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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 043: "The March of the Nassy Gang!"
American Episode 140: "The March of the Exeggutor Squad"
Pokemon Dare Da? Tamatama
Japanese Air Date: May 7th, 1998
American Air Date: November 2nd, 1998
Important Characters: Maggy (Melvin the Magician)
Important Places: The Leaf Forest (The Leaf Forest)
Satoshi and his friends decide to take some time off from their journey to attend a carnival. Kasumi and Pikachu, embarrassed by Satoshi's and Takeshi's behavior in public, separate from the boys. They eventually meet Maggy, a magician who needs help attracting customers to his Pokemon Magic Show. Kasumi agrees to act as his assistant but is dismayed to find out that his show isn't any good. Kasumi, now rejoined by Satoshi and Takeshi, tries to help Maggy figure out how he can make his show better. After Satoshi gives a demonstration show, Maggy's pokemon, a Tamatama, uses Hypnosis on the young trainer. This puts Satoshi under its spell, giving Maggy the idea to use the young trainer to help him out with a scheme of his. The magician enters the nearby Leaf Forest and commands Satoshi to use his pokemon to weaken the Nassy in the area so he can use them to hypnotize people and force them to attend his shows. After Maggy captures a bunch of the pokemon, they accidentally hypnotize each other and start on a rampage toward the carnival. Satoshi, who has now snapped out of his hypnosis, follows the Nassy. He battles the pokemon to try to get them to snap out of their confusion, and together with a guilt ridden Maggy, is able to prevent them from causing any more damage. As everyone rejoices at avoiding a potential catastrophe, Hitokage evolves into Lizard! Now that the carnival is saved, Satoshi and his friends bid farewell to Maggy and head for their next adventure.
The writers have
pokemon like Yungeller
and Houdin, whose names are both homages to real world magicians, who could have shown off the whole
idea of "pokemon magic" wonderfully. So what do the writers give
a street magician as his signature pokemon? A freakin' egg
An egg pokemon who has absolutely no
connection to magic
whatsoever. Sure, it's part psychic-type, but you
know what? So are Yungeller and Houdin.
The only reason I
can possibly come up with to explain why the writers chose Tamatama was
because it was a psychic type who hadn't appeared in the show
yet. Giant board with a dart blindly thrown at a box that reads
"Tamatama?" Sure seems that way!
And if we're
going to get a Tamatama episode, why not have an episode centered
around the pokemon's unique characteristics? It's a pokemon who
looks like a group of six eggs but is actually seeds; surely there's something there that could make for
a great story, right? What happens if one of the seeds gets
separated, for example? Is that even possible? And why do
they look like eggs? What's the deal with that one seed with the
super depressed face, or the one with its yolk / brain exposed?
And apparently, Tamatama are created when the heads of Nassy fall off
becoming too big. Why not show how that works?
And then there's
Tamatama's trainer. The writers
start off by making Maggy sympathetic loser,
but they throw that away during the second half in favor of making him
a creepy asshole. Think about what he does for a minute. He manipulates a ten year old's mind to
have him catch a bunch of pokemon on his behalf so he can hypnotize other people and force them to
attend his crappy magic show. I mean, ignoring the fact
that Maggy somehow separated Satoshi from his friends for a moment (I'm
imagining him distracting Kasumi and Takeshi by saying "Look!
Over there!" before grabbing his new hypnotized boy toy), wouldn't you
think Kasumi and Takeshi would be a little more pissed off
at the guy for essentially kidnapping their friend? Why do the
people in this episode act like the stuff he did wasn't any big
I also like how,
at the end of the episode, Maggy's problem is actually worse than it
was when the episode started. He was just a shitty magician at
the beginning of the episode, and by the end of it, he's still a shitty magician. The
only difference now is that
he's a shitty magician who's going to be
responsible for paying for all the damage his pokemon caused to the
carnival. And he lived happily ever after, the end...?
