4Licensing Corporation (formerly known as 4Kids Entertainment) is an American film and television production company known for English-dubbing foreign animated shows, especially Japanese anime.
4Kids Entertainment dubbed the first three seasons of Winx Club (2004-present) into American English in the mid-2000s, starting in 2004 and ending when 4Kids' contract to dub over the series was revoked permanently in 2009.
Since 2011, Rainbow S.r.l. has been co-owned by Viacom, an American company that oversees all versions (including English) of the show.
The company is most well-known for its range of television licenses and two program blocks: The CW4Kids (on The CW) and 4Kids TV (on Fox). On December 27, 2008, the 4KidsTV block closed. On December 21, 2012, 4Kids was reincorporated as 4Licensing Corporation following a filing for bankruptcy.
Involvement in Winx Club
4Kids was never directly involved in the series. It acquired the rights to air Winx Club in only the United States from Rainbow S.r.l. in 2004. The company aired an English dub on 4Kids TV, formerly known as the FoxBox, from May 22, 2004 to December 27, 2008, and on the CW4Kids from July 18, 2009 to July 17, 2010. This dub included many plot changes, name changes, and other edits, thus creating an alternate Winx Club continuity separate from the original.
Series creator Iginio Straffi had previously mentioned in an interview in 2008 that he heavily disliked 4Kids' censored re-edits of the show, which were not approved by himself or any other Rainbow crew members. He was quoted saying, "I think [4Kids] removes something essential."
In 2009, the United States license for 4Kids Entertainment was permanently revoked by Rainbow, and the final rerun of Winx Club ended on July 17, 2010 with the Season 3 finale being incorrectly announced as the series finale for Winx Club. In 2011, Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom became a co-owner of Rainbow S.r.l. and it was announced that Nickelodeon would be co-producing and co-developing brand new seasons, together with Rainbow. Nickelodeon channels worldwide became the main broadcasters for the show, including in the United States. As of 2020, Iginio Straffi continues to make new projects with Nickelodeon.
- Main article: Differences in Adaptations
A tendency of 4Kids was to edit some parts of the series to make it more profitable and appropriate for their viewers. There are a variety of types of edits, which can be broken down into these categories:
- Dialogue: Some lines are edited so as to change the meaning. For example, in Winx Club - Episode 112, Lucy promises to do the Trix's homework, which was never mentioned in the original.
- Episode Titles: All episode titles are changed.
- Puns: Some puns that are made in the original are lost in translation. More commonly, however, puns are put in where they were not before, such as in the promotional trailer made by 4Kids where Bloom says "My life is fairy amazing". Puns are used in episode titles as well, such as Winx Club - Episode 302 "Beauty is a Beast".
- Music: Some songs and background tracks are replaced with original songs. During the transformation sequences, each Winx has a personalized theme, like Aisha's pop-disco theme (Shifting Tides) and Bloom's transformation theme being an instrumental of the show's opening theme.
- Cuts: Sometimes a scene is removed completely, while the transformation sequences are shortened. Most Fairy Dust scenes are removed.
- Transitions: Sometimes scenes are moved around. For example, in Winx Club - Episode 101, many of the scenes are played out of order.
- Names: Many changes are made to character and location names, such as "Domino" to "Sparks" and "Miele" to "Rose".
- Plot: Some plot changes are made, such as Daphne not being mentioned as Bloom's sister.
- Personalities: Many of the characters' personalities are changed, such as Musa being a hip-hopper, Stella being more hot-headed, and the Winx, Trix, and Specialists being more like typical teenagers, for example, the Trix act more like typical mean girls, while still retaining their individual power-hungry personalities.
- Censorship: Sometimes physical appearances of things are changed like blood being removed in Winx Club - Episode 201, Daphne's outfit being made less revealing, and the bottom of Stella's breast being edited to look like her stomach during her transformation sequence. Some censorship was due to American copyright laws, such as the costumes in Winx Club - Episode 216.
- Culture: Scenes relating to Italian culture were often edited to be more accessible to American audiences. Also, the schools in Magix are high schools rather than colleges to emulate typical American teenage life.
- Opening/Closing: An original opening sequence was created, and the closing was a shorter instrumental version of the opening.
Since the highly-edited 4Kids dub premiered first in the United States, some American fans who had previously watched only this version have mistakenly criticized the newer episodes of Winx Club, which were produced and written with the involvement of the original creators. Fans of the original version have also complained that the 4Kids dub does not follow the original storyline and is highly edited, censored, and unnecessarily changed for American audiences.
- The now defunct website of 4Kids Entertainment had a domain named "winxclub.tv" that would be advertised during the airing of Winx Club, along with messages left by fans on the website. This website functioned much like "winxclub.com" as fans could explore different area of the website and find fun facts about the series.
- Sexy feeën in 130 landen. de Volksrant. April 17, 2008.