Welcome to the Wonderful World of Fansubbing; Of He-Hulk and ICU-Subs

KIDS are the latest Hello!Project fansub group to storm the community. As a group which, as the name implies, focuses primarily on projects relating to the Hello!Project Kids, we've done our best to pick up where ICU left off.

While I had been minimally involved in the fansubbing world for some time before*, it wasn't until I was approached by The Incredible He-Hulk and asked to join ICU that I really got plunged into that world.

*I had initially started by doing very poor quality PV subs under the name Berryz Kyuuden Fansubs with the intent to eventually join Hello!Fansubs. I then went on to become, what SacredCultivator calls, a H!F Trainee Timer/Karaoke Typesetter. The name was actually incredibly misleading. I was given a list of PVs that had been requested, picked one, and then was left to it. BexXz was appointed as something of a big brother to guide me through it, but to be honest I'm not sure what he was there for either. I guess I was supposed to go to him if I had any questions, and, I presume, he was to judge my final efforts and decide whether they were good enough for H!F or not, I dunno. It wasn't long before growing tensions within H!F led to BexXz and sferris leaving and creating Hyakupa with me still barely motivated to do anything on the project I had chosen for myself. I was neither confident with my abilities to typeset, nor had I been instructed in any way on how H!F works, exactly what they were expecting of me, or how to TS properly. I was still in that same situation months later when I was approached by He-Hulk.

The 5-minute 100-or-so line skit from one of the Berryz Koubou & W(Double You) concerts couldn't have prepared me at all. It served no purpose at all, it'd seem, but to be used as a tool to teach me what ICU expected of me. A "training project", if you will, but, like the H!F training, no actual instruction was given. Hulk told me what he wanted (still more than SC did), gave me a work encode and a script file and off I went. CynicaltheCat did join at the same time as I did, however, so it's entirely possible that it's real purpose was simply to provide him with a timed script with which to be tested on his translation. I don't know. But it's exactly the kind of thing Hulk would do.

Anyway, I turned in that script, I got a little feedback on it, and then I never saw it again. (Or it seemed I wouldn't. The project was actually released later on, though it wasn't intended to be, after Cynical had nagged Hulk about it for a while.) I knew from that point on that I would never go back to karaoke typesetting. I lack the skills to do so, or perhaps simply the creative flair. Anyway, I was then unceremoniously welcomed into ICU and, before I even had a chance to get excited by the prospects that lay in front of me, was told to get to work on timing Momoko's Solo DVD "Momo ONLY" (which seems to have become a recurring project in my life). It was yet another project I would time that CynicaltheCat would go on to translate.

It was a pretty simple project. More work involved than my training project (about 6 or 7 times the number of lines) but, because for most of it there was only one person speaking, relatively simple work. It was released seemingly without incident, and I quickly realised that the best part of the whole subbing process is the part when all the work is done and you can just sit back and watch all the happy comments flow in. (Seriously, whether it's a release I've worked on, or someone else's, we love that stuff. No comment is too trivial so go ahead and post it. I found it to be a bigger motivator to work harder than all the whips in the world.)

Next up, Hyakupa had said that they wanted to sub "Momo OK", the next Solo DVD in the Momoko list, but first asked Hulk if ICU had any plans to work on it. Hyakupa didn't want to do the commentary track, only the main audio, our translators didn't want to let them do it if they weren't going to do it all, and Hulk didn't want to use up valuable resources doing it if we didn't have to, since C-ute's AH was right around the corner, and we had an invested interest in getting that done quickly. Especially after the incident the previous time around when H!F had undercut ICU with their own less-full subs of the Berryz AH. So a compromise was reached. They would work on the main audio, and we would do the audio commentary.

And I was the person told to time that commentary. It was the largest project yet. A whopping 1300 lines on my part, as well as whatever the others had to work with on the main audio and onscreen portions of the translation. But, in a way, it was also far easier than the previous one, which was only half of the work. There was only a single voice to listen to, and I could time it and enjoy the commentary while I worked (or the parts I could understand at least). I had actually completed my work before the guys at Hyakupa had even started, and before the other ICU members even knew that we were doing it. 

ute AH. He had been telling me for a while that I would be working on the AH, and I'd been saying the whole time that I hoped I got the main audio because I simply wasn't used to timing C-ute DVDs - their voices all sound too alike to my ears. But there we go, he sent me the usual stuff that I needed to work, and left me to it. And when I say that I timed the commentary, it wasn't quite so simple as that. It was a lot of work, so the project was split into 4. Two timers per audio track. I was tasked with completing the first half of the audio, with someone else tasked with the second half. The main audio track was similarly split amongst another two timers.

Working on the Momo commentary couldn't have prepared me any less for what I was faced with. A group whom I was still very much unfamiliar, in one of the most chaotic messes I've ever had to make sense of in my life. It got so overwhelming that I didn't even finish. I struggled on, time went by. H!F once again beat us to it, only subbing the main audio, and I was very angry. That anger and desire to "get back at SC" (for lack of a better phrase) motivated me for a while, but time went on and I couldn't cope. The work was too difficult, real life issues were starting to build up, and I was getting more and more stressed all the time. It hit fever point, and I gave up. I had done something like half of the work I had been tasked with, but I couldn't go on any further. I sent the work I had done to Hulk, which then found it's way to another timer to be completed, and I took an indefinite break from subbing.

Of course, that project is now famous as the major one which never got released. Internal issues developed, and we found ourselves indefinitely unable to release it. Not least of which was the issue that Hulk vanished. And the group had been constructed in such a way that it just couldn't function without him, so the wheels stopped turning, the steam stopped pumping, and the whole train locked up with little hope of moving.


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