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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!
Japanese Episode BW 009: "The Rampaging Pendra! Save Kibago!!"
American Episode 1409: "The Bloom is on Axew!"
Pokemon Live Caster: Pokemon Gyms
Japanese Air Date: November 11th, 2010
American Air Date: April 2nd, 2011
Important Characters: Obaba-sama (Elder)
Important Places: Resort Desert (Desert Resort), Village of Dragons (Village of Dragons)
Iris and Dent decide to have a sparring match to help Iris' Kibago get used to battling. It soon becomes apparent that Iris' pokemon basically has no experience when its attempt at a Dragon Rage attack ends with a giant explosion. Meanwhile, Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu are told to go the Resort Desert to obtain something called the "Meteonite," a meteor that will help the organization rule the world. Later, Satoshi asks Iris how she got her Kibago in the first place. She explains that Obaba-sama, the most respected person in her hometown of the Village of Dragons, gave her the pokemon as part of a trial. If she can raise her Kibago into an Ononokusu, she's told, she will be that much closer to becoming a Dragon Master. As Iris continues talking, her Kibago wanders away and eventually falls onto the head of a sleeping Pendra! This upsets the pokemon and causes it go to on a rampage that threatens to injure everyone around it! Iris, desperate to save her pokemon, does something she had wanted to avoid doing; she sends out her second pokemon into battle. Satoshi and Dent are surprised to learn that Iris has a Doryuuzu but soon discover that it won't listen to a word its trainer says! The Doryuuzu eventually decides to fight of its own volition and sends the Pendra packing, showing the others just how powerful it is. Now that Kibago is safe, our heroes resume on their journey toward Shippou City.
Whenever I set out to do one of these comparisons, one of the first things I do after rewatching the episode in question is to go to a few Pokemon message boards and look up whatever thread they have dedicated to the one I just watched. These great little time capsules show me what was going through people's heads when the episode originally aired and, more interestingly, what they hoped the events of the episode meant for the future.
Looking through the threads for this episode, I found a number of common themes. One, thank God Iris is finally doing something for the first time since the series started two months ago, and two, I can't wait to see what the future has in store for Iris. Her Kibago is obviously going to make it all the way to an Ononokusu someday!
This episode did show a lot of promise, didn't it? And even though Kibago ends the series as much as a baby as it was here at the beginning I still can't be mad at this episode for getting my hopes up because it still manages to do a number of things right regardless of what happens later. We really needed an episode focused on Iris, who, again, hadn't done jack squat to this point, and the unexpected backstory we got (the previews for this one made it seem like it was going to be another filler) was great. Finding out that she's a huge hypocrite with that "kodomo ne" stuff, learning about the Village of Dragons, learning that she's probably not a Gym Leader (remember, at this point it could have gone either way), finding out that she has a second pokemon and that the second pokemon doesn't respect her? There are some pretty obvious rehashes going on here - Doryuuzu is a bit too Satoshi's Lizardon / Hikari's Mammoo and Kibago's Dragon Rage troubles are pretty much exactly the same as Fukamaru's - but right now they're being handled in a way that makes them seem not as bad.
But my God Satoshi was annoying at the beginning of the episode. Like, he didn't seem to understand why someone would go easy on a beginning trainer even though he's done the exact same thing before? Yes, I get that battles excite him, but he's also not the kind of person who heckles trainers who are obviously only just getting started. And then, later on in the episode, he suddenly decides to stop whining and start acting like the experienced trainer that we all know he is? I give the Rocket trio a lot of crap for being horribly out-of-character throughout a good chunk of Best Wishes!, but Satoshi isn't immune to some of that bad writing either.
This is the one of the only episodes in the Rocket-Dan's "Meteonite arc" thing that actually pushes the story forward, which is nice, but I do wonder what purpose Sakaki's secretary serves. In this episode, for example, the Rocket-Dan boss seems perfectly capable of briefing these agents himself and doesn't act like this sort of thing is beneath him, so why is she needed to do the exact same thing in other episodes? If she wasn't in the show at all would we even notice? Does her inclusion into the cast add anything?
Finally, remember how I talked about the music in the previous episode, and how nice it was that they weren't relying so much on movie music and how it was all made-for-Best Wishes! stuff? Well, I guess I forgot that maybe half the music in this episode was from the Arceus movie when I made that comment and that the over reliance on stock music started way earlier than I had remembered. Whoops.
I generally don't have a problem with the main characters' voice actors in the English dub but this episode showed me just how much of a gap there is between Iris' Japanese voice actor and her English one. Eileen Stevens isn't a one-note voice actor by any stretch of the imagination but at the same time she doesn't give her performance the nuance that Yuuki Aoi does. I feel like her English voice actor can pull off the big emotions - happy, annoyed, angry - but that when it comes to delivering the more nuanced parts that she overshoots it and ends up landing into the "cartoon voice actor" territory. She's either 100% happy or 100% annoyed or 100% angry...there doesn't seem to be much of any wiggle room. I hope what I'm saying makes some amount of sense?
Pendra does not keep its Japanese voice, which I guess is to be expected because a) its English name is totally different to its Japanese name, and b) because the Japanese version kind of sounds like he's saying "pedo" (well, the way we Americans say the word anyway) (also this is probably the point where I'd post a link to a Wikipedia article or something but I imagine a lot of you wouldn't go anywhere near a link that says "pedo") and so it's probably just as well.
At the beginning of the episode:
Cilan: "Pansage! Let's serve up just what they asked for."
