Tags: 4kidstv.com, toonzai, toonzaki, vortexx
Konami, Saban, and 4Kids are kicking up some dust as the trio continue to sort through the properties that recently changed hands. All Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes, including videos from the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, 5D’s, and Zexal series, have been removed from Toonzaki.com, the anime video hub previously managed by 4Kids (and now by Konami). This is especially unfortunate because the Toonzaki crew had worked to build up the website so that it appeared among the top search engine results for queries of Yu-Gi-Oh! videos.
There’s no need to panic though, as all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! videos are still currently available on Hulu. If you can’t find a former 4Kids show that you’re looking for (Yu-Gi-Oh! or otherwise), do a search on Hulu and you’ll likely find it there. It’s yet to be seen whether any Konami or Saban websites will pick up the Yu-Gi-Oh! feeds on Hulu for distribution. I’ll update my Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters streaming video pages with new links once the dust settles.
In more positive news, MyVortexx.com, the official website of Saban’s Vortexx Saturday morning block, went live earlier this afternoon! It’s still looking a tad empty, but a Vortexx rep noted on Facebook that there’s much more to come, so keep your eyes peeled!
Update (August 31): “We are transitioning the site,” says a Toonzaki rep on Facebook. “[I]t may be spotty the next few days – shows disappearing/reappearing, site being down etc etc but we’ll be back and better than ever in no time!” Hopefully that includes all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series!
Tags: 4kidstv.com, hulu
Have you been keeping up with the tidbits about Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal that have been trickling out? Since announcing the series’ October 15 premiere, 4Kids has been whetting the appetites of Yu-Gi-Oh! fans with details about the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! anime on the Toonzaki Facebook page. In addition to daily reveals of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal’s cast, 4Kids also uploaded the opening sequence and a few clips of the show to 4KidsTV.com on Friday, as well as to Hulu earlier this morning. Check them out!
The biggest surprise from these video clips thus far? It might be the fact that the realistic-looking backs of the trading cards used in the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal are still intact in the 4Kids production. Why didn’t the network censors ask 4Kids to change this, even though the fronts of the cards are still edited as usual? Curious. Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal is the first series whose card backs match the designs used in the real-life trading card game. Classic Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s all depicted the backs of the cards as having a plain brown background with a grey oval in the center.
What Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal updates will we see this week? Keep your eyes on Facebook and keep counting down until the show’s premiere!
Tags: 4kidstv.com, toonzai
One year ago, when 4Kids.TV was relaunched with the Toonzai brand, I was impressed by the visual overhaul of the website and its new features but was nevertheless slightly taken aback by certain aspects of the redesign. In particular, I was really critical about the organization of its video library. Let’s look at what has changed since then.
My decision to take a closer look at 4Kids’ website stemmed from the company’s plan to move all of its shows to 4Kids.TV once it was rebranded as Toonzai. At the time, the only place to watch the entire Yu-Gi-Oh! series was 4KidsTV.com. Thus, if 4Kids wanted to move its full video library over to 4Kids.TV, it was important that everyone be able to navigate to and easily access those episodes. 4KidsTV.com had a great layout suited for organizing videos. Unfortunately, 4Kids.TV wasn’t really built for that.
I was originally turned off by 4Kids.TV’s flash video selection menu, a design that required a user to click on navigation arrows in order to shuffle through the episodes of a show. The worst part about it was that only four episodes appeared on each page. Can you imagine wanting to watch the final episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! and having to click through 50-plus pages of videos just to get to it? Although this design is still used today, only a handful of episodes are on 4Kids.TV, perhaps as a preview of what’s available. Rather than forcing users to adapt to that clumsy design, 4Kids integrated the easy-to-navigate 4KidsTV.com website into 4Kids.TV. Both websites share the Toonzai branding.
And, much to my delight, the each show’s “Episodes” page on 4Kids.TV — once home to only short summaries of each episode — now also contains links to the actual videos of the episodes rather than just descriptions. Hooray!
Of course, what brought about my concern at the time was 4Kids’ plans to phase out its video hub at 4KidsTV.com after moving everything to 4Kids.TV. Thankfully, that ended up not happening. But in any case, a better alternative to 4KidsTV.com — particularly to fans outside of 4Kids’ 6- to 11-year-old target audience — has since been set up: Toonzaki.com.
Tags: 4kidstv.com, toonzaki
Just doing a little housekeeping today… 4KidsTV.com is in something of a transition phase right now, with its kid-friendly videos being relocated to 4Kids.TV (Toonzai), and with some going to Toonzaki as well.
