Sunday, January 15, 2017

Raws and Raw Manga - What Are They

If you have been reading "scanlated" manga (manga scanned and translated by fans) and "fansubbed" anime (anime translated and subtitled by fans) you might have come across the term "raw,"  as in "raw manga," "raw anime," or maybe someone told you to "read the raws." But what does "raw" mean? Do they cook manga?

Actually, "raw" is just the name given to the untranslated version of the anime, manga or light novel. That is, the Japanese version, usually, except when the manga is Chinese or Korean, then would be that version. Either way, the raw version is the original version that's not been translated yet.

Rest assured nobody's actually cooking manga. I hope.

But why is it called "raw" and not just "Japanese version" or, more broadly, "original version"? My guess is that this naming comes from scanlators' and fansubbers' groups, the groups of manga and anime fans that translate to English and other languages these works for other fans to be able to enjoy.

In order to translate a manga, anime or light novel, the group would need the "raw" images of the manga, the "raw" video of the anime episode, etc. It's like the word "raw footage," except it's not exactly that, but you get the idea.

In many cases, the group that acquires and shares the raws is a different group from the one that translates it. That is, someone in Japan (very likely illegally) scans the pages of a given manga, like Death Note, for example, and shares it all over the web. Then, a group in America downloads these raws from this raw source and translates it. That's how it works most of the time.

Naming of Raw Manga Files

One other interesting thing to note is how raw manga and raw anime have their files named when shared over P2P (pirate-to-pirate) networks. Some sort of global standard seems to have been developed about it.

In all cases, the first thing in the filename is always the kind of file between parentheses, (like this), then maybe the author or authors between square brackets, [like this], then the title of the work.

Some examples:
  • (一般コミック) [小畑健×大場つぐみ] DEATH NOTE -デスノート- 第01巻
  • ippan komikku 一般コミック
    General manga. General comics.
    (as opposed to seinen komikku 成年コミック, "adult manga")
  • Takeshi Obata x  Tsugumi Ohba 小畑健×大場つぐみ
    (These are the authors)
  • dai ikkan 第01巻
    First volume.

  • (アニメ BD) 銀河英雄伝説
  • anime BD アニメ BD (Blu-ray Disc)
  • ginga eiyuu densetsu 銀河英雄伝説
    Legend of the Galactic Heroes

  • (一般小説) [長月達平] Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活 
  • ippan shousetsu 一般小説
    General novel. General story. (this is a light novel)
  • Tappei Nagatsuki 長月達平
    (this is the author)
  • Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活
    Re: Life in a different world from zero

So if you ever wondered why scanlators and fansubbers put the group name between brackets before the title of the manga or anime, like "[VeryGoodSubs] One Piece.mp4", it's probably because they're copying the custom of putting the author name between brackets before the file in the same way.

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