jojo_da_crow August 2009

jojo_da_crow has been involved with scanlation since the early 2000s. She has worked with a variety of groups, including MangaProject, ShoujoMagic, Aerandria, and more. At one point in time, jojo_da_crow was also the leader of ShoujoMagic and Noated. After handing over her leadership positions to others, jojo_da_crow has since taken a backseat in the scanlation business, doing various scanning jobs for newer groups like Aerandria.

Please introduce yourself!

jojo_da_crow: I'm jojo_da_crow. I've been around the scanlation scene since 2001 XD So I know a lot of the details of the community, but there is more from earlier than me that I'm a bit fuzzy on.

I was a head mod at Noated and then owned it for a few years, I was also in MangaProject, TFT, head scanner for ShoujoMagic, ran ShoujoMagic for a few months, and now work freelance for about 9–10 groups ahaha. I love it. I also don't think I realized how much stuff I was a part of and people I knew that helped found this whole community of people. It still surprises me when I go into random channels and people are like "OMG it's jojo!" and I think... "what? I'm no one special at all." I think most of the old school guys think that way though.

We just never realized what we were doing back then was special. Heck... the first year or two of me doing this, we didn't even have real credits for chapters, there are a ton of things out there I did that don't even have my name on it... and I am totally fine with that. I see people nowadays who get upset because they are left off credits, and I can only think.... get over it, I've been upset once about being left off—it was for a newbie group and it was my first scans with them. The only reason I was upset is because they credited someone else for my scans XD. And they changed it and I got over it... but I see people quit over not being credited sometimes or someone forgetting, I think that is one of the biggest differences I see in the community nowadays. More people doing it now for the e-penis than for the love of the series, eh, but I also just like reading manga so I don't care why they do it XDDD

How did you get involved in scanlation?

jojo_da_crow: Back then I had just got into anime and loved it. Then I found Noated... and, well, I downloaded a bunch in college, and then got home... and was on a 56K, so I found the cjb sites. They were my first scanlations and where I got addicted. With anime, it sucked with a 56K... but scanlation would get me the story faster, and I ended up enjoying it more than anime in the end.

Tell us a bit about the scanlation scene from back then, what was it like?

jojo_da_crow: There was ZlleH, whose MangaProject was one of the first groups (if not the first) to level scans, and that caused an uproar at the time because a lot of people thought the quality was too good and would discourage people from buying manga. And then there was darkshard... who I believe was the guy who started what we know as scanlations.

There was the IRC channel #mangascans, I think what it was is that there was basically one big IRC channel for all scanslation really, and then ZlleH decided he wanted to make a staff channel for MangaProject and, well, other people came too, so we in the end became one of the bigger manga channels on IRC because of that. Back in the days, our nick list was as big as #lurk's.

When I first started... I think the channel was called #scans, to be honest I went to the #scans channel and downloaded a bit... then left for a few months, and then came back and the #mangaproject channel had just been formed. I started hanging out there and then offered to buy Basara for someone to scan... bought it and it accidently got shipped to me, and so I somehow got sucked into the whole thing ahaha.

Back then, the way people used to get their websites out (the manga ones) was to add it to the msearch at Noated, which was a BIG resource for both manga and anime (aesearch), but the site died around 2002 I think... and that is where the emergence of DailyManga came from, and it really was a much better method for tracking things.

You've been around the scene since the early 2000s. Tell us a bit about how, in your view, the community has changed over the years.

jojo_da_crow: I think one interesting aspect of the transition is the distribution medium. How it really started with IRC as the home base (and for most groups except the very new generation), and it was really where you went to find manga. Then it moved over into being offered as direct downloads on sites (which were a great treat back then) as bandwidth got cheaper. Finally we have what it is today on OneManga and MangaFox.

