Japanese Episode
017






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 017:
  "Island of the Giant Pokemon!?"

American Episode 117:  "Island of the Giant Pokémon!"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Yadon (Japanese), Slowbro (American)
Japanese Air Date:  July 22nd, 1997
American Air Date:  September 30th, 1998
Important Places:  Aopulco (Porta Vista)

Once the storm from the Gyarados' Dragon Rage subsides, our heroes find themselves on an unknown island.  After everyone gets their bearings, Satoshi discovers that all but two of his Monster Balls are missing!  Elsewhere on the island, Satoshi's Pikachu, Hitokage, Zenigame, and Fushigidane wander around, trying to find their master.  They eventually run into Musashi's and Kojirou's pokemon who, after refusing to battle because their masters aren't there, decide to help the others find their trainers.  That night, loud growlings can be heard, and before long our heroes discover that the island is home to an assortment of giant pokemon!  The next day, Musashi and Kojirou, who had been hiding out in a phone booth the entire time, are chased by one of these giant pokemon.  They eventually flee to a roller coaster where, by pure chance, they run into Satoshi and his friends.  As the cart careens through the island, Pikachu and the others emerge from a forest and catch up with their trainers.  Eventually, their mine cart jumps a ramp and crashes into a giant Thunder, an event that reveals that the giant pokemon are all giant robots who were part of the theme park Pockemon Land.  The robots all get destroyed, saving Satoshi and his friends from further rampaging.  Now that everyone is reunited with their pokemon, they wander into Aopulco, a resort town that happens to be on the same island.  Will Satoshi find his way back to the path to being a Pokemon Master?  To be continued!


Thoughts
So this episode is the famous "subtitled pokemon" episode.  It feels kind of weird that they'd do an episode like this so early in the series and then never do another one ever again, especially since it seems like the majority of the fandom really dug it.  Strange.

One thing that's interesting to me is that neither Pidgeotto nor Butterfree get to join in on the fun.  Same with Kasumi's and Takeshi's pokemon.  Did the animators just not have the budget to animate a huge group of pokemon like that?  Or did they think that those pokemon would be boring and wouldn't really add anything to the group dynamic?  It's a shame we never really got a sequel to this episode while the "original three" are still around because I think it would have been neat to see what kinds of personalities the writers would have given them.

The dubbed version actually translates the subtitles very well, so there's really nothing in that respect that I could complain about.  I had actually entertained the idea of posting images of all the Japanese subtitles and all the American subtitles, but when I realized that that would require me to take over 140 screencaps (70+ for the Japanese version, 70+ for the dub), I pretty much decided that you guys can do without.  Sorry.  Apparently, some of the foreign dubs that use 4Kids' modified footage also kept the English subtitles, so they had to end up having the pokemon actually speak to each other in human language instead.  Weird.

All of the pokemon robots except Pikachu kept their Japanese voices.  The robotic pikachu had a really, reeeeally deep voice while, in the dub, it spoke using stock audio of Ikue Ohtani's Pikachu voice.

Dialogue Edit
This change is actually pretty big:

Jessie:  "Oh!  I've lost the PokéBall with the Ekans I got for my birthday last year!"
James:  "Uh~!  The PokéBall with the Koffing I got for Christmas is gone too!"

Not quite.

The Rocket-Dan actually got their pokemon as seasonal gifts; Musashi got her pokemon for 中元 (chuugen) while Kojirou got his for お歳暮 (oseibo).  Little kids in America wouldn't have any idea what those are, so the holidays were changed to more Western-friendly variants.

The dub dialogue also suggests that Jessie's had her pokemon for a year or less, while the same thing isn't implied in the Japanese version.

Side Note
As much as I liked the accuracy of the subtitle translations in this episode, there are some things that didn't quite translate over.

Throughout the episode, there are moments where the subtitles will simply consist of nothing but ellipses or question marks.  While word balloons with nothing but these simple punctuation marks are used in Japanese comics all the time, the same can't be said for American comics.  So, 4Kids just removed them.



The Japanese subtitles also give a hint at something that the English subtitles do not; pokemon genders.  The Japanese language has a bunch of different words to express first person pronouns (I, we, me, us, etc.), and a lot of the time, the pronoun used depends on the speaker's gender.  Words like boku and ore, for example, are used by men while atashi is used by women.  A person using a pronoun that doesn't fit in with their gender can have certain connotations; men who use atashi are typically stereotyped as being effeminate while women who use boku are seen as being tomboyish.

So how about the pokemon in this episode?  Which personal pronouns do they use, and what do their choices tell us about their genders?  Well...

