Let me give the outstanding fansubbing group Eclipse Productions some cred for their fast, reliable, high-quality subs.
This group, according to their F.A.Q. has a few members who have worked with fansubbing for years but formed Eclipse in October 2005. What makes this group stand out of the crowd is how fast, relative to when an anime airs in Japan they can sub, and at great quality. Their subs are often true to the spoken Japanese and only a few or no puns, etc. are changed to a more understandable form. When something can be confusing for a non-Japanese viewer, Eclipse usually insert an on-screen explanation which is really useful for people like me who wants to get to know Japanese culture and language. This is unlike for example Dattebayo who often tries to come up with their own English version of puns and the like (see this: http://www.dattebayo.com/pr/66).
On Eclipse Productions’ list of merit are the following top anime series:
Anime fansubbing started sometime in the 1980’s but the real boom came with the Internet and increasingly faster computers. When a fansub is made, a raw is needed for which a translated script is written. This is then timed so that the subtitle in question appears on screen at appropriate times and remain on screen long enough for a comfortable read speed. Fansubbing are by fans for fans and most groups have therefore no commercial interests in their productions. Both Eclipse and Dattebayo exercise this policy. Dattebayo have once asked for donations when they faced an imminent hardware failure. Though, they had to make a swift close-down of the donations because too much money flowed in. This meant that they could buy precisely what they wanted for continued fansubbing, and the rest of the money went to Doctors Without Borders (read a pressrelease here: http://www.dattebayo.com/pr/18).
Now fansubbing is not by any means legal; since, the unauthorized redistribution of copyrighted material is prohibited by international law. This is sometimes troublesome for the fansubbers; yet, it becomes even harder when a series has been licensed in their native country (Japanese companies won’t trackdown a fansubber in like Moldova, but an American corporation might trackdown a fansubber in America).
Risk of legal action taken by large companies who own the rights to the anime series can force fansubbers to halt production, as in the case of Kuro-Hana, who were only two episodes short of finishing Death Note when they received a C&D.
Fansubs are the best way to enjoy an anime (until official subbed/dubbed versions are released) and as such you must give the fansubbers some credit for their work. One of the crappiest things you can do is to upload and/or watch anime at low-quality on streaming video sites like YouTube. The fansubbers work really hard and for free to bring fans good quality videos of fantastic anime series and they do not want to see their work decimated in a low-resolution streaming video. It does not take long to download an entire episode for you to enjoy via Bittorrent and it enables the fansubbing groups to keep statistics on how many viewers they have. Because one thing is for certain, it is a thrill for every fansubber to know that many people watch their subs and enjoy them.