4kids – ToonBarn http://www.toonbarn.com Cartoon news from Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, The Hub, Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, CG animation, anime, movies, or any kind of cartoons! Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 4530339 The Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal English Dub You Weren’t Supposed To See http://www.toonbarn.com/yu-gi-oh/yu-gi-oh-zexal-english-dub-werent-supposed-see/ http://www.toonbarn.com/yu-gi-oh/yu-gi-oh-zexal-english-dub-werent-supposed-see/#respond Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:00:21 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=81909 Remember Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal? The third spin-off of Kazuki Takashi’s Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series ran for 156 episodes between April 2011 and March 2014 on TV Tokyo in Japan. An English dub produced in New York by 4Kids Entertainment (and later, 4K Media) ran in the United States on The CW and Nicktoons between October 2011 and […]

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Remember Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal? The third spin-off of Kazuki Takashi’s Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series ran for 156 episodes between April 2011 and March 2014 on TV Tokyo in Japan. An English dub produced in New York by 4Kids Entertainment (and later, 4K Media) ran in the United States on The CW and Nicktoons between October 2011 and February 2015. Did you know there was an entirely separate English dub of the series?

The first 26 episodes of the series were reversioned in Los Angeles by Bang Zoom Entertainment. This dub starred Johnny Yong Bosch as Yuma, Vic Mignogna as Shark, Richard Cansino as Bronk, with Cassandra Morris, Sam Riegel, and Liam O’Brien also on deck. It featured an entirely new musical score, the addition of comedic sound effects as well as altered animation. The latter came as a result of the production team having been given largely unprecedented access to the animation files so they could tweak things as they saw fit.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of this dub’s puzzle is that it legally shouldn’t have ever been made. The dub was produced for Asatsu-DK, the Japanese ad-agency that owns Yu-Gi-Oh! animation studio Nihon Ad Systems. Together with broadcaster TV Tokyo, the two attempted to revoke 4Kids’ license to the property in 2011 over alleged unpaid royalties amounting to $4.8 million. In direct response to that, 4Kids filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, a move that would force a pause on the ongoing lawsuit.

This was when Asatsu-DK decided to go on the offensive. Viewing 4Kids’ license to the property null and void, the company paid Bang Zoom to produce their dub of Zexal over a period of 6-8 months in June 2011. They even started to promote the series at television trade events to get prospective broadcast and merchandise partners interested. The U.S. courts would find this information out and accosted Asatsu-DK and TV Tokyo for trying to circumvent the proceedings. They were forced to act as though 4Kids’ license was still valid while the legal cases were determined.

The finishing blow for this dub came on December 29, 2011. The U.S. courts ruled that 4Kids’ license to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise was in fact still valid. A significant number of the alleged unpaid fees were either found by the court to be without merit, or were already withdrawn by the Japanese companies. Additionally, the court noted that Asatsu-DK and TV Tokyo failed to enact the proper license termination protocol dictated in their contract with 4Kids Entertainment. All told, the actions of the Japanese companies cast serious doubts over the legitimacy of the lawsuit. Truthfully, it may have been too late for Bang Zoom’s dub anyway. The 4Kids dub had already premiered on U.S. television more than two months prior.

In May 2012, 4Kids and the two Japanese parties eventually settled their differences with 4Kids receiving a cool $8 million from them. It was as though the New York-based company activated their trap card. Maybe a super charged Magic Cylinder? As a result of the bankruptcy proceedings, 4Kids later sold off their production arm, 4Kids Productions, and the Yu-Gi-Oh! license to a newly formed branch of Japanese gaming company Konami, 4K Media. Konami was already involved with the franchise through manufacturing the video game and trading card game tie-ins. 4K Media has handled the English language adaptions of every Yu-Gi-Oh! production since.

Asatsu-DK’s dub hasn’t been entirely lost to the Shadow Realm, though. Footage from it did sneak out to the public. Kristi Reed, who was the voice director at Bang Zoom working on the show presented a panel at Armageddon Expo in Australia in 2012. Fans on a Yu-Gi-Oh! forum called Neo Ark Cradle managed to dig up the opening theme song and its demo, the former of which was sung by Bosch.

So, without further ado, this is the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal dub you weren’t supposed to see:

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Between Kids Click and Universal Kids, A Small Rebirth of Sorts is Starting. http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/kids-click-universal-kids-small-rebirth-sorts-starting/ http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/kids-click-universal-kids-small-rebirth-sorts-starting/#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:12:34 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=83741 Comcast and Sinclair are two companies that have many detractors. And some of criticisms are not without merit. But the announcements over the last several weeks, first with the Universal Kids rebrand of Sprout (once owned by CTW, creators of Sesame Street), and Kids Click, the MGM/Weigel/Sinclair project which will bring both weekend and weekday […]

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Comcast and Sinclair are two companies that have many detractors. And some of criticisms are not without merit.

But the announcements over the last several weeks, first with the Universal Kids rebrand of Sprout (once owned by CTW, creators of Sesame Street), and Kids Click, the MGM/Weigel/Sinclair project which will bring both weekend and weekday animation back to the network airwaves (via Sinclair increasingly large station group, with the addition of the Tribune stations), a sort of rebirth has begun.

While the first few months will be slow, and the first year will be filled with growing pains – its become near apparent that their entries in the Kids Industry will have an affect – much smaller for Sinclair for now, much larger for Comcast at the beginning of the re-brand will have an effect on Disney (the king of the industry at the moment), Paramount/Nick and Cartoon Network/Boomerang.

For Comcast, this has been in the offering for almost 15 years. Rumblings started way back when they bought Classic Media but nothing come out of it. Then by co owning Sprout (and then when they bought NBC using it as a spring board for Sprout content). Then they bought Illumination entertainment – the animation house that made the formidable Despicable Me franchise, and then with Comcast buying Dreamworks Animation, they had no choice but to build the network. Despicable Me is a 3 BILLION dollar powerhouse, and with the addition of the myriad of Dreamwork’s IP’s and the fact they have tried to get back into the kids industry (since the end of the USA Cartoon Express) for this long they will be playing for keeps.

Sinclair is another beast of a different strain. With the announcement that BOTH former runners from the 4Kids era and the short Vortexx era will be joining Kids Click, Sinclair is trying to get tried and true success stories into the fray. You also have to remember that Sinclair runs everything – on a basis of penny pitching. Everything to cut costs they will do, but they will not (and they never do this for their local stations in the mid major markets, when it comes to news) short change quality. The massive, massive question comes down to the acquisition of newer shows from places like Netflix and others and the big question, will they go after the Toy Based anime (such as Yokai Watch) etc? Will Sinclair (who have good connections with the major evangelical groups, which air their preachers) ask for concessions (read this as airing certain shows of Christan bent) if expansion takes place later on with certain Christan based product (Veggie Tales etc)? Will they be a much stricter on what will air on Kids Click then 4Kids was in the past, or Saban and his dealings in the past?

This has all come at a time when Youtube has become a place where kids watch their stars, and where stars are born. The recent controversies concerning these stars, and with advertising rates and how and where Youtube is sending said ads. There is also massive, massive disconnects since all the changes with advertising for food, toys and others around children have changed – but only two products (Legos and Star Wars) have succeeded post the Marvel/LucasArts mergers. Then came fidget spinners, a product that wasn’t promoted on the kids networks, but on Youtube mostly – and it became a massive success. Something is wrong with the way the shows are promoted, the ads are placed and all  the rest. The advertisers – cant fully trust YouTube, and if Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer is to be believed, a lot of the advertisements on the net (from Facebook etc) are based on fraud on a immense scale.

Things are going to change on a dramatic scale in the next several months to years, and as the corrections continue – players like Comcast and Sinclair will want a slice of the pie. The catch however is this. Are Comcast’s IP’s big enough to cause changes in the cable world? Or is Sinclair with a new hit in the future that will shock the system? Much stranger things have taken place. We will see what take place starting July 1st, and all throughout this year and next.

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KidsClick hires 4Kids/Vortexx alum; gets new launch commercial http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/kidsclick-hires-4kidsvortexx-alum-gets-new-launch-commercial/ http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/kidsclick-hires-4kidsvortexx-alum-gets-new-launch-commercial/#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=83586 KidsClick is only days away from launch and the block’s operator, Sinclair Broadcast Group, has made an important management announcement. The company has appointed two children’s entertainment veterans in key positions. Daniel Barnathan has become Vice President Family and Children’s Programming and Sales at Sinclair.  This position gives him direct oversight over KidsClick. Additionally, Jonathan […]

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KidsClick is only days away from launch and the block’s operator, Sinclair Broadcast Group, has made an important management announcement. The company has appointed two children’s entertainment veterans in key positions. Daniel Barnathan has become Vice President Family and Children’s Programming and Sales at Sinclair.  This position gives him direct oversight over KidsClick. Additionally, Jonathan Dern has been named Executive Producer and will oversee and manage KidsClick programming, promotion and operations.

Barnathan initially entered the kids entertainment working various positions for ABC, including heading up the 2000 reorganization of their Disney Kids television businesses. In 2002, he was hired by 4Kids Entertainment to be the executive vice president of sales, marketing and promotion for the Fox Box Saturday morning block. He stayed with the company through the block’s transition to 4KidsTV, The CW4Kids and Toonzai. When 4Kids filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and sold its broadcast assets to Saban Brands, he stuck on until the block’s end in 2014.

Jonathan Dern co-founded MGM Animation alongside Paul Sabella. The two later started SD Entertainment, where they worked on things like the 2003 Transformers Go-Bots cartoon, the Care Bears relaunch in the early 2000s, My Little Pony direct-to-video features and Angelina Ballerina.