The sad thing about scanslation now is that there aren't huge power houses anymore. I mean nothing like what ShoujoMagic was. I think ShoujoMagic was so big because it was the first group to really cater to women. I mean back then, if you were in a group, you were most likely helping with shounen. I mean, I was lucky because I worked with MangaProject and they did some shoujo series (mostly under the guise of getting more girls to come into the IRC channel).

The big groups aren't really groups anymore. It is resource websites. What happened was that people wanted to suggest a lot of series... and started getting fed up with waiting, so they started doing it themselves. I know a lot of the older generation resent the newer ones because they don't really seem to care or love the series they are working on enough to do it right—poor scans, poor translation, and poor edits, and people eat it up because it's fast. And I can't blame them; I was just recently talking to someone about the corner scanslations has painted itself into.

Anyways, we have this strange problem now in scanslation... because we have all these unspoken rules, and people try to be nice... but so many series have been tossed to the wayside because of it. I mean... to me if you haven't released a series in 3–6 months, you can't complain if someone else takes it. Especially if you have a 9 volume series and you are producing a chapter every 5 months...come on... let it go.

By the way, tell us why some people like to use the term scanlation while others use scanslation.

jojo_da_crow: Oh, I totally spell scanlation as scanslation because I was around at the time the word was coined, and a lot of us thought scanlation sounded stupid... since you don't tranlate something, you translate.... but that is another argument for another time. So if you see me spell it wrong, it is because I'm stubborn ahahaha.

You lead Noated for a period of time, tell us more about Noated!

jojo_da_crow: I ran Noated for a while XD but Typus was the founder. Around 2002, he left and took the site with him... and we tried to build it back up, but by the time we did, other things had replaced it. I'd say Noated had its use back in 1999–2001 mostly. When people had updates and new releases, they would update their sites on Noated to get more hits and would try to get posts on the front page of the news section. It was pretty much the only place you could go to get a list of websites with downloads. There wasn't anything else out there that was cataloging these sites. At one point and time someone had a history of it all.

I think the site was founded in 1998 and went by the name Typus' Anime Depot. It basically was just something he threw together to list out the anime sites he went to that had downloads and such, and it got bigger and bigger, until he decided to make it into something more than just a list of sites that people could vote on. So he decided to make a forum, and he scripted the forum and everything by hand and got a domain name. He couldn't think of anything to name it, so he took part of his name Toan and spelled it backwards. And thus was born XD.

You were also pretty close to Can you tell us what kind of site was it?

jojo_da_crow: It was kinda like what you have with MangaHelpers. The idea was to make it to be a resource for scanlators. There were boards for scanners, proofers, editors, translators, and they were making guides and making it a place where people could ask questions. Some boards weren't open to the public, but you could apply to each one. It was active for a little while, but I think it was too soon for its time, not many people wanted to share their "trade secrets" back then. Back then, groups were pretty protective of raws too.

It seems back then groups were protective of manga raws because they weren't as widely available as they are today.

jojo_da_crow: Oh yeah, because there wasn't as many webraws as there are now, so there was always the fear that some small group looking to make a name for themselves would get your raws and try to steal your series, which happened a few times... there are actually reasons why a lot of groups don't let new people who sign on to their staff have FTP access to raws until they have been there a long time. Nowadays people seem to use webraws a lot... which is sad for me as a scanner T__T and which is why I'm overwhelmed right now scanning 50 chapters a month, LOL, because I won't let any of my groups use them.

Please tell us a bit about ShoujoMagic!

jojo_da_crow: I was the leader of ShoujoMagic after Siana and have been with the group basically since when SM started. I came in a month or two after they started and before they did HQ stuff. ZlleH from MangaProject was actually the one who helped teach Siana how to edit XD, I remember poking him asking him if he would talk to her and help her AHAHA. I was like... the 10th or so person in the channel and became an op pretty quickly.

