Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Discussion regarding the entirety of the franchise in a general (meta) sense, including such aspects as: production, trends, merchandise, fan culture, and more.

Moderators: Kanzenshuu Staff, General Help

User avatar
Bansho64
I Live Here
Posts: 2034
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:59 am

Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Bansho64 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:36 pm

I've been learning lately that, back in the day, older people had quite a bit of trouble trying to get DB in its original form with subtitles. In the 80-90s ish times, the internet was kinda an infant that was still growing slowly. So, the people that really wanted to see the series in the format that I mentioned had to watch fansubs.

Anyways, I got curious about fansubs because of Super surprisingly. Before the simulcast and Crunchyroll, people were fansubbing stuff on the internet, and the Dragon Team subs were known as some of the best out there.

My question is, back in the day, what were some of the best fansubs for the older fans? Basically, what was their "Dragon Team"?

User avatar
TheBlackPaladin
I Live Here
Posts: 3583
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:05 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:36 pm

I'd like to hear more about this too. It was a different time back then, and fansubs on the internet were a relatively newish thing...as I understand it, until the internet speeds began to justify all the time it would take to download an episode, most people got fansubs by going to their local Chinatown and buying crappy VHS tapes from stores of questionable legitimacy.

It's before my time, so I don't know about "best," but if only because it's fun to bring up, one fansub "group" (apparently it might have only been one dude) was Anime Labs, notorious for adding in R-rated swearing on numerous occasions. They/he also had a funny but odd habit of using subtitles to throw shade at people he didn't like.

Also of note is...I forget their name, but apparently the original Japanese versions of Dragon Ball and a bit of Dragon Ball Z were aired on a TV station in Hawaii, legally and officially subtitled in English (which is not super-uncommon, I've heard that because of Hawaii's high Japanese population, there are a number of TV stations that air Japanese programs subtitled in English). Since this was a "legitimate" airing, calling it a fansub group is a bit of a stretch, but VHS tapings of these officially-subtitled airings did end up circulating a bit, becoming pseudo-fansubs.
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

Danfun64
Advanced Regular
Posts: 1355
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:29 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Danfun64 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:25 pm

@TheBlackPaladin you are referring to Nippon Gold Network, which was the main source of original DB subs back in the day.

There was another channel (forgot what country) called Pearl which aired DBZ back then, which also had bootleg tapes circulating. Pearl translated the show from japanese to chinese, and then from chinese to english, showing subtitles in both languages. They were only used by fans as a last resort, considering how bad they were.

There was a website covering all this stuff, but it got redesigned and the old content disappeared.
Robo4900 wrote:Mouse is BRILLIANT SCIENTIST dumb.
CAT LOVES FOOD dumb.
Jack is just kinda dumb.

User avatar
Cure Dragon 255
I Live Here
Posts: 3793
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 5:23 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:37 pm

Joke answer below

[spoiler]Anime Labs and dont you f*ck*ng forget it you candy *ss f*gg*t. F*CK![/spoiler]

Real answer...I think Steve Simmons was a fansubber way back when. I think his are the best... that I know of.
AnimeMaakuo wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:38 am
Enjoy unboxing crap :thumbup:. Your continued support for crap will give us more crap for many years to come! :clap:.
90sDBZ wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:44 pm
19 years ago I was rushing home from school to watch DBZ on Cartoon Network, and today I've rushed home from work to watch DBS on Pop. I guess it's true the more things change the more they stay the same. :lol:

User avatar
Hellspawn28
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 14020
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:50 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Hellspawn28 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:45 pm

Ctenosaur had some decent fansubs from what I can remember. I remember my local Japanese collector shops and fee markets had fan sub tapes during the early 2000's before 2002 or 2003. I was one of the lucky kids to find ways to watch DBZ when most of my age group where unaware of the Japanese version. I also like fan of anime and other Japanese media like Godzilla before I was a fan of Dragon Ball Z, so I knew about subs.

Fan subers like Anime Labs added swearing because they wanted DBZ to be edgy and gritty. They want to show that DBZ that DBZ was not for kids and it was a Japanese show for adults. The only thing from that era that is still around today. I still remember in the 5th grade, one kid was like "You guys are watching the baby's version of DBZ. The Japanese version is so hardcore!!" and he brought a fan sub tape of Goku vs. Nappa with F bombs. We watch it after school and steak in a room with one of the TV's. We didn't get caught, but it was so cool.
PS4 username: Guyver_Spawn_27
MAL Profile: http://myanimelist.net/profile/Hellspawn28
Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/GS27/

DrBriefsCat
Beyond Newbie
Posts: 180
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:12 pm
Location: USA

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by DrBriefsCat » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:38 pm

Back in the '90s, I remember tapes of the TV episodes being of varying quality. Sometimes the image would look washed out but still watchable, despite being multi-gen. Other times, you could barely make out the subtitles.
Often copies of the movies looked better, because of an LD source.
Danfun64 wrote:There was another channel (forgot what country) called Pearl which aired DBZ back then, which also had bootleg tapes circulating.
It was Hong Kong.

User avatar
sangofe
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 6584
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:39 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by sangofe » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:54 am

Hellspawn28 wrote:Ctenosaur had some decent fansubs from what I can remember. I remember my local Japanese collector shops and fee markets had fan sub tapes during the early 2000's before 2002 or 2003. I was one of the lucky kids to find ways to watch DBZ when most of my age group where unaware of the Japanese version. I also like fan of anime and other Japanese media like Godzilla before I was a fan of Dragon Ball Z, so I knew about subs.

Fan subers like Anime Labs added swearing because they wanted DBZ to be edgy and gritty. They want to show that DBZ that DBZ was not for kids and it was a Japanese show for adults. The only thing from that era that is still around today. I still remember in the 5th grade, one kid was like "You guys are watching the baby's version of DBZ. The Japanese version is so hardcore!!" and he brought a fan sub tape of Goku vs. Nappa with F bombs. We watch it after school and steak in a room with one of the TV's. We didn't get caught, but it was so cool.
Yeah, ctenosaur. Plus they were really friendly. shipped me VHS tapes to Norway for only the tape and shipping cost :-)

User avatar
Kunzait_83
I Live Here
Posts: 2783
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:19 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:14 am

Ctenosaur was definitely my preferred subber of choice back in those prehistoric years. Pearl was really good though for getting ahold of certain rarer Freeza arc eps.
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

User avatar
Gaffer Tape
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:34 am

Yeah, I definitely have some Ctenosaur tapes in my collection. I still think they're pretty good, although they had one major mistranslation that I totally believed until I got the Dragon Box for it only five years ago. In the episode where Gohan has a date with Angela, and they go to the tea shop or whatever, the Ctenosaur subs have Angela tell Gohan that the boy is supposed to ask the girl how old she is. So he does, and she responds with... 13! I always thought that was hilarious. I could totally buy that Angela was 13, and Gohan's reaction really sold it. However, when I got the Dragon Boxes, the subtitles instead revealed it was about asking how many spoonfuls of sugar she wanted in her tea, which was 13. Still funny, but it doesn't quite top the age joke. I'm not saying I'm holding that against them for one mistake, but it just totally blew my mind how one little change can totally change the context of a scene.

In general, though, I preferred the not-fansub-but-thought-they-were Nippon Golden Network. They just seemed more professional, since, well, they were. The only thing that annoyed me about them was that they didn't translate the next episode previews. They showed them, but the subtitles just read "PREVIEW".
Do you follow the most comprehensive and entertaining Dragon Ball analysis series on YouTube? If you do, you're smart and awesome and fairly attractive. If not, see what all the fuss is about without even having to leave Kanzenshuu:

MistareFusion's Dragon Ball Dissection Series Discussion Thread! (Updated 7/6/20!)
Current Episode: Overloading on Gods - Dragon Ball Dissection: The Majin Boo Arc Part 6!

