Author Interview #6: Boredom Society Scanlations
Zephyrus OP
Forum Moderator
Please introduce yourself and your group.

Hi, I'm NorthAway. Interim leader of Boredom Society. Boredom Society was actually created with the name *Boredom Society Scanlations* while there wasn't a main purpose of doing scanlation at the time, a little fun fact i guess, and there were already two members in the group when I joined in, so I can't call myself the true leader. But these days I'm the guy who's dealing with group affairs hence interim leader. We're doing a variety of series, not bound by the demographic or plot, and try to bring them to readers at best quality. In fact, we have a series from each demographics. Second fun fact about our group.

If not to do scanlation, what was the original intent of boredom Society?

Boredom Society was created by power uploaders a little bit after MangaDex was launched. MangaDex had a few problems with uploading and chapters, and since power uploaders were the people who upload the most and test new and old stuff, something convenient was needed. Of course, being in the manga community makes you want to take the challenge and actually do scanlation, so doing similar things in the future was something that'll happen eventually. Right after I joined, we got a translator, Freylan, and started to appear more and more in the scene.

Let's get to the good stuff. You've released some great titles, several of which I am personally very fond of. Boredom, however, chooses to stop scanlating titles that have been licensed. This is not exactly a new practice in the history of scanlation, but tell me why Boredom chooses to do this.

Oh my, that is a good question. We have some unwritten but set rules in the group. This is one of those rules. We can look at it this way, readers aren't fond of two different groups doing the same series, and this time the other "group" is a legitimate company that'll give the author what s/he deserves. Another thing about is that we pick up a series to raise awareness, and deliver it to a bigger audience. Licensing message means that we did our part and rest is on the readers because going any further as group will make us go out of that grey area where scanlation stands. We wholeheartedly believe what we do is the right thing, but it's still sad to say goodbye to a series we loved, and had good moments while working on it.

That's a pretty noble sentiment and one fairly uncommon on the scene. How would you respond to readers who feel that this is hypocrisy on the part of Boredom considering that most people believe that, morally speaking, scanlating is still pure theft?

I would probably response with our other rule which is no donation. We decided on this way before getting into scanlation. We will spend our own money, and do what we like. Because taking money binds you, you get that money for a certain series, so you need to work hard and release more. It removes the transparency between group and the reader. Readers send their money, and the rest is unknown. We're very much aware what we do isn't legal, or the fact that we never took author's permission. And that is why we're trying to minimize the damage we might cause. We want more people to know the existence of the series we do, but also try to restrain ourselves and don't act like the real owner of it or take advantage from the readers of those series. I guess we're the necessary evil of the manga world.

That's an interesting take on what a scanlation group should be. Is there someone in particular who chooses your projects? If so, is there any criteria beyond "Ooh, that looks cool!" The handful I've read always seem to have an interesting premise or gorgeous art.

Key word is interesting. I always promise that to group members while looking for a new series. I honestly don't understand how can someone work on a manga with mediocre art and story. Finding series with gorgeous art and interesting plot also motivates us to work on it. So I view it as a win-win situation for us and readers. We're also working with a few freelancer translators in our group. They also brought unique stories to our group. In short, an interesting story is what we're after in Boredom Society, whether it's josei or shounen.

Do you believe that scanlation hurts or helps the Asian comic industry overall? I use the word comic to refer to multiple industries because it's become increasingly clear that Korean comics and Chinese comics are becoming more popular among readers.

Hmm, it's really hard to say a definite thing about it. There are groups who hurt the industry really bad, but then we can see examples where scanlator and author work together. Scanlation gives a series fan base, and that fan base can take the chapters as a preview of the series. When the series get a license, those people will become customers to get the full thing rather than be satisfied with the preview. Of course, this is an optimistic approach. We can say people won't buy it because there's already a copy for free on the internet. However, i believe that isn't the case for true fans. We, as Boredom Society, try our best in delivering the chapters so that we can turn readers into true fans who'll support the series when we part with it.

What are your thoughts on the current scanlation scene? Anything in particular that you like or dislike? Anything you'd change if you could?

General quality of the scans seems better nowadays. This is mostly due to discord's existence I believe. You can just join a group's server, and chat with the people who worked on the chapter you just read very easily. Discord is the hearth of scanlation scene in a sense right now. While things have been improved, we can still see some awful releases, and low efforts. The thing I dislike is not those bad chapters though, it's readers who thank for those chapters. I want them to point out things, and say what needs to be said. The thing I like is the fact that some people are getting fed up with this so called fluff thing. It's no different than isekai genre, yet no one points it out and say "Ahhh, it's another fluff manga." But we're ever slowly getting there, and it makes me kinda happy. I don't know what I would change, but I would want more people like _anq in the scanlation community. And maybe have pingu as the official mascot of the community.

Oh? What qualities does @_anq have that you wish more people in the community had?

Well, there's no need to talk about the series he does, literally everyone reads them. He also has a "Oh, yeah." attitude which I like a lot. You can talk with him and give either suggestions or point out things, and he'll listen to you and improve himself in the next chapter. When you add that to his taste in manga, he's like a complete package, an ultimate scanlator. Honestly, I would have proposed to him already if he wasn't a penguin.