ShoujoMagic's IRC channel used to be one of the biggest channel around, what was it like being a part of it all?

jojo_da_crow: #ShoujoMagic used to be huge. I have screenshots from it where we goofed off, and I think back... man, we had that many people in there? Lol. Everyone can get stuff online now or on the reliable and fast bots in Lurk, so they don't need to come visit us anymore T__T we had at least 800–900, but I think we got bigger than that sometimes. We stayed about as big as MP most of the time and then got a bit bigger. It was honestly something I never really thought about, I seriously was so oblivious to how special we were. LOL I just figured everyone had the same thing. I never really went outside my group's channels so I didn't know. XD

When mIRC-X died, most groups moved to IRCHighway, but #shoujomagic went to IRCtoo instead and only moved to IRCHighway later?

jojo_da_crow: Well, basically it was kinda interesting, because #MangaProject and #ShoujoMagic were so big, a lot of the channels would follow them wherever they went, because that would ensure that people would come to their channels as well. So after mIRC-X went down, we decided on IRCHighway, but... after everyone moved there, we decided after a month or so to go to IRCtoo XD. But no one else followed us after that since they were already on IRCHighway. We eventually moved back, but in the early days, yeah... most channels kinda grouped together.

ShoujoMagic took on a large number of projects! How was everything managed?

jojo_da_crow: At one point, we had about 80 staff working. It was incredible and the most fun I've ever had, Siana ran them all like a company. When Siana left the group temporarily, I basically got a HUGE staff list (past and present) and translations, so I had to email everyone on the list and pretty much say... "Um, do you still work for SM? If so what do you do?" and build up a list of active staff and projects they were working on.

For a while I kinda putzed along. I really had no idea what I was doing. I had passed the editing test and knew what I was doing... kinda, but mostly I was just a scanner who happened to be Siana's best friend as well XD so I got picked. Then a few months later Siana came back and said... "I'm not coming back"...and so things got very overwhelming for me, and I asked a few staff to help me with the releases (I have no idea how Siana did it by herself). When Siana turned the group over to me, I had a contact list of about 200 people, most had left, but that was her master list from the time she started till she quit. Finally, I decided to turn the group over to my friends... I get my jollies by working with other groups now.

In late 2006 ShoujoMagic re-launched its website, why did the group get rid of the old theme that it had used for so many years?

jojo_da_crow: It was something that Siana decided she wanted. It was really done so that the site could allow direct downloads of the series, and it needed a recode. People can change it back to the old one through their account's theme option =P Basically the idea was supposed to be that we were going to have users and staff make more themes, but Siana's family got sick around that time and she was gone for many months before she handed it over to me, and things... kinda just died with that. Then we had drama with our host and had to take down all the direct downloads of all the releases XD

In your opinion, what is the current scanlation scene like? What are some major groups nowadays?

jojo_da_crow: I think the closest group right now that has the chance of becoming a powerhouse is one I don't want to jinx, but I think they have a huge staff and look to gain the powerhouse status if they keep it up, and that group is Aerandria, but that is to be determined XD they are kicking some butt and I love getting to work with them.

Entropy actually has a lot of ex-SM people. Esthétique is also big, but their quality isn't as good. Storm in Heaven is also pretty good and I work with them as well. I tend to stick to high-quality groups. I tried to work with one of the newbie groups and the experience wasn't as good, LOL, so I stopped scanning for them. I don't know... there are a lot of good ones, but the closest to being a huge powerhouse is probably AE right now.

It seems like most of the time shoujo groups have prettier looking websites than shounen groups...

jojo_da_crow: Hahahaha yeah boys don't care XD, and girls love pretty images and boys *___*

Were there any groups or projects you're currently following?

jojo_da_crow: 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.

Thank you for your time! Any last words?

jojo_da_crow: Hehe sorry about the long delay..."Jojo hid from me for months... but finally I put out a bear trap and she answered my questions... But once she did... her interview was the best of them all." Ahahaha, not: "Once I got her answers, I wondered if a retarded monkey had answered. Then I wondered why I bothered at all..." Anyways, thank you for this opportunity!