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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 046: "They're Back!? The Fossil Pokemon!"
American Episode 044: "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon"
Pokemon Dare Da? Kabutops
Japanese Air Date: May 28th, 1998
American Air Date: February 27th, 1999
Important Places: Grampa Canyon (Grampa Canyon)
Satoshi and his friends have stumbled upon Grampa Canyon, an area that’s said to be rich with the fossils of extinct pokemon!. Trainers from all over have come to the area to try their hand at digging up a rare pokemon fossil and so Satoshi decides to join them. However, he soon overhears the Rocket trio plotting to set off a bunch of dynamite to unearth the fossils for themselves, an act that will, of course, destroy the canyon and put everyone's lives in danger! The ensuing struggle to stop them ends up being futile, however, as the dynamite goes off as planned and sends both Satoshi and the Rocket trio falling into an underground cavern. There, the Trainers come across a number of Kabuto, Kabutops, Omnite, and Omstar who immediately begin to attack them! The ancient pokemon are later joined by their boss, a Ptera who decides that it wants to have Satoshi as its next meal! Ptera swoops down, grabs the young Trainer, and then bursts through the cave's ceiling to find a place to eat. Satoshi’s Lizardo, meanwhile, surprises everyone by evolving into Lizardon! An aerial battle between Lizardon and Ptera is just beginning when Purin appears and begins to sing its song for everyone in the canyon. Ptera falls asleep in mid-air and plummets back toward the cavern where it is sealed up again along with the other prehistoric pokemon. Later, Satoshi wakes up next to a strange egg and decides to take it with him…
This episode of Pocket Monsters is meant to be the prehistoric pokemon episode of the region and yet it’s not really about those pokemon at all.
I mean, think about it. At the end of the day, what do we learn about Kabuto, Kabutops, Omnite, and Omstar that we didn’t already know? That they’re all secretly living underground together in a place called Grampa Canyon? That Kabutops aren't affected by electric attacks even though it's Ground-Types, not Rock-Types, that are supposed to be immune? There’s some decent stuff in the games’ Pokemon Bestiary that could have been mined for story material (Kabuto and Kabutops are proficient swimmers and Omstar supposedly went extinct because its shell was too heavy) and while it's not the best stuff to work with it's at least something. You could have replaced the pokemon in this episode with pretty much other group of pokemon and everything would have played out more or less exactly the same and that's a real shame.
And then there’s the whole Lizardo evolution. Look, I get it. Lizardon’s a pretty badass-looking pokemon. But couldn’t this show have waited longer than three episodes (one of which it didn’t even show up in!) before rushing it to its final stage? What’s the point of having Lizardo evolve before, say, Satoshi’s battle against Katsura? Why not have it chill out as a Lizardo for a little while longer? Kanto has some real pacing issues and this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it transition from Lizardo to Lizardon is just one of the many problems it had.
I know it probably sounds like I hate this episode but I actually do like it, believe it or not. "They're Back!? The Fossil Pokemon!" manages to pack a lot of content - Shigeru's return, Purin's return, the debut of five new pokemon, a major evolution, and our heroes finding Togepy's egg - into a single episode without ever feeling too rushed or half-assed. Screenplay author Junki Takegami's ability to balance everything as well as he does is actually quite remarkable and while I would have liked to tweak a few things here and there I think overall it's a pretty decent effort.
4Kids leaves in the poop joke and the whole part about Ptera wanting to actually eat Satoshi, so that’s kind of surprising! Otherwise, the English dub is pretty standard fare.
The Grampa Canyon sign at the beginning of the episode gets its text replaced with a picture of a pick ax and shovel.
Altogether, six shots of
the sign end up getting edited in the dub.
Ash and Misty talk about the Pokémon underground:
Misty: "If they've been lying underground for thousands of years maybe they'd like a little fresh air. Ha."
Ash: "I think it's your brain that needs fresh air."
Misty: "Who asked you!?"
Originally, Kasumi glamorizes the idea of there still being fossils around of pokemon who were wiped out hundreds of years ago, saying the whole thing is romantic (でも何百年も前に絶滅したポケモンの化石なんてロマンじゃない). But Satoshi mishears Kasumi’s roman (ロマン), or “romantic,” as maron (マロン), or “chestnut” and so when he responds to her daydreaming by saying “I see! It’s a chestnut! A chestnut!” (そうだよ！マロンだぜマロン！), Kasumi angrily tells him that she was saying roman, not maron.
The roman / maron mix-up is an old (and, admittedly, lame) gag that's been popping up in Japanese entertainment for at least a couple of decades. It also doesn’t translate into English at all; nobody’s going to hear the English word “romantic” and mishear it as “chestnut." And so 4Kids just rewrote it and called it a day. Surprisingly, their rewrite allows Ash and Misty to be mean to each other, something 4Kids has tended to shy away from during their run on the show.
Gary shows off his "fossil" to some random old man:
Gary: "Impressive, isn't it? Found it on my first try. Looks like a brain from an extinct Pokémon!"
Old Man: "This is..."
Gary: "A brain!?"
Old Man: "It's fossilized Pokémon manure!"
The manure part is actually accurate! The part that's different is Gary's theorizing that what he found is a fossilized brain; in the Japanese version he simply asks the old man what kind of pokemon he found.
(Also, the first fossilized brain wasn't discovered until 2016 so the fact that Gary Oak thinks he found one in the year 1999 is a bit arrogant I'd say)
After Meowth emerges from the rubble:
Meowth: "Next time I'll make fossils out of you!"
Originally, Nyarth asks if his teammates are trying to turn him into a fossil; in the dub, he does the reverse and threatens to turn them into fossils instead.
Jigglypuff's fantasy gets altered:
I mean, who doesn't dream of getting up on
stage with your name
absolutely nothing in lights?
Video Edit (Kids' WB! only)
The Kids' WB! version of this episode took this shot of Meowth and zoomed the camera way in on his face in order to crop the lighter out of the frame.
(I don't have a copy of the
Kids' WB! version of this episode so the shot on the right is merely an
approximate recreation of the edit)
Non-Kids' WB! broadcasts
and home releases
leave the shot completely unedited
I guess Kids' WB! had a
problem with lighters (but, also, had no problem with Richie's
Charmander being called "Zippo" later on) or with open flames,
Perhaps Kids' WB! didn't want kids imitating this cartoon cat by
lighting dynamite in their own homes? Who knows!!
After the commercial break, Jessie and James dream about making money off the old fossils:
James makes a reference to PokéWorld, something that sounds like the theme park from "Island of the Giant Pokemon!? but is actually something different (the park in that episode was Pokémon Land, not PokéWorld). Whatever it's supposed to be, it's not in the Japanese original.
Nyarth's line, meanwhile, includes a reference to neko-manma (猫まんま), which is a word used in Japan to describe the table scraps you give to a cat. I don't think I have to explain why they would have the Scratch Cat pokemon make a cat reference, right?
A little later, Misty tries to remove the rubble trapping Ash underground:
Misty: "Listen, Ash, you better hold on...don't forget you still owe me a new bike."
Kasumi outright says "You're not allowed to die on me until you return my bike" in the Japanese version (サトシ、自転車忘れたの？返すまで死んじゃダメよ！). Can't say the d-word in the English dub though!
Jigglypuff's stage gets edited one last time.
Right at the very end, Team Rocket's trapped:
There are a few little differences here but the big one is that the Rocket trio try singing "Rock-a-bye baby" to Aerodactyl in the dub while they simply whisper ya na kanji to themselves in the original.
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