"The Problems With 4Kids, and What They Need To Do In Order To Improve
Back Again Into A Successful Company" By: "GreatSaiyaman777"

To:

4Kids Entertaiment, Inc. 
1414 Avenue of the Americas 
New York, NY 10019 

Dear 4Kids Entertainment,

Alright.  In the past your company has basically been like, "Ahem. We-are-4Kids.  Why do so many anime fans have a problem with us?  Don't they understand that we're a company FOR KIDS that targets the children's
demographic? Fans love to complain about us for no reason whatsoever over the way we dub our shows, failing to realize that we are a BUSINESS trying to MAXIMIZE our profits, hello?  I mean... Christ, the vast majority of all those "fans" downloading fansubs or who have even heard of "bit torrent" constitute far less than 1% of anyone who has ever heard of anime and these people are simply the niche otaku fandom market that can easily be overlooked.  THEY are not a part of our target audience and thus, it is unimportant to worry about them when dubbing shows.  When dubbing shows what it is best to do is to focus strictly on the kid's market- the most profitable market chunk to get high ratings from mind you... and to do stuff that makes them as happy as possible and ensures that they sit throught and watch all of our programs.  Why, to try and make a product that "appeals" to the niche market otaku fandom constituting well under a percentage point of our total market would cause us to go bankrupt! Besides, the changes people love to complain about that we make like, oh say, replacing the music... how many focus groups have you guys done, hmm?  Don't you realize that studies show that replacing the music makes fans, mainly young American children, HAPPIER?  Or that they have great difficulty sitting through with silence which quickly bores them and will flip the remote if given an opportunity?  Now, I know some fans in particular (particularly that annoying GreatSaiyaman777, good God does he annoy us a lot) like to boast, "but oh!  Look at the dozens and more examples of Japanese shows in non-Japan countries playing the original music with silence and getting great Blockbuster ratings!!"

Yes, that is a fine and dandy-sounding explanation to tout.  HOWEVER- American children have been classicaly conditioned to be used to no moments of musical silence!  Other countries have grown up with programs like that
and so, are "softened up" to speak and have audiences which would be more tolerant of said usage of original music because they're used to it.  Without the vast American children's anime on tv market being used to original Japanese music with silence there is absolutely NO reason at all to try and get them used to it. Erm... I mean... no reason to put it out there... look.  Say we did that- ratings killer, hello?  It's all about getting the next big bucks so we can't change the past strategy and formula for dubbing and localizing Japanese foreign shows we've used, as that would be uncharted waters that could potentially hurt us.  But hey, blast us all you want you fan jerks, at the end of the day we're the millionaires at the big company and you're not, and that alone pretty much says which side is right."


That's the attitude you've carried.  However, you started out with two very major properties, Pokemon and YGO, which as some might describe were"unsinkable."  From there you've turned them into mighty money blockbusters that have made you tons of money and enhanced your reputation as a company that pretty much always gets high ratings for it's shows and creates merchandising empires for them.  It's all been fine and dandy for you before, right?

Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore.

First off, Shaman King.  In an interview online a representative of 4Kids who was being interviewed commented that it "wasn't doing as well as we'd expected" and that hopefully it'd pick up some more steam, to paraphrase
her.  Translating the PR talk, that basically means that Shaman King got far lesser ratings than what had been hoped for. Now let's look at some fairly recent ratings for Fox Box.  Here is the makeup of ratings for the Saturday of November 30th, 2004 for Fox Box.( http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=125940 )

"Fox Box (8 am-12 pm): (1.2/5 Average)
8:00 am- Cramp Twins (1.1/7)
8:30 am- Winx Club (1.6/7)
9:00 am- Sonic X (1.8/7)
9:30 am- One Piece (1.5/6)
10:00 am- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1.2/5)
10:30 am- F-Zero: GP Legend (1.1/4)
11:00 am- Kirby (0.8/3)
11:30 am- Shaman King (1.0/4)"

Before discussing these ratings let's look at One Piece.  In Japan it gets massive ratings as one of the top shows there.  It's viewing audience constitutes of not just kids but also teenagers, older people and families.  For the fastest selling manga of all time in Japan's anime adaptation, that's not too surprising.  Some stores in Japan even have whole rooms dedicated to nothing but One Piece merchandise. In short, One Piece fits the "unsinkable" formula of DBZ, Pokemon and YGO- it's pretty much a guaranteed winner in foreign countries.  Hell, Pokemon
made you guys big and DBZ took Funimation from a poor starving company that had trouble rounding up va's for Season 3 (and that did educational videos and Chuckie Cheese videos for extra cash, as well as having some of the va's then take on multiple roles to reduce costs) into the Anime Behemoth it's become today.  It's not because the Fukunagas, Cocanoughers, Watson and other architects of the company were "geniuses" (a word which some at Funimation have actually used to described themselves in the past) who"treated DBZ just right for achieving maximum ratings", it's because DBZ was a great enough show to thrive even in that poor of an environment.

Now then, for readers unfamilar with ratings this chart means that at this date and timeslot One Piece scored a 1.5 (it's a smaller number that represents a much large number of viewers like say, a million or more or several hundreds of thousands) in viewing numbers and captured 6% of the total tv viewing audience for that time slot.  And above, the numbers watching throughout the time slot overall (8-11 am for ALL shows on Fox Box, not just One Piece) constitute an average of 1.2 in viewer numbers and a 5% of the total tv viewing audience for that time slot. This ratings number defeated CBS (Nick on CBS), NBC (Discovery Kids), Jetix (data not listed) and came very close to Disney. (1.5/6)  Still, despite the offset One Piece managed to best "Stanley" (http://disney.go.com/disneychannel/playhouse/stanley/ - ah, this show actually looks kind of cute, heh) attracting .2 more viewers and an additional point more of viewership during that show.  Argh, One Piece managed to sink Stanley's ship by the thread of a whisker.  Thar be no other blocks listed for CBS and NBC during One Piece's slot (me assumes perhaps because the toonzone list probably only lists cartoon shows during the blocks) so let's focus our attention elsewhere.

ABC scored.... a 1.8/7 Average.  That gives them .6 more viewers and 2 percent more viewership during your block.  Argh, twas a tough fight but yar cannon skills wasn't up to speed.

KidsWB scored.... a 2.4/10 Average.  That gives them 1.2 more viewers and 5 percent more viewership during your block.  Argh, they bested ye in that duel.  Cartoon Network... got 2.8/12 Average putting them 1.6 more viewers and 7 percent more viewership ahead of ye.  Argh, they made you walk the plank thar, that they did!  I feel for ye, come by me tavern and I'll buy ye a freed round of grogs and root beer for ye little whiles while I sing me best pirate songs.

And Nickelodeon?  6.6/28 average.  Whoa, that puts those scurvy dogs 5.4 viewers ahead of ye and gives em MORE than a whooping 5 TIMES ye viewership! They bested ye in battle, looted and plundered ye ships for all their treasure, burned them and then left ye behind in lifeboats!  Now.... me pirate heart be feelin for ye... tell ye what.  I don't do this for very many people, but next time ye come by me pirate tavern not only will I give ye and the little ones free grog and root beers, I'll even put up computers for ye with Monkey Island 1 installed on them so that ye may play them. Trust me, the sheer piratey joy of Monkey Island 1 be enough to turn the frown upside on any pirate, no matter how bad he be feelin. (and please give me regards to the Governor and the Sword Master, oh, and that shop dude...not that ar be "interested" in him but I do feel guilty stealing from him every game)

Now them, ahem (exits pirate mood) let's look at the individual ratings for One Piece and every other show that competed in it's block.  We've established that One Piece defeated Stanley. However,

Fox Box- 9:30 am- One Piece (1.5/6)
ABC Kids- 9:30 am- Fillmore (1.6/6)
KidsWB- 9:30 am- Xiaolin Showdown (2.7/11)
Cartoon Network- 9:30 am- Codename: Kids Next Door (3.4/13)
Nickelodeon- 9:30 am- SpongeBob SquarePants (7.5/29)

By the sea gods... Fillmore?  What in the hell be that show, it... oh. (http://psc.disney.go.com/abcnetworks/toondisney/abckids/fillmore/ )  Thar be some very nice flash thar, I'll concede that much. Now then... Xiaolin Showdown?  Violin Showdown?  What by Lucifer's beard be that, do KidsWB doing be importing the Chinaman's shows now?  Oh. ( http://www2.warnerbros.com/xiaolin/main.html )  Argh well whatever it be not something I be watching, I've learned better than to be trusting of them squinty-eyed yellow devils ever since I lost me old mate to an opium den back in Shanghai. Now then... Kids Next Door. Oh- I do believe I've heard of it!  "Ahhh mates, ah be number something an ah be da ead of da kids next door!  C'mon, we're gonna go rustle-tussle wit some big meany bullies that ar trying to romper-stomper in me neighborhood!"  Ho ho, how I truly love that show.  Sigh.... if only every boy could grow up in a neighborhood with a giant secret treehouse organization and save the planet.... maybe then mankind could truly learn peace then I could hoist down me pirate flag.... sigh. Erm.. ahem, uh, just forget that last part.  Now then... SpongeBob- oh! 
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!  Why, tis me favorite show in the whole wide world, SPONGEBOB SQUARE PANTS!

