Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 19 (18 for the Dub) Sub/Dub Comparison | Evil Spirit Moaiwa

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Plot: Genshi, Sora and Tokio head to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, in the 16th century to retrieve the Space-Time Monster, Moaiwa.

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Title Change: Evil Spirit Moaiwa was changed to Moah.

Name Change: Moaiwa was changed to Moah.

They add an establishing shot of the research facility before showing Flint.

Genshi doesn’t count while Flint does. This change is fine if not welcome because you’re supposed to count to ten when you play Hide and Seek.

The original just says Moaiwa is in the ancient south Pacific whereas the dub says Moah is in 16th century (when they leave, they say specifically 1560) Easter Island……Does 16th century count as “ancient”? I don’t feel like it does. Additionally, during the extra bits always added before they head off on the Time Cycle in the dub, Dr. Goodman tells them specifically to go to Anakena Beach, which is where many moai reside. In the original, specifics on location are not given. Finally, Ptery says that the island is called Rapa Nui by the people who reside there (Polynesians). This information is also not given in the original.

While it is really cool that the dub has all this extra educational information, they kinda tarnish it by having Goodman ask them to bring him back “an egg or something.” He often asks for souvenirs, but how random to ask for “an egg or something” from Easter Island…

Pre-Posting Edit: I finally understand what the heck he was talking about there. Easter Island…he wants an egg…….Like an Easter egg……Ugh. Easter Island isn’t even meant to be called that until 1722 when Dutch navigator, Jacob Roggeveen would rename the island to that since he visited the island on Easter Sunday.

The overhead shot of the island was originally immediately after the group emerged from the time stream. In the dub, it’s after Sarah comments on how small the island is.

I can’t believe I have to note this, but, originally, Genshi’s fart (that was so powerful it shot him off his feet) is what caused the awful smell. In the dub, I guess it was Flint’s small burp.

Also, Sora originally asks what the noise was, in response to Genshi’s fart. In the dub, she says the ocean breeze smells nice until she smells Flint’s burp.

Name Plate removed:

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Originally, the shot of Genshi flying off was reserved for after was see Moaiwa full out. Then we got rewind effects on screen, Genshi’s fall being rewound, the shot goes close up to Genshi, watching as he eats his potatoes before falling back down. In the dub, Saban edits it so that Flint flies off when Moah emerges from the ground, then after he is shown full out, they reverse the footage instead of showing the rewind and closeup so it looks like a more natural fall. I actually like this change because the original had me thinking Moaiwa could rewind time for some reason for a second. Doing that effect, rewinding and showing that Genshi ate his potatoes before coming back down just seems like a needless waste of time. Just a few seconds, but still.

Why did they give that obviously very young kid such an old voice in the dub? He sounds like he’s going through puberty when the kid looks no older than five.

Genshi’s more upset that TP Lady ruined their potatoes than he is about threatening to take Moaiwa like Flint is.

They cut out TP Lady jumping off of Moaiwa and onto the Masked Man, probably because they end up laying down on top of each other.

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They reversed and repeated the shot of the Masked Man putting his arm around TP Lady to lengthen the scene.

The kids originally say, “Divine Guardian!” “Lord Moaiwa!” In the dub, they say, “Moah fell over!” “He tripped on that stick!” He didn’t trip on Merlock’s cane, by the way. Merlock stuck the cane in the ground and it spooked Moah so much that he fell over.

TP Lady says her heart belongs to the Masked Man. In the dub, she tells Dino and Mite that Merlock knows how to really talk to a girl.

Sora questions what he means by saying she shouldn’t do anything dangerous. In the dub, she questions him calling her a lovely young lady.

Ammon tells Sora and Kyoichiro to get away from each other. In the dub, Bindi asserts that Merlock was talking about her when he said “lovely young lady.”

When TP Lady butts in, she says she agrees with Ammon and says they should be apart because no one deserves to be happy until she finds happiness with the Masked Man. In the dub, she just tells them to be romantic on their own time. This is, admittedly, nitpicky.

Name Plate removed:

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Name Change: Waruiwa is changed to Moah-con.

It’s so weird how they’re only now purely relying on Love-Love to calm the Space-Time Monster down. I’ve mentioned previously that it’s weird they don’t utilize Love-Love’s power more, and now they’re suddenly doing it out of nowhere.

Kyoichiro originally says how lucky Love-Love is to have Sora say such kind things to it. In the dub, Merlock tells Sora he’ll protect her even if Waruiwa gets everyone else. Admittedly, he does follow it up by saying “Not a good approach…” but yeah….Kyoichiro’s just distracted while Merlock said a pretty insensitive thing.

Ammon just yells Kyoichiro’s name after Sora yells at him. In the dub, she says “Who’s lovely now?”

Ototan says “No more erupting” after he plugs up Waruiwa. In the dub, he says he doesn’t think it worked and he thinks they have a problem.

They repeat Genshi and Waruiwa rushing towards each other a couple times.

TP Lady mostly blames their luck or the universe or what have you for their repeated misfortune while Dyna and Mite agree. In the dub, she blames Dino and Mite.

Dyna and Mite originally say they were right, he really was a soldier of the earth. In the dub, Dino asks if workman’s comp will cover their injuries from the volcano.

The kids originally say they have to protect the field. In the dub, they say they won’t abandon Moah because of everything he’s done for them. Admittedly, I kinda like the dub better. I get that they do have to protect this field because it’s their main or possibly only source of food, but it’s a little more touching that they don’t want to abandon Moah even though he’s the one causing the problem.

Ammon complains that Kyoichiro shouldn’t only be nice to Sora (he only drags her away from the volcano erupting – not Ammon or the children who are one foot away.) In the dub, Bindi yells that he shouldn’t run off on his own because it’s dangerous. The original, while mostly being meant as more whining from Ammon because Kyoichiro’s favoring Sora over her again, is better in this situation because, uh, yeah Kyoichiro. It’s pretty messed up to only run off with Sora when you have a trusted friend, several other friends and children sitting there about to get melted by lava.

When Ammon catches up to them, she berates Kyoichiro for not protecting her too. In the dub, she tells Merlock that Sarah’s just a big headache, which acts as a pun because immediately following this Merlock runs into a tree.

When Kyoichiro protects Sora from Super Mosbee, Ammon just yells his name over and over. In the dub, she tells Merlock that this is proof Sarah is nothing but trouble.

The dub omits mentioning that the tidal wave was caused by the earthquake.

They splice in a reaction shot of Tony before Petra and the others fly off.

When Dyna flies off, he says “Moaiwa, we don’t care any moai-re!” In the dub, they just scream, which is fine because that joke was awful, even though, oddly, it would work better with Moah than Moaiwa.

The reaction shot is taken from a scene immediately following that where Tokio tells Mosbee to freeze the tidal wave. When he looks back, he’s astounded to see Mosbee has de-transformed back to his normal state out of exhaustion. In the dub, everything but the reaction is removed.

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Name Change: Super Moaiwa is changed to Moah Master.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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In the original, it’s implied that Moaiwa created the moai statues. In the dub, Moah specifically summons these statues, calling them the guardians of Rapa Nui, as if they were underground the whole time, and Tony asks who made them and why. I greatly appreciate this change because this is another instance of the series making off like they created history. It completely erases the mystique and wonder of the statues and replaces it with “Oh a magical rock monster made them.”

While we don’t know exactly why the statues were carved, the strongest theory is that they were representations of the ancestors of the villagers, facing towards the village to watch over them (though a select group of seven were pointed towards the ocean presumably to guide travelers to the island.) They were considered sacred symbols of power and believed to encapsulate a person’s spiritual essence.

Interestingly, the statues were carved from tuff, which is solidified volcanic ash, giving Waruiwa’s power a bit more validity.

I want you to take note of the fact that they specifically don’t face the ocean….

The scene I’m discussing right now has Super Moaiwa summon dozens of moai to act as wall to protect the island from the tidal wave….and all of the statues are facing the ocean.

Additionally, while we also don’t know for certain how the statues were toppled (many have been set standing once more) accounts range from earthquakes to tribal clan conflicts to Christian settlers knocking them down as a means of erasing the religious icons from the area while they were trying to convert the islanders to Christianity. There’s no indication they were knocked over from a tidal wave.

Kyoichiro officially recognizes Genshi as his rival. In the dub, he praises him and says he’s a hero.

In the original, Ammon says she wants him to recognize her as his girlfriend. In the dub, Bindi says Merlock is her hero. In both versions, she still kisses him on the lips. Her crush on him is really getting unsettling.

Back in the lab, they double down on the change to history. Tokio says the islanders wound up believing the moai statues were the children of their divine guardian and that they inadvertently discovered the secret of the statues. Professor Yamato states that the islanders adopted the statues as guardians against tidal waves, which is also probably wrong. In the dub, they say they believe Moah really was the guardian of Rapa Nui, but they still don’t know where the statues came from or who made them and why. Dr. Goodman explains that scientists believe the people who used to live there made them, but there’s no way to know because the inhabitants of the island disappeared many years ago. Again, props to Saban for this change. Even though it’s not detailed (I don’t know exactly how much they knew about the moai in 2000, so I’m giving them a break here.) it is far more accurate and reasonable than the original’s explanation.

In the original, Yamato suggests playing jump rope. In the dub, Goodman just tells them to play outside and Moah says “I like to jump.” which sounds random.

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Overall, this episode was one of the most enjoyable based purely on how much action and tension there was. Not only is Moaiwa a unique Space-Time Monster in that it’s so large in its base form and massive in its bad and super forms, but the fact that Waruiwa is such a powerful and huge creature that can cause volcanic eruptions just by slamming into the ground over and over is really cool. A volcanic eruption is certainly one of the most dangerous things to happen on the show to date, if not the most dangerous. Him being able to regenerate and break apart and control his broken body parts was also awesome.

It was also nice to see Super Mosbee again, and it was awesome to see him do something as incredible as freeze an actively erupting volcano. Having both of Moaiwa’s transformations in today’s episode was pretty cool, although I think this would have been a good time to have Love-Love transform….

While it was kinda out-of-the-blue, I also liked how sweet Genshi and Ototan were being to each other this episode. They’re always kind to each other, but they were constantly having cute moments today for some reason.

Additionally, Saban did quite a good job with this episode barring some vocal oddities and a few weird lines.

There were some negative points, though. We never really learn what base level Moaiwa’s power actually is besides jump/till fields with its jumping. I also don’t understand how Moaiwa’s jumping tills fields considering jumping on soil is kinda the opposite of tilling. I don’t know why Moaiwa has such a thing about jumping either. It’s based on a statue, which can’t jump….Also, while its bad transformation does have the awesome power of being able to crumble apart and put itself back together, it can’t really use its volcanic eruption power unless it’s right by a volcano, but that’s very minor, especially since we’ll probably never see Waruiwa again.

Super Moaiwa was pretty cool, even though the design is kinda……weird. Why doesn’t it have a mouth, exactly? Its power is also weird. It just….makes moai statues? How are those helpful? I had to stretch my suspension of disbelief pretty far just to believe they’d stop a tidal wave. I can’t see how they’d be helpful anywhere else.

The villagers were also an odd situation. Why were they all children? Where were the adults? Are they entirely reliant on sweet potatoes for food? They just seem so fiercely protective of their field that I have to imagine it’s a significant part of their food resources at least, even though seafood is right there. Why don’t they find it more of an issue that Genshi ate their massive pile of potatoes? According to a quick Google search, it takes about three months for sweet potatoes to be fully grown. It’s definitely not a quick fix. Also, while this information was discovered long after this episode aired, Polynesians on Rapa Nui did indeed eat sweet potatoes. I feel I should still ding them a bit there because there’s no way they could have known that was accurate back then, but it doesn’t matter.

Then, of course, there’s the issue with changing history. I can forgive Saban entirely for not being too detailed with their explanation about how the moai were created or what their purposes were. Even now while we have more information and can make numerous deductions, we can’t really say entirely for certain, but the original was just stupid. I don’t like when this show rewrites history like that, and in such a lazy manner. It was literally just that this Space-Time Monster randomly had the power to create the moai…..and it did. They didn’t even get that much right because they made a big to-do out of showing them in the entirely wrong orientation. However, Moaiwa was BASED on the moai, wasn’t it?….So….???

Finally, Kyoichiro was just awful in this episode. He’s a Space-Time Detective too, but he didn’t seem to care much at all about anyone but Sora. He does this a lot, but children were about to get melted to death in lava and he didn’t give a crap.

Next time, we meet Space-Time Monster Elekin in Edo era Japan alongside Hiraga Gennai. The plot already sounds confusing, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, I suppose.

…..Previous Episode


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 7: A Fox in a Box and a 4Kids with a Block (2002 cont.)

In January of 2002, Al Kahn made a four-year deal with Fox to take over their Saturday morning kids’ programming block, Fox Kids, for $101.2 million, nudging out competitors DiC and Nelvana to get the spot. This was particularly sweet for them because Fox Kids used to be the home of Digimon, one of Pokemon’s biggest competitors. The deal gave 4Kids full control over everything shown in that window of air time, as long as it fit Fox’s standards and practices, and it also gave 4Kids every penny of the advertising revenue from that spot.

The new block would be titled Fox Box until three years later when it would be renamed, what else – 4Kids TV. 4Kids would not be moving away from their usual home of Kids WB – at least not entirely. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! in particular were not moving to the new Fox block, in a supposed show of loyalty to the WB. Not entirely sure I believe that’s the real reason, especially since Warner Bros. recently didn’t feel any loyalty towards 4Kids when they dropped the movies from distribution, but what do I know?

The deal seemed pretty great at the time. Kahn in particular seemed very happy about the decision and the potential for growth for each company. And a great deal it was. 4Kids didn’t even have to pay the $101.2 million up front. They had a leasing deal in which they’d pay Fox $25.3 million each year. All 4Kids had to do was fill the block with content – one of which being required to fit educational and informative requirements. Some shows they acquired from third-party sources, but the majority of their lineup was either western animation shows that they produced or from anime they had dubbed.

4Kids had four new shows to launch during the premiere of the Fox Box; Ultraman Tiga, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, Ultimate Muscle and Fighting Foodons.

Ultraman Tiga was, in my opinion, 4Kids’ attempt to compete with Saban for their Power Rangers audience, even if the Power Rangers boom of the mid 90s was pretty much over by that point. It still had steam, but it wasn’t as massive as it was with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. At this point in time, they were airing Wild Force, which was their tenth season/series.

4Kids didn’t do any better job at dubbing Ultraman Tiga than they did with any other show they dubbed. The typical changes were made – new theme song, completely replace the soundtrack, names of items, abilities etc. are changed, and storylines were changed, there was a much more humorous tone added with many more jokes, although, interestingly, everyone’s characters retain their original names. The aspect of the stories being changed was blamed on Fox’s standards and practices clause, not on 4Kids themselves, but I can’t be too sure.

Unlike what Saban did to Super Sentai when they created Power Rangers, 4Kids didn’t opt to film an entirely new show with American actors and only splice in scenes from the original show when it suited the new one. They just dubbed the original footage into English.

Despite getting the rights to dub all 52 episodes, 4Kids dropped the show at episode 23 due to low ratings. According to Erica Schroeder, a voice actor in the show, a part of the reason Ultraman Tiga flopped was because they couldn’t decide whether it was a serious show or a parody.

