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The company's former logo
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've also handled English production 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 series such as One Piece and Yu-Gi-Oh; however Pokémon is actually among its most faithful adaptations. The company also handled licensing for not only Pokémon, but many Nintendo products (such as similar anime based on the F-Zero and Kirby series) until they let the licensing agreement expire in 2006.
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), would be handling 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 also was 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 May 19, 2010, the New York Stock Exchange announced that 4Kids would be delisted from its listings.
In April, 2011, 4Kids filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy following a lawsuit.
In June 2012 Saban Brands purchased the assets of the company, with 4Kids' New York City offices and the rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise going to Konami(who also acquired 4Kids Productions, and reincorporated it as 4K Media), and Saban getting everything else.
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.
A common complaint from fans was centered around 4Kids' tendency to edit some parts of the anime programming to make it more appropriate for the American audience it hopes it will achieve (Usually kids or tweens). There are a variety of 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!, 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 used as well 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.
The company's original logo, used when the Pokémon anime began to be dubbed
A prototype version of the logo from 1995.
The logo without the ® symbol. This is seen in the beginning of Pokemon DVDs and videos from 1998-1999.
The logo with the ® symbol in the end of each Pokemon video (especially DVDs).