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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!
Japanese Episode BW 001: "Toward the Isshu Region! Zekrom's Shadow!!"
American Episode 1401: "In the Shadow of Zekrom!"
Japanese Air Date: September 23rd, 2010
American Air Date: February 12th, 2011
Important Characters: Satoshi (Ash Ketchum), Hanako (Delia), Orchid-Hakase (Professor Oak), Sakaki (Giovanni), Musashi (Jessie), Kojirou (James), Sakaki's secretary (Giovanni's secretary), Araragi-Hakase (Professor Juniper), Shooty (Trip)
Important Places: Isshu Region (Unova Region), Kanoko Town (Nuvema Town)
In the Kanto region, ten year old Satoshi prepares to go on a vacation in the Isshu region. Meanwhile, Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu of the Rocket-Dan receive orders from their boss to head to the region on an important mission. Later, Satoshi's plane lands in Isshu. As the young boy marvels at all the pokemon he's never seen before, the sky above him turns dark. Before he knows it, Satoshi and Pikachu find themselves enveloped in a dark thundercloud! The cloud eventually dissipates, so Satoshi goes to the pokemon laboratory in nearby Kanoko Town to have his Pikachu checked out. There, he meets Araragi-Hakase, the regional professor responsible for handing out starter pokemon to new trainers. One such trainer, a boy named Shooty, comes by that day to choose his first pokemon. Satoshi watches anxiously as Shooty decides whether he wants to go with Tsutarja, Pokabu, or Mijumaru. Shooty goes with Tsutarja and is about to be on his way when he notices Satoshi's Pikachu. The electric pokemon is rarely seen in the Isshu region, so Shooty decides to take this opportunity to battle it. During the ensuing match, Satoshi discovers that his Pikachu can no longer use electric attacks! This throws him off guard, allowing Shooty to defeat him. Back at the lab, Araragi-Hakase has another look at Pikachu. Suddenly, the dark clouds from before appear, and Araragi-Hakase tells Satoshi that their presence means that Zekrom is in the area! What could the legendary pokemon be doing in the area? To be continued!
It seems like the fifth generation of Pocket Monsters games tried to set themselves apart from their predecessors, moreso than any other generation. They don't feature any non-Isshu pokemon before the end of the game. It's the first main series games to not be based on a region of Japan. Pokemon Contests, something we've had since Generation III, are now gone.
And the TV series, wanting to capture that same feeling of "newness" the games give off, decided to take this opportunity to retool the series. None of the older pokemon, save for Pikachu and Nyasu, are present in Best Wishes!. Almost all of Miyazaki Shinji's music from the first three series was discarded in favor of all new stuff. Takeshi is gone for the first time since the late 90s, and the Rocket-Dan is no longer a trio of comedy relief villains. This show, more than any other before it, feels new.
This first episode does a lot to help with that feeling of newness. I really liked how the series started with a "World of Pokemon" segment, and the scenes of Satoshi getting ready in his bedroom are very reminiscent of the first episode of the first series. It's also nice to see the kid be so wide eyed about seeing all these new pokemon and actually act like a real ten-year old for a change. I'm not too thrilled with the way the battle between Satoshi and Shooty panned out and this episode does show that Satoshi isn't interesting enough to carry an entire series by himself, but overall I think it's one of the better first episodes we've seen in this franchise.
Oh, and the Rocket trio got a promotion, I guess? The show never directly says this or anything, but it's pretty obvious from their lame palette swap uniforms and new responsibilities that they're not as low ranked as they used to be. Sure, there's no way Sakaki doesn't know that their report about them bringing down the Ginga-Dan and Pokemon Hunter J is a load of bull, but a lot of the decisions Sakaki makes in this series don't make any sense. And speaking of Sakaki, he now has a new military style uniform, a decision that kind of baffles me. If you're going to redesign him, why not give him his outfit from HeartGold and SoulSilver?