By hiring these two, it’s another sign that Sinclair is serious about building KidsClick into a formidable block. One can only wonder what kind of programming they’ll acquire in the future.

Earlier, we showed you some of the KidsClick advertising going on local stations – some of which used the national promo, while others did a direct segment during the news. Both were focused on showcasing the block as a way to relive some found memories of waking up early to catch some cartoons. Now we’ve got another commercial, but this one’s aimed at the kids:

KidsClick launches July 1, 2017 on ThisTV and select Sinclair-owned television stations. The block runs seven days a week. On weekdays, you can catch it between 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and on weekends 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. eastern/pacific. Do note, however, that the local stations are free to air KidsClick on their own schedule, so it’s best to consult a TV guide! At the block’s debut, it’ll be available in more than 75 million homes. Later this summer, KidsClick will be available through online platforms, like the block’s website, mobile apps and over-the-top platforms such as Roku.

What do you think of the KidsClick advertising so far? Which shows would you like to see Barnathan and Dern pick up? Leave a comment down below.

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Thoughts About 4Kids 5 Years After its End: A Challenge to Readers http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/things-about-4kids-and-the-industrymarket-place-5-years-after-its-end-and-a-challenge-for-those-reading-this/ http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/things-about-4kids-and-the-industrymarket-place-5-years-after-its-end-and-a-challenge-for-those-reading-this/#respond Sun, 26 Feb 2017 06:00:35 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=78961 In an email conversation with fellow Toonbarn staff Neil, I was told that a lot of people still come to this site looking for info on 4Kids. To me, it’s not a surprise. A lot of companies die out, leaving the products behind to other owners. 4Kids’s bankruptcy in reality left a gaping hole that […]

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In an email conversation with fellow Toonbarn staff Neil, I was told that a lot of people still come to this site looking for info on 4Kids.

To me, it’s not a surprise. A lot of companies die out, leaving the products behind to other owners. 4Kids’s bankruptcy in reality left a gaping hole that exposed a lot of things in the process.

The biggest thing it exposed? That the way animation is distributed in the country for the last several decades has been disrupted forever, and if such entries as Netflix and others go by the way side, most of the animation industry in the US would be flushed down the drain.

All 4Kids bankruptcy did was to showcase how much collusion was in not only the return of Saban back to Saturday morning, but in a weird way, showcased the bigger wage scandal Hollywood’s animated studios were doing (to be fair, 4Kids and Saban were doing the same things in different ways and this was because one side didnt get is bailout money and the other had just restarted the company after being away for a while.)

But I think what was lost in the whole thing is that 4Kids did do some amazing things with the limited funds they did have and also gave some of the ideas of having their own Ad Agency (they were once Leisure Creations back in the 1970s and still had that appperatiaus) which now Illumination studios does with its movies and its advertising. One of the reasons why these companies are starting to use this concept is because it may be more advantageous (especially with all the issues with the Youtube influencers and so on) to control the ads the product is based on in order to sell other people products on. 4Kids did this with Yugi-Oh and Nintendo many times and so on. It going to increase as the ad men lose more and more control of their influence – and as this election has proved, the ad men and their companies have bitten more than they can chew.

But I could talk more about these things about 4Kids. I rather let you who have been coming here to Toon Barn looking for more information about 4Kids, to tell me what we need to discuss and to explain in better detail. I have other projects that I do need to finish, but since I have pretty much found a home here, i want you folks to help me. Keep sending suggestions to Neil, and on the comments below or Toon Barns Growing Message Board. I will do my best to help explain what I know and to give better context to these questions.

Thanks, and watch for more articles on 4Kids and other topics soon…

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Why The AT&T/Time Warner merger, means a massive change in US Dubbing (and isnt a good thing) http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/atttime-warner-merger-means-massive-change-us-dubbing-isnt-good-thing/ http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/atttime-warner-merger-means-massive-change-us-dubbing-isnt-good-thing/#respond Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:49:48 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=77798 Note: The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Toon Barn or its affiliates For a few years, I have been talking about Crunchyroll and its effects on the US Dubbing of anime and the way anime has been marketed in the states for some time. It has also been an […]

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Note: The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Toon Barn or its affiliates

For a few years, I have been talking about Crunchyroll and its effects on the US Dubbing of anime and the way anime has been marketed in the states for some time. It has also been an issue with how licensing has been done, with certain artists (western artists like LeShawn Thomas who has worked in the industry before) bringing their work over to Crunchyroll instead of Toonami. Given the fact that Toonami has limited space but has done well in the ratings, the opinion of this essayist remains firm. Toonami makes anime a part of the wider animation community, while Crunchyroll creates a ghetto for the genre in this country. To say otherwise is the promotion of political, social and physical piracy. 

Now, why do i mention the deal with AT&T and Time Warner.

For this, you must look at a company named CA Media. CA Media is a collaboration between AT&T and Chernin Group. This same group, Bought the Pirating firm, Crunchyroll back in December of 2013 for about 100 Million dollars. AT&T and CA Media partnered later in 2014. This was one of the reasons why Crunchroll got a influx of money. They were bankrolled by the now regrowing MaBell, and the former Leader of both Fox Network (and yes, Fox Kids – with Haim Saban back in the 90’s).

Now with the deal about a year away – There are small, but significant rumblings inside the house of Piracy. They know that they will have SOME say in Toonami’s handling, because AT&T now has the distribution arm (Direct TV), the networks (part of The CW, which they sponsor half of the shows, and the turner networks) and with CA Media – the online platform.

The question is, where does this all lead?

The immediate answer would be a wait and see approach. But we have seen with Comcast, they didnt wait too long after the merger to lock NBC down after the 2012 Olympics. AT&T will do the same (if they can raise the money with the banks, and who has 40 Billion to spend to see Bugs Bunny sell cell phones?)

But the biggest concern, has to be how the handle Toonami. I felt that the block has found its place in the world. But Crunchyroll, the pirates that they are will spoil the fun. You see, their culture and Toonami’s culture may be politically similar(last i checked, Chernin is a DNC supporter), but socially not similar. Toonami started as an Idea, Crunchyroll started as a rebellion of sorts (but really, Piracy) dealing with the editing practices of 4kids during their run of One Piece. Toonami’s culture is one of understanding ones individuality, while Crunchyrolls is the continuation of a type of authoritarian collective (which also explains all the strange messages against Toonami concerning music videos, many of these contrarians are fans of at the very least subscribers or paid by Crunchyroll to antagonize Mr Demarco and others working for him, and we also see that in recent articles going after Adult Swim by Polygon and others).

Will AT&T force Toonami to work with this monstrosity, Crunchyroll that has hurt their chances of bringing even better work to the fore? Or better yet – what if this gets Crunchyroll Into the North American animation business using Toonami as a vector?

What does it also mean for the two pirate sites, Kiss Anime and Toonami Aftermath? Do they make a deal with say – Verizon and or Cox for streaming? Does AT&T blocks them?

The bigger question for you is – who do you trust if Toonami gets taken over by someone not fitting of what the block represents?

All this does is prove to others that wish to Pirate – you will be rewarded in the end. That our government sadly is selective in who they punish with law. Thats both scary and sobering.

In a better world, This Merger signals the end of Crunchroll and all its stands for. Toonami takes the whole joint over, all of the executives of Crunchyroll leave with nothing, and Toonami Jetstream will return as a secondary part of the much larger Toonami entity, which will bring artists, shows and videos together, and they finally have the networks (the CW along with AS. and the other turner networks) to do so.

That would be a much better fate for North American animation and Anime in this country as a whole in this new age.

But i know these sly pirate scumbags and degenerates from Crunchyroll will not go without a fight.

Im with Toonami.

I come for a fight Mr Gao. I hope your ready. You will not win, not this time.

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Viacom Used TMNT…as a TAX SCHEME? http://www.toonbarn.com/nickelodeon/viacom-used-tmnt-tax-scheme/ http://www.toonbarn.com/nickelodeon/viacom-used-tmnt-tax-scheme/#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2016 22:52:33 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=57722 This is one of the craziest stories I ever heard of, and the year is just getting started. And maybe its REALLY getting bad in Viacom if they are doing this to a storied franchise… From NBC News: Viacom Inc was sued by a former vice president who said the media company fired her in […]

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This is one of the craziest stories I ever heard of, and the year is just getting started.

And maybe its REALLY getting bad in Viacom if they are doing this to a storied franchise…

From NBC News:

Viacom Inc was sued by a former vice president who said the media company fired her in retaliation for opposing its alleged plan to illegally avoid paying U.S. taxes on the international licensing rights for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, Nataki Williams said she was fired in April 2014 while on maternity leave, after Viacom ignored her objections to its plan the prior year to transfer Ninja Turtles rights to a Netherlands-based entity solely to avoid the U.S. tax burden.

Williams said the licensing work was handled in New York, but Viacom arranged for minor work to be done in the Netherlands to make it appear as though the contracts were handled there.

The Irvington, New Jersey resident also said Viacom planned for the Netherlands entity to buy rights to other children’s characters like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, in a scheme that her bosses allegedly said could save millions of dollars.

What in the world is this? They are selling (not as hot, though) well enough. So you mean because the shows have become a tax burden on company, you going to sell the rights to the Dutch so you pay no taxes?

It gets worse folks:

Williams said she was fired as vice president for financial planning and analysis, ending more than six years of employment at Viacom, on the pretext that her benefits paperwork wrongly listed her child’s father, also named Williams, as a spouse.

