Nesbitt: And make it double!
Gansley: To protect the world from Japanimation!
Crump: To overthrow the Kaiba Corporation!
Johnson: To denounce the meaning of the original dub!
Gansley: To extend our reach to the world above!
The Big Five: Team 4Kids, blast off at the speed of light! Surrender now or prepare to fight!
Meowth: Meowth, that's right!
4Kids Entertainment was a New York City-based American entertainment and licensing company which was responsible for several cartoons and dubs of foreign programs. It became a spinoff of 4Licensing Corporation after its reincarnation.
Founded in 1970 as Leisure Concepts by Mike Germakian and Stan Weston, 4Kids rose to prominence in the late-'90s and early-2000s with their dubs of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, which it helped popularize in the U.S. The success helped the company subsequently acquire more anime properties (mostly of the merchandising-type), and it adapted them with varying levels of success — chiefly by applying unusual edits, cuts, and modifications to get them on network TV. These cuts, in addition to some comments by its higher-ups and its refusal to release uncut DVDs of the adapted series (although they did briefly attempt this), helped 4Kids garner a fair share of hatred among fans of the original versions of these shows.
With the success of both anime dubs pushing the company to new heights, 4Kids capitalized by reaching an agreement with the Fox network in 2002 to take over programming duties for their Saturday morning time slot, replacing Fox's in-house block Fox Kids (which had sold its production houses as well as the Fox Family cable channel to Disney the year prior) after several years of being in ratings free-fall. The block, which launched in September as "FoxBox" before re-branding to 4KidsTV in January 2005, was handled entirely by 4Kids with all advertising revenue going to them, with Fox's only role being to review programming to ensure it met their standards and practices guidelines. For much of the block's existence, its programming consisted primarily of anime that went through 4Kids' same modification techniques that they used with Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, the latter of which would jump to 4KidsTV in September 2006 following Kids' WB!'s move to The CW. Reaction to most of the dubs that aired on the block were mixed-to-positive, with a couple of dubs, such as that of Tokyo Mew Mew, F-Zero: Legend of Falcon, and Ojamajo Doremi being widely panned, others like Sonic X being viewed as So Okay, It's Average, and that of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Ultimate Muscle, Winx Club, and Shaman King receiving far better reception.
The arguments about 4Kids' content editing came to a head with the bizarre localization and edit of One Piece of all shows, which managed to combine all of the company's (in)famous practices into one show: numerous content edits, the replacement of all of the original music, the removal of a large number of episodes (that turned out to be important later on — although they couldn't have known at the time), and widespread changes to the original script and plot even in the unedited parts. All of this made some people hate the entire company, and it remains the unfortunate darkest mark on its reputation, particularly as its naysayers believe it has permanently stunted the chances One Piece ever had of being a major media franchise in the States - as opposed to Japan, where it is tied with Dragon Ball for being the most successful and important manga and anime franchise in the history of media, though we can't say One Piece hasn't turned out successful anyway. To say that there was a backlash would be, uh... putting it pretty mildly. To be fair, 4Kids didn't want anything to do with One Piece, as they were well aware of how un-family friendly it was. However, Toei Animation forced 4Kids into dubbing the show, as they would only license other shows to 4Kids as part of a packaged deal.
Because of this, Japanese studios would actually make an exception to the fansubbers' "gentleman's agreement" to stop fansubbing when a series is licensed. Said agreement is basically, when an anime gets licensed, fansubbers abandon that particular anime, so that Japanese studios will condone the fansubbers' "piracy" of the show. 4Kids' reputation has long been so abysmal (even though it has a fan following that extends way back) that Japanese studios would allow fans to continue fansubbing a show if it gets licensed to 4Kids, in large part due to 4Kids' refusal to offer Japanese audio even on the DVD releases, and their rabid censorship policies.
There is also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which combined good storytelling with content not usually seen in Saturday morning cartoons — and which would have never lasted as long as it did anywhere else. It also featured content 4Kids would normally censor in their anime dubs. As you can tell, 4Kids was wildly inconsistent when it came to censorship. It was better received by the anti-censorship crowd for that reason.
