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Headscratchers: 4Kids Entertainment
  • Why did 4kids give up on getting the Naruto license? I mean, I'm glad they didn't get Naruto and all; I'm just curious as to why they'd give up on something that lucrative so quickly. Also, it's incredibly weird to watch english dubbed Yami, then realise that he (Dan Green) is part of the dubbing team and voice cast for Narutaru, if that ever gets off the ground...
    • Because they realized what Disney is now realizing- the violence is too intimately connected to the plot to strip out and still have anything worth watching. A 4Kids dub of Naruto would have turned out worse than One Piece, which averted being a total loss only by virtue of the fact that One Piece is a comedy, and thus the Bowdlerization could be laughed at without COMPLETELY destroying the plot. It was terrible anyway, but if a comedy turned out that badly, how much worse would a drama have been?
    • Narutaru? Ah hahahaha...4Kids wouldn't have anything to do with that, no sir/ma'am.
  • Aside from the most obvious reason, how is it that (at least in Philly, anyway) 4Kids is now part of two different channels' line-ups? Apparently, The CW (the one with the DC Comics cartoons) is 4Kids now. They've officially taken over Saturday morning cartoons.
    • Wash. DC channels are that way, too. Sort of advertising deal?
    • What's the second channel? The CW is half-owned by CBS, so if it's that channel, it would explain things.
      • Fox, of course...but that's already been partially covered.
      • The whole "two channels" into one thing really bugs this troper.
      • Fox has changed to infomercials now, so this question is no longer relevant.
      • 4Kids Entertainment was an independent studio. It was never tied to any of the major networks (or minor ones, for that matter), and it never made any exclusivity agreements. This means 4Kids was free to be on as many channels as it had permission for.
    • If 4Kids licensed Naruto they'd have reduced episodes to 5 minutes cause 4K always hated violence (at least after their Pokémon age).
  • Why do they dub anime if they have to change practically everything about a show to make it acceptable for them to air? Why not just write your own stuff from wholecloth if you're, well, going to do that anyway?
    1. They can save money by not having to get all the animation cels drawn and animated.
    2. Lots of anime has pre-existing fanbases, meaning they're guaranteed some high ratings early on.
    • So why haven't they noticed that said pre-existing fanbases absolutely hate it when they make so many changes?! I don't think the original anime's fanbase is the demographic they ever have in mind.
      • The pre-existing fanbase only watches the first few episodes before giving up in disgust; however, during those early few days, they give the show high ratings, which persuades the channel to keep broadcasting. After that, new viewers who don't know any better start watching, and they make up the bulk of the audience.
      • Some of the shows they dub are meant for children (such as Doremi, Kirby, and Winx Club), and it would be unlikely for them to have pre-existing fanbases.
      • Combine Animation Age Ghetto with Well-Intentioned Extremist translators terrified of setting off the Moral Guardians and you have a recipe for disaster.
      • Indeed, you can see this in them getting away with more stuff in theaters and on cable—and predictably, any time 4Kids loosened up even a teensy bit on syndication, said Moral Guardians bit down HARD, such as with Shaman King.
  • Why, why does 4Kids always remove lettering from signs, computer screens, etc., even when it's already in English, and replace it with symbols, new lettering, or just random shapes? Does this have to do with Al Kahn (Kaaaaaaaaahn!) and his firm belief that kids don't read?
    • Given Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's particular text edits (where text is changed into non-text symbols signifying roughly the same things) my theory is that it's because they believe it makes the series easier to export. For example, a German or Brazilian version of the show would have to change the various text in a duel runner HUD's to reflect their respective languages (taking in mind that these are shows for kids—depending on the place, they may not have learned English as a second language) in order to make them understandable; not so if it's a set of universal, widely-understood symbols. Basically, they do the work so that other places don't have to.
      • Even when the text is gibberish then? I ask this because there was an edit in episode 1 of Winx Club in which Bloom's dad is seen reading a newspaper, and despite it being an incoherent string of consonants with a vowel here and there, they turned it into grey bars and lines. Right...
    • 4Kids actually prided itself on 'the kids don't even realise they're from Japan anymore'. Nuff said.
    • Text is erased for the same reason that most kids' shows will avoid having to show any text whatsoever, and when they do, have a characrter speak it out loud: Because the kids the shows are aimed at wouldn't be able to read it in time, at least for the most part. 4Kids got a lot of children who were just starting to learn how to read or have not gained enough experience to read it all in time. If they see text they want to read, and it gets taken away repeatedly, they're going to get frustrated. (The alternatives are to either have the aforementined saying-it-out-loud method, which is not always possible with a dub, or freeze the frame for 3 seconds for each word displayed, which would get annoying real fast.) There is also an artistic decision for this too sometimes: Text is distracting. For instance, Hayao Miyazaki says that his movies are meant to be seen, not read, and opposes subtitled versions of his works. Lauren Faust considers on-screen text as highly distracting and takes efforts to make sure onscreen text on anything she works on is illegible.
  • Why is Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's the only thing in the lineup that's not in reruns? Come on, Season 7 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just started, and The Spectacular Spider-Man has been MIA for six months. Even if I just stick to anime/animation, I can get a better Saturday lineup off my DVD collection. Although in that case, the anime would not be Saturday fare, and most of the Western Animation is from the 90s-early 2000s. Good thing I have a decent-sized Netflix backlog.
    • A better question is why does Sonic X have three timeslots? It has been on rerun cycle for four years now. Can't two of those timeslots be used for a new show?