She said Viacom caused the error, and that she held herself out as single.

“Ms. Williams was actually fired in retaliation for her internal whistle-blowing of an unlawful tax avoidance scheme that would have saved Viacom millions, and that Ms. Williams reasonably believed was fraudulent,” the complaint said.

In a statement, Viacom said Williams was fired for “fraudulently claiming company benefits to which she was not entitled. Her legal claims are completely without merit, and we will vigorously defend against these claims in court.”

So they fired her basically…because of a client on her child’s father? Does any major company in this world does this now?

If you remember, 4Kids sold the rights of the TMNT in 2009 to Viacom for a unknown sum. The movie rights were also moved to Paramount. So now it seems not only the TMNT but their two other Main Franchises (Dora and Spongebob) if this is true, have become tax burdens on the company. I would believe that animation series wouldn’t be such a massive hit on a company, but Viacom maybe in much worse shape than i realized if this scheme is true.

We will have more on this, because just like The VFX Scandals and the Disney-Dreamworks wage collusion scandal its is only the beginning.

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Why BuzzFeed and Cartoon Brew Kinda forgets about Women in Animation. http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/buzzfeed-cartoon-brew-kinda-forgets-women-animation/ http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/buzzfeed-cartoon-brew-kinda-forgets-women-animation/#respond Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:31:31 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=56287 The Article that came out a few days ago concerning Women and the Hardships they face in Animation – isnt a new thing. However the stories missed a major point that people have forgotten. Half the reason why these new female animators got discriminated against (until very, very recently), was a bit of that “old […]

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The Article that came out a few days ago concerning Women and the Hardships they face in Animation – isnt a new thing.

However the stories missed a major point that people have forgotten.

Half the reason why these new female animators got discriminated against (until very, very recently), was a bit of that “old boys network”…

When it came to the art style the women students (now animators) were drawing in school.

You see, many of the older teachers and professors came from Disney’s days, and while aspects of the BuzzFeed story does ring true – it doesn’t state about the many other women who worked in the Voice Acting, Background and other animation work between the 1920 to the 1990’s (and I stopped on the 90’s for a reason I will explain in a minute) in which most of the great works of that time period continue to shine (Mary Blair is just one example)

When it comes to these teachers – what they saw in many of the students was what they called the Oriental (read this is a Anime) Taint, in most of their projects. For many teachers – they never saw it too much as a problem, they had some reverence for the work many of the Japanese animators have done. But for the majority of these animation teachers – they had a certain bias. And these teachers (since anime and manga was getting to be very popular with the success of Sailor Moon and others – with many female and male art students) began to nitpick everything – from arms, shape, and other such. Many females (back then), felt that they were being poked at because of the choice of art style they wanted to use to animate, and to be fair – some felt that the males were getting away with worse – as it has been proven with recent shows 10 years after the fact. (Bojack is a well written show, but its animation … yep)

I have known one artist from Sheridan who would tell you horror stories about how hard they went at the animation school students, when they deal with the “Oriental*Trash” the teachers complain – why too much on this and too much on that, where are the basics, horrible color theory etc.

There are others from SVA – who Amid Amidi admitted back when Jerry Beck was apart of Cartoon Brew – weren’t that good during one of his many Judging duties looking at Students in SVA. Many of the female animation students left because of burn out, sometimes they felt that the teachers didn’t get the support they wanted, still others that dreaded world “REAL LIFE” took over.

That was 10 years ago.

There have been massive changes now. Too massive to count or say here.

But some of these changes were somewhat good, others were bad.

And it comes back to audience – and of most import audience share. There are many shows that have characterizations and what not that would have never been possible 10 years ago.

But their ten years too late – and now destined to be lost in to the dustbin of falling subscriptions for cable, changes in how audiences get entertainment – and a incoming, but not too much said in the media – A ever growing and every dangerous tech bubble surrounding all of this.

The complaints are well founded, but its more of a lack of audience – and how the kids cable networks schedule these shows. If they had a schedule that they actually follow – then maybe – the ratings would reflect the changes the female animators say are taking place. But sadly – and this may not be the fault of the female animators – the ratings are no where close. In fact even though CN’s shows have done well – compared to Disney – its still 70/30 Male Cartoon Network and 85%/25% Disney Channel/Disney XD for females. This has been the way it has gone for the last 18 years. Frozen has made it much more towards the female camp. And to be fair to Nickelodeon – it has been much fairer, but their ratings have dropped like a stone.

That means the same shows continue to win (SpongeBob and others that are 15 to 30 years old at this point) to gain audience share because its what the audience trusts. To convince – the audience – and in the future – other animation teachers and faulty to produce better female animators -(because it seems to work very well in Japan…and France…somehow) is for much higher standards for animation teaching – but be more unbiased in how styles are used. There also needs to be a SuperProducer set up – not unlike Saban or Al Kahn used to have – especially now with these mass changes in how media is watched, where a woman is in Charge – this did happen with Fox Kids when Marget Loacsch was in power from 1990 to 1997 and when she ran the Hub for 4 years until it became Discovery Family. The main goal is to promote female Voice Actors, Animators, Background Artists etc. That way trust is formed and new people get into the business…NOT UNLIKE what Japan does – when NHK interviews animators and manga artists both male and female.

While Miss Lange may have had many sad stories about female animators right – the options are their to fix it. I just gave a couple. The Passive Aggressive Nature outside of the sad truth, doesnt help matters. It only continues the money grab that many of the networks will love to continue to do.

 

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The VFX Industry – The Medium Essay (Part 1) http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/vfx-industry-medium-essay-part-1/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/vfx-industry-medium-essay-part-1/#respond Fri, 13 Feb 2015 02:11:06 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=46319 Note: This is Part One, of a two part series dealing with the VFX industry. Originally Planned for the website Medium until Ev Williams changed certain aspects of his collections/publications setup, the recent dislocation of the VFX marketplace is not only a lesson in how far Hollywood has gone in trying to reconfigure animation into a safe mainstream success, but […]

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Note: This is Part One, of a two part series dealing with the VFX industry. Originally Planned for the website Medium until Ev Williams changed certain aspects of his collections/publications setup, the recent dislocation of the VFX marketplace is not only a lesson in how far Hollywood has gone in trying to reconfigure animation into a safe mainstream success, but has not only caused consternation with different state laws concerning tax credits and stipends (this extends to live action BUT NOT 2D animation), but with the legality of said contracts between studios and the states/providences in Canada and Overseas. This first part, posted on Medium around 2014, gives us what happened with R&H and Digital Domain. The next part is the aftermath of the PDI Closure and the ADAPT project ending just as the announcement of PDI was coming into play. If things are to be change in order for people who work in the VFX business stay afloat and to have animation not truly be a toy for the illegal use of tax funds by politicians to the studios, we must have account on why this is so. The second part does this. Before that – this is the first essay:

Troika, a LA Based VFX TV firm who clients range from NBC Sports, ESPN and Time Warner Cable — helped in the branding of the “Vortexx”, a low rent Broadcast TV block that came out of the bankruptcy of 4Kids Entertainment. Vortexx Media Ventures, owned by Saban Capital convinced the Firm to do the work.

Meanwhile, in Techwood, GA; eleven members of the [adult swim] production team, is working on a rebranding of the then newly returning “Toonami” block. The newly minted VP of Creative for the [adult swim] block, Jason Demarco — and five other folks that had work on both the original and new versions of the “Toonami” franchise — pretty much go it alone with the logo’s, lower thirds, placards, social media, etc.

The difference between the two styles?

One gets the ratings, newer franchises and world exclusive premiere series (Toonami)

One lives on the past glories that it took over (Vortexx).

This short introduction showcases the microcosm of troubles that face VFX in Hollywood. From Rhythm and Hues, to backstage deals — Governmental Tax Cheats, and all and all out “We must look good” egotism.

Hollywood has many crisis’s, but this might be the one that takes the studio system down… And the reason may be as simple as pie…


Sometimes, the best answer is a question:

Is VFX, Animation?

To many animators — who cut their teeth on storyboard, cartooning, working on the movement on the 1’s, 2’s, 3’s and 4’s — its a concept some say needs to rectified.

Some time ago, Amid Amidi from Cartoon Brew, tried to answer the question:

Animation plays such a seamless role in live-action production nowadays that some films which are identified as live-action are mostly animated. This may seem like a trivial distinction, but when such films are presented to the public as live-action, it devalues the role of animation artists in the process. Quite simply, these films would not exist without animators.

A perfect example of this new technology-driven, animation-heavy hybrid film is Alfonso Cuarón’s highly anticipated space movie Gravity, which opens this Friday. The film used previsualization to a larger extent than almost any other live-action film to date, and was animated once in its entirety before actors even entered the production.

Amidi quoted from a piece from the Wall Street Journal’s Don Steinburg:

First, a complete version of the movie was made inside a computer. The animation process called previsualization is a way that many filmmakers plan scenes, as a step beyond illustrated storyboards. But it’s unusual for an entire film to be “prevised.” Here, they essentially created a Pixar-style animation of the movie containing everything but the actors. The simulated spacecraft and tools other objects needed to look ultra-real rather than cartoony. Rather than just serving as a reference and planning tool, detailed imagery created in the previsualization became the movie…In some scenes in the film, the only thing on the screen that’s a “real” camera shot rather than something computer-generated is Sandra Bullock’s face.

