed a group of pretty girls, and I liked ditzy main characters. I approached Anime-Himitsu to help them out (they had released an episode a long time ago and seemed to be stuck). I found a batch torrent of the whole series in Chinese subbed, and also downloaded l33t-raws of the show. Soon enough, I was sending timed scripts for them to QC and encode. Sadly, Anime-himitsu didn’t have a translator to TLC the files, so some translation issues cropped up. We managed to finish the show though, even after Anime-himitsu’s founder went missing and their typesetter had to learn how to encode. While the show wasn’t particularly memorable, it had nice music and a satisfying conclusion.
Another show that seemed to have been neglected by fansubbers was Gargolye of the Yoshinagas. Only one episode was released by Shining fansubs. We approached them and offered translation and timing help (since there were decent Chinese subs for the show). Bd_ was also interested in translation checking, so the Shining-Doremi joint was set up. Sadly, by episode 3 Shining fansubs folded, leaving Doremi-fansubs to be the only subber for the show. We churned out weekly releases for it. Gargoyle was amazing, probably one of the best shows we have done. It had comedy, awesome characters, a decent story, and best of all, NORIO WAKAMOTO. We even did all the DVD specials, since it was such an amazing anime. Too bad the download numbers doesn’t match up to how good the show was, nor did it make much of a dent in our IRC channel.
Another show we picked up was Binbou Shimai Monogatari. I was very bored over the summer and this short 10 episode series seemed like a perfect fit for us. Binbou was basically a one man operation. I translated, timed, and encoded the show weekly while Ladholyman helped out with a bit of QC. Looking back, I really should have picked a better font color (ugly brown Arial). The anime itself was fine, got really sappy at times, but had delicious Maaya Sakamoto as the main character along with lesbian tendencies, so it was all good.
Summer of 2006 ended and college started for both Ladholyman and I (UC Berkeley, fuck yeah). By this time we were winding down on the Keroro releases (we had ran out of R3 DVD rips) and Yoshinaga’s Gargolye had ended. We were prodding along on Ojamajo Doremi season 1, but it seemed like all the fall 2006 anime were taken by an established group. Suddenly, Umai-fansubs contacted us wondering if we were interested in doing the last show from the season that wasn’t subbed, History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi.
That’s weird, I thought. A magical girl subbing group doing a shounen anime? I tentatively said yes and started to work on it. I didn’t realize it at the time when we started Kenichi, but it would turn out to be our second most popular fansub ever, after Mai-Otome.
The Kenichi fansub was set up with Maceart doing the translation and QCing, while Umai-fansubs did everything else. I remembered their encoder hated shounen anime, so I had to ask Mentar for help on how to encode AFX karaoke. It was a very messy start, took us a couple weeks to get episode one released. Even with a very good editor (Falsedawn) a couple translation errors came up since none of us had read the manga source material. Our releases were brisk, while not weekly, around 2 weeks per episode. My translation skills wasn’t as fast as Ladholyman’s, so there was a holdup there. Umai’s side also lost a couple timers who gave up on the show, along with their karaoker. Thankfully, ch33z3, one of the QCers on Kenichi knew how to make karaoke scripts, filled in for ending 2. Ladholyman also helped out on a couple episode, ensuring Kenichi got released consistently. Another translator, Aoiro, stepped in for a couple episodes when I didn’t feel up for it. None of us realized that Kenichi was going for 52 episodes, so by around episode 25 many of us in the joint project were burning out. Timers were dropping, encoders went missing, and typesetters gave up. The Chinese subs were at least 10 episodes ahead of us (meaning we were at least 10 episodes behind the broadcast). Things were looking very bleak.
I had kept up with the Chinese subs for Kenichi, but even then I was getting tired of the show. The pacing was slow, animation quality was dropping, and it just wasn’t enjoyable anymore. Besides, Umai-fansubs’ editor was getting slower and slower on editing the episodes, so I would have backlogged scripts just sitting there. It wasn’t until around episode 30, when Tanimoto’s arc started when the show got really good. Lad and I saw the 6 episode arc with Kenichi’s sister and Tanimoto, and figured it was time to step it up. I fired Umai’s timer and started timing episodes myself, while Ladholyman started translating as fast as he can to catch up with the broadcast schedule. Fighter747, a QCer from DLQCT volunteered to edit and TLC Kenichi, and thus we streamlined our Kenichi joint to the point where we can release two episodes a week to catch up on the backlog. It was also around this time that Kenichi started getting really popular and #doremi was getting users again, from a low of 150 to around 300 or so.
