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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 040: "The Four Eevee Brothers"
American Episode 137: "The Battling Eevee Brothers"
Pokemon Dare Da? Eevee
Japanese Air Date: April 16th, 1998
American Air Date: October 27th, 1998
Important Characters: Taichi (Mikey), Mizuki (Rainer), Raizou (Sparky), Atsushi (Pyro)
Important Places: Stone Town (Stone Town), Shinka Yama (Evolution Mountain)
As Satoshi and his friends are walking through the woods, they come across an Eevee wearing a leash tied to a tree. Kasumi notices it has a name tag and therefore a trainer, so our heroes decide to return the pokemon to its owner. When they arrive at the address printed on the tag, they see that a party is being held for pokemon who can evolve with Evolution Stones! Satoshi and his friends are confronted by the three brothers of the Eevee's trainer after they recognize the pokemon as belonging to their brother and thank them for returning it. At that moment, its trainer, Taichi, steps forward. Taichi's brothers all try to convince him to evolve his Eevee into one of three forms (Showers, Thunders, or Booster) but Taichi likes his Eevee just the way it is. Suddenly, the Rocket-Dan swoop down on the party and steal Taichi's Eevee! As the Rocket-Dan make their getaway, Kasumi's Tattsu spits out ink behind it, leaving a trail for Satoshi and his friends to follow. Once everyone catches up to them, Taichi's brothers battle the Rocket-Dan with their evolved pokemon. Matadogasu and Arbok eventually gain the upper hand, so Satoshi and the others decide to help out. Once Eevee is freed, Taichi decides to have it participate in its first battle. Despite his brothers' insistence that unevolved pokemon are too weak to win battles, Taichi is able to lead his Eevee to victory. The party in Stone Town resumes, and Taichi's brothers decide to let Taichi train his pokemon however he wants.
It's kind of cute to look back at this episode and watch as it boasts about how Eevee can evolve into (only) three pokemon. Things weren't so complicated back then, and I think that's part of what allows this episode to cover so many aspects of stone-based evolutions as well as it does. I also liked was how all three of our heroes, by this point, have a pokemon who can evolve via evolution stone. I don't know if this kind of thing was planned beforehand or what, but it's pretty interesting nonetheless.
I also noticed how Kasumi's Starmie, a pokemon who would have needed to have used a Water Stone in order to evolve, was completely left out of the argument between her friends and Taichi's brothers. Its trainer clearly doesn't have a problem with using stones to evolve pokemon (she seems eager to use a Water Stone to evolve Eevee while she's carrying it over to Taichi's house), yet we don't really get to see her weigh in on the issue. Did the writers not want to complicate things by having her get involved? Or did they want to give Taichi someone to talk to and figure that Kasumi, a girl who has three older siblings of her own, would be the perfect person for the job? Could they not find a way to have her do both?
The only other thing I can think to mention about this episode is the fact that Tattsu actually does something for pretty much the first (and last) time ever. I especially liked how the Rocket-Dan put the pokemon in its own special cage and then positioned it in a way that all it could do was leave an ink trail for everyone to follow. Did the trio want to get caught or something? Why didn't they cram it into one of the bigger cages with all the other pokemon? And why am I asking so many questions?
I really cannot stand the voices 4Kids gave to Mikey's three brothers, especially Pyro. Thank God these characters never showed up in any other episode produced by 4Kids. I do like, however, the fact that 4Kids took the effort to recreate the puns present in the brothers' names. I don't know if I've ever met anyone in real life with any of those names, but at least they tried.
Eevee keeps its Japanese voice.
The first alteration occurs when everyone sees Eevee for the first time:
Misty: "Why is it tied up like that?"
Brock: "It's been abandoned."
Misty: "No way!"
Ash: "You mean that someone just left it here alone?"
Misty: "That's cruel!"