Ohhhh.... ohhhhhhhh...... oohhhhhhhhh.... OOOOOOHHHHHHHH.....

Who lives in a pinneapple under the sea?
"SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!"
Absobant and yellow and pourous is he?
"SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!"
Whose nautical nonsense be something you wish?
"SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!"
So drop on the deck and flop like a fish!
"SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!"
Ready?

SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!
SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!
SPONGEBOB!  SQUAREPANTS!
Spongebob... SQUAREPANTS!

HAHAHAHAHAHA!
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
HAHAHAHAHAHA!
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Oh... ha ha argh argh ha ha... truly that song do crack me up every time. Why, ahem... speaking of SpongeBob... did III mention that ye can see me in thar movie ads and previews of it?  Arrrgh... I be thar handsome pirate with
the eyepatch sitting in the middle, so be sure to catch me first theatrical debut! (watch out Tom Cruise, Captain Argh be ready to set sail and plunder Hollywood!)

But anyway, ahem (exits pirate mood again)...

As for Jetix, there was a recent ratings report on it with it's shows listed and it has several cartoons on it though it seems to be one of the if not the lowest performing blocks of all the channels. Okay, let's look at some other recent available ratings from the week after.

-2. CBS (Nick on CBS) (7 am - 9 am / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm): (0.7/4 Average)

-1. NBC (Discovery Kids) (10 am - 1 pm): (0.8/4 Average)

0. Fox Box (8 am-12 pm): (1.1/5 Average)

1. Disney Channel (8 am-12 pm): (1.1/5 Average) (almost a tie, but Disney still had .1 more viewers total if you count all of them, though the "average" total viewers is rounded up to the same number as Fox Box in the charts)

2. ABC Kids (8 am - 12:30 pm): (1.4/6 Average)

3. Cartoon Network (8 am-12 pm): (2.9/13 Average)

4. Kids WB (8 am-12 pm): (3.0/14 Average)

5. Nickelodeon (8 am - 12 pm): (5.2/24 Average)

Hmm... Disney's barely ahead by .1, ABC Kids is ahead .3, Cartoon Network is ahead 1.8, Kids WB is ahead 1.9 and Nickelodeon is ahead 4.1.  And One Piece?

9:30 am- Stanley (1.3/5)
9:30 am- One Piece (1.4/6)
9:30 am- Fillmore (1.6/6)
9:30 am- Xiaolin Showdown (3.5/15)
9:30 am- Codename: Kids Next Door (3.7/15)
9:30 am- SpongeBob SquarePants (5.0/21)

The numbers are closer this time with less viewers overall watching this day but One Piece still can't stop being bitchslapped by hall monitor Cornelius Fillmore and it still has less than 1/2 the viewers of each of the 3 other shows ahead of it. Now really... how can this be?  You had Shonen Jump making One Piece known to millions of fans and you grabbed a hold of "the next DBZ" and yet, One Piece's ratings suck.  The effects of these ratings are already being felt.

(convo from me and Kevin)
"Kevin: One Piece has, to be blunt, FAILED miserably!
Kevin: And the Japanese guys are wondering how 4Kids could have POSSIBLY
screwed up that shows success, and now there seems to be some question on
whether or not 4Kids is the marketing Gods they once were
GS: really?
GS: they're saying that in Japan?
Kevin: Yeah
GS: :D
GS: nyah nyah!

Kevin: Apparently, the main people over at SJ Japan have looked at the shows
failure, and wrote an article in one of the latest issues wondering how a
sure-fire hit misfired so badly
GS: awwwwwwwesome!
GS: somebody must translate it
GS: "step in time, step in time, step in time, step in time!"

Kevin: Now keep in mind, this is ONLY a rumor, but apparently there may not
even BE a second season of One Piece!
Kevin: At least, not with 4Kids
Kevin: If 4Kids can't find a way to make the show a success by the end of
the first quester of next year, their contract with the show may end,
leaving the rights open
Kevin: This is what my uncle said, who works for Wall Street and owns stock
in 4Kids
Kevin: But keep in mind, this is ONLY a rumor"


It may only be a rumor and that's probably all it is... (particularly since I imagine 4Kids would be a lot more careful with their contracts with Toei after what happened to Funimation and One Piece) but this didn't just
originate on the internet it came from Wall Street of all places! (Editor's Note: Rumor was never confirmed. Probably just that: A rumor. A fun one at that though)   That's pretty pathetic.  So what went wrong?  Well, there are many problems.  First and primarily....



1. "All of the One Piece Shonen Jump manga fans are hardcore fans." 

"Hardcore" is the term Funimation's CEO once applied to fans of the original version of DBZ, so this is the term I'll use to describe other fans of original versions of your animes. Basically, Shonen Jump comes to America... boom.  It runs for years featuring many mangas including One Piece, which runs with little to no problems. (not counting some of the more recent controversies with censorship and script/name changes)  Thus, all readers of the manga are aware of One Piece's original format and it's "Japaneseness" so to speak.  So instead of Shonen Jump helping you like you thought it would by giving you free advertising in advance, it has instead created a large fanbase who've seen the manga versions of your dub of the One Piece episodes and who can easily recognize that they're being chopped up even if they haven't seen the original One Piece anime.  And of course, you also have many of those fans who were introduced to One Piece's original version on fansub long before you guys brought it over here to boot.  But that's not all...



2. "All One Piece fan sites are run by hardcore fans and are based off of the original anime/manga."

See the problem?  These guys are the people who read Shonen Jump, download and read the latest chapter scanslations from Japan and have watched fansubs of One Piece as well as raws of it.  For them One Piece in it's original flavor is the show they know and love.  All their sites are tailored around information/facts/opinions shaped around the original show, and all fans who visited these sites before dubbed OP premiered got the full scoop from these guys. What's more 4Kids..... the hardcore fans control the flow of information and opinions about your show.  Don't believe it?  Well, you guys maybe able to get the biggest mainstream anime mags (Animerica, Anime Insider, Viz etc.) to give you covers of One Piece, do features on it, give you friendly
interviews and be mostly non-judgemental about what you do to your shows, which gives you one form of the anime media that you're able to control...Unfortunately for you, there's a little piece of technology out there called
the "internet" which has grown dramatically over the last years. Want to go to a One Piece/Anime message board and chat up about One Piece on Fox Box?  You're going to wind up on message board filled with hardcore fans
eager to angrily to slice up the dub verbally. Want to type in "One Piece" in an internet search engine like yahoo.com?  Ho boy....

Want to go to fan sites and look up various facts, infos, names, spoilers, etc. or learn more about the show?  You'll be sailing in hardcore One Piece fan waters now with more people eager to slice up the dub verbally. Want to find a One Piece website/message board/chat room that's friendly, receptive and accepting towards the One Piece dub?  Well.... you're out of luck!  Like it or not, the One Piece hardcore fandom controls the opinions
of the One Piece community and has enormous influence... and they're here to stay.  -So you're going to have to learn how to live with them whether you want to or not.-



3. "Kids are easily influenced." 

Long ago when I was just a little kid in 2nd grade I remember hearing one of my parents say a couple of nasty things about George Bush I.  I deleted the original paragraph here since Kevin's trying to make the site less political to avoid any complaints from fans and keep the focus more strictly on anime (I know how he feels, he got
complained for talking about Kerry and I got complained for talking about Bush).  I will say though, that after studying Bush I's presidency year later that I'd agree with my parent's assessment then, although I have to give him enormous credit for increasing taxes on the wealthy which helped the economy in later years.  However, that same parent likes Bush II now and their political opinions don't automatically suade me like they used to. My point?  Well, most little kids are simply easily influenced.  And who's your "target audience"... oh yeah, that's right, little kids.   And they're all going on the net to... anime sites and One Piece sites... and you know what they're seeing?  Well, I'm sure you do.  But hell, it doesn't matter that they're easily influenced.  Older fans too who aren't as easily
influenced are -also- "influenced" because hey, guess what?  Why should they be happy that their favorite show or a show that they're at least interested in getting into is getting butchered?  So basically you've got the main sources of information on One Piece being run by hardcore fans and then you've got your "target audience" going to them to get the word on One Piece.



4. "Do TMNT or Spongebob Squarepants/Megas XLR fans have to worry about whether it's being dubbed properly to the original version?" 