We were on vacation during summer 2007, during the middle of Kenichi, so releases basically stopped. We fell behind again, but at least we had internet in Taiwan and could translate and time, so basically when we got back to the USA during the end of July 2007, we mass released 4 episodes on the same day. Our #doremi channel shot up to 654 users, a new high for us (although short of the 785 set by Mai-Otome). We caught up to broadcast on episode 40, afterwards it was weekly Kenichi. A new group, Kuro-hana, started subbing Kenichi on episode 35 when we were on vacation, and thus started a “Kenichi fansubbing battle” where we raced to see who released faster. That wasn’t exactly a great idea, thinking back on it. We rushed a bit on the later episodes of Kenichi solely to beat Kuro-hana and some careless typos sneaked into the script. The ending to the show was pretty epic, with the fight between Kenichi and Odin being a standout. We finished Kenichi on October 1st, 2007. Rumor has it that there is going to be a Kenichi OAV coming out on March 2012, which Doremi will probably pick up.
While Kenichi was airing, I translated the Doraemon 2003 movie while taking a break from Chemical Engineering courses at Berkeley. I finished the movie in a week, and had Ladholyman QC it. The movie was released on November 2007 to little fanfare, since the Doraemon fandom in the United States just didn’t exist. The few who actually did watch the movie seemed to like it a lot, and I found out that the Doraemon 2006 movie was a remake from one of my childhood favorite stories, so we announced on our webpage that the Doraemon movies will be a new project for us.
Mai-Otome had two OAVs announced for them, and the DVD for Zwei came out in the beginning of December of 2006. By this time DLQCT has been reduced to a shadow of its former self; bd_ the translation checker was still there, along with xat the encoder (who had came back after half a year hiatus). Most of the QCers had left, but since we still had TLC Lad translated Zwei and we had the first OAV out relatively quickly. The OAVs were all right, not exactly a high point for the series (Sunrise really needs to make a new Mai-series instead of rehashing the same old plot again).
Apterous from Sailorspork, after finishing Petopeto-san and Dai Mahou Touge with us, found a short 2 episode OAV called Winter Garden and asked us to translate it. Since there were high quality Chinese subs for them, of course we agreed. Although Lad and I have never saw Digi Charat, I really liked the new mature artstyle for the characters. The first OAV episode was released on Christmas of 2006, just in time for the holidays. The next one came out a month later. After Winter Garden was finished, Sailor Spork Productions folded and that was the last I’ve ever heard from Apterous (sad, his group was the very first to offer a joint project with us and even had an 100% completion rate on anime that were jointly picked up).
While Kenichi was still going on, we figured it was time to find a new series from the spring 2007 season to sub, since the group hasn’t done a show by itself for a while. Amazingly, there was a show that seemed to be made just for us, Sola. Featuring amazing art from the Da Capo character designer, along with Ladholyman’s favorite seiyuu voicing the main character, and screenplay from a famed Key/Visual Arts writer, we started hyping the hell out of this anime. We were so into the show that we even translated the preview audio drama for Sola that came out on Comiket 71, probably one of the very first audio dramas ever translated in the United States. Xat and bd_ were very hyped for the anime, and when episode 1 aired we immediately got to work, with bd_ churning out the opening/ending translation in a day and Lad whipping up a translation relatively quickly. Xat started encoding in 576p softsubbed MKV, so Sola was technically the first “hi-definition” release from Doremi-fansubs. Lunaranime also picked up Sola, so once again we were in competition with another group on the project. When we went on vacation during the summer of 2007, bd_ and xat teamed up and released Sola without us, probably the first and last time Doremi-fansubs released something that had no direct input from either Lad or I. Sola wrapped up with 13 episodes on February of 2008.
A month after Sola started, Korokun from m.3.3.w. told us that there was apparently an OAV of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts in the USA) featuring the two waitresses. Intrigued, sure enough, there were Chinese subs for Ayu Mayu Gekijou, a series of funny short skits featuring characters from KgNE. Korokun helped out in deciphering some 2chan puns in the OAV, and it was released on May of 2007.