User avatar
Nejishiki
I Live Here
Posts: 2406
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:45 am

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Nejishiki » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:48 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:Yeah, I definitely have some Ctenosaur tapes in my collection. I still think they're pretty good, although they had one major mistranslation that I totally believed until I got the Dragon Box for it only five years ago. In the episode where Gohan has a date with Angela, and they go to the tea shop or whatever, the Ctenosaur subs have Angela tell Gohan that the boy is supposed to ask the girl how old she is. So he does, and she responds with... 13! I always thought that was hilarious. I could totally buy that Angela was 13, and Gohan's reaction really sold it. However, when I got the Dragon Boxes, the subtitles instead revealed it was about asking how many spoonfuls of sugar she wanted in her tea, which was 13. Still funny, but it doesn't quite top the age joke. I'm not saying I'm holding that against them for one mistake, but it just totally blew my mind how one little change can totally change the context of a scene.
Oh, so that's why I have that memory! That's one of my favorite episodes and I was always confused why I recalled an age joke when the official release didn't reference it nor did I hear it. It's a remnant from one of the tapes we owned.

User avatar
TheBlackPaladin
I Live Here
Posts: 3583
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:05 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:42 pm

Actually, Bansho64, I just remembered that Kanzenshuu did an entire podcast episode on this very topic. Go to this page, and then to episode #259 (the one that's currently at the bottom of this page). Since my first time checking out the original Japanese version was on the officially released DVDs in the mid-2000's, this was an interesting episode for me! It was very cool to learn just what fans outside of Japan had to go through to watch the original version.
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

User avatar
Bansho64
I Live Here
Posts: 2034
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:59 am

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Bansho64 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:48 pm

TheBlackPaladin wrote:Actually, Bansho64, I just remembered that Kanzenshuu did an entire podcast episode on this very topic. Go to this page, and then to episode #259 (the one that's currently at the bottom of this page). Since my first time checking out the original Japanese version was on the officially released DVDs in the mid-2000's, this was an interesting episode for me! It was very cool to learn just what fans outside of Japan had to go through to watch the original version.
Thanks man! I'll check it out. Official subtitles for older DB things have always been a constant for me, so this is a pretty new subject for me.

User avatar
Milton
Beyond Newbie
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:42 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Milton » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:11 pm

Man, oh man...this takes me back.

I echo the folks who said Ctenosaur Video; they would tend to be a bit rough with some language choices, but they seemed to be consistently decent. The majority of episodes on tape I had were from the NGN broadcast, though. The episodes I had began with Goku landing on Namek, but by the time I got to about episode 94, they inexplicably switched over to Anime Labs. That transition was...interesting.

Funny note, and I'm curious if anyone knows the answer to this here: my Freeza saga episodes that were from the NGN broadcast seem to skip over episode 79 entirely. The tape that I had featured 3 episodes; 77, 78 and 80 were from NGN while 79 was from the Pearl broadcast. Given how brutal some of the content was in that episode, did NGN purposefully skip that one for content?

Also, does anyone remember the name of the group that worked on GT? Their subs (to me, anyway) were almost one part Ctenosaur, one part Anime Labs in terms of quality.

EDIT: Also, for those interested, it seems Ctenosaur Video lives on! They're now Kurotokagi Gumi and they specialize in mostly older live-action samurai films.
Last edited by Milton on Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Gaffer Tape
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:15 pm

Hmm, the one GT tape I have was, I believe, subbed by "E. Monsoon." I could be totally wrong. I haven't watched that tape in years, but I remember they had a big CG logo at the front of the tape. And, yeah, they were definitely a bit liberal with the swearing, even throwing some fairly heavy cussing into the opening pop song!
Do you follow the most comprehensive and entertaining Dragon Ball analysis series on YouTube? If you do, you're smart and awesome and fairly attractive. If not, see what all the fuss is about without even having to leave Kanzenshuu:

MistareFusion's Dragon Ball Dissection Series Discussion Thread! (Updated 7/6/20!)
Current Episode: Overloading on Gods - Dragon Ball Dissection: The Majin Boo Arc Part 6!

