Author Interview #11: Agent of Change (AOC) Translations
Electromaster OP
Moderator
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Welcome to the next group interview. This one is with @Kitsunebi and other members of Agent of Change (AOC) Translations.



Hello! Could you give the readers an introduction of your group and its members?

Hello! We’re a small group in mostly the shoujo corner of the scans world. We mostly just chill, procrastinate and do whatever we want. Well, more like whatever I want. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This season we’ve got our Japanese translators Kimyou & PlatFleece who’s currently working on Tonegawa Lilica’s Laboratory and Heroines Game respectively. Chinese translators Kookie & Dizzymon who are currently taking a backseat since we no longer have manhua series currently. They do help me with proofreading at the time being though. All our proofreaders have other roles within the group. Nana, is my cleaner & dialogue typesetter working on 2 series that’s coming out around August and has helped with other releases here and there. Chao, who’s a typesetter in training. lame, my boyfriend turned SFX typesetter. Finally, Shiro, my handle name for credits and on the site. I fill in any role that’s missing for whichever project.


How did you guys come up with the name Agent of Change (AOC) Translations? Is here any specific meaning behind it?

AOC was the name of a series that my friend came up with around grade 5(?) She asked a bunch of friends if they’d like to be on the “good” or “bad” side of the story and we picked. There were also made up characters thrown around in there for good measure. We really enjoyed her storytelling and her vivid dreams she’d always share. I think it was around grade 7 after I moved into a different part of town that we all kind of collectively started getting into anime/manga/drawing so AOC is also kind of the name we called our friend group! There’s also some old art lying around dA somewhere but I’m sure that’s something we’d all like to forget about, but it’s really nice that AOC holds a sentimental value since I don’t quite keep up with the creator anymore.


It looks like you guys starting off with scanlating Watashi ni xx Shinasai! and finished the last several volumes of it. What was it that caused your group to start with that manga in particular?

I was never an avid manga reader in the first place, but my co-founder, Pies, got me to *finally* read the series in the winter break of grade 10. I think she first recommended it to me all the way back when there were only 20 chapters. And well, you know what happens when a kid reads through a whole series in a few days. Pies mentioned something about it not being updated and whatnot and one of us found the Chinese raws so I summarized a few chapters for her and then we got bored… So we started a scans group! I believe we started using the Japanese raws (courtesy of MissDream) by the 54th chapter. Throughout the next 2 years of releases, the members consisted of Pies, and MySkllGirl who were part of the friend group mentioned earlier, and 123abcyeah17 who Pies and I met in high school. I believe we originally planned to disband after high school, but I don’t have any other hobbies so I kind of just continued even though they all went and got real lives… ?


You recently picked up I Became the Mother of the Strongest Demon Lord's 10 Children in Another World. which quickly gained a lot of follows and comments. What's your view on the popularity of Isekai series in recent years?

I’ve always been a fan of the fantasy genre so I’m really happy about the mainstream boom. My favourite back in the day was Zero no Tsukaima. My boyfriend isn’t much of an anime watcher or manga reader despite being loped into scanlation, so I think the genre is a great intro to anime/manga in general for newcomers. It might be getting oversaturated in the last few years, but sometimes you do come across something as ridiculous as well… that Maou Mama panel. It also seems the protag is always a knowledgeable know-it-all recently, so I’d like to see less of that in the future.

I actually didn’t know Tooyama’s new series was going to be an isekai until the day it came out, and it really caught me by surprise when the 10pg preview I did blew up out of nowhere since it was a pretty typical manga intro. (hence the big page gap between CH1.1 and 1.2, sorry guys!) It also blew up our Discord server, but hey! The more the merrier.

Chao: Tbh, i know this sounds weird bc im a fan of isekai, but tbh its getting old real quick. Like, authors are suddenly riding on this isekai trend and some are literally exact copies of other stories, I can list down more than three manga/webtoons for the following topics: 1)Isekai with the girl being ultra powerful/smart, 2)Isekai girl is a villainess and tries to woo the main bois in order to not get killed, and 3) Isekai girl is the villain, prefers being punished (aka being a commoner, nun, etc.) instead of continuing the engagement

Nana: Isekai has existed for a long time if I'm not mistaken. Why do they keep on giving long and ridiculous titles that are hard to remember?? Like They Say You Can't Get Reincarnated in a Fantasy World If You Get Hit by a Truck, So I Decided to Work with a Pretty Girl, and That time I ran over a NEET with my truck. If only I could read Isekai light novels and not cringe at the book cover.

