Japanese Episode
026






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 026
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 026:  "Erika and Kusaihana"
American Episode 125:  "Pokemon Scent-sation"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Kusaihana
Japanese Air Date:  September 23rd, 1997
American Air Date:  October 12th, 1998
Important Characters:  Erika (Erika), Sato-chan (Ashley)
Important Places:  Tamamushi City (Celadon City)

Satoshi and his friends have now arrived in Tamamushi City!  As our heroes walk around the city, Kasumi becomes enamored with a perfume shop while Takeshi drools over the store's staff.  Satoshi tells everyone that he thinks perfume is useless, prompting the shop staff to lecture him before kicking him out of the store.  Satoshi says that he doesn't care about that shop anyway and heads off to the Gym to battle the Gym Leader, but the girls working at the Gym refuse to let him in!  Apparently, the perfume shop had contacted the Tamamushi City Gym and had told the staff not to let him in because he hated perfume so much.  Meanwhile, the Rocket-Dan break into the Gym to steal a rare perfume that's supposed to be inside, but they are thrown out as well.  Eventually, Satoshi comes across the Rocket trio and is told that they know a way to get him into that gym.  Satoshi reluctantly agrees, and before long, he's wearing a wig and a dress!  By disguising himself as a girl who likes perfume, Satoshi is able to gain access to the gym and come face-to-face with its Gym Leader, Erika.  His cover is blown before long but Erika accepts his challenge anyway, agreeing to a three-on-three battle.  After Erika's Monjara paralyzes Satoshi's Fushigidane, the young trainer recalls his pokemon and brings out Hitokage.  The fire-type pokemon easily defeats its next opponent, Utsudon, so Erika sends out her final pokemon - Kusaihana.  The Gym Battle is interrupted when the Rocket-Dan appear and light off a few bombs, causing a fire that rages throughout the gym.  After everyone gets out safely, Erika notices that her Kusaihana is missing and fears that it's still inside.  Satoshi doesn't hesitate in running into the gym and retrieving the pokemon, almost getting caught up in the fire in the process.  Once the fire is taken care of, Erika gives Satoshi the Rainbow Badge.


Thoughts
A mere two episodes after the last gym battle, we're given the battle with Erika.  Like I've said before, I really think the animators rushed this part of the series and we wind up paying for it when we're given a huge period of filler episodes after the Sekichiku battle.  People talk about how great Kanto is, but when you look back at it, it really is one of the worst sagas in the TV series when it comes to pacing. 

It's especially disappointing to see how rushed this part of the series is when you consider the potential here.  I mean...Tamamushi City is one of the biggest cities in the Kanto region, yet in the TV series, all we get to see is a perfume shop and a gym.  Couldn't they have spent a few episodes inside the city instead of immediately moving on to a filler-only town instead?  Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

I'm also not a huge fan of Erika handing her badge over because it's yet another cheap Kanto badge that Satoshi kind of earned but didn't really.  Remember how Satoshi hesitated about taking the badge Takeshi gave him even though he didn't *actually* win that battle?  Because it looks like the sense of hesitation on display there has completely vanished by this point.  If I was in charge, I would have had Satoshi reject it and insist on a rematch.  Then, the next episode could have been devoted solely to the Gym Battle (with, say, a Rocket-Dan subplot involving the Game Corner to keep them busy) and Satoshi would have won through actually defeating his opponent in a pokemon battle.  Crazy, I know.

The thing is - other than all that stuff I female dogged about, I actually enjoyed the episode.  Satoshi having to dress up as a girl to get into a Gym is something we don't see everyday, and the way the whole thing was handled was pretty hilarious.  I also thought it was clever how the pokemon Kusaihana kept defeating with its stench (Dogas, Betobeto) are the very pokemon you wouldn't expect to succumb to bad smell - I mean, Kusaihana stinks so bad that a ball full of toxic gas and a creature that's basically living sludge can't handle its aroma?  DAMN.

