Fansub.TV: Behind the Scenes of an Anime Site

March 4, 2009 | Comments Off on Fansub.TV: Behind the Scenes of an Anime Site

Nahrallah_avThe following is a reproduction of an original article from Issue 1 of Fansub.TV’s J-Zine, please see issue 1 for the full article.

Some people view anime as an addiction. Sometimes it can be a type of creative inspiration. It could be said that both these factors were behind the creation of the anime site Fansub.TV. Stan (aka Daft) found himself faced with both the need to satisfy his appetite for anime and a wish for a convenient way of gathering new material to watch.

 Daft ProfileHe decided to find a creative solution. The fact that his university blocked BitTorrent traffic was not about to disrupt this dedicated anime fan’s supply. As a work around for what was, to Stan, a minor obstacle presented by his university, he created what would eventually become a very popular anime network. A bit of code, a database, and a webpage to interface with the system saw the birth of what would later be known as Fansub.TV:

  “After I wrote the thing to download stuff automatically, I put up a small page so I could access my files in a quick and easy way. I registered fansub.tv, and boom.”

 The site was launched in October 2004. When reflecting on the first iteration of the site, Stan stated that he never realised that it would become so popular. In fact, he saw it more as something he could use as “an experimentation ground”. To begin with, news of his new site was spread by personal recommendations:

 “I gave the link to a few of my friends so they could easily get anime too, made one post about it somewhere (which got appropriately deleted as spam within like 5 minutes), and that was it for promotion. That’s pretty much how FTV started.”

 From these humble beginnings, a dynamic community of almost 120,000 members developed. There are now 23,000 daily visitors and members from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, Japan, Philippines, Australia, Poland, just to name the most common ten countries:

  “We get about 5 million page views (with over 3 million separate requests to servers a day) and transfer around 40,000 gb of data a month … there are currently 12 different servers that run fansub.tv and its related services, and it has lived over 20 different servers so far … we have over 1.2 million images for screenshots … all of this for over 400,000 visitors a month.”

 Fansub.TV has moved far from the small site that originally only advertised by word of mouth.

 At the core of Fansub.TV is its members and general users. All features of the site have evolved with usability and the changing needs of this group as a main focus. Although Stan himself did not originally wish for the site to host a forum, he responded to the request for one. Alpha Test Phase 2 saw the introduction of Fansub.TV’s forum. Both experimentation and innovation have been at the heart of the philosophy that has driven Fansub.TV from its first beginnings:

  “If this is our alpha, can you imagine what our beta is going be like? Dream big, take risks, and have fun. Fansub.TV”

 Effectively, the development of Fansub.TV has always been a process of continual enhancements. Although incremental improvements have been an ongoing focus, there have been a number of particularly significant additions to Fansub.TV. Chuukurai and the Koushin scheduler, the code for which developed from experimentation with P2P related concepts, would have to be two that had the most considerable impact for the users.

 Chuukurai was an original solution created to provide a simple and effective method of downloading in the form of a Java applet. The Koushin scheduler was another Java applet which allows users to schedule anime downloads by subscribing to series and thereby conveniently automatically downloading new releases. Stan himself, however, views the episode screenshot engine as a particularly important development:

 “I think one of the most significant additions to Fansub.TV is the ESE, or “episode screenshot engine”. It gives FTV its characteristic front-page look. … The screenshot thing actually came to me in my sleep. … It pretty much takes the episode and decodes the episode frame-by-frame then it uses the frame data to produce screenshots at regular intervals … ~50-60 per standard length episode.”

 While these additions are important for Fansub.TV, Stan would like user-generated content to be a key aspect:

  “It’s all possible because there’s a community behind fansub.tv. Even though there are like 50+ people with sempai / staff status, I know I can trust all of them to do what they think is right.”

 As far as Stan is concerned, it is the community which gives Fansub.TV its “flavour and life”. He hopes to expand this community and, in the future, integrate it with others:

  “I see it as part of a bigger collection of sites. As some sort of unified community across multiple sites that serve different purposes and needs.”

 Created to support a love for anime, built on dreams and sustained by a dedicated community, Fansub.TV has stood the test of time. Popular though it is, Stan does not yet see his creation as complete:anmegirl

  “I’d like to just polish what we have at the moment.  It’s still rough around the edges. It’s getting better, but it still has a long way to go towards a finished product.”

 Change is something that Stan openly embraces. He has never been afraid to experiment with new features and encourage people to become involved in various projects. In fact, this very webzine is an example of one of the latest Fansub.TV community projects. With blogs, guides, manga and karaoke advertised as future features, the Fansub.TV community has a number of new additions to look forward to. It would appear that the future will continue to bring interesting developments to Fansub.TV.


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