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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!
"The Rocket-Dan vs. The Plasma-Dan" was, as the title suggests, going to be the debut of the Plasma-Dan in the TV series. The Rocket-Dan's boss Sakaki had mentioned a "mysterious organization" early on in the series, but other than that we hadn't seen so much as a single white hood before this two-parter. But after their debut here? The group was going to become the major villains of the series, and their rivalry with the Rocket-Dan were going to be the source of many a conflict in the Best Wishes! series. Right?
The thing about all that, though, is that the writers had already made major, major changes to the Plasma-Dan's storyline even before this whole earthquake business. This wasn't like the evil groups in Houen and Shin'ou, where the TV series more or less followed their plots from the games. No, in Best Wishes!, the writers pretty much trashed every storyline related to the Plasma-Dan in favor of their own original stories. By the time this two-parter was set to air, the TV series had already skipped G'Cis' speech in Karakusa Town, the introduction of N, the kidnapping of the little girl's pokemon by the Plasma grunts, the theft of the Dragon Bones in the Shippou City, the kidnapping of Bel's Mun'na in Hiun City, and the introductions of four of the Seven Sages (G'Cis, Asura, Sumura, and Rot). The Site of Dreams stuff from the games was kind of in the TV series, but it was the Rocket-Dan, not the Plasma-Dan, who were behind all the trouble there.
Oh yeah, and then there's also the fact that the Rocket-Dan fight the Plasma-Dan, something the games don't even hint at. That's a pretty huge fucking change right there.
Something else people have to remember is that the episodes that followed the two-parter were either already finished or were being worked on when those tragedies struck. We know from various sources (Pokebeach's interview with Hidaka Masamitsu, the date on the character model sheets for the Aloe episodes that were floating around the Internet, basic logic, etc.) that it takes about six months from the time work starts on an episode to the time it airs. Using basic math, we can deduce that at the time of the 3/11 disasters, every episode up to the two-part "A Mad Run! The Battle Subway!!" (episodes 47 and 48) were being worked on in some capacity. So earthquake or not, the Plasma-Dan still wouldn't have had a single appearance in the six months following the big two-parter, more Plasma plots would have been skipped, Sakaki still would have stopped appearing, and we'd still get a bunch of those self-contained "Rocket-Dan try to steal X pokemon of the day" type episodes. The disasters didn't change any of that.
There's also the year's theatrical movie, the animation for which was probably already finished by the time the disasters struck. Those two movies, Victini and the Black Hero, Zekrom and Victini and the White Hero, Reshiram, pretty much already took care of the whole "two brothers disagree, fight, and cause Reshiram and Zekrom to turn into the Light Stone / Dark Stone, respectively" plot from the games. And you know how Shooty is more or less a stand-in for Cheren in the TV series? Or how the TV series made up their own "Tower of the Sky" to take the place of the Tower of Heaven from the games, for some reason? Well, Dread, the antagonist of the Victini movie, seems to be the animation producers' stand-in for N. There are major differences, of course, but the two more or less serve the same purpose.
The truth is, the TV series was never interested in adapting the story from the games to the TV series. So when people claim that the 3/11 disasters are keeping the Plasma-Dan from appearing again, I have to wonder where they're getting this from. Yes, the Plasma-Dan should have appeared at X point in the TV series because they appeared at X point in the games, but the series has broken that "rule" so many times by now that using the games to predict anything the TV series does is a bit silly. Like it or not, the cartoon is doing its own thing.
And who knows? Maybe the Plasma-Dan was only ever meant to be a glorified "character of the day" and was never going to appear outside of that two-parter anyway? And maybe they were disbanded at the end of this two-parter, never to be seen again? I'm not going to claim that this is definitely what happened, but I don't really see any evidence to the contrary.
So is the Plasma-Dan the new Porygon? No, I don't think so. If the Plasma-Dan don't appear again, it'll be because the TV people don't want to use them, not because there's some ban on the organization appearing.
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