4Kids Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

4Kids Entertainment was a American production company that was established in 1970 initially as "Leisure Concepts, Inc.", specializing in the acquisition, production, and licensing of children's entertainment around the world. The company was most well-known for its range of television licenses, which included the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! media franchises. The company also operated a few program blocks, including the Fox block 4Kids TV (formerly FoxBox) and The CW4Kids (later Toonzai). In April 2011, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in response to a lawsuit from Nihon Ad Systems and TV Tokyo concerning their Yu-Gi-Oh! license; the lawsuit has since been resolved. In 2012, 4Kids' entertainment assets were sold to Saban Brands and 4K Acquisition Group (a subsidiary of Konami), due to lack of profitability. 4Kids was eventually rebranded to 4Licensing Corporation, though they would later file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in September of 2016, officially shutting down in February 2017.


4Kids Productions

1st Logo (September 16-December 9, 1995)


Visuals: On a blue background decorated with moving black clouds, a granite black filmstrip is seen with the words "4KIDS" (in a tall serif font) on it, and a red rectangle with the word "PRODUCTIONS" below it in silver. Behind the logo, a purple-red cross shape explodes like a supernova and releases pink clouds along a vertical horizon. What appears to be a second explosion starts to form before it cuts away.

Technique: 2D computer effects.

Audio: The closing theme of the show.

Availability: Seen on the first season of WMAC Masters.

2nd Logo (1996-February 22, 2000)


Visuals: On the same background as before, a blue embossed plate that contains the new 4Kids logo (which is a silver rectangle with "4Kids" cut out of it, along with "PRODUCTIONS" below it and a red line underneath on the blue rectangle outline, as well as a still ping along the top of it) swings up and stays put in the middle, as a pink burst of light emerges from the background. A lens flare then appears and traces itself along the top edge of the screen (as well as the ping shining a bit) for a moment before it disappears, and the animation repeats once more before it fades out.

Variants:

  • On some shows, the logo starts at the part where the lens flare appears, and a registered trademark "®" symbol appears in the lower right corner of the logo.
  • On the rare theatrical trailer of Pokémon: The First Movie, the logo has "ENTERTAINMENT" replace "PRODUCTIONS", is slower overall, and has a very blurry look to the rest of the logo.
  • A still version of the "ENTERTAINMENT" variant with the plate taking up the entirety of the screen was spotted on some Game Boy Video cartridges of Pokémon, Sonic X, and Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • When Kids' WB! (now known as "One Magnificent Morning") originally aired Pokémon: Indigo League, this logo and The Summit Media Group logo were played in split-screen due to the block's own split-screen credits (the next logo is used instead on other prints).

Technique: CGI and computer effects.

Audio: Several ascending whooshing noises, followed by a "bang"; 2 synth notes play in the background. Otherwise, it's the closing theme of the show. On later episodes of WMAC Masters, there is a mystical, ethereal theme synchronized to the logo's actions, which carries on over to The Summit Media Group logo.

Availability:

  • The full version is seen on VHS and DVD releases of Pokémon: Indigo League from "Pokémon – I Choose You!" until "Totally Togepi".
  • The short version appears on Season 2 of WMAC Masters and at the end of Pokémon: Indigo League episodes until "The Breeding Center Secret".
    • It also can be preserved on both the 2017 Viz Media Blu-ray release and a Netflix print of said show.

Legacy: It's remembered fondly by many that watched the English dub of Pokémon, though not as remembered as the next logo below.

4Kids Entertainment

1st Logo (September 4, 1999-September 3, 2005)


Visuals: On a swirling vortex background made up of blue/black/white colors, a large sky blue cluster of lights emerges from the center of the screen. In front of it, a silver plate, two triangles and one square are seen floating about, before they rotate and swing around, forming an updated version of the "plate" design from the second 4Kids Productions logo, only there is no outline, "4" is "cut out" to the left, and the plate overall has a shinier/reflective effect on it. A single ping also appears and moves into position. Then, "Kids", shine in and rotate onto the plate, while the red-underlined text "ENTERTAINMENT" wipes in underneath with a sparkling light. Everything shines consistently until it all fades out.

Variants:

  • Sometimes, this plays at warp speed.
  • Sometimes, this may be shown in a letterboxed format on TV.
  • Some shows (such as Sonic X and a small handful of Pokémon episodes) with the full credits play the theatrical variant.
  • This logo exists in both videotaped and filmed variants and may be shown in 16:9 (for the filmed variant) or 4:3 (for TV shows and full-screen copies of films).
  • On the 1st (later episodes with the 30 second long credits) and early 2nd season episodes of Pokémon and episodes of Shaman King, the theatrical version of the logo plays in split-screen alongside the logo of the show.
  • Late 2nd season episodes of Pokémon through to the first half of the Advanced Challenge season and early seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh! use a shortened version of the logo that cuts in as the plate finishes forming and "ENTERTAINMENT" fades in. This is used also on original Kids' WB! airings of both shows, due to the block's own split-screen credits.
  • There is a weird "muddy" variant on Pokémon Heroes. This is due to the film's English and international releases having a blue tint applied to them for unknown reasons.
  • On 4Kids Home Video releases (distributed by FUNimation Entertainment), a copyright notice appears below, and the logo then cuts to the FUNimation logo from the time. However, some very early 2002 releases lack the copyright date.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Sparkles and a "swoosh" as the text wipes in are heard throughout. On television shows, the closing theme plays over the logo.

