Fansubbing

A quick guest post about fansubed Chinese films and TV shows from my friend Lynn Yin. Note that that she talks about the Chinese version(s) of Monkey which most folk won’t be familiar with. Lynn originally brought the Chinese version to my attention when I was demoing Monkey down our local gaming store.

Just wanted to take a moment to talk about Chinese shows and fansubbing. Sorry if this gets long. I used to pick up shows in China, then have to sit by myself and watch them, not able to talk about them with friends and not able to share classics or just shows I love which are part of my cultural makeup with the people closest to me. It used to break my heart not being able to say, if you like Monkey (Journey to the West) or Water Margin, check out the mainland 1980s productions, because they are far, far superior than the others, because those versions have not been officially subbed and therefore are not available to the English speaking audience. The guy who played Monkey in the mainland version – generations of his family played Monkey on stage. He was trained from a very young age to play Monkey on stage and his mannerisms and knowledge of the work is unsurpassable.

All that has changed though, with the dedicated work of fansubbers, who devote hours of time translating and hardsubbing Chinese shows into English, just for the love of it. It takes 3-5 hours to complete a 40 minute episode and shows often run between 30-90 episodes. Classics like Romance of the 3 Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Water Margin (both the 80s and recent makes of all 3 shows) have been subbed and are available free to the English speaking audience. These shows have not been officially translated and are unavailable any other way to a non Mandarin speaker. If they were ever officially available, I’d buy them in a heartbeat.

As well as this, fun martial arts shows like Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei, the Condor Heroes trilogy and Sword Stained with Royal Blood, fantasy series such as Seven of the Sky, Fairies, Xuan Yuan Sword, dramas like Startling by Each Step, Young Justice Bao and a whole variety of others are also available (from the AncientSeries Youtube channel for ease, or D-Addicts).

So please, if you have a moment, check some of this stuff out – you might like it.