so you’ve been licensed…

The past week anime fanboys everywhere cried a collective cry when 4Kids licensed One Piece. The tragedy is that 4Kids has a reputation for editing that’ll even make ADV blush and never releasing a subtitled version. I’m not one to judge their marketing strategy– 4Kids has by far the most profitable franchises in anime in Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh and didn’t squander them. Even though Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are heavily edited (over 20 episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh were removed from the series flow, for one), they are huge money makers.

60 Billion Double Dollar Reward… wait… that’s not right…

I doubt any company can make this kinda of money with an unedited, subtitled version. The hard truth is that anime must be easily accessible to all people for it to become popular. Most American do not care about the Japanese language or why they say, “ittadakimasu” before a meal. People want to turn on their TV and see that yellow electric thing prance around. It’ll be no different for Luffy (which won’t be his name, considering 4Kids prefers less foreign names like Lance and Bob and Cletus) and friends.

It was also a heavily edited, unsubtitled anime that got me watching when I was young. Robotech was the worst of crimes by today’s standards. It was basically the animation from three separate series smudged together to form a storyline that was completely different from the original version, and it makes what 4Kids does today seem like a simple misdemeanor. But, guess what? It worked. It got me interested. It was a little seed. Many years later, I got curious as to exactly what I missed as a child. If it weren’t for Robotech, I may never have picked up that Macross Plus DVD over a decade later. People cried then too. Guess what? The original Macross series is available, uncut, subtitled, for everyone who wishes to relieve that part of their youth, without the American editing. In the end, as long as people are willing to buy it, the companies will make it. I don’t think it’ll be any different for One Piece.

3 Responses to “so you’ve been licensed…”

  1. A fair assessment, there. I don’t think anybody could reasonably expect for a 190+ episode series to be commercially released in the US in a fanboy-friendly manner. Even at six episodes per disc, we’d be looking at over 30 discs, and at $19-$30 per unit, that’s a daunting chunk of real estate for a retailer’s shelves. In order to capitalize on this investment, any company would almost certainly have to arrange a television release to picque public interest. To get on television in the US, sacrifices must be made. This is how Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and even Robotech managed to get a good foothold.

    As long as I can get a plushy Chopper doll at a local store, I’ll be happy. Besides, with television saturation and merchandising tie-ins, they may be able to sell DVDs of their chopped-up One Piece for $8.00 at your nearest Target or Wal-Mart.

  2. Yikes. 190~ / 6 eps = 31.667 DVDs * $30 each DVD = $950! NINE HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS! Even with a Suncoast discount that’s a heck of a lot of money.

    A thousand dollars for all of One Piece IF 4kids decided to be nice and give the fans what they want – English and Japanese 2.0, English direct subtitles, Japanese original subtitles, DVD art galleries, interviews, commentary… Let’s not even talk about what a limited numbered box set with neat extras like Soundtracks and artbooks would cost!

    But if the TV release is good, this merchandise will move. I expect action figures, costumes, videogames, PLUSHIES! If you can put Luffy or whatever they’re going to change his name to on an item and get a mom to buy it they’re going to do it. And that would fuel DVD sales.

    I myself wouldn’t mind Replica Roanora Zorro’s 3 Katanas or some Devil Fruit Fuzzy Dice for my car!

    Yes, its sad but true – to save money 4kids is probably going to release the English Dub ONLY for all estimated 32 DVDs. Thank the internet for Fansubs purchased years ago!

  3. Wait A Second You Forgot About The Uncut Yu-gi-oh & Shaman King Re-Releses That Are Coming Out In A Few Months, And They Do Return The Unaired Ep’s That Werent Aired On Either Kids WB Nor Cartoon Network