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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!
Japanese Episode BW 043: "Nyasu the Nyagotiator! The 'Convince Zuruzukin' Operation!!"
American Episode 1443: "Meowth's Scrafty Tactics!"
Pokemon Live Caster: Dokkora
Japanese Air Date: August 18th, 2011
American Air Date: November 26th, 2011
Important Places: Kanawa Town (Anville Town)
While eating outside one day, Satoshi and his friends stumble across an unconscious Nyasu. After the young trainers all nurse him back to health, Nyasu comes to and tells them that he was fired from the Rocket-Dan! Satoshi's friends all worry about what'll happen to him if he's left on his own and decide to let him tag along on their journey. Some time later, our heroes are walking along when a Zuruzukin appears and kidnaps Kibago! Satoshi and the others follow them to its hut where a tense standoff takes place. Nyasu decides to step in and put his skills as a "nyagotiator" to use by talking to Zuruzukin and figuring out how they can get Iris' pokemon back. Both Nyasu and Satoshi's Zurug engage the kidnapper in conversation while Satoshi and his other pokemon sneak around the back and rescue Kibago. Once Zuruzukin figures out what's going on, it demands a battle. Satoshi's Pokabu quickly defeats the surprisingly weak kidnapper, bringing it to tears. Now that it's defeated, Zururukin reveals that it only kidnapped Kibago to convince a stronger pokemon to help it fight a Vuljina who had taken over its nest. During a brief battle with Vuljina, Zurug is revealed to have learned Hi Jump Kick! After a few more rounds of negotiations with yet another pokemon, Nyasu gets everyone to apologize to each other and settles everyone's arguments. Satoshi and his friends, now joined by Nyasu, continue their journey to Raimon City. Meanwhile, Musashi and Kojirou have arrived in Kanawa Town...
It's amazing how much difference a year can make. It's unfortunate that Nyasu acting in-character after being so horribly out-of-character for the majority of this series was something to l look forward to, but it is. Like, if this whole "Nyasu joins Satoshi and his friends" thing wouldn't have meant as much in the middle of Diamond & Pearl because the writers of Diamond & Pearl didn't make us sit through a year of boring, wooden, lobotomized, come on writers he's a talking maneki neko who's modeled after Muttley from Wacky Races for fuck's sake, why are you trying to turn that into a serious villain? Nyasu.
In addition, this episode gives us Nyasu the Nyagotiator! I really love the four episodes that make up this arc because of how great Nyasu-as-a-good-guy works. He plays off the trio really well and really makes me wonder how this series would have turned out if they had Nyasu as one of the good guys from day one. Screw this whole serious Rocket-Dan nonsense; if the writers really wanted to shake things up, they would have put Nyasu with Satoshi and his friends from the start.
There's some evidence that suggests that this whole "Nyagotiator Nyasu" story arc was influenced by Nyasu's voice actor, Inuyama Inuko. An interview in a Japanese magazine (sorry, I don't know which one, but you can see a snapshot of the interview here) shows that she doesn't really care for the new direction the writers went with her character at the start of Best Wishes:
Is it possible that this whole arc was thought up to give Ms. Inuyama a chance to play her character the way she had gotten accustomed to in her 13+ years with the show again? Maybe they realized that this whole "serious Nyasu" thing was a terrible idea and wanted to bring the character back to his roots, if only for a few episodes? I know voice actors don't usually have a say in what happens with their characters - the Ohtani Ikue "I haven't decided what gender Pikachu is" thing comes to mind - but this makes me think that her wishes are what started this whole arc in the first place.
In this episode, Nyasu knows that Satoshi has a Zurug and Tsutarja knows that he's a member of the Rocket-Dan. Now Nyasu has seen these two pokemon before: He tried to fight Tsutarja back when it was a wild pokemon ("Get and Attract Tsutarja!?") while the Rocket-Dan would have seen Satoshi's Zurug when they were gathering the Monmen ("A Monmen in Love Rides the Wind!") into their vacuum mecha thing. But were those two very brief encounters enough to have made an impression on these characters? Especially the Zurug thing; since the Rocket-Dan was so busy trying to make a getaway in that Monmen episode, they wouldn't have gotten a good look at Satoshi's pokemon. The only thing I can figure is that the trio encountered Satoshi's Tsutarja and Zurug in the skipped two-parter, and that Nyasu is recalling that encounter with them we he mentions them in this episode. Otherwise, it's hard for me to believe that he knows Satoshi's team as well as he does.
Other things about this episode: Why are vulture pokemon going around eating apples? I mean, they walk (well, fly) around with this apron made out of bones, yet these two Vuljina are fighting over fruit? Really!? And why does Kibago, aka the pokemon who just advanced Iris to the finals of the Don Battle tournament, allow itself to be kidnapped so easily? Aren't Iris and Kibago supposed to be OMG super awesome now that they've won a major tournament and should therefore be able to put up more of a fight?
Also, the whole "Raimon City's subway system is automated" thing? It turns out that this is something the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority is actually planning to do in real life. They've still got a ways to go before it gets anywhere close to what we see in this series, but I think it's a cool little tidbit nonetheless.
