Oren & LazyGamer September 2009
We started off as a prank scanlation channel called Visually-Impaired scans founded by Satoshi. A sacred ground full of darkness….a place where many applicants, intent upon joining scanlation groups got 'pwned hard'...so to speak. However a few of us got together and decided to turn it real whilst changing the name in the process to Village Idiot.
Oren: I'm Oren of VIScans, I'm an ex-translator turned editor and quality checker for a few groups, I got into Scanlation from a different point of entry than most, I used to help some Chinese scanlators when I first started out, my knowledge of Chinese wasn't the best, but my Japanese to English was good enough. As for groups... I mostly helped anonymous hentai scanlators by translating for them when I had time off at the end of a month. Now, I currently work for Viscans, MangaArt, DFCG and Dragon Voice.
LazyGamer: My name is LazyGamer and I am a proofreader and typesetter for Viscans. I first found manga via #lurk sometime in 2007 as some random person on Rizon had directed me to it. At the time, Protected's mafia game was heavily advertised on #lurk and I quickly became addicted to it. After much mafia-related drama, some of the players decided to make a scanlation group called SCX-Scans. This was my first experience with a scanlation group.
Some time later, the members started talking about a secret project of theirs which piqued my curiosity, so I pestered one of their heads, SkyKing, about it who said he would tell me if I proofread it for him. And so, my first experience with scanlating began with the manga Asu no Yoichi. A while later, Viscans was formed of which I have been a member of ever since.
Since then, I have also joined the group Shi-Ki and have helped proofread half a chapter for Red-Hawk and a chapter for Manwhore. I have also cleaned a chapter for Hyena-Scans and typesetted some chapters for a group that I worked with in disguise. As for my reasons for scanlating, I don't really have a concrete answer. I guess it is a mixture of being bored, a love of manga and wanting to help the community.
LazyGamer: One day, Satoshi and knexx decided to play a prank and created a fake scanlation channel, complete with random staff members he invited from several group. One day, I too was invited to the channel and for laughs, and I put forth the idea of turning it into a real scanlation group. The idea was taken seriously and so Oren, Ilesyt and I went about planning its creation and thus, Viscans was born. At first, Ilesyt ran the group and during his reign, we did mostly shounen as well as some seinen. After Ilesyt retired and Oren took over, we started a slow shift to seinen/drama/comedy.
Oren: Viscans is a seinen/drama/comedy group focusing on the more obscure mangakas and their manga out there... or we try to, at any rate. It was formed for an entirely non-scanlation-related reason. I believe it was formed in early August by Satoshi, I wasn't there during its first 2 weeks, but I believe it was formed for trolling purposes. Fast forward one week later, Ilesyt, Lazygamer, Calvin and I decided to turn the group into an actual scanlation group. Below is a log explaining what Viscans was, when I first joined it:
[03:10] <@LazyGamer> 0_o
[03:10] <@LazyGamer> how did I get op?
[03:10] <@SuperBored> same reaction
[03:10] <@SuperBored> I just logged in today
[03:11] <@SuperBored> and I had this memo-ed to me
[03:11] <@SuperBored> : join #viscans, you're an op
[03:18] <@Calvin> >.>
[03:18] <@SuperBored> ask Calvin, I think he's been here before
[03:18] <@Calvin> probably satoshi
[03:18] <@Calvin> we need more ppl
[03:19] <@Calvin> to make it look more real
[03:19] <@Calvin> lots of ppl have been pranked tho
[03:19] <@SuperBored> lol really?
[03:19] <@LazyGamer> actually this is a good idea
[03:19] <@Calvin> yeap
Oren: Hmm, why the name VIScans, well... most of the first members of the channel were players of the once popular IRCHighway game, Mafia. This game had a particular role known as the Village Idiot, a member of the evil group but one who would pass off as an innocent member and wreak havoc undetected. Viscans, in its first stage (the trolling era) was Visually Impaired Scans, and since the channel was called #viscans, we just lifted Village Idiot from Mafia (referred to as VI in the game) and adopted it as our name. So, in a way... both—Visually Impaired and Village Idiot—are our names.
LazyGamer: At first, we were just a prank scanlation channel with the name Visually-Impaired Scans, but after we became a real group, we changed the name to Village Idiot. Now as Oren has mentioned, the name Village Idiot comes from a role in the game mafia. However, when playing mafia, typing "Village Idiot" all the time was a pain, so people used the acronym "VI" instead, which is where the name Viscans comes from.
LazyGamer: I'm not entirely sure as at the time I was still new to the whole scene, but there were very few big groups at the time (as in, groups that had a large number of people on their IRC channel).
Oren: The scanlation scene at the time Viscans was formed was already undergoing what I like to call... devolution. Specifically, groups were already migrating to forums and abandoning IRC, and Speed Scanning was rampant... where every new scanlator started off by scanning Naruto using a Mangahelpers translation. The scene was in, purely in my opinion, a downward spiral.