So, I have replaced all of the 4KidsTV.com links on my streaming Yu-Gi-Oh! dubs and streaming Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters dubs pages with their Toonzaki equivalents. If anyone spots any broken links, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
As with the videos on 4KidsTV.com, those on Toonzaki are currently only available to viewers in the U.S. The Yu-Gi-Oh! videos on 4Kids’ YouTube channel are viewable to everyone outside of Asia. I’ll continue to add links to them as new episodes get uploaded.
Tags: 4kidstv.com, toonzai
Earlier this week, 4Kids unveiled a new look for its 4Kids.TV website! Now outfitted with the new Toonzai brand (and accessible via Toonzai.com as well), the website boasts a sleek redecoration and a number of revamped features, including new avatar customizations and game challenges.
Of particular interest to me and others is their video library, which is currently still under construction. As you might remember from the ANN interview, Mark Kirk, the head of 4Kids’ Internet endeavors, described a relocation of the videos currently on 4KidsTV.com to 4Kids.TV. The conversion of 4Kids.TV into the storehouse for all of their kid-friendly shows has already begun and, in my opinion, still needs some work.
Whereas the text-based episode selection menus on 4KidsTV.com were simple to use, navigating the Flash-based episode selection menus on 4Kids.TV is awkward at best. It doesn’t help that episodes aren’t numbered in those menus. The way the menus are arranged, while decent for organizing a few short video clips and previews, seems ill-suited for listing all of a show’s episodes. Over on the sidebar, there’s a “Platinum Player” and a “Program Picker” that haven’t yet been released. There’s no description about what these might be, but if their names are of any indication, they can hopefully be used to improve the video selecting and viewing experience.
You would also expect that a show’s “Episodes” page would link the listed episodes to their respective videos. And yet, these pages seem only to serve as mini episode guides. For shame! It’s a missed opportunity to get people to watch an episode while they’re reading its description!
The site did just go live, however, so I’ll cut them some slack this one time. ;)
There’s currently no word on what will happen to 4KidsTV.com once the videos complete their migration to 4Kids.TV. That website’s services might eventually just be phased out. Hopefully, the video links there will redirect visitors to the videos’ new home on 4Kids.TV. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot of dead links.
What do you think of 4Kids.TV’s renovations and their new video section? Give the website a go and let them know your opinions! Now, while the site’s face-lift is still in progress, is the best time to speak up!
Tags: 4kidstv.com, anncast, cw4kids, interview, toonzai, toonzaki
4Kids’ video portal at 4KidsTV.com will soon be seeing a lot of exciting changes! A new initiative is underway to revamp the portal, moving all of 4Kids’ familiar kid-friendly shows to 4Kids.TV and adding a brand-new platform just for uncensored, subtitled shows! The new website, called Toonzaki, will feature uncut videos from both 4Kids and other content providers and may be ready as early as the end of August. The original Japanese versions of Sonic X and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s are slated to appear on Toonzaki. That’s right: officially subbed Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s episodes are on their way!
Both Sonic X and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, along with Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX, were named as candidates for receiving uncut, subtitled releases back when the official Japanese episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters on YouTube met their demise nearly a year ago. So far, Sonic X is the only one of the three series to have seen such a release, so this latest announcement, which specifically pinpoints Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, comes with much fanfare and anticipation.
This exciting bit of news comes from Mark Kirk, a representative for 4Kids Entertainment who appeared yesterday on the ANNCast, a weekly podcast by Anime News Network writers Zac Bertschy and Justin Sevakis. Kirk is the Sr. VP of Digital Media at 4Kids and oversees their Internet businesses, including the digital distribution platforms 4KidsTV.com, YouTube, and Hulu. Kirk has been with the company since March 2007.
In the podcast, Kirk also talks about many of 4Kids’ upcoming plans, including a rebranding of their broadcast block, The CW4Kids, with an anime/Asian theme. The new programming block, Toonzai, will kick off with FUNimation’s Dragon Ball Z Kai for an August 14 preview. Additional shows will be added when the new season starts in September.
Kirk also gives many great tidbits about the inner workings of 4Kids, such as the processes and considerations that the company goes through when acquiring a property, the different regulatory methods involved in censorship and content rating, and their wise move away from the DVD market and into digital space. Not surprisingly, Kirk speaks at length about One Piece, the “square peg” that was forced into the “round hole” of American children’s television standards. Though 4Kids’ infamous production of that series took place before he joined the company, Kirk nevertheless offered valuable insight and opinions about that case.
