4Kids Entertainment was a television production company known for its dubbing and airing of anime. They were also known for their blocks of Saturday morning programming from the FoxBox from 2002 to 2005 when it was changed to 4Kids TV to 2005 to 2008 and finally Toonzai, which ended after TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems slapped 4Kids with a lawsuit involving the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise led to 4Kids filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leading to Saban buying most of 4Kids' assets and creating Vortexx in 2012, which ended two years later, ending the era of Saturday Morning cartoons until 2017 with KidsClick and 2021 with Saturday Morning Cartoons on MeTV. 4Kids would later become a licensing company under the name 4Licensing Corporation, which folded in 2017. Another subsidiary, 4K Media License, would be bought by Konami, which would later be renamed as Konami Cross Media NY.
Why They Rocked
- They were very faithful to most of the anime they localized, as despite their occasional changes, they still kept their dubs straight to the point.
- They were famously known for their dubs of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, which were not only their best dubs, but its successes are what started the worldwide growing popularity of anime since they aired on network television. In fact, if it wasn't for companies like them, anime wouldn't be as wildly popular as it is today.
- Their dub of Pokémon was especially very memorable and amazing. There are many fans that have even wished that 4Kids held onto the licensing before they were deconstructed after their legal problems with TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems.
- Their dub of Shaman King was awesome because despite their usual practices that BSAP enforce, they gave very light censorship to it compared to their other dubs, and death was fully kept in. It was also their most darkest dub.
- They had very well memorable voice actors that gave such great performances, and were usually well cast for the roles. Most notable voice actors include Eric Stuart, Lisa Ortiz, Amy Birnbaum, Erica Schroeder, Veronica Taylor, Mike Pollock, Jason Griffith, Marc Thompson, and Dan Green. Many of these voice actors are even considered better than the Japanese voice actors, like Eric Stuart is considered the voice of Seto Kaiba, Veronica Taylor is considered the voice of Ash Ketchum, and Mike Pollock is considered the voice of Dr. Eggman.
- They managed to create their own original television programming blocks like the FoxBox, (later renamed as 4Kids TV) and Toonzai.
- Some of their edits have actually managed to be superior to the original Japanese version. Maximillion Pegasus's goal in their dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! was changed from Pegasus wanting to use KaibaCorp's Solid Vision technology to create a solid hologram of his wife, to Pegasus wanting to claim the Millennium Items to open a portal to the afterlife to claim his wife's soul and put it into a mechanical body. This is an improvement because despite it being different from the manga, it makes a whole lot more sense because Pegasus already has access to the Solid Vision technology in the anime, while he didn't in the manga. Making his plan in the original Japanese version come off as one big plot hole.
- They gave the characters with Japanese names some great English names that were very fitting like "Ash Ketchum" from Pokémon, and "Maximillion Pegasus" from Yu-Gi-Oh!. The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga even used Maximillion Pegasus as the name for the character in the English translated manga.
- Most of their other dubs are great, such as their dubs on Sonic X, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Ultimate Muscle, Dinosaur King, G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, Tai Chi Chasers, and Winx Club.
- They have created their own great original productions like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Chaotic, and Viva Piñata. They even created their own original adaptations of Yu-Gi-Oh!, like Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters.
- They have also localized films to other nations around the world, and they didn't make all that much changes to them, all except for Pokémon 4Ever and Pokémon: The First Movie.
- They have introduced some creative and original ideas into their dubs that weren't in the original Japanese version. Like the "Heart of the Cards" from their dub of Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- They have done other productions outside of just localizing anime like releasing soundtracks of their dubs, and dubbing video games. Which is what most localization companies like Funimation don't usually do.
- They have amazing music for their dubs. They hired talented singers and musicians like Jason Paige and Russel Veláquez to perform the music.
- They put in a really great amount of humor into the dubs. In the dialogue, especially that of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh, 4Kids tends to give the dialogue some hilariously savage one-liners.
- Example - Brock: "This is perfect. That cliff is the perfect spot for our first meeting." Misty: "Yeah. As soon as she meets you, she can jump right off."
- They respected their fans, voice actors, and foreign partners very well. They even gave their voice actors salaries that were bigger than the average anime localization company gives their voice actors.
- Around the 2010s they would stop Americanizing their dubs shown with their dub of Tai Chi Chasers.
- Also around 2011-2012, they started a streaming service for uncut anime including their dubs uncut called Toonzai which unfortunately ended when they went bankrupt.
- A couple of their dubs like One Piece, Ojamajo DoReMi (Magical DoRemi), Tokyo Mew Mew and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's were poorly handled. Their dub of Pokémon: The First Movie was especially not well handled.
- The CEO from 1991-2011, Alfred R. Kahn, who is widely known for his shallow view of the children's demographic. Making him completely pointless to work on the children's demographic showing signs he doesn't respect children's intelligence.
- They suffered horribly from years of mismanagement, especially surrounding their shady deals regarding the Yu-Gi-Oh! license without informing the creators about it and the controversy surrounding their infamous One Piece dub where they didn't even bother researching the series before acquiring the rights to it. These decisions backfired dreadfully on the company and played a major role in their eventual bankruptcy in April 6, 2011 and their complete dissolution in February 7, 2017.
- On a few occasions, there were terrible choices of voice actors for characters, like Ted Lewis as James, Sam Riegel as Tristan Taylor, Tom Souhrada as Shanks, Amy Palant as Miss Valentine and David Moo as Sanji. Those voice actors chosen for those characters also sounded out of place or had no (or very little) effort put in.
- There have been a couple of plot changes that ended up creating plot holes.
- Particularly the plot change of Sonic X where Maria's death was censored to her being captured, which ends up creating a massive plot hole regarding Shadow's goal to destroy the Earth since he was only doing it to avenge Maria's death that was caused by G.U.N soldiers. And since Maria's never shown to be dead in the dub, that completely contradicts Shadow's strong desire to destroy the Earth since that plot change means Maria might still be alive and Shadow would try to look for her rather than destroy the planet since he would be destroying her as well.
- Another infamous example was when "The Legend of Dratini" was banned and rejected from being dubbed by them for the usage of guns. Which of course is the most hypocritical episode banning in animation history because there was an episode involving guns in the episode, "Here Comes the Squirtle Squad". More specifically, it was a scene where Team Rocket was holding up a shop with ice guns holding a seller hostage. In fact, "Here Comes the Squirtle Squad" never got banned for that either. Which lead non-Japanese fans wondering how Ash got his Tauros in the first place during the first season of the Pokémon anime.
- Some of their dubs' emotional moments feel underwhelming whenever death being censored out is involved.
- Their infamous National Anthem. While Dan Green and Jason Griffith (as Sonic) sounded alright, the rest sounded very annoying.
- There are translation errors every now and then.
- Some of there dubs we're left unfinished like the fourth season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX and Winx Club. (Though this is most likely because for the former, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's got announced around this time and for the latter, Winx Club, because they lost the licensing rights after Season 3).
- Even some of their shows that were not dubs that they aired we're bad like Bratz.
- The reasons for their edits was because of saturday morning public television broadcast regulations.
- They had ties with Viz Media in the late 90's with vhs releases and FUNimation with uncut dvd releases and Dragon Ball Z Kai on Saturday Mornings.