Does "Fierce Fighting!
Pokemon Hinamatsuri" Take Place?
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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
"Fierce Fighting! Pokemon Hinamatsuri" is an episode that aired out of order in both Japan and abroad. This page attempts to explain what happened and how it airing out of order affected the rest of the series.
This is the way the episode aired in Japan.
The hour-long special on April 16th was to celebrate the show coming back from its four month hiatus after the scandal that was "Pokemon Shock." TV-Tokyo aired a "what caused all those seizures / what are we doing to prevent that from ever happening again" segment and then aired two episodes of Pocket Monsters. The hour-long special on July 9th was likely to get the two holiday episodes out of the way before the movie came out two weeks later.
Unfortunately, this schedule has a few problems. Togepi was caught in the episode that aired on June 25th but is conspicuously absent in the Hinamatsuri episode that aired two weeks later on July 9th. No mention, no chirp, nothing. Additionally, a reference is made to Musashi's Beroringa in the Kamonegi episode, which ended up airing three weeks before she even caught the thing. And in the Japanese version of "Fierce Fighting! Pokemon Hinamatsuri," Nyarth makes a reference to the Rougela Christmas episode that wouldn't end up airing for another three months.
When the Pocket Monsters series first started new episodes would air every Tuesday night at 18:30. When the show was ready to come back from its hiatus after the Pokemon Shock incident, however, its old Tuesday night slot had already been grabbed by another series and so the show was moved to Thursday nights instead.
But let's think about what had happened if Pokemon Shock didn't occur and he show got to keep its old Tuesday timeslot.
If you take a look at a 1998 calendar you'll notice that March 3rd, aka Hinamatsuri, just happened to fall on a Tuesday. Likewise, May 5th, Children's Day, was on a Tuesday that year as well. That doesn't seem like just a random coincidence to me. It seems to me that the original plan was to have this episode about Hinamatsuri actually air on the real Hinamatsuri date (March 3rd) and for the episode about Children's Day to air on the real Children's Day date (May 5th). The hiatus that the show went on kind of ruined those plans, however, and these two holiday-themed episode ended up debuting in July instead as an "extra episodes" (番外編).
Here's what was confirmed to have been the plan back before the Porygon episode aired:
There's no indication that the episode "The Pikachu Forest" was in production at the time and so its absense is why the episode numbering seems a bit off.
If we go back to that 1998 calendar and start counting the number of Tuesdays, and if we also assume that there weren't any other episodes planned that we didn't know about, then we can make a pretty decent guess as to what would have aired next:
That mini-arc with Tohru being interrupted two thirds of the way through is a problem, but that can be explained away if we consider that an hour long special was meant to air at some point in early 1998. If two episodes aired back to back one Tuesday night, then the Children's Day episode would have been Episode 058 instead. Pokemon Encore, a rerun show that aired in the early 2000s, aired the Children's Day episode after the Breeding Center one, suggesting that this was the case.
This schedule fixes a number of issues with what ended up actually happening. Togepi's absense in the Hinamatsuri episode makes sense now because in this version of the schedule, the adventure in O-Hina Town takes place before Kasumi's pokemon was caught, not after. Same with the Christmas reference in the Hinamatsuri episode. Likewise, the reference to Musashi's Beroringa in "Kamonegi's Sitting Ducks" makes sense now because that episode takes place after the Hinamatsuri one, not before.
Complicating things even further is the fact that the English dub airs even more out of order than the Japanese version does!
As covered earlier, this episode and the Children's Day episode that comes after it aired between the episodes "Fushigidane's Mysterious Flower Garden" (released in the U.S. as "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden") and "Gardie the Police Dog" ("The Case of the K-9 Caper") in Japan. In the U.S., however, both episodes were delayed and didn't air until after "The Breeding Center Secret." So what happened?
I remember the popular theory going around back when the dub of this episode first aired was that it was pushed back because 4Kids wasn't able to finish the dub in time. This episode has an insane number of digital paint edits and getting this one done before the end of the season probably wasn't possible given how much time and money they had left over. I don't really have any proof to back this up, of course, but small things like Brock's Vulpix not being dubbed properly and the way the edited shots are even brighter than usual, indicating that 4Kids didn't have the time to go back and color correct these shots to make them match up with the rest of the episode, heavily imply that this was the case.
So, it was decided to push it back and have it be the episode to start of 4Kids' second season of the show. And when I say "Season Two," I mean the actual second season, not that fan-made "new opening = new season" nonsense that's so popular online. Season One is not the entire Indigo League; Season One is only the 52 episodes between "Pokémon! I Choose You!" and "The Breeding Center Secret." Season Two is the 52 episodes between "Princess vs. Princess" and "Charizard Chills," and Season Three is the 52 episodes between "The Pokémon Water War" and "Fortune Hunters." And so on and so on.
For simplicity's sake, this site will number the episodes based on the way they actually aired and not the way I think they were supposed to air. That makes things a little more confusing, I know, but I think using the official numbering, while problematic, is better than making up what I think is better and possibly being wrong.
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