The hatred garnered from their dubs would be worn out as the company became significantly less prominent than it used to be, and its fan following became the only people who still cared. In the late 2000s, with the loss of its prized Pokémon license, 4Kids' focus shifted away from anime to homegrown properties and acquisitions from other countries, which generally fit the company's creative philosophy much better and have obtained much more faithful treatment. What anime they still dubbed was generally well-received — or, at least, drew less ire. With Kids' WB!'s demise in 2008, 4Kids became — for better or for worse — the last remnant of what was once an institution. It was a position they suffered for having. That year, long-standing issues with Fox over financial and contractual complications came to a head and Fox shuttered 4Kids TV in December 2008, resulting in 4Kids' only lifeline for the next several years being a similarly-programmed Saturday morning block on The CW, which, ironically enough, was launched months earlier to replace Kids' WB. In 2009, the series and merchandising rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were bought out by Nickelodeon as a component of their purchase of the franchise. Nick would also snatch up the Winx Club franchise in the following year.
In April 2011, months after the departure of CEO Alfred R. Kahn, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, stemming from a lawsuit filed by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) over unpaid royalties regarding the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. An auction resulted in the company being sold in pieces; Konami bought all of their Yu-Gi-Oh! rights, and Saban Brands bought the rest of the company, including the Toonzai Saturday morning block and rights to Sonic X and Cubix.
With the acquisition from Saban, The CW4Kids/Toonzai ended in the fall of 2012, being replaced by a new block called Vortexx. CW4Kids' final broadcast on August 18, 2012 ended with a full marathon of Yu-Gi-Oh!, before the names were relaunched as separate channels in 2015. 4Kids successfully exited from bankruptcy in mid-December of 2012 as 4Licensing Corporation without any notable entertainment assets, while the latter was revived as a separate company on May 16, 2013. Their main focus was then shifted to developing and licensing isoBlox, an impact-blocking surface designed for use in sports equipment. Anime fans weren't able to experience the company's unique practices any longer. It also left the New York talent pool of voice actors, for the most part, without regular work; some have even moved to Los Angeles because of it. In September 2016, 4Licensing filed for bankruptcy again and quietly folded the next year.
Meanwhile, the subsidiary that was sold off to Konami re-branded itself as 4K Media Inc. The English adaption of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL was still running at the time of 4Kids bankruptcy and the company wanted to keep it going. After Zexal ended, they moved on to producing an English version of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. While 4K Media continues the usual practices applied by 4Kids, they exist solely for production on the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise for now. In April 2019, it was renamed to Konami Cross Media NY.
Notable voice actors included:
- Greg Abbey (a.k.a. John Campbell or Frank Frankson)
- Sebastian Arcleus
- Amy Birnbaum
- Maddie Blaustein (deceased)
- J David Brimmer (also credited as Michael Alston Bailey)
- Marc Diraison
- Rebecca Honig (also credited as Rebecca Handler)
- Wayne Grayson (a.k.a. Vinnie Penna)
- DAN GREEN! (a.k.a. Jay Snyder)
- Jason Griffith (who is also credited under J. Griff and Adam Caroleson)
- Megan Hollingshead (now resides and works in L.A. since 2004)
- Tara Jayne (a.k.a. Tara Sands, now resides and works in L.A. since 2004)
- Carrie Keranen (worked in New York until 2010)
- Cassandra Lee (aka Cassandra Morris) (worked in New York until late 2000s)
- Ted Lewis (a.k.a. Ed Paul)
- Rachael Lillis (now resides and works in L.A. since 2013)
- Suzy Myers
- Lisa Ortiz
- Amy Palant
- Mike Pollock
- Andrew Rannells (now performs primarily in theater and live-action screen productions since 2006)
- Sam Riegel (now works in L.A. since 2007/2008)
- Sean Schemmel (now resides and works in L.A. since 2013)
- Erica Schroeder (a.k.a. Bella Hudson)
- Michael Sinterniklaas (now resides and works in L.A. since the late 2000s)
- Rebecca Soler
- Eric Stuart
- Veronica Taylor (now resides and works in L.A. since 2014/2015)
- Marc Thompson
- Kerry Williams
- David Wills
- Oliver Wyman (a.k.a. Pete Zarustica)
- Jimmy Zoppi (a.k.a. James Carter Cathcart or Billy Beach)
Properties that had been acquired and/or produced by 4Kids include:
- Biker Mice from Mars (After concluding its initial run on the British channel CITV, the 2006 revival finally aired in America on this programming block during 2008, but was pulled from the schedule before every episode aired. It was stated that the show would resume airing in fall 2009 on TheCW4Kids, but that never came to pass)
- Bratz (the home video rights were given to 20th Century Fox but went to Lionsgate a year later).
