Oldtaku Fansub Archive Project

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The wild, wild west of guestbooks, page counters and Save Our Sailors are nostalgic for a certain generation of anime fans that's hard to explain or describe. In the days before anime was commrcially available for purchase aside from a few $26 tapes of Slayers, Lodoss War or Ranma at your local Best Buy or Suncoast we relied heavily on fansub databases. Internet was dial-up and speeds sufficient for entire episodes of anime simply didn't exist. Thus, a small press fan industry was born.

Small groups would obtain high quality copies of raw anime episodes and then translate, encode, and produce master copies of their creations for distributors to acquire. These distributors would then for a small fee create VHS copies for everyday vistors to their Tripod or Angelfire sites to email their want lists to. In a few weeks you'd recieve precious VHS copies in the mail for your collection.

As anime became more popular, and importantly more lucrative, American companies began picking up distribution rights. We ditched our fansub copies for official releases, giddy to celebrate local support for our hobby of choice.

Twenty years later, I find nostalgia in these old VHS copies. Not only do they bring back personally pleasant memories for me of the friends I had and how I bonded, I also think this showcases a unique part of fandom activity that isn't highlighted often enough. We're familiar with fanfiction and fanart, but the production of fansubs required enormous amounts of effort for very little tradeoff. There was no kudos system or comment gallery to show them support. Groups like Techo Girls, Soyokaze and Kodocha Anime spent thankless hours creating content that shaped an entire generation of anime fans.

This is why I've decided to start a fansub archive project. I spend my free time hunting down old distributors, creators and collectors who may be willing to part with their tapes to add to our index with as much information as I can gather.

Owned and operated by Natalie. 2022