[4Kids-YouTube] Removal of Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes was due to Nonrenewal of Japanese Voice Actor’s Contract by ADKAugust 24, 2009 at 7:55 am | Posted in 4Kids, Duel Monsters, Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 9 Comments
The recent removal of all Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters episodes from 4Kids’ YouTube channel was the result of an unrenewed contract between Shunsuke Kazama, the voice actor for Yuugi Mutou, and Asatsu-DK Inc. (ADK), a member of the consortium behind the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime property.
While 4Kids has distribution rights of the Japanese version of the show (outside of Asia), the original Japanese rights nevertheless rest on the shoulders of ADK. When the clearances to Kazama’s voice work expired, ADK opted not to renew them. Being the massive, decentralized corporation that they are, ADK only recently became aware of this on their end (perhaps because of administrative issues), which led to a realization that suddenly, they no longer had full rights to the show. Oops! 4Kids obtained distribution rights from the owners, and yet the owners themselves can no longer round out the deal!
This latest news was brought to light by a few comments quietly left by an individual who wishes only to be known as an “insider.” According to the insider, ADK has completely moved on from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters show, focusing almost exclusively on their currently-airing property Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s. The insider hypothesizes that ADK underestimated the value of the original YGO DM series, which led to the nonrenewal of the rights.
So who exactly is ADK? According to Plunkett’s Advertising and Branding Industry Almanac (2008 edition), ADK is an advertising agency headquartered in Tokyo that deals with television advertising, sales promotions, and various publishing media. Included in their advertising segment is a content division that’s responsible for producing anime. ADK operates through its 49 subsidiaries, one of which happens to be Nihon Ad Systems Inc. (NAS). Where have we seen that name before?
NAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADK.
Oh, that’s right. ADK is the parent company of NAS, a producer of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters show.
One question still looming overhead involves what will happen to Kazama’s voice work in the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX. As fans of that series know, Yuugi makes an appearance in the first episode, and returns many episodes later as well. Since 4Kids will be offering the subtitled episodes of GX on YouTube in the near future, what will happen to Yuugi’s lines in those specific episodes?
The insider suggests that since the rights to Kazama’s voice work extend from the time of production, the rights may perhaps still be intact, since GX was produced and completed a few years after DM. If not, 4Kids might have to drop the audio for all of Yuugi’s lines. Yikes.
At this point, I’m sure 4Kids is going over all the paperwork with the Japanese companies using a fine-toothed comb. Only time will tell if the outcome will be positive. I know that we’re all disappointed to hear that ADK has more or less given up on YGO DM, but let’s keep our fingers crossed anyway and hope for the best for GX!