Of course not because they ARE the original versions!  You'll never see that complaint on any fan sites, so kids and any other fans clicking away on the net and doing research aren't going to have any of the afore-mentioned problems! You on the other hand... go mainly for foreign cartoons/animes, particularly Japanese ones.  There's a very major disadvantage to your lazy strategy of"let mainly the Japs build us cartoons and we'll buy em from them,
Americanize em to hell, pour gas on em, light em on fire and then just wait for the big bucks to come in, boom!  It's a whole later easier than being creative ourselves!" Why is that a problem?  Because the anime community often sticks together for other shows being butchered.  I mean, not everybody has seen Tokyo Mew Mew or is interested in it but pretty much every anime fan was offended when Al Kahn said, "I think the term anime is misleading; I think kids don't know from whence we cometh. By the time we localize the programs kids don't even know they're from Japan any more. We as adults tend to label this stuff, but kids don't really know it." Why?  For one anime fans tend to view anime as a single form of entertainment with many shows- so just liking a few of literally thousands makes them "anime fans" and when an anime gets butchered that bothers pretty much all anime fans.  Aside from that fans also have to worry that other shows could be licensed by you guys too.  I mean, a person may not care about any of the shows 4Kids currently is cutting up but they do care about the fact that 4Kids could license and do the the same thing another show that they already do like.

So, in short- new episode of TMNT comes out?  It's the original version and your own story so people judge it on it's merit.  Some TMNT fans will like it/love it, others will dislike it/hate it, but it's not like all cartoon
afficionados will want to fight you to the death if one of your TMNT episodes is a bit sloppy.  You release a new dubbed episode of One Piece?  It's NOT the original version of it, it's based off of it.  Fans will compare it to the original version and find it lacking, and will then complain about it.  Not only that but other non-One Piece anime fans (fans who don't like seeing other animes butchered, or don't want any of their unlicensed favorite animes being butchered by 4Kids) will attack them too, creating a very, VERY large source of complaining and contention against you that hurts your image and effects whether or not many people will want to watch your other programs or to what degree they will want to watch and support them. (Also, I'm aware that the new TMNT is supposed to be more like the comic book rather than it's "Cowabunga, let's eat pizza!" cartoon predecessor. 
Most of what I've heard about it is that it's generally fairly accurate to it, something for which you get praised for... a formula you should probably follow for your other stuff.)



5. "You're going to carry that weight." 

That is, your bad reputation.  Take Funimation and the butchering of DBZ and DBGT- for years it has plagued them and consistently haunted them.  It still does to a some extent, though gradually their reputation has improved to overall quite positive today.  But that has taken them YEARS and LOTS of series which were treated GOOD and were NOT butchered. How many series have you dubbed right?.... zero, nada.  It takes a very looooong time to redeem one's reputation, and you've barely gotten started.




6. "The fans are getting revenge." 

Remember when YGO the Movie came out...and, of the person you'd least suspect would support and like it, the
creator of YGO Uncensored KevinTRod heartily supported it and liked it? From what I heard even I thought it was good that a movie was made rather than not and that the concept was kind of cool. But you guys got crappy, crappy, terrible reviews from the majority of websites and film critics.  Why? Simple- part of it's because of revenge.  I remember a friend of mine said when I defended the movie, "Well, the worse this movie does the less money 4Kids will have to license new animes which is a good thing.  I hope it does really, really bad."  And who do you think many of the people are who slammed this movie?  Anime fans who don't like you.  Writing reviews,
e-mailing complaints, etc. etc.  I'm not saying YGO the Movie only got bad reviews because of some fans wanting "revenge" on you, but I will say that this mindset probably contributed at least somewhat to the negative reviews
out there. Also, remember Pokemon Movie 1?  You made the script so incredibly stupid that you stunk up the joint for pretty much all anime films to follow AND the whole genre in general. (good job 4Kids)  I used to watch the first season of Pokemon on and off ages ago and I didn't understand at first why the movie got bashed so bad since none of the episodes I'd seen were as bad as the reviews the movie got.  After watching the movie (mainly for the sake of seeing if it was REALLY as bad as everyone said- there were a lot of critics complaining about the movie heavily at the time!  I remember a lot of negative stuff they were all saying!) I was extremely nauseated and I quit watching the show or the movies period.  And it's interesting to note that all the following movies made far less and less (about 80 with the first one to about 40, 20, 5) to the point Movie 5 was released on home video. (though to your credit you used the original music on it)

Years later I watched Pokemon Movie 2 play on CN and I was surprised that it was actually kind of good.  In other words 4Kids, taking what had actually been a good movie [http://mewtopia.freehosting.net/msb.htm] and turning it into a complete piece of undefendable shit probably cost you at least millions in addition to giving Pokemon and anime a very bad name. Yes, not all people who gave the YGO movie bad reviews were people angry about this movie and most propbably weren't, but you didn't really help matters any with 4Kids-crowds and perceptions of anime with what you did to the first Pokemon movie.


7. "Rap music.... in animes?  Is this really such a bright idea?"


"IT'S DA DA OOOOOONE PIECE, WHO'LL BE DA KING OF DA PIRATES?!

DON'T GIVE IT UP LUUUUUFY!
DON'T GIVE IT UP NAAAAAAAMI!
DON'T GIVE IT UP ZOOOOOOOLLLLOOOO!

(yo ho ho, he ate a bite of gum gum!)"


There are quite a few sayings about history.  One is that it has a tendency to repeat itself and another is that people should try to learn from the past.  Remember when the DBZ Special "History of Trunks" had rap music in
it?  God, that was something pretty much EVERY Dbz fan hated.  And even worse, when Funimation arrogantly announced this ( http://www.dragonballgt.com/index2_gt.cfm?page=what ) for the premiere of DBGT...

They got flamed from here to heaven!  Even sites that had pretty much ceased criticizing them for screwing up stuff basically cursed them out and told them to go screw themselves.  And look at Initial D. and it's fanbase...
hell, the show didn't even GET on tv despite them hacking it up to try and make it more "acceptable" for broascasting.  In fact, between all those fan complaints and how horrible the dub looks no WONDER it didn't get on air-Tokyopop shot themselves in the foot!  What tv exec, following all the negative reactions to the release of Initial D. to decide whether or not it should go on tv, would want to put it on the air after reading and hearing
about so many excessive complaints about the dub from anime fans? So, basic anime rule of thumb- DON'T PUT RAP MUSIC IN AN ANIME, ESPECIALLY FOR THE OPENING SONG.  That will generate NOTHING but flames, flames and more flames, and people will hate the song and attack you for it.  Of all the "replacement music" you could have picked for a song you picked the single worst kind. Of course there are exceptions, mainly animes that ORIGINALLY have rap music in them (Bleach, Samurai Champloo) and there rap music actually fits... but only because it's what the creators INTENDED and it was specifically DESIGNED to fit the show, so seeing it there doesn't look so bad. Like... Ruroni Kenshin.  The dubbed openings are great, huh?  But what if
they had replaced them with...


"Yo yo yo, there be a samurai,
yo yo yo, there be a samurai,
yo yo yo, there be a samurai...

(What's his name dog?)

SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X, FOO, SAMURAI X!

Yo yo yo, it's the way of the samurai, there's this bad mo called Himura who
can't tell no lie when he say... he gonna cut you up, if you does act up, so
you best shut up and ya'll better listen on up cause he be...

SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X, FOO, SAMURAI X!

SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X!
SAMURAI X, FOO, SAMURAI X!"


See how embarassingly bad that sounds?  That's because IT DOES NOT FIT. Just like "STEP INTO THA GRAND TOUR, GRAND TOUR GRAND TOUR!" didn't fit either and was also nauseatingly embarassing.  And for other shows like One Piece... it doesn't fit either. Besides, didn't piracy end in the 1800's... while rap came into being in the late 70's, and early 80's?  Can you seriously picture Dr. Dre in a pirate outfit with a long black beard, a peg leg and parrot on his shoulder rapping about wenches and ho's and "busting a cannon up yo ass" after Eminem of the royal navy starts firing on his ship?  Or picture Eminem dancing around on a navy vessel while rapping about how "big" his sabre is and what he's going to do with it?  Without laughing?  No?  Good.  There's a reason why you can't and that's the exact same reason why you should use the original song or a dub of it. (which you already have and even showcased at a convention the very same day you announced the One Piece license)

(And on an unrelated note... I know that the author of Ruroni Kenshin has said something to the extent of, "Oh?  Samurai X?  I LOVE THAT NAME!  I just wish I had been smart enough to use it instead!  I approve!  Let me make some official artwork with that awesome name to prove my approval!"  To anyone who buys that has it occured to you that maybe he's trying to not ruffle feathers with international companies that showcase his show across the world to millions of people and make him millions of dollars?  And thus he is intentionally LYING? Don't forget that Japan is a very "unity"-oriented country.  Hell, when the Japanese baseball players went on strike it was only for 2 days so as not to"disrupt the fans."  Compare that to America's baseball players when they went on strike to give you an idea of just how different our two cultures are!)

