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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Diamond & Pearl
Japanese Episode DP 188: "The Decisive Rival Battle! Satoshi vs. Shinji!!"
American Episode 1331: "Battling a Thaw in Relations!"
Japanese Air Date: August 19th, 2010
American Air Date: January 15th, 2011
Satoshi's Glion dives toward Shinji's Drapion, dodges its Cross Poison attack, and defeats it with a powerful Fire Fang! Shinji's Drapion has finally been taken down, leaving Shinji with only one pokemon left! He calls on his Elekibull and has it use Thunder on the battlefield to send rocks flying toward its ground-type opponent. It then uses its tail to latch onto Glion and finishes it off with Tile Break. Satoshi's next pokemon is Pikachu. Elekibull uses Thunder Punch to counter Pikachu's Iron Tail, and for a while it seems like the two attacks are evenly matched. However, Elekibull is able its free hand to use Tile Break and deliver a decisive blow. Satoshi recalls his partner and asks his final pokemon, Goukazaru, to take the stage. The two pokemon trade hits back and forth for a while before Elekibull grabs Goukazaru with its tail and sends a Thunder attack through its body. Goukazaru collapses and is about to be declared unable to battle when it picks itself back up and activates its Raging Flames Ability. Now that Goukazaru's powered up, it uses Flare Drive to charge through Elekibull's Thunder Punch and defeats its opponent in a spectacular explosion. As Satoshi celebrates his victory, Shinji comes to finally respect his rival. Later, Shinji tells Satoshi that he's going back to Kissaki City to challenge the Frontier Brain Jindai to a rematch. As his greatest rival leaves Suzuran Island, Satoshi looks ahead at his upcoming battle with Takuto, the terrifying Darkrai trainer.
The biggest battle the franchise has ever seen ends with this episode, and I'm actually amazed that it ended in such a satisfactory way. The Pocket Monsters shows have this awful tendency to give everything these really anticlimactic endings and leave us feeling gypped, yet the rivalry between Satoshi and Shinji wrapped up pretty nicely. It was a little by-the-numbers, sure, but it was still a nice ending. I'm not super thrilled about the whole thing coming down to Goukazaru's Raging Flames being activated and have the feeling that Satoshi wouldn't have been able to win if it hadn't gone all apeshit (pun intended) on Shinji, but it's also hard to imagine the battle ending any other way.
I wish the show had explored Shinji as a character more, specifically the whole "I treat my pokemon like tools" thing that was so much a part of his character at the start of the series. I know we can infer all sorts of things based on his actions in this episode (like the fact that he actually praised his Elekibull for a job well done), but I really would have liked to see that one part addressed more directly here. I also wish Shinji had stuck around for the rest of the league because I really wanted to see how he'd react to Satoshi's battle with Takuto. But, oh well.
Oh, and Sonansu exists again! I was certainly happy to see that blue blob again.
The music in the English version sucked, how dare they not use the instrumental version of Chiisaki Mono, bla bla bla. On a positive note, TPCI kept the heartbeat scene at the end of the episode intact, silence and all. The dub has ruined a scene like this before by drowning out the dramatic heartbeat scene with their synthesized music, but this time they resisted that urge and played the scene exactly the same way it was played in Japan. So, you know, thanks for that.
Amazingly, the first notable script change doesn't happen until a good ten minutes into the episode.
After Pikachu's KO'ed by Electivire:
Barry: "Pikachu tried as hard as it could."
Brock: "Electivire was just a little bit stronger."
Originally, Takeshi states that Shinji was stronger, not Elekibull.
Ash: "Pikachu, you did your best. I promise, this battle isn't over yet. Watch."
Satoshi tells his pokemon that he won't let its battle go to waste. Which is similar, but not quite the same thing as "this battle isn't over yet."
In the second half of the episode, Brock talks over the battle between Electivire and Infernape:
Brock: "Reggie once called them two sides of the same coin. Mirrors of each other. They may have the same goals, but they've always taken different paths to reach them. Now they're really battling, face to face, head on! And I think they both realized that."
Soooooooo close. Originally, Takeshi says everything that Brock does but adds that both Satoshi and Shinji have finally come to respect one another.
This next one happens after Infernape takes Electivire's Thunder attack head-on:
Brock: "Talk about a lot of damage."
Barry: "Guess it's over for Ash."
Jun merely wonders if it's over for Satoshi. He doesn't just assume that it is the way Barry does.
As Infernape picks itself up:
Paul: "So I guess that's the best you can do then. You're pathetic, just like always."
Ash: "'Fraid not!"
Oh, "pathetic." We couldn't let Paul leave the series without hearing you one more time, could we? Of course not!
In the Japanese version, Shinji tells Goukazaru to stop disappointing him time and time again.
The song that plays during the end of the battle is different depending on which version you're watching. If you're watching the Japanese version, you'll hear Type: Wild, the fifth closing theme from the original Pocket Monsters series that's almost never used as an insert song. In the English version, an instrumental version of TPCI's new favorite song, "The Ultimate Challenge" (or whatever it's called), is used.
There is an English version of the song Type Wild that was created for Pokemon Encore way back in the late 90s, but I guess TPCI didn't want to bother getting the rights to use it. But I do think it's cute that some fans actually expected The Pokémon Company International to pick up the rights to use it, as if that's an in-character thing for the company to do. Oh, to be young and naïve again.
After Ash's victory, Paul walks up to Infernape and says:
Ash: "Infernape, you OK?"
The animation is to blame for this regrettable change. In the Japanese version, Shinji begins to say "You've gotten stronger" (強くなった) but stops himself when Goukazaru starts to waver. There wasn't really any way TPCI could have fit that all in given the limited number of mouth flaps they had to work with, so this great little moment gets lost on dub viewers. What a shame.
Back at Tobari City (I guess?):
Reggie: "I'm sorry, but Paul lost."
(Paul's Pokémon react sadly)
Reggie: "But you know, the battle will just make Paul stronger still. Soon as Paul gets back, then we'll have a battle."
(Paul's Pokémon react happily)
Reiji is a little more vague in the original, telling the pokemon gathered around that they will all get to battle as soon as Shinji gets back. He never specifically says that he'll be their opponent.
I find the line-up here a little strange, by the way. We have what we assume to be Shinji's Dodaitoise, Ringuma, Manyula, and Donkarasu all standing together with Reiji's Mukuhawk and Marunohmu. So is Reiji saying they'll all be battling him, as in Reiji? Or will they be battling Shinji? And where are all of Shinji's and Reiji's other pokemon?
Barry: "Here I wanna congratulate him on what an awesome job he did and he's nowhere to be found! He's gonna to pay a fine!!"
Cynthia: "Now, now. That's not very nice."
Shirona doesn't scold Jun in the original. She simply comments on how it's too bad Jun wasn't able to catch up with his friend.
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