Japanese Episode
028






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 028
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 028:  "Rokon!  The Breeder Battle!"
American Episode 127:  "Pokémon Fashion Flash"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Rokon
Japanese Air Date:  October 7th, 1997
American Air Date:  October 14th, 1998
Important Characters:  Yuki (Suzy)
Important Places:  Scissor Street (Scissor Street), Lovely-Charmy Salon (Salon Roquet), Pokemon Salon Rokon (N/A)

Takeshi has brought his friends to Scissor Street, a place where many famous Pokemon Breeders are known to gather.  As our heroes walk around, they notice a flashy salon called the Lovely-Charmy Salon that seems to be attracting a lot of attention.  Before long, Takeshi spots the place he had originally been looking for - the Pokemon Salon Rokon owned by a famous Breeder named Yuki - and decides to go inside.  After Takeshi introduces himself to her, he impresses her by earning the trust of her Rokon.  Later, Kasumi brings up the salon they saw earlier.  Yuki explains that potential customers are being drawn away to the gaudy new place, so Satoshi and Takeshi offer to help her attract more customers.  Kasumi, meanwhile, decides to take her Koduck over to the Lovely-Charmy Salon to get a makeover.  As Satoshi and his Pikachu help teach a class on pokemon massage, Kasumi learns that the operators of the Lovely-Charmy Salon are none other than the Rocket-Dan!  The young Gym Leader is kidnapped, but luckily, her Koduck is able to get away and bring the others to the salon.  A battle ensues, and the Rocket-Dan are actually able to hold their own until Yuki appears with her Rokon and has it use Fire Spin to shut down their operation.  Back at Yuki's salon, the Breeder thanks Takeshi for all his work and decides to let him use her Rokon on his journey.  With a new pokemon in hand, Takeshi and the others leave Scissor Street for their next adventure.


Thoughts
I really like this episode.  While the overall episode is a bit on the preachy side, the episode still manages to have enough of the zany, over-the-top randomness that the Kanto episodes are remembered for to keep things interesting.  We get to see a lot of "interesting" fashion, to say the least, Kojirou cross-dressing for a third time, and some really great, rubbery animation.  People who don't really know much about animation will claim that the animation in this show got better when it eventually switched over to digital ink and paint, but that isn't the case at all.  This episode's animation - as in, the way the characters move - beats out many of the modern-day episodes.  It's a shame that all the episodes can't look this good.

I guess if I had to find a problem with this episode, it would be the idea that Rokon defeating the Rocket-Dan somehow causes the fashion-obssessed people on Scissor Street to turn over a new leaf.  Like...if Rokon had been teased throughout this episode for being ugly or whatever, then it showing that looks aren't everything would have actually worked.  But instead, we get a pokemon who's actually praised for its outer beauty show up and shoot fire at a pair of crossdressing villains.  And, somehow, that teaches the townspeople not to judge a book by its cover?  Um...what?

The dubbed version of this episode has a whopping twenty-two paint edits.  Which is the largest number this series has had yet.  Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on.  Though the summary of this episode up on the official website has some amusing errors:

At Brock's persistent request, our heroes stop by Caesar Street, a town of breeders famous for its Pokémon beauty salons.  Brock makes a special request to visit a salon called Coron.  The owner of the Beauty Salon, Coron, is a breeder who has received the most superior ranking in the Pokémon Breeder Contest for three years straight.  Recently, a store called Salon Roquet has been introducing outrageous fashions, making wild profits and disrupting long-term shop-owners.

"Caesar Street" is just flat-out nuts, but what about Coron?  Could it have been a name that 4Kids had considered using for Yuki before settling on Suzy?  It looks like it may have been an attempt to give a nod to the Japanese version by taking Vulpix's Japanese name and then rearranging the letters to make a new name.  And then maybe it was rejected because they thought it was too gross and decided to go the alliteration route instead?  Or maybe I'm looking into things too much and the guy who typed that summary up didn't know what the hell he was talking about.  Who knows?


Nyasu no Uta
replaces Hyaku Gojuu Ichi as the ending theme as of this episode in Japan, while the ending theme for the dub remains the same. 

