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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 051
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 051:  "Fushigidane's Mysterious Flower Garden"
American Episode 148:  "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Fushigisou
Japanese Air Date:  July 2nd, 1998
American Air Date:  April 3rd, 1999

Satoshi is battling with a hiker one day when he notices that his Fushigidane seems to be in poor health! He rushes his pokemon to a nearby Pokemon Center where the Joy there announces that Fushigidane isn’t sick but is instead just getting ready to evolve! She then adds that there’s a flower garden nearby where Fushigidane are said to gather to hold an evolution ceremony but that no humans have ever actually seen it with their own eyes. That night, Satoshi’s Fushigidane wanders out of the Pokemon Center and manages to find its way to the mysterious garden! Satoshi and his friends watch from afar as the evolution ceremony begins. After the Fushigidane who have gathered there finish evolving into Fushigisou our heroes are shocked to see that Satoshi’s pokemon has refused to evolve! The other pokemon start to turn on the dissident Fushigidane so Satoshi steps forward to defend his pokemon, saying that he’s happy to let Fushigidane stay the way it is and that it shouldn’t be forced to change if it doesn’t want to. Suddenly, the Rocket trio appears and tries to kidnap all the Fushigisou and Fushigibana! They decide not to go after Satoshi’s Fushigidane because it’s still an unevolved "weakling" but soon come to regret their decision when Satoshi’s pokemon learns Solar Beam and sends them blasting off! Later, Satoshi tells the pokemon in the garden that they will keep the location of their sacred land a secret before leaving to continue his journey.

After Pikachu refused to evolve and Hitokage went from a Lizardo into a Lizardon in the span of about four episodes, it was only a matter of time before the evolution question came to his other starters. What are we going to do about Fushigidane and Zenigame? Will they be like Pikachu and refuse to evolve? Or will Satoshi get a team of fully evolved starters?

The show decides to have Fushigidane imitate Pikachu here because…because it just doesn’t want to? And that’s it? While it is nice to see the show actually take the time to address this kind of thing I do wish this episode had done a better job of explaining why it makes the decision it does
. Why doesn't Fushigidane want to evolve, anyway? I can make a fairly good guess at the out-of-universe reason (the producers probably thought Fushigidane would be more marketable if they left it as-is) but what about an in-universe one? This episode doesn't provide that.

At least it gets Solar Beam out of the episode.

This episode also has a lot of weird stuff about Fushigidane making flowers bloom just by walking past them that, as far as I can remember, is never brought up ever again. The evolution festival part is a bit strange, too, as it suggests that the evolution of the Fushigidane species, at the very least, depends more on being at the right place at the right time rather than any type of strength or battle experience. And what if you're a Fushigidane not in the Kanto region? Is there a similar type of festival for you somewhere a little closer to home? Or are you just shit out of luck?

The English dub’s war on Japanese writing enters a new frontier with the Rocket trio’s jackets. The dub’s (already!) erased hundreds of Japanese characters by this point in the series but they’ve mostly all been on static signs in the background that didn’t really move. Here, we have Japanese writing as an actual part of an animated character’s costume and so the digital paint has to move along with the characters. While the Rocket duo’s costume change isn’t as radical as, say, what 4Kids would eventually do to Smoker in their dub of One Piece or what happened to BomberNanimon in Digimon Savers, it’s still probably one of the company’s most time-consuming edits yet.

Paint Edit
The sign above the room where Joy takes a look at Fushigidane says shinsatsu-shitsu (診察室), or "examination room." 4Kids translates this as "E.R."


Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
After Ash finds out that his Bulbasaur's not sick but is instead ready to evolve:

Ash:  "Oh I can't believe it! Bulbasaur's gonna evolve!"
Brock:  "You shouldn't be surprised. That mountain man said Bulbasaur was strong and that's because you've done such a great job training it."

In the Japanese version Takeshi tells Satoshi that "That mountain man said your training skills were lacking but I'd say Fushigidane's growing up just fine, wouldn't you say?" (あの山男さん、育てが足りないとか言ってたけど、立派に育てるじゃないか).

In the Japanese version Takeshi is referring to the comment the man made right after Fushigidane refused to go back to its Monster Ball in the middle of the battle.
In the 4Kids dub, by contrast, Brock references the comment the man makes at the end of the battle ("You sure chopped me down to size, kid. Your Bulbasaur's great!") instead.