Ash and Misty are quick to believe what Brock says, but Satoshi and Kasumi aren't as easy to convince. When Takeshi brings up the possibility that it's been abandoned, Satoshi says that if it was, then why would someone go to the trouble of leaving it food and water? (Waza waza esa to mizu made oite?). Kasumi agrees that the "it's been abandoned" theory doesn't really make sense.
And here's an odd piece of trivia: In the tenth volume of the Pocket Monsters Film Comic, Takeshi mentions that seeing Eevee like that reminds him of Hitokage, a line that isn't in the actual episode itself. Could that have been a line that was in the original draft of the script but was then rewritten? Or was the line just an invention of the people who put the film comic together?
In any case, the dub decides to let Ash and Misty ignore the whole "food and water" thing so they can agree with Brock.
The tag that Taichi's Eevee is wearing gets some digital paint.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
The English tag has almost all the information included in the Japanese tag; the only thing missing is the trainer's name. At the bottom of the Japanese tag, Taichi's name is written out, but "Mikey" is nowhere to be found on the English tag.
Team Rocket = Dialogue Edit, apparently.
Meowth: "It says here Stone Town has these special stones that help Pokémon evolve."
James: "Baloney! That's why we came to Evolution Mountain. To get some of those special stones. And I couldn't find a single stone anywhere!"
Originally, Kojirou states that they had been digging for ten days (which I guess explains why they have laundry hanging up and everything?) but still haven't been able to find any evolution stones. The dub omits the "ten days" part.
Next, Pyro boasts about how great Flareon is:
Pyro: "A Fire Stone'll make it a Flareon! With a blazing flame attack released from its internal fire sac, Flareon's the strongest evolutionary choice of all!"
Haha, he said "sac."
Anyway, in the Japanese version, Atsushi tells us that the flame attack released from its fire sac can reach temperatures of 1,700º Celsius (a little over 3,000º Fahrenheit), a statement that mirrors those made in the games' Pokemon Zukan entries.
I'd blame the desire to match the lip flaps for this omission, but the fact that the lip sync in this particular scene is pretty awful as it is (due partly because of the post-Pokemon Shock slow motion effect) makes me feel like it wouldn't have mattered one way or the other.
Mizuki's magazine gets edited. The two in the middle are pretty small, even when blown up to their full size, but you should still be able to see that 4Kids went to the trouble of editing those shots as well.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
The text on the magazine reads Pokemon no Tomo Bessatsu (ポケモンの友 別冊), or "Pokemon Friend - Supplemental Issue." The text on the lower left-hand side says tokushuu (特集), or "Special Edition." The stuff at the bottom of the Butterfree silhouette is just random scribbles.
It's actually a fairly good looking edit, particularly for a magazine that's only on-screen for just a few seconds. I still hate the practice of replacing Japanese text and think it's the dumbest thing ever, but I can at least give 4Kids credit for not half-assing it.
Right before the commercial break,
Brock: "You like your way of evolving and we like ours."
Ash: "That's the way to tell them, Brock."
There's a pun during this scene in the Japanese version that couldn't be translated into English. Takeshi's line is Ore no kokoro wa ima iwa pokemon da! (俺の心はいま岩ポケモンだ！), or "I have the heart of rock (iwa) pokemon!" I guess he's saying that his determination is as strong as a rock? *shrugs* Anyway, Satoshi responds by saying Ishi ga katai tte koto ne (意志が固いってことね), or "I think 'determination' (ishi) is stronger, right?" The pun here is that it sounds like Satoshi is saying that ishi (石), which means "stone," is stronger than rocks (iwa) but that he's actually saying "determination" (also ishi).
Again, there's no way this could have been translated into English, so 4Kids decided to give Brock a normal line.
A dialogue edit that continue to crop up during the second half of the episode involves the Rocket-Dan and their newfound love for the word "victory."
Jessie: "From now on, we'll be known as Team Rocket Champions of the World."
James: "Champions...of the entire world!"
