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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 012: "The Zenigame Gang Enters!”
American Episode 112: "Here Comes The Squirtle Squad"
Pokemon Dare Da? Zenigame
Japanese Air Date: June 17th, 1997
American Air Date: September 23rd, 1998
Important Characters: Zenigame-Gundan (Squirtle Squad)
As our heroes' journey continues, they find themselves falling for a pitfall trap. The creators of the prank are a group of Zenigame who run off once they hear the sirens of Junsa's police bike. At the police box, Junsa explains that the group is known as the Zenigame-Gundan ("the Zenigame Corps") and has been terrorizing the people nearby with their practical jokes. Meanwhile, the Rocket-Dan are enjoying a boxed lunch when they are approached by the aforementioned Zenigame Corps and are ordered to hand over the food. The trio refuses, so the Zenigame kidnap tie them up and eat their food anyway. Nyasu is able to convince the turtle pokemon that he's on their side and proceeds to enlist their help in capturing "three bad trainers with a Pikachu." The water-type pokemon succeed, but Satoshi's Pikachu gets hurt in the process. After a while, the Zenigame let Satoshi run into town to buy some medicine, but when he gets back, Nyasu and the Rocket-Dan are gone. Eventually, they reappear in their hot air balloon and start throwing bombs around. At one point, Satoshi saves the leader of the Zenigame Corps, so they all work together to defeat the Rocket trio as a show of thanks. The Rocket-Dan are sent blasting off again, but the bombs they threw left behind a blazing inferno in the forest! Luckily, the Zenigame work together to put out the fire, saving the day. Junsa awards the pokemon for their bravery and makes them honorary firefighters for the town. Now that the gang's reign of terror is over, Satoshi and his friends go to continue on their journey but are stopped by the gang's leader. The Zenigame wants to go along with Satoshi on his journey and the young trainer accepts, adding a powerful new ally to his growing team of friends.
this episode is one of those episodes that just would not be made in this day and
age. Not with all the death threats, Japanese references, and
guns, anyway. It's actually really sad to see how much more kid
friendly (for lack of a better term) the show has become ever since it
became an international hit, and there are times when I wish the show
could go back to a time when the anime producers just made a show
without worrying how other countries in the world will react.
Quite a few of these in this episode:
At the beginning of the episode, Ash is singing along to the music that's being played in the background. In the Japanese version, he’s just singing a random song that really doesn’t go along with anything. I kind of like what the dub does here, actually...
Ash: "With my
very own Squirtle, Gary will never beat me! Go, Pikachu!"
mention Shigeru in the Japanese version at all; he just says that he'll
try to catch one of the Zenigame.
The next one
comes up in the police box:
Jenny: "That Pokémon gang calls itself the Squirtle Squad."
Ash: "Squirtle Squad?"
Misty: "I've never heard of a Pokémon gang."
Jenny: "They're all Squirtles who were deserted by their Pokémon trainers."
all...no, the gang of Squirtle don't call themselves "the Squirtle
can't talk. Originally, Junsa simply said that's the name
they're known as, and it's implied that this name was given to them by
the people in the area who are suffering from their pranks.
I have no idea why any of these changes would have been made.
Click on each
image to view a larger version.
very next shot, the bank on the upper right-hand corner of the screen
has the yen symbol
Click on each image to view a larger version.
I don't think I have to say that Team Rocket's mention of pizza, Chinese food, and tacos weren't present in the Japanese version.
Later, we get this historical dialogue edit:
Jessie: "Oh no! They're eating all the jelly donuts and éclairs!"And
James: "I want a donut!"
Those things the Zenigame (and later, Nyasu) are eating aren't donuts; they're onigiri. They're a common snack in Japan and are pretty much a staple of any Japanese boxed lunch, but most people in the U.S. don't know the word. "Rice balls" are a common translation of the food item name but, again, most people in the U.S. wouldn't really associate "rice ball" with "snack item."
The reason I say this edit is historic is because it's the first of many, many instances where the characters will call onigiri by a more Western food name. The dub is never really consistent with what they call the food item - at least half a dozen names have sprung up over the years - but they almost never call it by what it actually is.
While I can sorta-kinda see where 4Kids is coming from in changing the name of the food item, I also don't think it's really all that necessary since the food items aren't the focal point of the scene in question. They're just there in the background, and stating outright that they're rice balls or donuts or whatever isn't really necessary for kids to understand what's happening on-screen.
But I will say this; calling rice balls donuts is a lot better than what 4Kids would eventually end up doing.
Oh, and as far as the éclairs go? I think that's meant to be the hotdog-looking thing that the one Zenigame is eating in this shot.
When Ash is pleading to the Squirtle Squad to let him go into town to buy a Super Potion, he tells them that Pikachu will be in "big trouble" if he doesn't get it some help. Originally, he tells the Zenigame-Gundan that Pikachu will die.
Seems kind of
like a wussy edit to make after the last episode, huh?
Squirtle says that if you're not back here by noon tomorrow the
red-headed girl gets her hair dyed purple."
Zenigame threaten to execute Kasumi (the word they use is 死刑 shikei), not the more kid-friendly
threat used in the dub. Kasumi responds by saying that if those
are the conditions, she
should be the one to go into town instead.
Also, Misty's dub
line reminds me...we don't have any flea pokemon, do we?
Rocket-Dan hold up the shop in the town. In the English version,
the duo is goofy and non-threatening from the get-go; they talk about
how their guns shoot out ice and how they want dental floss to go with
their bombs. The Japanese version, by contrast, has the
Rocket-Dan rob the store the way the Joker
would; they threaten people with guns that everyone assumes is real,
get what they want, and then fire off their fake guns. Except
instead of a flag coming out with the word BANG! on it, for example,
they shoot out
cherry blossom petals instead.
I guess the
trade-off to being allowed to show the footage unedited was giving the
Rocket trio goofy dialogue so that the audience knows, from the start,
that nobody's actually in any danger of being hurt here.
At the end of the episode, when the Zenigame-Gundan are wearing their coats, the ze on the back is erased.
In the very next shot, the ze on the matoi being held up is also erased.
Click on each
image to view a larger version.
This last paint
edit here is one of those "missing the forest for the tree"
edits. Because even though they erased the Japanese writing in an
effort to make the scene more "Western-friendly," 4Kids ignored the
that the other 99% of the shot just screams
Japan. You've got the Japanese military
flag in the background. You've got the Zenigame-Gundan
dressed up as machi-bikeshi, a group of
firefighters who protected Edo (modern-day Tokyo) during the 18th
century. And then you've got the one Zenigame in the back who's
holding up a matoi, a standard
that's used to alert other people that there's a fire nearby.
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