Japanese Episode
055






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 055

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 055:  "Pikachu's Photo Op"
American Episode 150:  "Pokémon Paparazzi"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Ishitsubute
Japanese Air Date:  July 23rd, 1998
American Air Date:  April 17th, 1999
Important Characters:  Tohru (
Todd (Kids' WB!), Snap (other non-Asian English-speaking countries))

Our heroes are having a picnic one day when Satoshi spots the gleam of a long-barrelled object. Thinking they're about to be the victim of a sniper, Satoshi panics and sends his Zenigame out to diffuse the situation. When all is said and done, our heroes discover that they were merely being followed by a young camera-wielding boy named Tohru. Tohru apologizes for startling everyone and invites them them back to his place where he reveals that he's a famous photographer who was only trying to get a picture of Pikachu. When asked why he didn't just request a picture with Pikachu like a normal person, Tohru reveals that he doesn't like to take photos that look posed or unnatural. It is later revealed that the reason Tohru wants to take a picture of Satoshi's Pikachu, in particular, is because the Rocket trio tricked him into thinking he was doing so for a nice elderly couple. It turns out that the Rocket trio is the one who gets deceived as they believed that Tohru actually captured pokemon, not just captured them on film. Once they realize that Tohru isn't going to hand-deliver them a Pikachu they launch an attack that ends up forcing Tohru to choose between saving his camera and saving his new friends. He chooses the latter and uses the Rocket trio's own vanity against them to send them packing. Later, Tohru and Satoshi become good friends and agree to all come together for a big group photo.

Thoughts
Pokemon ___!, where the blank there is some job or other hobby that people do in the real world, is a commonly used story device in this show. "Pokemon boxing!" "Pokemon racing!" "Pokemon medicine!" The list goes on and on. All you have to do when you're breaking a story is say "___, but with Pokemon!" and BAM! you've got yourself an episode.

"Pokemon photography!" was bound to come sooner or later. And, well, centering an episode around a character who doesn't want to take pictures of pokemon that look too posed or unnatural actually fits this show really well. One of the things this TV series does better than pretty much everything else is showing how humans and pokemon co-exist and how important it is for the former to care about the feelings of the latter. Seeing little Pikachu here, all nervous and uncomfortable around a camera, and then seeing Satoshi recognize this and react accordingly is just something the games weren't capable of showing back in 1996.

Tohru is an alright character, I guess. The best thing I can think to say about him is that he's voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi, who would go on to voice Usopp in a little-known series called One Piece. It's super obvious when you go back and watch this episode because his Tohru voice is almost exactly the same as his Usopp voice but I think it works to give Tohru this nice "I'm just doing the best I can" quality about him that wouldn't be there otherwise. Him tagging along for three episode is a bit weird (there's absolutely nothing in this episode that indicates that he'll be returning next week) but he doesn't really do much harm so I don't really mind.

One would assume that Tohru's appearance in this episode was to promote the spin-off game Pokemon Snap but if you look at this episode's air date and compare it with the release date of Pokemon Snap then things don't really add up. This episode premiered in Japan on July 23rd, 1998 in Japan but Pokemon Snap wouldn't come out until more than half a year later on March 21st, 1999. And when you consider that this episode probably would have debuted in April 1998 if it weren't for the Pokemon Shock incident then that gap grows even larger.


Tohru

So what's the deal? Well, it turns out that, according to an interview with the late Satoru Iwata, Pokemon Snap didn't actually start out as a Pokemon game at all:

Originally, Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64 system wasn't a Pokémon game, but rather a normal game in which you took photos, but the motivation for playing the game wasn't clear. We wondered what players would enjoy taking pictures of, and later on we made a somewhat forced switch to taking pictures of Pokémon.

My guess is that the TV series introduced this photographer character, just because, and HAL Laboratory later decided that he would be a good fit for their upcoming on-rails first person shooter game. In later series characters from side games showing up to promote their new games is kind of normal but in this case it seems like things happened the other way around.

A Vinder Viper-type pun / play on words being the central pillar of a TV episode often causes problems whenever said show is exported overseas but luckily for 4Kids the "catch" / "catch on film" mix-up in this episode could be adapted into English with no problem whatsoever. Did the other non-English dubs get off so lucky, I wonder? Is there any language out there where the joke doesn't work and so the localizers had to come up with something completely new?

Side Note - Rice balls
Oh look, our heroes are eating onigiri! I wonder what ridiculous name 4Kids will come up for them this ti-

Ash:  "These rice balls are pretty good."
Brock:  "Haha. Of course they are."

