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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 045: "Sing! Purin!"
English Episode 043: "The Song of Jigglypuff"
Pokemon Dare Da?: Purin
Japanese Air Date: May 21st, 1998
American Air Date: February 20th, 1999
Important Places: Neon Town (Neon Town)
Satoshi and his friends have reached Neon Town, a city that's open 24 hours a day seven days a week. The residents of the town are irritable as a result of not getting enough sleep so our heroes retreat to the comparatively peaceful woods nearby. There, they come across a wild Purin who, for some reason, isn't able to sing! None of the remedies our heroes try work until Takeshi remembers that there's a fruit nearby that's supposed to be able to help soothe sore throats. The remedy works and Purin is able to sing again but now a new problem arises; everyone who listens to it sing falls asleep instantly! Angry that nobody is able to sit through its song all the way until the end, Purin steals a marker from Satoshi's backpack and goes around drawing graffiti on everyone's faces! After our heroes wake up they remember the insomniacs they encountered in Neon Town and wonder if they'll be able to listen to its song. Our heroes return to the city and put Purin up on a big stage where everyone in town can hear it but they just fall asleep instantly! When Satoshi and his friends wake up they find the people of Neon Town, having finally been forced to get a good night's sleep, are now much more friendly than they had been. Purin is nowhere to be found, however, so our heroes have no choice but to continue their journey, wondering if Purin will ever find someone who can listen to its song.
This episode also has the amazing Rocket trio performance with the equally amazing music video but I'll comment more on that in the actual comparison itself.
So here's a story from Dogasu's real life that I think you might enjoy: I remember going to an anime convention one year where Rachel Lillis, the voice of Jigglypuff (as well as Misty and Jessie, of course) was one of the guests of honor. I think this was Otakon 1999, maybe...? Anyway, I remember we were about halfway into whatever voice actor panel she was a part of and Rachel Lillis decides to sing the Jigglypuff song for all of us there, live. And as she sang, pretty much everyone in the audience started to fake snore as if they were being put to sleep by her song! Now this was not something that any of us had ever rehearsed beforehand; this was a spontaneous, cute little moment between Ms. Lillis and all these fans of her work. I also remember Rachel Lillis, rather adorably, apologizing to us for her singing, explaining that the version you hear in the show has all these pitch adjustments and other vocal effects added in post-production to make it sound better. But to be honest I don't remember her singing being bad at all.
Anyway, the point of that
story was that Rachel Lillis is definitely a great
singer and so having her voice Jigglypuff is probably one of the best
casting decisions 4Kids ever made.
The first edited shot has surotto (スロット), or "slots" as well
as sutaa (スター), or "star"
while curiously leaving ruuretto
(ルーレット), "roulette" intact.
There are too many edited
shots to put on this page (there are ten edits before the episode's
title screen alone!) so I put the rest here:
Edit (Paint Edit / Cut)
Just like a similar shot
before it, koiru (コイル) gets
erased from the red sign near the woman's skirt.
And thus begins a curious chapter in the Pokêmon dub; the version of the show that aired on Kids' WB! in the U.S. is (slightly) more edited than the version that aired on other networks / in other countries. I guess Kids' WB!'s censors had a problem with an image of an adult woman being spanked, even in what is obviously meant to be a comedic fashion, and so they had the already edited episode changed even further.
Since most of the copies of
these early episodes out there are of the international version
and not of the version that
aired on Kids' WB!, documenting exactly which episodes had which
additional edits is going to be based almost entirely off of my ability
to remember edits from two decades ago. I'll do my best.
Anyway, this first change
occurs after our heroes discover Jigglypuff's secret:
Misty: "I still think it's
cute but...who wants a Jigglypuff that can't sing?"
In the original version
there's a reference here to an old Japanese song that, of course,
nobody in the
West would have any reason to get. After Satoshi reasons that Purin
didn't attack them because it can't sing, Kasumi says "But a canary who
forgot how to sing will be carried away in the ocean"
(でも、唄を忘れたカナリヤは、たしか海に流されてしまうんじゃ…). The name of the song Kasumi's quoting
is The Golden Sparrow (金糸雀
(カナリア)). She's basically saying that a Purin who can't sing is like a
canary who can't sing; useless.
The English version is a
tiny bit more harsh than I would have liked but it gets the same
meaning across for the most part.
And speaking of songs,
talk about the Rocket trio's big performance in this episode!
The song they sing in this episode is a shortened version of Roketto-Dan yo Eien ni (ロケット団よ永遠に), or "The Rocket-Dan Forever," and it was released on CD in Japan the previous December. If this episode hadn't been delayed due to the Pokemon Shock incident then it likely would have debuted on TV-Tokyo in February, a mere two months after the song's release. Which, back then, was actually a pretty decent turn-around!