This was not without precedent, the film “Beowulf” as well as the “Polar Express” used “motion capture” to use on the films. Beowulf had over 450 animators in 2007. Many aspects of the film used keyframes, rotoscoping (the motion capture). The project got so huge — they had to develop a new way to save the data. The movie was a middeling success, but “character capture” as a technique for live action — was here to stay.

When “District 9″ came, Weta Digital (one of the big boys in the VFX industry) were not available because of the “Avatar” commitment. Therefore, Blomkamp went with a Vancouver based firm. The CGI was done in a style that fit the gritty, 1980’s look of the film. People began to wonder if VFX could be done on the cheap, just like it was done for animation by the late 50’s.

The only difference? One was not supported by governmental kickbacks but when it concerned children, was kicked in the rear all over by the same Governments. And its for that reason that you can never “truly” consider VFX as animation outright — but as a politically protected class, and quasi-mature offshoot of cartooning and animation.

To explain how that happened, we must take a look at why these things took place — and it started with the deregulation of the media in the 1990’s.


Craft, Outsourced — Or The Long Night of the Tax Havens…

Two things took place during the 1990’s deregulation era.

One, the concept of free trade between unequal neighbors trading as equals.

The second was that every thing could be done on the cheap with very huge results.

The first concept worked with “tremendous” success. If you call success the majority of the work force (Union and Non Union) going from near forty dollar an hour wages to eight in a span of twenty years. Which also effected how workers dealt with bosses and how businesses changed.

One of the major reasons the first concept effect Hollywood? For years Hollywood did most of the special effects (and animation) in house. There were very little outside companies that did such work.

This worked fine for a while, until economic forces came into play by the end of the sci-fi/chariot epic/western era in the very late 1960’s to early 1970’s. Kubrick (and his team), Lucas and his team (many who came from Kubrick’s team) and Spielberg’s ideas formed the bases of the Independent VFX house. Hollywood never was the same.

By the deregulation era, the studios were on a crash course with margins. Now a choice had to be made. How to continue to produce work with the quality the audience expects?

There is that dreaded “O” word. VFX mainstays call it “Outsourcing” (I really call it cheating history, and I will explain that in a moment). Instead of dealing with their in-house VFX, and going to a independent VFX house in the US (which is only paid by a contract basis, and many times they go over contract because the directors and his/her producers want more work on post production, which makes the Independent VFX producer deal with the lack of funding). the studios look for a low tax or a tax credit friendly country (such as New Zealand, or Vancouver/Toronto and very recently London and the rest of the UK) for production. However, many of these VFX companies have to tell their workers to move to the UK, Canada and India in order to do the project.

In certain cases it gets worse. In one instance, a British Columbia based VFX company stated that the Hollywood studios take advantage of the Canadian tax credit and then outsource the rest of the work to China and India in order to save money than hiring workers from British Columbia.

This is a major problem. This effects everything from the prices of the contract the studios give to their VFX teams, to hiring of the stars (in particular action stars) in order to “force project” charisma that they may lack. (Hollywood also has a problem with finding a new action star, and while VFX helps in augmenting ones strength on the screen, it helps none when it comes to charisma).

This has lead into a movement not only to Unionize/make the union stronger. One of the ways this was done was the green screen protest which made impacts in the 2013 and 2014 award ceremonies. The internet has also been a help — one major site being VFX Soldier. The blogger has worked in exposing these issues, which one of his biggest success was the study on whether digital product (such as CGI, VFX and other type of effects) are goods or not. The study was crowd funded, and the results were surprising:

What the legal study suggested was that we use the same anti-subsidy duty laws for imported goods on internationally subsidized VFX which would help us effectively discipline the subsidy race The study also pointed out some potentially big legal hurdles:

This has never been done before for electronically transmitted digital products.

MPAA would argue that VFX is a service and and not a good since the anti-subsidy duties only applies to goods.

What it means is this: Since the Movie studios use VFX as a service to a good, and not the reverse, the duty law was not in effect. However, the SCOTUS in dealing with Uranium enrichment between the US and France and the US companies were trying to get out of paying the fair share. The US Supreme Court said otherwise and said the US companies had to pay.

The studios (represented by the MPAA- lead by Chris Dodd), got caught with their pants down by the study and realize that if the VFX groups see that the MPAA try to weasel their way out, they will be in a world of hurt.

So, we know why the studio’s obfuscate the issue. To save “money” (but they have made billions on end for years) and face, but could the reason be more political?

Troika Vortexxed and Bamboozled…

Troika TV, is one of the largest TV VFX houses in the country. As stated at the start, they work with ESPN, NBC Sports (even despite NBC owns NBC Artworks, which is THE largest TV VFX house in the country), Time Warner Sports Net and Time Warner Cable (which in the biggest twist of fate is about to be bought by Comcast which owns NBC and NBC Sports and NBC Artworks)…

And does work for Univision and Saban Capital…

Wait, why does Univision and Saban Capital have anything to do with the Movie VFX work folks?

Lets talk politics, and a bit of history.

Years ago, there was a company called 4Kids Entertainment lead by Al Kahn. As you guessed, he was the dude that brought Pokemon into the United States. Because of this — he broke the power structure (in Kids TV) that Haim Saban, his biggest and most powerful rival built on another TV franchise that he brought from Japan — which uses VFX and action stars called Super Sentai — a.k.a Power Rangers (and Masked Rider for a season).

4Kids Entertainment didnt have the connections nor the money to pay somebody like a Troika to do introductions and Brand Identify. 4Kids ENT did most of their work in house. The success of Pokemon (and later Yugi-Oh which on occasion would beat NFL ratings during the late 1990’s for kids 6 -11.) would lead the Al Kahn lead company to take over the Fox Kids block (which both Rupert Murdock would work with Saban in the failed Fox Kids worldwide venture which they would later sell to Disney, which is the reason why ABC family exists).

But all things come to a head, and a end. When 4Kids declared bankruptcy back in 2011, it lead into the loss of the both the CW4Kids block, once held by Warner Brothers (they lost the fox block in 2009) and the last remnant of the Saturday Morning milieu. In turn, Saban Capital came in as the only bidder of the 4Kids product, outside of Yugi-Oh which became of part of Konami. I felt that was one of the strangest cases of liquadation — considering the fact the DHX Media, Dreamworks Animation, and a whole host of North American companies would love to rebuild the genre.

But the courts gave it to Saban.

Not being out done, Troika (who also does work for the Hub Network, who’s president is one Margret Loacsh who used to run Fox Kids before Saban took over and overseer of the hit “My Little Pony”.) later came in and did the intro’s, outtros and so on for the new “Vortexx” block — a reconstructed knockoff of “Toonami” with one of the legendary mainstays of the Toonami block “Dragon Ball Z” (The Kai series is a semi abridged version of the franchise with changes for edits).

The Vortexx has not trended once on twitter. Its ratings are shot and dead in the water. You cant get good data on the ratings because aspects of which are controlled by Saban Capital (along with Nickelodeon and Disney).

Meanwhile, Toonami; many said that would never come back — came back, airs world excusive series (Space Dandy)— and has helped just enough for the Adult Swim block to take over the now eight o’clock spot from the Cartoon Network (who recently fired Stuart Snyder).

Troika did this video some time ago which wouldn’t be so ironic if it wasn’t strangely funny and poetic in the most… well see for yourself:

http://vimeo.com/79063385

What if they really did their job?

What if they really had quality control?

Or maybe, they always been the same old Troika… slumming for power.

Making music moguls sing Mighty RAW intros and having political connections doesnt give certain VFX companies and branding promotions work any better or keep the audiences eyes on the TV.

There is however, solutions for these problems — and they have to deal with the most expensive work Industrial Light and Magic has done:

DIY, Models, Anime, and You: How VFX can dig its way Out of its Problems:

People may dismiss “Pacific Rim” as some genre piece.

But it one of the best films to show case the future of VFX.

Despite its lack of awards in the Oscars, del Toro’s work in making sure the VFX costs if not lowered, but mitigated by making sure that most of the work that is usually done in post production is done before or even during production, is one way disasters like what happened on the Life of Pi dont continue to happen.

Could a return to in house based VFX studio’s be in the offering? The cost of the making such of the VFX has gone down a lot in the last several years. Elysium and District 9 were shockers in the way VFX was handled.

Could a return to practical set work and models also work? The three films mentioned along with Robocop (2014) had a mix of practical model and VFX.

Could the VFX business on TV go to a DIY model to handle rising costs? People who care about the process should not only watch Toonami for the shows, but for the way they produce the block. 11 people work on Toonami at one time — and its one of the best produced blocks in media. It outpaces certain sports productions in its look and feel.

But both the TV and Movie VFX businesses need a course correction. One of these is the end of the subsidies shell game. It’s has caused more problems then the solutions it was supposed to solve. It has broken families up, forced people to live in hotels which folks know how bad they have gotten in the last few years, and has bankrupted companies such as Rhythm and Hues, who like Troika was once in the TV VFX Business but by the same “bad deals” for Political gain and favors and promises of better days — it never really came…

But maybe the biggest correction is one that where nobody can predict the outcome.

Could this whole VFX thing — all the way up to replacing actors (like the recently passed away Phillip Seymour Hoffman) can be finally considered animation?

Or will the MPAA, try and trick their way around this — making the whole thing a “politically protected”, “socially safe”, “edutainment” and “non objectified” form of “animation” for the masses to enjoy?

I dont want to get too much into it on the way the media sees animation vs VFX/CGI — but drawing has become a computer generated enterprise these days. There are no physical cells, theres toon boom and flash and other such things.

But there are some who are not ready to give up the feel and the look of the cel.

