Raw (glossary term)

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Synonyms: untranslated
See also: anime, manga, doujinshi, fansub, scanlation
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Raw is a term used by scanlators, subbers and fans for untranslated content. It usually refers either to scans of Japanese manga pages or untranslated episodes and movies of anime as well as Live Acts. It can also refer to material in other languages, particularly scans of manhwa in the original Korean or manhua in the original Chinese. Raw can be both an adjective and a noun.

Examples of usage:

"I watched that episode raw, so I had trouble understanding it."
"Raw chapters are uploaded to this site every week."
"Please send me the raw so I can translate it."
"I only read raws."

Controversy in Fandom

Within the scanlation and fansub communities, this is the standard term. However, some fans dislike the implications of the term, feeling that it suggests that the original language versions of comics exist only to serve as raw material for scanlators instead of being finished products intended for audiences in their own countries.


Manga raws are mostly obtained by scanlation groups themselves and thus not easy to come by for the average fan, unless they buy the original manga. On Slash Report, Mklutz describes her experience organizing a manga scanlation group in the early/mid 2000s; she bought original-language manga in a shop in Toronto and performed destructive scanning on the books with a microwave before scanning the individual pages and assembling the files.[1]

For raw anime episodes, Tokyo Toshokan (東京 図書館), a BitTorrent library, is currently one of the the main sources for those outside the East Asian distribution networks. They focus on popular titles mostly, but also offer subbed content. Before Tokyotosho's rise, l33t-raws was the primary distribution network for those who couldn't access Japanese networks directly. However, since 2002, most fansub groups have obtained their raws through Japanese P2P networks or FTP dumps.[2] Winny is the most popular network in Japan, but the arrests of two uploaders, a conviction against the software creator (since overturned by higher courts), and the presence of trojans and worms on the network have made some users wary of it.[3] The P2P networks Share and Perfect Dark are also used, though much less often due to their system requirements. A draconian change to Japanese law on October 1, 2012 may also lead to a chilling effect by putting extra teeth in a previous law that made even downloading copyrighted material illegal.[4] Most fansub groups will not disclose where or from who they obtain their raws, in order to protect their sources from potential legal consequences.[2]


  1. ^ Slash Report episode 404 Doujinshi and Manga, released March 9, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Raws Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
  3. ^ File-sharing: Handle Winny at your own risk Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
  4. ^ Anti-Downloading Law Hits Japan, Up To 2 Years in Prison From Today Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.