Japanese Episode
117






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Jouto Region

Japanese Episode 119
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 117:  "Wakaba Town!  The Town Where the Winds of New Beginning Blow!"
English Episode 312:  "Don't Touch That 'dile!"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Onidrill (Japanese), Chikorita (English)
Orchid-Hakase Pokemon Lecture:  Zubat
Japanese Air Date:  October 14th, 1999
American Air Date:  October 14th, 2000
Important Characters:  Utsugi-Hakase (Professor Elm)
Important Places:  Wakaba Town (New Bark Town), Kikyou City (Violet City)

While on the path to the Jouto Region's Wakaba Town, Satoshi and his friends get lost!  As the trio argues about whose fault it is, a mysterious pokemon appears before them before running off into the woods.  Later, our heroes finally arrive in Wakaba Town.  Satoshi goes to the Pokemon Center to register for the Jouto League, but when he arrives, the Center's Joi isn't there!  A worried Takeshi forces everyone to go search for her, eventually leading them to Utsugi-Hakase's laboratory.  There, they discover that one of the professor's pokemon - a Waninoko - has been stolen!  After hearing an explanation of the region's three starter pokemon - Hinoarashi, Waninoko, and Chicorita - a cast of the footprints left at the scene of the crime is presented to the town's Junsa.  The police officer has her Guardie sniff out the scent, leading everyone to the Rocket-Dan!  Musashi and Kojirou use all their pokemon in an attempt to keep their new catch, but they are quickly overwhelmed by Satoshi's trio of Kanto starters.  Later, at the Pokemon Center, Satoshi and his friends call Orchid-Hakase to let him know that they made it there safely.  After a few pleasantries are passed, the Center's Joi assists Satoshi in signing up for the Jouto League.  She tells the young trainer that he'll need to collect eight badges to complete in the league and that the closest Gym is the one in Kikyou City!  Now that Satoshi has the knowledge he needs to proceed, the young trainer starts his journey through the Jouto region.


Thoughts
Well here's well it all begins.

The Jouto saga, one of the most infamous periods of the animated series' life, gets to a start in this episode, and its beginnings are actually pretty decent.  While this part of the TV series is seen as being the low point for a lot of fans, even they have to admit that it at least started off decently enough.  It's not an amazing episode, by any means, but it's not that bad, either.

This episode also has a very interesting omission; the Gold & Silver rival.  Musashi and the others kind of fill that role, stealing a pokemon from Utsugi-Hakase and all, but the actual rival isn't ever seen in the animated series until the Legend of Thunder special over two years later.  I think it's worth mentioning, however, that this episode aired more than a month before the games were released in Japan.  Maybe the TV producers just didn't want to spoil one of the game's plot points like that this early in the series and then just never got around to introducing it later?

One thing that amuses me greatly, though, is how Utsugi-Hakase is voiced by Inoue Kazuhiko, who would later go on to play Kakashi in Naruto.  I seriously lol'ed when I learned that.

The dubbed version has a lot of rewrites, but to be fair, a lot of them were probably done to match the lip flaps.  The dub also continues erasing non-text left and right because...hey, why not?  Gotta spend all that extra money that the franchise has been making for them somehow, right?  I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that while I love Waninoko's Japanese voice, it's dub voice manages to be pretty decent in its own way.  So kudos for that, I guess.

OK! replaces The Rivals! as the opening theme while Nyasu no Party replaces Lapras ni Notte as the ending theme.  The dub gets a new opening theme ("Pokémon Johto") which, to this day, remains my favorite dub Pokémon opening theme ever. 

Dialogue Edit
There are a lot of these in this episode. 

The first one comes up right before Satoshi and his friends enter Wakaba Town:

Misty:  "Ash, maybe we'll see another one of those Pokémon we saw in the woods."
Ash:  "Hey, yeah..."

Originally, Kasumi wonders what that pokemon they saw earlier was.

Ash:  "Do you have any cash in case they charge a fee?"
Brock:  "There's no fee you just sign up at the Pok
émon Center!"

In the Japanese version, Satoshi just asks where he can sign up; he doesn't ask about a fee at all.

Also, throughout this episode, the dub refers to the trainer who will pick up the Totodile as "she" and "that poor girl."  This isn't really a mistranslation, per se; it's just that the Japanese language is inherently vague when it comes to identifying a person's gender.  Pronouns like "he" or "she" are rarely used; instead, speakers simply repeat the name of the person they're talking about over and over.  It sounds really awkward to do the same thing in English, but in Japanese, it's quite normal.

So, throughout this episode, the prospective Waninoko trainer is simply referred to as shinjin trainer ("the new trainer") without anything there to denote a gender.

Paint Edit
The "text" on the spines of Utsugi-Hakase's books gets erased.

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
This next one happens while everyone's talking about how much having a pokemon stolen sucks for the new trainer:

Ash:  "Yeah, when I was a new Trainer, I got so excited about getting my first Pokémon I couldn't even sleep the night before."
Misty:  "So you slept 'til four the next day."

Kasumi doesn't specify a time in the Japanese version; she just says that Satoshi overslept.

Paint Edit
The nonsense not-real writing over the coin slot on the pay phone Kojirou uses gets erased.

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
What's Professor Oak's first line of the saga?

Professor Oak:  "Someone always calls during my soap operas!"

Really, 4Kids?  That's the line you wanted to use in Oak's first episode of the saga?  You're happy making one of the show's smartest men sound like some grumpy housewife?

In the Japanese version, Orchid-Hakase simply says "Hello, this is the Orchid laboratory."

Orchid-Hakase also refers to Utsugi-Hakase as Utsugi-kun.  Which basically shows that, while he is friendly with Jouto's professor, he doesn't really see him as being an equal.

Later,

Professor Elm:  "He's certainly done an outstanding job of training his Pokémon.  Of course I'd expect great skill from someone trained by a superb teacher like yourself."

Utsugi-Hakase more or less says the same thing in the Japanese version, but adds that the pokemon Satoshi used were the trio given out to trainers in Masara Town. 

Brock:  "Yeah, you can battle for your next badge there and start to catch up with Gary Oak."
Ash:  "Yeah..."
Pikachu:  "Pika."
Ash:  "Watch out, Gary Oak, 'cause Ash Ketchum is right behind ya!"

Satoshi's rival isn't mentioned in the Japanese version at all; instead, Takeshi says that it sounds like Kikyou City is a fun place to be before Satoshi announces that they're leaving for Kikyou City.

Also, how weird is it to hear Ash refer to his rival by first and last name?  Like...why so formal, Ashy-boy?

Finally,

Professor Elm:  "Tomorrow morning, you get to meet your new Trainer, Totodile.  And I have a feeling that you two will become best friends, just like Pikachu and Ash are."

Utsugi-Hakase doesn't mention when Waninoko's trainer will be picking it up.

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