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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Jouto Region

Japanese Episode 250

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 250: "The Cave of Ice!"
Pokemon Dare Da?   Rouglea (Japanese)
Orchid-Hakase Pokemon Lecture: ???
Japanese Air Date:  May 30th, 2002
American Air Date:  Never aired

Satoshi-tachi reach a fork in the road on the way to Fusube City, and the road they eventually decide on leads them through the Ice Cave.  Inside the cave, the Rocket-Dan attack, spraying cold water on the trainers before they can send them blasting away with their pokemon.  Satoshi and Kasumi are alright, but the combination of the cold weather and the cold water gives Takeshi a fever.  He is rushed to a Pokemon Center inside the cave, where a Rouglea performs the jobs that a Lucky would in any other Pokemon Center.  After the Center's Joi tends to Takeshi, they learn of a problem in the cave--the Rocket-Dan has switched the cooling and the heating ducts of the cave's climate control.  While Satoshi-tachi are distracted by the effects of the misplaced weather, Musashi-tachi set up heaters in front of the Pokemon Center to weaken all the ice-type pokemon.  The Center's Rouglea tries to stop them, but the heat is too much for it to bear.  Suddenly, Takeshi emerges from inside the Center and has his Ishitsubute ward the Rocket-Dan off until Satoshi, Kasumi, and Joi can arrive.  Using their combined power, the trainers' pokemon is able to destroy the heaters and send the pokemon thieves packing.  Joi thanks Satoshi-tachi for their work and leads them to the exit.  Now that they're out of the cave, the trainers overlook Fusube City and realize that the time of the final Jouto Gym Battle is near!!

You can find a more detailed synopsis here.

During the later part of the Jouto League, the United Kingdom would get episodes about a month or so before they would premiere in the U.S.  One week, "I Politoed Ya So!" was aired, and then the next week "Beauty is Only Skin Deep" was shown.  People in the U.S. found out and wondered what happened to "The Cave of Ice," the episode that was to come between these two.  When these Jouto episodes eventually made their way to Kids' WB! and fans saw that "The Cave of Ice" was skipped here as well, and fans knew they had a new banned episode.

People speculated for months as to the cause of the episode's omission, but an e-mail received by AK2 over on the Serebii.net forums confirmed that the episode was skipped because of Rougela.  The pokemon, deemed a "controversial character" because of accusations that it is a negative stereotype of African Americans, was too deeply imbedded in the episode's storyline to erase altogether.  So, they nixed it.

So, was the episode's omission a big loss?  Well...not really.  Despite the fact that the episode takes place in a location from the game (the Cave of Ice is where many trainers catch the ice pokemon that they use against Ibuki), it just feels like another Jouto filler episode to me.  There are some nice parts of the episode that makes it stand out (the different location, the nice bit of continuity involving the Orange Islands Joi, the non-cookie cutter plot) but overall its omission doesn't really affect the story at all. 

I wouldn't expect to see the episode to be dubbed and/or released any time soon since Rougela will always be "the banned pokemon."  She's considered a racist stereotype now, and she'll be considered a racist stereotype five or ten years from now.  Though Japan hasn't stopped using the character (she appears in the show's final ending theme and in an episode of Advanced Generation), as far as 4Kids is concerned she doesn't exist.

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