I never saw this series when it was airing, but I did find an episode on Youtube, and even in episode one this problem is clear. A lot of the episode will go by being entirely serious, but then they’ll suddenly interject with a weirdly out of place joke. Like how when they learn Easter Island is being attacked by a giant monster, one of the characters says it reminds him of his mother-in-law, and Daigo, the main character, says their mother-in-law’s nose is bigger than the monster’s.

One clip I found on Youtube has one of the enemies claiming he’ll capture all of humanity, shrink them down into collectibles and everyone will be trading them back on their home planet – claiming that they’ll be “Bigger than Pokemon.” TV Tropes claims it is clearly a parody, specifically parodying the 1966 Titra Studios dub of the original Ultraman, which, if true, is equally confusing. Like any kid would ever get that.

It’s almost like they were trying to reach the same balance of humor/cheesiness with action/seriousness that Power Rangers is known for, but just couldn’t achieve the right result. It’s a shame, because, honestly, I did find the show to be perfectly watchable. It’s not great, but it’s fine. Not sure it ever would have been a favorite of mine as a kid, especially since I was pretty well out of my Power Rangers phase at that point, but I can totally see myself enjoying it back then on Saturday mornings.

In a really weird twist, 4Kids didn’t release the episodes they had dubbed on DVD. Instead, they released all of the Japanese episodes uncut on DVD. The dub was originally lost, with copies only being available through recordings people had when the episodes originally aired. Nineteen of these episodes have been found, remastered (Using HD footage from the original Japanese version) and released on Youtube by a user named Gorizard, if you want to check them out. Also, if you have access to the remaining missing episodes, please go drop the Lost Wiki a line.

Their next show to premiere on the Fox Box was Kirby: Right Back at Ya! – originally known in Japan as Kirby of the Stars. Believe it or not, even a show based on a character as innocent as Kirby didn’t get away without being edited.

As was now the norm for all of their dubs, 4Kids removed any instances of text, usually Japanese, but also commonly English, they got a brand new theme song and opening sequence as well as an entirely new soundtrack, some instances of violence were cut, many of the names were changed, some swearing was removed, the characters announcing their attacks was removed, references to alcohol were removed, one instance of fanservice was edited, and an entire subplot was removed. There was also one episode, A Dental Dilemma, that was never aired, but this was also supposedly because of Fox’s standards and practices. As Michael Haigney stated during an interview with Anime Boredom,

“The Standards & Practices woman at Fox felt that the whole show dental care in a terrible light and that airing it might discourage children from going to the dentist. Actually, Escargoon had to go to the dentist because he had taken terrible care of his teeth, so there was a positive message in the show, but in a kind of negative way. (The Japanese have a very different sensibility in some things.) I saw the woman’s point, though the show was obviously (I hope) a comedy. After some back and forth, we decided to release the unaired show as a bonus on one of the Kirby DVDs.”

Edit: Apparently, while the episode was initially removed from airing, the episode was eventually aired during season three

Even the broadcasting of the show had to be messed with. Some episodes were aired out of order to better suit 4Kids’ marketing – such as when they moved some episodes to coincide with the release of new Kirby games, and one instance where, not kidding, they shifted the airing of an episode that was parodying Harry Potter for the sake of mooching off of the upcoming release of one of the books.

There was even one time where they moved episodes from near the end of the series, episodes 96 and 97, to much earlier than they were set to air to help promote Kirby Air Ride on the GameCube. To avoid people getting upset at spoiling parts of the finale, they edited the episodes to make it seem like the characters were having a prophetic dream and aired the episodes as a special called Air Ride in Style.

Despite this, from all I’ve read online, fans seem to claim Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is one of their better dubs – only the various terrible accents bother them for the most part.

However, just as many other people claimed the series was an empty excuse for random monster fighting or mindless toddler stuff that even seemed out of place on a block like the Fox Box.

While the Wiki page acts as if the show got a full DVD release by 4Kids and Funimation, it really didn’t. In 2003, it got three volumes worth of releases, which, by 4Kids’ DVD logic, means just a pitiful nine episodes were released. Considering Kirby: Right Back At Ya!! has 100 episodes, that means, if they kept this pace, it would have taken them over 30 volumes to release the entire series.

They did release a bundle of the final five episodes in the DVD Kirby: Fright to the Finish!! though they were edited together to make a “movie” (They announced it as a new feature film even though it wasn’t….) The DVD also included a bonus episode, Hour of the WolfWrath (episode 24). They released two other compilation DVDs after that three years later.

In 2008, they released Kirby’s Adventures in Cappytown…..which was just a re-release of the first seven episodes….and, finally, they released Cappy New Year and Other Kirby Adventures, which also re-released episodes eight and nine, but also finally released episode ten, eleven, twe–eh thirteen, fourteen and 29, which was the titular Cappy New Year. According to a moderator on 4Kids’ forums, 4Kids lost the rights to Kirby in 2009 so no more DVDs surfaced after that. In 2012, three episodes of the show were included on the disk for the GameCube game, Kirby’s Dream Collection, episode one (again), episode 60 and episode 72. Altogether, that means 76 episodes of the show have never seen a DVD release.

Next up was 4Kids’ dub of Kinnukuman Nisei, retitled by 4Kids to be Ultimate Muscle. In a surprising turn of events, Ultimate Muscle would prove to be one of 4Kids most successful dubs, despite having the hallmarks of nearly all of their dubs, such as changing the names, censoring violence and some sexual-ish/nudity-ish content, removing English and Japanese text etc. Ultimate Muscle would also have the first instances of 4Kids changing the ethnicity of certain characters, although only audibly – Check Mate was originally from Monaco, but 4Kids gave him a British accent. There was Buffaloman, who was originally from Spain, but was changed to be Russian. They made The Ninja, who was originally Japanese, American. Perhaps the most ‘Do we need to point out what’s wrong here?’ moment of ethnicity changes was Geronimo who was originally Native American but was changed to British as well.

Unlike Ultraman Tiga, 4Kids seemed to know for certain that they wanted Ultimate Muscle to be almost entirely comedy-focused to the point of parody, and they made the right call. The series would be praised for its strong sense of humor, light tone and fun characters. They even broke the fourth wall regularly and kept numerous innuendos from the original series in addition to making their own, such as naming a character Dik-Dik Van Dik.

4Kids’ dub of Ultimate Muscle did much better than its Japanese counterpart, which got canceled after 51 episodes and running for one year due to low ratings. The ratings in the west were so good that 4Kids called the original production company, Toei, up and requested them to make two more seasons of the show that would be marketed as spin-offs in Japan. Despite the lousy ratings in Japan, TV Tokyo and Toei agreed. The spin-offs in Japan would be titled Kinnukuman Nisei: Ultimate Muscle and Kinnukuman Second Generation: Ultimate Muscle 2. Whether at the behest of 4Kids or because Toei thought it would be a better move, the next two seasons would be more American focused. Like the original series, neither spin-off did well in Japan, but the continuation of the series was very successful for 4Kids.

Oddly, however, as far as I can tell, Ultimate Muscle only got two DVD releases in America, which contained the first nine episodes of the series. In Japan, however, both of the spin-off series they made would get full box-set releases, which has to be one of the more backwards things I’ve heard recently.

I remember seeing bits and pieces of Ultimate Muscle when it was airing, but I never really followed it. However, finding some clips for research and seeing how beloved it’s remembered by fans, I think I’ll keep it in my back pocket and watch it sometime in the future.

Finally, 4Kids dubbed Martial Arts Cooking Legend Bistro Recipe, which they would retitle to Fighting Foodons. Despite there being very little information on this title, the manga of this series was popular enough to warrant two spin-off Game Boy Color games, neither of which got released outside of Japan, and a Wonderswan game, which obviously never released outside of Japan either. The anime version was less successful. It ran for 26 episodes, completing its run after airing between December of 2001 and June of 2002. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been aired in Japan after this.

Since the series was doing poorly and they only had two volumes of manga to work from anyway (I don’t know if the manga got canceled or just ended), the series was discontinued. Enoki Films, who currently own the rights to the franchise, never released the show on any form on home video, nor did the manga, which was obscure in its own right, get any English translation (not even a fan scanlation), making the series largely lost to time.

Sometime in 2002, while the original show was airing in Japan, 4Kids purchased the rights to dub the show. Their run of the show started on September 14, 2002 and ended on August 30, 2003. Despite not being all that popular State-side either, the show did garner a cult following because of its strange premise and, like Ultimate Muscle, its sense of humor. In fact, from what I found, many fans who seem to have watched the original find the dub to be at least fairly loyal to the original while some have gone so far as to say the dub is better. However, I did also find a THEM review that completely steamrolled it, claiming it was the worst Pokemon rip-off that, unlike Ultimate Muscle, wasn’t fun or funny, but instead was annoying and boring.

The information available online is sparse. Even the Fandom page for the franchise doesn’t have a lot of content.

Trying to find any information on what changed between the original version and 4Kids’ dub of Fighting Foodons is very difficult since the Japanese version was never released on home video, and the raws, at least as far as I can tell, aren’t available anywhere online either. I’m 99% certain the only copies of the Japanese version are in Enoki’s hands, and they don’t seem interested in releasing them.

As far as I can tell, most of the regular 4Kids cuts are present. Completely change the score, change the opening theme song (set to, of all things, a bastardization of Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Orpheus of the Underworld’?) changed the names, removed all text, removed smoking etc. Names of certain Asian dishes represented in the show were also changed to food more familiar to Americans, even if many of the dishes were still not entirely unfamiliar to Americans because, well, we have Asian foods in America all the time. Not only were the names localized, but they made puns out of the names. For example, a Foodon called Meat Sauce was changed to Spaghettabout-It. Chorizon, based on a Chorizo, was changed to Hot Doggone-It. Curry was changed to Curry-Up. And Kobe Beef was changed to Sir Loin.

There was one clear instance of digitally painting away pistols to make them into ketchup and mustard shooters, and that also seems to be something people noted in other discussion threads about the show’s dub.

The show never did that well in America either, so the fact that they only had the 26 episodes was no real skin off of 4Kids’ nose. However, apparently, the show did have a strong enough cult following to prompt Discotek, who bought the rights to the show after 4Kids went defunct, to release the dub on DVD in 2017. While the box art for their DVDs had uncensored images of a character smoking (right on the spine, so it’s not really an oversight) and Hot Doggone-It, the character whose pistols were changed to ketchup and mustard bottles, with his uncensored pistols right there on display (as the main art on one of the discs, even, so it’s a clear closeup) the footage was the same edited version as shown on the Fox Box.

I never watched Fighting Foodons, but I definitely remember the moment when I first heard that random-ass theme song. Why is their theme song the Can-Can? Is it because it’s public domain and they didn’t want to bother having an original song made?

Other notes for 2002 include the acquisition of several properties for syndication broadcast such as Cramp Twins, which was very popular in the UK, and Pirate Islands, a live-action pirate-themed action-adventure show from Australia that prompted Al Kahn to say this cringey paragraph;

“Pirate Islands combines practically everything that kids love: high-flying adventure, an exotic pirate story and fast-paced video game-style action. The only thing missing is chocolate. If this isn’t a sure-fire hit… I’m walking the plank!”

Al Kahn was then eaten by a shark because I don’t remember this ever being a thing anywhere. I imagine it was more successful in Australia, but the generic title makes it really hard to find much information on it. The ratings that are around seem pretty middle of the road, though.

Oh as a final note to close out 2002, 4Kids also picked up some little known license. Teenage Mutant something or other. I forget.

Overall, 4Kids saw a 28% rise in 2002 from $41,538,000 in consolidated net revenues in 2001 to $53,140,000 in 2002, attributed to their returns from the Fox Box, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon and Cabbage Patch Kids, but production costs increased 137% to $3,375,000 as a result of taking on more properties than ever before, and their net income was actually down nearly half of 2001’s net profits with $6,990,000 in 2002 compared to $12,244,000 in 2001.

Next – Part 8: Miramax Killed the Movie Theater Star (Coming Soon)

Previous – Part 6: 4Kids 4Ever


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 6: 4Kids 4Ever (2002)

As 4Kids entered 2002, they were sitting fairly pretty. They now had two successful cash cow franchises under their belts along with a slue of other non-anime-related licensing deals to create various sources of income. In 2000, they had even topped Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies list. It seemed 4Kids was overdue to be hoist from their petard and make their first big fumble.

As 4Kids was dubbing the fourth season of Pokemon, Johto League Champions, they dubbed the fourth Pokemon movie, Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi – A Timeless Encounter, and retitled it Pokemon 4Ever, which is a title that has so many hilarious layers to it, especially in hindsight, it’s almost impressive.

Since Pokemon’s returns were on the decline, especially in the theaters, Warner Bros. bowed out of distributing the fourth Pokemon movie, meaning 4Kids had to find someone else to take the reins. Why they chose Miramax is unclear, but the company was owned by Disney at the time, and Disney had recently been dipping their toes in the anime market after gaining the dubbing and distribution rights to Studio Ghibli movies to varying degrees of success.

Their first Ghibli outing, Kiki’s Delivery Service, was a fairly strong success, but when they gave another Ghibli title, Princess Mononoke, to their subsidiary, Miramax, things did not go nearly as well.

Miramax was helmed by famed piece of burning ultra garbage, Harvey Weinstein, and he wanted to make significant cuts to the film. According to Production Manager, Steve Alpert, who had spent 15 years as Senior Executive at Studio Ghibli, Weinstein wanted to cut 45 minutes from the film, even though he reportedly had promised Hiyao Miyazaki that he wouldn’t cut the film at all. Alpert told him Miyazaki would never agree to that. In response, Weinstein rationally and calmly…..yelled at the top of his lungs in a fit of unbridled rage, “‘If you don’t get him to cut the fucking film you will NEVER WORK IN THIS FUCKING INDUSTRY AGAIN! DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND ME?!! NEVER!!’”

Alpert, who didn’t get him to cut the fucking film, would go on to work in that fucking industry for another decade before retiring and becoming an author discussing his experiences in that fucking industry.

In response to the news that Weinstein intended on cutting the film, one of Miyazaki’s producers famously sent Weinstein a katana with a message that said simply “No cuts.” Disney’s deal with Ghibli required the company and Miyazaki have consent over any changes, a clause that was likely spurred from being burned by Manson International when they dubbed and horrifically mutilated Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Weinstein was massively pissed at this rejection.

In an interview in 2002, when asked about his penchant of heavily editing films acquired from foreign markets, Weinstein replied, “I’m not cutting for fun. I’m cutting for this shit to work. All my life, I’ve served one master: the film. I love movies.”

Speaking of which, guys, I love paintings. I love them so much I bought The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. Then I cut it up into tiny pieces, threw away a bunch of them, and superglued what was left, grabbed a Sharpie and drew a butt farting. Thank god. Now American audiences can finally appreciate this wonderful painting.

Princess Mononoke was released uncut, but was not very successful financially upon initial release. It made Disney so wary of their new territory that they didn’t release the already-dubbed Castle in the Sky until 2003, after their release of Spirited Away, this time handled by John Lasseter of Pixar, did significantly better, even if it still wasn’t a massive financial success.