  • It seems that Nameless Cubicle Office Guy is very vague about the policies that influences the adaptation. The only link he gave me was to the FCC website which doesn't really help since I've learned that intra-industry organizations have more direct influence on what passes and what doesn't. If there is one thing that we know about their behavior is that they like to acquire potential Cash Cows and making works a Type-O, in terms of culture, for better marketing.
  • Why was it (back when 4Kids were dubbing more Anime) that TMNT and Western Cartoons had more unsuitable content than the anime dubs they did? It's like they thought "Japanese cartoons can't be raunchy while American ones can." Even in American cartoons they actually said "die."
    • Well, part of it is that the producers of the in-house shows have more contact with the Standards and Practices people, and therefore not only have a clearer idea of what can and can't be shown before the product is completed, but can argue their case for particular elements. Anime is already completed, and therefore there's only so much you can do it. In any case, the difference isn't really that pronounced; latter episodes of One Piece (specifically, from the Drum Island arc onward) are easily on par with the TMNT episodes that were airing at the time, violence-wise, plus or minus some green-colored guns.
      • I don't know if I'd go that far, but I do agree that the later arcs of One Piece (Arabasta mostly) seemed a little less censored in certain ways (Sanji's fixation on Nami and Vivi's belly dancer outfits was still intact, and there's Zoro's infamous steroids line about Mr. 1, though I really don't know if a reference to steroids is really ballsy at all). One thing I found interesting is they seemed a bit more willing to poke fun at themselves at times (At one point in Arabasta, dub!Ussop makes a line about making a rap song, which I took as a jab at the infamous dub opening)

  • 4Kids likes/is a fan of YGOTAS, as it is so nicknamed. That's been out, what...1-2 years, maybe? When did 4Kids decide to start subbing, whilst keeping in the cursing and whatnot? A few months ago? (Hey, that's what Wikipedia says.) So they'll be subbing GX, 5Ds, Sonic X, etc. And yet they haven't mentioned subbing Yu-Gi-Oh!, the very show that garnered them all the fame/hatred/hatred of fame? Er...
    • (Same poster as above) Please note that I do not hate 4Kids. I don't want a flame war, I just want to know why the hell they aren't subbing Yugioh. Also, are they subbing Pokemon? 'cause those're the two that garnered them huge fame.
      • For starters, they don't have the license for Pokemon anymore and lost it to TPC years ago. So they couldn't show subbed Pokemon if they wanted to (and Pokemon is one of the better dubs that 4Kids has worked on). In the case of the original Yu-Gi-Oh! it has to do something with some contract conflict on Yugi's seiyuu Or So I Heard.
      • So because Yugi's Japanese voice actor has something going on, 4kids can't sub it? What the heck is on that contract?! [rhetorical question, btw]
      • Shunsuke Kazama is bound to Johnny's Entertainment, who is known to have pretty strict media regulations. (i.e. One of the acts they manage, Tokio, sang the first opening theme song to Kodomo no Omocha and all references to the song and them had to be cut out from the Funimation dub; they also manage SMAP, Japan's top Boy Band, who sang the first opening theme song to Akazukin Chacha, and the song had to be replaced with a cover on even the Japanese DVD releases.)
      • Well now that they've lost the Yu-Gi-Oh! license, that's out of the question. But perhaps now another company may pick it up and sub it.
      • ...So who's going to release the 3D Movie on DVD and Blu-ray now? From what I've seen, the most likely candidates are Viz Media (they release the manga) and Manga Entertainment (they recently picked up the movie in the UK, so I don't see why they can't salvage it Stateside, since they operate in the US of A as well).
      • Manga Entertainment will be supplying the 3DMovie in the UK for both the dub and sub. But in the states, the DVD has recently been either pushed back a year or cancelled for now.
    • 4Kids no longer has the Yu-Gi-Oh! license because TV Tokyo and Shogakukan sued 4Kids over embezzlement and fraud. They settled out of court (meaning 4Kids WAS guilty on both), and TV Tokyo and Shogakukan took the American license for the show away from 4Kids.
      • Source? 4kids still has the license, they're just in danger of losing it now. The court case has not been settled yet and a 4kids employee has confirmed that they still have the license.
      • It was on the Anime News Network. It's been a very long time since, so I don't know which article it is specifically, but that's what it said.
  • Why did they remove references to Japan, even changing character's names, in the shows they dubbed? It never made a lot of sense and it only served to confuse children who may have already been a fan of the anime/manga. I particularly have to bring it up for Tokyo Mew Mew because I recall the manga version was pretty popular with its target audience already, and a lot of the kids tuning into the show were likely fans of the manga. Why, then, confuse them by changing character names?
    • American Nationalism, perhaps? They don't want American children to think they're Japanese, after all.
      • More likely, to please the parents. The kids don't care where their animation is from, or anything else for that matter, as long as they like it. On the other hand, there is a good chance the parents have that nationalistic pride, and if they don't know the kids are watching foreign shows, 4Kids could get away with it. (And if Not Always Right is any indication, there are a LOT of these gung-ho jingoistic parents out there.) Anime has also had a sour reputation for being, well, violent porn cartoons, and 4Kids would've likely wanted to distance itself away from that image, the easiest way of doing so being the removal of any Japanese culture. Lastly, a lot of these parents grew up in the 70s and 80s, when there was a sort of Japanophobia going on. Americans thought that Japan was set to take over the world, and until the economic meltdown of the mid-2000s, many of that age still believed that and mistrusted anything made from that country. While FUNimation and Viz Media have freely localized anime without much danger in these regards, they mainly do home video releases and cable. 4Kids mainly worked on syndication, whose audience is much wider and was thus in the path of these potentially dangerous bigots.
  • At what point did 4Kids actually start to lose popularity?
    • After they started censoring parts without a reason, I guess.

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