[4Kids-YouTube] Official Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes Removed from YouTube, Never to Return Again

August 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in 4Kids, Duel Monsters, Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 13 Comments

Jounouchi reacts bizarrely while using a laptop in episode 159

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.


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  1. Nice, but I will still support Horoko to continoue making subs for 5D’s.
    4K!DS can bite my shiny metal ass. If you know what I mean.

    BTW: Thanks for info Raveglr.

  2. here some inside info, which you can say is from a reliable source:
    the problem was with the original voice actor for yugi. while 4kids has the distribution rights for the japanese versions everywhere except asia, the original japanese clearances expired (which is handled by ADK). ADK decided not to renew them. they only recently realized this on their end, i guess they have administrative issues. anyway, we are shifting focus to 5Ds in HD, the GX…however we will need to figure out how to handle yugi in GX, we will probably just drop the audio.

  3. Wow. If that’s so, then ADK’s negligence really screwed 4Kids and any other parties involved with the Yu-Gi-Oh! DM anime property. How unfair. :(
    Since Yugi appears in the first episode of GX, I guess it won’t be long before we find out how 4Kids decides to approach this. They’ll have to do what they have to do to keep everything legal. Interestingly, someone in the Toon Zone Forum proposed (probably in a tongue-in-cheek manner) dropping the audio as a possible solution.
    Thanks for such an intriguing bit of news, “insider.”

  4. some follow up…since the rights extend from the time of production, it is possible that the rights to the gx work still exist for some time even though it is the same actor. it should also be noted that adk is far beyond the original yugi focusing pretty much exclusively on 5Ds, and i think they under estimated it’s value and did not see the need to extend the actors.

  5. It’s a crying shame that ADK has moved on from the original YGO DM. Nevertheless, it’s good to hear that GX might still make it out unscathed. Obviously, not needing to drop any audio would be ideal! My fingers are crossed!

  6. try veoh.com. they got episodes that r the originals

  7. someonewhoknows, this post is about the official, legally-uploaded episodes that were provided by the actual content owners. Whatever you found on Veoh doesn’t meet these criteria.

  8. so when can i see yugioh episodes good sub plz i dont get it actor did what or his noise became big and they got mad wtf

  9. Believe me, I share your frustrations. I did write a follow-up post where I break down what’s been discussed here more thoroughly, but even there, the full details are still iffy. All we know for certain is that subbed YGO DM episodes won’t be seen again until contractual issues are resolved on the side of the Japanese licensors.

  10. lol this isn’t going to stop anyone you know that right? Unless 4k!ds redo the entire series with good voice actors, accurate translations, no edits, and no cheesy additional lines, no one will stop the subbing of the original f***ing series. So have fun with that 4Kids.

  11. What do you mean “this isn’t going to stop anyone”? This occurrence had nothing to do with fansubs. What are you talking about?

  12. This is super confusing! I’ve read this thing a few times and i don’t get why they cant use yugi’s vocie actor’s voice?

  13. The NCOG’s original blog entry that I quoted in this post didn’t actually include any more information than what I’ve already posted here. The bit about Yuugi Mutou’s voice actor comes from the comments above left by the “insider,” which I clarify and expand upon in a later post. There still aren’t too many details available though, probably because contractual matters between actors and producers aren’t usually discussed publicly.

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