Japanese Episode
DP 189

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Diamond & Pearl

Japanese Episode DP 189
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode DP 189:  "The Shin'ou League Semi-Finals!  Darkrai Takes the Stage!"
American Episode 1332:  "The Semi-Final Frontier!"

Japanese Air Date:  August 26th, 2010
American Air Date:  January 22nd, 2011

The semi-finals of the Shin'ou League begin with a match between Satoshi and Takuto.  As expected, Takuto sends out his Darkrai, so Satoshi chooses his bug-type Heracross.  Darkrai uses Dark Hole to put Heracross to sleep before it KOs its opponent with a powerful Dream Eater attack.  Satoshi's second pokemon is Cotoise, but Darkrai quickly defeats it with a single Evil Pulse attack!  Next up is Fukamaru, who manages to hit Darkrai with Rock Smash before succumbing to another Evil Pulse attack.  Now down to three pokemon, Satoshi decides to go with Jukain.  Jukain is put to sleep just like Heracross was but is able to pull itself back to consciousness before sustaining any damage.  It then uses Leaf Blade on Darkrai, knocking it out for the first time since the tournament began!  A surprised Takuto sends out his second pokemon, Latios.  The legendary dragon-type defeats Jukain with Giga Impact, forcing Satoshi to bring out his fifth pokemon.  Ohsubame is chosen for its ability to fly, but Latios uses Luster Purge to earn a quick victory.  Down to his final pokemon, Satoshi chooses Pikachu.  After a fierce struggle, Latios' Giga Impact and Pikachu's combination of Volt Tackle and Iron Tail collide, causing a terrific explosion that results in a double KO!  Since Satoshi has no more pokemon left, Takuto is declared the winner!  Satoshi sticks around to see Takuto win the Suzuran Tournament and watch the closing ceremonies later on.  After bidding farewell to their friend Jun, Satoshi, Hikari, and Takeshi all begin to think about their next move.

The battle between Satoshi and Takuto had a lot of things going against it before it even had a chance to begin.  Fans were just coming off the fantastic battle between Satoshi and Shinji, and this episode only had roughly 22 minutes to achieve what the previous battle had three episodes to do.  And since we fans already knew that the title of the next episode didn't have anything to do with any league match, we came into this episode knowing that Satoshi was going to lose. 

Well, people were pissed when this episode came out.  While I can certainly understand the complaints people have with this episode, and Takuto, and the entire Shin'ou League as a whole, I can't bring myself to hate this episode as much as everyone else seems to. 

I think it helps to think about this from the writers' point of view.  It's easy to say that they could have gotten rid of some of the fillers we had earlier in the saga, particularly during the year we had between the seventh and eighth gyms, to give themselves more time to wrap things up at the end of the series.  But that's not really the way things work.  The writers had to wait for Nintendo to tell them when Pocket Monsters Black & Pocket Monsters White were going to be released before they could plan the ending of the series, and by that time the majority of those fillers were probably already in the can.  They only had eight episodes to devote to the league, and almost half of them were reserved for the battle between Satoshi and Shinji.  Then you have the set-up episode, a resolution of Jun as a character, and a few random battles to pad out the whole thing (Naoshi, Kouhei).  There just wasn't enough time.

Really, the writers only had the one episode to knock Satoshi out of the league, and in a 22 minute six-on-six battle, the only way to do that was to have him face an opponent who can deliver one-hit KOs.  And what better pokemon are there for such a task than legendary pokemon?  We almost never get to see them in the TV series, they have unique moves that no other pokemon can use (hi, Luster Purge!), and they have that "cool" factor that other pokemon lack.  I mean, what sounds better?  "Satoshi was able to beat the final stages of two really strong pokemon," or "Satoshi was able to beat two legendary pokemon?"

One common criticism I see about this episode is the choice of Satoshi's pokemon.  Maybe some pokemon would have been better than others, but I think the thing a lot of people are forgetting is that the powerhouses he caught in the Shin'ou region were probably still wiped out from their battle with Shinji the day before.  I mean, does anyone really think that an exhausted Goukazaru would have had much of an impact on this battle?  I do agree that it sucks that we never get to see Satoshi prepare for his upcoming match the way he did for, say, Naoshi, but I also understand that a) they didn't have enough time to show that, and b) doing so would have destroyed the mystery surrounding who's on Takuto's team. 

