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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 042
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 042:  "Showdown!  Pokemon Gym!"
American Episode 139:  "Showdown at Dark City"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Strike
Japanese Air Date:  April 30th, 1998
American Air Date:  October 30th, 1998
Important Characters:  Yas (???), Kas (???)
Important Places:  Dark City (Dark City), Yas Gym (Yas Gym), Kas Gym (Kas Gym)

Satoshi and his friends arrive in Dark City, a place being terrorized by a gang war between the Yas Gym and the Kas Gym.  The two organizations are competing to become official Pokemon Gyms, and their battles are causing collateral damage throughout the city!  The Rocket-Dan enter the restaurant Satoshi and his friends had taken refuge in and start making demands, so the young trainers chase them off.  A recruiter from the Yas Gym sees the battle and is impressed, so she decides to take them to her gym.  There, the gym's leader decides to test their strength with his Strike.  As the pokemon thrashes about, it inadvertently sends a spray of ketchup into its eyes, causing everything around it to go red.  The pokemon goes into a rampage and is recalled, baffling Satoshi and his friends.  Eventually, they realize that the color red makes the gangs' pokemon go berserk and decides to use that knowledge to their advantage.  After the trainers set up a few traps around the city, they wait for the two gyms to meet again to continue their brawl.  This time, Satoshi and the citizens of Dark City dump everyone with a red liquid, confusing the gyms' pokemon and causing mass confusion.  After the pokemon knock themselves out, the two gym leaders see the error of their ways and vow to help restore all the damage they've done to the city.  With Dark City now on the road to recovery, Satoshi and his friends are free to go on to their next adventure.

This episode is an odd one for me.  It kind of dips its toes in the pool of off-the-wall insanity that episodes like "Hypno's Naptime" dive into headfirst, but it never really takes us to the batshit insane places that this show has been known to drag us.  I blame this on the desire to adhere, even if it's only loosely, to the plot of the movie on which this episode is based.  If it wasn't for the basic structure outlined by Kurosawa Akira's Yojimbo, this episode could have been a lot more entertaining.

That's not to say that this episode isn't at least a little bit crazy!  The choice of spotlighted pokemon is strange (I'm imagining a giant poster with two darts thrown haphazardly at "Elebuu" and "Strike"), but not as much as their weaknesses.  The color red causes Elebuu and Strike to go berserk, yet both gyms have the color red in their logos.  So why aren't the pokemon attacking everyone wearing a gym uniform?  Especially the Kas uniform, which includes red gloves, boots, and collars?  How about Sawamura's boxing gloves?  Kingler's body?  And why does the ketchup Strike stupidly gets squirt in its eyes make it see red, anyway?  I'm not going to attack my eyes with a packet of ketchup to test this out, but I'm pretty sure squirting condiments in your eyes will temporarily blind you, not make everything go all monochromatic on you.

Speaking of ketchup, I'm questioning why Pikachu suddenly likes ketchup, why everyone seems to be in love with the fact that it likes ketchup, and why it's pretty much dropped after this episode.  I think its love for ketchup is brought up again like once or twice after this episode, but everyone acts like it's this "thing" that's some major aspect of Pikachu's character and is brought up all the time.

But the most bizarre thing, to me, is the fact that the inspector from the Pokemon League ends up being Joi, of all people.  Doesn't that seem a bit strange?  Like, why is a nurse going around and judging whether or not an organization is good enough to be counted as an official gym?  Wouldn't she be too busy being a nurse and taking care of sick pokemon to go around sipping coffee through face masks and making custom-made Monster Balls?

I do like the episode, though, even though I don't understand a lot of it.  I especially like the setting just because of how different it is.  This episode uses a much darker color palette than most, and that really makes it stand out more than the hundreds of episodes that take place in the middle of a bright and cloudless day.  Seeing Takeshi's Rokon single-handedly take out the Rocket-Dan is also a great treat.

And here's something I didn't know before starting work on this comparison.  Apparently, Yas and Kas are actually the names of the leaders of both their gyms, according to Volume 11 of the Pocket Monsters Film Comic.  I had always just thought of them as "the Yas Gym Leader" and "the Kas Gym Leader," but I guess their names are actually supposed to be, simply, Yas and Kas.  Huh.