- Dinosaur King
- Funky Cops
- Futari wa Pretty Cure (license eventually dropped because they couldn't get a TV deal, picked up by YTV)
- F-Zero: GP Legend note
- G.I. Joe: Sigma 6
- Huntik: Secrets & Seekers (Broadcasting/Marketing only)
- Kamen Rider Dragon Knight (Broadcasting/Marketing only)
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! note
- Mew Mew Power (Compared to most of their dubs, nowadays it's mainly regarded as So Okay, It's Average) note
- Magical DoReMi
- One Piece (2004-2007; license dropped, picked up by FUNimation) note
- Pokémon (1998-2006; license currently owned by The Pokémon Company International (formerly Pokémon USA), with distribution by VIZ Media) note
- Rocket Monkeys (Marketing only)
- Shaman King note
- Sonic X (2003-2006; proved popular enough in America that new episodes were produced even after the show's cancellation in Japan; license was transferred to Saban Brands, then their license expired and is now held by Discotek Media) note
- Tai Chi Chasers
- Tama and Friends note
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series) (rights revoked by Mirage and given to Nickelodeon as part of the sale of the franchise)
- Ultimate Muscle (did remarkably well, since the goofy voice acting and hurricane of puns fit the tone of the show perfectly; 4Kids even paid to have new episodes made. Though ironically enough it was one of the shows they never rerun on other blocks outside of FoxBox.) note
- Viva Piñata (Co-produced with Microsoft so technically one of their few original creations.)
- Winx Club (until 2010; license was revoked and picked up by Nickelodeon)
- WMAC Masters
- Yu-Gi-Oh! (license revoked by TV Tokyo and NAS, reinstated by court order, then later sold to Konami.)
Under the 4K Media Inc label
In addition, when 4Kids ran the FoxBox block, their shows also included (in addition to some of the titles above):
- Back to the Future (from Universal, originally ran on CBS from 1991-92; rerun on Fox from March to August 2003, likely for E/I regulations)
- The Cramp Twins
- Cubix: Robots for Everyone
- Fighting Foodons (sub-licensed from Enoki Films USA and dubbed by them)
- Stargate Infinity (from DiC Entertainment and MGM)
- Ultraman Tiga note
Thanks to their.. erm... reputation, be careful in what you say when writing for this page and all other pages this company is featured on.
4Kids Entertainment and their works provide examples of:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
- Big Applesauce: 4Kids was based in New York City.
- Big Name Fan: Tia Ballard admitted that she watched their adaptation of One Piece as a child and would later go on to voice Porche in Funimation's adaptation of the series.
- Bittersweet Ending: The company's dissolution. Sure, a company infamous for Bowdlerizing or otherwise toning down their properties for the sake of pandering, monopolizing Saturday mornings and poor publicity throughout the 2000s' closing is bound to draw cheers across the community, but the network was trying to do better in its final years and a lot of honest New York voice actors now lack regular work or, in the case of Dan Green, have entered semi-retirement. Several voice actors have also moved out of New York and now work in L.A.
- Bloodless Carnage: Thanks to massive censorship, a number of scenes that did have blood and violence would be turned into this after the fact.
- Bowdlerize: Too many to list, but they backed off from the worst of it in later years.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': While 4Kids was infamous for the heavy edits to the anime they dubbed, it should be noted that almost every other dubbing company at the time were guilty of the exact same practices as them. Both Viz and Funimation regularly changed names, plots and soundtracks in their earlier dubs and most dubbing companies still add a large amount of localization to children's anime. Despite this, none of them are ever subject to the same level of scrutiny as 4Kids.
- Contractual Purity: Averted. Andrew Rannells currently stars in The New Normal and previously The Book of Mormon, some of their VAs have done hentai (Dan Green, for example), and Jason Griffith did a condom commercial.
- Creator's Apathy: 4Kids wanted nothing to do with One Piece as they felt it was too violent and mature to be edited for children; but were forced to accept it as Toei wanted the show to air in the U.S. as soon as possible and wouldn't give them the rights for Ojamajo Doremi otherwise. This lead to 4Kids putting minimal effort into the English dub (apart from the excessive bowdlerization) until they could legally drop the license. Given the damage the show left on the company, it's safe to say their plan worked a little too well.
- Creator Killer:
- Almost subverted by Yu-Gi-Oh!; TV Tokyo and NAS tried to yank the license, and 4Kids ultimately prevailed within the year, but the damage had been done, and they still ended up selling the rights to Konami for all Yu-Gi-Oh!-related merchandise. While the production unit was reformed by Konami as 4K Media, the main company was reformed as 4Licensing Corporation and plenty of their assets were sold to Saban, many of their units were shut down and the company is now a shell of its former self.