  • Pikachu uses boku-tachi.  The -tachi suffix here makes the boku part plural and can be translated as "us."
  • Zenigame uses ore-tachi and, later, oreIt's also referred to as Zenigame-kun (-kun is rarely used to refer to women) by Hitokage.
  • Fushigidane also uses ore-tachi and ore.
  • Arbo refers to it and Dogas as ore-tachi.

Now these don't necessarily mean that all of these pokemon are, without a shadow of a doubt, male.  But the evidence is pretty darn convincing.  If any of these pokemon were meant to be female, then the fact that they use ore or boku would make them tomboyish, and I seriously doubt that's what the anime producers had in mind when assigning them personal pronouns.

Enjoy those message board "what's ____'s gender?" debates!

Dialogue Edit
This one's kind of weird:

Meowth:  "It can't be!  My master's not around and I always seem to act like a rat!"

In the Japanese version, Nyasu does indeed say "goshuujin ga inai," which can translate to "my master's not around."  So I can't claim that 4Kids messed up the translation here.  However, it can also translate to "I don't have a master," a line that's very different from the one 4Kids produced. 

So basically, the dub, due to weird translation issues, explicitly states that Meowth has a master while the Japanese version is a bit more ambiguous about it.  Since we never hear mention of Nyasu's master again, I think it's safe to say that the ambiguity present in the Japanese version is what was intended.

Paint Edit
The sign that Musashi and Kojirou run into gets edited:





Click on each image to view a larger version.

While it is consistent as far as 4Kids and their practice of removing all traces of Japanese writing goes, it's also completely unnecessary (well...more so than usual) since the sign's already been translated!  Why does 4Kids think that little kids can't handle seeing non-romanized characters!?

Dare Da?
For the first time since the start of the series, the pokemon featured during the show's "Who's That Pokemon?" segment has been changed for the dub:



Click on each image to view a larger version.

I don't really know why 4Kids would change it to a pokemon who doesn't even show up until the last minute of the episode, but that's 4Kids for ya.

Paint Edit / Side Note
The scene at the oden stand right after the commercial break has a few alterations to it.

First of all, the word oden is removed from the very first shot of the scene.


Click on each image to view a larger version.

Next, we see the pokemon kind of sitting around the table and eating.  We see Dogas and Arbo crying, and then we see Fushigidane (who seems to be drunk) arguing with Zenigame as Nyasu sleeps in the foreground (who, judging by the blush on his face, is also drunk).  Next, we see Arbo crying to Pikachu as Yadon fans itself in front of the hot stove. 

Next, we see the exterior shot of the oden stand again.  In the dub, the camera just sort of zooms out until the scene ends, resulting in one of the weirdest, most nonsensical scenes of the episode.  In the Japanese version, however, we get subtitles that, for whatever reason, weren't translated in the dub. 


These subtitles are:

Original Japanese subtitles
Translation
。。。 にんげんなんてさあ
...those darn humans
。。。 にんげんなんてさあ ...those darn humans
い ないいないばあ
Peakaboo
。。。 にんげんなんてさあ ...those darn humans
わ るいひとばかりじゃないんだしさあ
Not all people are bad
ま あまあ。。。
Now now...
げ んきをだして
Cheer up
わ かる
I understand
わ かるよ
I understand ya
そ れがよのなかさ
That's just how the world is
な、 おやじ。。。
Hey, barkeep...

There doesn't seem to be any real flow to anything, is there?  I'm guessing that what these subtitles are supposed to be are random snippets from the various conversations going on at the same time.  4Kids probably felt that these were all too random to translate and couldn't be bothered to just up and rewrite the whole scene, so they just removed the subtitles altogether.  I'm guessing the drunk-ish dialogue here didn't help, either.

In the very next scene, 4Kids adds a subtitle that wasn't there originally to let us know what time it is:


Click on each image to view a larger version.

Side Note
Giovanni's voice is given this voice filtering thingee to make him sound all mysterious or whatever while Sakaki does not.  In the Japanese version, Sakaki just talks normally.

Also, in the Japanese version, when the Rocket-Dan blast past the giant Kabutops and knocks it over with the telephone cable, Musashi apologizes (Gomen nasai!).  I thought it was funny, but the dub apparently didn’t think so; they don’t have Jessie say anything. 

Paint Edit
The inside of the Pokemon Land tour boat has “Pocke Mon Land” written in English letters behind the tour guide.





Click on each image to view a larger version.

The sign back there was written before the Japanese producers settled on "Pokemon" as their romanization of the show's title creatures.  Spelling pokemon with a c in it does make some amount of sense (Pocket Monsters as opposed to Pocket Monsters), but, as we all know, they eventually settled on the Pokemon romanization instead.

It's good to see 4Kids keep up the alternating colors of the letters in their version, at least. 

Added Footage--2 seconds
Two seconds are added to the episode's TO BE CONTINUED... screen in the dub. 

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