(And yes, I know that there are still pirates around that plunder ships, but they're not the "Captain Hook type on galleons firing cannons at the Royal Navy with letters of marque" type of image that the word pirate generally
brings up and their numbers are pretty small.)


8. "If replacing the original music is such a great idea..."

... then WHY are you so cheap about it?  I mean, your dub of Shaman King "borrowed" many themes from your dub of Sonic X.  And a friend who watches all these shows has noticed some musical similarities too with One Piece. So what's the deal... did you guys stumble across some sort of magical soundtrack which spices up every anime when put into it and thus has to go into ALL of your animes? Sheesh.  If you're going to replace the music, at least have some class about it.  Sailor Moon had some GREAT dub music, a lot of themes that rivaled and beat out the original version's.  The original version had better music overall.... but at least Dic hired a very competent person who WATCHED the show and LISTENED to the original music then went from there and did their own thing and, in some instances, improved on it. I'm not trying to defend replacing the music for dubs... but at least, at
LEAST, don't be cheapass about it and try to have some class while doing it if you absolutely feel that you have to.  At least try to put out some good stuff if you're going to absolutely have to replace it.


9. "We're going to do dual/uncut dvd's!  Wait, I think we will... if we sell enough.  But no guarantee any series will automatically get them!"

Alright, first off... the dvd's.  It's good that you've started releasing them but you still need to fix some of the problems.  Like using "dubtitles" instead of subtitles... there is absolutely NO reason not to fix this especially since your dub was based off of an original Japanese translation that was probably quite accurate! Nobody's complained too much since those were first releases and people can generally be more tolerant of first mistakes. (especially when compared with Funimation's "Ginyu Assault")  But if you do keep releasing dubtitled DVD's
nonstop, eventually fans will stop being as tolerant and supportive of the releases and then many of them may even turn to boycotting them if this complaint isn't addressed.  I mean, how do you think the One Piece fan community would react to dubtitled dvd's of the show? Besides, if the dvd's do "not sell enough" you'll have only yourselves to blame if you kept putting in dubtitles the whole time.  Make it a fair playing field and gives these releases fair chances with the overall quality that should be expected.  You like to think of yourselves as "calling the fans' bluff by putting out uncut dvd's" but you need to make the dvd's as good as possible too in order to completely "call the bluff." Also... the previews.  Please put them back for YGO and Shaman King. (particularly One Piece, since fansubs of them never include them and that'd let you "one-up" them by having them)  I know Kevin called them unimportant spoilers but a lot of fans disagree with that stance and enjoy watching them. (or at least having them to watch or skip as a choice)  It's a minor issue compared to the dubtitles issue which needs to be fixed first, but
fixing this issue will ENHANCE your reputation and help you start the long process of redeeming your reputation.  Remember, every little bit helps and it's much more in your interest to do as much as you can to improve your rep
as much as you can so that it can healed all the more faster. (even a little thing like playing the eye catcher twice like it does in the original version could help some more too)


10. "Now for One Piece itself... here's an old post I made a while back ago."

"In Japan One Piece gets incredibly high ratings which consist of many age groups and it's more of a family-viewed show since the numbers it gets are too high for only children to be it's only audience there.  Of course, the
marketing is still directed towards children since that's where selling the most merchandise, but the show/manga are still widely viewed by older viewers there as well and they make up a very large portion of it's viewership back in Japan. In any case... replacing the original music was just pretty silly. It didn't really make the episode better and the new score seemed to downplay some of the action and humor of many different scenes. (though it still carried well in the dub when Alvida landed on that relaxing guy) It costs them more to hire somebody to replace it then just use it. As for cuts, well, they could use the themes from OP cd's and time them so that wouldn't really be an excuse.

As for the opening,

( http://dbzuncensored.dbzoa.net/opinions/cpsaros.html )
"Looks to me like she's contradicting herself. First she says that they were looking for a theme that sounded like everything else on American airwaves, and then she is complimenting the show's uniqueness. Dragon Ball Z is unique, and FUNimation should be exploiting that for all it's worth. Make it stand out from the crowd by having an opening theme song that blows away all the mindless drek out there. (And yes, unfortunately, she's right. Most cartoons these days have theme songs that sound a lot like"Rock the Dragon.") But why can't DBZ be different? Be adventurous. Set a NEW trend. Have a theme song with lyrics the likes of which no one has ever heard on a "children's cartoon." If Japanese kids are smart enough to understand intelligent lyrics, why shouldn't American kids be? Why is FUNimation encouraging the dumbing down of American media rather than fighting it with a quality alternative? "

I feel the same way about it as Psaros did about Funimation replacing DBZ's opening. The 4Kids dubbed opening of the original (that they'd originally shown at a trade show) wasn't so bad and eventually it kind of grew on me. I
really think that Saturday morning kiddies would like it too if 4Kids would give them a chance to view it in that fashion. As for the edits... erasing Marine? The words "Marine" appear emblazed on boats and various objects 100's if not THOUSANDS of times through the series. There's nothing offensive about it in the first place, and by
replacing it 4Kids is now going to have to spend an ungodly amount of time and money deleting/editing/painting over it countless times throughout the series. The thing that bothers me most about them doing this is that certain
scenes will most likely be cut because of it. Not sure why Oda did it or what the Japanese navy/military is like in terms of the names they use (technically "self defense force) but in America the Marines are a division of the navy so the name could still technically be considered accurate on some levels. As for any pointless time edits, well, that's just stupid. If they're going to do that then they should count their eggs before they hatch, ie, be more
concerned about getting the show popular enough ratings to attract heavier advertisers then simply cutting them to sell as many extra ad's as possible. I mean, Shaman King had pretty lackluster ratings even though 4Kids had had
high hopes for it so it's too early to tell if One Piece will be able to avoid falling into that trap.

Plus with the popularity of bit torrent and fansub trading, there are many people who have it and it won't be too hard for a "target" fan who's only seen the dub to run across someone bashing it and cursing out 4Kids like what happened with Shaman King. So it's not really in 4Kids's interests to overly edit/change these shows. It doesn't have to be perfect and completely uncut, if it had been dubbed like the average Dragon Ball (not DBZ) episode
I don't think fans would have complained half as much. And yes, while it'd be great if all animes could be shown uncut I agree with you that 4Kids is trying to do what they need to attract as many viewers kiddy timeshare with One Piece as they can. However, I don't think their current dubbing strategy will do that so I can't respect them from a marketing point of view. Even if the show still does well in this time slot I still see ways in which they could have done more to improve viewership, and I disagree that their current practices for the show will fully maximize
potential viewership for that timeslot." Basically, I can see what they're trying to do from a purely marketing
perspective, but even from there I think you're still messing it up.


11. "HEY- I JUST HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA!  Let's give two of our top shows to a network that competes against us.... AND LET THEM PLAY THEM DURING OUR SATURDAY MORNING BLOCK AND COMPETE AGAINST SOME OF OUR OTHER SHOWS THERE!  THIS WILL SURELY HELP US!"


"Saturday 10/30 KidsWB
10:00 am- Pokemon Advanced Challenge (2.8/11)
11:00 am- Yu-Gi-Oh! (3.0/12)
11:30 am- Pokemon (2.2/10

---------
Saturday 10/30 FoxBox
10:00 am- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1.2/5)
11:00 am- Kirby (0.8/3)
11:30 am- Shaman King (1.0/4)"


Pokemon Advanced Challenge... one of your biggest hitters.  Up against one of the few cartoons you directly make (though probably the best show you do) and behind 1.6/6.  Geez, Pokemon?  Did you have to give the Turtles such a strong opponent? Kirby.... up against Yu-Gi-Oh! and behind 2.2/9.  YGO?  Why are you
licensing big anime blockbusters only to have them compete directly against other animes which don't have the same money/viewer potential? Shaman King... up against Pokemon and behind 1.2/6.  Ok, the Shaman King dub
is pretty horrible so maybe you're trying to kill it off...Then again, that doesn't make ANY sense, just like it doesn't make ANY sense either  to have some of your heaviest hitter shows on another network competing against some smaller ones on your network.  I mean really, do you think Funimation would have been dumb enough to have Yu Yu Hakusho compete directly against DBZ in the same timeslot. I'm fairly sure that having your shows compete directly against one another on a network timeslot competing against yours isn't intentional... well at least I think I am, since you guys doing that would be nonsensical... but...ah hell. Look, this doesn't make any sense at all.  I'm not sure why or what kind of contracts/agreements you've made or what you were thinking/doing that caused that to happen, but that's just plain stupid.  If you want the Fox Box to do well then you should have your two biggest audience-drawers YGO and Pokemon on it to boost ratings there, NOT in an important competing timeslot. After
all, didn't you pay something like $20,000,000 or some other large sum of money just to have that block completely to yourself?

