After some time to think about Otakumole and the impact it’s having on shoujo and shoujo scanlation, I’ve decided that we will not let Otakumole dictate what projects we take on at Crimson Flower. This is my and my group’s hobby. We are doing this for ourselves because we love shoujo manga, we love the scanlation process, and we love having discussions about the manga we scanlate.
Our schedule is packed so we can’t bring back “Hana ni, Kamitsuku” right now. However, we will resume the project eventually unless another group resumes the series in scanlation.
Like dealing with the manga aggregators years ago, it took me some time to come up with ideas of how to deal with Otakumole. It seems that for now, it is a reality of the shoujo manga community. It’s part of the community I don’t wish to take part in, so to a certain extent, I will ignore it. However, I would appreciate it if those of you who use Otakumole make sure that Crimson Flower translations are not being used on that site. Thank you to those who have already been doing this :). It made my day to see you come to the group’s defense.
Thanks to all of you who wrote comments about Otakumole. Your comments were very supportive and helped shape my perspective.
There’s a certain irony in recognizing how everything always ends up at its lowest energy state. Scanlation coupled with manga aggregations eats into licensed manga sales and now I don’t even know what to call what Otakumole does devours shoujo scanlation and most likely negatively impacts licensed shoujo manga too. So yeah… if you’re wondering where all the shoujo scanlation teams went, the answer is many groups quit because of the cannibalizing nature of manga aggregators and the frustration of competing against Otakumole. And if you’re wondering why so little shoujo gets licensed, ask yourself what shoujo manga have you bought lately? As they say, “this is why we can’t have nice things.”
It’s same with scanlation as it is with licensed manga, readers read the first chapter or volume, and then search online for the rest of series. What does this look like for a licensed manga publisher or a scanlation group? The first release is heavily read, but as soon as the rest of the series appears somewhere else, readership evaporates. This is what happened to us with respect to “Bread & Butter”, “Kanojo ni Naru Hi Another” (until the male crowd from Reddit latched onto it), and “Hana ni, Kamitsuku”. Readership for those series plummeted ~80% as soon as Otakumole got a hold of these series. “Hana ni, Kamitsuku” was the last straw for me. So along with manga that could be potentially licensed, CF is now avoiding anything that is on or could end up on Otakumole.
I’m not going to call Otakumole bad or anything. It’s just how shoujo readers prefer to intake manga. I’m not going to fight that. It seems to me that a lot of shoujo readers consider the series they read to be disposable, so it follows that something like Otakumole is all that most shoujo readers need. My intention as a scanlator is not to appeal to that type of graze-and-shit-it-out-when-you’re-done manga reader. Quality doesn’t matter to that reader and they are most likely not actual manga customers (as in they don’t buy manga), although I know of some exceptions. And then there are the people who say they are learning or practicing Japanese on Otakumole. More power to you, but Otakumole is a TERRIBLE place to learn Japanese because the most of the translations are full of errors and some are completely made up and unrelated to the Japanese.
Anyhow, I’m happy to let Otakumole have typical shoujo and I’m glad my typical-shoujo experiment failed on CF. This conclusion comes from evidence I gathered from oneshots since Otakumole muddles the signal for series. Yes, the December and February oneshots were an experiment. I wanted to see how sweet typical shoujo would do. I had the notion that perhaps my weird taste in shoujo was alienating readers, so I wanted to see if that was true. Granted that scanlation group audiences are self-selecting, so I shouldn’t be surprised at the all around rejection of the December and February oneshots. I expected to see some new readers, but I didn’t expect to lose 75% of you. Damn! Haha! So, we’ll be going back to the unconventional shoujo. I promise April will have some ??? oneshots, and looking ahead, we will be doing some short psychological series and resuming series we’ve neglected. It should be lots of fun for the group and the readers. I can’t promise that we won’t do a sweet oneshot or two every once in a while. I do have a weakness for sweet family and friendship stories after all.
In conclusion, I hope everyone understands my position and this group’s project selection moving forward. In the ocean of shoujo, what’s on Otakumole and what’s ripe for licensing are a mere drop in an ocean. Believe me, those things outside of that drop are far more interesting than what’s inside. As for the typical shoujo, pay attention to my Twitter and the Lovely Manga Blog. I intend to keep somewhat current with typical shoujo series and give summaries of what the new series are about. My hope is put them on the radar for licensing requests rather than ruin their chances of getting licensed by scanlating them.