kAi June 2009

Mangatraders is a manga download site where users are allowed to upload and share their manga with other users. According to Mangatraders's About Us page:

Mangatraders is a site dedicated to making English translated manga available to the world. It was founded by Aftershock, who wanted to give something back to the manga community by providing a simple, effective way for people to obtain translated manga for free. In the past it was difficult for a person to find different manga series, as they were spread out all over the net. The goal of Mangatraders is to bring all translated manga together so people can find what ever they are looking for in one location.

Initially Mangatraders was a glorified dumping ground. The few staff members added whatever manga they saw fit to share, and users would come and download them. But, as time wore on and more and more manga became popular, it was decided that the staff alone was not sufficient to obtain and upload all the titles available or desired. Thus the site was reformed into a true trading center. In order to live up to the title of traders, as well as take slack off of the staff, it was decided that any user would be allowed to upload any manga they wished, as long as it was translated into English. In this way Mangatraders has grown as more and more rare or obscure manga are brought to us by users from all over the world.

kAi is the co-founder of Mangatraders and is currently inactive, leaving the site's management in the hands of co-founder Aftershock.

Please introduce yourself!

kAi: kAi—Co-Founder of Mangatraders. At first it was gathering all the manga and getting the site up and building relationships with the community. I'm not around most of the time now, but still do some things from time to time; most of the site is now run by Yukimura, who has been a huge asset to the site.

How did you get into the scanlation scene? What was the scene like back then?

kAi: Like how most people started out, with just reading manga online, there wasn't a main HTTP repository of manga available like there is today, which was one of the reasons MT was created.

Tell us a bit about Mangatraders, what kind of service is it, how did it start and how did it get to where it is today?

kAi: Mangatraders is an archive site, a place where you can find manga that are hard to get, older and unheard of series. After talks with Aftershock, we decided to create the site to make it easier for people to find manga, a place where everything was stored in one place, so you won't need to go to many different places to find what you wanted. After a while we were able to add the traders functionality to allow user uploads, which has made the site what it is today.

Did Mangatraders encounter any roadblocks along the way? Did you get in trouble with any publishers?

kAi: There have been a couple of roadblocks, one definitely being the time where we lost all of our files from the site. We were able to come back to where we are today thanks to many users giving it all back.

We also received a notice from Tokyopop and DMP, and we were then forced to remove many series including Berserk (my favourite), Battle Royale, Cowboy Bebop, GTO, Initial D, Love Hina, Trigun, and the list grows.

Tell us about what the current scanlation scene is like, there seems to be many other download and online reading sites, how do Mangatraders feel about these other sites?

kAi: The many other sites where people can gather manga are good for the community; I think it makes the community bigger and stronger. These sites give people a place to get and discuss manga that they want, but also bring about other people to start scanlating manga, which in turn helps you to be able to read more and find other great manga that aren't yet scanlated.

It seems like in recent years there have been many small speedscan groups, and manga like Naruto are usually scanlated by 5+ groups at once, how do you feel about this trend of smaller speed groups?

kAi: I don't mind, the part which annoys me is that all these speedscan groups focus only on Naruto, Bleach and One Piece, when they could be using their talents for other unknown series which aren't being scanlated at all.