The Isshu Region, as I'm sure you're aware, is based on New York City in the U.S. I like to keep this in mind at all times so I can laugh whenever we see telltale signs that this show is made by people who neither live nor work in the country. In this episode, for example, Araragi-Hakase's car has its steering wheel on the right side of the car instead of the left, which I guess makes her a foreign car aficionado or something.
After thirteen-ish long years, the dub finally appears to have joined the 21st century. All the Japanese music is left intact, the script is accurate, and Team Rocket actually talks like normal human beings now. See, TPCI? That wasn't so hard, was it? Voice-wise, the starters sound way better than the Shin'ou starters did, which is a very good thing since I don't think I could take another four years of a Piplup or Chimchar-type voice. Overall, the dub is a lot better than it's been in a while, and I'm cautiously optimistic that it'll stay this way for the foreseeable future.
Best Wishes! is used as the opening theme. Since this episode originally aired as part of an hour-long special, the ending theme was omitted and didn't make its debut until the third episode.
Even though the dub is better, there's still plenty of these left!
Narrator: "The Pokémon World! A world teeming with the most amazing creatures imaginable! Populating the land, the sea, and the air!"
Just like in the movies, the narrator in the Japanese version tells us that "pokemon" is short for "pocket monsters." And, just like in the movies, the dub removes this little explanation.
Isn't Monsters in my Pocket old enough for this to no longer be an issue?
Also, the narrator in the dub refers to the world as "the Pokémon World," while the Japanese version simply refers to it as kono hoshi (この星), or "this planet."
At the (recently remodeled!) Team Rocket headquarters:
Giovanni: "Take a look."
Jessie: "What's this?"
Giovanni: "The Unova Region. A major new stepping stone that will move us toward the successful completion of our plan. I'll be sending the three of you to the Unova Region undercover. At first you'll be entering the Unova region by yourselves."
Jessie, James, and Meowth: "Sir!"
Sakaki tells Musashi-tachi that the Isshu region is another step in their plan to conquer the world. The dub removes the "to conquer the world" part.
The eyecatches in the Japanese version get removed.
No surprise there, really. All the Advanced Generation and Diamond & Pearl eyecatches got removed, so seeing the Best Wishes! eyecatches get the axe isn't anything new.
What is new, however, is that TPCI decided to bring back the old "Who's That Pokémon?" eyecatches from the original series!
What an odd time to decide to bring this back. I'll bet if you went back in time and asked people if they thought "Who's That Pokémon?" would ever make a comeback, they'd look at you like you're crazy.
These eyecatches use their own, dub-only music, by the way.
Araragi-Hakase has this habit of saying "ararara," or "oh my" all the time. Obviously, this "arara" comes from her name, Araragi-Hakase. Professor Juniper doesn't have a similar speech quirk.
After Trip picks his starter Pokémon:
Ash: "Pikachu!" (laughs)
Ash: "Done with your tests, huh?"
Trip: "Who's that Pokémon?"
Shooty doesn't say the Japanese equivalent of the eyecatch phrase (dare da?) in the Japanese version. He just says sono pokemon wa? (そのポケモンは？), or "That pokemon is...?"
Finally, at the end of the episode:
Professor Juniper: "Could the source of those clouds be Zekrom, the legendary Pokémon?"
Ash: "Huh? Zekrom?"
Professor Juniper: "Zekrom's quite a legend in these parts. From within its thundercloud, Zekrom watches over people and Pokémon. And its lightning bolts...are said to be judgments from up above. And they're also the pillars that hold up the skies."
Araragi-Hakase tells us that the thunderclouds Zekrom inhabits are known as kami no me (神の目), or "the eyes of God." She then tells us that its lightning bolts are judgments from God.
The dub removes all mention of God, of course. But, the whole "judgment from up above" line actually conveys the same meaning while being something you'd actually hear someone say. The dub could have done a lot worse, so kudos to them for coming up with a reasonable substitute.
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