Japanese Episode
AG 161

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Battle Frontier

Episode AG 161
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode AG 161:  "Gonbe's Debut Battle!  An Earnest Fight with Harley!!"
American Episode 431:
"Harley Rides Again!"
Japanese Air Date:  January 19th, 2006
American Air Date:  October 28th, 2006
Important Places:  Yuzuriha Island (
Chrysanthemum Island)

Haruka is getting ready for the Modama Town Pokemon Contest!  As she prepares her Gonbe for its first Pokemon Contest, she is approached by her long-time rival, Harley!  He reveals that he already has three ribbons and vows that he'll beat Haruka and get a fourth.  Later, the Contest begins, and Haruka's Zenigame impresses the crowd with a combination of bubble and ice attacks.  Harley's turn comes up, and his Ariados' unusual combination of String Shot and Scary Face wins the judges' favor as well.  Before long, the results of the second round are announced, and both Haruka and Harley have made it!  After a few second round battles, the final match between the two rivals begins!  Haruka's Gonbe faces off against Harley's Octank, and for a while Senri's daughter seems to have the advantage when her Gonbe is able unleash a powerful Thunder attack via Metronome.  However, the tables are turned when Harley's Octank uses Rest to recover its energy, undoing all the damage Gonbe had done!  Octank ends up defeating Gonbe with an Octazooka, earning Harley his fourth ribbon.  Haruka is upset that she lost to her rival, but she cheers up when she receives a rose and a letter from an unknown person.  She also hears about another Contest on Yuzuriha Island, so the young Coordinator picks herself up and resumes her journey for her third Contest ribbon.

Ever since Harley was introduced, he's sort of been Haruka's punching bag.  His losing streak has been really detrimental to his character, but luckily, the anime producers decided to finally give Harley the win his character so desperately needed.  It doesn't hurt that the battle itself was great - the way the writers fake us out by having Haruka's Gonbe use Thunder, a move which would have won her the Contest under any other circumstance, was a great moment indeed. 
This episode also has some great humor to round things out, and though it's not as great as the fansub Yamato did for April Fools' Day 2006, it's still a very amusing episode.

This episode also marks Gonbe's Contest debut, something that's long overdue since she got the pokemon about 43 episodes ago.  I was beginning to wonder why she even caught the damn thing if she wasn't going to use it in her quest, but thankfully, the pokemon will be seen on Contest stages a lot more often from here on out. 

As far as the dub goes...I don't like the PUSA Harley.  I mean, the voice itself is a good enough impersonation of Andy Rennels' Harley, so that's not an issue.  What I don't like, though, is how much they've over-gayed the character.  

Stay with me on this.

Now don't get me wrong; Harley has been, and always will be, a borderline offensive stereotype of a gay man.  You'd have to be blind not to see that.  But there's a difference between throwing the word "girlfriend" around every now and then and injecting every one of Harley's lines with some "gay catchphrase."  The Japanese version and the 4Kids version were certainly guilty of this as well, but they didn't go overboard with it the way PUSA does.  Pokémon USA's Harley can't go two lines without calling someone "hon" or prattling on about dance floors and powdering his nose, and it's something that gets really old, really quick.  A lot of people are happy at the company's handling of the character, but I'm not one of them.

Ariados, Octank, and Paras keep their Japanese voices.

Dialogue Edit
There are a few of these worth pointing out.

Lillian:  "And now, for the miles I know many of you have traveled to be here tonight, give yourselves a hand!"

And later:

Lillian:  "Now let's meet the judges for this year's Contest!"

The dub tries to tell us that the Wisteria Contest happens once a year and takes place at night, but that's not in the original at all.  In the Japanese version, we aren't given this information at all; they seem to be purposely ambiguous in regards to the whole timing of Pokemon Contests thing.  While it's entirely feasible that the Contest did take place at night, the whole "this year's Contest" thing is pretty hard to swallow.  You don't build something like a Contest Hall for a once-a-year event, people.

Later, when Team Rocket's blasting off:

Jessie:  "I can beat that Harley in any kind of contest!"
Meowth:  "Great, here we go again."
Jessie:  "Tell me who's prettier, Harley or me?"
James:  "Do I have to!?"
All:  "We're blasting off again!"

In the Japanese version, Musashi says she wants to get her revenge in the next Pokemon Contest and tells Kojirou to lend her his Manene, basically setting up Musashi's role two episodes from now.  While a lot of dub watchers seem to have enjoyed this little exchange, they're actually losing a rare demonstration of the writers having foresight by watching the English version.


Lillian:  "If you're interested, the next contest will be in Chrysanthemum Island, and we'd love to see you there."
May:  "Sounds great!"
Ash:  "Yeah, I'm sure I've heard of that contest!"

So let me get this straight...Ash is someone who doesn't know jack squat about any of the Gym Leaders or Frontier Brains he faces off against before he meets them, yet he apparently knows when certain Pokemon Contests take place?  Why would a Pokemon Trainer keep up with that sort of thing?

Originally, Satoshi just says the equivalent of "Well, the Yuzuriha Convention, huh?" (Naruhodo...Yuzuriha Taikai ka?).  Satoshi hasn't heard of the Contest because, well, he's not a Coordinator.

Added Footage--3 seconds
PUSA adds three seconds to the TO BE CONTINUED... screen.  Harley totemo surprised!

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