Which brings us back around to the question of why 4Kids chose Miramax. If they’re so geared towards money, why would they choose a company whose only anime title under their belt wasn’t very successful and had been lead by someone like Harvey Weinstein?

Harvey Weinstein had only offered $1mil up front to get the international distribution rights to Pokemon Movies 04 and 05 from 4Kids, but he also offered 75% of back-end profits, which is a very good deal in the long term. Chances are that they also didn’t have that many companies vying for the rights anyway, so Miramax won out.

Harvey Weinstein was reportedly very optimistic about the movies’ future success State-side, despite the fact that the fandom was waning, and the movies had been in such a steady decline since the first entry that low profits was the reason Warner Bros. gave up to begin with. Weinstein thought he could “reinvigorate” the Pokemon franchise and that they’d come up with a “bolder, smarter marketing concept.” which is equally confusing.

4Kids technically wasn’t doing anything wrong in the marketing department. Interest in the franchise was just decreasing, and that’s to be expected, to some degree. Original fans were growing out of Pokemon a bit, and newer younger fans had yet to come into it. It’s true 4Kids lightened up on advertising as the movies went on, but that was probably because they knew the returns, no matter the marketing, weren’t going to be as strong as based on their numbers for revenue from the TV show and whatever they got from toys, games and the TCG. Plus, they might be able to gauge success based on how well the movie did in the Japanese box office.

There wasn’t much wrong with the franchise either – it’s just that the movies weren’t heralding as much attention. And that also makes sense because initial interest in a brand-new franchise that had already exploded elsewhere would most likely be incredible. The second entry would lose its initial mystique, but still be very appealing. People would start to get a little tired of the formula by the third.

Not to mention that, the more the series goes on, the more niche it gets. Moviegoers who aren’t very familiar with the series won’t feel compelled to watch installments of a movie franchise beyond the first one unless they become fans of the TV show or games after that. Pokemon the First Movie was more or less accessible to everyone because it was new to pretty much everyone. It was a starting point, even if it did have a slight learning curve in catching onto Pokemon names and certain mechanics.

The same cannot be said for sequels. Even if fans understand that they’re usually contained stories, people who are less familiar might not. If you ask someone if they want to watch a first movie of any franchise, there’s a much higher chance they’ll agree than if you ask if they want to watch the fourth without having seen the first three. I imagine that’s why they constantly introduce every single Pokemon movie with ‘The World of Pokemon’ intro. You have to give a baseline each time to help catch any new people up with how this world works.

What makes this claim even more confusing is that Miramax did the polar opposite of what they said they would do. They didn’t reinvigorate the movie franchise – they brought it out behind a shed to beat it with a rake.

Apparently, Weinstein’s idea of “bolder, smarter marketing concept(s)” is to basically do as little promotion as humanly possible. They made precisely one poster for it, which also ended up being the DVD art, one trailer (TrailerAddict has two listed, but they’re both EXACTLY the same barring the slight change to the Miramax Films logo….) which I can’t remember seeing anywhere whatsoever, and only released the movie in very few theaters. To put it into perspective, Pokemon the First Movie was released in 3,043 theaters. Pokemon the Movie 2000 was released in 2,752 theaters. Pokemon 3 was released in 2,675 theaters.

Pokemon 4Ever was released in……..

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249 theaters overall.

No, that’s not a typo.

249 theaters.

Wizards and 4Kids apparently still wanted to do their card promo, so, once again, any lucky American theatergoer to actually know that this movie existed and was in a theater near them could obtain a promotional Celebi card with their ticket purchase as long as supplies lasted. And supplies did last, because no one saw this movie in theaters. A promotional Suicune card would be included in the later DVD release.

Obviously, Pokemon 4Ever was not financially successful….at all.

In its opening weekend, Pokemon 3 managed to snag around $8.2 million.

In its opening weekend, Pokemon 4Ever scrounged together $717,061.

Again, no, that’s not a typo.

Pokemon 3 ended its run with a return of $17,052,128 from the box office.

Pokemon 4Ever ended its run with a return of $1,727,239.

One last time. Not a typo.

Pokemon 4Ever had become the franchise’s first complete flop.

But not all of the blame can be put on Miramax’s shoulders….Although, a lot of it can be. Not only did 4Kids not do nearly as much of its own promotion as it normally would, not making any new toys or anything as far as I can see, but 4Kids also mutilated this movie so badly that it was being compared with the first movie in that it had so much altered and, oddly, added to it instead of removed.

4Kids, in one of their most confusing moves ever, contracted out the original animation company of Pokemon, OLM, to have three new scenes added to the movie. The reason for two of these scenes was for the sake of making the ‘big twist’ of the movie be more obvious to the audience, even though it absolutely 1000% didn’t have to be. Not only was it already fairly easy to figure out given the clues the original already had, but the revelation wasn’t anything significant or mind-bending. It was more like a ‘Huh…..okay.’ kind of thing. However, those at 4Kids didn’t get this twist when they watched it, so they decided they needed to make it more obvious for kids, even if the twist has absolutely no bearing on the movie at all besides basically being a cool Easter egg.

The third scene was the most confusing. It was an entirely pointless scene of Team Rocket just kinda bantering and having a slight moment of slapstick. It didn’t contribute to the big reveal at all, so why they bothered having that scene made is a huge mystery. There’s no information on how much 4Kids spent to have these scenes made for the movie, but the more petty side of me hopes it was more than $1,727,139.

In a very surprising, but welcome, move, 4Kids did keep the soundtrack to the movie barring the opening theme song and the end credits song. I have no idea why. I would say it was to save money, but their completely flippant waste of however much money they spent on the extra scenes blows that idea out of the water. Some people speculate they started having issues with The Pokemon Company or Nintendo about replacing the soundtracks, but I can’t find anything concrete on any theory. As a result, this is the first Pokemon movie without an accompanied English soundtrack. There is a Japanese one, but it was never released in the west.

Unlike the previous two movies, which had only received slightly better critic reviews as they went on, Pokemon 4Ever’s critical response was very much negative, earning it the reputation of being the worst film of the four that had been released at the time, with many critics claiming it was dull, boring, paced poorly and emotionally manipulative.

As with the first three movies, the fourth installment also premiered with a short, this time Pikachu’s Pikaboo. However, for the first time ever, the short was not included in the theatrical release. Yet again flipping on their head, 4Kids did absolutely no editing to the short outside of just changing the title card to an English one and creating new theme songs. They even kept the end credits sequence, which leads me to believe they knew Miramax wasn’t going to include the short in theaters and were perfectly fine with that.

Speaking of Miramax, it’s time to shift speculation on this situation to something a little more sinister.

I’ve been keeping something from you. One of the worst things to happen to the Pokemon movies, at least internationally.

When Miramax bought the international distribution rights to Pokemon 4Ever and Pokemon Heroes, and later Movies 06 and 07, because for some reason they thought it was a good idea to give them the rights to even more movies after this disaster, they bought them permanently. As in, to this day they still have the international distribution rights to Movies 04-07. And TPC cannot do a damn thing about it. They can’t get the international rights back, they can’t stream any of the English dubbed movies on Pokemon TV or release the movies outside of Asia. Not even Disney XD was allowed to air the movies on TV when it aired a Pokemon marathon after they gained some distribution rights. Miramax or Paramount, who currently owns Miramax, are the only ones who can.

It seems this wasn’t out of character either as Weinstein had made a habit out of shady business practices like this, such as putting a hold on the release of certain films, particularly foreign films and arty films, so he could abuse a loophole in a bonus deal he had made with Jeffery Katzenberg and make as much money as he possibly could for himself. As Edward Jay Epstein of Slate put it, he was “hemorrhaging rivers of red ink.”

Miramax clearly did a better job promoting the DVD release than they did the theatrical release. I actually remember commercials for the Pokemon 4Ever DVD release constantly playing on TV, and it did both alert me to the fact that this movie existed and prompted me to buy a copy.

My conspiratorial head believes Miramax initially set it up for a permanent deal so they could keep milking DVD and other home video releases forever, even if they only got 25% of the share. Getting 25% of the back-end of a largely expensive theater release that would compare with the previous three movies, while also paying for promotional materials, and getting pitiful returns likely didn’t seem appealing to them. Churning out cheap DVDs and milking them until the end of time was likely much more appealing, especially if they could lure more people into buying the DVD by including the exclusive short, Pikachu’s Pikaboo, on it.

Pokemon was still very popular, and they likely figured it would still have a consistent following for years, even if the hype was dying down. They would still keep making money on the DVDs no matter what, and the theatrical releases were likely part of the contract (at least for Movies 04 and 05) that they simply had to uphold. At any rate, they would certainly make back their $1mil investment and then some.

However, this situation is still confusing because they’ve largely ignored these movies for years. They have been re-released a couple of times, but not to anywhere near the extent you’d think would be necessary to justify not just selling the rights back to TPC, whom I’m sure would pay reasonably for them.

What’s especially insulting is that Miramax basically scammed people with the re-releases. Despite the original DVD having the short, multiple special features and subtitles, the re-releases it had after that didn’t have the short, any other special features or subtitles, even though all of those things were listed on the covers. The only thing the re-releases have over the initial release is being in 16:9 widescreen instead of the cropped 4:3. What’s even funnier is that they released a Blu-Ray collector’s set containing all four of the held movies (on one disc) in 2012 and, again, they just re-used the poster art for Pokemon 4Ever for the box art.

This cover doesn’t even say which movies (in a manner that kinda misleads you into thinking that it has the first four movies, not Movies 04-07) or includes some of the other Legendaries to the front. It’s one of the laziest DVD covers for a movie collection I’ve ever seen.

What’s confuses me even more is why 4Kids and/or TPC even let Miramax buy the permanent international rights. 75% of the back-end profits is appealing, but, if you ask me, running risk of a company – one that barely has any experience whatsoever with anime, the experience they did have was terrible, and was lead by the human embodiment of all things awful – holding your films hostage forever doesn’t seem worth it.

But 4Kids being 4Kids, they were frequently planning for bigger things. Right as everything was being mucked up with Miramax, 4Kids was making a deal to expand their anime reach even further.

Next – Part 7: A Fox in a Box and a 4Kids with a Block

Previous – Part 5: I Summon Yu-Gi-Oh! in Attack Mode!


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 5: I Summon Yu-Gi-Oh! in Attack Mode! (2001 cont.)

In 2001, the anime market was quite limited in the US. Despite Pokemon being one of the key reasons behind the biggest anime boom in the west, eventually leading to anime more or less becoming mainstream years later, there still wasn’t a lot of anime being offered on TV at the time. Some anime was being offered on niche cable channels, and others were offered on VHS and DVD, but weren’t really advertised or pushed all that much in stores. There wasn’t much anime that was shown on TV on easily accessible channels, but the titles that were out there had their loyal fans, even if it had been extremely westernized.

One of the most notable examples being Sailor Moon, which debuted in North America back in 1995 by DiC Entertainment. They later got the rights to also show the second iteration, Sailor Moon R, in 1997. However, DiC did not pursue future series because it was not deemed financially viable after the first two series underperformed. DiC also didn’t seem particularly interested in the anime market, having only two other anime dub jobs under their belt after Sailor Moon’s first two series – Speed Racer X in 2002 and Knights of the Zodiac in 2003.

Speed Racer X, originally known in Japan as Mach GoGoGo was a flop in every sense of the word. Not only did it only air on a block on Nickelodeon that was so obscure even I, who was a complete Nickelodeon obsessed nut at the time, don’t remember at all, SLAM!, but it also failed to get an audience because they were only able to air 13 episodes before needing to pull it due to a lawsuit between DiC and the American company Speed Racer Enterprises – a company dedicated entirely to the American licensing and management of Speed Racer.

Knights of the Zodiac, originally known in Japan as Saint Seiya, also didn’t do very well, leading DiC to give up on the series after 40 episodes, despite having the authority to dub at least 60 of the episodes. Knights of the Zodiac and Sailor Moon would contend with 4Kids for having some of the most butchered dubs in existence, and Knights would also go down in history as having what I believe is the most confusing English dub theme song change ever by having Bowling for Soup do the opening theme – a cover of the A Flock of Seagulls song, ‘I Ran.’

In the other corner, you had Nelvana, who had dubbed another beloved shoujo anime in the States – Cardcaptors (Cardcaptor Sakura) – in 2000. Nelvana would fare a bit better with their dubs, despite being similarly butchered, specifically Cardcaptors, and even more specifically the Kids WB airing, which had somehow taken the butchered series and required broadcast edits that made it even worse. The directive in this situation was an effort to do everything in their power to make the series more oriented towards young boys instead of girls.

Nelvana would go on to dub Medabots, almost the entire Beyblade franchise (until 2016 when ADK Emotions NY, Inc. would obtain the rights), and the entirety of Bakugan.

4Kids’ seeming biggest rival in the anime industry, kids’-wise anyway, at the time was Saban Entertainment, who had been dubbing old anime since 1985 – over a decade before 4Kids would throw their hats into the ring. Since 1980, Saban had been making a huge name for itself in children’s media – whether producing it in-house or localizing anime and foreign live-action shows, particularly tokusatsu shows.

Saban had already become quite famous with its breakout hit, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, which was both an in-house live-action production and a localization since a lot of the footage used was from the tokusatsu show, Super Sentai.

In addition, they enjoyed a good degree of success by being the distributor of the first two seasons of Dragon Ball Z, which was being dubbed by Funimation and Ocean Productions, and was supposedly the reason why the Ocean dub was so mangled. Still, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z had staked claims for themselves as being some of the most popular anime series in the west in the late 90s and 2000s and helped make Funimation one of the most successful English dubbing companies around.

Saban had many imported titles that were financially successful. In 1999, Saban launched the English dub of one of Pokemon’s biggest competitors – Digimon – even though the company reported in 1998 that were intending on leaving the children’s television syndication business.

If 4Kids really wanted to reap the full benefits of anime in North America as a whole, and if they really wanted to stake a claim as being the top dog in the world of licensed children’s media, they needed more than Pokemon. Whatever they chose would have to have comparatively similar levels of success locked in. Luckily for them, a new cash cow would wander onto their farm soon enough.

Yu-Gi-Oh! was a manga written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi in 1996. While it took quite a while for the manga to find its footing, it skyrocketed in success when it did, especially once it toned down its horror elements and became more geared towards kids while still keeping a darker mystique about it that made it more appealing to slightly older audiences.

Yu-Gi-Oh! already had one anime under its belt in 1998, fan-titled as Season Zero, but that was based more on the stories told when Yu-Gi-Oh! was more horror/older audience oriented. Not only did 4Kids never pick it up, but it and the 1999 movie that was produced from it were never dubbed at all. When the manga had a soft reboot to better fit this lighter-hearted and kid-oriented new direction, titled Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist, a new anime series was launched in Japan in 2000 to mirror it, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters.

The series was the perfect target for 4Kids. It was already becoming a major franchise in Japan, it obviously had massive marketing potential for not only toys but also a nearly endless supply of trading cards, and it was geared towards only a slightly older audience than Pokemon’s – meaning that they could keep many of their old Pokemon fans, particularly older boys, hooked into their shows for a while longer if they had started growing out of Pokemon. Likewise, the Japanese consortium who controlled Yu-Gi-Oh! in Japan, TV Tokyo and Asatsu-ADK, the latter of which owning the subsidiary, Nihon Ad Systems, which produced and owned the anime, found 4Kids to be a preferable dubbing company to take the series to North America, considering its good merchandising numbers, general demographic and their success with Pokemon.

