Sunday, August 29, 2010

Adobe AfterEffects and why we don't use it

We try to avoid using things like Adobe AfterEffects for video production for several reasons.

1.  Cost.  It's pretty pricey, even with academic/student discounts.  Granted, some fansub groups just get it from non-traditional sources anyway, but since I don't intend to make an argument about morality, I'll just let the facts stand that it is pricey and it's available through non-traditional channels.

2.  AviSynth.  AviSynth can do a lot of what AfterEffects can do.  For example, one of the more common uses for AfterEffects in fansubbing is to mask Japanese names on hospital signs and replace them with English ones.  That can be done in AviSynth and rotation commands in TextSub.

There are, of course, certain things that AviSynth and TextSub are not capable of doing that AfterEffects can do.  However, most of them get into the "gaudy and excessive", which was pioneered by AnimeJunkies a while back.  I started fansubbing when they were at their peak; I'll tell you what happened in a later post.

3.  The challenge to do something using free tools versus an expensive tool is always a rewarding experience.  I'm still trying to figure out how to do handwritten text using TextSub and AviSynth.  :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 13 released

I don't know about you, but if Scarecrow can't beat Doll Licca alone, what makes him think he can beat both her and a cat?

This episode may be found at your typical anime torrent listing sites.

Incidentally, this marks the quarter mark.  We are 1/4th the way through the entire series.  So, here are some future things to expect from the series:

1.  The ending song will change in episode 16.
2.  There's a Valentine's Day episode coming up.  I cannot remember which episode it is for the life of me.
3.  We'll find out who Scarecrow answers to.  It will surprise you.
4.  Doll Isamu (the male doll) is next.  However, what he does will surprise you.

Here's to another 13 good episodes!


If you remember a while back, I was looking for a safe deposit box.

Well, I finally found one yesterday.  I do have to drive 10 miles out of the way, but they had quite a few.

Now I need to get a document safe next and find a place somewhere where I live to hide it.

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 12 released

Here's an early Christmas present for everyone!  Enjoy!

You can obtain this episode from your standard anime torrent listing sites.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why are our releases are released with 180MB XviD AVI?

I was asked that by people on the NyaaTorrents channel when I was obtaining my trusted account status when I mentioned I was the encoder.  Back then, I told them I used rather old-fashioned encoding techniques, and they suggested I use h.264 in Matroska with softsubs (as you may know, we hardsub our subtitles).

I had to leave before getting more suggestions because I was in a hurry to get something done, but today is a good opportunity to explain my thinking.

Probably the first thing to explain is the difference between a "container" and a "video codec".

A container is the file format/structure that hold the video, audio, and potentially subtitle data.  For example, AVI, Matroska(MKV), and WMV are containers.

The video codec is how the video data is represented in the container.  h.264, DivX, and XviD are examples of codecs.

What complicates the issue is that a lot of times the container and the codecs get confused with each other, but I'll try not to confuse the issue.

The reason why I chose XviD for the video codec and AVI as the container is for a simple reason. 


To illustrate this, let's talk first about the various popular operating systems and their respective strengths and weaknesses for video playback.

1.  Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7

This one is easy.  As long as you didn't go all crazy and installed 10 different codec packs, you're golden for playing just about everything.  That includes h.264, XviD, DivX, WMV, MP4, RealMedia, QT, and every exotic combination of softsub/container, not to mention hardsubs.  There is one fly in the ointment, which I'll talk about later.

2.  Linux

If you're using hardsubs, this is almost as easy as Windows.  mplayer, xine, or any other player that uses the ffmpeg libraries will play almost everything.  Unfortunately, this is where WMV falls flat.  ffmpeg tends to decode WMVs rather poorly (what you'll see is subtly splotchy video that is just noticeable to be annoying).  You can work around this if you installed a 32-bit distribution by using binary codecs, but if you're running a 64-bit distribution, you're stuck with ffmpeg.

If you're using softsubs, Linux also falls flat for anything more complex than regular SRT/SSA.  None of your fancy softsubs that you generated using Aegisub will show up correctly.

3.  Mac OS X

The situation is more dire.  You can forget about softsubs.  MKVs and WMVs are at best troublematic and at most crashprone.  (You need to install Flip4Mac to play WMVs in Mac OS X.)  MKVs in particular do not behave well in Mac OS X because of the weird buffering it does in Quicktime Player, and it is not immediately obvious how to switch audio/subtitle streams in an MKV file.

However, AVI with a DivX variant as the codec plays well as long as you have the Perion package.  (Perion is the Mac OS X equivalent of ffdshow in Windows.)

Now, the next thing is "why did I pick XviD over DivX or h.264?"

First thing, DivX sucks.  You can ask any encoder in the anime fansubbing community and they'll give you oodles of reasons why.  I don't need to rehash them here.