How do you feel about the injection of money into the scanlation scene? It feels like ever since Crunchyroll made it big, every group under the sun is trying to make bank.

Personally, not a fan at all. I knew that if I ever did scanlation, I would do it with my own money. I view it as a hobby, I enjoyed reading many different stories that helped me to get away from reality or even made me question myself. For those reasons, I wanted to get into it, maybe give back something to the community. I'll do it as long as this feeling exist, and I hope our group will be self-sufficient in the future as well because I've seen groups that are making too much money, people who act like businessman with someone else's content. One of those, trashscanlantion, is gone these day. I guess they started with a similar feeling to mine, but money was too sweet to refuse.

What do you think about the fairly recent push by Japanese publishers to publish a lot of their content online? Do you think it's an effort to combat aggregators?

Japanese companies have been very vocal about their distaste with sites that are hosting raws. Even government is involved at this point, but I think we all know that fighting with the internet itself is like punching water. This might be the reason pushing them to take such an approach which I believe is working. People do want to read manga, and support it where they can. Sadly, even then you can't win over everyone, some people will continue to use those site regardless of the approach companies taking these days, but this is a big win for publishers in my opinion.

@Plykiya: "What are some of the challenges you've had or advice you'd give other scanlations groups in regards to hosting your own website?"

We didn't really plan on having a site for ourselves when we started. It was mostly a coincidence. One of our members, Verg, had a dedicated server he was using and a sale on domains happened to be at the time. And we just went with it, I paid for the domain, and Verg let us use his server for the site, and even coded himself. There weren't many problems thankfully since we had a guy who knows his stuff on board. Things might be challenging for people who're not familiar with it. In that case, I would probably suggest them to wait until someone who knows it comes along. Having a site shouldn't be their top priority. Especially if they're going to ask other people to pay for it in the future.

@Lymus: "Why Hedgehogs?"

They're lovely? Our main guy who's behind both hedgehog projects is Reversinator. He loves them, and we're happy to help him in his thorny journey.

@Lymus: "Do you think Kodansha does a better job than you with Tenju no Kuni ?"

I think they beat me in a few font choice. But I got back at them with my SFX redraws. Let's say it was a draw. I was pretty sad when I heard the licensing, but it also made me happy since we managed to do what we wanted in the first place. So, go support them guys, volume one and two are already out!

@Lymus: "What did you do with SouthAway?"

We had a nice talk, and I let him go under the condition to never visit north area again.

Lastly, if you could tell our readers anything, what would it be?

Support the industry. I mean it in every way. Buy it. If you can't, tell people who can buy it. Follow it through social media, be there for the mangaka. Just being in a scanlation group or donating one won't get you new chapters forever. Do something in your power. Otherwise, you don't get to be sad when the series you love gets cancelled.

Last edited 4 mo ago by Zephyrus.

@NorthAway Do you have any relation with Norway scans?

Also, ☥ is already married to pingu. Don't ntr him.
North has the bigg gay for anq!
You are what scanlation should be: selfless people doing their best while enjoying their hobby. Thank you!
Keep up the good work. You guys seem like good people.
I remember trying to scanlate myself once and NorthAway gave me a lot of valuable suggestions and motivation.
Thank you guys for everything! Really appreciate your work!

Sadly, no. But I would love to be in that group. I feel like we share something in common.
Totally get you with the "say what needs to be said" part. I always feel like I'm doing something wrong scanlation-wise, but nobody tells me (at least, not often). And you'd think it'd be nice to not have people talking shit, but it leaves me feeling unsure about whether or not I'm doing it right.

Guess that's the problem with working solo. Then again, I don't have a Discord, which might be what I'm doing wrong... ?
thanks for all the hard work your group does and for introducing me to tenju no kuni and Akazukin no Ookami deshi, Mani is a cutiepie!
I honestly don't understand how can someone work on a manga with mediocre art and story. Finding series with gorgeous art and interesting plot also motivates us to work on it.

This is exactly me! Happy to see more people think what I think when i start reading a manga.
One issue is that a lot of manga if I had to pay I would have just skipped, hell even without paying I would probably skip reading many that I have read/do read. I do try to support my absolute favorites though which means me just buying Japanese versions off bookwalker even though I will never read them LOL.
Love the work on My Wife is a Man. I especially love how clean the typeset is. Always hate cluttered text lol. My friends started calling me gay tho smh.
Great Interview. Really hit the nail on the head, especially
While things have been improved, we can still see some awful releases, and low efforts. The thing I dislike is not those bad chapters though, it's readers who thank for those chapters. I want them to point out things, and say what needs to be said.

I made a post about this somewhere else in the comment section of another manga title with subpar scanlation work, about people who say stuff like (this is good enough/you should be thankful for them doing this at all/all you do is complain, why don't you do it instead...etc) ...But long story short in an analogy: I see it as not unlike people giving a participation ribbon to the losers of a game (rewarding failures/bad behaviors/mistakes), giving them a sense of superiority, entitlement, and arrogance for low effort and low quality work, and they ultimately end up not feeling the need to improve upon their failures or mistakes to become better, to become true winners next time. Positive reinforcement is not always a good thing and shouldn't be encouraged, when it's bad behaviors and low effort that's being reinforced.

Last edited 4 mo ago by Harry_Dong.

Hem intresting interview gg gg