Détournement: A Step-by-step Guide

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As the previous article has established, the purpose of détourning anime is to provide an accessible means for leftists to engage in artistic education of themselves and others. Anime is fairly niche in the West, there is no escaping that, but it can serve a purpose in reviving an otherwise forgotten left innovation, and, with any luck, can spread an anti-ideological message across webm-enabled imageboards. The only real requirement is having watched your material beforehand, and thus having an idea of what you want to achieve. This guide is for Windows users, but Linux users are likely savvy enough to figure this stuff out on their own. Here’s how you do it:

 

Step one: obtain the following freely-available software, and install it.

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Aegisub is what you will use to alter subtitles; MKVToolNix is used to mux your altered subs into an already soft-subbed episode/movie; MKVcleaver is used to extract said subs from the series you have acquired; and Webm for Retards is used to provide a means of spreading your work in accessible fragments. I recommend setting aside a dedicated folder for this activity, and creating a separate folder for completed works.

Step two: extracting your subs.
To begin, you must have already selected and downloaded a soft-subbed series of your choice. Most series are soft-subbed, so this should not be an issue, and finding anime should not need detailing here.

  1. Start up MKVcleaver, and then immediately click the button entitled Locate MKVToolNix, and navigate to the folder where you installed it, and select it. It is a requirement for this tool to work.
  2. Next, either click-and-drag the episode you wish use into the large white box, or press Open MKV files to process… and select it.
  3. Your episode will appear in the large white box on the left, and one the right will be a smaller box entitled Tracks to extract. Within that box, select the subtitle track, eg. Subtitle Track 1. Some series may have multiple languages, discovering which one is your language of choice may take some trial and error. Most English releases contain only one track.
  4. Press the button down the bottom right which says Extract Tracks! It is that simple, the subtitle file will appear in the same location as your episode.

Now we can start to détourne.

Step three: détourne your anime.

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The content is up to the détourner. Now, start up Aegisub. It may appear complicated, but you only need to know a few things in order to be successful, hence why you acquired an already subbed series in the first place; it’s far less work.

  1. You can alter any single line by clicking on it, and changing the text in the box above the table. Only alter what appears to be dialogue; other text may indicate its color or position on the screen and should be left alone. Above the text box are some familiar icons: bold, italic, etc. Make use of these if you wish.
  2. There is a column in the table entitled CPS. Basically, this indicates the time-pressure a line of dialogue is under. The more red the CPS number, the more dialogue has been crammed into a certain amount of time. In general, the lighter this number is, the better. Détourners will have to exercise their own judgement here, and see how it turns out.
  3. You can alter the timing of subs by clicking on a line, and then altering the times just above the text box on the left. From left to right: start time, end time, total time. This should not be necessary in most circumstances. Again, détourner judgement will be required.
  4. Once you are satisfied with your alterations, be sure to save your work. I really hope this is self-explanatory. If it isn’t, then simply exit the program and when it asks you to save, do so.

This is the bulk of the work completed, and it wasn’t all that difficult.

Step four: muxing your subs.

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Not as intimidating as it might sound, this ensures your détourned subs replace the originals. It is a very swift process.

  1. Navigate to where you installed MKVToolNix, and open the application called mkvtoolnix-gui. There’s no need to navigate to a new section, so stay where you are under merge.
  2. You will already be on the relevant tab, called Input, as well. Right click the white box under Files, and select the Add files option. Select both your episode and the subs file that goes with it, and click Open.
  3. Your files will be added, and you’ll see something new in the box below, the one which has a whole bunch of columns. Ignore everything but the one entitled SubStationAlpha. Deselect it, as it contains the original subs muxed into the episode you chose. Without deselecting it, your new subs won’t be muxed into the episode.
  4. Once you’ve done this, all you need to click is the middle button at the bottom called Start muxing. It will mux the new subs into your episode, and generate a new file in the same location as the original.

Now your subs are not only détourned but added to your episode of choice. If you just wish to release an episode, you can stop here. If you want to create webms for dissemination on imageboards, continue below.

Step five: creating weebms.

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In general, you want something which looks nice enough but isn’t heavy on the megabytes (MB). Sedate scenes should clock in at fairly reasonable sizes, but the more hectic a scene, with music, dialogue, and lots of subs, the more difficult it is to create a webm of both small size and high quality.

  1. Open Webm for Retards. As the name suggests, it’s pretty simple. The easiest way to get started is to click-and-drag your détourned episode into the big white box, or click the top right Browse button and select your episode from there.
  2. Be sure to click the button which says Subtitles and Confirm. Not much point in a détourned anime with no subs.
  3. If you wish to create a webm out of a particular scene, click the Trim button. A new window will open up, and you can click-and-drag the slider down the bottom to find your starting point, or click the Go to… button up the top, and type in the time. Once you’ve found your starting point, be sure to select Set Start. Then, navigate however you like to where you’d like to end the scene, and press Set End. Once you’re happy, click the Confirm button.
  4. If you think the resolution needs reducing to keep the MB down, click Resize and enter your new resolution of choice. 1280×720 is 720p, 960×540 is 540p.
  5. Next, go to the Encoding tab. By default, it will be on Constant mode, under the General section. You can set a size limit under Video in MB, but this usually won’t be the best quality. If you select Variable, your options will change. In general, ensure both Enable audio is selected and Enable high quality mode. You want something nice. The CRF and Tolerance options are what you want to fiddle with, they determine visual quality. Lower is better, but also larger in size. Some experimentation may be necessary here, it’s up to the détourner. You’ll get better with experience.
  6. Once you’re satisfied, click the button on the top far right called Convert. A new window will open up, and it will begin. Leave it be until it finishes. By default, the new file will be outputted to the same location as your original file.

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You’re finished. You’ve successfully détourned some anime. The above may sound like a lot, but once you’re familiar with the process it can be completed quite fast. The steps are very simple and can be done by anyone who’s willing. I hope this guide will encourage those who are on the fence to try their hand and create something of their own.

3 Comments on "Détournement: A Step-by-step Guide"

  1. are you serious? you want to weaponize anime for the workers??

  2. Needs screenshots.

  3. It’s an interesting idea. Are you planning to seed it as a torrent? I think the key here would be to make the changes start gradually until it becomes more and more absurd. THe best act of detournement are subtle and take the person experiencing it by surprise.

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