Oh. They just call them rice balls. Not donuts, not éclairs, not sandwiches. Just rice balls. Whoo!

(I know 4Kids will absolutely go back to insulting viewers' intelligence by renaming them in future episodes but for now let's just enjoy this, shall we?)

Side Note - Snap or Todd?
So what's the kid's name in this episode?




If you watched this episode in Canada, or the UK, or Australia, or anywhere else that airs the English dub then his name's Snap. But! For those of you who watched it on Kids' WB! in the U.S., the character's called Todd. In order for this to happen, 4Kids had to record two versions of this episode; one where people refer to him as "Snap" and another where they call him "Todd." By my count, there would have been nine lines total in this episode that would have had to be redubbed to accommodate this name change.

So what in the world is going on here? Beats me. A popular idea is that Kids' WB! mandated the change over fears of angering the lawyers over at Kellogg's due to the fact that the cereal conglomerate also has a character named "Snap" but as far as I know we've never seen anything from either party even implying that this was ever an issue. Plus, the character is called "Snap" in pretty much everything else released in the U.S. - the Pokemon Snap game itself, the DVD releases of the show, the official website - so if there was any real legal worries then wouldn't those have been scrubbed as well? I'm not super convinced.

Regardless of what the reason was, his name would later be retconned to "Todd Snap" later on to kind of give him the same name in all English-speaking regions.

Dialogue Edit
And now on to the actual episode itself! Finally!

A visual pun requires an explanation:

Brock:  "If you wanted to take a picture, why didn't you just ask us first?"
Snap:  "I didn't want Pikachu to know I was taking pictures of it. I never like them to look posed. You see, I am the number one Pokémon Photo Master!"
Brock and Misty:  "Did he say..."
Ash:  "Masker?"
Snap:  "That's right, I'm the...no~, not Masker. I said Master!"

Originally Tohru tells our heroes that he's a tensai kamerman (天才カメラマン), or "genius cameraman." Satoshi mishears kameraman as Kamekkusu (カメックス), as in the name of the pokemon, and so Tohru shows up in the next shot wearing a Kamex mask.

Kamex

The Master / Masker thing 4Kids comes up with works pretty well, for what it's worth.

Paint Edit
The magazine with Snap's picture in it got its text erased.

Japanese
English

In this first picture, the magazine's name Pokemon no Tomo (ポケモンの友), or "Pokemon Friend." It's the same magazine the Eevee trainers used back in "The Four Eevee Brothers" but I guess 4Kids didn't realize this because they renamed it Pokémon Times in this episode.

Japanese
English

The text inside the magazine says Kore wa Putera da! (これがプテラだ!), or "This is Ptera!"

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Snap wonders about fate:

Snap:  "Hmm. It's incredible how two people can be brought together by a single photograph. It's funny when you think about it. You're in the picture and nobody knows who you are and I take your picture and I'm world famous!"
Ash:  "Yeah, that's real hysterical."

Here's the Japanese line, for comparison's sake:  "Maybe we were bound by the threads of fate to meet each other.  To think that you showed up in a photo, even if just by accident, taken by a genius cameraman such as myself." (僕たちは運命の糸に導かれた出会ったかもしれない。僕が天才カメラマンとして認められた写真に、偶然とは言え君が写してた何てさ). It sounds similar, but notice how the Japanese version doesn't have Tohru insulting Satoshi the way Snap does with Ash in the English dub.

Little things like this will keep happening throughout the rest of the episode; Snap will make these snippy little comments attacking Ash that just weren't there in the Japanese version, all with that same same condescending Gary voice that Jimmy Zoppi uses for Ash's rival. The result is a character who's way less likable in the English dub than the Japanese version for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

Thankfully, 4Kids is rather inconsistent with the way they write Snap and the rest of the episodes he appears in are much, much closer to the Japanese rendition of the character than this episode is.

Breakfast is served:

Ash:  "I love pancakes!"
Brock:  "I haven't had pancakes in a long time!"
Misty:  "That sounds great, Snap!"

Originally Takeshi says that they're all hungry since they didn't get to finish eating their rice balls earlier.

Paint Edit
"Pokemon Friend" gets erased again.