Maybe the real fight has always been the use of technology over the skill of the artist. Maybe the real issue has been (in the case of Photoshop) the manipulation of the object for objectification and gratification of an audience with its eyes mosaicked not knowing who is offending who, what is beauty, what is right in a job place — what kind of behavior is needed and so on.

Maybe the VFX industry many issues and problems in both the TV and Movie areas are the continuing result of a damaged nation, festering to get away from its own reality of self worth.

At the end of the film “Life after Pi” cakes were to be had by all. Some were going to continue on other projects. Others were going to move on.

But this was a family — broken by political back talk and grandizing, a system without a strong man (super producer along with action super star actor and actress) to guide franchises, the repeat game of not one — but two or three or more sequels, and a way to defeat pure animation — for it has lost its power because others wanted it to move it to something it had already done in the first place.

This is the sad truth of about Life After Pi. Good men, and women broken by a broken system built for broken and damaged people.

This isnt the end of the story, not by a long shot.

But this is just a warning. How good is Marvel’s Movie Franchises…without the VFX to back it up?

How long before the next big Hollywood “walking and pacing in fear” take place over the collapse of the independent studios — now that Disney not only has ILM, but Pixar’s Renderman? (which studios will have to pay a kings ransom to Disney?)

How long before the independent movie studios, who gotten big on VFX for Hunger Games, and the like — lose out in the game?

Without VFX, how does the next great action hero have the “charisma” to sell tickets without steroids?

These are questions you need to answer for yourselves.

But for me the answer is already clear…

The Vortexx represents the longing of the past, a hollywood past that has never succeeded.

Toonami was the stone the builders rejected, and tried to destroy but now has to become the corner stone.

Do you Troika, want to be left in the winds of past glory like Rhythm and Hues?

Or you want to win?

Do you, Hollywood want to be left in the winds of change that is coming?

Or do you want to have a future?

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Breaking: Vortexx To End September 2014 with Litton Entertainment to Take Over the CW Saturday Morning Block with “One Magnificent Morning” http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/breaking-vortexx-end-september-2014-litton-entertainment-take-cw-saturday-morning-block-one-magnficant-morning/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/breaking-vortexx-end-september-2014-litton-entertainment-take-cw-saturday-morning-block-one-magnficant-morning/#respond Sat, 31 May 2014 21:32:35 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=48495 With the recent announcement from MOMOcon in Atlanta – that Dragon Ball Z (in the form of Kai) would return to Toonami, one has to wonder if Saban’s second run of DBZ was to end? Turns out, it is. Along with the rest of the Vortexx block, confirming the end of the long – sometimes great, many times sour – but almost never boring Saturday Morning […]

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With the recent announcement from MOMOcon in Atlanta – that Dragon Ball Z (in the form of Kai) would return to Toonami, one has to wonder if Saban’s second run of DBZ was to end?

Turns out, it is.

Along with the rest of the Vortexx block, confirming the end of the long – sometimes great, many times sour – but almost never boring Saturday Morning Franchise on Broadcast TV.

Litton Entertainment, the Government’s go-to folks for Governmental manure in the disguise of Education, Information and something else dealing with bad things, will take over the CW Block, formally in the hands of Saban, who will now pay a discharge fee because he couldn’t fulfill his contract.

I don’t want to say it was coming, but it was coming.

Let this be a reminder to those that try and beat Toonami? You cant. Disney Failed. Saban Failed. 4Kids Failed.

But this is more of a sad and final nail to the coffin that was American Childhood.

There is no peace from the ranting of adults, the overhand of the edutainment business, the food folks and the get fit gurus. There is only the pushing and prodding.

And that is what we have accepted for America’s Children, to become little robots like others.

The entities that run entertainment now control animation – in certain ways.

They can tell us what is animation and what isn’t.

They can also tell us what is good for us and what isn’t concerning the same franchises.

They can tell which international product is good and bad for us and have created criminal organizations (such as crunchyroll) in hopes they can curtail its influence.

And now, even when education in the major cities is mostly failing – the FCC is too busy lining their pockets with Comcast Money, AT&T Money – doubles down on a failed idea because it has no control over TV otherwise.

They never really did.

There is a legacy in Saturday Morning:

That legacy will always be remembered as a time and a place where rest was needed. For new ideas and pure truths that flowed.

For in that short time, you were important.

Only a few men and a few puppets did better.

So on August, as more TV traditions end, for newer and bigger insanities…

Remember the good times.

Of CBS in the 1960’s

Of ABC in the 1970’s

Of NBC of the 1980’s

On Fox Kids…

Of Kids WB

The Fox Box…

One Saturday Morning

CBS Action Zone (the precursor to Toonami)

4Kids TV

Toonzai

Vortexx.

This the grand Legacy of days gone by.

Of Broadcast TV’s Heart and Soul.

This is the end of the chapter, and of its existence

But never the end of its memories.

http://www.snta.com/php/display.php?p=program&p_id=353

 

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Rick and Morty and Space Dandy – How These Two Shows Saved Animation in 2014. http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/rick-morty-space-dandy-two-shows-saved-animation-2014/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/rick-morty-space-dandy-two-shows-saved-animation-2014/#respond Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:54:00 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=47526   It Feels Great to be back here, and I want to talk about two shows that really has helped me love animation once more… If you are not watching these shows, something is missing in your brain right now. Rick and Morty turns everything on its ear, hasn’t had a bad episode yet,(but some […]

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It Feels Great to be back here, and I want to talk about two shows that really has helped me love animation once more…

If you are not watching these shows, something is missing in your brain right now.

Rick and Morty turns everything on its ear, hasn’t had a bad episode yet,(but some of its fans felt some of the episodes ran slow) and how it talks about existence in the first parts of the second decade of this millennium is not only on point – it’s downright scary.

While in Space Dandy, Watanabe and his guest directors (many of his guest ranges from Otomo and Yuasa) changes the way the plot is handled – and sometimes the animation and the backgrounds are the story.

These two series have revived a fire in this reviewer and historian (and budding producer and writer, let’s not forget those,) who’s also been beyond disappointed with the way certain series have been handled. I will explain that too – because it’s become a joke that these people are still slumming around making money over others that have the talent and the will.

Those jokes have ended, and the ratings (at times), the Critics (from the net to print) and the fans of animation are no longer going to take it lying down.

First, it’s time to celebrate greatness.

Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon’s Golden Achievement.

Dan Harmon has been called difficult. Strange, vinegar to others’ wine… His other major show Community has been a critical success yet rated low (but he states correctly that networks and other TV critics looking for high ratings are “psychopaths”) compared to the insipid one-man show “The Big Bang Theory”.

He is however one of the better producers and writers today – I can even say that he’s the best one in nearly a decade.

The sabbatical did wonders. From that sabbatical came Rick and Morty.

A Parody of Marty McFly and Doc from “Back to the Future” the show started simple enough… but it was the episode “Lawnmower Dog” that set things in motion.

Unlike other shows of its type – Rick and Morty does not leave ANYTHING behind.

So when Snuffles left for his new world, the world that Rick and Morty inhabits is rebuilding – until Love Potion no 9, creates other issues…forcing that Rick and Morty to go into another world, KILLING that world’s Rick and Morty and burying in the yard. And if you thought that was messed up – in Ricky Minutes (a pun on 60 Minutes, which also has many puns dissing CBS on the backend and NBC on the front end) we find out that not only are they still in that world, Summer only exists in three of these worlds (the Croneburg world as well, as one other) as both of their parents via the VR viewer (the episode deals with a cable box that has infinite channels from infinite worlds) aborted Summer and had more “successful” lives because of  that “choice”.

But it turns out that those choices turned out to be for naught – they end up together in the other universe they were viewing, realizing that they had to be together – and Summer was truly important…

What makes Ricky Minutes one of the best animation episodes in recent years, was the moment that Morty told Summer that he and Rick came from another world, and that her real brother is dead out in the yard – with Morty saying to Summer of the pathos of this Post 9/11 America: “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

The last time I felt this way about an episode – was episode 4 of the ThunderCats (2011), and episode 21 of 4Kids’s Version of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (when the Shredder Got his head Cut Straight Clean)

I do not like comedic animation shows that much.

This may be the best one since the Simpsons back in the mid 1990’s and Family Guy in the early 2000’s.

You can do what I call “Stupid Grimdark” like in the episode where Brian and Stewie were trapped in the bank. On the other hand, you can do Greatness like this episode of Rick and Morty.

But I’m not stopping there with my praises – oh no I don’t praise a lot of shows – but this? Oh Man…

The April 8 episode changed the game again and has repercussions that the viewers might not see until the season finale, but it seems that there is a counsel of Ricks (not to dissimilar to Doctor Who’s Galafrian Counsel.) who in turn governs and watches all of the Rick and Morty’s. Well, a bad Rick (just like the Master in Doctor Who) captured a lot of Mortys from the alt-universes. The council thinks that the C-137 Rick (that is the main Rick, who wrecked the C-137 version of earth) has been killing all of the Ricks, but it turns out not to be true.

