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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
"Get Fired Up! The Guren Gym!"
After a long
journey Satoshi and his friends have finally landed on Guren Island!
However, it seems that the island, once known for its Pokemon Gym and
state-of-the-art Pokemon Laboratory, has turned into nothing more than
a gaudy tourist trap! Weary from a day filled with trying to find other
Pokemon Trainers, Satoshi and his friends decide to stay at the the inn
run by the man they bumped into earlier. Later that night, our heroes
thwart an attempt by the Rocket trio to kidnap the pokemon inside the
Pokemon Laboratory and are rewarded by being told about a secret,
second Pokemon Gym hidden deep inside the island's volcano. When our
heroes show up for their battle they're shocked to discover that their
riddle-loving innkeeper is none other than Katsura, the Guren Island
Gym Leader! Satoshi thinks his Zenigame being a Water-Type will give
him the edge in their first match but Katsura's Kyukon proves that type
match-ups don't matter at this Gym! Satoshi decides to send out his
Lizardon to go up against Katsura's Saidon in the second match but his
Fire-Type's inability to follow orders cost Satoshi the win. Luckily,
Satoshi's Pikachu is able to turn things around and defeats Saidon with
a well-targeted Thunderbolt attack. Katsura's third pokemon is Boober.
It uses a barrage of Fire Punch attacks to back Pikachu to the edge of
the ring before launching a Daimonji attack that threatens to burn
Pikachu to a crisp! What will Satoshi do!? To be continued!
Imagine, if you will, what it would have been like if you were watching these Kanto episodes as they were debuting in Japan. You've played Red & Green over and over and are understandably excited when the TV adaptation finally arrives at this Guren Island. There's no way they could not feature Pokemon Mansion, right!? Which means, of course, that we're also going to get at least a hint of Mewtwo in the TV series! How will it tie into the new movie that just came out just last month?
Obviously none of that actually happened. Instead, we get "this island has been turned into a tourist trap because lolz." Which, I have to say, is a pretty ingenious way for the writers to say screw you, we'll do what we want! The Pokemon Mansion is completely ignored, the Pokemon Laboratory is briefly shown but is vastly different from the games (it's a place where Fighting-Type pokemon hang out, apparently?), and the Guren Gym is now an arena where pokemon can fall into a pool of lava and die a horrifying, agonizing death. Not terrible, by any means, but it is upsetting to see the TV series squander a perfectly good game location like this for seemingly no reason.
Even Katsura himself is this weird mixed bag of video game references and change just for the sake of change. The series brings in his quiz-loving ways from the video games but then drastically alters his character design for a lame katsura pun...? And then there's his pokemon team! Neither Boober nor Kyukon had been featured all that much at this point in the series so I'm absolutely OK with their inclusion here but then we also get Saidon, a non Fire-Type who's eventually defeated by a Thunderbolt attack of all things! I get that the TV series wants to do its own thing and not be too predictable but then why not use another Fire-Type like Gallop or Windie instead?
I know it probably sounds like I hate this episode when I'm actually just mildly annoyed by some of the decisions it makes. I actually don't think it's that bad a way to spend a half hour of your day! Katsura's riddles are pretty fun, Shigeru's regular reminder that he exists leads to that great scene in the ryokan, and it shows that this series is finally trying to turn the tide on the whole "pity badges" thing it's been doing for a while now.
The script for the English version is really, really unfaithful. Literally every one of Katsura's riddles get rewritten for reasons I don't quite understand and there are lots of other, non-riddle related rewrites as well. It's actually much worse than usual! Add to that the various digital paint and music edits throughout the episode and you've got an adaptation that's as unfaithful to its source material as the original Japanese episode is to the Red & Green games.
Pretty different! Kasumi's
line about Satoshi becoming a Pokemon Master soon is pretty ridiculous,
sure, but Brock's line about Trainers coming to a
laboratory of all places to learn "the latest Pokémon techniques" is equally baffling.
Gary makes his (pointless) appearance:
"Trainers? You don't have a clue, as usual."
Originally Shigeru just mentions that it's been a long time
since Guren Island has been a popular spot among Trainers. He doesn't
mention his grandfather (Professor Oak? Or his other grandfather...?)
the way the dub does.
A little late:
"I've earned so many badges already I'm taking a break to work on my
In the Japanese version Shigeru tells his rival that he's
going to relax in the hot springs to melt away the fatigue he's built
up from battling so much lately. Satoshi responds by asking if he
really thinks he'll be able to win himself a Crimson Badge with an
attitude like that.