This is the last
dub episode to premiere in syndication. After this episode, we
didn't get any new episodes for about four months while 4Kids got ready
for their move
to Kids' WB! It's also the last dub episode whose English title
translation of its Japanese title until the Deoxys two-parter that
premiered almost a decade later. I hope you like pun titles,
kids, because we're going to be getting a lot more of them from here on
out! As far as the edits go, this
episode has a lot of script
changes. On the plus side, there were quite a few visual things
didn't get censored, surprisingly, so those of you who like seeing
close-ups of underage asses and a guy throwing a glass bottle at a
man's head are in luck.
The opening shot of the episode gets digital paint! There were too many moving parts for me to attempt creating a panorama, so I took two separate shots instead.
The sign in the top picture, as well as the yellow and red banners in the bottom picture, all say Waarudo Kaanibaru (ワールドカーニバル), or "World Carnival."
Click on each image for a larger version.
The very first line of the episode!
Narrator: "It's hard work trying to become a Pokémon Master, and our heroes haven't had much rest or relaxation. But now, they're in luck. They've come to town on the same day the carnival has arrived."
The Japanese narrator starts the episode by saying that Pokemon Trainers don't get any days off from training, not even Saturdays, Sundays, or national holidays. The dub doesn't portray the same seven days a week, 365 days a year training schedule that the Japanese version does.
After Ash and Brock strip (a phrase I hope I never have to type out again):
Ash: "Let's boogie!"
Ash: "What's wrong, Misty? Don't you wanna party with us?"
Satoshi's second line in the Japanese version is odora na son, son (踊らな損、損), or "Why not dance?" It's a line used in a song performed at the Awa Odori, Japan's largest dance festival. It's also a reference that pretty much nobody in the English speaking world would get, so it got rewritten.
When Kasumi's walking around, a sign behind her gets altered.
The sign on the tent there said Mirakuru Miraa!! (ミラクルミラー！！), or "Miracle Mirror." But not anymore!
Click on each image for a larger version.
Maggy, the character, seems to have been based on several Japanese comedians. His appearance seems to be based on Tsubuyaki Shiroh (つぶやきシロー) who, at the time this episode was made, was known to have a mushroom hair style. He doesn't have it now, apparently, but he did back then! Maggy also speaks with a Tochigi accent, just like Mr. Tsubuyaki.
His name, on the other hand, comes from a group of comedians who dressed up like magicians known the Maggy Clan (マギー一門). Their official website is here, though it's not much to look at and doesn't seem to have been updated in quite some time. My romanization of "Maggy" comes from the URL of their site, in case you were wondering.
When Maggy asks Kasumi to be his assistant, the tiny bit of text visible on the banner at the left of the screen gets erased.
The only character I can make out there is po (ポ).
Click on each image for a larger version.
Melvin's dream is a little different from Maggy's:
Melvin: "My dream is to have my own Las Vegas showroom. And perform my magic act before thousands of cheering fans."
Originally, his dream is to have his own magic show in Broadway.
Now I know what you're thinking. "Broadway? The place in New York famous for musical theater?" Doesn't make any sense, does it?
I think what happened here is that the Japanese writers mistook Broadway for something else. Maybe people associate magic shows with Broadway in Japan, for some reason? *shrugs* Whatever the case, 4Kids, understandably, changed Broadway to Las Vegas for their version.
After Ash sees his ten year old friend in an awkwardly form-fitting costume:
Ash: "That's a real cute outfit, Misty."
Satoshi simply states that it's an interesting costume (omoshiroi kakkou da nai). No flirting for Satoshi here!
The crowd starts to get restless, and:
Heckler with a cigarette: "Come on, hurry it up."
Heckler wearing a headband: "Yeah, start the show!"
The heckling starts while the camera is still on Satoshi in the Japanese version, but in the English version, it doesn't begin until after the camera pans over to the two guys.
Also, I'm absolutely shocked that 4Kids didn't bother to edit out that one guy's lit cigarette. It's kind of small and hard to see, and the DVD Viz released doesn't really help matters either, but it is there. Wow!
