p00kie July 2009

P00kie is a former editor of the group Solaris-SVU, and worked for a number of other groups and websites, including Currently p00kie is retired, but still shows up in various IRC to hang out with others from the community.

Please introduce yourself!

p00kie: P00kie, retired editor for Solaris & other groups. And this is when editing involved cleaning, redrawing, proofreading, typesetting, basically everything from translation to release.

Tell us a bit about Solaris-SVU, what kind of group is it? When did it start? Why and how did you join the group?

p00kie: When I joined Solaris, there was no SVU. At some point, Gari decided certain projects were more fanservice-y than others, and labeled them as -SVU projects. I just edited whatever came my way.

When you first began scanlating, what was the scanlation community like? How was Solaris-SVU received by the community?

p00kie: A few big groups like MangaProject and ShoujoMagic. SnoopyCool was big too back then. Different groups tended to focus on different niches, which also allowed groups to build fanbases for unknown manga. Leechers would stick around in channels that worked on their kind of manga, and when a group picked up something new, they'd give it a shot.

What were some of the biggest roadblocks you and the group faced? Did you get in trouble with any publishers or copyright issues?

p00kie: Biggest roadblocks would probably be distro. In the early days we relied mostly on fservs of people on private connections—eventually people offered iroffer bots, and then the whole DDL boom took place with RapidShare, Megaupload, etc, but before all that, distro was a hassle that I preferred to avoid. As far as legal stuff, I don't believe we really had any problems. Didn't run into many licenses, most of the projects we ended up dropping were from the staff's lack of interest.

How was Solaris-SVU organized? What was it like running the group? Tell us about your day-to-day operations!

p00kie: We didn't have a scanner for many projects, so in the early days, we relied heavily on stuff like Winny, bulk raw distributors and the like for raws (I still remember cleaning out a certain scanner's annoying watermarks on every last page). Then whichever translator was in charge of that project would translate it, then the editor would do the rest & have someone else (usually the translator or another editor) QC before release. Generally it was the same people working on certain projects—certain translators would do *almost* all the chapters for any given manga; we didn't have the manpower to have 5 editors simultaneously working on different chapters (or different pages in 1 chapter). One benefit, though, was that you could get much better stylistic consistency in terms of prose, typesetting, etc. without needing restrictive guidelines.

We also had coordinators, people who basically assigned chapters to TL'ers & editors, and nagged them to get stuff done. They also made sure, when we had enough staff to have multiple people working on the same project, that things were done in the right order and that priorities were made clear.

What do you feel is Solaris-SVU's most popular or influential project?

p00kie: Hard to say, Girls Saurus was one of our popular projects for a while, as was Lilim Kiss. Lilim Kiss was the one that brought me to Solaris. For me though, the most memorable was Ai-Ren. Originally a K-Manga project, it became a joint with us for lack of editors on their side, and eventually our TL'er took over as well. One of my all time favorites, still pops up on /a/ every now and then. I recommend it to everyone; though have some tissues ready (unless you're a cold-hearted bastard).

Did Solaris-SVU collaborate with other groups often? How do joint projects usually come about? Since two or more groups are usually involved, how are they managed? What's your view on joint projects?

p00kie: Not often, but not uncommon either. Most joints came about when staffers from other groups say they need help with something, or if one of our staffers is interested in a stalled project and offers to help. Of course, since people would often work with multiple groups, if one group's project lost an editor, the TL'er might ask an editor from another group they're also in to help out. And of course, there was Curry, but that's a story for another day.

As far as how joints were managed, when one person finished their part, they sent it to the next person. Simple as that. If the next person happened to be in another group, so be it. The only issue was releasing. Usually, joints involved one group TL'ing and another editing, so when it was time to release, the editor would talk to the TL'er, & they'd agree when to release it. At least with our joints, neither group was ever so ego-centric as to care if different distro methods or timing issues attracted leechers to one channel over another.

My view is that they're great, but to a point. When groups are too lazy to make one credits page for the project & instead just slap their group page in, then you end up with 2 extraneous files. Tack on the fact that some groups insist on having a separate "we need recruitz plz help omg" page, pointless bits of fanart and fan-colored versions, "boo hoo Tazmo blah blah" x2, & that many idiots don't know to disable thumbnails (or at least delete thumbs.db), and you end up with one big clusterf*ck. Also, many groups like to tag their releases at the beginning of the filename, so when you start changing up the joint, everything gets out of order. Easily fixed if you just put your group name at the end, but most groups don't even think of that. Basically, they're great if you plan ahead regarding the little things, and they tend to work better and last longer when the individuals actually working on it think of the project as their own (as opposed to a joint between the groups with whom they're affiliated with).

Any memorable stories about Solaris-SVU you would like to share with the readers?

p00kie: 1 translator & 1 editor. 21 credit hour semester in biomedical engineering. 24 text-heavy chapters (~20–25pgs each) in 7 days. Man that was a tough week.

There are some "unspoken rules" in the community; for example "do not steal someone else's work without permission," could you talk about what some of these rules are and their purpose?

p00kie: It's to minimize wasted effort and keep everyone happy. Nowadays people don't care, they just want to release as fast as possible, and have as many people get their version as possible. You end up with manga like Hayate with 3 to 30 chapter gaps because idiots pick some random chapter in the middle to release so they'll be the first to do *that* chapter. You end up with stuff like Negima where multiple "groups" release redundant versions, forcing people who care to choose the least visually insulting of the multiple shoddily edited versions. You end up with TWGOK or Kurohime or Negima and dozens others with people blurring screen tones & artifacts together into one soggy watercolor mess to hide that they couldn't be bothered to properly clean & screen tone a scan for fear of not releasing first. You end up with drama, bickering on forums, excessive egos, and wasted effort that serves to dissuade translators and editors from continuing long-term & improving their skills.

Were there any groups or individuals you particularly looked up to or liked throughout the years? What are some of your favorite scanlation groups or projects you have followed over the years?

p00kie: I respected Snoopy a lot back in the old days, ran the group well, great website with DDL (and not through 3rd party sites like RapidShare), emphasis on quality releases, etc. The way they cranked out Recca & Psychic Academy at the end was great. Their channel was run by abusive asshole Ops for the most part, but Snoopy was always courteous and levelheaded the few times he actually was around. Sadly, SnoopyCool today is a pretty unimpressive shadow of its former excellence.

Omanga was also one of the old greats, and while I've never been a big fan of horror, they had their hand in several excellent projects, including my all time favorite Angel Sanctuary. They (well, Hawks mainly) were the only ones who could truly justify labeling releases as HQ (and not this BS H/M/LQ that groups tend to use today, all of which inevitably refer to pisspoor quality releases).

What's the future for Solaris-SVU? And what do you feel is the future for scanlation in general?

p00kie: I don't know. I don't really do much anymore. Gari is amazing though, translating and editing for as long as he has, I only wish he continues as long as possible. Without him, Solaris would've died long ago, orphaning many projects that would likely never be resumed by others. As far as scanlation in general, I don't really care. The community is heading into the crapper anyways. People no longer take pride in what they do, motivated more by the desire for a meager sense electronic importance than the desire to see a good story told well.

Thank you for your time! Any last words?

p00kie: Lolimoutocest. That is all.