Japanese Episode
DP 176

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Diamond & Pearl

Japanese Episode DP 176
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode DP 176:  "The Semi-Finals!  Who Will Advance to the Finals!?"
American Episode 1319:  "Coming Full - Festival Circle!"

Japanese Air Date:  May 13th, 2010
American Air Date:  October 2nd, 2010

After a number of tough battles in the second and third rounds, the semi-finalists of the Shin'ou Grand Festival are revealed to be Nozomi, Naoshi, Hikari, and Candy Musalina!  The fourth round kicks off with a match between Nozomi and Naoshi.  Nozomi sends out her Leafia and Mumage, and Naoshi chooses Korotoc and Mimilop.  Naoshi sets the pace of the battle when his Mimilop repels Leafia's and Mumage's combination attack.  As Mimilop dances about, Nozomi has Mumage and Leafia use Kage Bunshin to lure Naoshi into attacking the shadow images and gain points for her side.  Naoshi orders his Korotoc to use Sing, but Nozomi is ready for him and has her Mumage counter with Good Luck Charm.  As the battle continues, both Coordinators display an amazing amount of talent that fires Hikari up.  The battle ends when Leafia, sporting wings created by Mumages's Psychic Wave, collides head to head with Korotoc's Scissor Cross.  At the end of the very close match, Nozomi is declared the winner!  The next battle of the semi-finals is between Hikari and Candy Musalina.  Musashi gives the battle everything she has, but Hikari is declared the winner at the end of the match.  With this victory, Hikari can keep her promise to Nozomi for them to meet on the final stage of the Grand Festival!  Now that the finalists have been announced, the fifth and final round of the Shin'ou Grand Festival can begin!  Who will win the battle and be crowned Top Coordinator?  To be continued!

There's a tactic used a lot when critiquing someone called "the compliment sandwich."  The basic idea is that you surround advice or misgivings with compliments in an effort to soften the blow of the complaint.  I'm going to try to do that today because the misgivings I have about this episode are so great that I don't see any other way to express them without turning this comparison into one big whine fest.

The battle between Nozomi and Naoshi is pretty much one of the best battles we've seen in the entire series.  And no, I'm not just talking about Contest Battles; I think it's one of the best battles, period.  I think part of what makes it work for me is the fact that the writers had the characters perform a number of combination attacks that you can't do in the games themselves.  I love it when the show does that because it makes battles a lot less predictable than they would if the writers stuck strictly to the rules of the games.  The fifth generation games gave us the start of combination techniques, but we're still a long way before we get to the point where we can have a Leafia with wings or a Blizzard / Silver Wind combo.

On the other hand, the battle that follows is a giant "fuck you" to Rocket-Dan fans everywhere.  Oh, you actually liked Musashi as a Coordinator? 
You cared that she's the only Coordinator who's been on the cast for the entire eight year run of Pokemon Contests?  Or that she's the only Coordinator, other than Hikari, to have all five of her ribbons earned on-screen?  Well fuck you, because we're going to gloss over the battle that eliminates her from the competition!   Candy Musalina's Contest run ends with a whimper, and it's a bullshit finale because Musashi deserved so much more.  Of course we knew she was going to lose a long time ago, but that doesn't mean that she had to end her story with such a weak battle.  Even if you couldn't care less about Musashi, there's still the fact that, in Hikari's only Grand Festival, we've only seen her battle one other time so far.  This is Hikari's final Contest win of the series (OMG spoilers!), and it's in a battle that lasts only a minute and twenty seconds.  The writers have made a number of mistakes throughout Diamond & Pearl's run, but I think this one is one of the worst.

The way Candy Musalina handled her loss was excellent, though.  I couldn't think of any better way to have the character lose than with a fake-out rampage like that.  The freakout, the facial expressions, the animal-type growl she let out as she stomped her way toward Hikari...priceelss.  Yes, the whole "I don't want to lose to someone who doesn't make it all the way to the top" thing is kind of a cliché, but I think it works here.