Season one of Ojamajo Doremi was finally finished on August of 2007. Neclos went AWOL (absent without official leave) probably due to real life around this time. We lacked Chinese subs for the second season, but thankfully two new QCers joined DLQCT; JimShew and Psychickid. They procured R3 DVD’s and ripped out the Chinese subs from the 2nd and 3rd seasons of Ojamajo Doremi for us to translate. Sadly, the R3 DVDs were hardsubbed, and since Ojamajo Doremi was half a decade old, raws were hard to come by. We asked Quarkboy over at Arienai if he had raws for Ojamajo Doremi, to which he said yes. He mailed over DVD’s of Sharp and Motto raws, which helped us a lot. The first episode of Ojamajo Doremi Sharp was released on the end of August 2007.
Our epic joint with Umai-fansubs ended on October 1st, 2007 with episode 50 of Kenichi. #doremi user count plummeted shortly after that, since we didn’t have any more active projects other than the occasional episode of Keroro Gunsou or Ojamajo Doremi. We needed a new series and fast. The winter 2007 season was coming up, and things looked bleak, with all the good shows already taken by an established group. We released another audio drama, the prologue of Planetarian, a kinetic novel by Key/Visual Arts (highly recommended). Finally, Ladholyman found Bamboo Blade from the winter 2007 season that looked very interesting after reading a couple chapters of the manga from the Chinese scans. The promo pictures for Bamboo Blade looked very unassuming, so most fansubbers thought it was some harem show with a kendo teacher and his students. We needed a TLCer and encoder, since both bd_ and xat were out of commission from overworking themselves on Sola. We were short of staff members (we really should have tried recruiting after either Mai-Otome or Kenichi, when our channel was stuffed to the brim with random people) we looked around for a joint project. Huzzah-fansubs seemed interested, especially their translator who also had read the source manga and practiced kendo himself. Thus, our third most popular project, Bamboo Blade, got off to a great start. Huzzah’s translator, Drama, also had a knack for liberal translations (a rarity back then) and Ladholyman learned a lot from him. Bamboo Blade also featured Ryou Hirohashi as its main character, so of course it was very enjoyable to work on as a timer.
Even though the joint with Huzzah-fansubs involved a translation checker named Drama, the Bamboo Blade project went very smoothly, with weekly releases. Falling behind was relatively rare (except for that one week around episode 10 where Drama got sick). Word of mouth spread that Bamboo Blade is actually a lighthearted and fun show with a lot of well-timed situational comedy. Our IRC channel count surprisingly shot up to around 300. The final episode of Bamboo Blade was released on April 5th, 2008.
Toki-fansubs, an offshoot of Kazenokoe-fansubs asked us for a joint project on Sketchbook ~Full Colors~. Seeing that the director of this anime was Jyunichi Sato from Ojamajo Doremi, I agreed immediately and set out to find Chinese subs for the show. Doremi-fansubs took care of translation and timing, while Toki took care of everything else. This project was the very first to feature true 720p MKV releases from us, when we released episode one on October 26, 2007. ch33z from Umai helped out with karaoke. Sketchbook was a strange anime, featuring cats speaking in English and a hilarious teacher who collects grilled chicken plushie dolls. Another group, Spoon-subs finished this show before us, but whatever. Another completed anime to add on Doremi-fansubs’ list when episode 13 was released on October 30th, 2008 (oh wow we took a year to finish a 13 episode series…)
An upstart group called Ai-subs asked us for translation help on True Tears, a show starting in January of 2008. I agreed since I was a sucker for h-game to anime conversions (turned out the anime and the original visual novel had nothing to do with each other, only in name). Ai-subs made some really nifty karaoke for the show. We released episode 1 relatively quickly, but two other groups in competition meant that we started losing motivation to translate the show since Chinese subs were coming out relatively slowly. We fell behind and never caught up, and thus dropped True Tears on episode 4.
End of part 1 – 2005 to 2007.
Part 2 – 2008 to now, by Ladholyman
The next thing we released after dropping True Tears was the Doraemon 2007 movie. The movie had everything – lesbian tendencies, childhood nostalgia, and my favorite Doraemon tool, the air cannon. Maceart did the translation and timing, while I QC’ed. We took around a week on this movie and it was released in February of 2008. Don’t miss this movie if you are a fan of Doraemon or a fan of fantasy shows in general.
