darkshard June 2009
darkshard is the founder of Mangascans, a group regarded by many as the first scanlation group. After completing I''s, DNA^2 and Love Hina (all available volumes at the time), darkshard disbanded Mangascans and joined MangaProject, the spiritual successor to Mangascans. darkshard officially retired from the scanlation scene after MangaProject disbanded in 2007, but still shows up in #MangaProject from time to time.
darkshard: Actually you are correct when you mentioned Mangascans starting in 1999. Mangascans started out as a doujinshi and hentai website. It didn't become a scanlation website till April 2000.
Most of the adult content was hosted on free webhost and they contained lots of pop up ads. A portal was created so visitors can avoid seeing the adult content if they didn't want to. So Mangascan was split into an adult and a non-adult section. The scanlation part was a 30-man operation of volunteers, scanners, translators and editors.
As for its importance, we're the first manga scanlation group in existence on the Internet that I'm aware of. There were some individuals distributing some scanslations of manga chapters on Usenet, but they were all single chapters of series. There was no serious effort by anyone to complete an entire manga series.
There were many anime fansub groups around back then and I was often told that the manga were better. Better? Where are the manga fansub groups? None in existence...
darkshard: I only recall seeing some Ranma and Dragonball scanslations on Usenet (newsgroup).
darkshard: The webpage was already well-established as a popular hentai and doujinshi website distributing stuff from Usenet. So when the scanslation part was formed around April 2000, it was just a transition.
darkshard: Finding translators. Finding scanners and editors was easy, anyone could do it, but Japanese and Chinese translators were harder to find.
darkshard: A lot of trial and errors. The first editing was done using Windows Paint program. It was a group effort. We all learned as we go.
darkshard: I wanted to use manga fansub, but it never stuck. We had many little discussions on IRC about it and I saw the word "scanlation" used a few times, but I think it was ZlleH who picked it up and made it "official" and popularized it later on.
darkshard: None. We were still very small by today's standard, plus the quality was poor so I don't think publishers had any issue with us. Love Hina is the only one that had gone commercial, and by then the webpage was already dead.
darkshard: Mangascans ended by the time we finished Love Hina. I joined MangaProject as a scanner afterwards.
darkshard: I would say scanlation probably started on USENET (newsgroup). It was the main form of distribution back then.
darkshard: I didn't know what IRC was back then. Someone pointed me to #mangascans on Dal.net, and it quickly became the place for communication and distribution. #MangaProject was formed by ZlleH.
darkshard: #mangascans was probably created the moment the person pointed me to this IRC channel. I can't say for sure. It was just a simple chat channel, nothing more at first.
darkshard: Like what I wrote back then for Mangascans' History: "It's been many years before this time, that I've always wondered why there were so many anime fansub groups but no manga fansub groups around."
Now scanslations are released almost within hours of them being released in Japan. It has become just as good and as big as the anime fansub community.