- Based in New York, 4Kids Entertainment was possibly the most notable and profitable dubbing company on the east coast of the United States. The company's bankruptcy and closure effectively crippled the voice over industry in the eastern side of America, forcing many of 4Kids's voice actors to either retire or relocate to another part of the country to find work.
- Cultural Translation: For years, this was so often that the 4Kids shows with the most references to Japan and Japanese culture was the one not created there (Ninja Turtles, in case you were wondering). They later backed off from this with Toonzai. In most of their commercials, they claimed that it's "where epic anime lives", their first two code words in the new block were anime and kanji, and they started up an online anime viewing site, Toonzaki, that includes such shows as Fist of the North Star and Pretty Cure.
- Cut Short: Had a few shows that didn't complete their runs for one reason or another. GX and 5Ds stopped in their third season (in the latter's case right in the middle of a storyline). Likewise, Tai Chi Chasers which only made it through its first two seasons and ended on a cliffhanger.
- Darker and Edgier: Surprisingly, the Shaman King dub; many religious references (blatant or otherwise) and incredibly frightening scenes are kept in. Sure, it was comparably lighter than what aired in Japan, but by 4Kids standards, it's one of the darker dubs they've done, and surprisingly one of the only times in 4Kids history where the Moral Guardians got involved because of the last episodes, theirs being even lighter than the ones previously dubbed. Eventually the show, along with TMNT, would be advertised during the primetime hours in hopes to gain adult fans.
- Disneyfication: Particularly the Yu-Gi-Oh! dubbing, infamous due to the invisible guns. The most blatant example is an episode where Sugoroku/Solomon gets shot in the back by one of his guides. In the Japanese version and the manga, it's a revolver, but in the 4Kids dub it's a slingshot. Given what happens after Solomon is shot, a slingshot just doesn't look right.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: 4Kids' omission of the entire Laboon and Little Garden arcs from their One Piece dub caused several inconsistencies later on, and would have become much worse had they controlled the series beyond the Alabasta arc. The various Yu-Gi-Oh series also have a history of these.
- Dubtitle: Their Subs/Uncut Dubs of the Yu-Gi-Oh series and others generally use the Japanese script with dub names.
- Dub Text:
- Nearly all their shows have this to some extent. The Pokémon Chronicles side-stories of Pokémon has Ritchie mentioning various Pokémon he does not have in the Japanese version. A lot of Team Rocket's dialogue is rewritten as well, ranging from Breaking the Fourth Wall to Getting Crap Past the Radar to bordering on a Gag Dub.
- The dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's contains many, many Dub Text-y one-liners, two of which actually became Dub-Induced Plot Holes later on.
- Eagleland: To a ridiculous extent. They have a habit of changing every single foreign sounding name into a generic American one, as well as changing the setting to America and even going so far as to refer to obvious rice balls as donuts. On July 4, they even made anime characters sing the American national anthem.
- End of an Age: Their Yu-Gi-Oh lawsuit contributed to the downfall of Saturday-morning anime broadcasts.
- Executive Meddling:
- Their dub of One Piece has a long history. Toei Animation, the animation studio responsible for producing the series, wanted to bring the series to North American audiences. When 4Kids acquired the license as part of a package along with Magical Doremi and Tokyo Mew Mew, they wanted nothing to do with the franchise because of its violent nature. However, they were essentially forced by Toei to dub it until they could legally drop the license two years later.
- Their dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX being unfinished was due to TV Tokyo and Konami forcing them to abandon it to solely focus on Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's so that it would gain popularity in the West as soon as possible.
- Family-Friendly Firearms:
- Inconsistently applied; some shows have firearms removed completely (Yu-Gi-Oh), others get guns' sound effects altered (Sonic X) but are otherwise intact, and still others have the gun look different while still having them shoot bullets (One Piece, for the most part). A lucky few (Ninja Turtles, Funky Cops) emerge unscathed. And some (Pokémon) get entire, plot-important episodes banned because of them.
- Ironically, in Pokémon some rifles would be allowed to appear unedited (the episode "Here Comes the Squirtle Squad" has a couple of examples). Around the Hoenn saga, though, there would be minor edits, such as the sound of guns cocking being muted.
- Back on the Yu-Gi-Oh example: this also resulted in some monsters getting edited (any monster which has a gun is edited to look toy or laser like) Revolver/Barrel Dragon was a PERFECT example of this◊. One 5D's episode did have some goons with guns, but the dub painted them lime-green.◊ The gun-laden "Crashtown" arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has 4Kids back up to some of its old tricks again.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Due to censorship, this pops up a lot. In One Piece, it was sometimes juice as well.
