A story about a fansub group

Sit down ’round the campfire boys and girls, because this time Uncle Fluff isn’t gonna yell at you, he’s gonna tell you a story, and a true story at that. It is a story of old heroes and young talents, of doing the impossible, of trust and betrayal, of comings and goings, of growing up, of losing one’s ideals and gaining new ones, of trolls and secret societies and shady deals, of crime but not of punishment. It is a story about an era, a story about the fansubbing Illuminati and a story about people who shook the pillars of the of the anime community, people who did whatever they wanted whenever they felt like it. It has a cast of thousands.

It is the story of the fansub group known as gg. It is also, sort of, a story about me, since all of this story is based on my own experiences and observations. I’m not an important part of the story, however, since I did very little and mostly had the great fortune of being able to observe the entire thing unfold first-hand.

Let us begin, but not at the beginning. Let us begin today, on /a/:

Today, when gg has been effectively dead for over three months, a single innocuous release that is over a week late causes a storm of comments on /a/, on IRC, everywhere. With any other fansub group, nobody would have cared, much less posted about it. Fansub groups die, they revive and they release stuff on irregular schedules all the time, and nobody makes much noise about it. Not so with gg. gg is a group so monstrous, so hated, so loved and so controversial that its very existence basically trolls the entire universe. gg has spawned more memes than all other fansub groups together. Everyone has an opinion about gg. The group’s very name smells of power, of trolling, of drama and old catchphrases. It is said that to understand the present, one must understand the past. How, then, did it come to be like this?

This time, let us begin at the beginning. gg begins and ends with koda, also known as kodachrome, also known as miasmacloud and a billion other nicknames. koda is a Girl on the Internet with a talent for writing and an amazing ability to come up with crazy ideas and get other people to go along with them. I think I first met koda in the now quite thoroughly forgotten anime/manga community turned fansub group digitalpanic, which in some ways was a lot like what gg would become. It had a female leader (CelesAurivern) that liked trolling, it subbed only shows that nobody else subbed, it speedsubbed shows that slowpokes had stalled at, it engaged in oversubbing as a troll and did a lot of other things that the fansub community at the time generally considered distasteful. This must have been in mid-2005, and I was still fairly new to fansubbing at the time (having begun in 2004), but I already disliked large parts of the community.

Before we proceed, let me say a few words about what fansubbing was like in 2005: it fucking sucked. You (and I) might think it sucks now, but it was a hundred times worse in 2005. Fansubbing in 2005 was a world where nobody had ever seen a transport stream, raws usually took days to pop up on Winny/Share (Perfect Dark didn’t exist yet and wouldn’t for a few years to come) much less a simulcast, a world that was dominated by a few very old, very large and quite slow groups with enormous epenises that they slapped everyone around with, a world where the illusion about “fansubbing ethics” was still very much alive and well and everyone except a few encoders (like me) that had immigrated from the DVD-rip scene (which was deeply frowned on; DVD-rips were unethical, after all, and people who dealt with that stuff were social rejects in some circles) hated softsubs because it would let people “steal” their subs, about five people knew how to encode H.264 and of those five only three were actually allowed to use it by their group leaders because that newfangled stuff would only confuse people, it used too much CPU and it wasn’t here to stay, anyway. The best H.264 encoder was Nero’s, by the way; x264 was still sorta alpha quality. The only thing that was better then than it is now was that it was an extremely fucking target-rich environment for trolls. People weren’t used to trolling the way they are now; 4chan was a very niche thing that most people didn’t know shit about and you could make oldschool fansubbers go completely fucking ballistic by challenging their world views. This was the environment that formed gg.

Anyway, I met koda. koda had started her career as a fansub troll with trollsubbing FMA as Chopstick (a play on the name of the fansub group Spoon, which was subbing it), and then speedsubbing (a very dishonorable thing to do, according to some fansubbers, since you “stole” leechers from the “serious” groups) Gundam SEED Destiny as Cellphone^2. GSD ended in January 2005. I don’t know what she did over summer (probably played MMO’s), but gg was her next project; a group for making serious subs of Pani Poni Dash (which started in April 2005) because the only other group that was subbing it, Oyasumi, were being slowpoke.jpg about it (this meme didn’t exist in 2005 either, by the way). The first episode, episode 11 (much gnashing of teeth about vulture subbing etc resulted), was released in October. I was asked to join gg a few months later, probably in January 2006, when it picked up Ayakashi ~japanese classic horror~. I can’t say I remember my reasons for accepting, but it probably had something to do with the distinct disrespect for traditional fansubbing Morals and Values as well as with koda’s personal ability to make people do what she wanted them to do. She was (and still is) very good at that.

