Japanese Episode
DP 049

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Diamond & Pearl

Japanese Episode DP 049
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode DP 049:  "Pokemon Contest!  The Yosuga Convention!!"
American Episode 1048:  "Dawn's Early Night!"

Japanese Air Date:  October 4th, 2007
American Air Date:  January 26th, 2008
Important Places:  Yosuga City (Hearthome City)

Now that our heroes have finally arrived in Yosuga City, it's time to visit the Yosuga City Gym!  Satoshi is greeted by  Naoshi at the gym's front door and is told that the Gym Leader doesn't seem to be there.  The young trainer is disappointed until Naoshi informs him about an upcoming Tag Battle tournament being held in a few days.  Satoshi convinces Takeshi to enter with him, giving them a new goal to work toward.  Meanwhile, Hikari gets ready for the Yosuga City Pokemon Contest by discussing the double performances she'll have to do in order to win.  She eventually runs into Nozomi and introduces her to Naoshi, but Hikari's rival is put off by Naoshi when she finds out that he participates in both Gym Battles and Pokemon Contests.  Before long, the time for the Appeals round of the Contest begins.  Up first is Naoshi, whose Kimawari and Korotoc impress the judges with a musical style ballad.  Next is Hikari and her Potchama and Pachirisu.  The young Coordinator is pleased with her performance and prepares for the second round as she watches the remaining Appeals.  Candy Musalina takes the stage with Manene and Sabonea, and, later, Nozomi impresses the judges with her Nyaruma and Karakanushi.  Once all of the Appeals are finished, the eight Coordinators advancing to the next round are announced.  Nozomi, Naoshi, and Candy Musalina all make it to the second round, but sadly, Hikari does not.  The Contest Ribbon eventually goes to Naoshi, who was able to defeat Nozomi in the final round.  After the competition, Nozomi has a pep talk with Hikari and tells her that seeing Naoshi in action really motivated her to continue to train so she can become stronger.  With a renewed sense of confidence, Hikari looks forward to her next challenge.

I feel like I should really like this episode more than I do.  After all, there's quite a bit jam-packed in this one; Satoshi arriving at the gym and finding out that he can't compete, the introduction of the upcoming Tag Battle tournament, a bunch of rivals interacting with each other, lots of nice continuity, Hikari losing in the Appeals round, Naoshi getting a Ribbon, etc.  There really is a lot to like here.

Yet for some reason, the whole thing kind of comes off as being "meh" to me.  I guess part of the problem is that Hikari's rivals are just so boring that watching them interact with one another isn't really all that interesting to me.  We kind of got a little bit with the whole "you do Gyms and Contests!?!?  I hate you!" thing, but that didn't really spice anything up.  I also didn't like how the judges were all like "Oh, Hikari, we LOVED your performance" and were then all like "no Top 8 for you!"  It just makes the judges look like a trio of Paula Abduls or something.

And while I like the fact that Hikari lost in the Appeals round, it feels odd that it took the TV series this long to finally do it.  I mean, with Haruka, we had a person who kind of stumbled toward her goal yet was able to make it past the Appeals round every single time no matter how "n00bish" she acted.  With Hikari, however, we have a girl who's wanted to be a Coordinator since who knows when and presumably has the advantage of being able to learn from her mother who still manages to fail.  I understand that part of the reason Haruka was given so much more beginner's luck is because she was meant to sell the idea of Pokemon Contests to us in the first place - and let's face it, nobody's going to think that they're a great new addition to the series if we keep seeing the girl fail at them - but it still feels awkward and unbalanced.

The English version of this episode is known as the episode that keeps all the Japanese music intact even though that's really not the case.  The cold opening music (which wasn't aired on TV-Tokyo but is present on the rental-only DVDs), the title screen music, and the music that plays when Naoshi's telling the gang that the Gym Leader isn't there (as well as seeing Korotoc scanned by the Pokemon Zukan) are all replaced.  Still, I counted thirteen pieces of music kept, which is pretty much an all-time high for PUSA.

I'm all for praising the dub when it does something right, and keeping lots of Japanese music is certainly a "win" in my book.  But at the same time, this kind of thing is the bare minimum that they should be doing for each and every episode.  I know it makes me sound ungrateful and whatnot, but the whole time I was watching this episode, I kept thinking...why isn't the rest of the season like this?

Speaking of praise...PUSA didn't edit out the BAR sign.  That's pretty neat.

Korotoc keeps its Japanese voice.

Side Note
While I do like how much Japanese music we got, I'm not too happy with how the English music was used to fill in the gaps.  Yeah, that practice isn't anything new with this show, but it stuck out more in this episode than it did in any other.

The two scenes that stuck out to me are the ones where Dawn is about to take the stage and the scene where we see Johanna's reaction to Hikari's Appeal.  In the Japanese version of the first scene, there's no background music at all; just the sound of a heartbeat.  The dub, however, has their own *dun dun-dun dun dun-dun* music playing and practically drowns out the sound effect, something that kind of ruins the scene for me.  As far as the Johanna scene goes; again, there's no music in the Japanese version.  But in the dub, we get this foreboding music that kind of makes it a little more obvious (as if it wasn't obvious enough in the original) that Dawn was going to lose.

This is an episode where silence is used to achieve certain effects that are lost when the dub decides to "fill them in" with their own music.  Like I said...it's nothing new, but it stood out to me more in this episode than it usually does.

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