- Gag Dub: Part of the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is like this, done in the style of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Team Rocket's dialogue on Pokémon borders on this. The latter is generally considered an improvement over the original.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In their dub of the Kirby anime, specifically the episode "Un-reality TV", Chief Bookem exclaims (when Kirby appears huge thanks to a combination of Dedede faking a monster attack via film camera and scale model of Cappy Town), "Looks like someone's been feeding Kirby steroids!" In addition in a Chef Kawasaki-centric episode, Escargoon mentions Chef Shiitake has a new book, "A Crock of Shiitake," in another episode. On the flip side of things, the Shaman King dub slips past homosexual overtones (Ryu's over-the-top "affectionate" behavior towards Lyserg and that one taxi driver), religious symbolism (the X-Laws, though oddly enough crosses are removed), and a surprisingly large amount of on-screen character death and blood during the latter half of the series. Hao/Zeke is also referred to as a devil during one flashback.
- Most famously, 4Kids was responsible for adding such moments in their Pokémon dub, particularly in regards to Team Rocket's dialogue. And then there's the Orphaned Punchline in The Power of One... ("And she says: 'No, but I have Krabbies!'")
- In one episode of Winx Club, Icy said, while locking Bloom in an ice coffin, "I hate to be a total witch about it, but I'm very quickly running out of patience!" Emphasis hers. And the Trix called each other "wi-atch" sometimes.
- Another example from Winx Club, their dub of episode ten ("Magical Reality Check") had Knut saying this line:Knut: Sorry I'm late, traffic was a witch.
- The tagline for their TMNT show was "You'll have a SHELL of a time!" The phrase also popped up in the theme song. In fact, "shell" as an Unusual Euphemism appears with some frequency in the show (of course, being just one letter away from the H-word and all...).
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: One of the most infamous uses of this trope.
- Hostile Show Takeover: During the "FoxBox" block, when the Shredder threatens to drain the color of all its animated shows, like Sonic X and Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, kicking off the FoxBox Color Drain Sweepstakes, and the 4KidsTV Saturday Morning block, in which Cobra Commander takes over the block, renaming the block into Cobra TV, kicking off the Cobra Domination Station Sweepstakes. This was also the premise of The Fight for the FoxBox.
- Hurricane of Puns: Mewtamorphosis? Half of all Pokémon episode titles? One Piece probably got the brunt of this. It didn't even start that way at first, but later on, it seemed like every line the characters spoke were nothing but puns.
- Inconsistent Dub:
- Was Gold Roger hanged or decapitated? And how did Nami get sick?
- It goes another way: expect to see one thing edited out in another show...only for the exact thing that was edited out to appear in another show they're dubbing. They didn't even have a problem with Misty holding up a cross to a ghost Pokemon in an early episode of the show, and have her saying, "You see this? It's a CROSS!" Never mind that crosses were one of the notorious things 4Kids censored in One Piece. This was because network standards are very fickle when it comes to censorship that they can change their policies immediately given the content they are censoring, which has resulted in these dubs having something edited while another dub having that thing not be edited.
- Mew Mew Power was infamous for this. 4Kids added the idea that Pudding (renamed Kiki) was living in a shelter. Then a dozen episodes later her house is shown. They had Mint (renamed Corina) "correct" this by saying she only thought Kiki lived in a shelter.
- Irony: Their attempts at censoring Kuina and Bellemere's deaths in One Piece backfired with a passion.
- In the original version, Kuina died by falling down the stairs and breaking her neck. In the dub, she didn't die, but she was crippled by the friends of a man she had defeated earlier, to the point that she can't fight any longer. In other words, adult men ganged up on a little girl and crippled her for life.
- In the original manga, Bellemere was shot point blank in the head by Arlong, which is pretty brutal. In the original Japanese anime, this was toned down slightly by having her shot in the chest instead. In the 4Kids dub, Arlong's gun is shoddily edited into a pointer finger, and he orders her imprisoned in a dungeon. Since it's established that she died even in the dub, that means that she starved to death, a much more painful and slower end than being shot in the head/chest.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Without any of their notable assets, some of the 4Kids dubs of anime have not seen a re-release in some form. While some of their old properties have avoided this by being aired on Vortexx, that block met its end in September 2014, killing even that method. Heck, One Piece was redubbed by Funimation, which renders the 4Kids episodes that weren't released on DVD harder to find, even though the first 52 episodes can be found cheap.