This episode also had some references to anybody who's a fan of Japanese girls' cartoons.  I think the most obvious example is the Revolutionary Girl Utena-esque character introductions:


The perfume girls and Girl Scouts who help Erika out are also, apparently, supposed to resemble the main characters from the girls' show Wedding Peach.  Compare this picture I took of the girls from this episode of Pocket Monsters with the images on this fansite for Wedding Peach and judge for yourself.  Personally, I only think one of the girls look similar, but maybe some of you can look around and see something I'm not.  Both Pocket Monsters and Wedding Peach were directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, and Hikami Kyouko, the voice actress who provides Erika's voice in the Japanese version, also did the voice of the titular character in Wedding Peach.

Monjara and Utsudon keep their Japanese voices.

Paint Edit
The first shot of the episode doesn't have any edits to it, which is surprising since you can see the word Purin, written in English letters, beside a picture of a Purin (Jigglypuff).  Guess 4Kids thought it went by too quickly for people to notice or something.

Then again, the paint edit on the sign hanging from the ceiling behind this girl's pigtail goes by pretty quickly too:


The next shot tampered with is the one in which Kasumi sniffs the perfume that was just applied to her.  The Japanese text here says "This year's color is this flower color."


The very next shot has two edits.  The smaller paint edit is a little ridiculous since all we see in the Japanese version are mere squiggles.


The next shot has four edits.  Can you spot them all?


And one more shot inside the perfume shop.


Click on each image to view a larger version.

I mean...I've mentioned the whole "missing the tree for the forest" edits this show's been doing several times.  But I feel like bringing it up again.  I mean, come on, 4Kids...if you're going to insist on Americanizing everything, you should at least do it right.  Don't half-ass it.


Theeeeeere we go.  Now there's something American kids can understand!

These text paint edits really are ridiculous, huh?

Dialogue Edit
In the Japanese version, Erika has a ridiculously formal way of speaking.  She speaks in the keigo throughout the entire episode, something that makes her sound really strange and almost soulless or something. 

4Kids doesn't really do anything like this for the English version.  English doesn't have an equivalent, but a close enough approximation of keigo can be done - you'd just have to have Erika address Ash as "Mr. Ketchum" the whole time and avoiding the use of contractions (cannot instead of can't, for example) and other slang-y dialogue.

Another thing Japanese Erika didn't do was just go into tangents for no reason:

Brock:  "Hi.  What's your name?"  (Erika smiles)
Erika:  "'P' for pretty, 'E' for elegant, 'R' for radiant, 'F' for fun, 'U' for urbane, 'M' for mysterious, 'E' for energy, and that spells~"
Misty:  "Perfume!"
Brock:  "Right!"
Pikachu:  "Pika!"

So what's with that random spelling lesson, Erika?  Are you giving an argument or trying to fire up your local baseball team?

Originally, Erika's dialogue made a little bit more sense; in the Japanese version, she simply responds (angrily) at Satoshi's claim that perfume is "meaningless" (意味がない) by telling him that it helps relax people, gives them energy, and gives people peace of mind.

4Kids' line kind of does the same, but the way it's so awkwardly handled makes it feel like there should be another line squeezed in there somewhere in order to set it all up.  

Later, at the Gym:

Girl Scout:  "I wouldn't let you in if you were the last Pokémon trainer on Earth!"

Ignoring the whole "But this show doesn't take place on Earth!  It takes place in its own world!!" thing for a minute, the reason I brought this line up is because this isn't really a translation of what was said in the Japanese version.  Originally, the girl scout tells Satoshi that the perfume shop had called them and told them about how he doesn't like perfume.  She then says that the Gym Leader has since ordered them not to let this trainer (Satoshi, of course) come in. 

The dub, by contrast, kind of just has the girl scouts already know about Ash without any explanation.

A few lines later, Ash calls the Gym Leader a "Gym Master."  Weird.  For those of you wondering, Satoshi uses the correct terminology.

Now, for some Team Rocket stuff.

Jessie:  "Once we break inside, we'll steal the secret formula for their perfume.  Then I'll be as irresistible as Cleopatra!"
James:  "I'll sell the formula and make myself zillions of bucks.  That's enough money to buy my own country!  Or my own planet even!"

Two things here; one, Jessie's mention of real-life figure Cleopatra is dub-only.  Two, is it just me, or does Eric Stuart sound like he's trying to do his best Snagglepuss impersonation with this line?

Also, that shot of Meowth with all the boxes that say CAT FOOD on it?  It was like that in the Japanese version as well.  4Kids' digital paint didn't touch that shot at all.  Huh.