The episode has Rick and Morty going through portals to get away from Cop Versions of Ricks and Mortys – ill just let Film Critic Hulk explain this better (Note he uses all caps in his reviews):

“…BUT IT’S ALSO THE KIND OF STORY WHERE AT ONE POINT THEY WALK INTO A UNIVERSE WHERE A PIZZA IS SITTING DOWN ON THE PHONE ORDERING A PERSON… HARDEEE HAR HAR, RIGHT? BUT TWO QUICK UNIVERSE JUMPS LATER AND THE JOKE OS INVERTED TO A PLACE WHERE ANIMATE FURNITURE IS SITTING ON INANIMATE PEOPLE USING PIZZA TO ORDER A PHONE TO EAT. AND RATHER THEN LET THAT JOKE GO AWAY AS A ONE OFF BIT OF INSANITY, WE HANG OUT IN THAT WORLD FOR AWHILE AS ANIMATE FURNITURE IS AMAZED QUIETLY AMAZED IN THE BACKGROUND TO SEE PEOPLE ACTUALLY BEING ALIVE, THEN TYING IT BACK INTO THE PLOT…. DO YOU EVEN REALIZE WHAT THAT IS FROM A WRITER’S PERSPECTIVE? IT’S MAKING FUN A DUMB JOKE, TURNED INTO AN INVERTING THROWAWAY GAG, TURNED INTO PUSHING THE JOKE TO THE FURTHEST POSSIBLE POINT, TURNED INTO A MAKING IT REAL SO WE LIVE IN IT, THEN TURNED ALL OF THAT INTO PART OF THE PLOT ITSELF. NOTHING IS A THROWAWAY IN THIS SHOW. THE COST AND CONSEQUENCE OF EVERY DECISION COMES BACK TEN-FOLD. IT’S REALLY JUST THE BASIC TENET OF SCI-FI BROUGHT TO A PLACE THAT GOES FAR BEYOND A SINGLE CONCEPTUAL INVERSION. THEY’VE TURNED THE TWILIGHT ZONE INTO WORLD BUILDING, CRANKING IT UP TO 2000 MPH, ALL WHILE STILL SOMEHOW KEEPING THE STORY DRIVEN AROUND (OFTEN AWKWARD) CATHARSIS.”

I couldn’t have said it better even if I tried.

But not to be outdone, here comes Watanabe’s Space Dandy – that deals with the same topics but in an episodic manner.

 

A Dandy Guy, In Space, Time Cats, and Robots: Watanabe’s refocuses his Diamond

Many people would think that Space Dandy would be lost in the conversation – but when it ranks at times equal to Rick and Morty- it is something to consider that maybe the Japanese still has some of the best visual artists around today.

Space Dandy’s Narrative at first glance seems off – while Rick and Morty’s is beyond madding – but its interesting to note while one series is using the episodic purview in order to tell a story that is connected and leaves no stone untraced – one is using the same purview to tell different stories connected to the same universe of characters. There is a sort slight in some western media circles that the Japanese have “horrible timing” in writing scripts. Space Dandy proves them wrong, in droves.

Let’s take the two episodes dealing with the secondary characters, Meow and Robot – in the episode “There is Always Tomorrow, Baby” where Meow meets his family and old girlfriends, we get a sense of Meow’s issues and how his life wishes he was different – while his father (unlike Morty’s father in the episode “Raising Gaslorsazorp” ) supports Meow regardless of his past. Of course Meow doesn’t get the girl, unlike this counterpart in the wall-e inspired season finale, “Even Vacuum Cleaners Find Love, Baby”, which the Robot says that while it was nice to fall in love – sometimes you have to let it go.

But unlike Rick and Morty which uses interesting backgrounds and set ups – Space Dandy’s is more forceful in its look and the fact it has different directors in each episode showcases how they handle the story. Rick and Morty has been called Futuriama maxed out, taken to the next level, Space Dandy has been called the Japanese Futurama, – Dandy being Zack Braff and his crew of crazy antics.

But Space Dandy’s animation is heads and shoulders above the rest of its competition on both eastern and western circles. In some episodes, the animation carries the story – which doesn’t always happen in other series. The way they handle Dandy is interesting – for a while he acted like a bro, trying to get the ladies and what not – but you had the sense (based on the way the first season was set up) that there was a tiredness in him – yeah all this is fun, but there has to be something more – and the main plot dealt with his father’s death (which hasn’t really been solved yet.)

But from the episode dealing with the lost dog (“The Lonely Pooch Planet, Baby”) he starts to grow up – even if it’s in another time line…

 

So What’s the WUBWUBWUBDUBDUB problem, Baby?

My problem is not on these two shows. It’s not even on the network they air on.

My issue is these are two shows, is in the myriad of trash. And that maybe fine for some – but yeah I’m always looking at the big picture.

The big picture is that Dan Harmon has been getting a bad rap for years. And it’s undeserved now. Dan Harmon is one of the best producers today, better than the now Disney secured duo of Joss Wheldon and J.J. Abrams (who is now doing Star Wars Episode 7). He outclasses his compatriots and rivals (the erstwhile Wendy Cummings who produces Two Broke Girls, and Chuck Lorre, the Les Moonves puppet who runs point for several shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Mom and the rest). Dan Harmon’s team of writers that have written better episodes of sci-fi than the disappointing Agents of SHIELD (which even the Tomorrow People, which CBS is about to cancel – outclasses the Agents of Shield from production to charatization and action scenes. This proves that Warners needs to have more control over the CW’s resurgence because CBS is too old, too wasteful, and too full of themselves to continue to run the CW Network at this time.)

TV has changed, and the networks realize this – but there will be growing pains in these changes. However, many of the executives and many of the show runners (cant truly call them super-producers like Jerry Bruckheimer was) think that the old ways will still work, (and in some cases – HBO Go in particular they are correct) but these days the writers (or better yet interpreters since many of  the dramas on TV come from books, not unlike what’s happening in anime in Japan with the Light Novels). These writers are holdovers from the post 1988 strike, and a lot of the stories JJ and Joss’s teams and charatizations have lost a step compared to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and even say a much weaker Walking Dead, 100 or even Tomorrow People, in comparison to SHIELD.

One of the pet peeves of mine, is the cycle of bad writers that these men (and Chuck Lorre and others) continue to hire knowing that they are nowhere as good as somebody working under Brian Fuller or David Fury etc. Josh Loeb and Dan Norton (who was creative director of Thundercats 2011), are two examples.

Josh Loeb, has worked in animation before – and now the “unofficial” head of the Marvel animated universe – is working on Agents of Shield. Now you know as I do that he isn’t anywhere to be considered a competent writer of comic books, let alone animation, let even alone live action. So why Joss brings Loeb in, when they had Ennis who did some work in Shield (comic wise)?

Not to be outdone, he brings his penchant of deux et machina in everything he does, even his second and third stories has stupid resolutions.

However, the real offender is Dan Norton.

We have to go back to the MTV Geek interview where he stated some things that made me wonder why he was made the designer of the new franchise.

One, he made a comment that there were not going to be any humans, and that the Thunderian race was a result of genetic tampering… he continued:

 “Villain Slythe would also get some time in the spotlight–and a graceful exit from the series–once fans learned the very personal reason for his hatred of the ThunderCats. “What you know about Slythe,” Norton promised, “we were going to break your expectations.” Fans may remember that at the beginning of the series, we see the other races on the planet treated as second-class citizens, or worse. Ultimately, they rally to Mumm-Ra’s cause with the promise of the ability to rise and control their own destinies–but for Slythe, it was clear they’re being manipulated.

In a solo episode for Slythe, we would learn that he holds a special grudge against soldier Lynx-o, one of Claudius’ generals responsible for expanding ThunderCat territory and pushing the lizardmen further back into the marshland. One of the lizardmen festivals would be based around the hatching of the next generation, with the males going off to hunt for food and the females tending to the eggs. However, to quickly clear out the marsh, Lynx-o burns a large swath of land, killing the hatchlings of Slythe’s tribe.

After he’s lost all of his friends, after he’s lost everything, he vows at his wife’s gravestone that he would give his soul to get revenge. Cue Mumm-Ra, who offers him just that exchange, putting Slythe on a collision course with Lynx-O, who he would decapitate, finally taking his revenge. But as the Lizard-men become enslaved to Mumm-ra, he sees that Lion-O’s quest for the Soul stone would unite the races. He would betray Mumm-Ra and give Lion-O the stone, leading the villain to kill him.”

Before this interview, he did a podcast interview that many of the ideas for the Thundercats 2011 series came from both of the comic books that Wildstorm did around 2004/2005.

I hate to tell you folks this, but sometimes, bad source material leads into bad episodes. The biggest disappointment for me is how Dan Norton and Michael Jelentic (which I know the latter has talent, he worked in the Brave and the Bold) dropped the ball on the series. It broke my heart and made me question why I should even care about animation anymore. How can something I grew up loving, almost destroy it?

It’s because Mr. Norton, just like Mr. Loeb is a brownnoser. He kowtows to power, realizing getting along to get along is the way to go – when you have no discernable talent. In addition, for a person that pretty much has a deviant art account instead of a website to highlight his work (just like every damn artist I know worth his or her damn salt has), shows how far his talent really goes. Tell me Mr. Puppet, how dare you make the fans feel stupid – you and Jelentic. The series needed humans point blank. Getting rid of Mandora the Space cop was stupid. Getting rid of the Space Opera that the series was, was a bad choice. Making the series smaller, when the franchise needed a grand retelling on the same scale of an A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) speaks of intellectual weakness. Mr Norton is no better than a younger version of Chuck Lorre – a guy with the weakest amount of talent and the biggest connections – and willing to destroy fans, fanbases, his own friends and even his biggest star to just get into the executives good graces. That is not the way to go anymore, not when Netflix (despite its myriad of issues), is forcing everyone to reevaluate what TV is in the 21st century.

How can you be successful with a franchise with history when people don’t have any idea about the origins on how the business works, and what changes took place that effected broadcast and cable?