- After their contract with Funimation was terminated for reasons still unclear, 4Kids shows stopped showing up on the home video market. The one exception was Pokemon, whose home video rights remained with Viz. Dinosaur King did turn up on DVD through Shout! Factory, but it didn't sell well enough to justify the company working with them again. After 4Kids sold off their assets, Yu-Gi-Oh! did get a revival on DVD through Cinedigm (formerly NEW VIDEO Group), but it's unknown if any other 4Kids shows will be released to home video through the company. Until then, we have TV rips and foreign DVDs to rely on.
- 4Kids once released an album containing all their in-house music for both physical and digital purchase. However, after the company's bankruptcy and dissolution, the soundtrack was removed from digital storefronts and the CD became incredibly rare. Luckily, their music for Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are still easily available.
- According to Maddie Blaustein, 4Kids apparently DID dub the notorious episode of Pokemon with the seizure-inducing flashing lights. However, despite the lights being slowed down to "safe levels," OLM banned the episode internationally, and the dub has never been discovered.
- 4Kids went back and dubbed the previously skipped "Beauty and the Beach" episode of Pokémon (the one featuring James cross-dressing with inflatable boobs) with the Orange Islands episodes (with the aforementioned scene cut). However, it only aired once, and is not on DVD. TV rips can be found fairly easily online though.
- As of 2015, Discotek Media has got the rights to the 4Kids dub of Sonic X, and will start making DVD and Blu-ray re-releases!
- Last of His Kind: Their block on The CW, Toonzai, was the last traditional Saturday Morning block prior to being replaced by Vortexx.
- Lighter and Softer: All of their dubs, even their Shaman King dub (which had dark elements, but was still lighter in comparison).
- Lull Destruction: Good luck trying to find a silent moment in a 4Kids dub.
- Their infamous censorship that makes them well known was enforced by network executives and censors, and the inconsistent edits that involve something being edited in a dub while that same thing being unedited in another dub was due to very fickle network standards.
- 4Kids actually didn't want to license many shows such as One Piece because they knew how much they'd have to censor them; however they were often forced in to adapting them due to the original owners insisting on bulk licensing deals in order for them to get the shows they actually wanted.
- Missing Episode: They did this to some of their dubbed anime. The various Yu-Gi-Oh! Sequel Series had a few, and their dub of One Piece is infamous for throwing out entire story arcs. This, combined with 4Kids' refusal to release uncut versions of their shows (for the most part), not only created Plot Holes, but made it so that these episodes would only stop being missing once Funimation got the rights.
- Money, Dear Boy:
- 4Kids was known for paying its actors very well (at least in relation to other dubbing studios, even higher than the typical union-rates for doing anime voice work). This is why you'll never hear any NYC voice actor express regret for working on a 4Kids series. The scripts may be crap, and the editing jobs may be a joke, but at least you're well-compensated for it.
- Though this likewise seemed to be their business philosophy as well. 4Kids was only interested in how profitable a series could be rather than the quality of their products and the fandom of properties. And that's if they were even interested in the property at all. For example, they actually didn't want One Piece, just Ojamajo Doremi. However, Toei wanted the anime to be shown in America as soon as possible and forced them to take it as part of the deal. As such, even though the series was a major hit in Japan and had more than enough of a sizeable audience in the west the profit from, 4Kids had to dub it before they can legally drop the license.
- Never Say "Die":
- While 4Kids' would allow characters to die on some of their shows — Shaman King, Ninja Turtles, and later One Piece episodes — it is much rarer to see the word "death" used to refer to it (although the word may be used in other contexts). An exception occurs, of all places, in an episode of Funky Cops, where the episode revolves around the faked death of an Elvis-like rock star, with the word is used constantly throughout the episode.
- Averted in Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 13. Tristan says "According to this, I'm dead!" Granted, he was standing in front of a tombstone, so avoiding references to death would have been Implausible Deniability even for them.
- There is also the four-episode duel between Yugi and a Marik-controlled Joey in which the loser would be dragged to the bottom of the sea. While the words "die" and "death" remain unspoken, the explicit threat of drowning remains throughout. To compare, most duels in the series have the penalty of death swapped out for eternal banishment to the shadow realm.
- And there is also Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, where Anubis is known as the Egyptian Lord of the Dead, and towards the end of the film, tells Yugi and Kaiba that "It is no longer time to duel. Now, it is time to DIE!" In addition, a prophecy includes the phrase "Thus light and shadows both be killed." Helps that the movie was a PG-rated theatrical release, in which case the word can easily be used in such contexts.
