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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 036
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 036:  "The Stormy Cycling Road"
American Episode 134:  "The Bridge Bike Gang"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Parushen
Japanese Air Date:  December 2nd, 1997
American Air Date:  October 23rd, 1998
Important Characters:  Mika (Tyra), Masa (Chopper), unnamed police officer (Norman)

Important Places:  Cycling Road (bicycle path), Sunny Town (Sunny Town)

In order to get to their next destination, Satoshi and his friends have the option of using a recently completed bridge.  However, when they arrive at the entrance, the police officer there tells them that only cyclists are allowed to cross.  After determining that buying a new bicycle would be prohibitively expensive, the young trainers go to a Pokemon Center to come up with a plan.  The Joi there notices their sullen faces and offers to let them use the Center's bikes to cross the bridge if they'll deliver medicine to a sick pokemon in Sunny Town.  The trio agrees, and before long they're crossing the bridge on a pair of bicycles.  Suddenly, they are stopped by a bicycle gang and are forced into a series of pokemon battles.  A match between Kasumi and a gang member is interrupted when the Rocket-Dan ride into the scene.  Before long, Satoshi and his friends learn that Musashi and Kojirou were once a part of the bicycling gang and that the other members view them as respected upperclassmen.  The wailing of police sirens scares the punks off, allowing the medicine delivery to continue unimpeded.  A storm begins to brew, but Satoshi and his friends press on anyway.  The bicycle gang becomes impressed by the trainers' guts, so its members escort them the rest of the way to Sunny Town.  With the Cycling Road behind them, Satoshi and his friends can complete their delivery and get back on the road to resume their adventure.


When I was younger, I remember watching this episode and being confused by the overall premise behind it.  There's this unfinished bridge that doesn't seem to even reach the other side, yet the bicycling path part of it is already complete?  Is that really the way bridges are built?  Smaller bicycle path, and then larger car path?  And then, later, this whole squad of police cars and motor bikes arrive on the scene to stop the Rocket-Dan and the bike gang from attacking Satoshi.  So, the bridge is finished now?  And then, there's a bascule bridge further down the path?  What?

The Cycling Road in the games is based on the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, so I'm assuming that the bridge in the TV series is based on the same thing.  Since the road was opened a little over two weeks after this episode premiered in Japan (December 18th, 1997), I suppose it is possible that the near-finished status of the bridge in the episode is meant to mirror the near-finished status of the bridge in the real world.  Who knows?

Despite the amount of head scratching I was doing, I still enjoyed this one.  The battles were amusing (if not a bit illogical; Fushigidane loses against Golonya, but Hitokage doesn't?), the "villains" of the episode were fun, and the nice bit of continuity with Kasumi remembering her fried bicycle was a very welcome addition.

The bike gang in this episode is an amusing parody of bousouzoku, which are these stereotypical bike gangs in Japan.  The twist here, of course, is that instead of being real badasses and riding around on motorbikes, the guys and gals in this episode ride around on regular old bicycles instead.  Is there anything less threatening than a gang of people riding around on bicycles?  It's a completely ridiculous premise, but I think it works perfectly here.

It's hard to remember when there was a ever time when the Rocket-Dan's past wasn't so convoluted and filled with contradictions, yet here we are.  Up to this point, the only thing we know about the duo's past is that they both attended the same school and that they were both in a bicycle gang, and that simplicity is just fine by me.  The show and its sequels will gradually add more and more details, making things up as they go along and making it impossible to pinpoint when anything took place, so I'm actually cherishing this era when their pasts weren't so messed up.

This is also the very first episode in the entire series where Kasumi pulls Takeshi away from a girl by his ear.  I'll bet the people who wrote those Jouto episodes freakin' worship the guy who introduced the gag here.

The English version is pretty decent, by Kanto standards.  There's some weird music replacement going on - including swapping out one piece of Japanese music for another - but there isn't anything too horrible here.  Norman's (gee, I wonder who he's named after?) voice is a little too nasally for my tastes, but he's such a minor character that it doesn't really matter.

