What if 4Kids Got Naruto?
WARNING! You are about to move beyond the fringe. Watch your step, 'cause jokes are gonna fly, feelings are gonna get hurt, and everybody is gonna party hard. This is Oddtype: The Moving Pictures Humor Column.
4KIDS ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES NARUTO; PROMISES THOROUGH IMPROVEMENTS
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 9, 2004) - 4Kids Entertainment Inc. today announced the acquisition of the anime Naruto, based on the manga by Masashi Kishimoto and published in Shounen Jump. It is a story about a young ninja forsaken by his fellow practitioners in ninjitsu, trying to rise through ranks to be the best in his village. However, 4Kids knows that quality translated Japanese animation is not what people want these days, and has instead opted for a more universal and Americanized version known as "Darrell's Kickboxing Adventure!" It focuses on Darrell's journey to be the best in the ancient and powerful art of Taebo, and it is filled with many life-encouraging lessons for today's youth.
Darrell, an orphan raised in the streets of New York City, has his life changed forever when he journeys into Central Park's homeless district and discovers Granpappie's Youth Center for Taebo Excellence. Founded by Mr. T in 1981, this youth center has been training kids in the fine art of Taebo ever since by fellow once-homeless Taebo artists. However, Central Park is also home to many nefarious hoodlums and ruffians that only seek the demise of such a wonderful and family-friendly establishment. To protect the youth center, Grandpappie (who took over once Mr. T left to form other such upstanding bastions for young childrens) formed the Taebo Tactical Team to defend against whatever may come their way. Surprisingly, he choose Darrell for such a task, along with his friends Sammy and Katie, and they are chaperoned by the courageous Lil' Dip. But with the dangers of thug crime on the rise, will the team succeed in their mission, or will Granpappie's Youth Center for Taebo Excellence fall into disarray like so many after-school specials?
Darrell (Naruto): A practical joker since he was born, Darrell is always trying to perfect his Taebo technique to enhance his latest gag. And while the other homeless in Central Park look down on him for having fun rather than strict Taebo discipline, they do appreciate his energetic tendencies. Granpappie hopes that one day Darrell will use his power for good (instead of pranks), and that he will become a formidable Taebo black-shiny headband master.
Grandpapppie (Hokage): He was once an old military man like his former compatriot Mr. T, but due to a random chicken massacre, he had to retire abruptly. Saddened by the fact he wasn't able to get his Taebo Introduction Plan approved by the Army, he went into isolation in Central Park, and began to teach the mystical art to his fellow housing-disabled people. Mr. T soon learned of the plan, and if that didn't sound like the prefect place to set up a youth center, he didn't know what did! So in a matter of days, Grandpappie and Mr. T forged the grandest site they had seen that week: Granpappie's Youth Center for Taebo Excellence.
Irwin (Iruka): As Darrell's "tutor", Irwin shares a "special" relationship with Darrell, built upon "love", "Taebo", and other such "words" that don't sound too "clean" when put in "quotations". As an orphan who learned many "lessons" down in the burly alleyways of "Brooklyn", Irwin learned about the importance of "sharing", which was only "reinforced" by the teachings of Taebo. He understands Darrell's rejection from the other homeless very well, and he tries to "comfort" him the best that he can.
Sammy (Sasuke): Always the dark and brooding type, he is both Darrell's rival and partner in the Taebo Tactical Team. He uses the Carbon Copy Taebo technique, which allows him to use others' techniques just by watching them. A natural pimp, his innate coolness makes all the girls' hearts aflutter, which infuriates Darrell to no end. He is constantly jealous of the Carbon Copyist, and Sammy doesn't feel that nice towards Darrell either.
Katie (Sakura): A real go-getter, she rounds out the Taebo Tactical Team, and provides the much-needed intelligence to go with Darrell's gusto and Sammy's gloominess. She's very smart, and is always focused on studying even you don't realize it. However, even she has a dark side when you get too close (so watch out, or better yet, tune in!). She, as well as most of the female Taeboists, likes Sammy and tries to impress him. Darrell, however, does not approve of this.
Lil' Dip (Kakashi): Half-Hispanic and Half-African American, this affirmatively minority character is the son of Dipcardo and Yom (maiden name Amma) Rodriguez (Lil' Dip being the Jr.). Raised in the South Bronx, Dip Jr. found his love for both Taebo and Salsa music at an early age, along with his fascination for hip-hop. As he grew up and trained among the best Taebo masters, he eventually found out about the youth center. Eager to train such promising youths in both the ways of Taebo AND Ricky Martin, he signed up as a teacher. He is always studying up on the latest Taebo techniques, as evidenced by his head being constantly stuck in new Taebo texts (with the occasional Salsa dance review). He is also know for his infamous Laaaaay-Zee Eye, which can copy a person's technique perfectly, even while they are using it (it also works on dance styles)! With it, he has mastered over 1000 different Taebo and Salsa techniques. He now heads up the Taebo Tactical Tea, as head chaperone.
Of course, being set in the wilds of New York's Central Park and learning towards the homeless that dwell therein might worry some parents, but they "shouldn't worry one bit!" says Ali Babba, 4kids Fictional Localization Director. "We have a fool-proof plan to keep kids from trying to learn Taebo from random homeless people, which involves having text before and after the show, as well as helpful tips at the end of the show. We call it 'Darrell Says'. We think it's very hip, original, and informative!" The text that will run before the show says, "Remember kids! Only those well trained in the ancient and mystical art of Taebo can talk to the homeless, for they are dangerous and stinky." Episodes end with: "While becoming a Taebo Master is fun and rewarding, make that you seek local experts before trying these techniques at home!" and a list of some Taebo websites.
Ali Babba is very proud of the "improvements" that they've made to the show and thinks it will sit along very well along with the other shows they improved, Shaman King and Hollywood Mew Mew. "Heck, not only will you not realize the show was Japanese," Babba chortles, "you won't even realize the show was any good!" So go get ready for Darrell's Kickboxing Adventure! and don't miss a beat every episode!