As for further Yu-Gi-Oh!-related information, Kirk sets the record straight about what happened to the Yu-Gi-Oh! “Uncut Edition” DVDs: a combination of poor sales and possibly a “rights issue in terms of one of the [Japanese] voice actors” did them in. Though he doesn’t explicitly identify the voice actor, it’s almost certain that he’s referring to the contractual issues involving Shunsuke Kazama, the voice of Yuugi Mutou, which also led to the above-noted demise of the Japanese YGO DM series’ digital distribution. Admittedly, it’s a bit odd that DVDs released over five years ago might have been affected by this controversy, which, as far as anyone knows, only reared it’s ugly head last year. But you never know. Maybe someone really fouled up the paperwork and communications.
Additionally, when asked about a dubbed version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! 10th anniversary movie, Kirk cautiously reveals that “there is a movie, it was successful in Japan,” and that 4Kids is “currently in discussions regarding various release possibilities.” News coming out of Konami’s booth at San Diego Comic-Con, however, confirms that not only is there a movie (of course!), but that it is titled “Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time” and will be previewed at the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship in Long Beach, California in August! Sounds like 4Kids’ official statement needs an update! Either that or Konami’s booth is staffed by rebels.
As a whole, the podcast and interview are very well done. Mark Kirk takes all of the questions in stride, including the tough ones, and leaves us with many exciting announcements and facts about what goes on behind the closed doors of a corporation specializing in children’s entertainment. Give it a listen!
Tags: 4kidstv.com, streams page
It’s Morphin’ Time!
For day two of Watch Yu-Gi-Oh! Online Week, I’ve decided to index a series that I haven’t talked much about: Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters! Head over to my newest page, where you’ll find links to stream the 12-episode miniseries. The episodes are hosted on 4KidsTV.com, just like the English-dubbed Duel Monsters episodes posted yesterday. The episodes have unfortunately not yet made it to 4Kids’ YouTube channel.
The Capsule Monsters story arc takes place between the Grand Championship and Dawn of the Duel story arcs, hence the episodes’ placement on 4KidsTV.com’s own listings. I’ve opted to list the episodes separately from the Duel Monsters series, since they were not originally part of that show.
Capsule Monsters debuted in 2006 to much fanfare, though it was how the series first came to be discovered by the online Yu-Gi-Oh! fanbase that’s particularly interesting.
Word about a new Yu-Gi-Oh! series first surfaced in late 2005 when retailers received information about an upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters tabletop game that corresponded with the anime. This announcement, however, went virtually unnoticed. It wasn’t until the start of February 2006 that a few never-before-seen Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes were caught airing on the Irish TV channel RTÉ Two. Four episodes of Capsule Monsters would air before the series disappeared. Fans were intrigued but confused. On LiveJournal’s “Play the Damn Card, Already!” community, fans feverishly speculated about the show’s origins and its place in the Yu-Gi-Oh! timeline. The news would soon spread to the Janime Community Forum and anime forums everywhere. There hadn’t been this much excitement in the fanbase in a long time.
In May 2006, the first of two Capsule Monsters DVDs would be released in the U.S. The DVD contained a “movie” version of the series — a 90-minute edited compilation of the first six episodes. On the eve of the release date, 4Kids gave fans a special sneak peek by streaming the entire movie live on yugioh.com, an unprecedented event at the time. The second DVD, featuring a movie version of the final six episodes of the series, would be released in September 2006.
The full 12-episode series would eventually be added to 4Kids TV’s Fall 2006 lineup, giving American fans their first opportunity to watch the show in its entirety on their TVs.
A Japanese release of Capsule Monsters is conspicuously absent. As of this writing, there hasn’t been one. And with each passing day, the odds that it’ll happen look slimmer and slimmer.
Tags: 4kidstv.com, streams page, youtube
“Don’t move a muscle or I’ll shoot you with my invisible gun!”
You’ll find that all of the episodes I’ve linked to are hosted on 4Kids’ own online media library at 4KidsTV.com and 4Kids’ channel on YouTube. Both are legal and official sources for streaming the dubbed Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes! Hooray! Unfortunately, the videos on 4KidsTV.com are currently only accessible to visitors residing in the United States. The videos on YouTube are available to all visitors outside of Asia, but, as of this writing, only a fraction of the episodes have been uploaded.
Unlike my index for the Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters episodes, which divides the series roughly into its various story arcs, I’ve chosen to divide the dubbed episodes into five seasons in the same manner that 4Kids does.
If there’s one thing that 4Kids does really well, it’s that they provide an extensive streaming library of their shows. Even 4Kids haters can’t deny it. Few other entertainment companies are willing to put all of their properties online and provide as comprehensive a collection of full-length streaming videos as 4Kids. All of their shows can be watched online, anytime, at 4KidsTV.com (with the exception of shows like Ultimate Muscle that they don’t own streaming right to, of course). Now if only they would update their YouTube channel as frequently as their website!