At this early stage we can already see all the defining characteristics that gg as a group would have later; most of them are probably just reflections of koda’s own personality and characteristics. The disrespect for established authorities, the embracing of new technology and new tools (h264-only softsubbing was pretty much completely unheard of at the time; as far as I know gg was the first non-DVDrip group that did it), the trolling, the subbing of odd “pretentious” and artsy shows that nobody else was paying any attention to etc etc.

This incarnation of gg is now known as proto-gg; mostly because it eventually turned into a pretty normal fansub group among other fansub groups. Personal conflicts between koda and the main translator, Eliza, as well as the former’s eventual refusal to put up with the latter’s annoying habit of refusing every single editing change and leaving everything as really messy and unreadable Singapore-influenced English eventually made koda ragequit and go play MMO’s instead. The group stumbled on as an average-to-shitty fansub group among other average-to-shitty groups for a while but eventually collapsed sometime mid-2007 because Eliza quit and gg just wasn’t the same without koda.

I could elaborate more on this period but quite frankly I don’t remember very much of it and it wasn’t very interesting anyway. There was one cool incident though, where someone discovered that extremely long subtitle lines crashed VLC. This was soon investigated and moved upon, and for a long time there circulated a version of a Code Geass episode that made VLC crash. It turned out that the crash actually was a buffer overrun; hence it was a security issue since it theoretically meant you could execute code as the user running VLC (I don’t know if this was ever exploited for real or not). It eventually resulted in one of the VLC devs turning up in the gg IRC channel and discussing how he didn’t know anything about how ASS was supposed to work.

There are also a few more remaining artifacts of that time that like three people would find relevant, like RALPH NO TAME NI, 75MB per episode encodes of Night Head Genesis, breaking up joints with A-Keep because they sucked, the creation of Menclave (which, according to reliable sources, most likely had something to do with koda and related drama) and of course CODE GEASS.

Now, fast forward to late 2007/early 2008. koda returned from MMO land and got some of the old gang back together in order to do Code Geass DVD-rips and make right what proto-gg had done wrong. This small core of people (more specifically me, `House, magz, Xabin, el and dovac) had all been along for a very long time and would eventually become informally known as the High Council (no actual ruling powers included), or just the people who got re-invited to each new gg incarnation.

Anyway, I foiled the plans for Geass DVD-rips by being my usual lazy self, and koda yelled at me a lot. The only things I gained out of the deal was the knowledge that ordered chapters are fucking annoying, and a funny quote that I put in my AnimeSuki signature.

I was eventually rescued by the sudden appearance of Code Geass R2 in April 2008. CGR2 and gg went together like fire and gasoline since the entire show was basically a gigantic troll. It was a meta-comedy, where the greatest fun came by watching the reactions of people on the internet; hence, simulwatching it on Sunday mornings was absolutely hilarious for multiple reasons. It was also one of the first shows for which transport streams were available.

The start of R2 marks the beginning of the period that would become what I see as gg’s golden age, where the group went from being just a slightly oddball fansub group to eventually becoming a monstrosity that was a combination of the fansub Illuminati, an international organized internet crime syndicate, the Rizon Secret Police and the goddamned Batman. At this time, H.264-only softsubs had become a lot more widespread and accepted.

Wheels had already been set in motion with the start of R2, but the ball really started rolling downhill when a bunch of people were recruited (most notably veteran troll and GNAA alumni Suzuran, and arch-nerd Mandoric and shady JAED folks aers, DrX, mreweilk and pem) in order to start speedsubbing Macross F 9 episodes into the show, because it was being Menclave’d.

Somewhere around here, in a series of very gg-esque events, one crazy idea led to another, which led to someone doing something that was probably highly illegal, and slowly events spiraled out of control and the end result was HorribleRaws, which provided streaming Japanese TV live and also ripped that shit and released on TT. HorribleRaws would eventually became the HorribleSubs we all know and love; yet another project from the gg Illuminati.

This unpredictability I mentioned above was (and is) one of the best things about being in gg. gg, as a collective, has a strange and awesome ability to take any random crazy idea and run with it, and then not only run it into the ground but beyond and out on the other side where by some twisted miracle it is transformed into something else. Sometimes this led to bizarre things, like the group having five different staff channels spread out over three different IRC networks, with mostly different sets of people in them, because of :reasons:.

Another thing this unpredictability lead to was recruiting a ton of people for various reasons. At some point gg had like 8 more or less active translators. Because of the internal group culture (“lol internet” and a healthy dose of elitism) and the separation of staff channels, this quickly led to gg becoming a fansubbing gossip central the likes of which had never been seen (and will most likely never be seen again). A lot of the time several of the staff rooms were filled with pasted logs from other people’s staff rooms; if there was any kind of juicy drama anywhere, we knew about it within minutes.

One runaway project probably ended up being the best thing gg has ever done, namely the gSS release of Gundam 00 S2 ep 20, which had the OP replaced by a version sung by resident group music nerd grunty, the fabulousest karaoke the world has ever seen, an absolutely ridiculous logo replacement (Plorkyeran really outdid himself with AFX there) and half of Rizon credited in one way or another in the OP.