I do like, however, how everyone assumes that a person having two legendary pokemon means that the rest of his team is filled with legendaries as well. 

This "Thoughts" section is getting long, so I'll wrap this up with two quick things.  One, isn't it weird how
Tamaranze-Kaichou didn't have a single word of dialogue in the whole league?  Two, why is Satoshi turning his hat backwards such a big deal?  People seriously fanboyed / girled the fuck out over that thing, and I can't for the life of me figure out why.  And no, "because it gives me nostalgia" is not enough.

The Pokémon Company International's version of this episode leaves all the Japanese background music alone for the first time since the season started.  So hey, the dub is like a million times more watchable now!  My ears are also happy to learn that this episode marks the last time we have to hear Barry's screechy as hell English voice.  I love me some Jun and all, but Barry and his voice have somehow managed to suck a lot of the awesome out of the character when I watched the English version. 

Darkrai and Latios keep their Japanese voices.

Dialogue Edit
Almost half the dialogue edits in this episode belong to Team Rocket.

After the Pokédex finishes describing Darkrai:

Meowth:  "Dig that!  That dude's got a Darkrai!"

...and you didn't know that, Meowth?  Have you not been paying attention at all this entire league?

Originally, Nyasu states that Darkrai has finally made its appearance.

A few lines later:

Jessie:  "You can't enjoy the show running on an empty stomach.  So fill 'er up!"
James:  "With Pokémon memorabilia, too!"
Meowth:  "Don't be shy!  Buy!"

Musashi specifically states that she's selling rice crackers, caramel, juice, and popcorn in the Japanese version.

After Heracross gets knocked out:

Male customer:  "Hey, got any Darkrai merchandise?"
Female customer:  "Yeah!  Any toys?"
Jessie:  "Any?  Every toy!"

The female customer, strangely enough, tells Musashi that she wants Darkrai (あたしもダークライ欲しい).  The dub changes this to Darkrai toys.

After Gible gets knocked out, we get the episode's speech on pants:

Meowth:  "That twerp better get his battle on soon or else.  Bang zoom."
Jessie:  "Alright, exactly when did you cross behind twerp enemy lines?"
Meowth:  "Since I got a grip on that we're all joined at the hip."
Jessie:  "How so?"
Meowth:  "That twerp's beaten the pants off of us many times, but he's gettin' the pants beaten off of him.  So, the trickle-down theory proves we don't deserve to have pants in the first place!"
Jessie and James:  "Point taken."

Is this little speech supposed to be funny?  Cute?  Anything other than awkward and confusing?

This calls for a little English dub to actual English translation, so here goes.  In the Japanese version, Nyasu tells his teammates that it's been said that yesterday's enemies are today's friends (昨日の敵は今日の友って言うニャ).  He then goes on to say that watching a person who's defeated them time and time again losing against an opponent so easily makes their raison d'être drop dramatically.

I also really like Meowth's "bang zoom" at the end of that first line there because it makes him sound like Jackie Gleason's character from The Honeymooners.  Only instead of threatening to commit domestic violence on his wife, he's going to be viciously beating on a ten year old boy instead!

These next two lines represent an inconsistency in recaps.  Here's Ash's line from before the commercial break:

Ash:  "Sceptile no!"

And his line from after the commercial break:

Ash:  "No, Sceptile!"

In the Japanese version, both of those scenes have the same dialogue.

As Tobias recalls Darkrai:

Announcer:  "Ladies and gentlemen, as incredible as it sounds, this is the very first defeat we've seen for Tobias' Darkrai here at the Sinnoh League.  Now, we await the identity of his second Pokémon."

The announcer in the Japanese version also adds that this is the first time Takuto has had to use his second pokemon in the tournament, re-confirming the fact that Takuto swept through the Suzuran Conference using only his Darkrai.

After Tobias calls on Latios:

Brock:  "Just how powerful is this guy?  First he uses Darkrai, and now it's Latios."
Barry:  "Yeah, but with Sceptile's speed, Ash can definitely win."

Jun isn't quite as confident; originally, he says that Satoshi has a chance to win.  Not that he definitely will.

After Sceptile's defeat:

Meowth:  "That Giga Impact's power was off the charts!"
James:  "And when they collided, Sceptile was moving at quite a clip."

I'm only bringing this line up because the first time I heard it, I did a double take since I thought James was saying "clit" instead.  Learn to enunciate, Mr. Zoppi!

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