User avatar
Milton
Beyond Newbie
Posts: 198
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:42 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Milton » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:29 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:Hmm, the one GT tape I have was, I believe, subbed by "E. Monsoon." I could be totally wrong. I haven't watched that tape in years, but I remember they had a big CG logo at the front of the tape. And, yeah, they were definitely a bit liberal with the swearing, even throwing some fairly heavy cussing into the opening pop song!
I do recall having at least the first 4 episodes subtitled from E. Monsoon...my copies of the Trunks and Bardock specials were done by them, as well as my movie 13. My Baby arc tapes though were not Monsoon.

On that note, weren't E. Monsoon and S. Baldric the same?

User avatar
TheBlackPaladin
I Live Here
Posts: 3583
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:05 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:45 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:And, yeah, they were definitely a bit liberal with the swearing, even throwing some fairly heavy cussing into the opening pop song!
I simply must know more details about this. I just have this funny image in my head of "DAN DAN" playing and the subtitles reading, "HOLD MY F***IN' HAND." :lol:
A "rather haggard" translation of a line from Future Gohan in DBZ, provided to FUNimation by Toei:
"To think of fighting that is this fun...so, it was pleasant fight, as many as, therefore is a feeling which is good the fight where."

User avatar
lolman196
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:49 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by lolman196 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:58 pm

I just checked my copy of DBGT 1-4 by E. Monsoon and this was the only "swearing" I could find in the opening.

Image

User avatar
Cure Dragon 255
I Live Here
Posts: 3793
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 5:23 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Cure Dragon 255 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:04 pm

Geez, what a fucking dissapointment...LOL.
AnimeMaakuo wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:38 am
Enjoy unboxing crap :thumbup:. Your continued support for crap will give us more crap for many years to come! :clap:.
90sDBZ wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:44 pm
19 years ago I was rushing home from school to watch DBZ on Cartoon Network, and today I've rushed home from work to watch DBS on Pop. I guess it's true the more things change the more they stay the same. :lol:

User avatar
Gaffer Tape
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5907
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:18 pm

Really? I'm pretty sure my subtitles went with "Up and down the god damned winding road." Maybe that's still a disappointment, but it just seems so out of place in this song and that line in particular. Just makes me think of a very angry Wizard of Oz scenario.
Do you follow the most comprehensive and entertaining Dragon Ball analysis series on YouTube? If you do, you're smart and awesome and fairly attractive. If not, see what all the fuss is about without even having to leave Kanzenshuu:

MistareFusion's Dragon Ball Dissection Series Discussion Thread! (Updated 7/6/20!)
Current Episode: Overloading on Gods - Dragon Ball Dissection: The Majin Boo Arc Part 6!

User avatar
Kunzait_83
I Live Here
Posts: 2783
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:19 pm

Re: Back in day, what were some of the best fansubs?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:41 pm

Milton wrote:EDIT: Also, for those interested, it seems Ctenosaur Video lives on! They're now Kurotokagi Gumi and they specialize in mostly older live-action samurai films.
Exactly the same fate that befell AnimEigo for awhile (before they began their more recent KickStarter era of classic anime releases) throughout the bulk of the mid to latter 2000s. Switching from anime to Chanbara seemed to be a recurring theme among some of the very old guard anime licensing/fansubbing groups once they hit the aughts and the CN-inflated bubble started to drown out everything else. Makes a lot of sense: live action Hong Kong and Japanese film always had a ton of overlap with that older era of anime fandom.
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

Post Reply