Since Nyasu is back to being in character, the dub has decided to go back to writing him the way they did back in the Sinnoh days. Which means hearing him say "dig it" and "lugs" a million times. This is also an episode that features a lot of Pokémon talking Pokémon speak to each other, so we're forced to hear the dub's voice "talent" make ridiculous noises at each other for large portions of this episode. It's not as bad as, say, Piplup's crying, but it's still a pain to sit through. On the plus side, Mandibuzz's voice doesn't sound nearly as wrong as it does in the Japanese version because the Pokémon's name doesn't sound like the word for lady parts. You won't find many fans as against this series' name changes as I am, but in cases like this, I completely understand why TPCI changed Vuljina's name.
Meowth's very first line in the episode includes a really annoying rewrite:
Meowth: "Where am I? (screams) What are you twerps doin' here?"
Meowth says "twerps" in this episode a total of five times. In the Japanese version, Nyasu says Jari Boy, the Japanese equivalent, a grand total of...oh wait, he doesn't say that at all because he's trying to convince Satoshi and his friends that he's on their side and calling them "twerps" would be all kinds of suspicious.
Unfortunately, this rewrite will continue throughout the arc.
Ash and his friends try to find out what's going on with Meowth:
Ash: "What happened?"
Meowth: "Nuttin'. Just drop it. Thanks for gettin' me back up to speed. I owe ya one. I promise~!"
"Getting someone back up to speed" means making sure that person has the latest information about whatever it is they're behind in. Meowth is supposed to be thanking Ash and his friends for healing him, so why is he saying this?
After Ash looks up Scrafty in his PokéDex:
Meowth: "Fear not! Your old pal Meowth will handle this! The thing is, when it comes to negotiatin' with the enemy, I rule!"
Iris: "Negotiating? You?"
Cilan: "I know what Meowth means. It's like on television, when a negotiator calms down a hostage situation."
This is the point in the Japanese version where Nyasu calls himself a "Nyagotiator," the Nyasu-ified version of the word "negotiator." Iris asks what a "Nyagotiator" is in the Japanese version, so Dent tells here that he means to say "negotiator."
The dub hasn't had Meowth use cat-speak since early Season One, so it's not surprising that it doesn't bother creating an English language equivalent of this.
The interrogation scene is obviously a parody of similar scenes in cop dramas, with Zuruzukin playing the role of the delinquent (it is the "Hoodlum Pokemon," after all) and Dent and Nyasu doing the good cop / bad cop routine. But what about that bowl Dent places on the table in front of the pokemon? What's that all about?
That bowl is a bowl of katsudon, or breaded pork served over rice. There's this trope in Japanese media where detectives buy the accused a bowl of katsudon in an effort to get them to confess. This usually works, for some reason, and the suspect starts bawling and telling the police everything they want to know.
Cops in Japan don't actually do this in real life, but this sort of scene has become popular in Japanese crime dramas nevertheless. It's not something you ever see in American cop dramas, which is what Dent and the others should be parodying since they're in the Pocket Monsters version of New York City and all. But I guess the writers just felt like doing something Japanese-y for a change?
It's investigating time!
Cilan: "Relax, Meowth. Allow me."
Meowth: "Sure Sherlock."
Nyasu calls Dent a Somurie Keiji (ソムリエ刑事), or "Detective Sommelier." The only reason I'm pointing this out is because I know how some of you like to keep track of all the different "___ Sommelier" labels Dent's given in this series.
As soon as Mandibuzz appears on the screen:
Cilan: "Who's That Pokémon?"
Dent doesn't say Dare da? in the Japanese version. Surprised? No? OK then.
Scrafty gets knocked out, so Ash tells Pikachu to join the fight. Just then:
Scraggy: "Scraggy! Scrag Scrag Scraggy!"
Meowth: "Scraggy's saying Mandibuzz attacked its good pal Scrafty, so it wants to help."
Zurug is a little more fond of its evolved form than Scraggy is, calling it anikibun (兄貴分) or "big brother" instead of "good pal."
Meowth talks to the second Mandibuzz:
Meowth: "Here's the deal. Mandibuzz wants to move back in with you and promises to be a better bud. See, when times are tough - and I'll bet you know this - it's best to hang tough with your buddies. After all, isn't that what friends are for? Come on...say yes."
This whole speech is a bit different in the Japanese version. Originally, Nyasu tells Vuljina that friends can make the good times twice as good and the bad times half as bad. He then concludes the speech by telling the Vuljina that this is what friendship is all about. Meowth kind of says this, but he leaves out the part about friends making the good times better.
Also, all Mandibuzz are female, making Meowth's promise that the first one will be a better "bud" to the second one a bit weird.
Finally, while reminiscing about their busy day:
Cilan: "Meowth, you were great today."
Ash: "Yeah! Without your help, who knows how things would have worked out."
Originally, Satoshi tells Nyasu that they wouldn't have been able to understand any of what was going on without his help.
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