After the start of the magic show:
Ash: "This is magic!?"
Heckler: "We don't want juggling!"
Takeshi doesn't yell at the stage in the Japanese version, because that would be an extremely rude and out of character thing for him to do. Instead, he tells Satoshi, quietly, in a voice too low for Maggy to be able to hear, that he agrees that the show isn't that good.
Melvin: "Hold on, the best part is coming up. My Pokémon and I are gonna do some great magic tricks now which will sur-maze and a-prise you."
Misty: "Uh...don't you mean "surprise" and "amaze"?"
Melvin: "That's right. See, that's why we make such a great team."
Misty: "Yeah right."
It shouldn't be any surprise that the Japanese version uses a different mix up, right? One that really couldn't be translated into English and therefore had to be rewritten?
Originally, Maggy says Odoroite shiri o nukasanai you ni ne (驚いて尻を抜かさないようにね), or "You'll be so surprised that you won't be able to move from your seat." Kasumi responds by saying Sore o iu nara koshi o nukasu desho (それを言うなら腰を抜かすでしょ), or "When you say it like that, it sounds like they've dislocated their back." What she means by that is the fact that Maggy said shiri o nukasanai instead of koshi o nukasanai. Both shiri and koshi refer to the same area of your body, but in the idiomatic phrase that Maggy was trying to use, koshi is preferred to shiri.
It's kind of like how, in English, the words "beautiful" and "pretty" mean the same thing, yet it would still be weird if someone said that something "costs a beautiful penny." We just don't say that.
Anyway, the dub just rewrote it.
The sign above Maggy's stage gets its text erased.
The text up there says Magii no Majikku Shoo (マギーのマジックショー), or "Maggy's Magic Show." This edit must have been more difficult than the others in the episode because of that layer of water raining down on the scene.
Click on each image for a larger version.
After Ash and the others overhear Melvin's boss fire him,
Ash: "I feel sorry for the guy."
Misty: "He just doesn't know what he's doing. You can relate to that."
Ash: "What's that mean!?"
Kasumi doesn't insult Satoshi in the Japanese version. Instead, she states that Maggy is in over his head and gets up to go talk to him. Satoshi tells her to wait up, surprised that she's actually going to be direct enough to confront a grown man and give him career advice.
This next part has quite a few changes in the script, so I'll do a side-by-side comparison.
Looking at this dialogue, line by line, reveals a number of changes. Melvin has apparently been fired multiple times, but Maggy never indicates this. 4Kids has Exeggcute speak more than it (they?) do(es) in Japan. Melvin doesn't apologize to his pokemon and instead declares he's giving up his dreams in the best Droopy the Dog voice he can muster. And Ash doesn't make a thinly veiled sexist remark that implies that complaining is something only women do.
And while I don't like that those lines were changed, I will at least cut 4Kids some slack for ignoring the untranslatable pun at the end there. In Japanese, the phrase "once in a while" is tama ni (たまに), a word that sounds an awful lot like Tamatama. So while the Tamatama are laughing at the (lame) pun in the Japanese version, Exeggcute are laughing at Misty's wisecrack in the English version.
Another banner gets its text erased.
I can make out ho (ホ) and shi (シ), but the image quality and the way it's written there make it kind of hard to figure out what it's supposed to be saying.
Click on each image for a larger version.
They don't stop!
Brock: "The flowers are dead."
Misty: "So's his act."
Pikachu: "Pika Pika."
Takeshi states that Maggy's act isn't any good. He doesn't say whether or not those flowers are actually dead (sorry..."get [its] hair dyed purple"), or that they're even real in the first place.
Melvin: "All my life I've dreamed of becoming a magician, entertaining people, seeing their faces light up. But now the dream is all over."