The costumes they're
wearing are reminiscent of the old-timey outfits people
used to wear to uta-gassen
(歌合戦), or "singing contests" in Japan. The hat, the short cape things,
the gloves, all of that. Nowadays people just wear
Western-style suits / dresses to these big events (with eccentrics like
Sachiko Kobayashi being an exception) but for a while the clothes the
Rocket trio wears here were the norm for those kinds of events.
The 4Kids version isn't a translation of the original in any sense of the word but it's still a delightfully goofy song nonetheless. And, all things considered, that's probably the best we could hope for right?
(And yes, that image on the
right really is what the video on the official Viz DVDs look like)
The dub doesn't make it
super clear that the Rocket trio's performance is mean to be bad
karaoke. While in the Japanese version Megumi Hayashibara and
Shinichirou Miki put on their best "bad singing" voices and their
voices echo loudly as they sing into the microphones, the English
version plays their performance more or
less straight. The Japanese version also specifically says that what
doing is karaoke while the English version, for some reason, has this
weird aversion to using the word.
After the Rocket trio is
sent not blasting off:
"Do re mi fa so la ti do~ Do ti la so fa mi re do~ Like that, see how I
control my breathing as I sing the notes?"
In the original Kasumi
does, of course, the Japanese equivalent: a-e-i-u-we-o-ao, ~ka-ke-ki-ku-keko-ka-ko,
sa-se-shi-su-se-so-sa-so~! Satoshi's follow-up line is
too; originally he says "Oh I see! You're doing vocal exercises now!"
The song has the same
melody as the Japanese version, which is nice, and Rachel Lillis does a
remarkable job of sounding like an English version of Mika Kanai
regardless of whether or not that was her goal. The only criticism I
have - and this has nothing to do with the song or its performer,
really - is the
inherit awkwardness present in Jigglypuff's name.
One of the things fans
generally accept about pokemon in this TV series is that they can only
say their names due to some physical limitation that prevents them from
being able to say anything else. Real-world dolphins are
said to be super intelligent but can't produce human speech because
they don't have the proper vocal
organs necessary to produce the same sounds. Pokemon are kind of like
So let's look at Purin. In
Japanese, its ability to say "pu" or "ri" or "puri" is a completely
believable set of sounds for a magical cartoon balloon monster to be
able to make, right? They're easy, almost baby-ish noises. But
now let's look at the English version.
"Jigglypuff," as fine as a name as that is, has a lot of unique vowel
and consonant combinations and it's difficult to imagine any
wild creature being able to perform the lingual gymnastics required to
say the name. We can accept that this little pink ball can make "ggl"
sound but can't say something simple like "hello"? It can't sing real
I know this is a super
pedantic thing to bring up but it's kind of hard for me to watch this
episode and not think about
this kind of thing.
This shot has the typical cover-ups; words like "game center" (ゲームセンター) and "pachinko" (パチンコ) get erased, and...waitaminute...what's going on with Brock's head there in the English version? Can we zoom in on that please?
Oh my God what is happening here!? Is the very fabric of time and space collapsing right on top of poor Brock's head!?!? Why is this happening!?!?!? HOW IS EVERYONE REMAINING SO CALM!?!?!?!?!?!?
This Neon Gakki (ネオン楽器), or "Neon
Instruments" shop, has the honor of being the only sign in this entire
episode that actually gets something added to it instead of just being
left blank. I guess the only reason
4Kids bothered is because of the
establishing shot at the top there (focusing the camera on a blank sign
is too ridiculous, even for 4Kids), though they've done that sort of thing before
too so I don't know.
The Japanese version also
has some The Simpsons-type
sign-based jokes, something I believe this series has only ever done in
this one episode and this one episode only! The convenience store at
the top is called Seven Eleboo
(セブンエレブー), an obvious parody of the Seven-Eleven chain of convenience
stores and a joke that could absolutely
have been rendered in English as Seven-Electabuzz
if 4Kids had put in the effort. There's also a blue sign in the shot
says oden (おでん) that gets its
As for the bottom picture, the
family diner-type restaurant is called Royal Poppo (ロイヤルポッポ), a parody of
the Japanese restaurant chain Royal Host. This one wouldn't have
been as easy to render into English due to Royal Host being a (mostly)
Japan-only chain but something as simple as "Neon Diner" would have
worked better than "large red box with nothing written on it," right?
This shot is very similar
to the shot from the beginning of the episode except 4Kids actually
erases ruuretto (ルーレット), or
"roulette," this time around.
There are a lot of other paint edits in this
episode - I counted eleven shots edited in this second half of the
episode alone - so be sure to check out this page showing each and
every paint edit made to the episode.
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