It's August, 2010. I'm watching anime at a friend's house, and he asks if I've read any good manga lately. I hadn't, as I was unaware of how much easier it was to find manga online. I had previously been using baka-updates to keep up with anime since about 2005, but had seldom used their sister site, baka-updates manga. The only other manga I had read online at that point was Berserk and Homunculus (from the now defunct Band of the Hawks.) I was then whisked away to a crap ton of different genres, art styles, plots, and communities that I had no idea even existed up to that point. I spent a ton of time and gathered a bunch of different sites into a favorites folder, and went to each site almost daily to be aware of updates and delays. It got to the point where I didn't add any newer series to my list because I didn't want my favorites to explode any more than it already had.
This was when I started seeing a lot more of the advertisements from groups I was reading saying to read (at their website url) and Batoto. 1 or 2 groups is one thing, but I was seeing 10-20 of the groups advertising this. In fact, one of the scans I was reading was so popular, he could no longer support reading on his site and started using batoto exclusively (for reliability.) I started reading almost everything through batoto at that point. Mainly, because my HD burned and I lost all of my favorites. I could recover about 40% through my own memory, but it took some time before I could get everything back.
I will never forget this site, and it saddens me to see it go. It saddens me that so much of the community is disappearing because of less fair, and even criminal aggregate sites. But, I understand. As someone that has had to get up at 3:48 am because a server crashed, and you're the closest person to the server site to force a reboot, it's soul crushing. I applaud, in fact, Grumpy and the rest of the team for doing this for so long, and for so little in comparison to some of the other aggregate sites. However, it's still sad. It's sad when a group you enjoy reading disbands, when a translator moves on, and when something loved and cherished in your community shuts down. Batoto will be missed, but it's missed because we love it. Because it made an impact in our lives.
Thank you. For everything.