Sunday, January 15, 2017


In English, raws are the untranslated manga chapters and anime episodes. A raw manga, or manga raw, is the manga as written in Japanese. A raw anime, or anime raw, is the anime without subtitles and in Japanese, as opposed to an English dubbed version.

The term may also be applied to doujinshi 同人誌, games, visual novels, light novels, etc.

あぶないっ!! ひっ!! 普通の人はそんなリアクションしない!! 違うっ! 私、まんがなんて読みません!!
Anime: Katte ni Kaizou かってに改蔵 (Chapter 7 of Volume 23, 今世紀最大の痕跡)

A lot of series are consumed through official translations or unofficial ones (scanlations, fansubs). A translation, no matter how well-done, is a creative process that changes what the original author intended to convey by mixing in the interpretation of the translator.

If a joke goes over the translator's head, for example, or if he can't translate the joke, it won't make it to the translation, so fans strive to read the raws and watch the raws in order to skip this middleman.


The word raw means unprocessed, unedited. Just like they say the "raw story," a raw manga is a manga that hasn't been edited by anybody, but what about raw anime?

To translate a manga you need to remove the Japanese text, but to translate an anime you just need to add subtitles, the original, unedited Japanese audio is still there, and you can toggle the subtitles on and off, so why is raw anime even a term?

Basically, because the subtitles that were found in fansubs couldn't be turned off. They were "hardsubs," which means the subtitles were burned into the video, as opposed to "softsubs," that existed as a separate file (e.g. with a .srt extension) and could be toggled on and off.

Fansubs used hardsubs for two reasons: first, due to the lack of widespread support for subtitle files, and, second, due to the lack of capabilities of separate subtitle files.

Some fansubs made use of subtitles shown at bottom and top of the screen simultaneously, the top showing "translation notes," or "TL notes." This was the sort of functionality that the basic closed captions wouldn't have.

Some used colored, animated subtitles for the opening and ending of an anime episode.

All this extra stuff is the reason why subtitling software like Aegisub exists.


For the record, a raw can also be non-Japanese, e.g. an untranslated manhwa, in Korean, or an untranslated manhua, in Chinese.

Naming of Raw Files

Raw files (illegally) shared over P2P networks appear to have some sort of file naming standard that pirates follow for some reason.

  • (File type) [Authors] Title.

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
      General comic.
    • As opposed to:
    • seinen komikku
      Adult comic.
    • Takeshi Obata × Tsugumi Ohba
      (name of the authors.)
    • Typically, when there are two authors, one is the writer and the other is the comic artist.
    • dai ikkan
      First volume.
    • zen N kan
      All N volumes.
  • (アニメ BD) 銀河英雄伝説
    • anime BD
      アニメ BD
      Blu-ray disc of an anime.
    • ginga eiyuu densetsu
      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
      General novel, as in a light novel.
    • Tappei Nagatsuki
      (author name.)
    • Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
      Re: Life in a different world from zero

In similar fashion, fansubbers use brackets around their names on files they edit, e.g.

  • [SomeFansubberGroup] One Piece.mp4


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  1. But sometimes, why do some fansubbed not translate it to eng or other language? Is it because some fansubbed need abilities to learn the language? Or they just cant for some reason? I d like to know the reason why they dont translate "raw"

    1. Because translating takes a lot of work and time and not everyone wants to spend those on translating anime. Raws are not fansubs. They are what the fansubbers use to make the subs. Or you can watch them if you understand Japanese.

    2. May I add that it's really a lot of work. Usually you need a scanlator, a translator, a cleaner, a proofreader, a typesetter, a redrawer, a qulaity-checker. And usually you need more than one person per job.
      I knew a teams consisted of just 2 or 3 people, but they usually do couple of mangas (if they finish them ever) and then retire. Hellovajob with no one to thank T_T

  2. What's a "tank" version of a manga?

    1. It's short for tankoubon. If a manga is serialized in a magazine (one chapter per month for example), the chapters are then compiled into book volumes and sold separately, each volume is a tankoubon.