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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Jouto Region

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 232: "Kiri no Naka no Kyuukon"

      ("Inside the Mist of Kyuukon")
English Episode 523:  "Just Waiting on a Friend"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Kyuukon (Japanese), Sudowoodo (English)
Orchid-Hakase Pokemon Lecture:  ???
Japanese Air Date:  January 17th, 2002
American Air Date:  September 26th, 2002
Important Characters:  Rokoko (Lakoko)

On the way to the Chouji Town Gym, a mysterious fog envelops the path and forces Satoshi-tachi to seek refuge with a beautiful young lady and her Kyuukon.  Takeshi is completely smitten with the young woman, but Kasumi is weary of her when it is revealed that the Kyuukon's owner doesn't have a reflection in the mirror.  The woman, named Rokoko, proceeds to convince Takeshi to stay with her while kicking Satoshi and Kasumi out of the mansion.  The two sneak back in and do a little investigating, and they find out that Rokoko and Kyuukon had been there for over 200 years!  It is revealed that Rokoko was an illusion created by the Kyuukon and that they had been waiting for the Kyuukon's trainer to return all this time.  Takeshi resembled the old trainer so much that the Kyuukon thought that the young trainer was their long-lost master, so they tried to get him to stay with them.  The Rocket-Dan appear and kidnap the Kyuukon, but they were no match for a pokemon who had been able to hone its psychic abilities for 200 years.  Kyuukon's Monster Ball is broken in the struggle, so Takeshi declares the pokemon to be freed.  Satoshi-tachi leave the area, continuing on their path.

Well...it's a Jouto filler episode, but you know what?  This one was pretty good.  We get a different take on the "help the random character-of-the-day" plotline, and it just feels different from the other episodes.  A good kind of different. 

Dub-wise, I didn't like this one at all.  Sure, there were no paint edits and only one insignificant cut.  And the feature character's name was even pretty close to the Japanese version (I'm not sure about the spelling of her dub name though...the TV in my dorm can't do closed captioning).  Despite all the good, however, 4Kids still managed to screw this one up.

Cultural Notes
The entire episode revolves around the various myths and legends of the kitsune (fox), and I think it's worth the time to inform you about these creatures. In Japan, many of the legends depict foxes as cunning creatures with the ability to shapeshift, mostly into human shapes.  When a fox becomes 1000 years old, it is said to turn while or golden and will feature nine tails.  Foxes are generally depicted as women, though they may also be shown as being effeminate men, and they are known for seducing unsupsecting men.

As you can tell, this episode takes many of its main points from the traditional Japanese way of viewing these creatures.  Just look at the similarities:

  • There are thirteen classes of kitsune, and one of them happens to be the "Wind Kitsune."  According to the description on Annael's Lived-in Bottle, "Kitsune have been known to appear as wind, or to create mists and fog."  In Pocket Monsters, Kyuukon creates the fog that caused Satoshi-tachi to stop and stay at Rokoko's house.
  • The Buddhist Corner reveals this interesting fact:  "Nor can the fox fully hide its disguise. In many tales, the true identity of a she-fox is discovered by viewing her reflection in a mirror or in water  -- the reflection reveals a tail !"  The anime eliminates Rokoko's reflection altogether, suggesting, as some legends speculate, that the kitsune is also vampiritic.
  • That same website details the Hoshi no Tama, or "The Star Ball."  According to the site, "Kitsune closely guard a round ball. Those who obtain it can force the kitsune to help them; one theory says that the kitsune "reserves" some of its magic in this ball when it shape shifts."  The balls are usually white and look like a child's ball.  In the anime, Kyuukon's special Monster Ball seems to be a direct reference to the Hoshi no Tama.
Lugia's Dungeon has a great section on the Japanese legend on foxes with tons of information that is guranteed to teach you something you didn't know.  Or you could also just do a Google search and find tons of pages on the subject of the mythical creatures.  The Japanese are fascinated with the legend of the nine-tailed fox, and Pocket Monsters isn't the only anime to be influenced by the legned; both Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Naruto feature main characters who were once nine-tailed foxes.

Music Edit
During the last season or two, 4Kids has gotten really bad with the music for the show.  Once upon a time, back in the Kanto days, 4Kids used to keep all the original music and only add their own music to fill up any moments of silence.  Then they started to replace some pieces of the Japanese music with their own music, but they still kept the majority of the music in.  But now, they're pretty much rescoring the entire show.  And they really suck at it.

Take this episode, for example.  4Kids kept a whopping three pieces of music intact--the Rocket-Dan motto, the music during the battle between Satoshi/Kyuukon and the Rocket-Dan, and the very last piece of music played in the episode.  Everything else was created by 4Kids.  The reason it bothers me more in this episode than in any other is because the music in the original version of this episode set a very eerie tone.  It wasn't your standard episode music, the Japanese producers pulled as many "serious" pieces of music from as many places as they could.  They used music from some of the movies in this episode, and they put them in just the right places.  They even used the Shion Town music (it's the music that plays in the Lavender Town in the Game Boy Games), music that has yet to be heard in the dub.  They really worked to make sure that the music for this episode complimented the story, and the end result is one of the better-scored episodes of the series.

4Kids "fixed" all this good music by replacing it with the same generic crap that they always use.  It's like FUNimation and Dragon Ball Z--none of the music really fits the action on-screen.  Garlic Jr.'s henchmen shouldn't have circus music accompanying their battles, and Ninetales shouldn't be introduced with the cutesy music that 4Kids gave it.  4Kids has no sense of style, nor do they have any sense of musical direction.  I am completely convinced that they pick the pieces of music used throughout the dub at random, it sounds that bad.  Whoever scores the music for the dub needs to be fired, because whoever (s)he is, (s)he did a lousy job.

Dialogue Edit
If the music didn't remind me of the way "Mewtwo Strikes Back" was butchered, this line certainly did:

Lakoko:  "Ninetales is really fond of you, Brock."
Brock:  "Well, it could be 'cause I had a Ninetales of my own a while back so maybe that could be the reason why."

Aside from being a redundant sentence (gotta match those mouth flaps!), Brock never had a Ninetales.  His Vulpix never evolved into the nine-tailed fox--it's been a Vulpix from the day Suzie gave it to him to the day he gave it back.  You'd think they'd do a little research on a show they've been working on for five years...

Commercial Cut--11 seconds
Same ol' Jouto commercial break cut.  Japanese version goes to commercial, returns, replays the last few seconds, and then proceeds with the episode.  Since 4Kids' commercial break occurred earlier in the episode, it would have been redundant of them to repeat the footage, so they just snipped it.  The footage, for those of you interested, was of all the illusions vanishing after Kyuukon had been attacked by Waninoko.

Dialogue Edit
Rokoko's narration of all the servants' waiting wasn't quite as wordy in the Japanese version, and it certainly have any of that nonsense about the servants "mysteriously disappearing."  Maybe it was 4Kids' attempt at covering up the fact that all those servants have all been dead for a while or something, I dunno.  I guess even implied death is taboo now.  Makes me yearn for the days when dead people were allowed in  Pokemon...

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