Oren: The biggest roadblocks we've faced, and are facing even now, are undedicated applicants... we must have had close to 90 people who join, and are never heard from again. As for problems with publishers... IRC provides enough protection.
LazyGamer: The biggest roadblock was at the group's beginning when our only translator was Satoshi and he didn't quite have the time to work on the group full-time (Oren hates the Japanese language with a passion so getting him to tl was out of the question). As for our legal troubles, as far as I know, we haven't had any. It's as Oren says, IRC is safe enough.
LazyGamer: As Oren once said: "80% of the administration is done in the shadows."
Oren: Viscans management is something even I can't wrap my head around... and that's saying something when you consider I'm one of the people who runs it. Suffice to say, it's nothing like how most groups are run, whether that makes it good or bad, is an entirely different question. Scanlating at Viscans has been one of my best spans as a scanlator. The staff is great to work with, the endless amount of trolling and conversations... often I wonder how we get any work done.
Oren: Viscans most popular and influential project... hmmm, well... that's a bit of a toughie which I regrettably, cannot answer.
LazyGamer: Our most popular project is probably Otaku no Musume-san, but I don't keep track of which one is downloaded the most so I can't say for sure.
Oren: Hmm, old staffers... well, of the many... I'd like to mention Judaki and Bamboostyx here, both of whom are some of the best scanlators I've had the pleasure of working with... Judaki's translating speed and efficiency (3 well translated chapters in under an hour) is the stuff of legends over in Viscans, and BambooStyx's excellent editing is right up there in the legends category.
LazyGamer: Hmm, I guess I'll give a shout out to Ilesyt. Although we had our differences and despite the fact that he became temperamental at the end and caused Judaki to quit, without him, Viscans simply would not be what it is today. He was the one responsible for turning us from a newly created group into a stable, semi-large group, and laid the foundations for Oren who would then go and turn Viscans into what it is today.
LazyGamer: Well, there was this one time where I almost trolled Oren into believing he was a father...but to be fair, his brain function wasn't at its best that day.
Oren: Memorable stories... well, just this of the many:
<@LazyGamer> i am gay
<%clonic> We knew that long before you did, LazyGamer.
Well, for decency's sake... lazygamer ISN'T gay, that was just his cousin, but hey, it's funny nonetheless.
Oren: These days... when I'm not being nagged to death by my high-maintenance girlfriend and not studying for exams which I have every 3 weeks... I hang out on IRC, talk to the people I work with, and those that I don't, and of course, when I'm free enough, I scanlate. Viscans is currently looking to expand into more obscure manga, dealing with more mature and psychologically tuned manga. As for the future... assuming we get enough staff, we'll see where we can go.
LazyGamer: My routine hasn't changed much over these past two years. I normally start off the day by reading all the new chapters that came out since I last checked and then proceed to be active on IRC whilst surfing the Internet or scanlating as well as managing to fit in at least four hours of gaming a day. Viscan's current status is still stable, but that may change depending on Satoshi's situation.
Oren: Aha, speed scanlators... possibly my most favorite group to bash. Speed scanlation is the most blatant example of resources being wasted. Every week, you see 20 different people putting out their own version of Naruto... and that doesn't even comprise of the "International" scanlations. It's completely pointless... 90% of the readers will opt for Franky House or SleepyFan releases. The huge influx of speed scanners will do more harm than good to the scanlation community (and it's already doing it), I mean... speed scanlation is why most groups don't even bother to use an IRC channel anymore. Online reading sites... well, as long as they credit the scanlators, it's all good. I'm mostly indifferent to them.
LazyGamer: It is an unfortunate fact that hundreds of people don't care about the quality of the scans as long as they get their weekly Naruto fix. Now, I'm all for speed-scans and everything, but there comes a point where the quality can only drop so much. The reason for the poor quality speed-scans is because there are dozens of groups covering the same manga (a complete waste of resources, I might add) and so each have adopted the mentality of "whoever releases first, wins!" and thus do everything in their power to release first including dropping the quality. The sad part of this is that most people read Naruto and other such manga on online readers such as OneManga and Manga Fox which only upload either SleepyFan or Franky House releases meaning that even though you released first, very few people will read your chapter.
LazyGamer: If there was any one group I really respect, it would have to be Null. There are three reasons for this:
3) They are a high-quality group.
2) They have done much to further the skills of the scanlation community, such as their scanlation wiki and workshop.
1) And most importantly, it is the home of Protected's mafia game.
LazyGamer: I haven't a clue. Whatever will happen, will happen, and at that time, if our current way of doing things no longer cut it, we will either change with the times or stagnate. That's all there is to it.
Oren: The future... well... given current trends continue, scanlation as we know it, will be nightmarish... with every group enforcing their "e-peen" on readers by forcing them to join forums and making 15 "non-spam" posts and so on...
Oren: Last Words: forty two.
LazyGamer: ALL HAIL MAFIA!
No seriously, if enough people become interested in it, then Protected might turn it back on.