And so, on September 29, 2001, already having been primed with a slue of teasers and early access Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in select hobby stores, 4Kids launched the premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! and a new surge of success for 4Kids started. Yu-Gi-Oh! quickly became an insanely successful hit, especially alongside trading card sales that were only increasing in demand every single day.

The anime required more editing than Pokemon to make it suitable for their intended audiences. They removed darker themes, anything sexually suggestive in the slightest and any instance of implied nudity, even skimpy clothing, instances of violence, gambling, guns and alcohol and any references to death. It was also the dub that spawned the popular meme of saying someone who had died had really just been ‘sent to the Shadow Realm.’ as that was a common method 4Kids used of covering up nearly any death or threat of death in the show.

However, Yu-Gi-Oh! would enjoy a brief and rare stint where they had uncut DVD releases, not only with a full English dubbed version of the uncut and unaltered episodes, but also with an uncut Japanese version with subtitles. The only other 4Kids show to get this treatment was Shaman King.

Even when they did release uncut DVDs, they still tended to be bungled a bit. For example, they changed Katsuya Jonouchi, who was changed to Joey Wheeler in the cut dub, to Katsuya Joey….Yeah, his last name is Joey. What’s even funnier is Serenity. Her name, at least the first, is kept, which begs the question of if her name is Serenity Joey. Also, during her video tape message to Joey, she calls him Joey, which means she’s calling her brother by their last name?

Every other character kept their English names, like Tristan and Tea. Joey’s situation would imply that they changed half the names of characters to be both of the versions’ first names, which might mean Tristan is supposed to be Hiroto Tristan and Tea is Anzu Tea, but as far as I saw Joey’s the only character whose name changed at all. Mai Valentine, Weevil Underwood, Rex Raptor, Maximillion Pegasus – everyone’s names are their Americanized versions, which is quite weird because the uncut dub was also noted as being almost too direct of a translation of the original script, creating some awkward dialogue and speaking patterns, but for some reason they didn’t find it worth it to revert anyone’s names back to their Japanese version, except Joey’s, and that’s only kinda?

According to Mark Kirk, Senior Vice President of Digital Media for 4Kids starting in 2007, the reason they kept the card names as their American versions was for the sake of consistency. It was a business decision, as he put it, so that people could follow along with the duels more easily with their own cards. Fair enough, but why did they keep the character names the same as their cut dubbed versions? Why does that matter? Did they think audiences would get confused?

Sadly, however, while the cut version eventually got a full DVD release, the uncut DVD releases would stop at volume three, ending on episode nine. According to rumors, this was due to 4Kids’ concerns about having the DVD releases clash with the releases of the cut version DVDs. It’s true that Al Kahn at one point said they staggered the DVD releases of the uncut and cut versions to not affect the separate sales, but if that was in place then that would indicate that their sales didn’t clash and wouldn’t be the cause of the eventual cancellation. Even if they didn’t stagger the releases, I wouldn’t see how clashing release dates would affect sales. Anyone who wants the uncut version will buy the uncut version, and anyone who wants the cut version or doesn’t care will just buy the cut version or either one.

I think the real reason they stopped releasing uncut DVDs after a while was because it was expensive to call everyone back to rerecord nearly every line. For the most part, 4Kids was paying to have the same episodes recorded twice while also paying to have the script rewritten. I don’t know how much money the uncut DVDs were bringing in, but I doubt it was enough for them to justify continuing to do that.

This is all speculation on my part, however. The best I can come up with as support for this theory is that the 2005 report does note that television and film production/distribution sales were down 17% partially due to Yu-Gi-Oh!’s domestic home video sales decreasing, but that’s about it.

Lance Heiskell, a representative at Funimation, who was helping 4Kids with the distribution of the DVDs, reportedly said there were legal issues preventing the uncut release (something corroborated by Mark Kirk in 2010, but he wasn’t with the company when this happened so I’m not sure it’s 100%). What these legal issues were, I have no idea. Future fans speculated that there were contract issues with Yugi’s original Japanese voice actor, Shunsuke Kazama, but that doesn’t make much sense.

Yes, it’s true that the Japanese episodes were removed from 4Kids’ Youtube page because Kazama decided not to renew his contract with ADK, and they accidentally caused a bunch of rights issues with the show as a result. However, this went down in 2009. The DVDs were canceled in 2005. They even had two more volumes set to release in April and May of 2005 with cover art and a release date out for volume four, but they just never released them or continued the project.

There was another claim that it was because the relationship between 4Kids and Funimation was dissolving at that point, but why it was dissolving, I don’t know, and why that fully matters, I don’t know. They could just find another company to help with the distribution and whatnot. Maybe it was a combination of all of these factors – they all seem to have a degree of validity to them. We’ll likely never know for certain.

The projected success of Yu-Gi-Oh! coming after the success of Pokemon was not only good for 4Kids in that they had a whole new franchise to piggyback off of for years, but it was also a positive sign that anime was indeed on the rise – meaning they were interested in seeking out more titles to dub.

For instance, in that same year, 4Kids dubbed Tama of Third Street: Have You Seen My Tama?, which they titled Tama and Friends.

Never heard of Tama and Friends? Neither have I.

Part 6: 4Kid—

Oh fine. There really isn’t a lot of information on this show, either original or dub. It’s a show about a bunch of chibi cats and dogs doing random things. In 1999, 4Kids just rather randomly got the rights to dub it, they did, it ran in syndication in the US in 2001, never on Kids WB or anything, never got a home video release, and I never remember seeing it all.

Still, their interest in dubbing new titles would spawn an entire catalog of anime that would impact the world of anime and anime fans….4Ever.

….Get it? Because the next part is 2002, and that’s when…Pokemon……4…..*cough* Nevermind.

Next – Part 6: 4Kids 4Ever

Previous – Part 4: Entering Unown Territory


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 4: Entering Unown Territory (2001)

In 2001, 4Kids was still riding pretty high on their Pokemon wave. They had two full seasons of the anime dubbed, and they were in the middle of dubbing their third season, named The Johto Journeys. This was an especially exciting period because this was the first time an entirely new generation of Pokemon was being released both in the games, which had just released Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color in North America in late 2000 with Crystal coming up in the summer of 2001, and in the anime, which had Ash, Misty and a finally returning Brock exploring the region of Johto. In addition, 4Kids made another commitment with Pokemon by purchasing a 3% stake in The Pokemon Company to better profit from the franchise as a whole by also gaining money from their original Japanese market and overall Asian returns.

With another new year, new anime season and new Gen of games came, of course, another Pokemon movie. Pocket Monsters the Movie: Lord of the Unknown Tower, Entei, which would later be titled, Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown: Entei and what I would later title What the Hell? The Movie – Can’t Anyone Come Up With Anime Movie Titles of a Reasonable Length?: Entei, was released in Japan on July 8, 2000 and would be released by Warner Bros. and 4Kids in North America on April 6, 2001.

Interestingly, while Pokemon 3 was the first ever Pokemon film to be released in IMAX theaters in Japan, the same did not happen in any other region, probably for financial reasons.

Like the previous two installments, 4Kids and Nintendo maintained the same basic advertising structure, although, notably, they did not push nearly as much as they did with Movies 01 or 02. They didn’t release as many toys nor did they get a comic or novel adaptation. This was also the first Pokemon movie release to not get a Burger King deal, meaning no new collectible toys.

They did, however, keep the aspect of a Wizards Black Star promotional trading card. With the purchase of a ticket, moviegoers were given a reverse holographic Entei card, and included in the DVD and VHS releases was a special Unown card – and it was always J, which is kinda random. The Entei card was particularly coveted in America, because it was the first ever reverse holographic Pokemon card released outside of Japan.

Sadly, the downward trend of Pokemon movie releases in North America was continuing. While the third installment did better with critics again, it still wasn’t viewed all that favorably, even if fans regarded it quite highly. It only managed to reach the fourth spot in the box office on its opening day, and it now sat $2mil behind the release of Pokemon the First Movie by only collecting $8,240,752 upon release. Even worse, it hadn’t even made half as much as Pokemon the Movie 2000 after its closing, making only $17,052,128 domestically. Despite this clear decline in returns over the years, the movie was largely a financial success.

To make matters a little better, it seems 4Kids learned a few lessons over the years and made a significant effort in the dub of this movie. It still had a couple rewrites, some questionable dialogue choices, scene shifts, and a completely replaced soundtrack, but overall it was kept much more loyal to the original than the previous two movies were. They didn’t even stab the ending credits repeatedly with an overabundance of unrelated pop songs like the previous two movies……They just loaded up the official soundtrack with an abundance of songs that had already been released in North America and Australia on the Totally Pokemon CD three months prior. So, you’d basically be getting scammed in either territory if you bought the soundtrack and already had the Totally Pokemon CD as only three songs, ‘Pokemon Johto (Movie Version),’ ‘To Know the Unknown’ and the medley from ‘Spell of the Unown’ were new to the set. This was done for the sake of attracting European audiences to buy the soundtrack without them needing to record any new music.

Additionally, it’s clear that, at this point, 4Kids probably knew their music was marketable enough to not spend a lot of money bringing in big pop stars to sing songs for them.

For a complete breakdown on what they did change, see Dogasu’s comparison here.

As was tradition by this point, Pokemon 3 was accompanied by a short called Pikachu and Pichu, and, surprisingly enough, 4Kids left this short almost entirely alone, barring clipping the credits, cutting the opening and making their own, altering the logos a little and, of course, including a Pokemon misidentification – this time incorrectly having a Voltorb say “Electrode.” Even the soundtrack was left intact.

After this point, Warner Bros. would no longer be handling the distribution of the Pokemon films. The reins would be handed to Miramax, which is arguably one of the worst things that could have happened to the movies for international release. But let’s save that for later.

Speaking of Pokemon, 4Kids had another Pokemon ‘movie’ or special to release, but this one was a direct-to-VHS/DVD movie called Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo! I Am Here ‘MEWTWO SAGA’ or as 4Kids dubbed it, Mewtwo Returns.

It chronicled the life of Mewtwo and the other clones immediately following the events of Movie 01. In America, this marked the first time westerners would be able to see the ten minutes that were cut from the beginning of the first movie, marketing that segment as The Uncut Origins of Mewtwo on the DVD. It also holds the coveted title of being the origin to the meme line “Hey I know! I’ll use my trusty frying pan….as a drying pan!” It also contained the incredibly confusing baby Nidoqueen and Rhyhorn, which should have been physically impossible to create considering Nidoqueen can’t breed at all and is a fully evolved Pokemon, meaning its offspring would be a Nidoran not a Nidoqueen.

There’s certainly quite the list of changes between the original and the dubbed version, with a large bulk of them being dialogue changes or additions. There’s really not much else to talk about with this special besides the fact that it hasn’t seen a single re-release and has never been made available on Blu-Ray. The movie/special is also usually broken up into three episodes when listed on streaming sites.

Since it was direct-to-VHS/DVD, there’s no real public information on how much it made, and the very vague title of Mewtwo Returns makes finding relevant information a pain in the butt. However, from its IMDB page, it seems fans view it positively for the most part, though some still criticize the special for being just as preachy as its predecessor.

In nonPokemon news for 2001, 4Kids picked up their first venture into Korean animation with Cubix: Robots for Everyone. The series was actually co-produced by 4Kids in conjunction with two Korean companies, Daiwon C&A Holdings Co., Ltd and Cinepix, making Cubix a unique property for them. They were both helping produce it, but also dubbing it as the series would be created with a Korean track first. The Wiki page credits the entirety of the series to Cinepix and claims 4Kids just dubbed it, but they are on the production credits, and financial reports show that they were co-producing it. This series was valuable to 4Kids both as a merchandise machine and as a suitable fit for their required half-hour of educational and informative programming credit in 2010 on the Fox Box.

Despite only running for two seasons, Cubix was a fairly decent success. 4Kids played it a lot in reruns between the years 2003-2004, then again in 2010. It spawned three video games and plenty of toys. It even had a toy tie-in with Burger King at one point. However, since the show only had two seasons and it wasn’t a massive hit, it kinda ran out of steam a few years later, which is totally understandable.

The show never got a full VHS or DVD release in America. Only the first three episodes were released on DVD in the US, and they were marketed as a movie titled The Search for Solex. There was also a European and/or Australian release for at least most of the episodes. I say “most” because I can only find proof that up to volume five even exists. I found an eBay listing for volume five, and it seems legit. Considering that volume five covers up to episode 20, and there are only six episodes left after that, I assume that a volume six would have been the last one, but I can’t even find a picture of that volume, should it exist.

Cubix still has a bit of a following from what I see, and despite not leaving a huge impact on pop culture throughout the years or anything, is still remembered fondly by numerous people. My experience with the show is that I definitely remember it being promoted a lot on Kids WB, and I remember the Burger King promo, but I don’t remember actually watching it. I would think it would have been advertised so much that I at least watched some in passing, but I can’t remember anything about it besides the fact that it was promoted a lot.

Sadly, 4Kids would experience a bit of a drop off financially in 2001. Their net revenues were down 53% earning $41,538,000 in 2001 from $87,997,000 in 2000. This was attributed to the popularity of Pokemon going down at the time since it was no longer hot and new. Sales of the trading cards, for some reason, were noted as suffering the worst declines, but Pokemon still remained the number one children’s show on domestic broadcast television. Most of their income streams were down barring their media sales and television syndication services, which were up 10%. As noted in the report, Al Kahn took a significant bonus cut to help keep expenses down. He graciously only accepted $370,000 as a bonus cutting off $1,809,000 from what he was originally intended to have. I think we can all agree that he should have been given sainthood for this act.

In the end, their net income dropped from $38,773,000 in 2000 to $12,244,000 in 2001.

Don’t you worry your pretty heads about 4Kids quite yet, though. We’re still talking about 2001. In September of that same year, they would be premiering their second most massive franchise that would once again grant them incredible success.

Next – Part 5: I Summon Yu-Gi-Oh! in Attack Mode!

Previous – Part 3: 4Kids 2000


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 3: 4Kids 2000 (2000)

Before I start, I’d like to note something funny I found in the 1999 financial report for 1998. 4Kids stated one of their concerns for operating in the year 2000 was Y2K. There’s an entire section outlining the issues they think they might have to deal with in regards to their systems rolling over into the year 2000. They even said that they might not be able to license certain things in that year because their clients and licensees might not be “year 2000 compliant,” and, yes, they include a note about the biggest concerns being “disruption of television broadcast signals, including satellite distribution and commercial integration vendors as a result of the general failure of systems and necessary infrastructure such as electrical supply.”

I know Y2K was a big concern back then – it was an issue no one had any frame of reference for since this was a unique situation – and it’s not like 4Kids was the lone paranoid one since the entire world for the most part was losing their shit, but looking back it’s kinda funny to stumble upon such significant concerns about what wound up being pretty much nothing. Although some people say the reason it wound up being mostly nothing was because of intense Y2K preparedness, some countries that did little to no Y2K preparedness basically experienced the same minimal effects, so yeah.