Paint Edit
As I said before, this episode has 22 paint edits.  Showing images of all twenty-two paint edits would be a bit of a strain for all the dial-up users out there, so I'll just post a few of the more interesting ones on this page and put the rest on its own separate page.  For example,

Japanese English

*deep breath*

On the left side, the katakana that says "Salon" beside the picture of Booster has been erased.  Further down, the vertical sign that says "Free Free" (?) has also had its text erased.  A little bit of illegible text has been removed from the two signs beside the the picture of Beedle.  The Beedle sign got some scribbles erased as well.

In the center, an illegible sign right below the door has had its "text" removed.

On the right, a little bit of the scribbling under the picture of Dodo has been erased.  Further down, the words "Pika Pika" have been removed from between the two images of Pikachu.  Also, the sign in the foreground that says "Pocket Monsters," in English letters, has been changed to read "Pokemon."  Finally, the sign in front of the "Pocket Monsters" building has had its scribbles erased.

And that was just in one shot.

Click here and here to view more pictures of the paint edits in this episode.

Side Note
The title screen in the Japanese episode does the same thing it did in Episode 021; the background music carries over into the title screen, replacing the usual title screen music.  And like in Episode 021, 4Kids ignores what was done in the original version and has the title screen music play like in any other episode. 

Yeah, it's really minor, but I'm kind of desperate to find something to talk about that doesn't have to do with digital paint.

Side Note
For all the paint editing that goes on in this episode, I find it amusing that this particular sign came through intact:


I love how they got the l in "salon" right but screwed up the l in "Sally."

Paint Edit
We get more digital paint!

So here's a shot of the poster advertising the Lovely-Charmy salon.  The name of the salon in the Japanese version, by the way, is taken from Kojirou's final line in the Japanese version of the Rocket-Dan's motto.


Here's the front of the actual salon.  Lots of edits here.

 

Paint Edit
Here's the front of Yuki's salon, "Pokemon Salon Rokon."  It'll be the subject of many other paint edits.


Click here and here to view more pictures of the paint edits in this episode.

Dialogue Edit
In the Japanese version, Musashi and Kojirou give themselves names to go with their beautician disguises.  Musashi is known as "Mademoiselle Mushasshi" while Kojirou is known as "Comment-allez vous Kojironé."  Yes, anyone who knows even the least amount of French knows that Kojirou's nickname doesn't make any sense, but then again, nobody ever said that English was the only language the Japanese could eff up. 

The dub version doesn't give Jessie and James any special code names.  Instead, Jessie just gets this faux French accent that she doesn't bother to keep for more than one half of one line. 

Side Note
This episode also marks the series' first (confirmed) homosexual with the Lucky trainer who visits Yuki and who, later in the episode, greets Kasumi in the streets.  While his name isn't spoken in the actual episode itself, the third book in the Kids Pocket Books Pocket Monsters series identifies the character as Okama-san (オカマさん).  The word okama means "male homosexual," "effeminate man," "male transvestite," or, in certain contexts, "queer" or "fag."



(Yeah, you can argue that "effeminate man" and "male transvestite" doesn't' necessarily translate to "homosexual," but I think the intention here is fairly obvious).

The amazing part of all this is that 4Kids pretty much kept the character intact.  And when you consider that this episode was dubbed in the era of the Cloverway dub of Sailor Moon, the fact that a gay character wasn't "censored" for an American release is a pretty big deal..

Dialogue Edit
A
t Suzy's Salon:

Misty:  "I love its hair!  I wish I had hair like Vulpix that looks so shiny and soft.

Kasumi says all of that as well, but she also asks for permission to touch Rokon.  Misty isn't quite as polite in the dub.

Brock:  "The sensational Suzy of Scissor Street has been awarded the trophy for excellence at the World Pokémon Breeder's Contest for three consecutive years!  Wait...there's more!  Lights.  In addition to that, the readers of Pokémon Friends Magazine named her the most popular Breeder four years running!  And her hugely popular website records over 10,000 hits per day!"

There are a couple of things worth mentioning here.  For one thing, the only achievement that both Yuki and Suzy have in common is the first one (and even that has some embellishments here and there).  Everything else was invented by 4Kids; originally, the other two achievements were being named "Trainer of the Year" the previous year and being named the Number One Breeder for four years in a row.  The whole "website" thing is a dub invention.