(Also, 4Kids has Brock refer to the Trainer as a "mountain man," a direct translation of the Trainer Class Yama Otoko (山男). Nintendo of America went for "Hiker" for their translation so that's what 4Kids should have used here but I guess they didn't realize and/or care?)

Just a few lines later:

Ash:  "So, how long is it gonna be until the big Evolve-O-Rama?"

Originally Satoshi asks the same question only without the obnoxious 90s slang included.

Nurse Joy tells our heroes about Bulbagarden:

Nurse Joy:  "Have you ever heard of the Mysterious Garden?"
Brock:  "The Mysterious Garden? Cool name."
Nurse Joy:  "Yes."

I'm betting Brock's awkward "cool name" there is a result of how, with dubbing, you have to give the characters enough to say in order to match the mouth flaps present in the original animation.

In the original Takeshi says Fushigi no sono...desu ka (不思議のその…ですか), or "The...mysterious garden?." The desu ka there at the end is basically to indicate that what Takeshi is saying is meant to be a question. It's also, unfortunately, something that doesn't really translate into English so well.

Brock's "The Mysterious Garden?" conveys the exact same thing that the Japanese version said, but in fewer syllables, so 4Kids had to come up with something extra for Brock to say during the rest of the time his mouth's moving. So, they came up with "cool name." Which, well, it isn't, "the mysterious garden" is probably the most hackneyed name anyone could have come up with. But hey, those mouthflaps aren't going to fill themselves!

Later that night, Ash sleep talks:

Ash:  "That makes a thousand badges~!"

Originally Satoshi's dreaming about eating. In the original he says "I can't eat anymore~" (もう食べられないよ).

Team Rocket spots a bunch of Bulbasaur:

Japanese Version
English Version
Musashi:  "Kya! To think a bunch of Fushigidane would be in a place like this!"
Jessie:  "Whoa, it's a Bulbasaur bonanza!"
Kojirou:  "And there are seven of them at that!"
James:  "A Bulbasaur blowout!"
Nyarth:  "Let's take all of them all at once~!"
Meowth:  "A breathtaking Bulbasaur bargain bazaar!"

See, the 4Kids' Rocket trio partook in some alliteration too every now and then!

The Rocket trio hit a wall:

Japanese Version
English Version
Musashi:  "What are we supposed to do with this?"
Jessie:  "How do we get in there?"
Kojirou:  "Well, Nyarth can't learn Iaigiri (Cut), so that's out."
James:  "Why doesn't Meowth just scratch his way through with his claws?"
Nyarth:  "Well excuse me nyaa."
Meowth:  "I just filed 'em."

The Japanese version has a nice reference to the fact that no, the Nyarth species actually can't learn HM 01 to cut through plants that get in their Trainers way. The English dub completely rewrites this and I'm not sure why? Did they not get the fact that game terminology was being used here? I'm right, aren't I?

A few lines later:

Jessie:  "Alright, garden wall, you axed for it."
James:  "We're the toughest team you ever...saw."
Meowth:  "Let's cut to the chase!"

The Japanese version of this scene wasn't punny at all; it just had Musashi and the others declare that they're going to cut through the wall.

Our heroes notice that something's not quite right:

Misty:  "The others are getting really angry at Bulbasaur."
Ash:  "I wonder why."
Brock:  "Bulbasaur's even more stubborn than you."

Takeshi doesn't make a jab at Satoshi in the original; instead, he simply states that Satoshi's Fushigidane is being stubborn without making any comparisons between it and its Trainer.

Paint Edit
The Ro-gumi (ロ組), or "R-Team" on both Musashi's and Kojirou's jackets get erased in a total of seven shots.


Side Note
Right after Bulbasaur uses Solar Beam to blow the Rocket trio out of the sky:

Ash:  "Smokin'"

Now I don't know for sure if Ash is trying to mimic Jim Carrey's character from the 1994 hit Jim Carrey movie The Mask, But, judging by the fact that it's a movie reference that would have been a good five years out of date by the time this Pokémon episode debuted then I'm going to assume that yes, he absolutely is making a The Mask reference here.

Originally Satoshi says "amazing" (す、すげぇ).

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