So the tl;dr version is that I thought that everything that wasn't the Hikari vs. Candy Musalina battle was excellent.

The English version keeps most of the original music, which is great.  The one music-related quibble I have, though, has to do with the scene where Candy Musalina freaks out after losing to Hikari.  The fact that there's no music playing in the Japanese version makes the scene so much more awesome, but the dub dilutes its impact with the drone of its synthesizer music.  People often use the whole JASRAC "the music is too expensive for them to use" excuse to defend TPCI's replacement of Japanese music, but even if I did view that as a legitimate argument, I'm not seeing how it would apply here.

Dialogue Edit
After Jessilina's victory following the episode's title screen:

James:  "I'm swelling with pride!"
Wobbuffet:  "Wobbuffet!"
Meowth:  "The crowd's swollen too!  And we're swollen with moolah now that we've sold all those Jessilina cards.  She's a hot commodity!"

Nyasu states that they're rich because of all the Candy Musalina badges they've sold, not cards.  The cards were the things not selling, remember?

(Also, it sounds like Meowth is saying "woolah," maybe?)

Outside, Nando keeps everyone awake with that darned rap music:

Dawn:  "Such beautiful and relaxing music."

Hikari also mentions that the music is calming her nerves.  Dawn's back is to the camera when she says this, so TPCI could have added this line easily.  The Pokémon Company International seems to be doing this a lot lately.

At the warehouse, or wherever the hell Team Rocket is:

Meowth:  "Those cards with your mug on 'em blew the lid right off of this joint.  And this stuff's gonna put us in serious moolah orbit."

Again, badges become cards, for some reason.

At the start of the semi-finals:

Marion:  "The morning finds the stadium filled with a flurry of fans!  Welcome to the event where dreams can either be made or dashed!  The exciting Grand Festival semi-finals!"
Fantina:  "Bon matin now to all the many Coordinators, amazing Pokémon, and loyal fans alike!  Let's cheer!  Excitement is here!"

The Japanese version doesn't say anything about the competition taking place in the morning.  For all we know, these battles are taking place in the afternoon.

Next, Brock and Dawn speculate on Nando's choice of Pok

Brock:  "I'll bet you Nando's going to go with either a Bug-type or a Grass-type."
Dawn:  "Yeah.  And I bet you they'll be Pokémon that can use the move Sing, y'know?"
Piplup:  "Piplup."

And again, after it's revealed that he'll be using a Lopunny:

Brock:  "Lopunny's not a Bug-type or a Grass-type.  And it can't use Sing, either."

I'm bringing these two up because, originally, it's stated that Naoshi tends to use pokemon who can use Sing or other techniques related to music.  The "or other techniques related to music" bit is omitted by TPCI.

During the battle, TPCI mistakes Dengekiha (でんげきは), or "Electric Wave," with Denjiha (でんじは), or "Electromagnetic Wave."  The former is known as "Shock Wave" in the English versions of the games, and the latter is known as "Thunder Wave."  So, Zoey should be ordering her Mismagius to use Shock Wave, not Thunder Wave.

After Leafeon sprouts wings:

Fantina:  "Oh my my my!  I've never seen such a sight!"

Melissa says "Oh my God!" in the original, because apparently it's a requirement for all foreigners in this show to utter that phrase at one point or another.  The dub, obviously, changed this.  They could have had Fantina say sacr
é bleu, which is similar to "Oh my gosh" in English, but they squandered the opportunity to do so.

Johanna:  "Do you see it, Glameow?  The fiery look in Dawn's eyes now compared to the beginning of her journey, when she struggled with winning.  The Dawn you and I are watching now has her sights totally set on the final stage!  She's come such a long way."

Johanna's explanation is a little abridged.  Here, she simply states that Dawn had "struggled with winning" at the start of her journey, but Ayako explains that Hikari had repeatedly lost in the first round, referring to her losses during the Appeals round at the Yosuga City and Zui Town Conventions.

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