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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 030

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 030:  "Do Coil Dream of Electric Mice!?"
American Episode 129:  "Sparks Fly for Magnemite"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Coil
Japanese Air Date:  October 21st, 1997
American Air Date:  October 16th, 1998
Important People:  Philip (???), Dick (???)
Important Places:  Gunjo City (Gringy City)

Satoshi and his friends have arrived in Gunjo City, a city ruined by pollution.  As our heroes pass through, Pikachu falls ill and is taken to the Pokemon Center.  The Center's Joi diagnoses the pokemon with a cold and prepares to treat it when the Center's power suddenly goes out!  Fearing for the lives of the pokemon, Satoshi-tachi head toward the city's power plant to investigate.  There, they come across a Coil who appears to be infatuated with Pikachu!  Suddenly, a number of Betobeta drop down from the vents in the ceiling and threaten to overcome our heroes!  Satoshi and his friends make a run for it and eventually find their way to the control room.  The on-duty workers there reveal that the Betobeta are causing a blockage that's preventing the sea water from powering the generators' turbines.  It becomes clear that the pokemon need to go, but our heroes are outnumbered!  Suddenly, a group of Coil and Rarecoil appear and drive the Betobeta away!  As the power is restored, our heroes find that a single Betobeton is left, so Satoshi captures it in a Monster Ball.  Later, Pikachu cold appears to have gone away, and the power plant workers guess that the electric mouse pokemon simply had too much electricity stored inside its body.  This extra electricity, they determine, was causing Pikachu to become magnetized and therefore attractive to the Coil.  Now that Pikachu is back to normal and the power has been restored to Gunjo City, our heroes resume on their journey to the next Gym.

The Kanto episodes can be really dumb sometimes.

Look at this episode, for example.  The power in the city goes out due to an infestation of pokemon.  So far so good, right?  Then, a police officer sends a group of kids who she's never met before to the power plant to take care of everything.  Instead of, y'know, going herself or calling some sort of maintenance personnel.  Once there, the kids enter the unlocked power plant, meet the workers who had already figured out the problem, and then just pretty much stand there as a bunch of Coil and Rarecoil take care of everything for them.

Finally, the nurse and the police officer get lectured by these kids about how they need to stop it with all the pollution.  Because, you know, they're elitist pricks like that.

Yet, this episode still manages to be fun.

I dunno...I guess I like episodes where our heroes find themselves in scary situations.  I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something about seeing our heroes dropping their confidence and actually acting like scared little ten year olds that keeps me glued to the TV.  The revelation that Pikachu has abandonment issues is also pretty fascinating - even if it never really plays out ever again - as is the unique ways in which that species gets sick.

I'm also a little amused / annoyed that Satoshi relies on Pikachu so much throughout this episode.  I mean...you do have five other pokemon, Satoshi.  Pikachu is far from being your "last hope."

The title of the Japanese version of this episode, "Do Coil Dream of Electric Mice!?," is based on the Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"  The novel would later become the basis for the film Blade Runner.  The book deals with a world ruined by postwar radioactive fallout, while Pocket Monster's Gunjo City appears to have been ruined - to a much less serious degree - by post-industrial pollution.  Another reference shows up in the power plant workers, who, together, share the name of the novel's author.  The duo's name is never actually said aloud in the episode itself, but it is given in the ani-manga as well as that Kids Pocket Books Pocket Monsters book that I'm always referencing.

Dick (left) and Philip (right)

In case you're wondering, Dick is the one on the left and Philip is the one on the right. 

The dubbed version actually uses the words "kill" ("Meowth!  You nearly killed us, you dimwit!") and "die" ("Lots of Pokémon are gonna die at the Pokémon Center if the power doesn't come back soon!"), words that are pretty much avoided at all costs in just about every other episode.  I'm not complaining, of course; I just think it's oddly out-of-character for the dubbers to let the characters say that.  And is it just me, or does Professor Oak sound really, really off in this episode? 

Dialogue Edit
After Jessie and James get air pumped into their suits:

Meowth:  "This thing pumps in a mixture of oxygen...and air freshener."

Originally, Nyasu doesn't say a word about any air freshener; he simply states that oxygen is being pumped into their suits.

Paint Edit
The button that Satoshi presses to get Joi's attention has ご用の方は押してね!("Press the button for service") written on it.  It's erased for the dub.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
You know how I was saying, earlier, that the dub kept in several mentions of death?

Well, they missed one.

Ash:  "What happened to these Pokémon?"
Nurse Joy:  "They're in intensive care.  If we don't get the power back soon...well I just don't want to think about what would happen."

Originally, Joi says that if they don't get the power back, the pokemon's lives will be in danger.

They sort of indirectly say the same thing in the dub, but it's not quite the same.

Dialogue Edit
The "Meowth as a nurse" thing (a scene that at least one person found offensive) was actually an untranslatable pun:

Meowth:  "There they go!  Now we're in luck!  We got another chance!"

In Japanese, Nyasu says わざわい転じて服はナースにゃ!  This is a play on the proverb わざわい転じて福はなす, which translates to something like "turn misfortune into fortune" or "bad luck often brings good luck."  What Nyasu does here is replace the word 福 (fuku, or "fortune") with 服 (fuku, or "clothes") and なす (nasu, or "to change into") with ナース (naasu, or "nurse").

So basically, Nyasu dresses up in nurse's clothes because he mentions "clothes" and "nurse" in his new reworking of that old proverb.

There's no way 4Kids could have come up with anything without it sounding awkward, so they just made it a normal line instead.

Paint Edit
The sign at the front desk of the power plant got its text changed.  Originally, it said 守衛室 ("guard room"), but the dub changed it to CAUTION.

Japanese English

Later, the text saying 案内図 ("guide map") has been erased.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
The word that Satoshi mistakes for "stalker" (sutooka), in the Japanese version, is "skirt" (sukaato).  In the dub, this is changed to "streaker," most likely because the word "skirt," when not pronounced with a Japanese accent, doesn't sound anything like the word "stalker."

Later, when the Betobeta appear, you can hear some rather loud sloshing noises coming from the pokemon.  While these are still present in the dub, they're barely audible because of the music they have constantly playing in the background.  The Japanese version, on the other hand, doesn't have any music playing.

Video Edit
For some reason, the impact star that appears when Satoshi and his friends run into Philip and Dick gets changed for the dub.

Japanese English

*scratches head*

Does this make any sense to you?

Dialogue Edit
The reason for this edit, on the other hand, should be pretty easy to spot:

Nurse Joy:  "Hang in there.  Those kids are going to get the power back on real soon, I'm sure.  At least...I hope so."

Joy's line "At least...I hope so" was originally お願い、神様 ("Please, God..."). 

Also, Joi, in the Japanese version, sounds a lot more scared and worried about the pokemon than her English counterpart.

Finally, we get this really really stupid change:

Misty:  "Hold on!  There's still one left!"
Ash:  "An adult Muk!  And its child!"

Ash...can't you count?  Misty clearly says that there's one Muk in that room, not two.

In the Japanese version, Satoshi doesn't say anything during that second shot of the Betobeton. 

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