(Note- I just did some more research and the Fox Box began in 2002, over the objections of KidsWB since it'd be in direct competition against their cartoon block.  Apparently doing this altered the relationship between both
parties from friendly to hostile, though KidsWB still plays some of 4Kids' shows.  In any case the original jist of what I said above remains... in the future you need to try and stop your top-rated shows from running against
less heavy-hitter shows, or put those top-rated shows right on your block by being careful about what contractual agreements you get into.  The way it stands now Kirby and Shaman King seem more like sacrificial offerings put in simply to fill up their perspective time slots.)


12. "Maybe paying Fox to let you have several hours all to yourself so you could keep all the advertising revenue just to yourselves wasn't such a great idea."

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=pageone&article_no=1990&page=2
"When FOX TV bailed out of the children's programming game in the fall of 2002, 4 Kids Entertainment took over the network's 8:00 am to noon Saturday morning block and renamed it the FOX BOX. In essence, 4 Kids runs the FOX BOX as a turnkey operation, paying a flat fee to FOX for the airtime, then acquires and schedules shows, selling the ad time and keeps the revenues it brings in. As a result, the FOX BOX has far different goals from its Kids WB! competition.

"We raised our ratings slightly this past year in a market where broadcasters are supposedly continuing to lose viewers," says Al Kahn, 4 Kids' ceo. "Ratings-wise we're about a 1.6, we'd like to be a 1.8 in kids 6-11, that's the minimum we're shooting for. Overall we'd like to be a 2, but that's going to take a little more time until we get there."

Kahn and 4 Kids faced some serious challenges when they took over from FOX. "When FOX knew they were selling the block they stopped promoting it and the ratings went down substantially. We're starting to build them back up; we're not up to where they were when FOX was running promos for their kid shows on The Simpsons and across a weekday strip, but we've made some inroads." Oh, so they're not built back up yet and most of your increase is because you're still recovering from a ratings decrease?  The problem is that you guys got so large off of Pokemon and YGO that you figured you'd be successful with anything and from there you just got greedy.  "Who needs a middleman working with us?  We'll buy this timeslot... and keep ALL the money to ourselves!" But oh wait, "Wait a second... now Fox has no profit incentive at all whatsoever to give us free advertising and support and we have to buy our own ads from them?  And now our ratings have dropped while competitors have
sipohoned them off from us because of it?  Well, maybe we could just ask Fox News Owner Rupert Murdoch, who I'm sure is a really nice guy and isn't actually just a soulless, morally bankrupt, greedy, evil Machiavellian who
views everything in existence as him versus the world and who has high moral views and doesn't strive only for his own personal gain.... oh who am I kidding, WE'RE SCREWED!"

Perhaps but... maybe if you work harder....  "Oh well... we'll just roll up our sleeves and build up our ratings on our own, yeah!  Those other networks on Saturday morning may get plenty of free advertising and support...
because they've got direct profit incentives and are happy to help for free but hey- we don't need it!  We're big and rich, and WE ARE, WE ARE, WE AREE.... 4Kids, YEAH!  And we've got a secret strategy... we're going to license One Piece!  Hmm... (was that from the opening?  Boy that sounded lame, we gotta replace it with something.... maybe rap music, yeah.  Those psychologists we hire to investigate our shows say that's what we need so obviously our best option is to just listen to them and blindly follow what they say!)" And now, "Crap... One Piece is getting beaten by... SpongeBob Squarepants? Well, he's a very established character in the market who's even beaten DBZ's ratings before and is getting his own movie, not too much to worry about.  And... wait- Kids Next Door is beating us?  Well, uh, it's a very good show those CN people have... give it time and.... wait... Fillmore?  One Piece is getting beaten by Fillmore?  What's... oh... a Jr. High American cartoon about an ex-bully who has reformed and is working dilligently as a hall monitor who apparently likes disco.  Well, uh, heh heh, uh..... it's hard work, yeah.  It's hard work.  You gotta give it time because it's hard work, don't worry, just give it some time.  Yeah, it's hard work....

.... Is our new hottest show from Japan, one of the topped rated ones that we paid a lot, a LOT OF MONEY FOR AND MADE A HUGE INVESTMENT IN AND HAVE GAMBLED A LOT ON, even beating ANY SHOW?  Oh.... wait...Stanley... we are beating..... Stanley.... HAHA, IN YO FACE STANLEY, CAUSE WE ARE BEATING YOU BY... (checks chart) .2 WHOLE POINTS!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  AHAHAHAHAHA!  Er.... oh.  (checks chart)  Apparently it looks like a very cute and sweet show, designed mainly to appeal to toddlers and people aged up to 7.  It also apparently wasn't intended to be a ratings blockbuster in the first place, and Disney probably put it up there just to have something in that time slot up against One Piece expecting not to do very well... but erm... Oh yeah!  We are beating Stanely!  By .2 points!  Maybe if we're luck we can beat them by .3 points or maybe even.... .4 POINTS!  Oh yeah, oh- ah crap, who am I kidding?  One Piece's ratings are abysmal!" Back to the original topic here... the Fox Box.  Look, you guys got greedy.  An ad on Fillmore's timeslot would make more more than One Piece and One Piece's ads would cost barely more than Stanley's.  All the other competing blocks have backers... and you don't.  And obviously that's hurting you.  Face it, you made a mistake paying Fox a flat fee just to hog all the advertising revenues to yourselves.  I mean, if losing Fox's free support causes your ratings to go down the advertisers will flock more to other shows in your hours.  What's more, with LESS people watching your shows that gives you LESS people who want to buy any games, books, comics, items, music, etc. etc. merchandising associated with the show which in turn hurts your wallet.  And didn't Gen once brag that "the real money is in the merchandising"?  So higher ratings are more to your benefit... after all, wouldn't it be great if you could find a way to get One Piece to sell as
much merchandise here as it has in Japan rather than selling ads on it for less than what Fillmore's are going for?

A mistake was made and you guys need to admit to it, start trying to correct it and hook up back with Fox so that they'll have incentive to pour out ads that'll drive up your ratings.


13. Does every foreign show, and not just your Japanese ones, have to be given your "Americanization" treatment?

The Winx Club is originally a highbudget show made in Italy (mainly to compete against Disney's "W.I.T.C.H.") that's done pretty well in Europe.  It was licensed a while ago in order to help 4Kids compete for more girl
audiences since Disney was basically getting that market to themselves with shows like Kim Possible.

http://www.4kidsentertainment.com/properties/winx.html


Yup, so you took it and dubbed it into English for American markets.  But...there was never any need to...

http://www.winx-club.de/content/downloads.html


Because there was already a perfectly fine English dub already made that you could have used instead!  But instead, you made a new one from scratch simply for the sole purpose of replacing the original music ("too Italian"?) and probably because the script there was probably too accurate. Some people in the past have gone so far as to occuse you of overt racism against Japanese culture in general because of the way you treat your shows.
I always thought better of you... and I was right!  You guys aren't really racist- you're just equal-opportunist xenophobes! I mean really, what's the problem- are American children not only incapable of liking Japanese foreign music but incapable of liking ANY foreign music?  Isn't the American tv market dumbed down enough?  Do you really have to go to such extravagant lengths and be a part of the problem instead of the solution?  And those lengths you went too aren't even helping a show that got such high ratings overseas, on one week it only beat Dora the Explorer by .2 and it's barely tied with Jojo's Circus. (though the following week when total viewership was much less it beat Jojo's Circus by .3)

Also, rather interestingly enough Italian censorship tv standards of what is and isn't acceptable are apparently similar to Japan's in many ways.

http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=124767&highlight=4Kids

Actually I just got back from vacationing in Europe.  Censorship there is a lot different, particularly views on nudity.  While watching daytime tv on a regular tv I came across a movie with a fine girl dancing and posing topless in her panties for two lucky teenage male artists- and not a lick of censorship!  A real culture shock from America where so many foam at the mouth at less than a second of nippleage from Janet Jackson but anyway... 
I'm not saying 4Kids should intentionally try to leave in "certain stuff".  I know that while the average Italian with so much nude art in their country and more liberal views on the human body could worry less about a single
panty shot in a cartoon while meanwhile, if that were shown in America that'd probably create an even bigger scandal than the alleged homosexuality of a talking cartoon sponge....  yeah. Do any of you know that the first time a movie in America showed kissing that it was a national scandal akin to the Janet Jackson incident?  That
there was a time that such a natural act of 2 people in love (and of the opposite sex) kissing was considering unholy to be shown in a movie? Yeah... we do live in a very Puritan country.  We still do in many ways.