Yas Kas

I remember watching the dub back in the day and being really confused by this episode, but I guess that's to be expected when the source of all the homages isn't really all that apparent.  The other thing I wanted to mention was the voice acting. Kas' voice sounds to me - and I mean this in the least derogatory way possible - like a mentally handicapped person.  This is honestly the only way I can think to describe it.  I guess 4Kids was trying to go a kind of "bumbling henchman" thing that was so prevalent in American cartoons from the 80s and early 90s, but it sounds more like one of those awful stereotypical "retard voices" you hear in shows like South Park and Family Guy instead.  The restaurant owner's voice, on the other hand, is hilariously awful because it sounds like he's bored out of his skull the whole time.  Wake up, man!

Elebuu keeps its funny, funny Japanese voice.

Side Note
The basic plot of this episode is an homage to Kurosawa Akira's 1961 classic Yojimbo (用心棒), or "Bodyguard."


The plot of Yojimbo is going to seem very familiar to those who have watched this episode of Pocket Monsters.  In Kurosawa's film, a masterless samurai who takes on the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro wanders into a dreary town being ravaged by a gang war between a silk merchant named Tazaemon and and a saké merchant named Tokuemon.  After the main character is hired as a bodyguard (or "yojimbo") for each side, he decides that both are equally distasteful and decides to manipulate them to destroy one another.

In addition to copying the basic plot of the movie, this episode has a lot of little homages sprinkled throughout the episode.  Sanjuro's choice of a nickname comes from a field of flowers he sees outside, not unlike how Satoshi uses the food in the restaurant as the basis for his pseudonym.  The outfits Musashi and Kojirou wear when they enter the restaurant at the beginning of the episode are very reminiscent of Sanjuro's clothes.  Sanjuro watches the citizens of the town perched atop a tower; Satoshi does so on the top of a roof.  Satoshi's attack by the Yas pokemon is very reminiscent of Sanjuro's beating after a letter of thanks gets intercepted.  Saké gets spilled in Yojimbo, while some unidentified red liquid gets spilled in Pocket Monsters.  I could go on and on.

In addition to all this, some Japanese fansites state that a working title of this episode was "Pokemon Yojimbo" (ポケモンようじんぼう), or "Pokemon Bodyguard."  They don't really state their sources so it's an unconfirmed rumor, but it's pretty interesting to think about if it's true.

The movie is over on Netflix and is being sold through retailers like Amazon, so check it out if you ever get the chance.  It can be a little slow at times and some of the makeup work is kind of distracting, but it's a solid film with a great lead actor and an awesome soundtrack.

Paint Edits
The first paint edit of the episode, believe it or not, isn't from that big "Dark City" sign at the start of the episode.  It's from this pan of the city instead.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

The text, which you'll actually be able to read if you click on the image to enlarge it, says resutoran (レストラン), or "restaurant."

Dialogue Edit
Introduction time!

Ash:  "My name's Ash.  I wanna become the world's greatest Pokémon Master."
Brock:  "I'm Brock, and I wanna become the world's best Pokémon Breeder."
Misty:  "And I'm gonna be the world's best everything.  My name's Misty."

Here, Kasumi tells the young boys that she's the world's most beautiful girl.  Which, if you remember, is the same line she uses to introduce herself in the second episode.

Also, Satoshi mentions that he's traveling around to reach his goals, but Ash doesn't mention this.

Paint Edit
The little signs inside the restaurant telling patrons what items are available to order get completely removed from the walls.

Japanese English

Click here to view more pictures from the scene.

Dialogue Edit
4Kids goes into their "let's rewrite Team Rocket's dialogue" mode.  There's a lot going on here, so I think it'll be easier if I just show you the two versions side by side:

Japanese Version
English Version
Nyasu:  "Old man, give us 30 Japanese style boxed lunches nya."
Meowth:  "Hey cook.  Gimme the lunch special for 30 people."
Kojirou:  "We have to be at the Kas Gym in less than an hour."
Jessie:  "We've got to be at Kas Gym in less than an hour."
Musashi:  "And why don't you throw in an extra two cuts of chicken katsu for us?"
James:  "Throw in an order of onion rings while you're at it."
Restaurant owner:  "But the Kas Gym hasn't paid its bill after all this time..."
Cook:  "I'd like to, but you see...the Kas Gym hasn't paid its bill in over two years."

