If you have watched the anime MAJOR (baseball genre) at one point or another, then you have watched a release by Major Ja Nai. Minor Ja Nai was known in the anime community to have subtitled five consecutive seasons (five years) of the MAJOR anime, a film sequel of season 1, and half of the final, sixth season. Sadly, due to reasons I shall try to somewhat reveal in this blog post, the group closed its doors and the members went their own ways. I may get into trouble by being specific, so I shall try to remain as covert as possible.
Minor Ja Nai (romaji for "I am not a minor," a baseball reference to I am not a minor leaguer.) first started out in the anime subtitling community with the MAJOR anime in 2005. Over the next five years, while subtitling MAJOR, it tried to subtitle or completed many other "classic" anime. Anime by World Masterpiece Theatre or Adachi Mitsuru manga adaptations, such as Slow Step, Touch, and Cross Game.
I am not 100% sure on the following, but I believe the Major Ja Nai group and its sister site, Gokuraku Club Production (French subtitles of almost all the same anime; they shared the same original files) started out as an anime offshoot of MangaDownloads by Athanor, who joined MangaDownloads as a manga scanner years before MJN and GCP existed.
Minor Ja Nai were not the most reputable group because many people viewed their translations "fishy," however their objective was to provide the community English subtitles of their anime projects in high quality (with an optional lower quality) and I think it accomplished that goal. The reason it was considered fishy because in some cases, the translation was done through an alternative method: Japanese > French > English - as the translator was a French native. A method that now is done by the same person/group (sangofe of Saizen, translating the Captain Tsubasa anime from French subtitles/dubs) who initially criticised them on the matter. Note: Saizen was another group that subtitled the MAJOR anime for a few seasons.
I know for a fact that Minor Ja Nai, was an extremely popular group with their MAJOR anime releases, that resulted in over 5k downloads on average (versus Saizen's 3k downloads on average). The same applies to their sister site, Gokuraku Club Production. So they definitely had the viewer-ship to keep releasing the MAJOR anime, however due to a life changing incident that occurred in late 2011 to someone very dear to Athanor, Athanor decided to close the doors of the group, without any consultation to the other members (some of whom were trying to finish the MAJOR anime). I am not going to specifically say what the matter is, but it is quite horrific and anyone would go into a state of depression which Athanor suffered and still does on occasion.
I don't personally know Athanor in real life, since he is from France (and I haven't been outside of Canada in over 10 years), but having met him on IRC and via Facebook, I have got to know a lot about him that I wouldn't have imagined before. Athanor is truly a great person to befriend who will gladly help anyone in the anime/manga community. He owns Japanese DVDs of all the classic anime that MJN subtitled and more, had contact with a person who provided MangaDownloads high quality scans of the Cross Game manga back when it was still publishing, and even had access to transport streams for a couple seasons of the MAJOR anime - provided exclusively by the same raw provider that gave transport streams to DCTP for their Detective Conan project. This was due to the affiliation of Techman_16 with DCTP and MJN.
Athanor gave some hope in his final post that Minor Ja Nai may return, but looking at his life now via Facebook, I have a feeling that won't be the case any time soon. Especially because he doesn't have much time - he is a creative director for a mobile/social network gaming company (France-based; French language only). Furthermore, at the rate older anime are being licensed today and the arrival of Licca Fansubs (who shall be covered in a separate blog post), there may be no need for MJN to return. Of course, there are still some really popular anime which Minor Ja Nai started but did not complete such as Hiatari Ryoukou and Meimon! Daisan Yakyuubu - both of which I have taken over.
I dearly hope Major Ja Nai will live in the hearts of many baseball/MAJOR anime fans. It was the quintessentially the best baseball genre anime of the modern era and may be the standard of future high quality animated baseball/sports anime (the last few seasons of MAJOR were animated by Studio SynergySP, the same studio that made the original Hayate no Gotoku!). Baseball, in general, is highly regarded in Japan - so much so that the creator of FullMetal Alchemist's new manga, Gin no Saji, also features a segment on baseball. Just like Dattebayo with Naruto and Bleach, DCTP with Detective Conan, Major Ja Nai, were one of the only consistent groups to keep providing the same anime for as long as it existed. Sadly, none of those groups could finish their respective anime due to reasons out of their control.
We'll miss the MAJOR anime, but we'll more so miss Minor Ja Nai who provided us with the anime. Thank you!