Anyway, offtopic and that history lesson and stuff about Italian culture aside, I was just pointing out the censorship of the show just so anyone watching it or interested in watching it realizes that it's being edited. (and as Carter pointed out, "I've seen most of the Italian episodes, and from the description of the American dubs here, some of the episodes have been changed quite a bit. Scenes are switched around and some are even moved into different episodes")  I'm really not too bothered by 4Kids censoring stuff as long as they do so to a -reasonable- degree (ie, no super soakers or cork guns or completely changing episodes, their current policy which is very unreasonable) and censorship's probably the least of my worries with the way they dub shows. While on that topic... why do some people feel like fighting to the death for Tokyo Mew Mew but don't care if an Italian show of the same nature is probably getting misdubbed too?  I mean really, aren't they both the same thing with Sailor Moon-esque teams designed to appeal to the same audience of girls?  Does the fact that Tokyo Mew Mew was thought up and created by Japanese people and is a Japanese cartoon automatically make it superior to an Italian cartoon thought up and created by Italian people? I haven't really seen much of either show but personally, TMM looks kind of generic to me and Winx looks like it'd be more interesting to watch.  That being said, any fansubbing teams want to find an Italian translator and translate this show?  I'm all for 4Kids releasing dual/uncut versions of
their animes but I think they should do the same with any other foreign shows they get and that fans should try to take steps that would help encourage 4Kids to do that.



The Steps Needed to Correct these problems


These aren't the old days we're living in anymore 4Kids.  In order to improve and become a top dog company again you're going need to take many steps.  And here's everything that you're going to have to do.


1. "Accept the power and numbers of hardcore fans.  And stop disdaining and ignoring them and start trying to make them happy."

Hardcore fans...


A. Control the flow of information on the net about One Piece and other animes... check.

B. Are extremely hostile to 4Kids... check.

C. Extremely hostile to their favorite shows being misdubbed... check.

D. Have large numbers and not the "super tiny, ultra-uber minority niche" might think/hope them to be... check.


I know you guys like to insist to yourselves otherwise, so why not look for yourselves?  Check out a fairly recent viewing of gotwoot.net's viewership stats.


http://extremetracking.com/open?login=gotwootn
10,507,418 total unique visitors,
a daily average of about 16,000,
and a monthly average of about 440,000 people.


Just one of the more popular fansub download sites.  Can you imagine how many hits animesuki.com gets?  At least 5X as many, hmm?  That's still a lot even assuming all total unique visitors are the same person on 5 different
computers.  Face it and accept the times, the young people go after technology and get hooked into it and learn it, that's the nature of technology.  And many One Piece fans have seen the show get blasted, then have gone after fansubs via bit torrent, irc or other programs.

Also,

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=575&e=2&u=/nm/20041106/wr_nm/column_livewire_dc_2

fyi, bit torrent now accounts for about 1/3 of all the bandwidth used on the net.


This isn't the same anime world you used to live in.  In the past you've been able to get away with screwing up animes and still doing well with them since pretty much nobody knew much about the original versions of them...
but by the time you started dealing with Shonen Jump property Shaman King that all started to change. What you need to do... is this.  First off... respect the shows you dub. Like Ali G... respek, yo.  Did somebody scanslate the manga?  Then download them and read them!  And make copies for other guys at your headquarters! Is the manga being officially released?  Then hey- buy all the issues, read them, and make sure the anime is able to capture that same spirit!  Has the anime been fansubbed yet?  Well, then download it all and watch it and make
copies for everybody! Have all your writers, voice actors, directors and other personnel acquaint themselves with the shows they're handling.  Doing this will let you experience the essence of whatever shows you're handling and will help you know and be able to decide in advance how you're going to handle the show and what directions to put it in, what voices might be good and the best way to dub it and handle various aspects of dubbing it.


2. "Give it up already.... DON'T REPLACE THE ORIGINAL MUSIC ANYMORE."

Shaman King... big fat failure.  One Piece... big fat failure?  Reception of your dub musical scores... not so good.  Really, didn't Yu Yu Hakusho prove that a show directed towards American children (although the original
version unedited is very violent and it had ratings of up to 20 million in Japan) while edited/censored and put on a kid's block on a kid's channel, that ALSO USES THE ORIGINAL MUSIC can STILL attract heavy and strong
audiences?  Including lots of children? Really- there's no need to replace the original music.  Dub scores rarely
sound as good or better and replacing the music just pisses off the hardcore fans running all the (insert name of anime here) websites.  Besides, you can do just fine and get even better ratings using the original score.  Plus-
it's actually cheaper to use the original score!  Funimation's made a big deal and offered up infinite excuses to explain why they never used DBZ's original score, but they didn't have to replace it and hiring Bruce Faulconer actually cost them more money.  There's no excuse for excuses anymore, just save your money and make the hardcore fans happy and use the perfectly fine soundtracks the creators of your various programs originally
designed.  Doing this will save yourselves money, make everybody happy and make you more money as more viewers tune in for a better-presented show. Besides, just look at the most recent episode of One Piece.  In it the
episode was altered so that instead of a person important to Zoro's past dying she gets "attacked" and "wounded" by a group of men.

.........

As if that wasn't bad enough they played HAPPY music when somebody was telling that to "Zolo."

..........

Look, it's pretty obvious that whoever's doing your music doesn't even know what the hell they're doing and is just doing a rushed-through hackjob. Replacing the original music just isn't worth the costs it entails anymore-
do you really want another repeat of the One Piece and Shaman King fiascos with yet another show? (and btw- the original ep was pretty damn moving and really well-done, and it left quite an impression on me.  One of the best, most memorable and most-well done anime episodes I've ever seen.  As for your dub of it.... well, let's just say I don't want to hurt your feelings.)


3. "Fix up the current and future dvd's."

You know the drill- the dubtitles.  Get rid of them.  Now the dub was accurate enough that you had to have had a good original Japanese translation that it was based off in the first place.  So- just use it, after all you already have it!  The cost of transcribing 3-4 extra scripts to a dvd isn't that great to stop you from doing this or for it be worth the backlash of not doing it. While you're at it... why not use exact honorifics too for the sub?  Companies like Funimation and Synch Point have used them and gotten very positive reviews for it.  Besides, the people who tend to watch Japanese subtitled versions aren't exactly the types to complain about the usage of honorifics, so adding this would probably do you more good than bad.  After all, hey, it helped Funimation and it's one of the most widely-acclaimed things about their subtitles. Finally, if there's stuff you don't need to cut (like an eyecatcher being
used twice in the original version) then just leave it in.  If you have to cut them, at least explain to the fans why you're doing so instead of leaving them to guess.  Doing this will score you more points with the fans. Another thing you could do is provide English cast lists on the dvd's as well as translated Japanese cast lists to score even more points.  Funimation's gotten to the point where they list all/most their va's by name so you should try reaching that point too. (although they still have problems with providing English lists of the Japanese casts) On the other side though, your dvd's were mostly good.  The dubs were pretty good and accurate and used actual cursing, very little got cut plus the cover art you designed for Shaman King was a lot better than what the original cover art was.  Also, remastering the Japanese soundtrack to stereo for the English version was another good thing.  Who knows- maybe you could sell it back to the Japanese companies at some point and earn a profit?


4. "Stop trying to have a whole block completely to yourselves and accept the fact that you need Fox's help in order to thrive."

If you want better ratings for your shows you're going to need to do this.  Disney gives free advertising for it's shows on the block and does pretty great and others do too.  That gives all of them a very big advantage over
you.  Not only do you have to pay a great deal for the block in the first place but now you also have to pay for every ad for your shows instead of having the network help you for free because it'd be in their interest to. It sounded like a good idea at first but you guys were just being greedy.  Go back to the original formula and get Fox to start giving your shows some desperately-needed free advertising.


5. "On Saturday mornings shouldn't Pokemon and YGO be playing on the Fox Box instead of competing channels?"

I know this all comes to contracts and other stuff perhaps presigned before you began the Fox Box... but it's still a mistake that it's happening.  Really, Shaman King and Kirby are getting their butts whooped pretty bad. I'm not sure what your current contracts/agreements are that are causing this and this is probably a result of your fracturing your relationship with 4KidsWB by originally pursuing the Fox Box, but in the future you need to think ahead and try harder so that you don't wind up spending a lot of time buying and dubbing new shows only to have them get beat in the same time slot by your heaviest hitters.


6. "Start announcing uncut/dual dvd's for OTHER series."

People currently view your company as this- "the worse off they do, and the more miserably their dubs fail.... the more likely it is that they'll do dual/uncut dvd's!  Let's hope and try to make this happen!"

Not such a good idea.  Before releasing new series like Ojamajo Doremi and Tokyo Mew Mew, announce in ADVANCE that you'll be doing dual/uncut dvd's.  Fans are afraid that if your dubs do well they'll never get dual/uncut dvd's and thus they're far less likely to want to support the version on television, and that's a mindset that's hurting you guys.  By announcing in advance fans can say, "Well, we'll get uncut/dual dvd's eventually so
there's no need to complain as much about how the show is treated."  You need to eventually get to the point where ALL of your new series are guaranteed dual/uncut releases. Releasing YGO, Shaman King, Ultraman and being strongly reported to have One Piece planned are good things, but you still need to do much more in the
future.


7. "Stay accurate to the original scripts."