Japanese food to more Western food?  Check.  Randomly adding bullshit information?  Check. 

Also, notice how the dub switches Musashi's and Kojirou's lines around, for no reason at all?

Cook:  "I don't want any trouble."
Meowth:  "You won't give us lunch but you don't want trouble, huh?"
Jessie:  "You're talking to the wrong customers if you don't want any trouble."
Cook:  "Please leave me alone.  I don't want any trouble."
Jessie:  "Trouble!?"
James:  "Trouble!?  I can't resist, Jessie."
Jessie:  "Neither can I!  Prepare for trouble!"
James:  "Make it double!"

The dubbed version doesn't really make sense to me.  I mean, the fact that the cook says the word "trouble" is what prompts the duo to start reciting their motto, right?  Then why aren't they affected by hearing the word the other three times it's said?  Everyone's all "trouble" this and "trouble" that, but no one seems to care until the animation requires them to.

The first line in the Japanese version of the Rocket-Dan's motto is nanda kanda (なんだかんだ), or "something or other" or "this or that."  The owner of the restaurant uses this phrase only once ("Or you saying this or that?"), so the Rocket-Dan don't have had any reason to react to it until then.

After Brock's Vulpix fries Team Rocket:

Meowth:  "Rare"
Jessie:  "Medium."
James:  "Well done."

This is almost the exact same joke present in the Japanese version!  Originally, Nyasu and Musashi say the exact same thing as their English counterparts, but Kojirou messes up and says "Wel come" (in English) instead.  As the trio is running away, Musashi yells at Kojirou and tells him that he got it wrong.

The dub fixed Kojirou's mistake (and ruined the joke) and didn't have Jessie say anything to her partner as they were running away.

After the battle, Ash is about to give the Yas Recruiter lady his fake name.  He looks down at the smashed plate of spaghetti and says:

Ash:  "I'm...uh...ketchup."
Yas Recruiter:  "Ketchup?"

The first fake name Satoshi gives out is Napolitan (as in "Napolitan Spaghetti").  The Yas Recruiter responds by asking if that means he's from Italy.  The dub removes this real world reference.

The fake names the dub gives out are Tom Ato for Ash, Anne Chovi for Misty, and Caesar Salad for Brock.  I wonder whether or not non-Americans get the "Tom Ato" thing since they don't pronounce the word "tomato" the same way we Yanks do. 

In Japanese, the nicknames are Omurice Ketchupurou (オムライスケチャップ郎) for Satoshi, Chicken Rice Sauceko (チキンライスソース子) for Kasumi, and Curry Rice Chutney Zaemon (カレーライスチャツネザエモン or 
カレーライスチャツネ左右衛門) for Takeshi.  All of the names used in the Japanese version are dishes you'd find in a typical Japanese-style restaurant (Omurice and Ketchup, Chicken Rice and Sauce, and Curry Rice and Chutney) with a Japanese-type name tacked on to the end (-rou, -ko, and -zaemon).


Omurice, by the way, is the food that Satoshi's head turns into at the very end of the episode and doesn't look a thing like a "tom ato."  4Kids could have probably chosen their nickname a little better.

Paint Edit
The scroll in the Yas Gym that says tairyoku (体力), or "strength," gets its text removed.  A total of six scenes are altered.

Japanese English

Click here to view more pictures from the scene.

After the commercial break, the sign that says "Kas Gym" in katakana gets its text erased and replaced with the Kas logo.

Japanese English

I do wish 4Kids had shifted the Kas logo up a little higher to make everything all nice and centered, but oh well.

After that red liquid is poured on Yas and Kas, Strike runs past Elebuu.  The sign at the top of the screen that says P.M FA. Kurabu (P.M FA.クラブ), or "P.M. FA. Club" gets all its text erased.

Japanese English

The final two paint edits of the episode occur when Joi tells Yas and Kas to let Satoshi teach them how to become better trainers.


The text there says Resutoran Sheru- (レストランシェル), which I guess is supposed to be "Restaurant Shellder."

Click on each image for a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Right at the end of the episode:

Boys:  "Can we have your autograph?  Pikachu?"
Pikachu:  "Pi?  Pika?"
Ash:  "Oh well.  Pikachu really is the star."

Satoshi doesn't break the fourth wall in the Japanese version.  He simply asks the boys if they're sure they're idolizing the right person.

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