Japanese
English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Team Rocket fights over some Tauros steak:

Japanese Version
English Version
Kojirou:  "But I almost never get to eat steak~!"
James:  "You're not acting like a nice old lady!"
Musashi:  "Alright then, let's get going!"
Jessie:  "Ah-ha! That's because I'm not nice...or old!"
Kojirou:  "We're doing this so pay attention!"
James:  "Ah...time to lose this guy's disguise."
Musashi and Kojirou:  "The Rocket-Dan, reporting for duty!"
Jessie and James:  "Surprise surprise!"
Nyarth:  "Nya Nyarth!"
Meowth:  "Yeah right."

The two versions are completely different but I don't hate the English dialogue here or anything like that. The fourth wall breaking Meowth does there is actually pretty clever!

After Team Rocket leave a trap for our heroes:

Japanese Version
English Version
Tohru:  "Hello ma'am. I'll take that Pikachu for you in just a little bit."
Snap:  "I'm sorry, I haven't taken that Pikachu for you yet."
Musashi:  "You'll definitely be able to get it right here."
Jessie:  "We're sure you'll get it sooner or later."
Kojirou:  "And just in case, we've made a super special pitfa-"
James:  "And just as a little insurance policy, we even dug this tra-"
(laughs nervously as she drags her partner away) (laughs nervously as she drags her partner away)
Tohru:  ""You'll be able to get it right here?" Ah! She must mean this is good spot to set up for a photo."
Snap:  "Hmm...this dirt is soft. Maybe a good place to wait for Pikachu."

The English version doesn't really make any sense to me. Why does the ground being soft make it a good place to wait for Pikachu?

Paint Edit
The magazine's article gets all its text erased:

Japanese
English

A lot of the text is cut off here but here's what we can see:

The text beside his picture says "This is a big -"
(これが大)...maybe it's meant to say something like "big discovery?" The next line say "camera boy" (カメラ少年).

The text at the bottom says "Tohru-kun, age 10,..." (トオル君 (10)) followed by "of Ptera" (プテラの). Maybe the full text is meant to be something like "Tohru-kun, age 10, took a picture of Ptera."

Looking at the pictures above, you'll also see that the English version is zoomed in on considerably more than the Japanese one. In the original the camera pulls back to reveal the full text of the article but in the English version this zoom-out effect is removed, presumably to give 4Kids less text to have to erase.

It's a shame this didn't get translated because we get a piece of information in the Japanese version (Tohru's age) that's not present in the English dub.

Dialogue Edit
Ash tricks Team Rocket:

Ash:  "OK, everybody, just smile for the camera! You're gonna love this shot."
James:  (laughs)
Ash:  "What's the magic word?"
Team Rocket:  "Cheese."

Photographers in Japan also tell their subjects to say "cheese" whenever they want them to smile but that's not the only phrase they have! Some of them will also say ichi tasu ichi wa? (1 + 1 = ?) and the people being photographed respond by saying ni (2). Ni, pronounced like the English word knee, forces your mouth to smile the same way saying the word "cheese" does.

In the Japanese version, Satoshi says the 1 + 1 = line to get the Rocket trio to smile instead of "cheese."

Jessie decides to say a poem:

Jessie:  "But first, a poem. Team Rocket drifted down the stream...and now we screa~m!"

In Japanese:  "Here's a poem...you don't want to fall down a waterfall but you will...aaaahhh we're falling~!" (ここで一句‥‥滝つぼに、落ちたくないけど落ちていく、ああ落ちていく~).

...it's not a good poem in either language.

Misty and Brock catch up with the other ten year olds:

Japanese Version
English Version
Kasumi:  "So those two are friendly now all of a sudden?"
Misty:  "I don't get it. How come you guys are acting like friends?"
Satoshi:  "He's a genius cameraman and I'm a genius Pokemon Master...we get along because we're both geniuses, right?"
Ash:  "We are friends, Misty, because we have something in common. We both like Pokémon."
Takeshi:  "Who said he was a genius?"
Brock:  "Imagine, those two friends."
Kasumi:  "That's just like him, isn't it."
Misty:  "I never pictured it."

The adventure they just had didn't really show how Snap likes Pokémon so I'm not sure what Ash is getting at here. He knows they both like Pok
émon because he wasn't willing to let another human being fall to his death? Is that what we're supposed to think?

Side Note

Finally, I wanted to share with you this screenshot from the next episode preview. If you remember one of the questions that's asked during the test then you'll see what they're doing here:

Next Episode Preview

It really is a shame that Western fans never get to see neat little Easter eggs like these in the English dub.


Previous Episode

This page was last updated on June 18th, 2017


 

 

 

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