Getting back on topic….

It’s the year 2000, when absolutely no one could resist the siren call of giving literally every title of everything that was released in that year the suffix of ‘2000.’ In comes what 4Kids would title Pokemon the Movie 2000. Or, if you’re actually watching the movie’s title screen – Pokemon: The Power of One.

As 4Kids was working through the second season of Pokemon, also known as the Orange League, the first sequel in what was going to become a seemingly never ending Pokemon movie franchise was released in Japan on July 17, 1999 – Pocket Monsters the Movie: The Phantom Pokemon – Lugia’s Explosive Birth, and, almost immediately after, it was handed to 4Kids to be dubbed, localized and released in English.

Pokemon the Movie 2000 had a very similar and even bigger marketing campaign as the first movie including nearly the same Burger King toy tie-ins, which had now been made safer to avoid suffocation hazards (Such as the previously mentioned warnings as well as poking an air hole in the plastic) and included new toys, and giving away Wizards Black Star promotional cards in theaters – this time of Moltres, Articuno or Zapdos. However, the most notable promotional change to the second movie was introducing an entirely new and incredibly unique Pokemon card – the Ancient Mew card.

Only those who attended showings of the movie in the first week of release and at participating theaters obtained an Ancient Mew card with their ticket purchase. I was one of those people, and the Ancient Mew card has remained one of my absolute favorite cards over the years. The card technically had the same information as normal Pokemon cards, but the color of the card was changed to make it look like a holographic/rainbow-ish almost stone slab, and the text was written in medieval Futhark Runic and Gothenburg Runic.

The Ancient Mew card was carried over from the same marketing campaign in the original Japanese release of the movie, but unlike in the States where they were given away for free with the movie ticket, the Japanese versions were sold inside of a movie pamphlet explaining some background and plot details of the second movie, including quite literally any information on the main villain of the movie because they didn’t bother actually including that in the movie. American audiences were not offered any such pamphlet, so they were left largely in the dark about anything involving him.

Making the Ancient Mew card a part of the promotional campaign in both the US and Japan (as well as several other countries) worked like a charm, but it was quite confusing. Mew never appears in the movie at all, and the Ancient Mew card Lawrence III has gets absolutely so explanation. It randomly appears in the ending in the rubble of Lawrence’s ship. He claims this card was the start of his collection, and that he’ll restart his collection with that same card, and that’s it. Whether that’s meant harmlessly or not is never made clear.

Apparently, the card was going to play a bigger part in the movie, somehow, but those aspects of the film never made it beyond the earliest stages, leaving only brief glimpses of the card, rather randomly. Takeshi Shudo, who wrote the screenplay, took responsibility for the card being left in the film at all as he intended to have it entirely cut from the film if the rest couldn’t be included, but somehow that shot still wound up in the final cut.

I’d like to know what the card even is, because it’s not like they based this card on a stone slab or something – it’s still a normal card in the movie. How did ancient people make a Pokemon card and why?

While the movie was still incredibly popular and even did slightly better with critics, Pokemon the Movie 2000 didn’t do quite as well as the first Pokemon movie, earning $9,250,000 at the box office in its premiere, $1mil less than the first movie, only reached third place at the box office, two spots below the first movie’s coveted first place spot, and ended its US run with $43,758,684 in total domestic returns, $42mil less than its predecessor. It was still a big success, but not quite the same level of success that the first movie garnered.

Additionally, the film still wound up getting nominated for Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, being nominated for Worst Achievement in Animation and The Remake or Sequel Nobody Was Clamoring For. It lost the first award to Digimon the Movie, and the second it lost as well, but wasn’t even a direct nomination because it was lumped together in the “All Films with “2000” in the Title” group. I’m really starting to understand why these awards ended. It actually seems like it’s somehow less fair and worse than the Razzies.

Pokemon the Movie 2000 managed to get away with not being as mangled as the first movie. More or less all of the original scenes are intact, and the story is essentially the same, but 4Kids changed the tone or message of the movie to be more towards the power of one person rather that the power of individuals working together, leaned more into ship tease between Ash and Misty, and, of course, changed the entire soundtrack so they could sell their own pop music heavy soundtrack as well as their separate orchestral soundtrack.

You can find the full breakdown of the changes 4Kids made to the movie on Dogasu’s Backpack here.

Like before, the movie came accompanied with a short, this time titled Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure. And again, like before, the dub’s version of the short had the same changes in that it removed the credits, changed the entire score and messed with the narration. Except where Pikachu’s Vacation changed the narrator, the dub short just removed the narrator entirely and let audiences try to follow the story by themselves. And no movie-related dub would be complete without a misidentification, this time incorrectly identifying a Poliwrath as a Poliwhirl.

One more note about 2000, however, is the Brock and Tracey…..let’s call it a controversy.

When Ash and Misty entered the Orange Islands, Brock left the series to be with Professor Ivy and learn about Pokemon with her. In came Pokemon Watcher, Tracey Sketchit, winner of the most on-the-nose last name award, to replace him as Ash’s second companion. According to Pokemon anime director and storyboard artist Masamitsu Hidaka, the reason Tracey, known as Kenji in the Japanese version, was created was because they realized Pokemon was taking off globally and were worried Brock, known as Takeshi in the Japanese version, would be viewed too much like a Japanese stereotype given his eye design, even though no one had complained about it in any region. Kenji/Tracey was created explicitly to look “tall, white and Anglo-looking” for the sake of preventing any stereotypes.

……*lip smack* Really is kinda funny looking back considering that they’ve gotten in trouble more than once for instances of perceptions of blackface with Jynx and even Ash himself way later in Sun and Moon, and needed backlash to realize the issues there, but with Brock they almost immediately pulled him entirely with basically no backlash to prompt it. I should be clear, though, that Hidaka’s the only person who has said this and, as far as I know, this claim hasn’t been backed up by anyone else, but it is very difficult to dispute. Even without that statement, it’s how Tracey’s character came off to so many people.

Brock would return a season later when Johto came around because people missed Brock and they realized that people didn’t care how he was designed, they just liked him as a character. Brock would remain as Ash’s companion for several years, being one of the longest running regular characters on the show, until Black and White when he would finally retire fully from being Ash’s companion in order to study to be a Pokemon Doctor.

2000 was another great year for 4Kids. Their stocks were up, their consolidated net revenue was up 45% – $87,997,468 compared to $60,482,369 in 1999. Again, this was almost entirely credited to Pokemon, but many of their other licensed properties were also doing well. While their spending was up slightly as a result of their new licensing and dubbing practices, they still netted $38,772,580 in income at the end of the year compared to $23,638,426 in 1999.

Over in lawsuit land, we have Morrison v. Nintendo (and 4Kids) – Sued for supposedly infringing on their trademark for Monster in my Pocket. In 2001, the suit was dismissed, but the plaintiff filed an appeal. In February of 2003, the appeal was denied and the dismissal was upheld.

Then we have EM.TV and Merchandising AG v. Nintendo (and 4Kids) – Sued for breaching some contract agreement for Pokemon television broadcasts? It’s really unclear. The matter was settled a year later with no damages awarded, but some undisclosed amount paid as an amount owed.

Next – Part 4: Entering Unown Territory

Previous – Part 2: Pokemon – I License You!


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 2: Pokemon – I License You! (1998-99)

To say 4Kids lucked out beyond belief with Pokemon is an understatement. Their existing deal with Nintendo was already very lucrative, but they truly didn’t know full-blown success until Pokemon came on the scene. The Pokemon games had already gained massive success in Japan, due in part to the fact that there were two different versions of the game, Red and Green, and, later, Blue and Yellow, prompting consumers to buy the entire set, or at least Red and Blue or Red and Green, to complete their Pokedexes. It also prompted a lot of socializing with other players since, if you couldn’t afford to buy the other game, you could trade Pokemon with someone else who had the other version.

The game series was certain to be a success in America, and it was, but it was slightly preempted by the anime. Just 20 days prior to the release of the games in North America, on September 8, 1998, 4Kids premiered their first ever venture into English dubbed anime with the premiere of Pokemon.

The first episode of Pokemon that aired in the United States was not actually the first episode in order. To help draw attention to the show and create tension, 4Kids released Battle Aboard the St. Anne with altered narration from its future normal broadcast cut which indicated this was a special preview of the show. At the end, the narrator wondered if the kids would make it through the shipwreck and explained that the viewers would see the start of Ash’s journey the following day when the series would properly start.

While I understand what they were doing, this is a little messed up. ‘Will this group of small children die a horrible death via drowning!?….Anyway, here are the goofy adventures of how these small children started their journey!’ Admittedly, that would make my suggested trolling of them just showing the funeral part of the next episode, cutting to black and rolling the end credits a hundred times funnier. ‘And that’s how these small children got here…..and then they died. The end!’ (Thanks to Bluebaron on Twitter for reminding me of this preview.)

Pokemon quickly became 4Kids’ most popular franchise by several miles, and it would retain that title over the entirety of 4Kids’ life. Being completely fair, 4Kids didn’t dub the series themselves at first. They only produced the dub. 4Kids didn’t have their own dubbing studio at the time nor did they really know how to dub anime, so they contracted out TAJ Productions to do the dubbing work.

TAJ originally started out as a music production company, but they eventually started creating English dubs and other post-production work for anime, video games and cartoons after doing several related projects for clients.

It’s unclear exactly how much 4Kids controlled in regards to the dubbing job. According to Bulbapedia, TAJ was responsible for the casting, script adapting, voice recording and mixing. Everything else was handled by 4Kids Productions.

Considering that 4Kids has an extremely distinct editing, writing, dubbing and production style, it can be assumed that TAJ was following a lot of orders from 4Kids when they were adapting the scripts. Pokemon is known for being one of 4Kids’ most loyal adaptations, all things considered, especially in the early years, and I think a good chunk of credit for that goes to TAJ, especially considering that they were responsible for casting, which meant that they were originally the ones who brought in what would become 4Kids’ dream team.

TAJ dubbed seasons one through five of Pokemon, as well as several anime series 4Kids had acquired the rights to over the years (and one live-action show), but, in 2003, 4Kids would take dubbing duties away from TAJ when they created their own dubbing studio. 4Kids would dub Pokemon for three more seasons until 2006 when The Pokemon Company would take the international rights to Pokemon back and dub the series themselves under Pokemon USA.

Funnily enough, in 2006, PUSA hired TAJ once again to help with the production of the dub from their first outing with the special, The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon, through seasons nine and ten and Movie 09. However, on January 2, 2008, TAJ announced that they were losing Pokemon again when PUSA decided to hire DuArt Film & Video as their dubbing studio for season eleven and Movie 10 onward. In 2013, dubbing responsibilities would be handed over to Iyuno-SDI Group, who dub the series to this day.

One of the aspects that 4Kids had full control over was the music, leading them to create what is one of the most beloved English dubbed anime theme songs of all time with the first Pokemon season’s theme song.

And you can bet your ass that 4Kids loved it some music, eventually selling many of their in-house recorded songs for their properties on standalone soundtracks or compilation albums. 4Kids knew how to make music that was marketable. No matter if it was genuinely great as Pokemon’s first theme or as cringe-worthy as One Piece’s theme song, they always knew how to make earworms. Nearly all of their tracks still stick with many of their fans to this day. Even if we all make jokes about 4Kids and their rapping, there’s no denying that they definitely knew how to make music that was at least catchy and, at most, truly good.

There’s definitely some criticism to be had in that regard, though, as, for the most part, changing all the music for Pokemon or any other show or movie was entirely for their own profit. Selling a soundtrack they made for the property makes them much more money than if they tried to sell the original soundtrack, if they were legally allowed to do so in the first place. Instead, they would choose to remove a great bulk of the music from any property they had, Pokemon included, for many years, and made their own soundtracks and CDs that they could sell and make profit from. Little to none of the revenue from those CDs would need to go back to the original owners since 4Kids made the music on their own and only used the logos and other imaging from what they licensed to sell the product.

4Kids, under LCI, had also partnered with Hasbro to make them the main toy licensee for Pokemon while also signing on a reported “over 100” domestic licensees for other products, including Kraft, General Mills, Welch’s, Colgate-Palmolive, Scholastic and American Greetings. They were going in hard with Pokemon once they knew what they had on their hands.

In November of 1999, 4Kids needed to take Pokemon to the next level with the premiere of their first ever dubbed theatrical movie, Pokemon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, as well as their first Pokemon Short, Pikachu’s Vacation.

And it was…….a complete mess. 4Kids decided to absolutely mangle the movie from what it originally was. They removed the 20 minute long backstory segment of Mewtwo and the other clones. They changed Mewtwo’s motivations to make him, as Norman Grossfeld, President of 4Kids Productions at the time, stated “clearly evil.” This change included making Mewtwo want to completely destroy the world when he didn’t in the original so American audiences wouldn’t be confused by the morally ambiguous Mewtwo who was struggling with existentialism and self worth in the Japanese version.

As mentioned before, they also completely rescored the movie to, quoting Grossfeld again, “better reflect what American kids would respond to.” while also including numerous American pop music tracks, several songs of which have absolutely nothing to do with the movie, lyrically. I’d say the most confusing track on the CD is ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ by M2M. There’s 100% no romance in here, so it feels completely out of place.

While the pop music thing was obviously done for the sake bolstering soundtrack sales, the score, which would be released on its own separate CD, didn’t need to be made, and the comment about creating a new score to better suit an American audience makes no sense. This statement has no studies or anything to explain why they didn’t think American children responded well to Japanese music, especially orchestral music that had no vocal track. If they wanted to make English versions of the songs with lyrics, fine, completely understandable, but they didn’t, because they very, very, very rarely ever did that, especially in their early years. It’s pretty clear that they were just trying to cover up the fact that they wanted to sell their own soundtracks to the movie. This is especially true since, as Dogasu notes, the orchestral background tracks they omitted from this movie are kept in the dubbed versions of future episodes.

However, replacing the score and nearly all music for their properties will very much become the norm for 4Kids from here on out, whether they actually went ahead with a soundtrack release for the property or not.

Oh and, something interesting that I found while researching for this retrospective – 4Kids recognized that they made the Pokemon identification errors with Pidgeot being called Pidgeotto, Scyther being called Alakazam and Sandslash being called Sandshrew, but they left in the errors on purpose. Why?

According to the audio commentary, they wanted kids to notice….for some reason? I dunno, to make them feel smart or something? They also thought it was plausible for Team Rocket to make those identification errors since they’re dumb.

……Of course that doesn’t change the fact that only two of those misidentifications were Team Rocket’s doing. The third, Pidgeot/Pidgeotto, was done by it’s own Trainer, and with a Pokemon that we’ve seen many times before since Ash has one, which is completely inexcusable if not downright insulting. It’s clear that 4Kids just realized the errors too late and didn’t care enough to fix them or own up to them honestly.

They probably should have been a little more careful with their identifications considering we were literally being taught how to correctly identify every single Pokemon in existence by their silhouette in every episode of Pokemon with the ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment. This really was just a gold star moment for 4Kids in regards to both being incompetent while also being disrespectful to their audience.

