Japanese Episode
DP 169

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Diamond & Pearl

Japanese Episode DP 169
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode DP 169:  "Pokemon Ranger!  The Headran Rescue Operation!!"
American Episode 1311:  "Pokémon Ranger: Heatran Rescue!"

Japanese Air Date:  March 18th, 2010
American Air Date:  October 16th, 2010
Important Characters:  Natsuya (Ben)

Satoshi and his friends are getting ready for lunch one day when a young boy washes up on the shore of a nearby river.  Once he comes to, he introduces himself as a Pokemon Ranger named Natsuya and announces that he's in the area to capture a rare Headran.  However, his Capture Styler has gone missing!  Satoshi and his friends decide to help him out, so they accompany him to the volcano where the Headran is supposed to live.  Meanwhile, the Rocket-Dan stumble across Natsuya's missing Capture Styler.  After some time, Natsuya and the others enter the volcano and locate Headran.  Before they have a chance to make a move, though, the Rocket-Dan appear and try to use Natsuya's Capture Styler to get the pokemon for themselves!  The device won't work for anyone other than its owner, so they abandon their plan and take command of their giant Digda mecha instead.  As the robot fights with Headran, Natsuya sneaks his way over to the Rocket-Dan as Satoshi and his friends back him up.  Once he reaches the ledge the Rocket-Dan is standing on, he takes back his Capture Styler and begins to capture Headran.  The damage the Rocket-Dan's mecha has done to the volcano is causing it to cave in, so the Rocket trio runs away.  Once Natsuya finishes his capture of Headran, Satoshi and the others evacuate as well.  Outside, Natsuya thanks Satoshi and his friends for all their help and bids them farewell as he boards a helicopter for his next adventure.

The second of the Pokemon Ranger and the Tracks of Light episode is here, and...it's OK.

I can't put my finger on why I'm not so crazy about this episode.  Maybe I didn't like how his Ukulele Pichu is nowhere ot be found?  Maybe I was disappointed by the fact that the episode gave Kojirou a Capture Styler and then completely squandered all the comedy gold that situation could have created?  Maybe I'm not a huge fan of Headran?

So I wasn't thrilled by this episode, but it wasn't all bad.  I like that Natsuya was actually given a personality in this episode even though it kind of contradicts what we saw in those two Pokemon Sunday specials.  The Pokemon Sunday version was as plain as he is in the game, but he's fairly likable in the Diamond & Pearl version.  I also really liked how most of this episode took place inside a volcano since it's a breath of fresh air from the forests and cities this show usually uses as its backdrops.  The fact that the Ranger Sign Natsuya uses to summon Ordile actually works in the game this mission is (very loosely) based on is also pretty cool.

I also wanted to bring attention to the coloring in this episode.  It's not something that gets a lot of praise in this series and is one of those things that most of us take for granted, but I really think the job done in this episode deserves special mention.  The colors used inside the volcano, particularly when Satoshi and Hikari are ordering their pokemon to cool the area down, really help sell the idea that these people are in an area with bright lava shining up at them.  And then, once the Rocket-Dan's mecha freezes all this lava, the color palette becomes noticeably darker to reflect the fact that the volcano's major light source has just been extinguished.  If you haven't already, I strongly suggest you pay attention to the colors the next time you watch this episode.

This episode was skipped over during the season's initial airing and didn't debut until after the Grand Festival.  The official
Pokémon site lists this episode as 1311 (Season 13, Episode 11), so it's still meant to take place before Dawn's competition; it was just aired out of order, that's all.  Even with this in mind, though, the episode order is still being messed around with, for no real reason.  In Japan, the episode that was eventually dubbed as "Keeping in Top Forme!" comes before this Ranger episode, but in the U.S., it comes after.  I wouldn't even be able to pretend to know why TPCI made the two episodes swap places like that.

Headran keeps its Japanese voice, which is a nice surprise since it didn't get to keep it in "Arceus and the Jewel of Life."

