An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 21: It’s Time to S-S-S-S-S-S-SUE! (2011-2012)

Yes, everyone, we’re finally here. It’s the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit – the thing that finally killed 4Kids…..Kinda.

On March 24, 2011, TV Tokyo and NAS terminated their licensing agreement with 4Kids after an audit reportedly showed that 4Kids was making several millions of dollars in secret on their properties by making agreements with Cartoon Network, Majesco and Funimation and hiding much of the money they got from the “kickbacks.” (It should be noted that none of the mentioned companies are being accused in this lawsuit) TV Tokyo and NAS had a clear-cut 50/50 split for any revenue involving Yu-Gi-Oh!, and their audit allegedly revealed that they weren’t being given their full share as a result of these under the table dealings. 4Kids also reportedly improperly claimed numerous deductions amounting to over approximately $3mil including insurance coverage, the cost of the audit and the cost of dubbing the series, when they had a contract that stated 4Kids would accept the responsibility of all of those costs.

In the lawsuit, TV Tokyo and NAS requested $4,792,460.36 in damages.

According to the abstract of the legal proceedings, the audit occurred sometime in Q1 of 2010. A letter outlining the accused offenses was delivered to 4Kids on June 25, 2010. 4Kids would respond with their own letter disputing the allegations on June 29.

On December 20, ADK sent another letter finalizing the audit’s findings, claiming 4Kids owed them $4,819,000 in total. Again, 4Kids sent a letter back disputing the allegations.

On March 24, 2011, 4Kids received a letter from NAS on behalf of its parent company, ADK, to terminate their agreement from July 1, 2008 to claim the rights to Yu-Gi-Oh!. 4Kids disputed the termination, calling it “wrongful and devoid of any legal basis” because the termination notification did not meet the ten business day notice agreement made in their initial contract. TV Tokyo and ADK didn’t agree and sent another letter asserting that their termination was legal and final. That same day, they’d file a lawsuit for the alleged owed amount.

They had tried to settle this issue outside of court immediately following the audit. TV Tokyo and ADK made an undisclosed offer to settle the matter. 4Kids refused. At the request of ADK and TV Tokyo, 4Kids wired $1mil as a gesture of good faith in order to get negotiations started to settle the matter entirely. In response, TV Tokyo and ADK reps met with 4Kids in the US to work things out, but “4Kids abruptly terminated this meeting without a resolution to any of the outstanding issues.” Less than two weeks later, the lawsuit would be filed.

And Al Kahn would respond by…….

Not being there.

Mysteriously, on January 11, 2011, Al Kahn would retire from his role as chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment one year after the audit and two months before the termination and lawsuit would go down, handing down the reins temporarily to Director Michael Goldstein.

“After almost 25 years, I have reached the point in my career where I want to relinquish my responsibilities at 4Kids. The last several years have been particularly difficult and demanding with the business of 4Kids being buffeted by the financial crisis. After helping steer the company through challenging times, I have decided that it is the right moment for me to retire. I believe that going forward, Michael Goldstein and the team of experienced 4Kids executives will do an excellent job for our clients and for our shareholders.”

Of course Al Kahn had to pat himself on the back for getting them through the financial crisis, when, ya know….they didn’t. They survived it, but they didn’t “steer through (it).”

Poor Michael Goldstein. Kahn just made him conductor of the train a few seconds after they passed a “Bridge Out Ahead” sign. What I find especially funny is that Michael Goldstein was actually older than Al Kahn was at this point – Goldstein was 69 while Kahn was 64. This will only get even funnier once I cover where Al went once he ‘retired’.

I know I can’t prove it, and I know anyone who went through the recession leading any company would probably want to retire, but you can’t tell me this is a coincidence. This is way too close to when all this shit went down for me to believe that Kahn didn’t know a storm was coming and he needed to grab a lifeboat and dip out of there before the situation got even worse for them.

On April 1, 2011, 4Kids made a statement claiming they would do whatever it took to retain Yu-Gi-Oh! and their business, including filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Five days later, after an unsuccessful settlement proposal to TV Tokyo and ADK, they would do just that. 4Kids Entertainment and 11 affiliated companies went bankrupt, listing $23,372,000 in assets and $16,526,000 in liabilities, and they would list several creditors to whom they owed money, such as The CW ($1,987,000) ADK ($4,221,626 – I would imagine this is an unrelated debt as it wouldn’t make sense to be the same money being requested from the audit.), the previously mentioned TPC ($4,700,000), and, strangely, figurehead of Chaotic, Bryan Gannon to whom they owed $80,000 for some reason.