4Kids would continue to frequently make Pokemon misidentifications, most notably and most commonly in their movies and short films. So either they continued to do this on purpose for no other reason besides to make them look foolish or they seriously didn’t notice nor care until it was too late – and even then they still didn’t really care.

My money’s on the latter, especially considering that they practically flaunted how little they really knew of Pokemon and how little they cared about making mistakes in this realm when they made the ‘Trainer’s Choice’ segment during Advanced Challenge. ‘Trainer’s Choice’ was a multiple choice question game for viewers to play during commercial breaks that replaced ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ in the English dub while the Japanese version had removed the ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment and replaced it with a normal eyecatch.

Over the course of the use of this segment, 4Kids made many errors, some more obvious than others. Some of them were misunderstandings of Pokemon types, what had advantages over what, ignoring that some Pokemon had immunities to certain types, while many other mistakes were just flatout embarrassing like frequently misspelling Pokemon names, sometimes giving Pokemon other Pokemon’s names (like mislabeling a Beautifly as a Nuzleaf and then later mislabeling a Sealeo….as a Nuzleaf), and, of course, the most famous Trainer’s Choice mistake, claiming Arbok evolved into Seviper.

To 4Kids’ credit, they did hire someone during Advanced Battle to handle the segment who seemingly knew more about the franchise that 4Kids had owned the rights to for about seven years at that point. Lawrence Neves was credited as handling the segment from then on, and the mistakes lessened by a significant amount, but some fairly obvious mistakes and even another name misspelling remained until the segment was finally removed after PUSA took over.

The film had additional issues in that it was originally released in widescreen in Japan, but the English version had to use a 4:3 aspect ratio, which caused some issues with the cropping and required some additional edits to keep characters in frame when they were talking, but this was more of an issue with Warner Bros. that would be a continued problem for several movies. In 2016, this issue was fixed for this movie as it was finally released in 16:9 widescreen.

Audiences also didn’t appreciate that the English movie was trying extremely hard to jam an anti-violence message down viewers’ throats when it’s based on a series centered entirely around battling captured monsters who utilize incredibly violent and dangerous abilities in battle. All of that seemingly made okay because the Pokemon fighting in this movie during the clones vs. originals match were doing so without the aforementioned dangerous abilities – they were punching, kicking and slapping, which is much less harmful.

They did imply that this was worse because, unlike in Pokemon battles where Trainers or Pokemon will usually stop when the match is clearly decided, they were intending on fighting to the death in the movie’s battle. Still, it came off as largely hypocritical and most likely 4Kids’ desperate attempt to placate parents’ groups who had come to lambaste Pokemon as a whole for being a series about ‘glorified cock-fighting’ that solved most problems with violence.

Even the short, Pikachu’s Summer Vacation, the title of which had been shortened to Pikachu’s Vacation, didn’t get away without being sufficiently messed with. While some edits are understandable, such as changing the Japanese text to English, and removing the end credits to be included in the movie’s end credits to ensure parents didn’t walk out of the movie thinking the short was the entire movie (This was seriously was a viable concern. Some people have stated that, even with the credits removed, some parents tried to leave after the short was over, thinking the short was the movie, and their kids had to convince them to stay.) some changes were not. The most notable being changing the narrator from a gentle woman, voiced by Satou Aiko, to the Pokedex, for some reason, as well as changing the entire score, again, and messing up the opening credits.

While Pikachu’s Vacation didn’t retain the end credits, they did keep the opening credits, and they not only got names wrong, but they wrongfully attributed some credits to the incorrect people. You can see an entire Japanese/English breakdown on BulbaGarden here.

Problems with the movie and short aside, 4Kids knew a major marketing opportunity when it saw one. This was not only their first theatrically released movie, but it was also their first theatrical movie release of a majorly popular franchise when the movie already proved to be crazy successful in Japan. They went hard with their marketing. They not only had the normal trailers and newspaper spots, but they also hooked people in by offering exclusive Wizards Black Star promotional Pokemon cards in select theaters that showcased Pokemon from the movie and short, such as Pikachu, Mewtwo, Dragonite and…..Electabuzz? …Electabuzz wasn’t in the first movie….?

*one Google Search later*

Okay, according to Bulbapedia, an Electabuzz was in the movie as a Pokemon belonging to one of the Trainers in the wharf (Not one of the three who made it to New Island). I honestly didn’t believe that, so I re-watched that scene, and yup. There it is.

Electabuzz PM01

That is literally the only shot of that Electabuzz. It doesn’t even reappear in the end when they’re back in the wharf after having their memories erased. There are so many more Pokemon I can think of that were more prevalent in the movie that would have deserved that exclusive card spot much more than Electabuzz, but I guess they just liked Electabuzz, and I can’t say it wasn’t in the movie.

Nintendo of America or 4Kids or both made a deal with Burger King to produce toys based on the first movie that would be distributed in Kids and Big Kids Meals – little Pokemon plushies that were encased in plastic Pokeballs that doubled as keychains. Oh and there were also the INCREDIBLY COOL 23 karat gold plated Pokemon cards that you could purchase separately at Burger King.

There were six different variations to collect – Mewtwo, Togepi, Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Charizard, and, for some reason, Poliwhirl. Again, I didn’t believe Poliwhirl was in the movie. But, again, technically it was. In the same panning shot where you see Electabuzz briefly, you also see Poliwhirl from the back.

Poliwhirl PM01

*shrug*

I guess I should also question Jigglypuff’s inclusion, but it was an established semi-regular character in the show so it’s not that questionable. Also, maybe it counts by proxy because there was a Wigglytuff in the movie.

I had several toys from this, including two of the gold Pokemon cards (Jigglypuff and Togepi) and one of the plastic Pokeballs with which I got a little stuffed Meowth.

Sadly, the plastic Pokeballs were later found to be a suffocation risk, which resulted in the deaths of two children. On December 11, 1999, 13-month-old Kira Alexis Murphy suffocated in her playpen after half of the ball stuck over her nose and mouth. Burger King eventually recalled the toys, but they were heavily criticized for acting too slowly – at first refusing to recall the toys after the initial death because they didn’t want to incite a panic in their customers. It wouldn’t be until another child nearly died from suffocating on the toy that Burger King agreed to recall them. Even then, they tried to keep it lowkey until the US Consumer Product Safety Commission pushed them on the situation.

To their credit, after that push, they did launch a pretty massive recall effort with commercials explaining the situation airing on TV, offers to exchange the Pokeballs for free small fries, warnings all over Burger King itself as well as the trays, bags and items and even a dedicated 800 number to call for information. However, even with the recall efforts, another child, four-month-old Zachary Jones, wound up dying a month later from suffocating on a Pokeball.

Burger King would eventually get sued by the families of the victims, which was settled for an undisclosed amount, and they quickly made changes to their safety practices and warning labels to prevent future incidents from happening ever again.

Upon the release of Pokemon The First Movie, despite the various issues, it was immediately a massive hit. In Japan, it was the second highest grossing film of 1998, grossing ¥7.6 billion. It debuted at number one at the box office in the US with $10.1mil on opening day, was the only anime film to ever achieve such a status until 2021 when Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train debuted in America, was the highest-grossing movie based on a video game until 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and finally wracked up $85.7mil after closing on February 27, 2000.

In fact, it was such a highly anticipated movie that kids were actually skipping school in droves on the Wednesday that it initially premiered, feigning sickness, and it was so widespread of an issue that it came to be known as the Pokeflu.

Despite being so successful with audiences and financially, it wasn’t nearly as well received by critics, and the entire accolades section of the Wiki, barring one entry, is nothing but nominations for the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, which was pretty much just the Razzies before they became a thing.

The movie was nominated for Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More than $100 Million Using Hollywood Math (Takeshi Shudo), Worst Screen Debut (for all 151 Pokemon), Biggest Disappointment (Films that Didn’t Live Up to Their Hype) (Toho (the original Japanese distributor of the movie) and Warner Bros.), and it won Most Unwelcome Direct-to-Video Release (All nine Pokemon videos released in 1999, including this movie, which is weird because Pokemon The First Movie obviously wasn’t direct-to-video….) The only good award it won was the Animation Kobe award for theatrical films, and, being fair, that was purely a Japanese award for the Japanese version.

The Indigo League series of the Pokemon TV show as well as the first Pokemon movie cemented 4Kids as being a staple in the childhoods of an entire generation, no matter if 4Kids cared about such a thing or not. Truth be told, looking back, the first Pokemon movie’s complete mutilation was a huge warning sign of things to come for the company. It was the first window into their true views on their audience and their level of respect for their licenses. However, as children, fans simply didn’t tend to notice nor care. In fact, many, like myself, were most likely completely unaware of most of the issues with the movie until they were well into adulthood, if they ever learned about them at all, and by that point 4Kids was already long gone.

Still, even I treasure the first seasons of Pokemon and the first movie no matter what 4Kids did to them. Being so tough on the first movie when I initially reviewed it actually hurt my heart because of how beloved it was and still is to me. It’s a terrible commercialized shell of what it once was, but I’d still easily sit down, watch it and enjoy it right this second, just as many other people who were fans as children can also attest.

Pokemon was certainly the goose that laid the golden egg for 4Kids. Financially, they were growing quickly as a result. In just the three months of 1998 that Pokemon had been on the air and the video games and TCG had been in stores, 4Kids enjoyed a 46% jump in revenue from $10,116,800 in 1997 to $14,767,429 in 1998. And for 1999, revenue jumped 310% to $60,482,269. Their net income skyrocketed over these three years from $739,135 in 1997 to $2,743,069 in 1998 and an impressive $23,638,426 in 1999.

One last note for 1999 before we move on – there was a lawsuit where 4Kids as well as Nintendo and Wizards of the Coast were named as defendants. The plaintiff, the law firm of Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerachon, on behalf of all Pokemon trading card consumers, sued them, claiming their trading cards were illegal gambling, especially in regards to some packs containing rarer cards than others. The lawsuit was requesting an unspecified amount be paid back to consumers in monetary damages.

In a funny turn of events, the aforementioned law firm that started the lawsuit backed down when they realized that 4Kids was actually one of their clients. Even though they had withdrawn, reportedly three other law firms were continuing with the lawsuit. According to the financial report for 2000, the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice because the plaintiffs couldn’t or wouldn’t prove why their case shouldn’t be dismissed due to lack of standing. It was appealed, but the appeal was denied in 2002, and the dismissal was upheld.

Next: Part 3: 4Kids 2000

Previous: Part 1: 4Kids as a 4Baby


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 1: 4Kids as a 4Baby (1970-1997)

Table of Contents

I’ve been consuming English dubbed anime for the majority of my life. Back when I was about nine years old, I was introduced to shows that would become landmarks in my childhood such as Sailor Moon, dubbed by DiC, Digimon, dubbed by Saban, and Pokemon, dubbed by one of the most infamous and nefarious dubbing companies known to time – 4Kids Entertainment.

Shows dubbed by 4Kids have had such an impact on me both as a child and as an adult, that it sparked my interest in comparing dubbed anime, usually aimed towards kids, with its original Japanese counterpart to see what got censored, what got changed for whatever reason, what got changed for no reason, and what got Americanized in a seeming effort to appeal to American children more so they could sell more toys and other merchandise. In fact, of the 13 shows I am currently comparing for my Sub/Dub Comparisons, six were dubbed by 4Kids. I can confirm that there would be several more if not for the fact that either the dubbed version of the other shows in question are incomplete or lost or the original Japanese version of the shows is lost or not subtitled.

To be honest, 4Kids is incredibly interesting to me as a company. The decisions they made, their edits, their weird views on kids and anime, the shows they selected, their business practices, their skeeviness, their ridiculousness, their misinformed statements, how they could go from being top in their field one minute to seemingly making the most basic mistakes the next – all of it is just so….intriguing and strange. Maybe not entirely surprising because, at the end of the day, they were a cold and calculating company who focused on their bottom line above all else, but there’s a reason that they stand out among other dubbing companies as being the worst. 4Kids definitely has their own style to dubbing outside of just being bad or kiddified. You can typically tell when a show is dubbed by 4Kids even if you have no prior knowledge of it, and that’s oddly impressive.

Over the years, 4Kids has become little more than a punchline in the world of anime. Their use of quickly outdated slang (some slang that was more than outdated even when they used it), terrible catchphrases, over-the-top and sometimes downright confusing censorship, awful dialogue, questionable acting, rap songs, odd edits, scene swaps, scene deletions, episode number restructuring, episode removals, and, of course, the birth of such memes as the Shadow Realm, hammerguns and smoking lollipops, cemented their reputation as such.

The day that 4Kids died was one many people rejoiced, but it’s hard to imagine many of their fans back in their heyday would have had the same response when they were enjoying such favorites as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more. How did 4Kids go from a dubbing company that had many beloved fans and was one of the largest licensing entities in North America, to one of if not the most, hated dubbing company in history that died a slow and horrifically painful death? Was 4Kids really as horrible as its reputation and many fans, even myself included, have asserted in the past two decades? Why did they do the things they did? Finally, how and why did 4Kids die?

To understand all that, we need to go back to the beginning – back to before 4Kids was even 4Kids.

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4Kids started life way back in 1970 as a licensing company called Leisure Concepts Inc., also known as LCI. Formed by two of the biggest names in classic 80s cartoons and toys – Stan Weston, creator of GI Joe, and Mike Germakian, who laid the design groundwork, designed the logo and came up with the idea for Thundercats – LCI licensed many media products back in the day such as Star Wars, Thundercats, StormHawks, The Legend of Zelda and even Farrah Fawcett’s likeness.

LCI would continue to enjoy success for years, licensing a wide array of properties and making several deals with TV production companies and toy manufacturers to create numerous cartoons and toy lines based on their licenses. Their best deal was in 1987 with Nintendo of America Inc., with whom they established a full licensing deal to market software that would go with their gaming systems. Of course, the biggest benefit of this partnership would not be apparent for over a decade.

In 1987, LCI hired a new Vice Chairman and member of the board of directors – a man who would later become the father of 4Kids as we knew it while also becoming one of the most controversial figureheads in all of English dubbed anime – Alfred Kahn.

Kahn was already well-known in the world of children’s entertainment, previously being the Executive Vice President of Marketing at Coleco Industries, and being credited as the man responsible for making, of all things, the Cabbage Patch Kids a household name. In fact, once Coleco filed for bankruptcy in 1988 and the property passed on to Hasbro and then Mattel, Al Kahn once again picked the property up in 2001 in a partnership with Toys R Us to produce the dolls, other merchandise and animated movies based on the series. Cabbage Patch Kids created a steady source of income for 4Kids that would continue to be a significant part of their revenue stream up until 4Kids’ eventual death, being one of the only properties they kept as 4Licensing up until the moment even that died off.

As a result of its success, LCI started expanding in the early 1990s and started producing TV series in-house as opposed to relying on third-party production companies. At the same time, in 1991, Alfred Kahn had become Chairman, CEO and Director of LCI. This expansion and change of leadership spawned two media-based subsidiaries in 1992 – The Summit Media Group, and, of course, 4Kids Productions. The Summit Media Group was meant to handle the syndication and distribution side of any properties they acquired, in addition to media planning, buying and marketing services for toy and video game properties, while 4Kids Productions was intended to both produce its own series based on properties they had acquired and, eventually, dub and localize anime and other foreign animated series.