Willie: Isekai is just mary sue / gary stu
I only enjoy a few isekais and most of the others are kind of bland / too chuunibyou


It looks as if you recently launched a new version of your site. What are you most proud of on your site and did you run into any challenges while making it?

We’ve finally got a good looking logo! This one was made by lame, who’s a graphic design student so it really does have a sense of professionalism to it. (even though that’s not needed in scanlations haha) I don’t know anything about coding other than a little edit here and there, but I’ve wanted a reader integrated with WordPress (or a different CMS if we wanted to switch) for a long time so I’m glad the reader and blog are both running on the WordPress engine as opposed to our previous incarnations where the reader had to be on a subdomain. I still feel FoolSlide is a superior and smoother reader than the one we have now (WP-Manga/Madara) but I suppose some sacrifices have to be made. I think the main challenge this time was deciding how we wanted the site to look. I hated how Marada’s front page looked, but it’s grown a lot on me since. I actually think it’s a lot neater to save the blog or posts section for announcements and have a little slider for updates. The series page was also another challenge as it originally had a list style and I wanted something to display the volume images as well as download links. The layout of that section actually hasn’t changed, but I did have a lot of trouble changing the code around to reflect my needs.


In your FAQ, it mentions you sometimes release multiple versions of the same chapter with the differences being around whether SFX and honorifics are translated or left alone. You then have an option on your reader to switch between these different versions. This is not something I have seen any other groups do and it seems like a lot more effort for you guys. What is your reasoning behind doing this?

I’ve always noticed that some prefer honorifics and some prefer them gone. I think it really depends on the series when it comes to which of the two are more suitable, but I’ve always preferred no honorifics. It’s always been kind of a “huh, that’d be kinda cool” implementation I wanted to do, but FoolSlide doesn’t have a language or server switcher so it was never possible until now. I think the idea really hit me when I was translating the last chapter of Kigurumi Guardians before it went on hiatus, something compelled me to put “Lady Rhodiola” instead of “Rhodiola-sama” in the last bubble even though we had use honorifics throughout the series. (I should really go back and fix that.) But I don’t think I really gave it a serious thought until last year where we started on Sachi-iro no One Room and saw that a lot of the readers preferred “onii-san” as opposed to “mister” since that’s what the previous releases from other group(s) used, and were quite upset that we decided to go with Mister. I would feel bad if the no-honorific issue prevented a reader from starting or continuing a series, so I decided to finally implement it the new site. It was originally supposed to be Literal VS Liberal as opposed to honorific vs no-honorific, but I was afraid readers wouldn’t understand the difference so we went with the latter. There are some minor differences between the versions other than the honorifics in certain chapters, but nothing that would change the intended meaning. Some of the new ones we have planned also have the romanized version of the title rather than a translated title.

There also might be a version on MangaDex where we don’t have on our site! I feel that certain series actually really work well with honorifics, such as Dramatic Irony, the version on mangadex for that series is actually Honorific + SFX!

On the upside, we can release chapters faster and then go back and add the SFX version later on so that we don’t have a huge number of backlogs. (I mean we do have a huge and ever growing backlog, but eeehhh.) On the downside, the version switcher is actually the server switcher but renamed so it’s unfortunate that they have different loading speeds. Which we hope to fix one day in the near future.


What do you usually look for when picking up a new series to scanlate? Are there any specific genres or themes you tend to focus more on?

I’d say I usually check out any series with the same author or artist as something we’ve worked on. I tend to choose a lot of series based on just the art style, but it’s got to have a good 1st chapter or premise too. I also tend to steer away if chapter 1 has a wall of text somewhere. I suppose shoujo, or josei series. We’ve got some that are labelled shounen, but I think it’s more of an ambiguous demographic for those ones. I really gravitate towards fantasy or supernatural series, but it does look like the majority of the series we have, or plan to scanlate have school romance going on.