Maggy's dream is to make children happy. I guess 4Kids thought this made him sound like a creepy pedophile or something, so they changed "children" to "people." I find it kind of weird that they'd change this but then leave in that scene earlier where it looks (and sounds!) like Melvin is going to sexually assault Misty, but I guess that's 4Kids for ya!
Another reference to a Japanese-only comedian!
Ash: "Welcome! I am the swami, and I can make water, fire, anything appear out of this box."
Satoshi doesn't identify himself as a swami in the Japanese version. But there is a reason he's dressed like that! Satoshi is doing an impersonation of comedian Shopan Igari (ショパン猪狩) who did a similar act to what Satoshi does in this episode. Here's a picture of him on the cover of the book Red Snake Come On!
Shopan's act included taking a box with three holes in it, tapping it with a flute, and saying "Red Snake, Come On!" (レッドスネーク、カモン！). As soon as this happened, a red snake puppet would creep out of the hole. He also dressed in Indian-style clothes. Maybe this sounds familiar?
In Pocket Monsters, Satoshi's dressed like Shopan and has a very similar act. He also imitates Shopan's catch phrase by saying "Red Fire, Come On!" (レッドファイヤー、カモン！) and "Blue Water, Come On!" (ブルーウォーター、カモン！) during the parts where he's ordering his pokemon to use their attacks.
Since American kids wouldn't have any reason to know about a Japanese comedian from a few decades ago, 4Kids just had Ash call himself a swami and hope people don't look too much into it.
Ash's Bulbasaur impression starts as soon as he starts to spin around. Satoshi's impression doesn't stop until after he stops spinning.
The second half of the episode starts off with a rather significant paint edit.
Here's what all that text means:
The Japanese version lets us know that the forest will be what causes the pokemon to evolve. Some fan sites state that the sign explains that there are Leaf Stones buried underground and that their radiation is the cause of the Leaf Stone-less evolution that occurs later in the episode, but that's bull. There's nothing in the episode, either written or spoken, that even suggests this.
The dub doesn't really convey that same message as the sign in the Japanese version; instead, it merely tells us that Exeggcute evolves into Exeggutor. There's no mention of the forest anywhere, so dub viewers are forced to conclude that the forest has some connection to Exeggcute's evolution on their own.
Right after the above paint edit,
Melvin: "I hate to do this to you but I hate exercise."
In the Japanese version, Maggy simply apologizes to Satoshi for making him do his work. Maggy may be a dick for manipulating a ten year old to do his bidding, but at least he's polite about it!
Later, during the the Rocket-Dan's motto, Musashi and Kojirou go into a box. Once inside, Nyasu pulls a curtain over them and starts making drum roll noises with his mouth. Meowth doesn't make these noises in the dub.
Next, Exeggcute evolves into Exeggutor.
James: "It's looking at us strangely."
Jessie: "Could it be...?"
Meowth: "...some sort of magic?"
Jessie: "No, it's..."
Originally, Kojirou asks how Tamatama can evolve when there aren't any (leaf) stones around. The dub doesn't have James say this, for some reason.
I wonder if Kojirou's line there in the Japanese version was actually an ad-lib. Like, maybe the animators realized halfway through production that, hey, this pokemon needs a Leaf Stone to evolve, but were too far along in the process to actually fix it? So they just had one of their actors ad-lib some dialogue, off-screen, to at least address this overlooked fact?
I have absolutely no proof to back this up, but it seems plausible to me.
I also wanted to bring up the fact that, in the Japanese equivalent of the above exchange, everyone pretty much knows that the pokemon is evolving from the beginning. It takes Jessie, James, and Meowth a little bit longer to reach that same conclusion.
The same signs from before get digital paint again. Now with less confetti!
All the text there says the same thing it did the first time this edit was done.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
The rest of the episode is pretty edit-free, which is nice.
Misty: "Never forget your dreams!"
Ash: "Practice makes perfect!"
Brock: "See you in Las Vegas!"
Takeshi doesn't tell Maggy that they'll see him on Broadway; he just wishes him good luck.
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