Around the same time that LCI had officially changed its name to 4Kids Entertainment, they also began creating their first ever show. Yes, that’s right everyone. It’s time to talk about the show that put 4Kids Productions on the map.

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WMAC Masters

Yep, it might be hard to believe, but Pokemon was not the first show 4Kids Productions ever handled. In a really weird twist, the first show 4Kids managed was not only a fully in-house production of something completely new (they even created the World Martial Arts Council or WMAC that is displayed in the show) but it was also a live-action show co-created by Al Kahn with Carlin West. In addition, it had a very unique concept. It was, as many commenters and fans pointed out, exactly like real-life martial arts (with a real full cast of professional martial artists) mixed with a fighting video game and pro wrestling.

It was the short-lived 1995 show, WMAC Masters.

Each episode would have (staged) matches between the characters, each of whom having their own gimmicks and martial arts styles. The episodes would also have rough stories and life lessons for the kids. During the matches, the characters would have energy or ki meters that would go down depending on how tired they were or how many hits they took. A victor was called when one of the fighters’ energy meter was depleted. The fighters all collected disks on their dragon belt to win a chance to fight the reigning champion for the much-coveted dragon star, which indicated them as the best martial artist in the world.

In order to give the show more credibility as a legitimate martial arts show, they brought in Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee and sister of Brandon Lee, to host. Although, honestly, she looks like she’d rather be anywhere else.

I feel like 4Kids definitely got some inspiration from Saban and Power Rangers, because this show has such a strong vibe from them that I had to double check to make sure this was 4Kids and not Saban.

I was blown away by how complex this show is on paper and just how detailed the Wiki page was. There are definitely some hardcore fans of this little-known martial arts show who wrote that up.

4Kids’ first production was not without its hiccups. After season one, Shannon Lee either left the show or wasn’t called back to do season two. In addition, season two decided to focus more on action and fantasy plotlines instead of real-world martial arts, and the important life-lessons on real issues fell the wayside. It was canceled after season two, due to low ratings and poor merchandise sales, and only six episodes were ever released on VHS, but all of the episodes are available in high quality on Youtube, much to the delight of the small group of avid fans who loved the entirety of the show, even if most agreed that it started falling off in season two.

Truth be told, this definitely seems like the type of show I would’ve fallen in love with once upon a time. When I was young, like between the ages of five and seven, I went through a huge pro wrestling phase, which immediately coincided with my obsession with Power Rangers. If I had ever known this show existed, I probably would have been all over it, but, sadly, I don’t remember it ever being on TV, even though the Wiki states it was shown in syndication on 4Kids TV on Saturday mornings from 2002 to 2003.

The show ended in 1997, which meant that 4Kids had struck out on its first production venture. No matter, though, because for several years 4Kids Entertainment had still enjoyed a mass of revenue from its dealings with Nintendo, which was reaching a massive boom in popularity with the premiere of properties such as the Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda as well as their new gaming system, the Game Boy.

Oh, and, in 1996, one other game series was becoming more popular than anyone had ever dreamed in Japan. So popular, in fact, that it would only be a year before it earned its own anime.

Part 2: Pokemon – I License You!


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Ojamajo Doremi Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Doremi is a girl who loves magic. She can’t do any, but she tries. She studies witchcraft and tries to perform magic, but to no avail. Until, that is, she stumbles upon a rundown magic shop run by an old witch. When she outs the witch as such, she accidentally turns her into a frog. The only way to change her back to normal is to train Doremi to be a witch. Doremi couldn’t be happier at this, but finds that witchcraft is harder than it looks.

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Series Name: Ojamajo Doremi is changed to Magical DoReMi.

They remove Doremi’s opening narration. It’s the same magical girl spiel of explaining that she’s an average girl but practicing magic, hijinks and whatnot.

Surprise! The opening theme is completely changed! A good chunk of the clips are kept, but many are changed, and of course we have to include cheesy effects and cut-outs and stuff. The original theme is okay. The dub is, like many of 4Kids dubbed themes, awful in terms of lyrics but a massive ear worm.

A shot of the flying flowers is removed.

The sign on the witch’s shop is actually painted over instead of erased. From what I can tell, it says “The Rusty Broom” The original says “Marika’s House of Magic”

In the original, Doremi is chanting “Puapu Arukuku.” What that means, I do not know. I looked it up and everything. In the dub, she’s chanting, not kidding, “Lovey duvey, duvey lovey.” This SDC is going to be more pain, isn’t it?

Name Change: Pop (Really, you named your daughter Pop?) is changed to Caitlyn. Or whatever one of the thousands of spelling variations of that name that exist for no reason.

Oh my god, Caitlyn’s voice….the pain….chipmunk…..oh lord….

After Pop mocks Doremi for her various crushes, she does that bii-daa thing where you pull down one eye lid and stick your tongue out. Then her dad shows up, getting yelled at by her mom who is berating him for wanting to go fishing instead of helping with the housework. Doremi then explains in inner monologue that her parents constantly fight and that her sister’s in kindergarten. All of this is removed for whatever reason. I figured they’d remove the tongue thing, but why the rest of the scene?

Name Change: Igarashi, the boy Doremi crushes on in this episode, is changed to Robby.

Holy crap! They replaced something instead of removing it again!

Subbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN9

Dubbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN10

I just wonder why….I mean, not like this board adds a thing to the scene. 4Kids: We keep you guessing AND angry!

Also, guess they have absolutely nothing scheduled, so why are they even there?

And they remove the kanji from Doremi’s book cover and pages. (As well as every other students)

Subbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN11

Dubbed:

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The papers on the wall behind Hazuki are edited, but not blanked for some reason.

Subbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN15

Dubbed:

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Name change: Sugiyama is changed to Bennigan.

Doremi’s friend tells her they’re on the bottom of page five. In the dub it’s the top of page 15.

Name Change?: Something was bugging me about Doremi’s name in the English version. They kept calling her “Dorie” but not saying her full name so I didn’t know if I could count it as a name change. It seems like all her name is in the dub is Dorie and it’s never mentioned if that’s short for Doremi. I could’ve sworn during an earlier tangent that she called herself ‘Doris’ but I couldn’t be sure.

In order to make the title ‘Doremi’ make sense, they changed the capitalization of the word to make DoReMi for Dorie, Reanne and Mirabelle. Being honest, I actually like this change because it includes all of the girls instead of focusing purely on the leader like magical girl shows annoyingly tend to do.

Doremi’s book cover is edited.

Subbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN17

Dubbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN18

Doremi is sent to the hall while Dorie is sent to the principal’s office (for reading a different book in class?)

The boy in Doremi’s class mocks her by calling her ‘clumsy Domiso’ and she corrects him saying her name’s Doremi. He then says ‘Dojimi?” which means ‘Clumsy girl’ and she yells her name in his ear. In the dub, he mocks her for making a mistake, but doesn’t say anything about her name. Also, instead of correcting him, she just threatens him by saying if he doesn’t stop she’ll turn him into a frog.

Hazuki says Doremi doesn’t want to go to the soccer game because she failed in her confession earlier. In the dub, she says people who get sent to the principal’s office don’t get to go to the soccer game.

Name Change: Hazuki Fujiwara is changed to Reanne Griffith.

The bratty kid from before makes fun of Doremi again as she leaves while dropping all of her books from her upside down book bag by saying “Do-ji-mi-fa-so-la-mi-re” in the tone of the music scale. This apparently translates roughly as saying “Look at the clumsy girl!” In the dub, since this really can’t be mirrored, he just says “You dropped all your witch books, dummy.”

Upon seeing the witch’s gloves, Doremi flashes to her witch book that said witches always wear gloves. (This dialogue was changed to hats or something in the dub) In the dub, since that specific line was changed, they edit out the shot of the book and any mention of suspicion that she is a witch.

She also thinks back to the book saying that witches look at you with red eyes, and we see the witch’s red eyes. In the dub, she just introduces herself.

Dorie finally thinks to herself that the lady looks like the witch on the cover of her book while Doremi recites the rest of the stuff about witches. They hate children and can smell them with their big noses as we see the lady at profile showing her big nose.

There’s a long pause after Doremi finds out that Majorika’s a witch. She’s about to say out loud that she’s a witch, but it’s obvious that Majorika doesn’t want her to. We pause for like five seconds while a drumroll goes on before she finally says it. In the dub, it’s just ‘suspenseful’ music, which takes away from the comedy of the scene.

In the original, Majorika introduces herself and Doremi does the same. Majorika then laughs at her name while Doremi says it’s still better than Majorika’s. She then yells at Doremi.

Name Change: Majorika is changed to Patina.

In the dub, Patina says the only way she can be changed back is by training Dorie to be a witch. Dorie agrees, but she has to be back home by seven. The witch then laughs at her for saying she needs to be home by seven and says she’s even dumber than she looks….Yes, she’s dumb because she has a curfew…and is a child. Dorie then says at least she’s not a green blob thing and Patina yells at her.

In the original, Doremi’s just called a witch’s apprentice. In the dub, she’s called a witchling.

Name Change: The fairy, Lala, is changed to Laralie.

The magical girl transformer item for this series is called a Maho Tap. To its credit, it is rather unique amongst the magical girl transformers since it seems to be a small music box type thing with an activation button. In the dub, they’re called ‘dream spinners’.

When Doremi transforms (in a rather lackluster transformation sequence for a magical girl anime, to be honest) she says “Pretty witch, Doremi-chi!” In the dub, she says….*sigh* “Faladeiladongding, now I am a witchling!”…….Yup….yup…I can see this tormenting me.

Doremi’s ‘wand’ is actually a musical instrument called a Peperuto Poron. In the dub, it’s called a ‘wandaler.’

Doremi’s original magic words are Pirikapiri Lala Poporila Peperuto. In the dub, I guess she just makes a lame rhyme out of whatever spell she wants to cast, which is basically the most cliché witch thing ever.

In the original, the little gumball things in Doremi’s wand are called ‘magical spheres’. In the dub, they’re called ‘spell drops.’ I actually prefer the dub’s name because at least it’s somewhat unique.

I guess in the dub, Patina has a thing about slang since she seems to make a joke or cringe whenever Dorie says slang in the dub where it’s not present in the original. I guess this is to make up for not mentioning that witches hate children in the dub.

Oh good, goofy pop music for no reason. I was indeed missing Mew Mew Power and Cardcaptors.

To be completely fair, there’s a vocal song in the original too, but it’s played at a very low volume. In the dub, their song is played at “BUY OUR SOUNDTRACK” levels.

In the original, Lala says, if someone outed Doremi as a witch, she’d turn into a frog like Majorika. Doremi then imagines herself as a frog and starts pouting. In the dub, Laralie just says if anyone outed her as a witchling it’d be very difficult to complete her training. The scene with Doremi as a frog and her pouting are removed.

OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN20OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN19OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN21

The girl who also has a crush on Igarashi says she doesn’t care what happens to her, just as long as his wound gets healed. In the dub, she says she was going to use her wish to make him love her and then continues on the same.

Also, the girl doesn’t know that the wound will be transferred to her if she wishes him to be healed in the original. In the dub, that’s specifically what she wishes for.

After she makes the wish, there’s a fairly large blood stain that appears on her pant leg since the wound transferred to her….I honestly don’t know why there’s so much blood. Igarashi’s wound was barely bleeding, but the point is that 4Kids left this in….4Kids, eraser of all things blood, left this in.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think Doremi was one of 4Kids’ earlier works, and this is especially reflected in the fact that they’re leaving a lot of text alone or painting over it instead of removing it, and even leaving in all of the many many many anger veins. Yet…..what 4Kids became….

They cut out a shot of Igarashi visiting the girl, Maki, in the nurse’s office. I guess because he wasn’t saying anything, but the nurse and Hazuki were both talking during that scene. Eh, maybe time or something.

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Name Change: Maki is changed to Jen.

Majorika laments over how troublesome Doremi is as a witch and names her ‘Ojamajo’ or ‘troublesome witch’. She doesn’t say the same or even ‘troublesome witch’ in the dub.

In the original, Hazuki says it seems like Doremi’s giving up. Doremi agrees and says her premonitions were wrong again. She then restates her catchphrase that she truly is the unhappiest pretty girl in the world.

In the dub, Reanne says she never even bothered to learn his name, Dorie says she’s right and that she’s a big coward. Despite the catchphrase being said several times by now in the original, this final line is the closest they ever get to saying it by making her say she’s the most misunderstood little girl in the world.

As expected, the next episode preview and ending theme are removed. Damn shame too because the ending theme is incredibly nice to listen to. So relaxing.

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First impressions? The dub could honestly be much worse, so far. They kept in mostly everything and the changes weren’t that awful, outside of some cheesy magical girl stuff. As for the original and the series as a whole, well it seems more casual than a lot of magical girl fare. I’m not even sure there’s a villain to fight. And the magical theme along with limited magic is a nice template, but I’m not that impressed by it. Hopefully I’ll get more into it as episodes go by.

Next episode, Hazuki wishes her life was more like Doremi’s, and she gets her wish when the Ojamajo decides to work her magic.


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Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power Episode 21 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Mint is plagued by nightmares that make her increasingly annoyed with Ichigo’s attitude about their job. They get into more intense fights than usual until Mint snaps and leaves the team. Zakuro resorts to extreme measures to get her to come to an understanding while Kisshu and the other aliens try out Mew Aqua for themselves.

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We get a couple of shots inserted at the very beginning. To show the audience that this is indeed a dream sequence, 4Kids adds in a shot of Corina’s house as well as her sleeping in bed before we cut to the dream.

The parakeet in Mint’s dream doesn’t actually talk. It just chirps and Mint can somehow determine what it’s saying.

Parakeet: “You must fly.”

Corina: “No. I’m only a girl. It’s not possible.”

Yeah, if she was a boy or at least drinking Red Bull, she’d be able to!

Also, why is it impossible? She gains her powers from a bird and has wings when she transforms. First Lettuce is all ‘I can’t swim despite having porpoise powers!’ now this? Okay, that’s quite bit different, but still.

Mint just yells “No, nooooooo!” as she flies up. Corina keeps yelling that she’s falling even though the shot clearly showed her floating up and the way the clouds were dispersing indicates that she was indeed flying not falling.

After Mint’s dream, she sits up in bed and just stares quietly for a bit before lightly bopping herself on the head. This is cut.

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Ichigo is rushing around talking to a bunch of customers whereas Zoey is bragging about how much work she just did. Also, they remove half of the scene.

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Ichigo is unimpressed by Pudding failing to balance on the ball. Zoey says they just waxed the floors, which caused Kiki to fall.

Ichigo is amazed by Lettuce’s ‘skill’ in balancing a bunch of food and plates she was about to drop. Pudding then tells Lettuce to keep up her posture perfectly to ensure that nothing falls. Zoey tells Bridget they have enough performers in the café, and Kiki tells Bridget to stop muscling in on her act.

They remove a shot of the wall that was used as a cutaway while Lettuce dropped the plates. In the dub, she also doesn’t drop the plates.

Zakuro says there was a tip for ‘Show Time’ of ten yen then revises it to five. Renee says there was a ten percent tip for entertainment and it was given to Bridget, which is weird because that literally happened a second ago.