- Episodes 17 and 18, the two part "Arena of Lost Souls" duel tosses this trope out of the window: the words dead and death are thrown about a few times, part 1 ends with Joey saying that he can't "kill his(Bonz's) monsters", and Bonz states that the zombies get stronger every time they're killed at the start of the second part.
- In the second part of the duel against Para and Dox, Yugi says that his and Joey's monsters sticking together will help them get through the 'murderous maze'.
- Early episodes which flashed back to Kaiba and Mokuba's past made it pretty clear that their parents died (Mokuba's flashback states they 'passed away', Kaiba's outright says they died). In the cases of characters like Raphael and Mako, this trope is in full effect.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX dub, when a duelist loses a duel in one of the Duel Monsters Spirit World dimensions, they are "sent to the stars", though there was still a clear implication of death.
- On the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX example, a rare aversion is shown when Jaden defeats Amneal/Banner, with the deaths unedited. Of course, the dialogue still tones it down slightly by having Jaden say that Banner "gave his life" to help him. This is also averted when Aster Phoenix loses to Sartorius, with his body disintergrating in front of Jaden, though he gets better a couple of minutes later.
- Also with the above, there's the scene in which Sartorius revives Aster and places him on one side of a statue that's placed above a lava pit, to which Aster will plunge into if Jaden doesn't give him the other key to activate the satellite. Again, the dialogue tones it down slightly, with Sartorius saying that Aster will "fall to his ultimate doom!".
- Played straight, however, with Aster's father. In the original version, his father was murdered by someone who was trying to steal the Destiny Hero cards, whilst in the dub, his father vanished the night the cards were stolen.
- Viva Piñata, however, seemed to throw the use of the word around randomly, with one episode using the words suicide, death trap, and killed within the space of a minute.
- Cosmo's tragic death at the end of Sonic X was the only one in the show that they couldn't write their way around besides perhaps Maria, though neither are explicitly referred to as a "death".
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya! kept its death-related episodes. However, the dub has an unfortunate tendency use the word "destroyed", making Knuckle Joe's introduction episode downright embarrassing due to what the plot is about: "I'm looking for the Star Warrior who destroyed my father!". We're still allowed to see said father's corpse. We just can't say he's dead.
- Ultraman Tiga got away with it in Episode 19.Munakata: But General Salai, Maximum Luminosity could kill her [Rena]!
- In the very next episode, Daigo asks Yuzare if he is dead.
- No Export for You: Due to their practice of making YouTube block certain videos from being played outside the U.S & Puerto Rico.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Look at The Legend of Thunder! Pokémon special; Raikou's name is never pronounced correctly. Applies to a few other of the Mons as well.
- Not So Different: One of the dubbed episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had many references to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series in the dialogue, and 4Kids themselves had said they are fans of it. Unfortunately, that was the only episode they did that in...
- Old Shame: Some of the employees are 4Kids weren't happy with what they did to One Piece since they were forced into dubbing it against their will.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: A handful of the changes made by 4Kids were simply typical Saturday morning censorship where anyone trying to air the same shows would have made the same changes. This is why even the episodes of One Piece that Funimation aired on Cartoon Network had Sanji's cigarette, booze, some of the violence, and many of the guns still edited out.
- Production Posse: Voice actors aside, they've used Dong Woo Animation and Bardel Entertainment for their non-dubbed work.
- Recycled Soundtrack: Most of the anime they licensed used recycled musical cues from their library.
- The Scapegoat:
- Everyone insults 4Kids for their excessive script changes and animation edits. No one talks about how 4Kids had to get approval from the shows' owners whenever they wanted to make a major script change or animation edit in their dubs. This is especially for One Piece, as Toei Animation forced the series onto them to get it to western audiences as fast as possible.
- Everyone also blames them for not finishing their dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, as they believe 4Kids wanted to abandon GX in favor of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. However, this is only partially correct. 4Kids only abandoned GX because TV Tokyo and Konami forced them to since 5D's premiered in Japan around the end of the third season of the GX dub. This action left 4Kids pretty upset, and it possibly explains why their dub of 5D's ended up as a Macekre since they mentioned they didn't have time to test it.