Ash: "'Asked for?' What does that mean?"
Originally, Dent says that they will battle the way Iris ordered (オーダー). The English dub uses a different cooking-related term (in this case, "serve") instead.
So does anyone know what the hell the English episode title, "The Bloom is on Axew," is supposed to mean? Does it make sense to anyone at all?
After Pansage's 20% Bullet Seed hits Axew:
Cilan: "Uh...sorry if we overdid it."
Dent expresses surprise that Iris' Kibago can't even handle that low level of an attack, implying that his pokemon did everything it was supposed to do and that the failure is all on Kibago. The dub makes Cilan a bit more humble by having him place the blame on himself instead.
Iris talks about wanting to battle at her own pace:
Ash: "Little bit at a time, huh? Battling's a lot more fun if you really hit it."
Iris: "And that, Ash Ketchum, is why you're such a little kid! Cilan and Pansage are gentlemen. They don't mind adjusting their power for us, got it?"
Ash must have told Iris his family name off-screen because this is the first time someone other than the narrator's said "Ketchum" since the season started.
As you already know, Satoshi doesn't have a family name in the Japanese version so this isn't an issue.
Pansage charges up its Solar Beam:
Ash: "Iris, doesn't Axew know any other moves?"
Iris: "Yeah...but they wouldn't do any good."
Ash: "What!? What are you talking about? Why don't you use them?"
Iris: "I don't need your advice, thank you. My advice to you is to let me have my battle and be quiet."
Originally Iris doesn't say anything about Kibago's other move(s) being no good; she just trails off after saying "It does, but..." Satoshi urges her to go ahead and use these other moves if she has them, so Iris dismissively says that she knows already. She then tells herself how annoying Satoshi is for not just sitting down and keeping his mouth shut like she had been asking him to.
The English version isn't that different, but the small things - dub Iris being mature enough to admit that Axew's Dragon Rage won't work, the way she dismisses Ash's advice - really give the whole exchange a different feel to it than the Japanese version.
Pansage hits Axew with a Solar Beam:
Ash: "You know, learning what kind of moves to use is an important part of training. So why don't you try using a different move for a change?"
Ash: "There's a better name for Axew's Dragon Rage."
Cilan: "And the name is Dragon Sneeze."
Ash: "That's it."
So in the Japanese version the attack "Dragon Rage" is called Ryuu no Ikari (竜の怒り). Satoshi and Dent, after witnessing Kibago's attempt at the attack in this episode, decide to nickname it Ryuu no Kushami (竜のくしゃみ), or "Dragon Sneeze." Now I wouldn't go so far as to call this a pun because the words are too different, but there is a bit of similarity between the words ikari and kushami. The English words "Rage" and "Sneeze," on the other hand, don't sound anything alike and so TPCI keeping this in, while nice, might be a little confusing for dub-only fans.
Iris delves into her past:
Elder: "Raising Axew into a magnificent Haxorus will lead to your own growth. The truth is this little Axew emerged from its egg only a few short days ago."
Kibago hatched exactly one day ago in the Japanese version (その子はつい先日卵からかえったばかり). The English dub makes Axew a few days older for some reason.
For those of you curious, by the way, the Village of Dragons is known as the Ryuu no Sato (竜の里) in Japanese.
After she finishes her story:
Ash: "So Iris, is that elder lady your grandma?"
Iris: "No Ash, she's the leader of our village. Right Axew?"
The "Elder" is called Obaba-sama (オババサマ), or "Old Woman," in the Japanese version. You may remember the word being used for the old women in the Kanto episodes "Holiday at Aopulco" and "Menokurage and Dokukurage"?
The word obaba can also mean "grandma." Maybe you can see where I'm going with this.
Originally, Satoshi asks if this woman Iris keeps referring to as "obaba" - which can mean either "old woman" or "grandma" - is actually her grandmother. Iris says no and explains that she's just the most respected woman in the village.
The English dub refers to Obaba-sama as "Elder" but then keeps the rest of this exchange as-is, making Ash's sudden "Is that elder lady your grandma?" question seem really random. Why would Ash have any reason to think that? And why would he even assume that this "elder" Iris is talking about is a woman in the first place, since I think it's safe to say that most people would assume that a "village elder" is a man (hooray for sexism!). Does anyone ever refer to their grandmother as "elder"?
TPCI could have gone with something like "granny" and avoided this whole thing, but I guess "elder" suited them better in the long term so they went with that regardless of how this particular exchange panned out.
Iris calls out her Excadrill:
Pokédex: "Excadrill, the Subterrene Pokémon and the evolved form of Drilbur. Excadrill can dig maze-like underground tunnels for over 100 meters and is powerful enough to cut through thick iron plates using its steel claws."
This isn't a "dialogue edit," per se, but it's kind of weird how TPCI sticks with the metric system here when they usually convert everything to the imperial system.
The Pokédex mispronounces the word "subterrene."
After Scolipede blasts off:
Iris: "Scolipede! We didn't mean to startle you!"
Iris' apology to Pendra is more obvious in the Japanese version; she flat out says "we're sorry for startling you" (ペンドラ！ びっくりさせてごめん！).
And when you think about it...the second half of this episode is kind of messed up, isn't it? This Pendra's just minding its own business when BAM - this little dragon thing violently wakes it up. And then its friends gang up on it to beat the shit out of it until it's finally sent flying, far away from where it was trying to catch a few Zs. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Satoshi and his friends are kind of assholes.
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