Ojamajo Doremi Sharp was going along pretty smoothly at this point, thanks to the raws provided by Quarkboy. Maceart and I started hunting for something that fulfilled our criteria – a show that hadn’t been picked up by other groups and contained lesbian tendencies with good voice acting. Mnemosyne seemed to fit the bill – a show featuring Mamiko Noto acting out of her normal typecasted character role along with Kugimiya Rie acting as her gay buddy. Chinese subs came fast for the first four episodes, then fell behind. Ureshii also picked up the project and started releasing at a faster pace and at a better quality than us, so we dropped the show after episode 4.
Another Mai-Otome OAV came out – Mai-Otome 0: S.ifr. It was a prequel about Arika’s mom and featured the typical Sunrise shock and awe. There were three episodes in all on a irregular release schedule and we released the last episode was released on December of 2008. This was a simple no-frills soft-subbed release, since by this time no one from the original DLQCT squad remained. Xat and bd_ were also out of commission.
The last thing we did in 2008 was a short TV special called Takane’s Bike. Maceart and I were interested it because the screenplay for it won the Animax Taishou – a famous Japanese animation scriptwriting competition. The animation work was done by A1 pictures. The special had a quirky animation style and a decent story, but since it was only 24 minutes, it felt rushed.
The first thing we released in 2009 was Ani*Kuri15 – a series of 15 shorts by 15 different animators that aired on NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting company. Each animator was given 1 minute to work with. This was Doremi-fansubs first 1080p release. What made this special ultra cool was the pure uniqueness of each of the shorts – it really showed the creativity of Japanese animatiors. The 15 animators that NHK picked were also ones at the top of their game. They included Range Murata (Last Exile), Akemi Hayashi (Fruits Basket), Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Satoshi Kon (Paprika), Makoto Shinkai (Beyond the Clouds), and Shoji Kawamori (Macross).
Hyakko aired from October 2008 to December 2008. This was a random show that Maceart and I both fell in love with. It had Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as its BGM in the first episode, a huge and loveable cast of characters, lesbian tendencies, and Aya Hirano playing a clumsy klutz. The fansubs got slow towards the end and I speedsubbed the last 3 episodes (11, 12, and 13) in January 2009. There were some panning issues with our release so they’re probably not worth archiving (I recommend Static-Subs’s release). Elizabeth Beurling from #fageat told me that the Hyakko anime only covered the first 20 chapters of the manga and that there were at least 10 more chapters out in raws. He asked if I was willing to help out in translating the chapters after the anime and I agreed. Hyakko chapter 21 was released on January 7th, 2009, and it was our first scanlation. This was also the very first time that I had translated something raw and not from Chinese subs or scans. I was taking third year Japanese at UC Berkeley at the time and I felt confident enough to tackle a shounen manga. Hyakko is currently up to chapter 42. I am done with the translation and Liz is working on it.
Surprisingly, Maceart had some time during his third year in UC Berkeley to take on a side project for Doremi-fansubs. Jaka from Coalguys e-mailed us asking if we wanted a joint on a newly airing show in 2009 called Asu no Yoichi. All Doremi-fansubs needed to do was to provide a translation script a day after airing and Coalguys will do the rest. This was the last anime we did that Maceart was the primary translator on. Thankfully, Chinese subs for this show came out at a brisk rate (Jaka also provided Japanese closed captions, which Maceart used occasionally). Turned out Asu no Yoichi was our fourth most popular project ever, after Mai-Otome, Kenichi, and Bamboo Blade. Sadly, with the advent of torrents and DDL’s, #doremi never reached above the 300 people mark again. Episode 12 was released on March 27th, 2009. In the end Asu no Yoichi was an average fish out of water samurai harem show with some ecchi. The main character was a hoot though.
Daiz from #Underwater approached me in February 2009 and asked if I can help translate the Ichigo Mashimaro Encore two episode OAV. Since I loved the original TV series because of Ana (voiced of course by the awesome Mamiko Noto), I agreed. I pumped out both scripts to Daiz promptly. Sadly, only episode one got released for some reason. Daiz probably forgot about it. You may have heard of Daiz – he is a very busy man who enjoys trolling /a/ about the supposed advantages of 10-bit and what makes up a good liberal translation. Apparently according to /a/ he was responsible for Crunchyroll too, but that’s highly debate-able.