That is, keep or properly translate all of the original names and attacks. Also, don't deviate from the story so much.  Nami bragging about how "she loves being a pirate" when, as you learn more about her past in later
episodes it turns out she actually hates pirates, isn't a good thing and it creates plot conflict.  All that does is give fans more reasons to complain, less reasons to like or watch the dub while getting more people to simply
switch over to the original version on fansubs instead.  And none of that is good for making the show popular on American television. Also, I know you guys like to think, "Who cares what the hardcore fans think anyway?  They're just the niche 1% otaku fandom market, we're going for a larger fanbases anyway which is why having a poor-quality dub is good."  You seem to think that having a BAD dub that hardcore fans all hate means that
makes it a "good" dub that more kids will like- but that is NOT the case! Just because hardcore fans hate a dub doesn't make it a good dub.  Just because the music's crap doesn't make it better either.  Nor does making the
script nonsensical jibberish and ruining the story make it better either.  I mean, really.... what makes a good dub IS, in fact, a GOOD dub!  You can still improve the quality and make less hardcore fans hate it and like it more while also getting more kids to like it! On the other hand I have to give you some credit, Pokemon's probably a good example of an "Americanized" dub that probably made you more money doing it that (for the most part with some exceptions) way as is Ultimate Muscle, which got cancelled in Japan but had you commission some new episodes specifically for the American market.  Hell, I've seen some hardcore fans defend the treatment of those shows too. (some comparing "Ultimate Muscle" to "Samurai Pizza Cats")  However, that does NOT apply to every single anime show in existence nor should you think that it does.  Shows like One Piece, Shaman King and Sonic X are the exact opposite and would benefit far more from better treatment and would also attract higher ratings and support both among the hardcores and yes, the little kids you're trying to appeal to as well.

Besides, you're running a bunch of animes on Saturday morning television against several American shows- what is there to make your anime dubs special and unique in comparison to the competition if you just keep Americanizing them to the point that they're just as "American" as all the shows they're competing against?  After all, why would someone want to watch a heavily Americanized dub of a show that's originally foreign when they can just get the real deal, a straightup original American show on another channel?  You need to try to capitalize and market the fact that these shows are different, not try to desperately to disguise that fact.


8. The censorship is getting out of hand.

Alright, you guys have really been getting out of hand with One Piece.  Like I mentioned earlier you altered an entire episode so that someone important in Zoro's past and storyline is "injured" instead of killed.  And worst of all- she originally died of NATURAL causes! It's not like the person got shot or brutally tortured, they just fell down the stairs.  And even that much wasn't even shown in the original version! All that got shown there was the funeral!  Who the hell is running your censorship department anyway?  Former employees of Saban?  Former FCC Head Michael Powell?  This is really just plain ridiculous! Sigh... there's a lot I could say about this, but it's already been said before and you're just repeating history.  4Kids, I strongly, STRONGLY urge you to go through Chris Psaros's "DBZ Uncensored" and read every single word there.  If you have already, then read it again and again because you obviously still have a lot to learn since a lot of what he says about Funimation could easily apply just as much to you today. http://dbzuncensored.dbzoa.net/


9. Do NOT skip episodes!

Given the edits done to episode 10's preview and what Tv Guide has said and listed so far, it's starting to look like you're going to skip episode 11 of One Piece.  Assuming that you follow through with doing that, the episode
itself isn't that bad (and you could easily censor the most violent bits) plus it's crucial to the story, so why skip it?  Skipping episodes will just give more flame for your critics to fan. Sure, maybe you guys are anxious to get into the action more quickly but remember, these aren't the old days of DBZ when fansub-knowledge was far more limited and anime fans less jaded.  Plus you've already got fans who've read the manga in Shonen Jump who know... so why do it?  The positive benefits will be greatly outweighed by fans being opposed to this decision. 
Maybe if you were doing everything else with the dub alright and put out a statement and apology to the fanbase ("and also, this episode will be included on the dual/uncut dvd's, though we hope fans will appreciate our needs to, etc. etc., and we recommend Shonen Jump's graphic novels to any fans concerned this skip) it'd be cool and they might be able to accept it.... but on top of everything else you've done they can't.

(new update- they recently "skipped" it, or rather semi-sortof combined 2 different episodes.  One Piece Uncensored talks more about this.  Fans weren't too thrilled about it and even those who only read the manga could probably spot some discrepancies too... sheesh!  If you absolutely have to try to trick fans by combining episodes then at the very LEAST try to have the sense of doing it long after you've gotten far ahead of where Shonen Jump is currently running in America.)


10. "Better voices?"

I actually kind of liked some of the Shaman King/YGO voices I heard on the uncut dvd's (but oh man, Sean Schemmel's Ryu.....).  A lot of them hold up and are pretty good and can compete with the Japanese cast. (Manta's not so bad and I kind of like Yoh's more masculine voice than the Japanese counterpart of it so far)  But One Piece... whew.  You guys need to watch the original versions of fansub more to see what's going on while trying to expand the number of va's at 4Kids and the overall voice talent.  Good voices make good shows, make happy viewers and they help bring in more ratings.  Your new uncut dub voices are improving from their old dub
counterparts, and I really think this is a direction you should try to continue with your other shows.


11. "The One Piece dub has already failed... miserably."

If you want it to do well on tv where ALL THE MONEY AND MERCHANDISING IS you're going to have to make a new dub from scratch.  No, not just for the dual/uncut dvd's while a crappy one plays on tv but an actual good dub that plays on tv as well.  Use the original score, stop "cutting for time", stop doing useless changes like changing the skin of a black pirate to white or censoring the word "Marines".  Stop being pussies about guns, fix the voices and the script and try to relax up on other censorship at least somewhat. (while completely changing and replacing some voices and improving others) You guys don't need to show people ripping open their wounds and bleeding all over the place but at least try to have some balls. Once you build a newer and better dub then put it out on Cartoon Network where it can get wider and more frequent viewership and quickly catch on. What you have to do is swallow your pride, accept that your version of One Piece thus far has failed completely and then start over from scratch. After all, sometimes in order to rebuild something you have to tear it down first.


12. "Well Zor... um, I mean, Zolo."

Okay... a well-established name via fansubs and also the American Shonen Jump manga- Zoro.  Why'd you change it?  I've heard talk of copyrights with Disney and Zoro.... but you guys haven't stated anything official.  In fact, it seems like you didn't even bother to try to get the original name at all! At least if you have you haven't said anything to the fans. Look, if you did or if there's some issue like this involved, at LEAST put it out in the open for everyone to know about.  Have one of your directors/script writers/someone else be interviewed by an anime magazine and be asked about it and flatout state what the deal is.  Not saying anything and acting mysterious about it just makes it look like you don't care at all or didn't even bother to try to get the name. As for getting the original name, if there are any problems why not ask Toei for help?  I'm sure they could do something for Disney to make it worth their while, after all, it's just one letter and one syllable.  Also...don't force Viz (or let them whore themselves out) into changing the name too if it ultimately has to remain that way in the anime.  "Zoro" was already the established name for a long time and nobody sued them for it so you should try to keep it that way in the manga so that the manga fans won't have a reason to get angry too.  After all, Viz's Shonen Jump never changed
their minds and started calling Ryu "Rio", Ren "Lenny" or Manta "Mortimer" right?  You can see how that'd make manga fans angry so you shouldn't do that.


13. "Try doing dual/uncut releases of smaller fanbase series as well."

Sonic X and Kirby... they've both got their hardcore fanbases and neither of them like you too much.  Okay, so maybe they're not as large as other hardcore fanbases like One Piece but they're still a pain in your side.  So-why not convert them to being on your side instead of being against you? Just announce dual/uncut dvd's for both series after they finish airing on tv or something.  Sonic X would probably sell more and Kirby would probably
be a lot less, but they should probably be more than enough to cover the costs of putting them out there while still pulling in some profit. (particularly Sonic since fandom of it's games is much higher)  Whether you redub either series or not, or release one or both slowly like Shaman King or try just one or more big boxed set (with just the original Japanese subtitled on there- or an additional uncut redub on there as well if you like) it's up to you, but you need make these fanbases happy and they'll be on your side instead of against you.  After all, while they may not be as large as the One Piece and Shaman King fanbases every little bit counts, and doing that will also help repair your reputation in the process. After all, if you can make more money while making two fanbases happy and more friendly and receptive towards you... then why not?


14. "Why the... HFIL did you show the crappy dub version of Shaman King on Cartoon Network?"

Really- it failed on Saturday Mornings so why dump it on Cartoon Network? Why not just use the newer, better, more accurate and enjoyable dub from your uncut dvd's (and edit it slightly) and put that on Cartoon Network?  Or perhaps put the uncut dub on Adult Swim? (kids stay up anyway and watch the shows and animes there despite it being later)  Maybe you could do it now or later after the crappy dub version finishes up on Fox Box/4Kids TV but....for the love of the Guardian of the Earth.... of all the dub versions of Shaman King you could show on Cartoon Network DO NOT reuse the crappy one that is already carrying such a bad reputation behind it.