In previous reports, they did keep owing Gannon, CUSA and Apex money for expenses involving Chaotic’s productions, so maybe that was due to some leftover outstanding payments, but they don’t note exactly what it was for. From a note in the 2010 annual financial report, it’s also possible they still owed Gannon a little bit of severance pay or some other fees in regards to shutting down TC Digital Games and TC Websites and subsequently laying him off.

The bankruptcy hearings would put the lawsuit on hold until the bankruptcy court allowed them to proceed. The judge also ordered a hold on the Yu-Gi-Oh! termination, meaning 4Kids could still use the license until the lawsuit proceedings restarted and they made a decision about the validity of the termination. This was done as a means to prevent Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL from being sold to any other companies in the meantime, considering 4Kids had already started working on the series and teasing its release and would suffer financially if TV Tokyo and NAS sold it during the litigation.

On June 10, 4Kids filed countersuit against TV Tokyo and ADK for wrongful termination of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s license citing the aforementioned failure to notify them at least ten business days in advance of the termination.

No one really had any faith that 4Kids would win this lawsuit, mostly because a lot of people either just really wanted 4Kids to die as a result of the litigation because of their disdain for the company and its practices or no one believed that they didn’t deal under the table and steal from the Japanese companies because 4Kids bad.

However….4Kids believed in the heart of the cards.

Yes, 4Kids won this lawsuit. On December 29, 2011, the bankruptcy court (to which the suit had been moved as per the agreement of both parties) ruled in favor of 4Kids, agreeing that TV Tokyo and NAS did not give at least ten business days of notice before termination of the contract, so the termination was void and the rights to Yu-Gi-Oh! belonged with 4Kids.

Many people believe that 4Kids purely lucked out and weaseled their way out of punishment for shady business practices on technicality, myself included when I first started writing this article, but it seems that’s not true either. The judge ruled that, in response to the claims that 4Kids owed TV Tokyo and ADK/NAS money as per the audit, the findings were “99% meritless.

According to the judge in the lawsuit,

“Even if it were the case that Licensor had properly complied with the formal notice of breach and termination requirements in the 2008 Agreement, the termination was nonetheless ineffective because the notice sent by Licensor was substantively defective. Plaintiffs’ purported basis for termination – 4Kids’ failure to promptly pay the royalty underpayment reflected in the audit – was improper because the amount owed to Plaintiffs, if any, was nowhere near the $4.819 million amount asserted in the termination letter and the purported notices of breach.”

As for that 1% that was given merit, one that 4Kids did not dispute, they only owed $48,000, which was largely offset by the $800,000 credit that they got on March 24, 2011. The court was so firmly in favor of 4Kids, that they criticized the Japanese companies’ mention of “good faith”, claiming that “If anyone is the victim of a breach of trust, it is 4Kids.

On February 29, 2012, 4Kids, TV Tokyo and ADK/NAS settled 4Kids’ countersuit. TV Tokyo and ADK/NAS would pay $8,000,000 to 4Kids as a result on March 27, 2012. 4Kids would continue to hold the license for three months until they had a bidding war between 4K Acquisition Corp, a subsidiary of Konami, and Kidsco Media Ventures LLC, an affiliate of Saban, for a variety of 4Kids’ assets including the coveted Yu-Gi-Oh! license. On June 26, 2012, Konami won big.

While Kidsco got some of 4Kids’ assets, like broadcast rights to Dragon Ball Z and Kai, under a new agreement with Toei and Funimation, Cubix, Sonic X and the CW block, Toonzai, which Saban would rename to Vortexx, Konami acquired the full rights and assets to Yu-Gi-Oh! and other titles. This basically made 4Kids ‘victory’ in the lawsuit pretty much moot. They were even able to acquire 4Kids’ production materials such as domain names, music, sound recording rights, any production or recording/editing equipment, office supplies, furniture, computers and more from 4Kids’ offices.

Oh and they would also be taking 4Kids’ offices.

As of the acquisition, Konami would create 4K Media, made in place of 4Kids Productions, which would officially shut down on August 14, 2012. According to an interview with Yumi Hoashi, Konami Digital Entertainment Vice President of Card Business, “Some” of the employees from 4Kids Productions would be retained in order to maintain the same branding and “messaging” but it’s unknown how many of their employees they retained.

