Japanese Episode
BW 048

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!

BW 048
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode BW 048:  "A Mad Run!  The Battle Subway!! (Part Two)"
American Episode 1448:  "Battle for the Underground!"

Pokemon Live Caster:  N/A
Japanese Air Date:  September 15th, 2011
American Air Date:  January 7th, 2012
Important Characters:  Kamitsure (Elesa)

The Rocket-Dan's fake Ghost Trains continue to cause confusion in the Raimon City subway system!  Subway Masters Nobori and Kudari realize that the real Ghost Train must have entered the city via Kanawa Town, so they deduce that it'll have to leave that way as well.  The duo hops on a handcar powered by Kudari's Shibirudon, pick up Satoshi and his friends along the way, and head out of Raimon City.  Meanwhile, Pikachu and Kibago manage to free some of the other kidnapped pokemon and combine their powers to blast a hole in their train car.  They then concentrate their attacks on the coupler and manage to destroy it, separating their car from the car being driven by Musashi and the others.  As the trio doubles back to recapture their prey, Seger-Hakase attempts to grab the car from above using a crane attached to his helicopter.  At that moment, Satoshi and the others catch up and order their pokemon to attack Seger-Hakase's helicopter.  The pokemon are able to destroy its crane, forcing Seger-Hakase to back down.  Additionally, Satoshi's Pokabu learns how to use Flamethrower!  Once it becomes clear that they've lost, the Rocket trio decides to cut their losses and retreat.  Our heroes ride the rest of the way to Kanawa Town and, after some time, are told that all the pokemon have been returned to the Raimon City Pokemon Center.  Now that the Rocket-Dan's plans have been foiled, Satoshi looks forward to his battle with Kamitsure, the Raimon City Gym Leader.

Did you know that I can't stand the Rocket trio in Best Wishes!?  Because, maybe, you've never been to this website before, or because you've never read anything I've written about the subject, ever?  Well, this episode offers great examples of why I don't like them.

The Rocket trio were characters who used to be the most interesting and likable characters in the entire series before they were abruptly turned into a trio of soulless robots.  I think I've talked enough about that on this site.  Some people seem to agree with me on all this but will then go on to say that this is all OK because, hey, at least they're actually credible villains now.  Sure they may have lost everything that made them great, they'll argue, but they're actually competent now so it's fine.  You win some, you lose some...right?

Well, first of all I reject the idea that the trio had to give up everything that made them great to become good at their jobs.  It's not an either / or situation here; getting a boost in competence shouldn't mean they have to become extremely boring and unlikable characters in the process. 

But I also reject the idea that they've even gotten any sort of competence boost to begin with.  Take this episode for example.  Here is what the new, competent, look how great they are at their jobs, aren't they so much better now? Rocket trio do:
  • The trio places Pikachu and Kibago in these wire cage things that do not restrict their movements in any way whatsoever.  Pikachu's tail - y'know, the longest appendage it has -  isn't even in the confines of its steel ball thing.  Both pokemon are free to interact with anything and everything around them with basically no restrictions.
  • They also put the stolen Monster Balls in a bunch of uncovered boxes and then place them in a train car.  These boxes are all overflowing (what, they couldn't have brought an extra box or two to alleviate this?) but Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu didn't think to put a lid or tarp or anything on them that could prevent the Monster Balls from spilling out if the train should, for example, hit a bump in the road.  Which, I mean, have you ever ridden on a train before?  Those mother effers are bumpy as hell.
  • They then think to put both Pikachu and Kibago, who - if you'll remember, can move around about as freely as they could if they weren't even in those cage things in the first place - into the same train car as these boxes of their friends' pokemon.  There's no way that could possibly lead to any trouble, right?
  • So then Pikachu and his friends break free because they actually make an effort to escape instead of just sit there passively and accept their fate, which I guess is what the Rocket trio were expecting them to do for some reason.
  • When Nyasu discovers that Pikachu's freed itself and like half the pokemon in our heroes' party, he just straight up ignores them instead of trying to do anything to either recapture them or prevent them from continuing their escape.  Deathmas and Koromori aren't called out to help out, either, despite the fact that they could have easily flown on over into the train car and helped the trio buy some time.  (Also, the two really could have used the screentime!)
  • Seger-Hakase flies in on his helicopter, armed only with a giant crane game claw thing, and attempts to pick up the train car on which Pikachu and the others are firing off attacks from.  We don't get to find out what he had planned to actually do with them once he caught them - what's to prevent them from just beating the shit out of him once they're onboard? - because he's so terrible at piloting a helicopter and / or using that crane thing that he never gets around to actually picking it up.
Additionally, the pokemon the Rocket trio had captured managed to free themselves by the time Satoshi and his friends caught up to them; in other words, the trio barely made it out of the city limits without everything blowing up in their faces. 

But here's the thing; if the Rocket trio had done even half of this shit back in the pre-BW days, they would have been called out as being the worst villains ever.  Using a Nyasu-shaped hot air balloon that gets popped by one of Satoshi's bird pokemon makes them idiots, but failing to secure the Monster Balls they've worked so hard to steal doesn't?  Making a mecha that isn't insulated against Pikachu's electricity is a horrendous oversight, but ignoring the fact that the very pokemon you're trying to steal have started escaping because "we're going too fast for you to jump over to our car" (I mean come on Nyasu, WTF kind of logic is that?) isn't?