- Screwed by the Network: The demise of 4Kids' Saturday morning block on Fox was hastened by Atlanta's then-UPN O&O station WUPA (who carried the block in lieu of Fox O&O WAGA-TV, who declined to carry it upon its 2002 launch, nor did it carry predecessor Fox Kids when Fox moved its affiliation there from future WB affiliate WATL in 1994) announcing it would drop the block in favor of the Kids' WB! block upon The CW's launch in September 2006. As no other station in the market (including WATL, which transitioned to MyNetworkTV upon that network's launch around the same time) was interested in carrying 4Kids TV, the last two years of the block wasn't shown in the Atlanta market, something that hurt the block badly as Atlanta is one of the top 20 media markets. The loss of coverage caused Fox to be unable to hold up their promise of 90% coverage of the block to 4Kids, which, combined with Fox getting no money from 4Kids during their lease of the slots, led to irreparable tension between the two parties by the time Fox canceled the block in 2008.
- Not that WUPA respected the block any better. They aired 4Kids TV on Sunday mornings to air the glob of local paid programming that regularly aired on Saturday mornings, and often aired infomercials in between 4Kids TV programming, resulting in viewers tuning out once the paid programming came on, forgetting about the rest of the programming that was to air later. After the block was dropped, it could only be accessed in the area through cable on-demand systems for the block's final two years of operation,
- Star-Derailing Role: While the legal mess with Yu-Gi-Oh! may have proved a Creator Killer, their dub of One Piece was what brought down their reputation and might have ended David Moo's career as a voice actor. That reputation wasn't spotless before, but it would never fully recover after that. The aforementioned legal mess was simply the final nail in the coffin. Though to be fair, 4Kids wanted nothing to do with One Piece, as they were well aware of how un-family friendly it was, but they were forced into dubbing the show by Toei, as they would only license other shows to 4Kids as part of a packaged deal.
- There was a certain Kirby: Right Back at Ya! episode (the one where Dedede makes his own anime starring him as the hero) which had Tiff refer to the aforementioned show as "So Bad, It's Good". Some fans saw this as 4Kids themselves making a dig at their own dubs and shows.
- In one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Professor Banner takes a trip to the ruins on the island with Jaden and his friends, and when they take a break once they reached the ruins, Banner states that he's eating pizza. Jaden jealously states while holding two rice balls in his hands, "You get pizza while we're stuck with whatever it is I'm holding?!" This indicates that 4Kids was aware of the fact that they inconsistently reference rice balls as donuts, sandwiches, cookies, and popcorn balls and decided to poke fun at themselves about it.
- In one episode of Pokémon, James makes some muffled sounds after being partially swallowed by his Victreebell. Playing this gibberish backwards reveals that he's actually saying ""LEO BURNETT AND 4KIDS ARE THE DEVIL! LEO BURNETT"".There's a story behind this: voice actors were allowed to make quite a lot of money for dubbing 30 second commercials back when Pokemon marketing was at the height of its popularity at the turn of the century. They could easily make more money doing commercials than from doing entire seasons of regular anime dubbing. 4Kids decided to start using voice clips for commercials, allowing them to profit by not hiring the voice actor or paying them for time and services rendered. Eric Stuart did the line as a protest joke that was never intended to make it into the final release of the episode, but by pure accident, it ended up doing just so for the initial release of the DVD that episode was on. The mistake was quickly caught and fixed, but not before a few hundred copies of the DVD had hit the market.
- Spiritual Successor: 4Kids Entertainment → 4K Media, Inc.
- Un-person: Anime News Network refused to acknowledge 4Kids's involvement with the Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time due to the lawsuit filed by TV Tokyo and NAS at the time and played up the involvement of A&E Home Video and Manga Entertainment concerning the English dub.
- What Could Have Been: During their final years, 4Kids was actively trying to undo the damage they did by setting up their own legal streaming site with uncut episodes, even partnering with Funimation and Crunchyroll, as well as proudly referring to their properties as "anime". Had they been able to continue without the legal issues, Toonzai could have very well been a spiritual successor to daytime Toonami, serving as a gateway to anime for children, while not alienating older fans.
- Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: The Shaman King dub is considered one of 4Kids' better translations because of how little they changed; they tried to do a Cut-and-Paste Translation, but the business about death, souls and life-threatening fights literally being the plot of Shaman King made this impossible. Unfortunately, all this did was showcase why they go so far into Macekre territory with their dubs: the Moral Guardians absolutely railed 4Kids, and it wasn't helped by 4KidsTV airing the show at the same timeslot as Kids WB's Yu-Gi-Oh!, their biggest franchise. These things, coupled with 4Kids' less-than-stellar reputation, caused Shaman King to bomb in the US despite being of passable quality, and 4Kids was back to its usual antics in time for One Piece...