Dialogue Edit
The episode's late premier had an effect on some of the episode's dialogue:

Narrator:  "As our heroes continue their Sinnoh region journey, a quiet moment provides time for a riverside lunch."

As you're probably well aware by now, the narrator in the Japanese version states that Satoshi and his friends are on the way to Risshi Lake so Hikari can compete in the Grand Festival.  Since the English version of this episode wasn't originally aired until after the Grand Festival finished up, the dub decided to give it a generic opening narration to make this episode's displacement less obvious.

Ben:  "That special Heatran can use Eruption.  Wow!"

Natsuya knew this fact beforehand, but Ben seems to be finding this out for the first time.

After Ben comes to,

Dawn:  "So does that mean Feraligatr's your partner?"
Ben:  "Yeah.  Well, it comes to me when I summon it, using the Ranger Sign."

Hikari actually assumes that the Ordile isn't Natsuya's partner, an assumption that the Ranger then confirms.  Dawn kind of does the exact opposite here.

Next up, Ben tells us about his grandfather.

Ben:  "But when I was down, my grandfather always said, 'Remember, son, it's always better to try than to cry.'  Great words to live by."
Ash:  "But what did he mean by that?"
Ben:  "You can either try and get things done, or sit around complaining.  But not both.  You know, if you don't succeed, try, try again!"

The advice Natsuya gets from his grandfather is that if you come across a problem and don't know whether you should leap forward or break down and cry, you should always choose the former instead of the latter.  He then goes on to explain that his grandfather meant that he should be able to live without regrets.

During all this, we see Natsuya's grandpa talking.  In the Japanese version, we don't hear Natsuya's voice coming from his mouth, and no effort is made to match his advice to his mouth flaps.  Natsuya just narrates the story completely independent of the animation.

The Pok
émon Company International tried to fit grandpa's advice into the lip flaps, Meowth Boss Fantasy style, so they had to end up making it shorter than they would have if they had just mimicked what was done in the Japanese version.  They then added a part about complaining that wasn't there originally.

Inside the volcano, Meowth's feet get burned:

Meowth:  "It's more fun givin' a hot foot than gettin' one!"

I like how the dub implies that Meowth spends his time running around lighting people's feet on fire.   What a dick!

Originally, Nyasu just sort of screams "My paws!  My paws!"

Ben:  "Team Rocket?"
Ash:  "See, they're a bunch of guys with one job and one job only."
Ben:  "Is it to protect peace and justice (points to himself) for people and Pokémon?"
Ash:  "Nah.  Team Rocket's job is to steal people's Pokémon."
Ben:  "Gah!"

This one's kind of hard to translate, due to the fact that the word order in Japanese sentences is quite different from the word order in English sentences.  But, here goes. 

Satoshi's first line in this exchange is something like "Those are guys who use pokemon, the sake of the world..."  Natsuya cuts him off, excitedly repeats the "the sake of the world" part, assumes they're fighting for the sake of the world or something, points to himself, and proclaims that they must be his rivals.  Satoshi says that that's not quite what he means.  He then finishes what he was saying earlier by saying "...the sake of the world be darned, to do bad things."

What's basically going on here is that Natsuya was too impatient to listen to Satoshi's entire sentence and jumped to conclusions.

The dialogue that would have had to be produced to create an accurate translation would have sounded awkward as hell because of the aforementioned differences in word order between the two languages.  So, TPCI just rewrote it.

Once Ben finally catches up to Team Rocket,

Ben:  "Give it back!"
James:  "Get your capturing claws off of my Styler!"
Ben:  "It's my Styler, you petty thieves!"

In the Japanese version, Kojirou actually calls Natsuya a thief, not the other way around.

Finally, at the end of the episode,

Narrator:  "And so, as a grateful Heatran safely heads to the national park along with the Pokémon Ranger who rescued it, our heroes can once again explore the wonder and adventures the Sinnoh region has to offer, as the journey continues.

Again, the dub removes any mention of the Grand Festival and uses a generic "the Sinnoh region" instead.

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