Now, it comes down to XviD versus h.264.  What will happen is that I will get some e-mail from someone saying, "I've got a computer with a Pentium 166 MMX processor/PowerPC G3 and your h.264 file plays like crap!"  XviD does not have such stringent CPU requirements.

Therefore, to make sure everyone can play the files, that's why I use the AVI container and the XviD codec.  For those of you wanting softsubs and MKVs, maybe in another couple of years when Apple starts natively supporting MKVs correctly and does softsubs correctly, then I'll use it.

Now, the objections: What about VLC? What about MPlayer Extended (for Mac OS X)?

VLC, in my opinion, is only good for playing Video CDs and taking frame captures.  It's clunky enough to hard crash a Windows 2000 install in a virtual machine, and it has insanely high CPU usage.  It tries to do too much with the wrong tools for the job.

MPlayer Extended on Mac OS X is okay, until you try to stress it.  Once stressed, the child mplayer processes it spawns mysteriously dies for no reason, requiring you to kill it manually using Activity Monitor or using the Terminal (hey, kill -9 does wonders!).

So, that's my rant on encoding.  It's very opinionated, so take it with a grain of salt.

Temporary turning off of moderation of comments

We're turning off comment moderation for the time being.  If I see any spam, I'm turning it back on.

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 11 released

(Yoda voice) The Force is not strong with this one.  The Dark Side he has chosen.

You may obtain this episode from your standard anime torrent indexing sites.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As the founder and the encoder, I've had these raws since 2005 or so.  As these raws are difficult to find these days, I've tried to take a few actions to make sure I don't have all my eggs in one basket.

One of the things I was going to do was to go to the credit union that I'm a member of and rent a safe-deposit box to store a couple of copies of my raws.  However, I've been stymied by the fact that there's a two year waiting list for boxes.

I don't know about you, but by the time I get a box, we may very well be finished with the series at this point.

We're about to start translation of episode 11.  Due to real life, we may be a bit slow on this episode, so please be patient with us.

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 10 released

Scarecrow must have gotten this idea from Roald Dahl's The Witches.

Astute Japanese speakers should be able to figure out how we had to fudge the translation a bit to get out of the corner we painted ourselves into.

You may obtain this episode through your typical anime torrent indexing sites.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Besides from announcing releases...

We aim to be as transparent as we can be in terms of what we're doing.  In light of this, we will be using this blog to talk about fansubbing in general, our general progress, and relevant things related to our volunteer efforts.

We know we've been releasing episodes at a fairly brisk pace right now.  From general experience, it's not going to last due to a little hitch called "real life (tm)".  However, we will try our very hardest to get episodes out at a decent pace, and we apologize for any unexpected delays in the process.

Our translator is translating episode 10 right now.  It's already apparent that we've painted ourselves into a corner when we chose different spellings for Rika and Doll Licca, but hopefully it won't detract from enjoying the episode when we release it.

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 9 released

Puru and Vaya try to catch Rika again with no success, of course.  I'll let you guess who messed this one up.

This episode is available on your standard anime torrent indexing sites.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Comments are moderated

Comments are moderated on this site.  However, all praise and criticisms will be approved for posting, so feel free to send criticism down our way.

The reason it's done this way is because I don't know about most people, but the vast majority of the public do not want to see ads for knockoff shoes/computers/enhancement drugs/pain killers/herbal medication/weird sites.  The commenting is set up this way to help prevent that.

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 8 released

I actually like Dai's grandma.

You can obtain this episode from the standard anime torrent index sites.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 7 released

Puru sucks at riding a motorcycle.

Incidentally, none of us in the group could figure out what a hiyamizu plant was.  I guess we're neither botanists nor horticulturists.

You can obtain this episode from your standard anime torrent indexing sites.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 6 released

Watch out for Tomo (and Rika)!

You can obtain this episode via the standard anime torrent indexing sites.

Monday, August 16, 2010

We do not have an official IRC channel yet

We currently do not have an IRC channel yet for XDCC distribution and other general chat/discussion.  We could use, but several of our staff members have objected due to personal reasons.

As soon as we can find a network to host our channel in, we will update this post accordingly.

As a side note, our timer has just finished timing episode 6.  We should have the final version released soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 5 released

This is a great episode that tugs at my heartstrings.

You can get this episode through any of your typical anime torrent indexing sites.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 4 released

Vaya and Puru have probably two brain cells among them, which is why the pumpkin king was able to fool them so easily.

You can get this episode through any of your typical anime torrent indexing sites.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 3 released

Ahh…. Vaya and Puru.  Too bad the Virgin Mary had Doll Licca's back.

You can get this episode through any of your typical anime torrent indexing sites.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 2 released

If I recall correctly, Christianity tends to frown on things such as fortune telling and love charms. 

You can get this episode through any of your typical anime torrent indexing sites.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Super Doll Licca-chan Episode 1 released

We begin on our journey with a museum as a trap. 

You can get this episode through any of your typical anime torrent indexing sites.