From when you originally formed back in 2014 until now what differences do you see in the scanlation scene? Has your view on manga and/or scanlation changed at all over the years?

2014? Has it been 5 years already? I don’t think we were really inside the scanlation scene until I was invited onto Discord by Charlotte and Avelys of Damn Feels! and Shoujo Hearts respectively. We were really in our own bubble prior to that, but I got acquainted with Charlotte due to some drama a few months back. I’ve really learned a lot more about different scanlation skills thanks to them and the people they’ve introduced me to. Charlotte, if you’re reading this I miss you, but I hope you’re doing well! Abby, you’re so close that I wish I could visit you but I need a car T_T

I’d like to say I’ve seen changes, but it’s more or less the same everywhere with jealousy over who gets to scanlate what series, and releases being too slow. But I really do think that groups are more connected to their readers now thanks to Discord. Older groups had IRC channels and I don’t think a lot of late 90s - 2000s kids like myself know how to use them.

I’d say scanlation might’ve ruined manga reading for me as a whole. It really puts me off to see badly scanned, levelled, cleaned, translated, typesetted, chapters. I’ve stuck through it a few times if I see that later chapters are better, but my expectations of minimum quality has only escalated throughout the years. I think the best thing that’s changed is that I’ve come to realize that I enjoy doing scans for myself, and while I do enjoy others reading our work, I’m happy to say this is something I’d probably do even if I’m the only one who reads it.

Chao: Yes, very. Before I thought english versions of some mangas and webtoons were easy to find and so what if u find them on sites like mangago, etc? Then I learned that those sites steal and disregard all the hard work scanlators do so ya, ALSO I ALSO LEARNED SCANLATING IS HARD, I THOUGHT IT COULD BE A ONE WOMAN JOB BUT ITS NOT

Dizzymon: My viewpoint of scanlations and reading manga has changed so much as when I first started reading manga when I was in elementary school I've always read the aggregate sites such as onemanga, mangafox, mangahere but then i got onto r/manga and i've realized the humanness of scanlations about how most groups run on no profits and just do it on their spare time. It kind of made me realise that just purely reading it off their sites supports them in a way.

Nana: Scanlation is getting better. More manga that are stuck in Japan is slowly being translated into English.


What is your favorite series scanlated by a group other then your own and why?

I actually read almost explicitly horror outside of scanlations lol. But even so, I haven’t been reading many series until earlier this year. I recently stumbled upon Ran and the Grey World and I loved everything about it!

Chao: Uhm, probs Light & Shadow and This Time I Will Definitely Be Happy. The story isn't too heavy despite being somewhere around medieval time period, and Im a sucker for independent female leads but wont mind a relationship on the side.

Dizzymon: Favourite series would be Solo Leveling right now scanned by Jaminis Box, the art is insane and the story is so riveting and action-packed. I'm basically waiting for each release every wednesday, it's become the highlight of my week now.

Nana: Bungo Stray Dogs. Because of the wide cast of writers in the story. Too bad there's no Sherlock since Ranpo already exists.

Willie: Pandora Hearts is my favourite; it was one of my main inspirations in becoming an artist. Since most of my main mangas I read are now complete I just read manga when I’m bored and I pick up anything that looks nice or interesting.


If you could only pick one series that you've scanlated to recommend to the readers, what would it be and why?

Hngggg just ONE? Dramatic Irony. I don’t know why I just really like it. (minus the redraws.)

Chao: (im picking smth from another group im scanlating for hek) The Justice of a Villainous Woman, it's isekai, it has romance, you have an independent female lead, plus the story is pretty nice bc it doesn't solely focus on the mc and the main guy's love story, its mostly about the mc constantly improving herself and thinking of ways to survive.

Dizzymon: tbh i only read sachi from us... haha. I would recommend sachi to the readers because it's not your everyday manga and it finds a different way to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Nana: Sachiiro no one room. It's something different to read then other usual manga. Surprisingly it doesn't involve Stolckholm syndrome.

Souka: I like feet.

Willie: Twindle, art is good.


Is there anything related to your group not mentioned in this interview that you think might be interesting for the readers to know about?