Yet another of these crazy ideas led to gg picking up every single show of autumn 2009 that wasn’t Crunchyroll’d. At this point koda was becoming rather burned out on fansubbing and mostly just wanted the entire thing to go out with a bang. Which it sorta did, because she did ragequit the group again, while some people who took fansubbing too seriously tried to finish the existing projects.

There are a lot more stories I could tell here, but I’m sorta starting to run out of steam here and most of them should probably remain classified to ensure the safety of the people involved. Suffice to say that gg has always had a significant advantage in available resources when compared to pretty much any other fansub group in the history of fansubbing, and that even today, there’s no really juicy piece of gossip that gg doesn’t know about. Instead I’ll talk for a bit about the gg “culture”, such as it is, or was. Proto-gg was sorta different because we were all younger and dumber then, but the Return of the Trolls incarnation had an internal tone and jargon that made 4chan look like a British upper class tea party (some people, like pem, would eventually turn out to be unable to deal with this and ended quitting). Also, gg has always been about elitism; the entire game was about being faster, smarter and more unscrupulous than everyone else. Especially during the heyday of the Return of the Trolls period nothing was sacred, everything could be laughed at and there were no such thing as a secret (except where those secrets would incriminate ourselves).

A common attitude is to just dismiss everything gg ever did as “trolling”, but that’s just proving that you don’t get gg or what it stands for. gg very rarely did something just for the plain shock value; almost every “troll” gg has ever done has at least had the side effect of making a point. Oversubbing things “for the lulz”? Criticism of fansubber flock-of-sheep mentality. Hilariously overdone karaokes? That’s gg’s way of saying “hey faggots look how dumb this is”. The entire Gundam 00 S2 ep 20 project was an attempt to make certain fansub groups that took themselves way too seriously realize just how fucking ridiculous they were. Overlocalization? An attempt to make people realize that hey maybe leaving Japanese words untranslated isn’t that cool, after all. A big part of the reason gg liked Geass R2 so much and that it suited the group so perfectly was that Sunrise was doing things the exact same way as gg were doing them: they were trying to make people realize just how ridiculous anime is (a vast majority of the viewers missed the point). Yes, a lot of this was indeed done mostly for fun, but there was almost always a bigger purpose behind the “lulz”. You could almost say gg did meta-fansubbing. Where is your god now!?

What now, you say? Will gg revive? Maybe, who knows. It has always been extremely unpredictable. But “that is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die”. So watch out, fagsubbers. gg is watching, and one day it will return to show you the error of your ways, and for a short but fabulous time faggotry will once more run rampant through the world.

(holy shit that was a lot of words; over 2500 in fact. inb4 “cool story, bro”)

Comments (40)

  1. Kusion wrote:

    cool story, bro

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 23:08 #
  2. すごい物語兄貴

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 23:15 #
  3. thesisidiot wrote:

    Woah, sugoi monogatari, aniki.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 23:42 #
  4. aethon wrote:

    “She was (and still is) very good at that.”

    sure is.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 23:49 #
  5. johnny_dickpants wrote:

    i eagerly await the return of gg.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 00:11 #
  6. silverfire wrote:

    lol that VLC shit was me{dlx0bgeco4wlw3ivmyk58tuifw1w1whnds6q9czst9pitqo2iyovkmc2i72aypiy6ad5pxygt6a8hrhzc25pwrkvw5kxi6fykg3p5gpogwpeh4tlr3dkbdz29norfmra46zhutua5sg2gruizl7q0hopa7a2rpaooplukni58l0ifgsny3r8cspckjf5ylo1nu7xwqem9d9gzhmffhynq2bk0rp7fuklqey4dbxym9a1lnlgn47lsvosgc01uqdo6ux2oqpcu5iebjr4f16qgmvtzwp91xjola2cqj0nhku5hnfwzayjspk9mqi1oxutoz5riwdf0eguj2wq}

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 00:19 #
  7. Lelouch wrote:

    post koda pics or delete blog

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 00:22 #
  8. Fred wrote:


    No, really. Fun read.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 00:42 #
  9. zaockle wrote:

    I is now educated

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 01:05 #
  10. Demon Xul wrote:

    “…they were trying to make people realize just how ridiculous anime is…”

    go and fuck yourself baka

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 01:13 #
  11. Calan wrote:

    gg mastered the art of being a shitty fansub group yet not having a significant number of people refuse to download their releases. Chihiro would perhaps be the complete opposite of this.

    I think most srsbsns fansubbers will download and watch a gg release because it is often the only or the best sub available (e.g. gg vs. chihiro/coalguys/etc: fight), but I doubt anyone would say that gg = a good group. Fast, sure. Good, definitely not.