Also, "a real Trainer never takes a break," says
the kid who does nothing but that in the weeks leading up to
the Pokémon League.
There are five shots during the part of the episode where
our heroes walk around Cinnabar Island checking out how much of a
tourist trap it's become that get their text erased. Here's a gallery
of all those shots.
The Japanese riddle doesn't
contain any untranslatable puns or confusing cultural references and
have been brought over as-is with no problem whatsoever. So why not
just do that...?
Most of the text in this shot is either just random scribbles or are actual words but are too small to make out. However, the sign behind Kasumi's head says kurage-dou (海 月堂), or "jellyfish hall," which I guess means they sell jellyfish or something...?
translatable riddle gets rewritten for basically no reason!
The 寿 text on the wooden sign as well as the text on the green banners underneath get erased.
Edit / Paint Edit
Blaine: "Here's my card. If
you need anything..."
There's also some digital
paint applied to Blaine's "card" to localize the name of his inn.
In the original version, the rectangle shaped object Katsura hands our heroes is a tissue pack, not a business card.In Japan, a common sight when walking around a big city like Tokyo is people standing outside stores passing out tissue packs to whomever happens to walk by. These tissue packs will often have an ad for whatever store they work for, information about its location, and maybe even a coupon for whatever item they happen to sell. The idea is that if you pass out a bunch of flyers then people will just end up throwing them away without bothering to look at them but that if you include your ad in a pack of tissues (which are not all that expensive to produce) then people will be more likely to be exposed to your ad thanks to the tissues' functionality. The phenomenon is known as tisshu kubari (ティッシュ配り), or "tissue-pack marketing.
So OK, tissue pack to business card. That's an understandable enough of a localization change. But then shouldn't 4Kids have also edited out the little white bit on the left there that shows that whatever he's handing our heroes is part of a stack of something? Because right now it looks like Blaine just gave Ash a big stack of business cards for no real reason.
Our heroes visit Mew's lab:
it's just a bunch of
Satoshi doesn't call them
souvenir stands, especially since they're clearly food stands, but
instead just says that this area's also just another tourist area.
There are six shots near the lab that all get their text erased. You can see more of these images below in the gallery linked to below.
As our heroes try to find a place to stay, signs at the various inns they try to get into get their text replaced with the word "hotel."
Overall, three shots get edited as Ash and his friends look for a place to stay. You can see more of these images below in the gallery linked to below.Dialogue Edit
As our heroes' search continues:
Ash: "Oh, I'm so hungry I
could eat a Horsea."
In the original Satoshi
doesn't mention wanting to eat any pokemon in a clever turn of phrase;
he just says he's hungry.
Our heroes run into Gary:
If Misty and the others had
"already tried this hotel" then wouldn't you think they would have run
into Gary and his cheerleaders at some point? I mean look at that
party; there's no way they haven't
been there a few hours already.
Also, I kind of think
Takeshi's first line here is hilarious because it totally makes him
sound like an
old man complaining about the neighbors being too loud and not at all
like a 15-year old traveling around the country with his friends.
Ash and his friends meet
Gary in his super American hotel:
A play on words is what prompts Shigeru to make such a strange request. The delicacy he's referring to, sankai, is written as 山海 and is used to refer to food that comes from either the mountains or the sea.
However, if you write sankai as 三回, then the meaning changes to "three times." In other words, Shigeru hearing himself say sankai (山海) gives him the idea to tease Satoshi by asking his Pikachu to spin around san kai (三回), or "three times." A sorta-kinda similar but not all that great way to convey this in English would be to have the dialogue be something like "This food all comes from the sea. Well, I'd like to see you spin around three times..."
Also, 4Kids lets Ash say "die" here, which is kind of amazing.
Jigglypuff enters the room:
Gary: "Great. That must be the entertainment."
Originally Shigeru wonders if Purin is a new geisha.
So in the first half of the Purin performance in the original there's no background music whatsoever; instead, all we hear is the sound of Purin's voice singing over the strings of the shamisen. As the performance continues, the regular Purin theme music starts to creep in, starting right around the time we reach that stylized shot of everyone asleep on clouds and slowly building up louder and louder until the song is over. It's weird, but it works.
