In a time and age of high speed information it appears that some people have forgotten the time when the internet was not in most every house hold and how hard it actually was to obtain "cool/nifty" looking anime in the late 80's and early 90's. During that time their was not a huge anime boom and it was very difficult and expensive to buy anime merchandise. I've seen countless people on a number of different forums assault people and providers of manga and licensed manga, as if to forget the old days when a bountiful amount of manga was not present to purchase much less download.
I'm 23 and will be 24 this july, I began my obsession with anime at a very young age when "Harmony Gold" had licensed and aired Robotech (Macross) on American air waves. I was incredibly young when it aired, 3 to 4 years old but it was cool as hell. As I grew though, such cool cartoons were never around again, I could only see interesting drawings in EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) magazines of these cool looking men with golden hair for an arcade game that I had hoped was a cartoon series soon to air on tv. I was 8 - 10 years old at that time, I had 5 to 7 more years before it would air.
A couple of years later anime had begun to pick up where I live (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and some hobby shops near where I was living where carrying incredibly violent cartoons with really good story lines so I began to buy them with my paper route money, I was 11 when I started this. By the age of 12, the year of '92 and 93', I had a basic dial up connection and I was surfing the web for all the cool information about anime that I could find. At the time I couldn't tell the difference between a fanfic and actual information, but I would soon learn. Over my surfing I discovered a way to acquire anime that was not licensed in the U.S., it was a risky but I thought I might take the chance. The deal was you send someone roughly 15 to 30 bucks through the mail and in a couple of weeks you would receive a tape (VHS) of the anime you had requested... if you were lucky. So at the age of 12 I began this, many times the tapes arrived, other times it did not and I was out 15 to 30$. For a 12 to 13 year old kid being out that kid of money was a big deal, but I was committed to my endeavors so I continued my faith in this wonderful thing called fansubing.
People who attack sites that offer up "free" manga seem to forget how anime grew in this country (the U.S.) It grew out of peoples quest for more fansubs. Without fansubs and the diligent people who gave us the hospitality of their efforts on something they didn't have to do, we might not have gotten to the anime boom we have right now as quickly as we did. Fansubs where able to spread the word of other anime that might interest people who had no interest of titles already available. Whether its legal or not fansubing is an intrical part of being part of the anime community, I don't see how people can attack it. As long as their's anime their will always be fansubing. TO ME it seems that those who have grown up with high speed internet connections with anime constantly at their finger tips don't understand the joy it brings to someone around my age who toiled for a number of years to be able to see shows he could only read about on a dial up connection, not to mention the fact that their just wasn't a whole lot of manga circulating around the U.S. in the early 90's. To those who fansub and scanslate, and to those who host I say thank you. I may not buy everything I read but it doesn't mean companies who supply anime here in the states don't get my money one way or another... ok they don't when I attend Anime Cons in Canada.
To those 4 to 5 years younger than me remember how old farts had to acquire anime, through risky online mail order fansubs and attending Cons that might have a both that sold fansubs. A bit more time consuming than using your computer.