Japanese Episode
021






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Japanese Episode 021
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 021:  “Bye Bye Butterfree"
American Episode 120:  “Bye Bye Butterfree”
Pokemon Dare Da?  Butterfree
Japanese Air Date:  August 19th, 1997
American Air Date:  October 5th, 1998

On the way to Yamabuki City, our heroes witness a flock of Butterfree gathered in one area.  Takeshi explains that it's the Butterfree's mating season and that each of the butterfly pokemon are trying to find a partner to mate with.  Satoshi, wanting his Butterfree to get in on the fun, lets it out of its Monster Ball to join the others.  However, it has trouble attracting a mate.  Satoshi and his friends attempt to coach Butterfree in the ways of love, but the pokemon's feelings toward a pink Butterfree in the flock go unnoticed.  Suddenly, the Rocket-Dan appear in a helicopter and start scooping up all the pokemon in a giant net!  Satoshi's Butterfree escapes capture and is able to lead its trainer to the trio's base where our heroes are able to successfully free the kidnapped pokemon.  The Rocket-Dan get back into their helicopter to recapture the pokemon, but Butterfree, with the help of Pikachu, is able to defeat the pokemon thieves once and for all.  Butterfree's heroic acts are noticed by the pink Butterfree, and the two decide to cross the ocean to lay their eggs.  Satoshi tries to fight back the tears as he bids farewell to his pokemon, wishing it the best of luck with its new girlfriend.


Thoughts
One of the criticisms fans have about the Kanto region is that Satoshi had this habit of letting a lot of his pokemon go.  While, in the grand scheme of things, Satoshi doesn't really release that many of his friends, the fact that he released any at all has rubbed some fans the wrong way.

But if you think about it...the only fate Satoshi's Butterfree could possibly have is to be released back into the wild.  Think about it for a sec; it's a fully evolved pokemon who's not all that powerful and who - let's face it - didn't really have much of a personality to begin with.  If it hadn't been released, the pokemon would have been sent back to Orchid-Hakase's ranch where it would have rotted away the rest of its days.

So while it may suck that Satoshi let one of his friends go, I think it's a lot better to see it go off with its mate instead of sticking around an old man's ranch for the rest of its days.

There are a few other random things worth mentioning as well.  This episode amuses me because none of the other trainers do a damn thing to stop the Rocket-Dan; like, they just sit there in their hot air balloons, watching, as some helicopter swoops in and steals their pokemon.  I also really dug our heroes doing their own version of the Rocket-Dan motto.  The final thing I wanna mention is the battle at the end between the Rocket-Dan and our heroes.  Notice how the Rockets don't use any of their pokemon at all?  And how Musashi just whacks the shit out of Kasumi's Starmie with that big-ass sledgehammer!?  No way the anime producers would ever let anything like that happen these days, nosiree.

The dubbed version is alright other than OMG 4KIDS CENSORED BUTTERFREE'S DEATH THEY ARE NAZI RAPIST PEDOPHILES!!!!!!!  Or!  The idea that Butterfree died is a stupid fan rumor that really, really needs to die.  There's also some weird flashback stuff going on at the end of the episode, but I'll go more into detail later.

Music Edit
There's a lot of 4Kids music in this one.  Altogether, I counted about ten pieces of music, which is pretty low for a Kanto episode.

One change that stuck out to me was at the beginning of the episode.  The background music that plays at the beginning of the episode continues playing through the title screen and then a little bit afterwards; they don’t break it in the middle and use the usual title screen music like they do in the dub.

Side Note
So there's this rumor going around that in the Japanese version of this episode, Takeshi says that right after the Butterfree mate, they die.  I guess the idea is that some real-world butterflies die after they mate and that Butterfree, in the Japanese version, is only following suit.  There are other versions of the rumor state that the Pokemon Zukan is the one that actually gives this fact despite the fact that the device doesn't have a single line of dialogue in the entire episode. 

Either way, the idea is that Butterfree dies and 4Kids edited this out to prevent the kiddies from being upset at the idea of one of their pokemon friends biting the dust.

This rumor isn't true in the least.  Butterfree is still very much alive.

Finding out how a rumor this old got started is a little bit on the impossible side, especially since the rumors are pretty vague when it comes to exactly when in the episode this explanation is supposedly given.  However, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is the line that the rumors refer to:

Japanese Dialogue
My English Translation
English Dub Dialogue
Takeshi:  "Umi o watarasanai to, shison nokosu naku naru"
Takeshi:  "It if doesn't cross the ocean [and mate], it won't leave behind any offspring."
Brock:  "If you don't let it cross the sea, it will never have babies."
Satoshi:  "Yabee!"
Satoshi:  "Yikes..."
Ash:  "Babies!?"

Takeshi also says pretty much the same thing at the end of the episode when everyone's bidding Butterfree adieu.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the reason for this "Butterfree dies" rumor is that someone mistook the word shison (子孫, "offspring") for the word shisou (死傷, "injuries and death").  It's an easy enough mistake to make, I suppose, provided you completely ignore the rest of the sentence and zone in solely on the word "death."  For years, though, people just took these fans' word for it, convinced that 4Kids was trying to shield us from the horrible, horrible truth.

People remained convinced for years despite the fact that the pokemon is shown, still very much alive, in Glory Day (one of the Advanced Generation ending themes) and Spurt! (one of the Advanced Generation opening themes) years later.

Bottom line?  The 4Kids version line is pretty much a direct translation, and the whole "Butterfree dies after it mates" thing is a load of bull.

Paint Edit
The banner trailing behind the Rocket-Dan’s chopper originally had their motto written in Japanese.






Click on each image to view a larger version.

The dub version just sort of has the camera focus on a blank banner, something that's really kind of odd when you sit there and think about it.

Dare Da
The Butterfree picture used during the eyecatch is different in both versions.


Click on each image to view a larger version. 

Dialogue Edit
When Meowth is counting the number of Butterfree the team's caught, we learn that they've caught 100 Butterfree.  In the Japanese version, however, they only caught 90.

Later, during the very first Boss Fantasy of the entire franchise:

Meowth:  "When the Boss hears about this, I'll be top cat again."

"Again?"  That implies that you were his favorite at least one time, something that, even after all these years, has yet to be proven true.  Originally, Nyasu just says "When we tell the Boss..." before trailing off.

Sound Effects Edit/Music Edit/Scene Replacement
A couple of things went on with the flashback at the end of the episode.

For one thing, the original soundtrack didn't have any sound effects at all; all we heard was the background music Namida, nochi Hare (Track 38 on the Anime OST).  4Kids, for whatever reason, decided to add all those sound effects back in.

Next, when Transell evolves into Butterfree, the Japanese version plays the first opening theme, Mezase Pokemon Master.  The dub plays the English equivalent, Pokémon Theme.  And while the thought is nice (both versions play the series' opening theme, which is kinda cool, I guess), it's a little off-putting to hear the singers talking about how we "Gotta Catch 'Em All" as Butterfree leaves with tears in its eyes.  Granted, the Japanese lyrics aren't much better, but it at least didn't reek of late 90s commercialism so much.

The last thing worth mentioning is a scene replacement; the next-to-last shot of the montage in the Japanese version is a shot of Satoshi issuing an order to his pokemon.  I guess 4Kids didn't like seeing him during Butterfree's montage because they replaced it with a shot of Butterfree flying.


These changes really aren't that major, but they are a pretty ominous sign of the tampering 4Kids will do to just about every other flashback in the series.

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