[4Kids-YouTube] Removal of Yu-Gi-Oh! Episodes was due to Nonrenewal of Japanese Voice Actor’s Contract by ADK

August 24, 2009 at 7:55 am | Posted in 4Kids, Duel Monsters, Japanese, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 9 Comments

Yuugi falls to hands and knees and cries in episode 24

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, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADK, is one of the producers of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
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!


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  1. Just found this today and all I can say is WOW WTF. 4Kids got screwed. REAL Bad!

    I also heard a rumor that 4KIds is also up for sale. Can you ask the insider if it’s true? I wonder if it’s because they’re having problems with the shows like this.

  2. Yup, I agree with you. It definitely seems like 4Kids got screwed.
    To answer your question — no, I won’t ask the insider for you. Sorry. The insider has already been gracious enough to share some privileged information with us, so I’d honestly rather not bother him. I’m sure that if the insider feels like sharing more facts in the future, he will do so on his own accord.
    But, the information that you are looking for was actually picked up by the press in early August. Just search Google News for “4Kids Entertainment” within those dates and you will find your answer.

  3. im a big fan of yu-hi-oh

  4. that BS

  5. i mean that is BS, sorry!

  6. who cares 4kids sucks at dubbing animes anyway and yu-gi-oh is no exception if you ask me 4kids ruins every anime they ever get

  7. ahhh this is so messed up
    i was hoping i could buy dvd box sets of yu gi oh episodes…

  8. @invadersonic
    Don’t you get it? They were trying to upload the original Japanese episodes, subbed which have never been fully subbed by fans in the first place. Now because of this, they can’t even release subbed episodes even if they wanted too. Jeez I’ve never seen such ignorance, they only truly ever completely messed up one anime you know.
    Their dub of YGO was far from perfect, but it made the series ultra popular, which should tell you a lot. Also some of the VA’s I prefer even over the Japanese ones.

  9. Wow. Just goes to show how much those motherfuckers really care about their worldwide fans. Seriously.

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