You can’t with the way Dan and Michael sleep-walked throughout the majority of the series. There hasn’t been any sort of deal to bring the series to Blu-Ray – and that should tell you how bad things have gotten.

Straight to the point, Dan Norton should be packing bags at a Costco instead of working in animation, let alone Hollywood. Moreover, the fact that he still got a job is a bit sad. The difference between the way Dan Norton and Jelentric handled the Thundercats concerning the way they worked with the Japanese studio Studio 4c isn’t the way to go anymore, now that Space Dandy aired with two animators born in the west (Bahi JD, and Thomas Romain) working freelance in Japan and doing a much better job.

Does that mean that the writers to write and the designers design and maybe the rest of the production for action series should be outsourced to Japan first before airing in the States? Should Warners just allowed Studio 4C handle the whole production of the Thundercats, because Mr Norton’s skeleton crew was not going to cut it in 2011, and you can bet your bottom dollar you don’t send 15 men for a 60 man job (and yes, that includes an orchestra).

Even the long dead 4Kids did Thundercats 2011 better than Dan and Michael’s group did, with the last two seasons of the Chaotic series!

Even lower end video games got better treatment than Thundercats 2011 and that is a god damn SHAME that Warner Brothers, should never, ever in their existence live down!

The fact that Norton and Loeb and Lorre and other weak writers, show runners still running the game in Hollywood, still brownnosing folks like Jerry Bruckheimer, JJ Abrams and Joss Wheldon, who because of the brownnosing from these weak writers, keep great producers like Dan Harmon, Justin Roliend and his folks down.

That isn’t happening anymore and I for one, approve of this development. The people in adult swim from creative to the janitors should be thanked, not treated as “Stoners” that make “Stoner” TV, which is a damn lie and to show how entrenched the liars and brownnosers are in the industry right now.

Beyond Time and Space, a future unlike any other:

Rick and Morty and Space Dandy are two different series living in an age where animation is being aimed to the lowest of the low. With a minstrel song being sung by a man in a funny hat and weak vocals, to letting go of a billion dollar franchise that doesn’t even deserve to beat some of the greatest animated movies of all time.

Its madness I tell you, but in that madness comes rays of hope – from out of the ashes of the lost opportunities of the past, comes new interpretations of science fiction, from a man who created one of the greatest of his genre, to two men who figured out American ennui where others only dare to reach.

I think the point is about both shows- it’s fun without belittling the viewer, and that point was proven in “Raising Gaslorsazorp”, Summer and Rick at the end got bulked up and beat up the bullies while “X Gonna Give it To Ya” was playing. That was the whole series concisely for me. Meanwhile, Space Dandy’s race was fun and full of life – and the end was so glorious.

Two shows, two series in a world of weakness, fear, and lies. Now that’s truly great – These shows got the fans back, dawg.

Don’t let those weak willed “BLANKS”, on those other networks tell you otherwise.

 

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Why I miss 4Kids Entertainment, and the problems with Saban’s Vortexx http://www.toonbarn.com/pokemon/4kids-entertainment-problems-sabans-vortexx/ http://www.toonbarn.com/pokemon/4kids-entertainment-problems-sabans-vortexx/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 21:07:42 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=40285 Thankfully, Toonbarn has done well to show what has happened to Toonzai/Toonzaki and so on. However, here is a point people tend to forget: 4kids was different from the other kids’ companies that existed during and after the last 10 or so years. You have to realize the type of marketplace that existed when the […]

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toonzaki

Thankfully, Toonbarn has done well to show what has happened to Toonzai/Toonzaki and so on. However, here is a point people tend to forget: 4kids was different from the other kids’ companies that existed during and after the last 10 or so years. You have to realize the type of marketplace that existed when the company was at its peak and when it passed on. The problem with people’s recollection of the history of 4Kids is that it doesn’t tell the whole story about why 4Kids did what it did and what it could have done better.

You see, the only two companies that the big three (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney) felt any sort of threat from was 4Kids at one end, and Toonami (when it was apart of the cartoon network) on the other.

Even given an aside, 4Kids respected Toonami for what it was (but im not truly sure if Mr Demarco, now the Senior Vice President of Marketing over in Cartoon Network and Adult Swim – felt the same way about Mr Kahn’s company)

But you have to understand, and people really don’t – 4Kids tried to do different things with animation and anime that many others didn’t really care to do – outside of you guessed it – Toonami (under CN and now under Adult Swim)

There is a form of censorship not only in the anime news media – but in the animation community as well – this affects Saban too in a way – the animator unions (such as Tag 839, which works with both the big three, and well as their owners, the big six – Adding Sony, Universal and Fox) tend to look down upon the non-union (unless you’re in Sag Aftra as they are now called in Voice Acting) because they are Union Busting. (that’s why for a lot of non union work, a lot of Voice Actors have a name change)

However, the censorship got really onerous concerning 4Kids’s bankruptcy. This was a problem, and on a future topic I will go into this in depth.

However, 4Kids did something that others now blame 4Kids for doing.

It brought Japanese “Doga” (also known by its francophone lone word, Anime) to the Masses.

Till this very day, the highest grossing anime movie is still Pokémon The First Movie – 82 Million in the US alone. There is also Yugi-Oh, even though it was no where near the success of Pokémon, was a mega success in its own right.

But if I told you 4kids aired more International works than a lot of the other networks, would you believe me?

Lets look at Funky Cops which first aired in France back in the mid 2000’s.  It was a interesting mix of cgi and cel-shaded animation. And at times it showcased the 1970’s in a interesting light.

How about the Cramp Twins, which aired in Cartoon Network Europe?

The great surprise from the international shows, was the Winx Club. Now here’s something interesting for you. There was another show that Disney had (because – this happened around the same time Sailor Moon aired Super in the states on Toonami) that there was a rush to get more girl power series. While 4Kids was airing the Winx Club franchise (made in Italy by RAI), Disney – after the shock of a stockholders meeting in Philadelphia back in 2004, where Michael Eisner was given pretty much a vote of No Confidence – the next year aired a series called WITCH. This was based on hit books that European girls loved and they felt if 4Kids could do it, Disney could do it.

WITCH only lasted a few episodes.

It was one of the biggest victories for 4Kids.

And not to be out done – The TMNT – which aired in 2003, was regarded as a great show.

The industry was changing and 4Kids was part of the change.

In the later years, they also brought Huntik to the states.

They also created Chaotic (or bought the rights to aspects of a card series that later became that franchise). The later seasons were interesting but expensive.

But what I miss most from 4Kids Entertainment is that they had something different about them. Everybody complains about the editing. True. But the question is why? The Saturday morning blocks were never meant to do the same things content-wise  as a show that aired in late night. And before people go like “but how come some shows in the 60’s were more extreme than today?” Let me remind you that those shows were syndicated and never meant to air on the networks. The Networks were under their own BSnP and the FCC’s. It continues to be that way.

The issue stems from a change in culture, which 4Kids and other companies got caught up in. This change didn’t start because of their editing – it started in spite of their editing. The US Animation dubbing industry felt that they could make more money because 4Kids showed them the way. What ended up was that the networks were not getting money (see the issue of the Cardcaptor series) from DVD sales, and stopped production of said series. The same industry, in other places were producing 2 episodes a DVD. Most of 4Kids and other DVD’s were 5 to 6 episodes a dvd disc.

This, along with issues concerning One Piece and the way it was perceived, broke the back of everybody involved. Plus, with the expansion of the Children’s TV Act of 1990 to include the DTV transition (small aside here, the only reason we had a DTV transition, was that particular law.) even 4Kids had to get E/I compliant shows.

But 4Kids did more than that. It did contests where others didn’t really care – it got stars from different walks of life when other companies didn’t. It did songs and covers that tried to show case something that it could be something joyful for the fans of some series to agree that it wasn’t going to be bad, it was going to bring everybody to the franchise (One Piece). And at its final days, it tried to reboot a whole industry caught up in such hubris that if it wasn’t for the return of Toonami back late last year,  would have been called the way its been called by certain fanbases in both the video game industry and other aspects of geekdom, a worse form of porn, to be made fun of – to be called trash and childlike.

4Kids gave – while others continue to take.

This leads into what is wrong with Saban’s Vortexx.

There is nothing new.

There is the use of stars, but there no where as big as their past versions (in Nascar, Pro Wrestling and Music to name a few)

They air shows that have already seen success in other networks and seen by larger audiences.

The thing that makes it worse, is the concept of the Vortexx approved bumper.

This is the worst thing, anyone has done. Its shows the lack of tact. The respect between what we know whats right and what is told whats right.

But this is Saban and his company for you. They go back to what used to work and failing because we are a completely different society than what we were in 1996.

Nick, CN and Disney (the latter slowly understanding) are starting to adjust to new models. They also have problems too.

But Saban didn’t understand then, when he lost Fox Kids Worldwide to the lucky plucky, 4Kids and Pokémon.

He will never understand now, as the whole TV world is changing forever.

That’s why I miss 4Kids. It was meant for the tykes and those at the cusp of the teen years.

And now its lost to the winds, of what it has done and what could have been.