So how did 4Kids handle this? They decided to just take whatever version of the Purin theme they happened to have on file and slap it over the raw footage. That probably doesn't sound so bad until you see it in action because the singing and the music are way out of sync. The animation was never intended to go along with that song but 4Kids tried to shoehorn it in anyway because reasons. The whole thing is honestly kind of a hot mess.
Riddle number three:
I just don't understand why 4Kids would expend the energy needed to think up all these new riddles when the original ones can be translated without any problems whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, the ones 4Kids comes up with are fine; it's just such an unnecessary use of their time and energy.
Also, Blaine knows Misty's name now all of a sudden?
Guys, we're only at the halfway point here!
Anyway, Eleboo in the original, Magmar in the dub.
Thankfully there are no paint edits in the second half of the episode but that doesn't mean we don't have plenty of script rewrites!
Here's riddle number four:
The riddle in the Japanese version is that fire (or, in the case of this episode, a volcano) is used to heat up the water of the hot springs. The dub changes it completely for, again, no reason whatsoever.
Riddle number five:
Both versions act like wigs are only worn by people who have embarrassingly lost their hair (there are lots of other, non-medical reasons a person may choose to wear one!) and I'm not really sure where the dub gets the idea that wigs somehow keep your head dry.
This wig talk leads right into this next exchange:
Blaine: "Wig is correct!"
Ash, Misty, and Brock: "It's a wig!"
Blaine: "You get it? I wear a wig because I'm really Blaine, the Gym Master!"
I don't get it, Blaine, but it's not your fault at all.
In Japan the Guren Island Gym Leader's name is Katsura (カツラ). Like all the other Gym Leaders in Red & Green, Katsura's name comes from a type of plant, in this case the Japanese Judas tree. However, the word katsura can also mean, oddly enough, "wig."
So in the Japanese version, Katsura wears a katsura because, well, his name is Katsura. It's a dumb joke and Satoshi, Kasumi, and Takeshi's reactions indicate that the writer of this episode is very well aware of this.
Unfortunately for 4Kids there's nothing about the name "Blaine" that also has anything to do with wigs or disguises or anything like that so the reason Blaine wears a wig just kind of goes unexplained.
4Kids also decides to have Blaine change his voice when he takes off his disguise for some reason. His voice both in and out of disguise is the same in the Japanese version.
Let's talk about one of the most infamous parts of this episode:
Ash: "Pikachu, the horn!"
Ash says this right before
Pikachu looks up, notices Rhydon's horn, and decides to zap it with
electricity to take it down.
This line has been
misquoted as "Pikachu! Aim for the horn!" or simply "Aim for the horn!"
for years and is basically the "Luke, I am your father" of the Pokémon franchise.
Regardless of whether
you're looking at the actual line or the misquote, however, this simple
line in the English
version changes a major part of the battle from the Japanese version.
Originally, Satoshi simply
says Pikachuu, ganbare! (ピカチュ
ウ、がんばれ！) or "Pikachu! Hang in there!" That seems like a fairly harmless
rewrite but it actually changes who comes up with the strategy that
takes down Pikachu's opponent. In the original Pikachu hears "Pikachu!
Hang in there!", looks up at Saidon, and comes up with
the lightning rod idea all by itself. In the English dub, meanwhile,
the yellow mouse hears "Pikachu, the horn!", looks up at Rhydon, and
zaps its opponent because that's how it decides to interpret its
Trainer's order. It seems like a small change but it actually makes
Pikachu a little less clever than it is in Japanese.
Right before the Gym Leader
calls on his Magmar:
4Kids took a perfectly translatable (if not dumb) riddle from the Japanese version and turned it into a forced play on words that probably caused a lot of headaches for the poor translators in other countries. How did, say, the French dub handle this line? Or the German dub? Or literally any other dub in the world?
I always hear people explain away 4Kids' tendency to erase Japanese writing in this show and not bother to put anything in its place as it being merely an attempt to make the dub easier for international localizers but I don't buy that for a second when I see the dub pull shit like this on a fairly regular basis.
(Also, did Blaine just admit to Ash that his Pokémon's killed every opponent it's come across so far? Pretty dark!)
Narrator: "And so it's Pikachu vs. the volcano! Will little Pikachu be turned into the world's cutest lava lamp? Find out in our next fiery episode!"
That's...that's not how lava lamps work.
Originally the narrator says that Pikachu is in its greatest pinch thanks to Boober's Daimonji attack.
This page was last updated on July 8th, 2017
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