They replace an outer shot of the café with a shot of their ‘closed’ sign.

Mint brings up the fact that Ichigo was late that day as retaliation for her complaining about not doing work. Ichigo says she may be human but she has the spirit of a cat, which I guess means she was lazy or slept in or something. This is changed to Corina saying she has “An aversion to customer service.” A small shot of Ichigo looking away to make her excuse is also removed.

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The next scene is….basically the same, but there are shots of the café that are removed while Mint’s talking in an extended monologue. Also, Mint says that she’s actually more responsible than Ichigo because she’s always early while Ichigo’s always late due to the fact that the café acts as a cover for their superheroing, thus it’s not the work at the café that matters it’s being there early in case trouble starts.

Ichigo, for some reason, mocks Mint by asking if guys make her weak all over. Zoey mocks her by mimicking her saying ‘I’m so fabulous!’

The Mew Aqua (IE Magical substance of deus ex machina that everyone wants) is called….Blue Aqua….

Blue….

Aqua….

Blue….*sigh*

Do they not know what Aqua mea—It’s blue! Okay, yes, the textbook definition is a green-ish blue color, but it’s still blue. They’re basically calling the stuff ‘Blue Blue’ What was wrong with Mew Aqua? I know 4Kids changes everything because ‘We can, now shut up and give us money’ but I just don’t get it. Did the translator mishear when Shirogane said ‘Mew’ or what? It’s not like the actual substance is blue either; it’s clear/white, so this makes even less sense.

Zoey: “Blue Aqua? Isn’t that redundant?”

Elliot: “Perhaps. But it’s the best we could do on short notice.”
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You know, sometimes I have these moments when I’m doing these comparisons when I no longer hear the characters speaking. I feel like the 4Kids’ staff had a small conversation, transcribed it and made the characters’ VAs say the lines to put in the show for no reason than to screw with some people because that is just enraging to me. Here’s what’s actually going on here.

Writer: “Okay, the name of this stuff in the original version is ‘Mew Aqua’”

4Kids’ Exec: “Change it.”

W: “Why?”

E: “Just do it. For funsies.”

W: “How long do we have?”

E: “15 seconds.”

W: “Uh.”

E: “Time’s up. Whatcha got?”

W: “……Uh….Blue Aqua?”

E: “Blue Aqua? Isn’t that redundant?”

W: “Perhaps. But it’s the best we could do on short notice.”

Seems silly at first, but is perfectly believable given the circumstances isn’t it? Either that or they purposely changed the name to make that ‘joke,’ and I’m honestly not sure which is worse.

Mew Aqua is just crystalline water with such a high purity that it somehow has healing properties and other abilities. Blue Aqua is just a “mysterious magic substance with all sorts of magical properties.”

And upon hearing this, Corina says this.

“Magical properties? Seems pretty out there if you ask me.”

You are a group of girls given magic powers by somehow temporarily fusing your DNA with that of animals, your weapons are musical instruments for whatever reasons, and you’re destined to fight aliens who make monsters by fusing animals with aliens and the souls of humans with that of aliens. Your friend sprouts cat ears and a tail on a regular basis. Your other friend turned into a mermaid a couple weeks ago. Why is this so ‘out there’?

Shirogane just says that Lettuce was somehow influenced by Mew Aqua that time at the beach. Elliot says the same thing but adds that they’ll all eventually be able to have a higher level of transforming soon with Blue Aqua. Pfft. I wish. The other girls never get crap for powers or abilities, and Ichigo can transform into a cat just by getting all flustered.

The larger crystalline form of Mew Aqua doesn’t get a name in the original. In the dub, Elliot calls it Blue Aqua Crystal. I would’ve called it Blue Aqua Sapphire myself. Really driver home the redundancy.

Shirogane states that the Mew Aqua has the power to alter the earth’s form. Elliot again states the stuff about increasing their power to fight the cyniclons.

We get a close up of Mint clenching her hands before the scene changes. In the dub, we just repeat the shot of Mint’s worried face, but this time we get a quick zoom in because it’s all intense.

A further shot of Ichigo at the pond is removed.

Ichigo doesn’t make a lame joke about duck-sitting (Get it? Sitting duck? Hahaha……no seriously, that’s the joke she says. Even the laughter is in there.) like Zoey does.

Ichigo doesn’t ask Aoyama to keep the Mew Aqua thing a secret like Zoey does to Mark. Wouldn’t he wonder why it would need to be a secret anyway?

Aoyama’s speech is shortened…and it’s obviously dumbed up/preachified.

Mark doesn’t explain that what he has in his hands are arm bands for volunteers that pick up litter. He says he’s helping the environment by using what’s in his hand, but with the art you can’t tell what it is so you’re left wondering why this thing helps Mark with trash collecting. To be honest, it doesn’t even look like arm bands.

We originally cut from Ichigo and Aoyama to the café. In the dub, they place a scene with Dren and the other aliens talking before we cut back to the café.

The first conversation’s roughly the same. When we get to Kisshu, he explains they he found some Mew Aqua at the beach, and it’s something that the aliens already know of. Not only that, but they state that it’s responsible for the evolution of nature and humanity – because science. In the dub, Dren just talks about how he’s gazing dreamily at his bottle of ‘Blue Aqua’.

How’d he know the name? He didn’t. He claims he named it himself. Apparently the characters on this show have the creativity of my dog’s slobber. And not only that, but Sardon makes the same ‘Isn’t that redundant?’ joke from before. A joke so nice they did it twice. Support’s going pretty hard for the ‘They gave it a dumb name for the sake of an even dumber joke’ thing. Although, can I be honest? I really think that they misheard “Mew” as “Blue” and all of this “Isn’t that redundant?” stuff is trying to make fun of the original without realizing their own mistake….

In the original, Pai is reacting because he knows of Mew Aqua and wants to know why Deep Blue wasn’t informed.

Kisshu tells the others that they should try out the Mew Aqua to impress Deep Blue. Dren says he wants to keep it a secret from Deep Blue, which is something Pai/Sardon would not do but whatever.

Mint brings up the stuff she talked about earlier in regards to being at the café in case something happened. Ichigo says nothing happened so it doesn’t matter. Corina is enraged that Zoey would go off on a date with her boyfriend and blame it on ‘some daffy duckling.’ I’m convinced they’ve stopped trying with these jokes. Then Zoey tells her not to have ‘a hissy.’

God, 4Kids, what’s with the soap opera music when Renee tells Corina to drop it? Also, Zakuro merely tells her to calm down there.

The next scene in the original is the scene with the aliens, so we cut straight back to the café after the dub’s commercial break instead.

By the way, considering the Japanese commercial is right after the scene with the aliens….wouldn’t it have been better, suspense-wise, to leave it as-is? Wasn’t 4Kids all about making tension before the commercial?

Ichigo says that a package being delivered directly to the cafe is weird and tells Lettuce to check it out. Zoey says it’s probably the milk delivery and to tell the delivery guy that the half and half was lumpy.

Ichigo doesn’t say that whatever’s in the box is probably expensive and ‘snooty’ like Zoey does. Also, Pudding’s super excited because she believes candy is in the box, not something expensive.

Ichigo just says that she doesn’t know what they can do about Mint as things may have just gone too far this time. Zoey says that she’s believed for a while that Mint is on-edge and afraid of something.

After we cut to Pudding crying about Mint’s supposed resignation, she cuts the tension by saying if Mint leaves she’ll have no one else to play with. Ichigo falls over comically and then Lettuce points out that Pudding’s just a child, and both Pudding and Ichigo fall over comically. All of this is removed.

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Because the scene is removed, the rest of it stays entirely serious in the dub.

Text is again removed from Akasaka’s computer.

Wesley: “If the aliens witnessed the transformation then surely they must–”

Elliot: “Don’t worry. They’re up to something.”

Yes, Wesley, don’t worry that the aliens might be planning something. I know they’re planning something.

Minor nitpick: Shirogane’s not the one who suggests eating lunch. In fact, the point is made that he’s too engrossed in his work with Mew Aqua and what the aliens might be planning to take a break at all.

Major Nitpick: Akasaka just says he’ll make some sandwiches for them. Wesley says he’ll make Elliot a turkey….mewwich……A mewwich…..mew…..wich….Must retain sanity…only….five more….episodes….

Shirogane laments that he doesn’t have enough info to do anything productive. Elliot laments that he’s getting turkey again. This is said like it’s a joke, but there’s no setup. It’s not like they work in a turkey restaurant. I don’t even understand why they’d seemingly have an abundance of turkey in a café that seems to serve nothing but desserts and tea (And health shakes for some reason) anyway.

Zakuro knocks. Renee doesn’t. In fact, Elliot basically senses her presence somehow.

Zakuro talks about how Mint has seen and experienced a lot, and she believes that she may be overworked. In the dub, she talks about how they’re all a team, and they just aren’t as strong when they’re not all together.

Shirogane asks if Zakuro is really a high school girl. Zakuro smiles and says it’s best not to question a girl’s age. Elliot says Renee’s a real team player after all, and she asks him to keep that fact between them.

A shot of the ‘closed’ sign is removed probably because they already used the shot somewhere it wasn’t meant to be.

When Ichigo says they should all go to Mint’s house, Lettuce’s expression gets all goofy and happy as she says Ichigo’s name. This is removed.

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Elliot: “Those hoodlums are out to steal the Blue Aqua!” Hoodlums?! You’re getting your oldness on the show again, 4Kids.

In the original, they basically skip Pudding, Lettuce and Ichigo’s transformations entirely. They say their transformation prompts and then we transition to Ichigo transformed, under the assumption the others did too.

In the dub, they do a mashup of Zoey, Bridget and Kiki’s transformations with small cut in scenes at the end to allow them to play the whole ‘Supernatural’ song clip. Oddly, they even throw in a clip of Zoey doing her Strawberry Bell attack at the end, which is weird, because they’re not fighting yet.

The shot of Mint sleeping that was inserted in the very first scene is taken from this point….and they repeat it. I guess she’s REALLY comfortable in that position.

A shot of Mint’s window is removed. Also, Mint goes out on her balcony because she hears something. Corina goes out just because.

The back and forth between Mint and Zakuro is basically the same, but mentions of people dying and saying it doesn’t matter then if Mint dies now are obviously removed. The sentiment is basically kept though. I will say that Corina’s acting more selfish than Mint is.

Kisshu just notices something odd about the Mew Aqua but they don’t say what it is. In the dub, Sardon says it’s a more crystallized version…..but it’s a bubble so I dunno.

Ichigo says creating earthquakes underground will make subway workers mad. Zoey says she always knew they were vermin and now they’re working underground like rats.

*gasp* They didn’t do the motto again!

3d8tq7g

Maybe that motto is actually so awful that even 4Kids doesn’t want to do it anymore.

Wow, 4Kids & Studio Pierrot. Nice job on Zakuro’s face/some of her face redrawn when they got rid of the cross design of her whip.

rdrnuuk

I’ll go buy some Cheetos, she’ll probably get the munchies soon.

This whole thing with Zakuro attacking Mint was proving to her that there is a reason to fight. She cares about the lives of those precious to her, thus her fight is not useless. The dub continues on with Corina being scared of something and her admitting it.

Zakuro says, as I stated, that she’s finally found a reason to fight. She compares Mint to Ichigo in stating that, while they may think differently, they both always look ahead. Renee says it doesn’t matter that she’s scared. They all are. But that’s not a good enough reason to leave. She used the attack as a means to show her how it would be to fight an enemy on her own instead of with her team……So….you made her conquer her fears….by trying to kill her. Good job?

Nice record scratch 4Kids. Send me a postcard from Romantic Comedy Trailer Land.

Mint just thinks to herself “I am” over and over while Corina thinks to herself that she won’t be afraid.

Scene shifts, hooray. I am actually being kinda serious, because, believe it or not, I like what 4Kids did here.

In the original, we see Ichigo preparing her attack, and, for a split second, we see a split screen of Pudding and Lettuce just barely getting in a second of their attacks, and then Ichigo finishes her attack. In the dub, we start off with Bridget’s full attack, then Kiki’s, we see the effects on the monster and then Zoey starts her attack. I like this because the series has a nasty habit of excluding or downplaying the other girls barring Ichigo so it’s actually nice when 4Kids decides to give them more spotlight, no matter what the actual reason behind it is.

Pai is unimpressed with Mew Aqua’s powers, but Kisshu says that what they found wasn’t actually the real deal. It was another crystalline material that only gave a glimpse to what Mew Aqua can do…..What this material is and why it has properties similar to Mew Aqua is never explained, but whatever. Sardon says their hunt for Blue Aqua is off to a bad start, but Dren says it’s no problem because he still has his stash from earlier.

In the original, they’re talking about the silk of their pajamas, not wallpaper. Also, Ichigo asks if Mint’s been sleeping in the huge bedroom they’re in the whole time, but she quietly states to herself that Zakuro destroyed her actual room. Also, they’ve been to her house several times. They should know what her actual room looks like. In the dub, Zoey suggests that they make s’mores, and Corina quietly says to herself that she doesn’t know what those are….Seriously? I thought you were a true American. From America…..In America. Zoey then asks who she’s talking to, which I guess is supposed to be her breaking the fourth wall considering Corina’s kinda angled toward the audience but not really. Thus another dub joke that fails.

There’s a slow motion shot of Ichigo flying towards Mint to hug her for being back to normal that’s removed from the dub. Hugs are bad. M’kay?

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Another of Zakuro’s cross necklaces is censored.

Zakuro tells Miki that he put on good show, implying that she made a plan with Miki to put him in ‘danger’ to help Mint snap out of it. It also implies that Zakuro can talk to dogs. In the dub, Renee verbally rolls her eyes at the girls having a pillow fight and for some reason gives a thumbs up to Micky when she says “Sleepovers are so 13.” …..So 13? I think 4Kids is making up their own slang now. Also, this obviously means the implications of this scene are entirely gone from the dub.

The ending monologue by Ichigo is about how the pillow fight made them forget their worries and how they seemed to fly off with the feathers. The dub is explaining that Corina and Zoey are friends again, she’s back with the team, teamwork, friends yay.

————————————

This episode is….confusing. It’s obviously not the one where it’s implied that Mint can talk to birds, which I could’ve sworn it was. But beyond that….I don’t really get it. What was the dream about? In either version?

Flying? Okay. She never flew. Are you being metaphoric? Because, bitch, you a bird.

She’s overworked? Since when? She’s lazy as hell.

Is it the emotional toll of their responsibilities? I guess I can get that.

She thinks the fight is useless? Why? Since when? If not for the sake of saving the planet, completing their mission would also mean they’d never have to do Mew stuff again.

Dub-wise, though, why would she be just getting scared now? Because of the Blue Aqua factor? Why would she think that leaving her team would quell her fear? Oh yeah, you face that alien invasion without a team. I’m sure you’d be fine. Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I can’t wrap my head around the real message here. I dunno.

Other than that, the episode was pretty blah. I’m not that interested in Mint-centric episodes anyway, but this was particularly bland outside of the implication that Zakuro can now talk to dogs….something I don’t think is ever brought up again, in the anime anyway.

Next episode, it’s the end of summer and….I guess that means filler.

…Previous Episode


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