This is more for fellow scanlators, but we’ve got some good quality raws for one-shots and series that we’ve either dropped or decided not to start so come take a look on our Discord!
(Just be sure to give yourself the scanlator role on the welcome channel) Also that we love when people come to chill and hang out on our server. Heck! We don’t even have to talk about manga!


To conclude the interview, do you have any closing remarks for the readers?

I can’t believe it’s already been either a little over, or under 5 years since we started scanlations. I really don’t know where a lot of the former staff are nowadays aside from the ones mentioned before about being high school friends and such because… Well, we’re friends haha. So a big thank you to all our current and former Agents for putting in tremendous effort and time for our small group, and thank you to the readers who always support us, even in the smallest ways! And of course a big thank you to Electromaster for choosing us for this interview, we’re truly honored. :D

On a side note, releases might be a little more delayed this month as the weather is getting quite nice and I would like to take my dogs out more! + summer courses and work… So if anyone out there would like to help us out with scans, even if it’s just a little! Hit me up in the DMs, or on Discord to apply to staff.

lame.: PLEASE FREE ME SHE’S FORCING ME INTO SLAVE LABOUR SOS SEND He-


I hope you all enjoyed this interview. Feel free to ask the group any additional questions in this topic!
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nice interview!, gotta agree with nana sachiiro no one room is great
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That was a nice read, and cool getting multiple responses to some of those questions too! (....the ending though... ^.^;;;;;;;)
Thank you AOC for picking up Watashi ni xx Shinasai all those years ago, and the various series you've had a hand in releasing since <3
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A great read, thanks for doing the interview.
Proceeds to ignore the cries for help...
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Nice interview! I like the fact that her supposed boyfriend only speaks once at the end ??
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What a solid group,
Thanks for bringing us wonderful series
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Cant wait for sachi no one room update after that cliffhanger.

Lame obviously got forced to read and reread sachi no one room til he gets Stockholm. Lol

They all start off with asking for help but in time he'll see your love @Kitsunebi
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AOC! MD interviewing all the shoujo groups from my life make me happy haha. I remember waiting for updates for Watashi ni xx shinasai especially when it was ending! I always wondered about the mister use in sachi but now I know. Also congrats on 5 years! I don't know why but I always felt you guys have been running it for way longer, as I use to see you everywhere when I started drowning myself in shoujo manga.

I think whenever I see Tooyama's works I immediately think of AOC ? do you guys have any favorite Tooyama works besides the ones that you have worked on or even just from what you've worked from haha.
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@Teddy ? in time he will learn the enjoyment of scanlations
Also for Sachi we're up to ch35 on the site, will be posting the version with sfxs on MD once we get around to it.

@semicharmed Thanks! My personal favourite is probably Aoba-kun, hopefully we'll finish scanning it one day but I'm glad it's got an official release~
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@lame_ can't post for some reason, but he says:

@Darkaeluz I haven't read enough of any manga to be able to answer any of the questions :/

@Teddy Yea I went along reading it as I did sfx and aside from Pokemon and Dragon Ball manga I got from my school library when I was little its probably the first I've read, but I haven't done any work on it after chap 25 or so, so I'm not fully caught up.
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AoC's group dynamic feels so friendly and chill aside from enslaving lame of course! Thank you for your hard work; I loved reading Kigurumi Guardians before it went on hiatus ;_;

also Willie has taste Pandora Hearts is GOAT
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Heroines Game and Twindle are both fantastic. Keep up the good work.
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send help XD
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Did someone say oneshot raws? Time to bug Shiro on her server. ?

Great interview! Was nice to read.
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I'm in awe of the website...
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Thank you for bringing Sachiiro no one room to us! I'll check your backlog of other manga coz thry seem interesting
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??something strange...
they just upload 199 chapter
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lame.: PLEASE FREE ME SHE’S FORCING ME INTO SLAVE LABOUR SOS SEND He-

Oh, you silly joker, you.
turning blind eye to moral compass to continue getting goods for manga fix
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pssst- I like the use of “Mister” over “Onii-san”...

Thanks for scanlating One-Room!! :D
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thanks for scanlating Rental Onii-chan ^^
Edit: Really love that series.