More Uncut, Subtitled 4Kids Shows Coming Soon: Enter Toonzaki

July 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Posted in 4Kids, Bonds Beyond Time, Other Stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh! | 1 Comment
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4Kids’ video portal at 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, 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!

1 Comment »

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  1. Finally! 4Kids! is actually doing something awesome! I can’t wait! :D

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