[4Kids-YouTube] Official Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes Removed from YouTube, Never to Return AgainAugust 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in 4Kids, Duel Monsters, Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 13 Comments
The project has failed. All of the raw and subtitled Japanese episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters were removed from 4Kids’ YouTube channel earlier this afternoon. The issue, says 4Kids’ Nameless Cubicle Office Guy, stems from a matter involving one of the Japanese voice actors.
In the “all good things must come to an end category” – unfortunately this afternoon we have had to make all Japanese language Yu-Gi-Oh! videos private on YouTube. A rights issue in Japan with one of the original voice actors raised it’s head as a result of the success – you the fans – delivered online. These Japanese language episodes will not be seen in any format (online, DVDs, VOD, etc.) moving forward.
What a disappointment. If ever there was a fresh example about the difficulties of rights management in licensing anime properties, this would have to be it.
While 4Kids has always called this uploading project an “experiment” since its early days, I don’t think anybody suspected that it would end in such an abrupt manner. It’s especially distressing because good progress was being made, with the official release of five subtitled Japanese episodes occurring just three days ago.
It’s not all bad news though, as 4Kids’ push for providing original Japanese episodes is far from over. Uncut subtitled episodes of Sonic X will be making their way to the popular American video-streaming website Hulu in the coming weeks. Episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s will be added to YouTube in HD in both English-dubbed and uncut subbed formats. Subbed episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX will be appearing on YouTube as well. Additionally, English-dubbed versions of 4Kids’ other properties will continue to be added to YouTube. More information can be found on the NCOG’s blog. If you’re a fan of any of these shows, lend 4Kids your support! Spread the word and show 4Kids that offering original, uncut, subtitled anime can be a successful and viable operation and isn’t a mistake!
For the people out there whose greatest love is Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, sadly it looks like the adventure is over. Official uncut, unedited, subbed Japanese episodes? Maybe one day… Let’s hope for some kind of a business miracle…
Update: The NCOG’s blog entry has since been modified. The original statement, “A rights issue in Japan with one of the original voice actors raised it’s head as a result of the success,” now simply reads “A rights issue in Japan raised it’s head as a result of the success.” What’s that supposed to mean?
Update (August 24, 2009): Thanks to the insider’s comments below, we now have a few answers as to why this happened. I reiterate and expand upon the insider’s comments here.