As a final note to 2011, 4Kids acquired the South Korean/Japanese series, Tai Chi Chasers on March 22, 2010 and released it on September 17, 2011. It was the first new anime 4Kids had dubbed since Dinosaur King in 2008. According to Al Kahn in his conference call for Q4 of 2009,

“4Kids needs to return to its roots as a licensing and merchandising company [that] specializes in bringing wonderful Japanese programming and merchandising to the rest of the world.”

Quite the turnaround from claiming anime and manga were dying and that profitable shows and franchises for the US couldn’t be found in Japan.

4Kids stopped producing it on June 2, 2012 due to the bankruptcy and loss of 4Kids Productions. Tai Chi Chasers was not acquired by any other licensing company, even with so many of their assets being sold off. 4Kids would retain the rights as 4Licensing until 2017 when the rights expired/4Licensing died, but no one to date has picked up the North American or international rights. It’s now only in the hands of Toei and Iconix Entertainment.

At the end of the year, 4Kids had a net revenue of $12,346,000, down from $14,478,000 in 2010. They had a net loss of $17,084,000.

Next – Part 22: Time 4 Change

Previous – Part 20: It’s Time to Get Your Game Revved Up!


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 20: It’s Time to Get Your Game Revved Up! (2011)

That’s right everyone. It’s time to talk about Yu-Gi-Oh! in 2011.

It’s…..

Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time.

What? What else Yu-Gi-Oh! related happened in 2011?

In the quarterly conference call for Q4 2009, taking place on March 24, 2010, Al Kahn told investors that they were in the process of dubbing the recently released Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D movie, Bonds Beyond Time. 4Kids made a really big deal out of the release, which was both fitting because it was a 10th anniversary event and because 4Kids was in dire straits and needed money. They showed a 20 minute preview at the San Diego ComicCon in July of 2010, and had Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG demonstrations, appearances by the voice actors, a cosplay contest, and a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A new booster pack featuring a selection of nine limited edition cards for the movie would also be available in stores on February 2011.

The full film would have a limited release in Cinedigm 3D theaters on February 26 and 27 2011, a repeat set of viewings would be available on March 5 and 6. Theatergoers would receive a promotional Malefic Red-Eyes Black Dragon card upon ticket purchase. The American version of the release includes over ten minutes of footage recapping events from the three series in order to ensure everyone in the audience is caught up to follow along.

The movie was basically as edited as anything 4Kids would usually release on TV, including editing the cards to once again not show the description, name etc. instead showing the picture, type and attack/defense points like normal – which was incredibly strange because the last Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, the one that was ordered by 4Kids, left the cards alone – and removing instances of text, which, from the Pokemon movie releases, they tended to not do on movies. These edits also included making an entirely new soundtrack, complete with new sound effects, which is another practice people thought 4Kids more or less stopped with the Pokemon movies, but I guess not.

The movie ended with a message saying “”Duelists, thank you for a decade of dueling…and the best is yet to come.””

Need I remind you that this movie was released in March of 2011….

This movie was also ridiculously short at 50 minutes, made to be 60-65 minutes on the American release. Meaning that the preview that was shown at ComicCon was really, not counting the recap, because I doubt they showed that there, nearly half the movie….

Reception for this movie was……uhm…bad. There were some good things to say about it, like how fun it was to see all three main protagonists of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise to date teaming up with each other, that it was intense and the pacing was good…..That was about it. To be fair, people did praise the English version for including the recap because it helped older fans and non-fans go into the movie without being confused. However, the recap seems to be missing from streaming releases, and in the DVD releases the recap was marked as an extra, not part of the actual movie.

Criticisms for the movie ranged from it being too short overall to the final duel being too short to the original Gen (Yugi) not being given enough focus while the most recent Gen, at the time (Yusei), being given too much focus to the animation being mid quality (not really up to snuff for a feature film) to the plot being way too simple and yet still loaded with plot holes that “even kids will see through.” to the villain being a rip-off of either Anubis or Dartz. Overall, it was written off by many as a movie designed purely to sell cards and less of a true celebration of the franchise’s ten year legacy. At best, it was just simple fun that old fans and newer ones could enjoy, but at worst it was a 50 minute long commercial that even fans would have difficulty wanting to watch more than once.

The movie made $2,017,928 in the Japanese box office (Which would be about ¥268,968,614.16) coming at sixth in the Japanese box office that weekend. When it was released on DVD and Blu-Ray, it was the second most popular title of its genre.