Misty:  "Ha!  Anyway, Psyduck and I are so cute we'll look good whatever fashion we wear!"
Ash:  "I'm sure Psyduck will."
Misty:  "What do you know about fashion!?"

In the original, Satoshi asks who the cute one she was referring to is supposed to be.  Kasumi replies that she's the cute one.  Which is why she's pointing at herself as she's shouting.

I have no idea why the dub would change this since it's a perfectly translatable bit of dialogue.

Dare da?
The pokemon used in the eyecatch in both versions is the same, but the Japanese version uses a different picture of Rokon.

Japanese English

I like the Japanese one a bit better (surprise!) because it actually focuses on the tails that the pokemon gets its name from.  That, and it's not the same old stock art we'll be seeing pop up again and again and again.

Side Note
So you know the makeover Kasumi gets in this episode?  Well, it's actually based on a real-life Japanese fashion trend known as "Shinorer" (シノラー).


In Japan - just like anywhere else, really - it's not uncommon for teenage girls to imitate celebrity fashion.  And when that happens, a new word to refer to this fashion is created by taking the first two syllables of the celebrity's name and adding ラー (-rer) to it.  So we get words like "Amurer" (from Amuro Namie), "Kaharer" (from Kahara Tomomi), and "Chanler" (people who enjoy Chanel products).

"Shinorer" is based on the fashion of Shinohara Tomoe, a singer / talent / actress / designer / music producer.   The English version of her Wikipedia page doesn't really go into any detail about her fashion, but the Japanese entry does.  Here's my translation of part of it:

シノラーの構成要素は、お団子頭で前髪パッツン、原色のかたまりのような服(初期は SUPER LOVERS)、ハーフパンツにサスペンダー、くしゃくしゃ靴下にごつい靴(初期はドクターマーチン)、変な化粧、100円ショップで売っている無意味にキラキラしているアクセサリー、おもちゃの腕輪と指輪、腕時計、縁日露店で売っている腕パッチン(篠原曰く「ミラクル・パッチン」)とカメレオン棒、おもちゃをいっ ぱいに詰め込んだポシェット、ゴーグル、そしてランドセル。以上の品をランダムに身に付ける。

The characteristics of Shinorer fashion are straight, choppy bangs, layered clothing that features bright, primary colors (similar to the UK-inspired fashion trend Super Lovers), shorts and suspenders, crumpled socks paired with hard shoes (similar to Doc Martens), strange make-up, glittery dollar store accessories, toy bracelets and rings, wristwatches, arm patches like the ones sold at carnival booths, pockets crammed with toys, goggles, and knapsacks.


Seems like a pretty good fit to me.

Now, let's talk about the Rocket-Dan's outfits:


The inspiration for these two came from the characters in Ikeda Riyouko's famous series The Rose of Versailles.  Kojirou's costume seems to be based on the character of Oscar François de Jarjayes while Musashi is dressed like her love interest, André Grandier.  One of the jokes here is that in The Rose of Versailles, Oscar is a woman who is raised as a boy while here, Kojirou is a man dressing like a woman.

Ikeda Riyouko's series will also serve as the inspiration for other characters as well, so this won't be the last time we see these costumes.

Paint Edit
During the big battle at the end of the episode, a few of the signs behind Yuki and the others get their text erased in various shots.


I think my favorite paint edit of the episode, though, is this scene transition.


In the Japanese version, this is a close-up of Yuki's salon that serves as a transition from the scene outside the Lovely-Charmy Salon to the scene inside the Pokemon Salon Rokon.  But since this text was erased for the dub, it becomes this random, boring shot of an orange awning.  Would dub viewers really have had any reason to associate this orange awning with Suzy's shop?

It reminds me a lot of a comment Chris Psaros made on his DBZ Uncensored site long, long ago:

Various shots of Yamucha's body being shown on the TV screen are censored to show an empty crater. Kind of makes you wonder why the film crew would bother getting such uninteresting footage.

Click here and here to view more pictures of the paint edits in this episode.

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