Paint Edit

Some Japanese text is removed from the opening shots of the episode.

Japanese English

Click here to view more pictures from the scene.

You know, if I wasn't always on the lookout for this kind of thing, I swear I would have missed it.  A lot of these edits are so tiny and are only on-screen for a brief moment that one wonders why they even bother.

Dialogue Edit

Food edits, in Pokémon?

Misty:  "I want a hot dog!"
Brock:  "I want a deep-dish extra cheese pizza!  Mmm!"

Originally, Kasumi said she wanted to have curry while Takeshi wanted to have either ochazuke (the same food Kojirou was having in "Full of Digda!") or pancakes.

I've also noticed that Eric Stuart really seems to ham it up whenever his character is given a line that's been rewritten to cover up the existence of Japanese food.  It's almost as if he's aware of how ridiculous he'll sound and figures that if he has to deliver lines like this, he might as well have fun with it.

Side Note
Oddly enough, the dub never actually refers to the setting of this episode as the Cycling Road.  Norman, the officer at the front of the bridge, calls it the "bicycle path," but after that they just keep referring to it as "the bridge."  By contrast, the Japanese version identifies the setting three times - in the episode title, during the police officer's dialogue, and during the ending narration.

I think most people could gather that the road they're on is the Cycling Road even without the dub directly telling us, but it's still weird that they wouldn't bring it up in the dub.  Was 4Kids not aware that the setting of this episode was an in-game location or something?

Dialogue Edit
Norman also tells Satoshi and his friends that they're about 20 kilometers away from Sunny Town, which is roughly twelve miles.  In the dub, Ash is told that Sunny Town is over ten miles away.

Paint Edit
The poster inside the Pokemon Center gets its text erased.  Had the dub left the text alone, we would have seen the letters P M (for Pocket Monsters, obviously) followed by ピカピカ ("pika pika").

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

I also have to say that the Joi who works there has some strange tastes when it comes to decorating.  A Pigeot engulfed in flame, a creepy eyebrow Kamonegi randomly paired with a Jugon, and a Ghost with a horribly off-model Ghos?  Was that really the best she could come up with?

Dialogue Edit
After finally getting on their bikes:

Ash:  "Hurry up guys!"
Misty:  "Brock, I'm doing all the pedaling!"
Brock:  "Hm."

Takeshi isn't made to out to be such a slacker in the Japanese version.  Kasumi just expresses her disappointment that she's having to ride a tandem bike instead of getting one all to herself.

In the second half of the episode, the bicycle gang gives nicknames to their mentors.  Musashi is called anego (ア ネゴ) while Kojirou is called aniki (ア ニキ).  The terms basically mean "big sister" and "big brother," but not in the sense that you'd call one of your parents' child a brother or sister.  Think of it kind of like how fraternity members call each other brother.   In the dub, they're called "Big Jess" and "Little Jim." 

Likewise, their nicknames when they were in the bicycle gang were different, too; Musashi was known as Cheen no Musashi (チェーンのムサシ, or "Chain Musashi") and Kojirou was known as Hojorin no Kojirou (補助輪の コジロウ, or "Training Wheels Kojirou").  In the dub, they're "Chainer Jessie" and "Trainer James."

During the storm:

Meowth:  "I wish I could go with ya!"
Chopper:  "Meowth, we'd never leave you behind!"

In the Japanese version, Masa calls Nyasu "neko-ni-koban sensei."  "Neko ni koban" is a Japanese proverb that's most similarly compared to the English language proverb "pearls before swine," and an image that's often paired with the phrase is that of a maneki neko (招き猫, or "beckoning cat").  The character of Nyasu is based on the maneki neko.

So long story short, Masa is calling Nyasu "Mr. Beckoning Cat" because, well, he looks like one.

Finally, at the end of the episode, the gang says they'll call Ash "Awesome Ash" and Misty "Mighty Misty."  Originally, they say they'll call them aniki and anego, basically putting them on the same level as Musashi and Kojirou.  But since the dub decided to give each person unique nicknames, that bit is lost in the English version.

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