As I'm sure you're aware, Eevee's name is basically just a pronunciation of the first two letters in the word evolution, e and v. The second letter, v, apparently reminds the Rocket-Dan of the V-sign (a gesture Americans like myself tend to refer to as the "peace sign"), so the trio spends the second half of the episode declaring that they'll be the "Lovely Victory na Rocket-Dan."
The dub changes this to "champion" for reasons that I can't even begin to comprehend.
James: "How did you ever find us all the way out here?"
Meowth: "Yeah, it's the first time we didn't mess up!"
Misty: "Well, you see, Horsea spit out a trail of ink to show us the way. Pretty smart, huh?"
Horsea: "Horsea! Sea!"
James: "Unbelievable! That little squirt's screwed up our perfect plan!"
Kojirou's final line in this dialogue is Shimatta misu ttaa! Sumizumi made kanpeki ni shitokun datta~! (しまったミスとー！スミズミまで完璧にしとくんだったー！). That all roughly translates to "Dammit, we messed up! Every detail of our plan was perfect!" The pun here is that sumizumi (隅々), which is kind of difficult to translate directly but carries a meaning of "every inch of" or "the length and breadth of," sounds an awful lot like sumi (墨), or "ink."
James' "that little squirt" pun is actually a pretty decent substitute that captures the feel of the original pun. Nice job, 4Kids.
A few lines later, Misty calls Jessie "an old hag." In the Japanese version, she calls her obaasan, which means "grandma" or "old woman."
Later, at the end of the battle:
Mikey: "Rage Tackle attack!"
I'm pointing this out to say that this isn't some weird mistranslation on 4Kids' part. The attack that Taichi calls out in Japanese is Ikari no Taiatari, or "Rage Tackle!" If you're the kind of fan who takes things way too literally, you'd think the TV show was trying to invent some new attack. But really, Taichi is just ordering his Eevee to use a Tackle attack powered by the anger it's feeling after seeing its friends beaten down.
It's like "dodge." No one is claiming that there's a "Dodge" attack, because that's dumb. No, the trainers who issue this command are just telling their pokemon to get out of the way. Nothing more, nothing less. The same thing is going on here with "Rage Tackle attack."
Back at the party,
Misty: "I'm sure you'll become a great Eevee trainer. Friends forever?"
Mikey: "Friends forever!"
In Japan, Kasumi doesn't pledge her eternal friendship to this little boy she only just met a few hours before. Instead, the two of them promise to continue doing their best.
Misty: "That's so sweet. It must be nice to have big brothers."
Ash: "You could pass for my brother!"
(Misty hits Ash over the head)
Brock: "Grasshopper have little sense, but big mouth."
Pikachu: "Pika Pika."
Originally, Takeshi's line is Poppo mo nakazuba utaremai ni... (ポッポも鳴かずば撃たれまいに…). It's a play on a Japanese proverb, Kiji mo nakazuba utaremai ni... (キジも鳴かずば撃たれまいに…). All of that, when translated literally, means "if the pheasant hadn't chirped (squawked?), it wouldn't have gotten shot." Best I can tell, it comes from a story of the same name (Kiji mo Nakazuba Utaremai ni) about a young boy who finds out, the hard way, the importance of avoiding unnecessary talk to prevent disaster. I couldn't find an English translation of the story anywhere, but those of you who can read Japanese can check out the Japanese version here.
In this episode of Pocket Monsters, Takeshi replaces the word pheasant (kiji) with Poppo, a bird pokemon. I would think that Kamonegi is closer to a pheasant than a Poppo, but that's beside the point. His pokemon-ified version (for lack of a better "word") of the proverb carries the same meaning; don't say unnecessary things (i.e. "Kasumi would make a fine boy") if you want to prevent disaster (Kasumi hitting you on the head).
The dubbed version ignores all this in favor of having Eric Stuart do his best Keye Luke impersonation. It's kind of funny in its own right, I guess, but the line in the Japanese version makes more sense to me since it doesn't include Takeshi doing a random impersonation for no reason.
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