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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Houen Region
Japanese Episode AG 006: "Roketto-Dan Midare hikkaki de Sayounara"
Orchid-Hakase Pokemon Lecture: Elekid
Pokemon Dare Da? None (Japanese), Larvitar (American)
Japanese Air Date: December 26th, 2002
American Air Date: November 29th, 2003
Important Characters: Ryo (Rico)
As Satoshi-tachi are checking out the nearest Pokemon Center, teaching Haruka about the various Joi and Junsa in the world, the Rocket-Dan continues to follow the group. As the trio watches the young trainers, they slip and fall into a part of the forest where a cage lies. Inside the cage is a bunch of Arbo, and Musashi's Arbok convinces the team to rescue them. The cage seems to be unbreakable, and before the cage can be opened the Pokemon Hunter Ryo enters the scene. Ryo is a famous Pokemon Hunter who has been hired to capture a bunch of poison-type pokemon, including a group of Dogasu he has in another cage. Seeing Musashi-tachi's efforts to free his latest captures, he demands that they hand over THEIR pokemon, but they won't hear it. After a battle in which Ryo's Sangirasu sends the trio blasting off, Ryo continues his hunt. Once the Rocket-Dan land, they are soon chased by a flock of Spear until a nearby Sabonea scares them away. Kojirou thanks the little cactus pokemon by giving it a bag of food before the group runs off to try to find Ryo again. They soon catch up to the Pokemon Hunter and another battle ensues. During the struggle, Nyasu is able to open the cage containing the Arbo and Dogasu as Musashi-tachi distract Ryo. Soon, the Sangirasu that Ryo sends out evolves into Bangirasu, and Musashi-tachi plead with their Arbok and Matadogasu to take the Arbo and Dogasu and flee to safety. As Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu fight off the Bangirasu without the aid of any pokemon, Arbok and Matadogasu tearfully do as they are told. After being defeated, the Rocket-Dan are left by Ryo as he tries to track down his freed pokemon. He doesn't get too far when Junsa, with the help of Satoshi-tachi, manage to stop Ryo and defeat him. As Junsa has Ryo arrested, Musashi-tachi sadly trudge along without two of their pokemon. Suddenly, the Sabonea from before appears and lets the Rocket-Dan know that it wants to join them, so Kojirou catches the Sabonea. Now, with their old friends gone and a new friend by their side, the Rocket-Dan continue their journey.
Well, that all changes after this episode. With this Rocket-Dan centered episode (which seems more like a pitch for a Rocket-Dan spin-off series more than anything else) the trio of Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu are forced to say goodbye to their longtime friends, all while Kojirou makes a new one. In addition, Satoshi-tachi's obligatory appearance wasn't a complete waste, as they actually got to learn about the various Junsa and Joi around the Houen region--if they had just done what The Simpsons do with their guest stars, I'd be pretty pissed. But I'm not going to get all fanboy on you and tell you that this is the best episode ever, because it just has too many flaws to earn that description. The fact that Ryo had only caught Arbo and Dogasu when there are plenty of other poison-types available (including those that could actually be found in the Houen region) just seemed like a cheap plot device to get Arbok and Matadogasu out of the show. And where was the clip montage for Matadogasu / Arbok? I mean, if a dying tree can get its own little montage and special vocal song, they could at least do the same for two of the show's longest lasting pokemon.
Now for the dub...wow, where do I start? Basically, the dub fared a lot better than I expected. Sure, the remixed music sucked in comparison, but that was to be expected. The show's music editors (Jennifer Scaturro, Elaine Walker, and Lix Lysinger, according to the end credits) need to be fired simply for the way they completely screwed this episode over. But it wasn't all bad. The translation was very good, which is quite rare with anything involving the Rocket-Dan, who tend to be the most rewritten characters in the show. There were no video edits or cuts, save for the few seconds cut toward the end for time purposes (or whatever excuse they're using). I was actually expecting Ryo's gun to go the way of all the guns in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but every frame of it was left intact. All in all, it was certainly watchable, and a lot of people still felt the emotion present in the Japanese episode, so it wasn't all bad. The only real quarrel I have with the episode is the voice acting, which I think deserves enough attention to get its own little heading:
Secondly, Eric Stuart's James just sucked in this episode. I'm sorry, but there just isn't any nicer way to put it. I usually don't have any trouble with it since his goofy James voice works 99.99% of the time, but this episode was different because it was a more serious one. It's very rare for a Pocket Monsters episode to require any sort of realistic emoting, and unfortunately Mr. Stuart's performance this go around fell short in almost every way. Whenever James was supposed to be serious, Eric Stuart just gave him this ridiculous goofy tone that really didn't go well with the mood of the episode. It's that annoying tone used during the start of the motto ("We're Team Rocket, so make it double, jeepers creepers!") that seemed to prevail through every serious scene in the episode, and because of that my views on Eric Stuart went down a couple of notches.
Rico: "Ah, you must be that same Arbok. You've saved me some trouble. Huh! Now don't you move!"
In the Japanese version, during the part where Rico raised his gun and said "Huh!," we hear the gun being cocked. That sound effect is muted out of the dub.
A little bit later, after Meowth unlocks the cage, the sound is edited again:
Rico: "No you don't!"
The sound came before Ryo's line of dialogue, but it was edited out of the dub.
Rico: "These three are more trouble than they're worth. At least those pokemon are mine!"
Originally, in between those two sentences, we can hear the gun being cocked. But not in the dub.
While it seems like a pretty mild edit (I'm under no illusion that it's a huge deal), it doesn't bode well for Kimori's eventual Seed Machine Gun (Bullet Seed) attack. I mean, if they have issues with the sound of a gun getting ready to fire, does that mean that 4Kids plans to edit the sound of bullets being fired whenever the attack is used?
So, why was this done? It's not like we haven't heard the sounds of explosions in the show before, so why the edit? The only thing I can think of is that maybe 4Kids thought it would sound better if they just played their music without the sound effects--y'know, in an effort to fool themselves into believing that they know the best way to score a scene.
This is very different from the Japanese version, where Musashi-tachi's tone of voice wasn't the same at all. Originally, they sounded like they were barely conscious, as if it took all of their energy just to utter those last phrases before they fainted. But apparently the English actors couldn't get the "tired" voice right or something, so they instead just acted like this was just another "angry" scene. Which is really jarring and off-putting.
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