Yet the BW trio gets a free pass because they don't make goofy faces anymore, and because the music editors play serious music whenever they're on screen now instead of the more lighthearted fare they would play in the other series, and because they no longer ride around in a ridiculous hot air balloon, and because they have jet packs strapped onto their backs whenever they "blast off" now, and because they don't have any gag pokemon, and because everyone else in this show talks about how great their plans are and how much of a menace they've become.  But none of this translates to real competence - it just creates an illusion that this trio is suddenly good at their jobs.  These changes are purely cosmetic and are blinding a lot of fans to the fact that the Rocket-Dan is just as sucky at their jobs now as they've always been.

The Rocket trio are just flat-out terrible in this episode.  They make rookie mistake after rookie mistake, they fail to provide themselves with even the most basic safeguards, and they're too slow to react when things start blowing up in their faces.  They weren't smart and careful, and they didn't have some brilliant plan and were only foiled because they had an unfortunate string of bad luck.  No - they were foiled because the writers couldn't bother to write an episode in which the Rocket-Dan was smart but Satoshi and his friends were just a little bit smarter.  I mean, I get it - writing a storyline where the villains do everything right and still lose isn't an easy thing to do.  But the alternative shouldn't be to dumb down the Rocket trio to the insane level we see on display in this episode. 

Also!  I hope you guys enjoyed that bit at the end where Satoshi talks about how fun it was for him to travel with Nyasu, and those shots of Nyasu kind-of sort-of feeling bad about what he's done, because this is the last time any of this will be brought up for the rest of the series!  It would have been great if this whole Nyagotiator story arc set up for some series long thing where Nyasu has serious reflections about his role on the Rocket trio and whether or not his life would be better if he was with Jari Boy instead, but nope!  Everyone will have forgotten about all of this by the time they get to Milos Island a handful of episodes from now.  Oh well!

I know I'm being really negative here, but this episode wasn't all bad.  The animation was pretty freaking gorgeous, and there were a ton of tiny little details in the art that showed that at least the animators have their shit together.  Like the jet packs we see off in the corner in that train car when Nyasu is calling his teammates to tell them that Pikachu and the others have escaped, or the map of the Isshu region inside Seger-Hakase's helicopter.  I also really dug the music choices throughout the episode; I think the way they used the Zorro'ark music, in both this episode and the last one, was absolutely perfect.  While I'm not thrilled with the writing in this episode, the presentation here was top-notch.

This is the final episode of TPCI's Black & White season, which doesn't really make any sense to me.  Why not end the season at 52 episodes instead of a weird number like 48?  Fifty-two episodes into the series would have made Alder's debut episode the season finale, something that makes a hell of a lot more sense than ending it on a random Rocket two-parter.  Other than that...all the music in the first half of the episode is kept, so that made the dub a lot more pleasant to watch.  There's still too much filler music (more on that later) and the second half wasn't nearly as good, but at least dub viewers got to hear the same music in the episode's most important scenes.

Dialogue Edit
Ash and his friends try to figure out how to track down the real Ghost Train:

Cilan:  "Can't you tell which one is real in the control room?"
Ingo:  "Negative."
Ash:  "...Then we'll have to catch them one by one!"

Satoshi says they'll have to verify them one by one, not catch them.  I'm not quite sure how Ash hopes to achieve the latter.

Dr. Zager makes his grand entrance:

Dr. Zager:  "Dr. Zager here."
Meowth:  "Meowth here."

So, Seger-Hakase never refers to himself as Seger-Hakase in the Japanese version; he simply refers to himself as "Seger" (こちらぜーゲル).  You don't really use Hakase when talking about yourself (maybe people feel like you're being too boastful if you do that?) while in English it's perfectly acceptable to call yourself "Dr. So-and-So," so that's probably where this tiny difference comes from. 

Side Note
Our heroes get an echo effect applied to their voices in the Japanese version when they're in the subway tunnel because that's what happens when you're in a giant hollow metal tube.  It doesn't sound like the dub carries this over, but it's admittedly hard to tell since the English version has its filler music blaring the whole time.  For all I know the effect could still be there but we just can't hear it.

Likewise, the filler music TPCI's creates also mucks up a scene in the second half of the episode.  When Satoshi and his friends finally catch up to the Rocket-Dan, the only sounds we hear are that of Seger-Hakase's helicopter blades and the whirl of the handcar's engine as it's being powered by Kudari's Shibirudon.  There's no music playing in the Japanese version at all.  The dub, however, decides to fill this silence with music, drowning out the sound of the electrified engine in the process (you can still hear the helicopter blades, but only just barely).

It's a real shame because the season started out so promising.

Dialogue Edit
After Pikachu and the others separate the two train cars:

Meowth:  "You're going nowhere!  If you won't come to us we'll come to you!"

Nyasu actually tells Pikachu and its friends that they're not going to get far because all the Rockets have to do is slow their car down and wait for the pokemon's car to crash into them.  Y'know, since the pokemon's car is no longer being pulled along and is now just slowing down toward its inevitable stop?

The line in the English version kind of says the same thing - either way, the Rocket trio is going to initiate the collision - but the whole "you're going to ram into us because of the laws of physics" thing isn't nearly as pronounced.

Finally, the narrator takes us out:

Narrator:  "Though Team Rocket's plot was intricate, it was no match for our heroes' tenacity.  And as a result, all the stolen Pokémon are safe and sound!  Now, time for Ash's much anticipated Nimbasa City gym battle.  Stay tuned!"

One, the Japanese narrator doesn't pat the Rocket-Dan on the back for their horrible plan the way the English narrator does.  Two, the narrator brings back Raimon City's nickname from the previous episode ("Pokemon Battle Holy Land"
) at the end of his little spiel in the Japanese version here.  The English equivalent, "Battle Central," isn't brought back up in the dub.

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