After the Rockets meet up with Kusaihana:

James:  "It smells like old sneakers, mixed with some rotten eggs, and dead fish with just a hint of skunk fumes."

In the Japanese version, Kojirou states that the gas smells like "nattou mixed with the smell of socks that have never been taken off for one whole year with a hint of garlic."  The nattou reference I can see taking out, but the rest of it would have translated over just fine. 

Later, we get one of the dub's more memorable lines due to an untranslatable Japanese pun:

Meowth:  "My nose feels like it's on fire!"
Jessie:  "Meowth, you don't have a nose!"
Meowth:  "Heh!?  My nose!  What happened!?  The stink dissolved it off my face!  ...hm?  Ah!  Oh yeah!  I almost forgot!  The cartoonist never gave me a nose!"

In Japanese, the word hana can mean two things.  It can mean "flower" (written as 花), like the hana in Kusaihana's name, but it can also mean "nose" (written as 鼻).  Either way, it's pronounced the same way, and you're supposed to use context clues to figure out which meaning the speaker's going for.

In the Japanese version, Nyasu is freaking out like everyone else because of Kusaihana's stench.  Then, Musashi mentions the word hana (as in "flower"), and that gets Nyasu to start thinking about his own hana ("nose").  The rest of the scene plays out the same, more or less, except Nyasu doesn't mention anything about the cartoonists not drawing him a nose - he just states that he simply doesn't have one without breaking the fourth wall. 

The flower / nose thing will be repeated at the end of the episode after the Rocket-Dan open the extract of Kusaihana that they had stolen from the gym.

Paint Edit
We get one more paint edit in the episode:


Click on each image to view a larger version.

As you can see, 4Kids actually erased some of the banners altogether.

The first banner on the left just has unintelligible scribbling on it, the next one over (the blue one) says "Bargain PK" (as in PoKemon), the next one (pink) says "Sale" along with some scribbling, and the fourth one there says PK (Pokemon) with some scribbling on it.  The sign on the side of the building there just has a bunch of scribbles on it.

Dialogue Edit
Ash calls Erika "the Gym Master" again during the scene where he's at the front counter of the gym.  Geez, what is with him today?

Next, when Team Rocket is running down the hallway, we get the first of what will be many, many bomb cover-ups:

Meowth:  "Just one question:  what am I supposed to do with this blaster ball?"

So "bomb" is a bad word now?  We have to use "blaster ball?"

This is a really strange edit, because Team Rocket was allowed to say the word "bomb" back in Episode 012.  But now it's taboo or something.  Even though every other kids' show ever has allowed the term to be used whenever applicable.

4Kids is weird sometimes.

Paint Edit?
The image of Kusaihana used for the eyecatch is a little different in each version:



Click on each image to view a larger version.

It looks like 4Kids added some "snot" to the area where Gloom's nose would be?  Um...what?

Dialogue Edit
When Ashley is introduced to Erika:

Girl Scout:  "Trainer Erika! 
Ash:  "Erika?"
Girl Scout:  "I'd like to introduce our new student!"

Kind of implies that Erika's running a school here, doesn't it?

In the Japanese version, they just say shinjin (新人), which can mean "new applicant" or "new person."

The next line is one that I've seen brought up by fans

Erika:  "I accept your challenge.  It's my duty under the league rules."

Japanese Erika doesn't mention anything about any "league rules."  I doubt the whole idea that Gym Leaders "have to" accept any challenges that come their way is some kind of formal rule - I'll bet it's just one of those things that's just kind of expected of Gym Leaders.

Either way, it's obvious that Erika doesn't really care about the rules because she spends half the episode not accepting Satoshi's challenge.  So whatever.

Later, we get a line uttered during the fire scene that's just cheesy beyond belief:

Girl Scout:  "We've gotta catch em' all!"

Haaaa....get it?  That's what they say...in.....the........show.  Ha.

Finally, the dub adds a bit of information that isn't present in the Japanese version:

Erika:  "With deep gratitude, I present you with this Rainbow Badge."

In the Japanese version, Erika doesn't say the "with deep gratitude" part.  She just gives the badge to Satoshi without really explaining what she's giving it to him for. 

Not that he cares or anything since early Kanto Satoshi just takes whatever badges he can get.

*sigh*

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