Audio Variant: On Pokémon 4Ever, a weird chime-like sound plays over this logo (with the swoosh intact) and the Pokémon USA, Inc. logo.

Availability:

  • The full version of the videotaped variant appears on Pokémon VHS/DVD sets from Volume 17 of Indigo League until Advanced Challenge and on Indigo League episodes from "Pikachu's Goodbye" until "The Purr-fect Hero" (with the closing theme).
    • The versions with the copyright info appear on 4Kids Home Video releases.
    • The full short version of the videotaped variant appears on some episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kirby! Right Back At Ya! and Sonic X (though on some international prints, it's usually removed by having the TMS Entertainment logo held over it) and on early episodes of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. It was also seen on the first season of their dub of Winx Club and on early episodes of their dub of One Piece.
  • The filmed variant of this logo appears on the first five Pokémon movies and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light.
    • On current digital prints and the Viz Media Blu-ray release, this is cut (alongside Kids' WB! and Nintendo) and goes straight to the film.
  • The full split-screen version of the videotaped variant appears on Pokémon episodes from "Princess vs. Princess" of Indigo League to "Charizard Chills" from Adventures on the Orange Islands.
    • The shortened split-screen variant appeared on Pokémon episodes from "The Pokémon Water War" from "Adventures on the Orange Islands" until "The Bicker the Better" from Advanced Challenge five seasons later.
  • It also appears on Cubix: Robots for Everyone, Shaman King, and Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes until halfway into the Waking the Dragons season.
    • When Nicktoons in the United States aired the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series in 2013-2014, this logo was plastered with the extended version of the 2009 Nickelodeon Productions logo, due to Nicktoons using their own split-screen credits instead of using the show's original credits.
  • Strangely, the logo appeared on first-run Cartoon Network US airings of some Pokémon DP: Battle Dimension and Pokémon: DP: Galactic Battles episodes, due to an error on the compressed credits. The CN Video prints did not have this error, though.

Legacy: A more recognizable logo that not only appeared at the end of Pokémon, but even a lot of their other dubs too, given its more widespread use.

2nd Logo (January 22, 2005-October 6, 2012)


Visuals:

  • January 22, 2005-December 1, 2009: On a black background, a red ball, surrounded by a white gleaming aura, appears from the center of the screen and U-turns right in front of the camera. Upon passing the camera, the new 4Kids logo, which has "4k!DS" shown in a bulbous, exaggerated font with a thick light blue outline surrounding it, a cel-shaded look to it, and the "4k" is conjoined. The logo starts off without most of its color, but when the red ball stops on the "!", the logo rumbles as a burst of particles and sparks (along with a shockwave) rupture out from the ball, and the logo gains back most of its color. A orange aura also surrounds the entire thing as "ENTERTAINMENT" fades in below the logo and the entire thing zooms slowly towards the screen.
  • January 29, 2005-September 1, 2007 (Sign-On version): Similar animation to the 2005 version, but the ball comes in from the left instead with a brighter aura, and then hops from left to right to reveal the "4k!DS" text as they wiggle like Jell-O. The ball then falls to the right and quickly zips to the other side, revealing "TV" as it spins, and then it quickly swings into place under the ""I", creating a smaller burst effect as well as the outline around the logo.
  • September 8, 2007-October 6, 2012: Similar to the 2005 version, but the red ball flies from the right side instead, and lands on the revised 4KidsTV logo, which is now arranged horizontally, with "TV" now next to a "4K!DS" with revised proportions. The burst effect just has the particles, and the aura is now blue.

Trivia: The logo's animation and sound effects were later adapted for the bumpers of the 4Kids TV block from 2005-2007.

Variants:

  • Most of the time, the 2005 logo uses the 4Kids TV logo instead, of which the logo is truncated slightly to make room for the text "TV" at the bottom right corner of it. The letters also appear to be in 3D and the dot is already there on the darkened logo, rather than a hole where the dot goes.
    • Sometimes, the animation is slightly cheaper, lacking several of the effects on the burst effect.
  • As with the previous logo, on 4Kids Home Video releases (distributed by Funimation Entertainment), a copyright notice appears below the logo after it forms.
  • Sometimes, "ENTERTAINMENT" is not present under the logo.
  • At the end of episodes of Pokémon Chronicles, the red ball comes into view as the credits near the end.
  • Episodes of Viva Piñata on the 4Kids video-on-demand service use a completely different logo animation and it's in widescreen, this uses the alternate jingle stated below. A shortened version was used at the end of the aforementioned show and Chaotic.
  • On DVD releases of 4Kids shows, the “entertainment” version of this logo contained a copyright date to the year of the DVD’s release.
  • The "TV" logo was seen on Winx Club: Join the Club for PSP. It appeared on a gradient blue background. This logo was also spotted on Viva Piñata: Party Animals for NDS.
  • On a September 2006 airing of Yu-Gi-Oh! Dawn of the Duel, the logo was incorrectly cropped in the split-screen credits, causing part of the logo to be cut off.
  • On DVD releases of Chaotic, the copyright notices for Dracco Co., Ltd. and Chaotic USA Entertainment Group appear underneath.
  • On the DVD of Good Night, Pajanimals, the logo is still on a white background.
  • On a promo for 4Kids TV, the logo is shortened to last few seconds of the logo where the text appears below the 4Kids TV logo reading, "The Place to Be!".

Technique: CGI.

Audio:

  • 2005-2009: A long, drawn-out synth chord plays throughout, with a loud "WHOOSH" as the ball flies into view, and a zapping sound as it hits the logo and colors it. This jingle is limited to appearing on FUNimation DVDs of 4Kids material, as all 4Kids shows have the ending theme of the show playing over the logo. Episodes of Viva Piñata on the 4Kids Video On Demand service use a completely different jingle, which sounds like a bunch of rapid drum beats.
  • Sign-On version: A rock theme with the choir singing "4Kids TV" twice accomplished by the sounds of bouncing effects with a whoosh at the beginning when the ball flies in, a weird sound is heard when "TV" spins. Sometimes, an extended version of the above theme is heard, it plays out normally when the ball is about to dot the "I".
  • Otherwise, the end theme of the show or none.

Availability:

  • 2005-2009: This logo debuted when the FoxBox block became 4Kids TV in January 2005 and was used during the split-screen credits of shows, plastering the 1st logo. However, outside of the 4Kids TV block, it made its first appearance halfway through Pokémon: Advanced Challenge and three-quarters of the way through Yu-Gi-Oh! Waking the Dragons.
    • The "ENTERTAINMENT" variant appears on later episodes of their dub of One Piece, some Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes, and on Pokémon Chronicles.
      • Also appears on 4Kids Home Video releases.
      • Its last appearence occurred on the 2009 DVD of Good Night, Pajanimals.
      • The splitscreen variant appears on post-2005/2006 episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pokémon: Advanced Challenge (from the episodes "Grass Hysteria" until "The Garden of Eatin'?"), Yu-Gi-Oh! (starting from the Waking the Dragons episode "Fighting For A Friend - Part 4"), among others.
    • The "4Kids TV" version appears on many TMNT episodes, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Chaotic (with a copyright notice), Viva Piñata, and Magical DoReMi, among others. It could also be seen on the final two seasons of their dub of Winx Club and subsequent episodes of their dub of One Piece.
      • The split-screen variant appears on the last four episodes of Pokémon: Advanced Challenge (starting from "A Scare to Remember") as well as the 8th and final season of the series to be dubbed by the company, Pokémon: Advanced Battle. It also appears on the first two series of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, in addition to the first arc of season 3 - Survival Duels and the first few Quest of the Rainbow Dragon episodes (The last to feature this logo is the episode "The Return of the Sacred Beasts"), it made an unexpected appearance on a promo where it's shortened to the last few seconds of the logo.
  • 2007-2012: Used in tandem with the 2005 logo until 2009. Appears on the last 4Kids-produced shows and dubs before their bankruptcy.
    • The standard version appears on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Back to the Sewer and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
    • Appeared on later season 3 episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Quest for the Rainbow Dragon starting with "Breaking of the Sacred Seal" and continuing on with the show's last dub story arc - Into the Shadows (the episode "All For One" onwards). The official YouTube uploads of season 2 plaster the 2005 logo with this one, for unknown reasons.
    • Also appeared on Dinosaur King and early episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal (though curiously enough, it was used through the French dub of said series). Also applied to the 2007 rebranding of the 4Kids TV block.
    • It does not appear on the first season of The Adrenaline Project, as the logo only appears as an on-screen credit. In addition, on the second season of the show, the credit is removed, leaving only the Decode Entertainment logo in the frame it was on. This was possibly due to 4Kids Entertainment leaving production of The Adrenaline Project after the first season.
  • Sign-On version: Was used as a sign-on for the 4Kids TV block on Fox until the fall of 2007 when the block's "Game Station" branding debuted. It may possibly had been used as a sign-off, but it's unknown for now.

Legacy: Reception for this logo is rather divisive. On one hand, it's another memorable logo for those who grew up with their dubs. On the other hand, this logo is rather infamous due to it being used during a time when 4Kids was very notorious for its poorly-regarded dubs of anime shows.

4Kids Entertainment
4K Media Inc.
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