Because of the limited release, box office returns of the movie in the US and the UK never surfaced. Worldwide, it had a box office return of $2.6mil but over $2mil of that is attributed to Japan’s theatrical release, and the other $600,000 was attributed to South Korea, so the actual figures seem incomplete to a certain degree.

To make matters even worse, 4Kids never released the movie on DVD. I don’t know if they were really able to at the time. *thunderclap* However, in the UK, Manga Entertainment, which had the distribution rights there, released the movie in theaters on May 14 and 21 in stereoscopic theaters, and then they released a DVD and Blu-Ray of the movie on May 30, 2011. The Blu-Ray would include the special promotional Malefic Red-Eyes Black Dragon card that wasn’t included in the UK theater release as it was in America, and the Japanese track with English subtitles. It had actually reached number two on Manga Entertainment’s best selling DVDs of the year, but Manga Entertainment pretty much spit at the success of the title claiming on their Twitter “I think [it was] because it was available in Asda and Morrisons, came with a free rare card and was stupidly cheap on [the] shelf.”

It wouldn’t be until 2014 when New Video Group would release the Blu-Ray and DVD in America, including the option to play the Japanese track with subtitles.

Honestly, I really feel like this was another instance of Al being a tiny bit delusional with how successful he thinks a title will be, or maybe, much more sadly, he knew how much Yu-Gi-Oh!’s revenues supported 4Kids and how they would likely be more reliant on the property in the future considering Pokemon was gone (but they were still getting residuals from it) so was TMNT, and Chaotic had fallen on its face. He probably really wanted the movie to be a huge success so he could maybe get a boost in sales and a big boost in interest before ZEXAL was released. At the very least, he was doing his damnedest to convince investors that 4Kids would be doing better this year. Maybe he didn’t really analyze the Japanese returns for the movie well enough or overestimated how successful it would be in America, which I can’t imagine how that’s possible considering how badly the first Yu-Gi-Oh! movie did.

But oh how devastatingly wrong he was either way. The call was a few months before the audit, and I feel like Al must’ve known that the hammer was being bought to put the final nail in the coffin…..And the nail would meet that hammer a mere three weeks after the movie had been released…..

Next – Part 21: It’s Time to S-S-S-S-S-S-SUE!

Previous – Part 19: 4Kids Pre-Death Dead Period


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Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Judai Yuki is an aspiring duelist preparing to take his entrance exam for Duel Academia – the prestigious school dedicated to raising the best duelists in the world. When one of the teachers at the school, a high ranked professor named Chronos, learns that a tardy upstart who scored low on his written exams wants to take his final exam, he decides to teach this student a lesson and uses his own deck to duel him himself. However, Chronos learns a lesson as well – never underestimate your opponent.

—————————————-

The opening theme song is changed, of course. Instead, we get a fairly catchy theme called ‘Get Your Game On.’ Yes, it’s lame, but at the very least it’s an ear worm. I’m kinda disappointed because Yu-Gi-Oh actually had a really great theme song, and instead we get this generic song. 4Kids did seem to get worse and worse with theme songs as time went by. We went from making one of the best and most memorable English themes to date with the first Pokemon theme to this and later to One Piece and Mew Mew Power

To be honest, I’m not crazy about the opener in the original either, I think it’s one of those songs that needs to grow on me. It’s okay. But it seems kinda….clusterfuckish?

You know the drill with 4Kids dubs. Always background music, most of it being 4Kids’ score, hardly ever any silence and whatnot.

Entire Show Edit: As with the series preceding it, the cards are painted to only show their type color, attack and defense powers and the picture for the card to avoid getting in legal trouble with whomever controls that stuff.

Judai originally tells us that his train was late, which is making him late for his exam. However, he takes this in stride and says it’s just another test being thrown at him. In the dub, Jaden, with a serious look at first, says he’s completely prepared for the exam barring him being late, but he doesn’t care because it’s not like he can get detention if he’s not even accepted yet.

This is kinda subtle, but it shows us differences in the character throughout the versions. Judai seems to take everything like a challenge that he’s more than willing to face. Jaden seems like a prepared yet lazy idiot. I’m not going to like Jaden as much as I like Judai as time goes on, am I?….I’m not going to like Jaden much period, am I?

Name Change: Judai Yuki is changed to Jaden Yuki. I will never fully understand why 4Kids chooses to change a Japanese first name but not a last name or vice versa. I know it’s less Japanese, but it’s still Japanese.

This is our first glimpse at Yugi’s older self in the series. Though they never show his face above the nose, he obviously looks and sounds exactly like Yami did. Fans speculate that this solidifies that Yugi is Yami’s reincarnation, and that very well might be true. Then again, that would mean that Bakura’s Yami Bakura’s reincarnation? Though he looks are pretty much the same, Bakura’s nothing like Yami Bakura. Also, I’d hate to imagine timid little Bakura growing up to look exactly like Yami Bakura.

Also, how did Judai not immediately recognize him? Yugi’s not exactly a face or moreso a hairstyle you forget easily, particularly when you’re an aspiring duelist.

The title card is missing, and in it’s place, they misplaced the opening theme. In the original, the opener was played at the very beginning of the episode. In the dub, it’s after Jaden meets Yugi. I have a feeling this will be this way through the entire series.

Also, the title’s kinda….well, fans might be kinda miffed by it. It’s Yugi’s Successor. While Judai is our new hero for the show, ‘successor’ kinda implies that he surpasses Yugi. To the best of my knowledge, while we have had several new heroes, the general consensus is that none of them can surpass Yugi.

Title Card:

If the title card is different each episode, I may update it like I do with Digimon, but it’s pretty generic so it might not change. Yu-Gi-Oh’s never changed, as far as I know.

Clips for the opener are kept relatively the same, but 4Kids changes several of them and switches places with a lot of them.

Opening narration tells us that the school is a part of Kaiba Land. In the dub, we get PA announcements about the exam, and Crowler, in regards to talking about the duelists who fail the exam, says “good luck at Duel Monsters Community College.”……..Guys, tell me that’s not a thing. I know later we learn there is an actual Dueling College, but also community college? Tell me this isn’t a thing!

More narration tells us that the Duel Academia’s exam consists of two parts – written and practical exams. Those who get high enough grades on the written exam move on to the practical exam. Those who pass the practical exam are enrolled in the school and placed in a dorm based on their scores.

In the dub, Syrus has inner monologue running instead, saying how it’s hard to concentrate with all of the academy kids staring at him and how he wishes he were already enrolled.

They cut out another overhead shot of the separate duel arenas as the exams are being conducted.

The Life Point counter has been drastically altered in the new series.

Subbed: 

Dubbed:

While the new one for the original is pretty generic and similar to the previous series in the original, barring it’s color changing instead of flat blue, the new one of the dub is drastically changed. It’s gold with several decorations on it, and in addition to a number life point counter there’s also a life point gauge to the side.

Also, the LP count on Daichi is wrong. Originally he had 3000 and in the dub he has 3200. Both versions still have him going down to 1300 after the damage calculations, though.

The original exam proctor for Daichi’s duel was telling him that there’s no way he can reduce his life points since he has a super defense deck.

In the dub, he mocks him by giving him a fake multiple choice question. “You have two monsters staring you down. Do you A) Throw in the towel, B) Beg for mercy or C) Cry home to mama?” Daichi originally just follows this by giving an explanation of his next move. In the dub, he responds to the conductor’s taunts by saying “D) None of the above.”

Originally the Ring of Destruction card was a collar with grenades on it (Someone call Jigsaw) In the dub it’s just a collar with fireballs on it…..On the card anyway. I guess 4Kids thought animating fire was too much so they just made them into little red egg things.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Yes, I also think it looks like he’s wearing Christmas lights on his neck.

Name Change: Daichi Misawa is changed to Bastion Misawa.

One of Chazz’s friends has a southern accent for no reason whatsoever. His other friend sounds like a stereotypical idiot.

Chazz: “We went to Duel Prep School for three years…” TELL ME THIS ISN’T A THING!

Name Change: Jun Manjoume is changed to Chazz Princeton. Yes, 4Kids basically did everything in their power to make a ‘jackass rich guy’ name.

Jun originally says there’s no room for two kings of Duel Academia. In the dub, he says he’s going to teach these punk duelists the hard way – the Chazz Princeton way. Because if there’s one way to solidify your status as a douche, it’s speaking in third person.

Shou explains that your exam number is your test rank on the written exam. Daichi was the top of the class which means he’s number 1. Shou was 119 and Judai was 110. Shou tells him that the lower ranked duel exams were over already, which meant Judai had a very short window to duel.

In the dub, they don’t keep the ranks. They just say Bastion was the number one student in the written phase and that they just barely passed. To make Jaden freak out about his exam, Syrus’ dialogue is changed to telling Jaden that Bastion’s duel exam was meant to be the last one of the day.

Crowler: “Did you just call me ‘sir?”

Registration guy: “Well, yes. I’m fairly new here and–”

Crowler: “I’ll have you know I have a PhD in dueling. I think I’ve earned the title ‘doctor’!”

…….A….p….A PhD….in dueling….did you hear that guys?….A PhD….in dueling…..a dueling….doctor…..hahahahahahahahahahah….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!…..Oh, doctor, please tell me what trap card would be best in this situation! AHAHHHHAHAHAHA THAT’S A NICE USE OF LIKE 200,000 DOLLARS! Ahhh…The only thing that’s getting me through these ridiculous claims is that these supposed titles and institutions only exist in the dub…..so far.

Cronos originally said that someone so low rank doesn’t deserve his exam if he’s tardy.

Cronos also sneaks Italian into his speech for whatever reason in the original. In the dub, this isn’t present.

Name Change: Principal Samejima is changed to Chancellor Sheppard.

Name Change: Cronos De Minici is changed to Vellian Crowler.

Samejima originally tells Cronos that he heard a new applicant might be refused because he was late due to a train incident. He tells Cronos to accept the exam applicant since their job is to train a diverse group of duelists and give everyone a fair shot.

In the dub, Sheppard calls up to check to see if everything’s okay since he doesn’t want a repeat of last year where apparently Crowler dismissed a third of the potential applicants due to calling him ‘mister.’ You’d think that’d be a firable offense, but I guess there are only so many duel doctors in the world.

Cronos originally doesn’t want to test Judai because the school’s only for the dueling elite, not some low ranked slackers, and he wonders why Samejima’s defending him. In the dub, he explains that there are enough talentless students at the academy already.

Shou asks how Judai’s so confident since he only ranked nine levels higher than him in the written exam. In the dub, Syrus just comments on how confident Jaden is and wonders if he’s really that good. Basically the same, but they’re still omitting the ranks.

Name Change: Shou Marufuji is changed to Syrus Truesdale.

Cronos’ original title was Chief General Director of Practical Application. In the dub he’s Department Chair of Techniques.

Judai doesn’t insult Cronos by saying he thought he was the academy mascot like a majorette or a cheerleader (and nice way to insult your exam proctor. I’m sure that’s great for your end grade.) He just says that, due to Cronos’ great title, he must be expecting a lot from him.

Jun’s friends initially speak about how surprised they are that Cronos himself is doing the exam, which makes Jun very angry. In the dub, Chazz’s friends say that Jaden’s got quite the attitude, which makes Jun mad for some reason. What, is he super defensive when Crowler’s involved?

Nitpick, but the Duel Vest is originally called a Duel Coat….And that thing looks ridiculous and seems really impractical to wear.

The attack and defense indicator is also changed for the new series. There’s less decoration in the dub than the LP indicator, but still.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Not even going to bother talking about the catchphrase for this series, “Get Your Game On.” I find it really annoying, yet less so than “Believe it!” but moreso than “It’s Time to Duel!” And I find it just dates this show badly like other slang 4Kids has put in here like “tight.”

Cronos’ original inner monologue was analyzing Judai’s first turn. Taking from the fact that he used an Elemental Hero on his first turn, Cronos believes Judai must be some sort of small town hero. In the dub, he just thinks about how he’s going to fail Jaden.

Cronos calls Judai’s deck a dropout deck (I guess dropout is a common sleight to Judai in the original) In the dub, Crowler says he remembers using cards like those when he was a naïve rookie.

Judai then thinks to himself that Cronos is insulting the deck he put his life into. In the dub, Jaden doesn’t have any inner monologue, Crowler’s still speaking.

Cronos originally says “That’s what they call being a frog in a well. Ribbit ribbit.” In the dub, he tells Jaden he shouldn’t speak out of turn.

His original dialogue points to an old Chinese fable about a frog in a well who would brag about how great his life was. However, his viewpoint was narrow because he only knew of life in the well. One of the animals that he bragged to decided to take him out of the well and show him the world above, which made him change his viewpoint and realize there’s a much bigger world beyond the well. This is basically Cronos saying Judai’s naïve since he’s only seeing what’s in front of him and not beyond….However, him going ‘ribbit ribbit’ makes it seem like he’s calling himself the frog so something might’ve gone wrong here.

They don’t refer to Cronos’ deck by name in the dub. It’s his Dark Ages deck.

As expected, the commercial break eyecatches are edited out. If these change in the future, I’ll update them.

Shou marvels at how Cronos summoned an eight star monster suddenly on his first turn. In the dub, Syrus says Jaden’s nuts for taking on that legendary monster. Gotta say, for legendary, that thing looks like ass. It could easily be a three-star monster and I’d see no difference.

Name Change: Ryo Marufuji is changed to Zane Truesdale. And oh wonderful, he’s voiced by the same guy who voices Mark in Mew Mew Power. At least it fits Zane more than Mark seeing as how Zane’s older. Still not quite old enough for the voice, but better.

Name Change: Asuka Tanjouin is changed to Alexis Rhodes.

Ryo initially tells us that Cronos has yet to lose after summoning that monster, and he must be taking this duel very seriously to bring it out. In the dub, Zane comments on how gutsy Jaden is for not even flinching at such a monster.

The Golem’s Ultimate Pound attack is changed to Mechanized Melee.

Shou says that the Golem’s ability, to reduce the opponents life points by the difference between its attack and his monster’s defense points, defies the rules…No it doesn’t. While I do like to take any opportunity to call out cheating in these shows, that effect is perfectly legal, and other monsters and cards have similar abilities. If it was against the rules, it wouldn’t be written on the card.

Judai says he’s honored to have such a prestigious professor at the academy dueling at his peak against him. In the dub, Jaden just says he wants to go to the school even more now because he’s enjoying the duel so much.

Judai doesn’t gloat in his head in the original.

Judai/Jaden isn’t in the least bit freaked out that his card just winked at him?

They changed the transition to the flashback with Yugi. Instead of a slightly wavy fade in and out, 4Kids uses this jarring bubble/fish eye lens transition.

Not sure why Cronos isn’t taking Winged Kuriboh more seriously. Granted, it is Kuriboh, but is he forgetting that the Kuriboh collection was one of Yugi’s, the King of Games, signature creatures? That doesn’t mean Judai knows how to play him well, but he should know better than to discredit it like that.

Wh…what? Asuka and Ryo talk about how it’s weird, yet also fascinating, that Cronos didn’t know of Winged Kuriboh’s effects, and Ryo says the dueling world is boundless – even the best don’t know everything. This is kept the same in both versions but……..Well, okay…but he has a PhD….in DUELING PBBBBTTHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH–…Oh sorry. Anyway, he’s a duel doctor – You’d think that’d mean he’d extensively know all of the cards of the King of Games, at the very least.

Burstinatrix’s outfit is censored.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

We don’t see or hear Cronos talking before we see the splitscreen of Ryo, Asuka and Jun on screen. I guess 4Kids really didn’t think kids had the memory span or math skills to know that Elemental Hero Flame Wingman had less attack points than the Golem so they added the scene to shove it down their throats.

Daichi also says that Elemental Hero Flame Wingman is only summonable through fusion instead of repeating and explaining again than it has less attack points than the Golem.

The dub seems to have a fetish for what I call ‘frame-shoving’ transitions. Basically where one scene ‘shoves’ another out of the way. I have no idea why, but for some reason it makes the show completely RADICAL and TIGHT!

Wow….Skyscraper’s such an OP card. In the original, Judai explains that Skyscraper’s ability is to increase an attacking Hero card’s attack by 1000 points if it’s attacking a creature with higher attack points. In the dub, it’s just that Skyscraper by default raises the Hero’s attack by 1000 points. Either way, that’s almost unfair it’s so powerful. And it’s not like there’s any criteria for using it either, it’s just a field spell card. Wow.

EMFW’s Skyscraper Shot is changed to Skydive Scorcher. Which does sound better, in my opinion.

Jaden: “And because of my Wingman’s super power…” It’s a special ability not a super power…

Judai’s final catchphrase is changed. At the end of a duel, he says “Gotcha!” while sometimes adding “That was a fun duel!” In the dub, he says “That’s game!” Judai also doesn’t say “Throw down a face-down.”

Not surprisingly, the dub completely omits the ending theme and the next episode previews. The ending song is okay, but the background animation is lazy. It’s just recycled moving still shots going over and over on a card background.

Next episode will have Judai dueling with Jun and the new students of Duel Academia get assigned to their dorms.


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