Japanese Episode
BW 004

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Japanese Episode BW 004
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode BW 004:  "The Battle Club!  A Mysterious Pokemon Appears!!"
American Episode 1404:  "The Battle Club and Tepig's Choice!"
Pokemon Live Caster:  Battle Clubs

Japanese Air Date:  October 7th, 2010
American Air Date:  February 26th, 2011
Important Characters:  Don George (Don George)
Important Places:  Karakusa Town (Accumula Town)

Satoshi's and Iris’ journey toward Sanyou City takes them through Karakusa Town.  Iris introduces Satoshi to the concept of the Battle Club, a facility where trainers can find other trainers with whom to battle.  Satoshi is eager to try it out right away, so he signs up for a battle with a Futachimaru trainer.  While the match between Satoshi and Futachimaru is underway, an alarm goes off that forces the trainers to suspend their battle.  The manager of the Battle Club, a man named Don George, reviews the security footage of a storage container and notices a blackish pokemon darting out.  Satoshi thinks the pokemon in the grainy video looks like a Blackee, so Don George and the others split up to find the rare pokemon.  As Nyasu distracts the Battle Club workers with a Blackee disguise, Satoshi discovers that the mysterious pokemon is actually an emaciated Pokabu.  A rope tied around its snout prevents it from being able to eat, so Satoshi removes it and feeds the pokemon until it's full.  When Satoshi reports his findings to Don George, he's told that the Pokabu he found was abandoned by its trainer.  The Rocket-Dan appear and try to kidnap Pikachu, but Pokabu steps forward and uses its Ember attack to defeat the trio.  After the battle, Pokabu indicates that it wants to join Satoshi on his journey, so the young trainer throws a Monster Ball at the fire-type and captures it.  With a new teammate by his side, Satoshi continues his journey to his first pokemon gym battle.

In the games, Karakusa Town is the place where G'Cis gives his big speech about liberating pokemon.  It's the player character's first encounter with the Plasma-Dan and gives him or her a general overview of what the organization is all about.  In the TV series, it’s the place where the cartoon-only Battle Club is introduced.  It’s a trade-off I'm not all that thrilled with.

Battle Clubs seem like a really pointless addition at this point in the series.  I mean, in this episode, it’s just a place where trainers can find other trainers to battle, something the people in every other region seem to be able to do all by themselves.  Why do people need a specialized facility for this?  What makes the battlefield in a Battle Club any different than, say, the battlefield you can find in the back yard of any Pokemon Center?  Battle Clubs will get eventually get expanded on later in the series, but the facilities, as presented in this episode, don't really seem to serve any real purpose.

And, like I said, this is the part of the TV series where G'Cis should have made his debut.  The previous series waited 36 episodes before introducing the Ginga-Dan, and this series waits 23 episodes before introducing the Plasma-Dan.  What in the world is the hold up?  Why are the writers of the TV series getting into this habit of skipping over the evil teams' early schemes?  Is there anyone out there who would have been upset at seeing an animated version of G'Cis' speech?  Waiting like this just seems so unnecessary to me.

This episode is also insane and raises a number of questions.  Why do Don George and the others completely ignore the humans (Musashi and Kojirou) and the Kanto region pokemon they see walking upright (Nyasu) in the security video to chase after what they think is a rare pokemon?  Wouldn't it have made more sense for them to assume that Musashi and Kojirou are the thieves and go after them, especially since Satoshi just told them that they're bad people?  Isn't a Nyasu just as rare as the blurry thing they think is a Blackee?  Why was the Rocket trio being forced to sneak around random battle facilities to stock up on "supplies," anyway?  Did Sakaki only give them enough for the two missions they've tried or something?  Why didn't Satoshi think to have his Mamepato help out with the search?  How is Pokabu supposed to be the food thief in the first place when the rope tied around its snout apparently prevented it from eating at all?  How does a rope tied around a pig's nose prevent it from using the mouth that's not attached to it?  Is "abused fire-type starter" going to end up being the new "girl gets her bike destroyed by Pikachu" gag?

This is also the Best Wishes! episode where the Rocket trio acts the most in-character they'll act out of all the episodes that have aired so far.  Nyasu almost seems like Nyasu!  It won't last, unfortunately, and they'll be back to their boring selves in the next episode.  This show can be such a tease sometimes.

The Team Galactic finale holds the record for the longest we've gone with an (mostly) unaltered soundtrack, so going four episodes in a row with only Miyazaki Shinji's score is a real milestone for this dub.  I really should find something else to talk about in these paragraphs, but seeing one of the biggest problems of the dub go away is just too big a deal to simply ignore.  I can at least find it in me to comment on Don George's English voice since it sounds an awful lot like Sergeant Hatred from The Venture Bros..  So, y'know, watch out Ash.

Side Note
Throughout this episode, TPCI neglects to add the filter they usually add to the PokéDex's voice, making it sound like a person talking instead of a handheld machine.

I'm wondering what's up with the sound editors over at TPCI.  Between this and the extra sound effects present in the previous episode, I'm wondering if someone's been falling asleep at the wheel lately.  Hopefully this will all be sorted out for the DVD.

Dialogue Edit

After the previous episode's fantastic script, this episode goes back to the standard we've come to expect.  The first change takes place after the battle between the Servine and Dewott trainer:

Don George:  "OK, enough!  Take your Servine to be healed."
Servine Trainer:  "Servine!  You OK!?"

Don George merely tells the Janovy trainer to carry his pokemon out of there in the Japanese version.  He doesn't say anything about healing it.

During the introductions:

Iris:  "My name's Iris.  I'd like to introduce you to Ash.  Hi -"
Ash:  "Iris was just telling me that anyone can have a battle here if they want to."

So Ash kind of cuts off Iris in the dub, something he doesn't do in the Japanese version since they don't have her say anything doing her last mouth flap. TPCI doesn't want to have her move her mouth without any sound coming out, so they shoehorned an awkward "hi" in there.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket hatches a plan:

Meowth:  "Eh?  What's paint got to do with supplies?"
Jessie:  "This paint is going to allow Umbreon to lure them far, far away."
Meowth:  "Sounds like a brilliant plan.  Gettin' rid of those guys with a can of paint.  Now why didn't I think of that before?"

Nyasu's second line got a rewrite here.  In the Japanese version, Nyasu agrees that luring the others away with a Blackee is a great idea, but he still doesn't understand what a can of paint has to do with any of that.  That great face he makes after delivering his final line is him realizing just what Musashi and Kojirou have in mind.

In the dub, it seems like he realizes what's going on much earlier.

After Jessie and James paint their cat with what appears to be house paint:

Meowth:  "That's right boys, it's me."
Don George:  "There it is!  Umbreon!"

Originally, Nyasu simply says "Blackee" since saying anything else would immediately blow his cover.  In the English version, Meowth appears to be flirting with them.

After discovering Tepig:

Ash:  "A Tepig.  That's one of the three starter Pokémon a new trainer can choose.  The Unova region's got amazing Pokémon."

TPCI was able to get out all the information from the Japanese line in a much shorter amount of time, so they added a second sentence about how great the Unova region pokemon are with the leftover mouth flaps.

Finally, as Meowth reveals his identity to Don George:

Meowth:  "See my charm?  That proves I'm just a Meowth, passing by."

Nyasu doesn't refer specifically to his charm in the Japanese version.  He simply says "As you can see, I'm just a Nyasu."

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