Goes Live!

September 16, 2010 at 9:47 am | Posted in 4Kids, Other Stuff | Leave a comment
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Home page of at launch, 4Kids Entertainment’s new general-audience video portal dedicated to streaming uncut, subtitled anime, made its debut yesterday afternoon! The portal, an aggregator of shows from around the Internet (similar to services like Comcast’s Fancast and Yahoo! TV, except with a special focus on anime), launched with 72 titles ready for streaming.

As previously discussed by Mark Kirk, the Sr. VP of Digital Media at 4Kids, Toonzaki’s library contains both 4Kids-licensed properties as well as those from other content partners. And as expected, a majority of its programs are currently non-exclusive titles that are also available elsewhere on the Internet. Kirk had also mentioned plans for obtaining exclusive programming from other content owners, though such titles were not included at Toonzaki’s launch.

Toonzaki’s third-party licensed titles include a large collection of shows from FUNimation, like One Piece and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as well as from several other content owners. To deliver this content, Toonzaki is using Hulu’s syndication service. Though it is often overlooked by anime fans in favor of community-centric platforms like YouTube, Crunchyroll, and more recently, ANN, Hulu nonetheless has a wealth of superb anime that is frequently overshadowed by the more popular TV shows on its website. Through Toonzaki, gems like The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (“Before Team Jacob vs. Team Edward, there was Team Minmay vs. Team Lisa. Except transforming jets can nuke vampires and werewolves anytime”), Captain Harlock, and Speed Racer now share the spotlight with other popular anime all on one specialized video portal.

4Kids’ own properties on Toonzaki include English-dubbed versions of Sonic X, Dinosaur King, and the three Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Worthy of your attention is the availability of all three seasons (155 episodes) of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX dubbed, found exclusively on Toonzaki! None of 4Kids’ other video streaming platforms have remotely close to this many episodes!

Sonic X (“The fastest cartoon on the ‘net! You’d swear you watched the half-hour show in just 24 minutes”) is also available in its subtitled, Japanese version. The uncut version of Sonic X was first released earlier this year on Hulu, followed by YouTube. Sadly, the original Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s is not included as one of Toonzaki’s launch titles. Sonic X and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s were specifically mentioned by Kirk in an interview on ANN as candidates for receiving uncut, subtitled releases on Toonzaki. Hopefully, the original Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s will be coming soon!

Toonzaki on Facebook

If you like what you see on Toonzaki or have ideas about shows you would like added, don’t forget that Toonzaki has its very own Facebook fan page! The page, which opened last Friday, is a hub for Toonzaki-related updates and is filled with discussions about how the website might expand further down the road. Join Mark Kirk, the head honcho behind 4Kids’ Internet businesses, and “Like” Toonzaki!

The Future of Toonzaki

Kirk has noted on several occasions that Toonzaki is in its beta stage. As such, we can expect a lot of changes, additions, and improvements as the website grows. In the interview with ANN, Kirk also noted that 4Kids will continue to add videos “aggressively” through the end of September and early October to “round out the library that [they] have available [from their content partners].” No forthcoming titles have been specifically named since yesterday’s launch, so we’ll just have to be patient!

Whether or not Toonzaki builds itself up with more video content or simply falls to the wayside depends very much on us, the fans. As it stands, 4Kids and its content partners are in “a little of the chicken/egg conundrum” (see the first reply by Toonzaki in this thread): naturally, 4Kids wants a successful video portal with a variety of shows, but the content partners want to see some strong numbers from Toonzaki before sharing their goods.

So what are fans to do? Easy! Use Toonzaki, spread the word, and show 4Kids that supporting uncut, uncensored anime is a worthwhile endeavor! Speak up and vote with your views! The future of this website is very much in our hands.

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