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Toonbarn Spotlight: Dinosaur King http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/toonbarn-spotlight-dinosaur-king/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/toonbarn-spotlight-dinosaur-king/#respond Mon, 27 May 2013 07:00:31 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=39909 It’s a shame that these days, a lot of people tend to dismiss Dinosaur King as something of a Pokemon or Yu-gi-Oh knockoff. The comparison is understandable, considering that both Pokemon and Yu-gi-Oh bear similarities to Dinosaur King and are significantly more popular. However, the “knock-off” label is horribly inaccurate and hardly fair, as all […]

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dinosaur-king

It’s a shame that these days, a lot of people tend to dismiss Dinosaur King as something of a Pokemon or Yu-gi-Oh knockoff. The comparison is understandable, considering that both Pokemon and Yu-gi-Oh bear similarities to Dinosaur King and are significantly more popular. However, the “knock-off” label is horribly inaccurate and hardly fair, as all three franchises had different origins and only started getting point-of-comparisons after branching out into different media and platforms.

Comparisons Between Dinosaur King, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon

For example, Yu-Gi-Oh! started out in 1996 as a manga series serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump before it was adapted into an anime, and before all the games, trading card games, toys and other merchandise happened.

Pokemon, on the other hand, started out in 1996 as a pair of interlinkable role playing games for Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld device. It was only after it received a modicum of success (okay, that was a huge understatement) did all the anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, clothes, and other merchandises appear.

Dinosaur King, for its part, came out much later: it first appeared as a card-based arcade game from SEGA in 2005 using gameplay mechanics similar to the Mushiking series of card-based games. The difference between Dinosaur King and the monster-rearing mechanics behind Pokemon is that the former doesn’t require you to capture and train your “pets” while playing what is essentially a top-down Role Playing Game.

Dinosaur King is played using pre-bought creature cards containing stats and info about the creatures, which will be scanned by the arcade machine and used during fights. As expected of any arcade game, there are no exploration or dungeon crawling aspects and the story is bare bones, told only through pre-fight cutscenes. The gameplay itself uses the familiar rock/paper/scissors mechanics.

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Dinosaur King Anime

When the brand turned out to be popular and lucrative, Dinosaur King was spun off into new formats on different platforms, including a Nintendo DS game, a Trading Card Game (not to be confused with the cards used for the original arcade game), and an anime series. And since the site is Toonbarn, not Gamebarn, we’re going to focus more on the first anime series, which premiered on TV Asahi on February 4, 2007, and was picked up by 4Kids TV on 2008, before finding its way to CW4Kids a few months later.

Titled Ancient Ruler Dinosaur King DKidz Adventure, the anime’s story is still based on the arcade games’, focusing on a young boy named Max Taylor, who is the offspring of the famous paleontologist Dr. Spike Taylor. Max starts his adventure on the day that he fell out of bed too early and witnessed a meteor falling to the sky, the crash site of which he visits along with his friends Rex Owen and Zoe Drake.

In the crash site, they find 3 stones representing lighting, wind, and grass, along with a card bearing the image of a Triceratops. When Max accidentally rubs the card on one of the stones, the creature Chomp is activated and joins their merry gang. Over the course of the series, the quartet meet their nemesis in the form of the Alpha Gang, which are basically the Team Rocket for the series, in the sense that they frequently clash with Max and Friends over possession of activated dinosaurs.

Differences Between Original Japanese Version and English Dub

The English dubbed version that aired on 4Kids followed the Japanese script closely, although some jokes have had their meaning changed due to the differences between American and Japanese culture, particularly with regard to profanity and materials that are considered appropriate for kids. The visuals suffered more from the translation, as certain scenes had to be edited in order to avoid censorship problems – these include the airbrushing of Ursula’s “fan service,” the removal of nudity and potty scenes. There are also some scenes that were edited purely out of copyright concerns, such as the scene showing Max owning a Sega Dreamcast being removed from the English dub.

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4Kids Adjourns Section 363 Auction http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/4kids-adjourns-section-363-auction/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/4kids-adjourns-section-363-auction/#respond Fri, 08 Jun 2012 06:00:51 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=31024 International children;s entertainment and merchandise licensing company 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. has just announced that they have received a competing bid from 4K Acquisition Corp, which is an indirect subsidiary of Japanese corporation Konami Corp. The competing bid has Konami offering to purchase all of the assets of 4Kids in a transaction under Section 363 of […]

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4Kids Entertainment to Sell Yu Gi Oh Franchise to Saban?

International children;s entertainment and merchandise licensing company 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. has just announced that they have received a competing bid from 4K Acquisition Corp, which is an indirect subsidiary of Japanese corporation Konami Corp. The competing bid has Konami offering to purchase all of the assets of 4Kids in a transaction under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Under judgement of 4Kids, Konami’s bid was a qualified bid under the terms of the bidding procedures approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in the Company’s Bankruptcy Case pending before the court.

The news is noteworthy because 4Kids already commenced an auction between the stalking horse bidder, Kidsco Media Ventures LLC, which is an affiliate of Saban Capital, and Konami Corporation. After several sessions of competitive bidding, the auction was adjourned in order to give bidders a chance to consider an alternative transaction between 4Kids, Konami, and Saban pursuant to which each bidder will acquire certain assets of the company. The proposed alternative transaction, if consummated, would result in a substantial improvement in the proceeds payable to 4Kids over the last bid made prior to such adjournment.

The possible alternative transaction is conditioned upon the negotiation of definitive documentation among the 4Kids, Konami and Saban and the approval of such alternative transaction by the Bankruptcy Court. There can be no assurance that such alternative transaction will be completed.

Both Konami and Saban have each agreed that their last bids made prior to the adjournment of the auction will remain binding until July 31, 2012. The last bids made by the respective bidders prior to the adjournment of the auction will result in 4Kids realizing additional proceeds from the sale of assets when compared to each of the stalking horse bid set forth in the Asset Purchase Agreement entered into between the Company and the Saban Bidder as of April 25, 2012 and the Qualified Bid submitted by Konami prior to the auction. If the proposed alternative transaction is not consummated by 4Kids, Konami and Saban, the auction will resume.

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4Kids Entertainment to Sell Yu Gi Oh Franchise to Saban? http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/4kids-entertainment-sell-yu-gi-franchise-saban/ http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/4kids-entertainment-sell-yu-gi-franchise-saban/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2012 22:00:31 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=29583 There’s news going around that 4Kids Entertainment is looking to sell “substantially all of [their] Yu-Gi-Oh! Related assets” to KidsCo Media Ventures, which is a company that was just recently incorporated in Delaware, but seems to have ties to Saban Capital Group. The entire Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise is said to be going for $10 million, as […]

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4Kids Entertainment to Sell Yu Gi Oh Franchise to Saban?

There’s news going around that 4Kids Entertainment is looking to sell “substantially all of [their] Yu-Gi-Oh! Related assets” to KidsCo Media Ventures, which is a company that was just recently incorporated in Delaware, but seems to have ties to Saban Capital Group. The entire Yu-Gi-Oh! Franchise is said to be going for $10 million, as per indicated in the papers filed in the US Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The documents that were filed show that KidsCo and Saban Capital Group have the same address. Some of KidsCo’s email addresses were also addressed to Saban Capital Group. Under its bankruptcy plans, 4Kids will auction off its assets in early June 2012 to qualified bidders.

As a “stalking horse bidder”, KidsCo has already set the floor price for the bidding and has bidding protections, including a fee that must be paid to them by a winning bidder. 4Kids also plans to auction the rights to the Dragon Ball Z anime series, which includes all 52 episodes of the TV series. Rumor has it that they are also going to auction off the rights to Dragonball Z Kai, as well as their Cubix Assets.

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4Kids and TV Tokyo Finally Settle Dispute Over Yu-Gi-Oh License http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/4kids-tv-tokyo-finally-settle-dispute-yu-gi-oh-license/ http://www.toonbarn.com/4kids/4kids-tv-tokyo-finally-settle-dispute-yu-gi-oh-license/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 10:00:06 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=27763 Global Children’s Entertainment and Merchandise Licensing company 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., and Asatsu DK Inc and TV Tokyo have jointly announced that they have finally reached a settlement of the lawsuit ADK and TV Tokyo originally brought against 4Kids regarding the license of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Property. The lawsuit was originally filed against 4Kids last year after […]

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4Kids and TV Tokyo Finally Settle Dispute Over Yu-Gi-Oh License

Global Children’s Entertainment and Merchandise Licensing company 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., and Asatsu DK Inc and TV Tokyo have jointly announced that they have finally reached a settlement of the lawsuit ADK and TV Tokyo originally brought against 4Kids regarding the license of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Property.

The lawsuit was originally filed against 4Kids last year after TV Tokyo (licensors of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Property) conducted an audit on 4Kids’ Yu-Gi-Oh! business per their licensing agreement, and accused 4Kids of “wrongful deductions, underpayments, and unmet obligations,” stating that the company owes them US$4,792,460.36.

The settlement agreement between 4Kids, ADK, and TV Tokyo means that 4Kids will continue as the exclusive licensing agent for TV broadcast, home video, and merchandise for the Yu-Gi-Oh! property throughout the world outside of Asia.

What’s worth nothing about the settlement is that it does not constitute an admission by any party of any fault or liability. It only came about as all the parties agreed to work together amicably for the continued success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Property.

“We are very pleased that the Yu-Gi-Oh! litigation has been settled,” said Michael Goldstein, interim Chairman of 4Kids. “We are looking forward to continuing to work with our long-standing partners ADK, TV Tokyo, Shueisha and Konami on the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand and on the new Yu-Gi-Oh! television series,Zexal.”

“The settlement of the litigation enables the Yu-Gi-Oh! Consortium and its partner 4Kids to focus all of their energy on the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand,” said Makoto Nakamura, CEO and President of Nihon Ad Systems, a subsidiary of ADK. “We are excited about the future of the Yu-Gi-Oh! property both in the US and worldwide.”

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