immi July 2009

immi is the current leader of the scanlation group MangaArt. MangaArt was founded by MiMi in 2002. According to the group's History section:

MangaArt initially started out as a private mailing list founded by MiMi-chan at the beginning of 2002. In her quest to expose people to the world of manga, she gathered some people from her mailing list, and they began "scanlating" manga, which was then distributed to the mailing list members. However, to further spread the love outside of the mailing list, this founding group of people soon formed the group Rebellious Angels and expanded their releases through #MangaProject on IRC. Eventually on May 24, 2002, the name of the group was changed to MangaArt, and a permanent #MangaArt channel was set up.

Throughout the years MangaArt spawned many other scanlation groups, including Manga-Mania and Solaris-SVU. immi, who was originally an editor for Endless Dimension, joined MangaArt shortly after the group was founded, and has been with the group ever since.

Please introduce yourself!

immi: Hey, I'm immi. I mainly run MangaArt now, though I've been around as mainly an editor or QCer for other groups in the past.

Please tell us a bit about MangaArt...what kind of group is it?

immi: MangaArt started out as a mailing list founded by MiMi-chan some time at the beginning of 2002. She started "scanlating" manga with some people on there, but then they expanded to IRC and set up an official #MangaArt channel on May 24th, 2002. We've mainly been doing shoujo manga for a long time, with some smaller groups breaking off to dabble with other genres, such as shounen. Nowadays, while we still do a lot of shoujo projects, I try not to limit our projects to just shoujo, but anything that would interest our staff.

How were you introduced to scanlation, and when did you join MangaArt?

immi: I started scanlation as an editor with Endless Dimension because I wanted to work on Miho Obana's stuff (which was Andante back then) back around 2002, I think. I joined MangaArt a little later, so I guess I have been around with MangaArt since near the beginning after all.

Can you describe briefly what the scanlation community was like back then? How is it different from the community in 2009? Any thoughts on the differences between them?

immi: Personally, I think the scanlation community back then was a lot more lax. Nowadays, it's become more like a business than a hobby. From what I remember, there were few if any fights over projects back then. Perhaps this was because there were a lot fewer groups controlling the resources. Nowadays, it's like everyone and their pet dog has started their own new group, creating what I feel is a lot of small factions.

What were some of the major roadblocks MangaArt faced throughout its life? Did the group ever have any run-ins with publishers or the likes?

immi: I think the main problem we've had were during the transition(s) of different leaders and the loss of people as they all move on with their lives. We've been through 3–4 different leaders now, including me, so it's been pretty rough. So for me, when I took over/helped the previous leader, Siu, re-organize the group after a major loss of people, we had a lot of things to rework. MangaArt went through a major infrastructure overhaul you could say. But I guess it's actually not too bad being able to transition from one leader to the next. I know many groups have died out after one leader leaves, so I could say we're lucky in that sense, being able to survive all these years.

We've also stayed pretty safe in terms of doing licensed projects, so I don't think we've had any run-ins with the publishers. A lot of our projects aren't that main-stream anyway.

Added August 2009: We're actually going through another potential transition period as I start to move away from scanlation. In my spot, I'm leaving the group in the capable hands of Suyara. She's awesome, so we've always been blessed with great people/leaders! I'm sure MangaArt will still manage to survive many more years of fun!

Sometimes different groups have different ways of running things, how is MangaArt run? Tell us your day-to-day operations!

immi: Oh, I like to keep all of my information on an Access database. This was how Siu, the previous leader, did it, and I just liked the way it helped me organize, so I stuck with it. If you're running a group, you should try it ;)

In terms of getting people to do work, I would bug everyone all at once, like maybe once a week or every few weeks, depending on when we need something/my own motivation level. Most of our staff who go on IRC regularly are pretty close, so it definitely makes things a lot easier since I would also talk to them regularly.

What do you feel is the difference between a shounen scanlation group and a shoujo scanlation group? Anything about scanlation that the readers don't know about or have misunderstood over the years?

immi: Hm, that's hard since I haven't worked for many shounen groups (sadly). In terms of the projects or quality, I feel like there's not much of a difference besides the readership or genre of course. There are shounen groups that produce good quality scanlation, and there are ones that produce things that look like they were done in a minute. The same goes for shoujo groups.

In terms of the people, I'd say they're all about the same, too. There are both guys and girls working for both types of groups. And when people think "shoujo," they tend to think of maybe a bunch of fangirls going around screaming "kyaa" all the time or whatever, but I think that's not the case. There's no real sex difference, only maybe age differences.

However, when you look at the IRC scene, there's definitely a huge difference for both types of groups. Shoujo groups that stay on IRC and are big are almost nonexistent. IRC is pretty much dominated by shounen groups and the like. That, I'd say is the only real difference.

In the late 2000s a large number of speedscan groups cropped up to scanlate weekly series like Naruto and Bleach...did anything similar happen with the shoujo scene?

immi: Honestly, I'm not too sure since I don't follow shoujo much anymore. I think it does happen though. I know there's been a lot of competition between different shoujo groups for projects too. Some would do work faster, but at a lower quality, while others would wait and take their time. In terms of that, it's the same.

However, I don't think the shoujo speed scan scene is as intense as the shounen groups'. I know that for some of the more popular series like Naruto or Bleach, there'd be a dozen groups releasing the same chapter on the same day—the day the said chapter was released. I don't think any of the shoujo groups would actually do something like that, where they would release on the day it comes out...

Earlier in May, MangaArt celebrated its 7th Anniversary, what does the future hold for MangaArt? Any memorable stories from the past you'd like to share with the readers?

immi: Haha, well, we've had a lot of hard times these past seven years, but we've also had a lot of fun, which is why we're still around. We're a pretty close group of friends, and I'd like to do what I can to keep it that way. I hope we'll reach our 10th year anniversary in three years and then... go on a trip together! Bermuda or Hawaii, here we come! But I guess it all really depends on a lot of things.

In terms of stories... I guess we have too many? We're really more like a group of friends than actual scanlation group, so we probably just hang out and talk more than actually do work (now you know why we're so slow). But we like to record everything stupid and fun on our quotes, so if people are really curious, they can check them out on our channel. Also, once in a while, I like to spice things up with random events/things to do together. You'll have to visit our channel to find about all the goods ;)

Now, MangaArt is one of the oldest shoujo groups around... and we all know ShoujoMagic was one of the biggest around... for those who aren't well-versed in the language of shoujo scanlation, what other groups would you recommend to the readers?

immi: I personally don't really follow individual groups anymore. I just follow some projects, a lot of which aren't even shoujo anymore. I guess the main shoujo group I know that is currently big is Aerandria. They seem like a cool group of people and they have a *a lot* of projects. I suspect any current shoujo readers would know of them.

Any groups or individuals you've looked up to in the community? What are some of your favorite group or projects you've followed in the past?

immi: For groups that I've looked up to, they're mainly a lot of the older shounen groups. I've always been a fan of SnoopyCool and Null. They have great taste and good quality. I also thought Toriyama's World and MangaProject had some of the best quality works when they were still active.

What were some of MangaArt's most popular or influential projects?

immi: The main project that was really popular for our group was the Daa! Daa! Daa! series, which we finally managed to finish. I suppose Nagatachou Strawberry is now our most popular project.

Thank you for the interview! Any last words or shout-outs?

immi: MangaArt, damn you guys for never letting me escape! D: