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4Kids Entertainment was an American company which was responsible for the production of the English-language version of the Pokémon anime from 1998 until 2005 (effectively seasons 1 through 8). They were also in charge of English productions for a number of other anime series, as well as creating original series from 1997 to 2013. Among anime fans, the company is notorious for its heavy editing of Japanese versions of series such as One Piece and Yu-Gi-Oh. However, Pokémon is actually among its most faithful adaptations. The company also handled licensing for many other Nintendo products and properties, including F-Zero and Kirby, until 4Kids let the licensing agreement expire in 2005.
Starting with the TV special The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon and continuing through season 9 onward, Pokémon USA (now known as The Pokémon Company International), maintained the English-language version of the Pokémon anime. Beginning in May 2008, 4Kids took control of the Kids' WB! block. The block is now known as The CW 4Kids. 4Kids announced that in order to retain control of TheCW4Kids, 4KidsTV will move online instead of being on FOX affiliates as of January 1, 2009. This block was later replaced with Toonzai, which was also owned by 4Kids. In 2012, 4Kids also ended the Toonzai block. Saban Brands then created the block called Vortexx, taking Toonzai's previous timeslot. This block was cancelled in 2014. As of 2015, many 4Kids television dubs no longer air on American Television (with the exception of the early seasons of Pokemon and the Pokemon Movies that they dubbed).
On June 1, 2010, the New York Stock Exchange delisted 4Kids from their listings.
TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems sued 4Kids Entertainment on March 24, 2011, due to "underpayments, wrongful deductions, and unmet obligations" concerning the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise. TV Tokyo and Nihon claimed that 4Kids' collaboration with Funimation Entertainment violated their original contract and enabled 4Kids to hide income amassed from home video production. They sought $4,792,460.36 USD in damages as a result.  In the midst of the lawsuit, 4Kids filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection on April 6, 2011. The lawsuit was settled on February 29, 2012, with 4Kids retaining rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise after a judge ruled that TV Tokyo and NAS had improperly terminated their agreement with 4Kids.
In June 2012, Saban Brands purchased the rights to several of 4Kids' anime properties, including Dragon Ball Z, Sonic X, Cubix and the Toonzai block. The rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise were sold to Konami (who also acquired 4Kids Productions, reincorporating it as 4K Media).
On December 5, 2012, 4Kids Entertainment announced that it had ended a dispute (over the so-called Pokémon agreement) with The Pokémon Company International under which TPCi will get a $1 million general unsecured claim against the debtor.
In December 13, 2012, 4Kids announced that they have exited their bankruptcy, and was reworking the structure of their company.
In December 21, 2012, 4Kids was reincorporated as 4Licensing Corporation.
Common complaints from fans concern 4Kids' tendency to edit some parts of the anime programming to make it more appropriate for the American audience (primarily children and pre-teenagers). There are various types of edits, which can be broken down into these categories:
- Cultural changes - Scenes relating to Japanese culture were often edited to be more accessible to American audiences. One example of this is the renaming of onigiri, which has been called a variety of things, from donuts to popcorn balls.
- Dialog edit - Sometimes a character's lines are edited so as to change the meaning. For example, in The Legend of Thunder!'s dub, Attila is Hun's new partner, whereas they had known each other for years in the original.
- Puns - Occasionally, a pun is made in the original that is lost in translation. More commonly, however, puns are put in where they were not before, such as in Electric Shock Showdown where Meowth pun-ishes Jessie and James. Puns were also used in the episode titles, a practice which The Pokémon Company International decided to continue until the start of the Best Wishes series.
- Music edit - In the Indigo League and Orange Islands seasons (and some of the movies), 4Kids kept most of the original Japanese music in the dub and added their own pieces to fill moments of silence in the series. All original music was kept beginning with movie 4, though the title screen music was changed for movies 4 and 5. Then, from the Johto League season to the Battle Frontier season (including Pokémon Chronicles), 4Kids replaced most of the Japanese music with their own music.
- Paint edit - Usually this is when Japanese text is removed, but it can be used for other things such as physically turning an onigiri into a sandwich in Judgment Day!.
- Cut - Sometimes a scene is removed completely. This is sometimes done for time constraints. Often, however, it is done as censorship, such as in James' breast scene in Beauty and the Beach or in the case of 'excessive' violence.
- Scene Switch - Occasionally, scenes are moved around, For example, several attacks are performed out of order in The Evolutionary War!.
- Motto - Team Rocket's motto usually changes slightly in each episode in the dub, yet in most cases it is exactly the same in the original.
- Opening/Ending - 4Kids create their own openings, using their own music. While the original has its own unique ending, the dub just has a shorter version of the opening along the left side of the screen. Alternatively, they may use an instrumental of the opening song in the ending.
- Who's That Pokémon? - Often, the Pokémon, layout, and presentation are different in the original. Although this feature stopped in Japan at the end of the Johto saga, it continued through Pokémon: Advanced in the dub. For Pokémon: Advanced Challenge, this was replaced by Trainer's Choice. However, this made a come back when Best Wishes aired.
- Pokérap/Pikachu's Jukebox/Pokémon Karaokémon - These music video segments which were shown in the early seasons of the dub were not present in the original.
Logo used on Pokemon the First Movie, with "Productions" replaced by "Entertainment".
- Official Site (defunct)
- Anime News Network article announcing the moving of dub production from 4Kids to Pokémon USA.
- Wikipedia article
- 4Licensing Corporation Official Site