Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Love is an Illusion‘s Fargo

Can I read Love is an Illusion for Free Online? Fargo Answers

On October 25, 2018, Fargo, the creator behind popular Lezhin series If You Hate Me So and Love is an Illusion, noticed fans tweeting scanlations and rips of Love is an Illusion and vented online.


 (Translation for second Tweet: I don’t talk about illegal sites even if I want to because I get more stress from all those who come out saying they saw my work illegally lol I try not to block anyone, but I feel really betrayed when the people I thanked who I thought were fans turn out to have read my work illegally…)

Fargo’s experience is nothing new or unusual in the growing trend of artists grappling with the onslaught of illegal uploads of official translations, scanlations, and fans begging to read their work for free. Over the last couple of months, A Man of Virtue’s GGANG-E, BJ Alex‘s Mingwa, From Points of Three’s White Eared, and Almost Love’s Byeol Narae have spoken with Manga Planet and futekiya on how the actions of some fans impact their financial and mental health. Many more artists have also spoken out on Twitter in an attempt to directly address scanlation and rips.

While ripping official translations and scanlations are separate issues, many creators like Fargo view them in the same light. Between dealing with domestic piracy and international fans, many artists are fatigued by what appears to be blatant theft of their work and view them as the same. In conversations with these artists, our editorial team has noticed how “tired” and “exhausted” appear again and again. Illegal uploads and scanlations may be easy for fans to find, but that also means the original artists can easily discover them as well.

Weary of scanlations and uploads, Fargo took time out of a busy schedule for an interview with futekiya. Below is a translation of our conversation.

“I would like them to clearly recognize such uploads as theft and stop.”

Love is an Illusion Creator's Notes Fargo
Fargo asks readers to not read on illegal websites in the Love is an Illusion’s Season 1 Creator Notes. (Posted with permission from the artist.)

futekiya: How did you discover illegal uploads and translations of your work?

Fargo: It’s been so long I can’t remember exactly, but I think I found out on a Google search.

futekiya: Did you contact the website(s) where your work is being illegally published? If you did, what was their response?

Fargo: I once requested a certain website to take down my work, which they did. I know there are groups illegally translating my work in languages other than English and that they see my Twitter. However, they totally ignore me when I air my complaints there.

futekiya: How do these illegal uploads affect your life and career?

Fargo: They’re quite a nuisance and very damaging to my career.

futekiya: What is your opinion of your work being translated and distributed online? (We tend to use the word ‘scanlation’ in English to describe this.)

Fargo: I know it’s difficult to stop, and illegal sites are also a severe problem in Korea, but many have the common sense to buy manhwa here. This seems less so for those in foreign countries. People need to be better aware of what they’re doing. I’m also worried about minors being able to easily read my work since it’s geared towards an adult audience.

futekiya: Would it be possible to hear what it is like to create Love is an Illusion?

Fargo: I love working on it; it’s a joy to draw.

futekiya: Your webtoon is currently available only on Lezhin. What has Lezhin done about illegal uploads, and what do you think they can do in the future?

Fargo: Lezhin is also aware of these illegal sites, and it’s difficult to stop them even though they’re trying to solve the problem.

futekiya: Many people have heard about scandals related to Lezhin earlier this year. They often use it to justify why they use illegal websites because they do not support Lezhin. Would it be possible to hear your comment on this justification?

Fargo: Anyone is free to boycott Lezhin, but boycotting has nothing to do with using illegal sites. Between using Lezhin or using illegal sites, the latter is definitely worse. That argument holds no water and is just an excuse to justify illegal sites. If someone wants to read my manhwa, they should use Lezhin to read it or not read it at all.

futekiya: Is there anything else you’d want to tell your readers?

Fargo: I’m always grateful for their undeserved attention. Of course, I’m talking about the real fans who pay to read my work.

futekiya: Is there anything you would like to tell people who upload your work illegally?

Fargo: I would like them to clearly recognize such uploads as theft and stop.

Translated by Paul H. Kim (for inquiries, contact at phk02009@mymail.pomona.edu)

You can read Love is an Illusion on Lezhin. If you are a creator that would like to talk to us about your experience, please contact us via DM on Twitter or email us at hanashiro@fantasista-net.jp. 

Whited Eared Interview From Points of Three

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