    Anyway, cool story, bro. inb4 koda ragequits (again).

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 02:57 #
  12. thesisidiot wrote:

    Good try Lelouch, buy it’ll never happen. ;A;

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 03:58 #
  13. jimboy wrote:

    who’s koda?

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 07:20 #
  14. C.C wrote:

    Judging from your paragraph on meta-fansubbing, you take anime (and gg) way too seriously for your health.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 13:01 #
  15. Derp wrote:


    Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 13:35 #
  16. Reply wrote:

    You guys have always been all right in my opinion and I will always check out the releases you make for shows I want to try or watch.

    Good luck in the future.

    Friday, July 16, 2010 at 11:14 #
  17. V.V. wrote:

    Well written, Uncle Fluff.

    Friday, July 16, 2010 at 20:08 #
  18. hampe wrote:


    Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 18:59 #
  19. ... wrote:

    “almost every “troll” gg has ever done has at least had the side effect of making a point. ”
    after a certain point, it starts to loose its original meaning and you just end up looking like cunts.
    If you want to make a point on oversubbing, pick it up as a joke and then drop it. doing it any longer makes it look like you care about the show.
    karaoke is shit. but your point will be better made if you just get rid of the them all together.
    You can’t deny overlocalization isn’t just blatant trolling. Yes, reading just according to keikaku is annoying. But somethings are just better left untranslated to not get lost in translation.
    Unless, you don’t give a shit. Oh wai-

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 02:05 #
  20. igro wrote:

    Will this be on the exam, Professor Fluff? ;)

    I was wondering if you’d mention g00 ep 20 – that episode was epic :D When the OP started I just burst out laughing maniacally, all the “hidden” jabs at other fansubbing groups, even the track’s names were hilarious XD

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 23:03 #
  21. Demon Xul wrote:

    if it is really ridiculous, why the hell should anyone use his/her time to make fansubs ? this isnt logical at all. why would they do so to show off to people how ridiculous it is ?
    this seems like utter crap to me.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 13:07 #
  22. TheFluff wrote:

    If you cannot see the ridiculousness of your own actions every now and then, then you take yourself far too seriously and should chill the fuck out and realize that life, in the end, is utterly ridiculous.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 20:39 #
  23. dryfire wrote:

    Subbing with gg was the most fun I had as an encoder. Basically cause we could do whatever the hell we wanted to.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 21:26 #
  24. Sinblesser wrote:

    it’s all a troll

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 09:41 #
  25. Wintereise wrote:

    You take fagsubbing way too seriously Uncle Fluff~

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 16:58 #
  26. AK wrote:

    I R Z skipped the openings…

    anyways reading the tl;dr made me think koda started the ‘ragequit’

    lol ragequite…

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 18:46 #
  27. Kaionlriu wrote:

    fuck yeah gg
    other groups have no style

    Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 23:00 #
  28. as wrote:

    I remember when dp subbed all of Gunbuster in between my doing two episodes of Gunbuster. But they were really awk. written and the subtitle text colors were the characters’ hair colors so I ignored it, the end.

    Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 23:17 #
  29. emptyeighty wrote:

    +5 Insightful

    Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 23:37 #
  30. nattofriends wrote:

    After listening to storytime, the collaboration with NNL seems nothing but self-evident.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 10:51 #
  31. NICE wrote:

    Whoa! I followed the “walls of tl;dr” link from underwater and I was not disappointed by what I saw. Longest piece of tl;dr ever.

    Didn’t even read the first sentence :thumbsup:

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 07:25 #
  32. mike o/ wrote:

    Fluff is gay, isn’t he?

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 10:42 #
  33. HCl wrote:

    Well, damn. That was a well-written and coherent article. It was surprisingly insightful, and I’m glad I found it. Never knew the history of gg before now.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 08:24 #
  34. nikto wrote:


    You still are young and dumb, kid. But you will grow up, I’m sure. You got prospect.

    Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 10:40 #
  35. w0lf wrote:

    lol, can’t spell faggot without gg

    Good read btw, entertained me for a while.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 18:55 #
  36. Deaglezero wrote:

    Very interesting history. Now I see why you guys troll.

    I don’t mind it that much though. Someone has to keep the rest of the world from getting even more crazier than it is now.

    Friday, June 17, 2011 at 02:43 #
  37. number wrote:


    Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 02:14 #
  38. Morzas wrote:


    Friday, October 14, 2011 at 07:01 #
  39. tudza wrote:

    My only problem with gg was that they insisted on using encoding methods that wouldn’t play on my computer. Since this had happened before as fansubbing evolved, I couldn’t really blame them too much, so I just bought a new computer.

    I understand their own mothers grew tired of being called faggots. Buying new computers didn’t help them.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 02:46 #
  40. Stranger wrote:

    And gg is back. Thank god.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 07:03 #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks (2)

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