Fansubbing and Virtue

(X-posted to the /m/subs forum)

As you may have garnered from my post on love, dear readers, I have a habit of getting somewhat introspective whenever something changes in my life, or whenever I’ve finished with something or began a new stage in my journey. That just happened yesterday, so today I’ll be providing my thoughts on this most recent development. This entry will be similar to and contain some of the same themes as my “Love” entry, but it will be somewhat less bittersweet.

Y’all know that I’m active in the mecha anime fansubbing (translating) community. Specifically, I’m a timer–I use a program called Aegissub to put the translated scripts of the shows into subtitle form. I have been a timer (for /m/subs specifically) for nearly 4 years. In fact, in exactly two weeks it will be *exactly* two years: The very first episode of any anime I ever timed was completed on August 23, 2009.

That was episode 19 of an anime called SPT Layzner. Just last night, I finished timing the script for Episode 38–the very last episode of the show.

Again, I’m just a timer, nowhere near as important as a translator. Still, I confess to feeling more than a twinge of emotion at this point.

Four years is a pretty decent chunk of time.The Layzner project has been with me since I graduated from college and began graduate school. While it hasn’t been the biggest part of my life the way some other things have, it was, in many ways, as constant a companion, and I think it deserves a salute for that same reason.

Layzner was what first really involved me with the /m/subs community, and thus, it is perhaps responsible for the growth I’ve enjoyed over the course of my time here. Yes, I’ve gotten better with Aegissub, and yes, I’ve managed to pick up a (very small) smattering of Japanese. But the friends I’ve made…for them, I am truly grateful. If it wasn’t for the Layzner project, I likely wouldn’t have met (or gotten to know as well) Starseeker, or Astra, or BROhgami, or Windom, or Hal, or Ametuchi, or all my other friends in the mecha community. I’ve had so many great times with all of them and I’m so grateful to have met all of them.

As importantly (if I could be forgiven for descending into a bit of pretentiousness), this project, IMO, really marked the beginning of my path to doing really virtuous work. I wouldn’t say I was a terrible man in the past, but I was fairly immature. Either confused and ineffective in my attempts to do good, or simply dissolute and too concerned with being angry than to really do good. With Layzner, however, I think I really got a good handle on what virtue actually was, at least as I define it: A undertaking on behalf of one’s friends and brethren for their benefit, intended not for self-aggrandizement or validation but to make the world around you a better place, even if only a little bit. I know I don’t have much power…I can only time, and I’m nowhere near as skilled as translators like Starseeker, Sasword (the original translator for Layzner, who seems to have disappeared ;_; ) or Ametuchi. Still, no matter how slight my abilities, if they can assist the true heroes in even the smallest manner, it was all worth it–and so, too, is the life I’ve lived.

Layzner was what brought me many new friends, and Layzner marked the moment I truly began to grasp the meaning of virtue. And for those two reasons, even though I’ve timed the very last episode, I think I’ll remember this series fondly for many years after this date, even long after it’s been completed.

I can’t really thank the series itself, but I can thank the people who created it, even though Takahashi and the rest of the staff won’t ever see this. However, I can also thank the fansubbers who made it happen: Starseeker, Sasword, UK Windom, Hal, Ametuchi, and everyone else at /m/subs who’s worked on this project, and everyone else at /m/, and even elsewhere (among my friends at other forums and Livejournal) who’ve given us their enthusiasm and support. Thank you so much, everybody. Thanks for everything.

Of course, dear readers, I’m not done with fansubbing just yet. Next project: Metal Armor Dragonar! 😀


  1. Nice article, I’ve helped in subbing things and even subbed some alone, its not a easy task. Without a timer the project would take much more time, so be proud of what you do, since it IS important.

    Also, prunyuu~for you =D

    1. Prunyuu~! What kind of anime have you subbed, friend? 😀

  2. Sorry for a late reply and thanks for asking! 🙂
    I have subbed a fan animation and some OPs and EDs from games: you can find everything here >

  3. Fraggoth · · Reply

    Oh my god, Dragonar next?! YEEESSSSSSS. The best Non-UC Gundam Series ever! AND IT’S NOT EVEN A GUNDAM SERIES. It has all the hallmarks of an early Universal Century Gundam series, but without the Gundam Brand. Familiar Space Colonies? Check. Not-Very-Nice Seperatists living in space? Check. Marginally-Nicer Earth-Based Federation? Check. Antagonist Pilot with Blond Hair and Making Plots? Check. It’s basically all there but the Newtype shenanigans. Somewhat more lighthearted than most of the UC Gundam lineup, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    I downloaded a “subbed” version a few years back, but they’re pretty much C-Grade HK subs- you can understand what’s going on, but only barely. And 50+% of the names are borked. Seriously, WHO THE FNORD HEARD “Gon-Jem” and thought, “Oh, totes sounds like they said ‘Wedley’.” Silliness. Still, better than the only complete “Brave Express Might Gaine” subs I’ve been able to find. Those are disjointed as all hell.

    In any case, Thanks for being an integral part of subbing one of my most-anticipated mecha series!

  4. Can’t wait for Dragonar, mate. You guys did a really good job with Layzner.

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