(for those who don't know Cartoon Network showed about a 2 hour marathon of Shaman King one Saturday a while back.  However, they used the first inferior dub to the much better and more accurate 2nd dub, which led to fans being dissapointed that it was only the crappy dub that CN would be showing and led to no demand for CN to continue showing the crappy dub version.  In my opinion Shaman King, like One Piece, should come over to Cartoon Network later but they should use the redub on it instead.  The redub's much better and it'd actually be fun to watch it on tv.  Besides, when an anime shows on tv it generally has higher sales and doing this could probably the uncut dvd's sell more and allow Shaman King merchandise in America to finally take off big.)


15. "We are the.... 4Kids-Americanized Winx!"

We have a company known for replacing all of the music in it's shows with cheap stuff that drones on and on with no moments of silence- in virtually all of it's instances and the instances of other companies doing the same, the new American soundtracks have been inferior to their original soundtrack counterparts.  Winx is most likely the same.  It's ratings aren't that great so far so you should probably rescore it with a mix of it's original soundtrack to help improve it's quality.  Or hell better yet, just redub it completely and try to find a better time slot on tv.  After all, if the difference between the original version of Winx vs. your dub of it is equal to the difference between the original version of One Piece and your dub of it then there's still definitely a lot of room for improvement. Also, why not try to market it to anime fans as by releasing it dual/uncut like you'll probably be forced to do with Tokyo Mew Mew?  I'd imagine there's probably nothing worse in Winx than the average episode of TMM, plus anime fans also tend to be animation buffs so doing this could bring in more viewers and interest for the show.


still....


After everything I've just said now I guess everyone reading this probably thinks that I hate 4Kids and everybody who works for them inside and out with nothing but a purple passion and think that they're just completely idiotic and ignorant hacks who can't do anything right that I'd like to see go bankrupt.  Actually, that's really not the case at all. Whether or not I'd like to admit it Pokemon has helped make anime more mainstream in America by becoming one of the first major blockbuster hits in America.  It's also lowered the age expectations of what anime is thus softening up the perceptions that animes can't appeal to children and that animes aren't guaranteed moneymakers.  You took a major phenomenon in Japan and through your savy you were able to acquire it and make it into a huge phenomenon here and thus make your company extremely wealthy and famous.

I can respect that.

Al Kahn, for whatever faults he may have, has in some aspects had a rather noble life.  He grew up in a poor family and before his mother died she told him that he needed to do everything he could to become rich in life so he can take care of his family and raise them right.  He worked hard, studied hard and became a businessman who basically created the Cabbage Path Kids dolls (heh, loved those as a kid) phenomenon here through his own smarts.  Parlaying his other successes and wealth he was able to obtain the rights to Pokemon in America then brought them here and, of course, the rest is history. Believe it or not I actually have far more respect for Mr. Al Kahn than I do for Funimation's CEO Gen Fukunaga.  "But wait, hasn't Funimation improved into a respectable companies that treats all it's shows, besides what's left of DBZ and DBGT, with respect?  And aren't 4Kids more like Funimation in their early days with DBZ?"  Yes that's correct but there's more to my thinking than just that.

Unlike Al Kahn, Gen Fukunaga's story....

1.
http://dbzoa.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=86&page=1

2.
http://dbzoa.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=157&page=1


Well, isn't that noble.  Basically, he was born and raised in America by a Japanese family.  During his 7th grade year his father decided to take a sabbatical to Japan where Gen spent a year.  During that time he basically
watched only one single anime and after he returned home he married someone outside his culture (not that there's anything wrong with marrying outside of one's culture, I'm just pointing this out as how VERY little actual contact he has with his own culture.  This really wouldn't me bother so much just as long as he had -some- actual connection to his real culture besides his skin color and speaking another language, and if he treated his culture
as something more than just a mere fashion accessory to show off and brag about in the anime industry) and never visited Japan again until it came time to get the rights to DBZ. He got the rights because his uncle was a wealthy executive at Toei in Japan (and one of the producers of the billion dollar-plus franchise "Power Rangers") who arranged meetings in Japan for him.  There, he was given the redcarpet treatment and offered his choice of 30 (30!) different animes and, well, the rest is the history. Besides that, Al Kahn is actually a self-made man. He's not some incompetent who got where he is simply by the patronage of a rich high-ranking uncle with foreign connections and the wealth of a couple of fatasses from Texas who bankrolled him.  And has he ever done anything as disgusting as taking a really amazing Jewish show from Israel filled with Jewish cultural references and chopped all of them out and whatever values and lessons about Jewish culture could be gleamed or appreciated from them simply to Americanize it to hell and squeaze money out of it?  Of course not!

In terms of being a selfmade man, Al Kahn's got it made and Gen's simply relied on others pulling strings for him and sheer luck, not to mention a show so popular and "unsinkable" it could crash into the North Pole and still be relatively stable.  And besides that Al Kahn's never done anything as despicable and disgusting as completely sell out his own culture and stab it in the back out of sheer unbridled avarice.  Gen however, has.  Today I'd say Gen is very smart when it comes to the anime industry but he didn't enter the industry with those smarts and he just got them from making pretty much every single dubbing mistake in the book humanly possible with DBZ. (and also from the fact that, even in a highly butchered fashion, Funiball Z was still a good enough show to the many Americans, myself once included, to make insane amounts of money and sell large quantities of merchandise) As for all those "Al Kahn's a pedophile" cracks I'm sure anyone at 4Kids doesn't appreciate, well, Al Kahn really set himself up with the punchline with all those comments about the Magical Doremi girls being sexy, though at the very least it was in conjunction with the much older Winx girls. (and hey, plenty of other people came up with that same ongoing joke about Al Kahn on their own too) So, between the two CEO's Al Kahn is definitely far more worthy of respect and honor than his counterpart. (who, I should add, "learned" his lesson from DBZ only because fans kept flaming him and Funimation nonstop for years on end when he refused to stop screwing DBZ to no end- which is basically how Funimation "learned" to treat other animes right)

However, between the two companies themselves Funimation is currently more commanding of respect.  But that's the thing- if Funimation could improve themselves so much then why can't you guys?  The answer is- of course you can!  If even the braindead Funimation we used to know that could never do anything right could improve so much over the years (although that's mainly because they arrogantly made EVERY single mistake in the book and were flamed for it years on end, and now don't want to be flamed for it all over again with other shows they license) then surely 4Kids should have no problems doing the same. To be fair though, Funimation's gone through a phase of being universally hated and spat upon and that's what improved the way they decided to treat other animes after DBZ (and then DBGT) were raped and ruined by them to much criticism.  With you 4Kids, those same amounts of interest, flaming and levels of focus against you haven't been applied on as wide a level until about after you released Shaman King and had they been applied earlier then you probably would have improved completely already by now. But you get the picture.  It's not necessary to take away all the foreign
elements of the animes you license to make them good and enjoyable to children (as Yu Yu Hakusho as shown, not getting into it's censorship topic) nor is it necessarily the best thing to do certain shows. (as Yu Yu Hakusho's good ratings compared to One Piece's poor ratings have shown)  The reason why I've flamed you so much before isn't so much sheer hatred of you for who and what you are so much as a simple desire to see you improve.  The
lessons learned from fans having dealt with Funimation and how they treated DBZ show that constant flaming and attacks on them by the fans are what got them to improve the most, (ie, Chris Psaros's words and actions have had a far better effect than his opposite counterpart Jon Allen) and that's why I've applied those same lessons/tactics to you in hopes they'd help encourage you to improve and get more fans to feel the same way about you.

Plus, I have to give you points for releasing YGO and Shaman King dual/uncut.  The voice acting on them improved considerably, and they were almost perfect except for a few flaws.  Hell, even the cover art you used on Shaman King's discs was excellent and it made the original Japanese cover art look like crap in comparison.  The dvd's are a nice start this is the kind of direction you should start to try and take all your animes into in the future. What I'd really like to see is the day you reach the same status as Funimation has and learn to treat all your shows with some modicum of respect while guaranteeing them all dual/uncut releases. (with the possible
exception of Pokemon given all the factors surrounding it that'd make it your most difficult anime to release in that fashion- although even then I think you should try and make an exception for it's movies)  While understanding where you're coming from as a company trying to make money, I can definitely agree that while unappealing to the hardcores your treatment of Pokemon (outside of the first movie) has probably been pretty good in terms of making it a financial success.  However, I think pretty much all your other shows could probably benefit more from more accurate portrayals and representations with regards to their original counterparts. Particularly One Piece which has huge ratings in Japan like Pokemon does, but isn't doing so hot here when you're dubbing it roughly the same way... which shows that "one size fits all" doesn't cut it when it comes to dubbing animes. Anyway, I hope you guys do decide to go through the same roads of improvement that Funimation has and if you do then you'll definitely earn my unequivocal respect.


Sincerely,

GreatSaiyaman777