Both Maceart and I were pretty active at UC Berkeley’s anime club, Cal Animage Alpha. Rephira, a translator from Twilight Revelations, was also part of the club and asked us if we wanted to joint with his group to do Valkyria Chronicles. Both Maceart and I had heard of the game and were interested in it, so we agreed. The joint went fairly smoothly, but it was pretty clear that rephira was getting burned out by the end of the series as his translations became biweekly, then triweekly. We finally finished the show on January 2010. Twilight Revelations would go on to do a few episodes of Umimonogatari and then promptly close up shop.
While Valkyria was still airing, another show caught our eyes – Taisho Baseball Girls. Very rarely do both Ryo Hirohashi and Mamiko Noto appear in the same show, so we promptly picked it up. Rephira offered to translate and Maceart timed. Towards the end rephira started burning out again and I translated the last few episodes from Chinese subs. I believe that Taisho is one of the best shows we have ever fansubbed. It was like JC Staff tailored made an anime just for me – lesbian tendencies, Mamiko Noto, cute comedy, and an interesting setting all rolled into one. The last episode was released on October 2009.
We finally finished Ojamajo Doremi Sharp (the second season of the show that our group was created to do) on October 14, 2009, and promptly started on Ojamajo Doremi Motto. By then six years had passed since Maceart and I first saw the show on TV in Taiwan. Better late than never, as the saying goes.
Cross from Cxcsubs approached me on December 2009 and asked if I wanted to help out on Seitokai no Ichizon – a comedy harem series with a brilliant male lead. I agreed and started working on episode 1. Although the show was quite amazing, there were just too many references and hard-to-translate gags that I stopped after episode 1. Everything turned out for the better though, since SS-Eclipse were blitzing through the show at a good pace with a much better translation.
After completing my major in Japanese language from UC Berkeley, I finally felt confident enough to translate children’s shows without using Chinese subs as a crutch. Thus, Doremi-fansubs turned from a JPN-CHN-ENG group to a JPN-ENG group in May 2010.
When 2010 rolled around Maceart and I found out that the staff who worked on Doremi, notably the character designer Umakoshi Yoshihiko and the screenplay writer Yoshimi Narita, were working on the new Precure series. We had seen a few episodes of Futari wa Precure, the first series, and liked it. Having the Doremi staff work on a new series meant that it was going to be awesome. The first episode of HeartCatch Precure aired on February 2010 and we promptly picked it up. HeartCatch had the perfect blend of lesbian subtext, slick fight scenes, and crazy transformation scenes that to this day it is the highest rated Precure series ever. Both of us enjoyed working on the series a lot and the last episode was released on January 31, 2011. This was the first full series that I translated completely from raw Japanese.
While we were releasing Heartcatch weekly, we also tried to keep up with weekly Ojamajo Doremi Motto releases. Towards the latter half of Motto we fell a bit behind. This was due to the fact that the two editors for Doremi, PsychicKid and JimShew, had other commitments they needed to work on. The delays weren’t great, though, and the final episode of Motto was released on July 16, 2011. This was the last Doremi series that we had access to Chinese subs. By this time I was confident enough to start translating Doremi completely from Japanese raws. Maceart fortuitously found Dokkaan (the last season of Doremi) raws on Nyaatorrents, and we started working on Dokkaan. The first episode of Dokkaan was released on August 28, 2011.
Due to us finishing Heartcatch Precure, people asked if we would continue with the older Precure series. Maceart hopped in and started helping Curecom on Fresh Precure (their translator went AWOL) and I decided to start on Suite Precure, the current airing Precure series. Suite Precure is ending January 2012 and we’re probably going to do the next Precure series, Smile Precure, too. But goodness gracious, how long is Toei taking Pretty Cure? There’s close to 10 series of it now…
Other than Precure and Doremi, we tackled relatively few projects in 2011. We jointed with Curecom on the Fresh Precure, Heartcatch Precure, Precure DX2 and DX3 movies. We also released two other Doraemon movies, one about a green giant and another with Nobita kicking ass with BB guns. We also released many music videos, including Perfect Day by Supercell and the three Love Live! anime-idol videos. When Nutbladder fell behind on Kaiji season 2 I jumped in and speedsubbed episodes 23 to 26. Looking back on it there were quite a few mistakes in those episodes and I would recommend archiving Nutbladder’s release. Kaiji in general is a pretty boss show though, and it’s a good show to marathon with your friends.
Doremi-fansubs sometimes picks up things other than anime, and the Hatsune Miku concerts were no exception. Ever since Sega and 39’s Giving Day teamed up to host a live concert in Tokyo 2010 (featuring a nifty glass projector) Maceart and Ladholyman were fans. When the Sapporo/Tokyo concerts were announced for Blu-ray, Maceart decided to look for song translations in order to fansub the concert. Heck, he even rode his bike 20 miles across Los Angeles to see a special preview showing at the Rave 18 theater for Hatsune Miku. The Sapporo 2011 concert was excellent, better than the Tokyo 2011 one (damn Crypton Media for using a black box of doom instead of a glass projector). Even Anime Expo got a concert, which was hosted by the great Sega/39’s Giving Day combo. Doremi-fansubs subbed that too, although running at 80 minutes was a tad bit short.
This is where Doremi-fansubs are today. We just released Suite Precure 47, the penultimate episode. We’re still chugging along with Ojamajo Doremi Dokkaan with 11 episodes released out of 50. Our goal is to finish Dokkaan by the 2012 Summer Olympics, which is a pretty tall order if you ask me. We’re also chugging along on a certain frog show, with episode 155 coming out a couple of weeks ago. As mentioned before, we’ll probably pick up Smile Precure as our next project.
In the last six and a half years, much has changed about fansubbing. Anime went from 4:3 SDTV resolution to 16:9 HDTV 720p. It used to be popular to have flashy karaoke and hardsubbed subtitles. Most releases back then were in Xvid avi. Now the cool thing to do is to release softsubbed H.264 MKVs. There’s a newfangled thing called H.264 10-bit (Hi10p) that many fansubbing groups are latching on. We at Doremi-fansubs believe that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, so we aren’t on that bandwagon (yet). The main reason is that Hi10P is not supported by hardware acceleration, thus denying many people access and the ability to play high definition anime fansubs. Why would anyone release in a format that restricts the potential number of viewers is beyond me.
Probably the biggest change to fansubbing is the coming of Crunchyroll and the popularization of simulcasting. The result of these two things is that anime fans can now watch their newest favorite Japanese cartoons almost immediately after they air in the land of the rising sun. That in itself is incredible. What does this mean for fansubbers? It means that there is no longer a reason to speedsub anything that is simulcasted – since the simulcast will almost invariably always come out faster and with a higher degree of translation quality than any speedsubbing group. Maceart and I both think that is really amazing, since it basically means that we’re now at a time where one of the main goals of fansubbing have been effectively achieved – zero turnaround time to watch the newest stuff coming out in Japan.
What does this mean for fansubbing in the future? Well, fansubbing is effectively close to extinction. The only shows that can even be fansubbed are children’s shows and the few shows that are not simulcasted. This means that the amount of groups will diminish drastically. Fansubbing won’t die, however. That can only happen if Japan suddenly decides to stop the creation of all anime, and that won’t happen anytime soon.
Many groups nowadays don’t really do any “fansubbing.” What I mean by that is that these groups don’t really translate anything. They take scripts from Crunchyroll/Hulu/ANN/Funimation/Niconico, spruce them up a bit and then release them. In our eyes, these groups are basically rippers like the old DVD ripping groups back in 2005 with OGMS and OGG. On a certain Japanese themed image board, there are certain someones who proclaim such ripping groups are fansubbing groups, but I think that is a stretch and does a great disservice to groups who actually translate.
I am digressing here and this treatise has gone on for a lot longer than both Maceart and I have intended. Doremi-fansubs aren’t going anywhere soon, at least not until we finish Ojamajo Doremi Dokkaan. If Toei decides to continue their Precure cash cow and milk it for all its worth, we may be subbing shows about little girls pummeling the hell out of animated objects well into the next decade. We also would like to finish a certain frog show, but 200+ episodes remain. I am just starting medical school and Maceart is finishing graduate school, so whether we have as much time in the future as we had in the past is something highly debatable.
Smile Precure is reaching its midway point, and an anonymous translator has picked up Yes Pretty Cure 5 Go Go which we’re helping on raws and QCing. Oyatsu offered a joint project on Ginga E Kickoff, an enjoyable soccer anime with realistic tactics.
On November 11, 2012, we picked up Hyouge Mono and became true aesthetes.
Smile Precure was finished in end of January 2013 and DokiDoki Precure was picked up in its place. We also started a joint project on loli basketball called Ryo Kyu Bu season 2 with Asenshi, which was finished in September 2013.
On November 25, 2013, Doremi-fansubs has completed Ojamajo Doremi.
Thank you for reading this and have a great day.