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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
063: "Tokiwa Gym! The Final
Satoshi has returned to Tokiwa City to earn his eighth and final Gym Badge. Before our hero gets a chance to battle the Gym Leader, however, Shigeru arrives on the scene and pushes his way to the front of the line! Satoshi's rival already has the Gym Badges needed to enter the Pokemon League but he just wants to battle the Tokiwa City Gym Leader to test his strength. Surprisingly, the Gym Leader ends up being Sakaki, the boss of the Rocket-Dan! Shigeru takes an early lead in the battle so Sakaki decides to bring out his secret weapon; a mysterious pokemon that no one's ever seen before. The pokemon quickly overpowers Shigeru's entire team and causes the young Trainer and his girlfriends to pass out! Later, Sakaki is called away on business and tells Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu, who just happen to be in his office at the time, to take care of things while he's away. When Satoshi and his friends finally make it into the Gym they're warned about the mysterious pokemon by Shigeru. Suddenly, the Rocket trio appear and announce that Satoshi will have to fight them in order to earn the Green Badge! Satoshi fights through the Rocket-Dan's tricks and traps and eventually succeeds in blasting the trio off. Now that he's in possession of the eight Gym Badges he needs to enter the Pokemon League, Satoshi and his friends head to Masara Town to find out where the competition is going to take place.
As we all know, Kanto is an absolute mess pacing-wise. Here we are, only four episodes after watching Satoshi earn his seventh badge and yet we're already at him getting his eighth and final badge. Four episodes...that's only one month later in real world time. And while the battle for the seventh badge was a two episode affair, this one, for some reason, only lasts one? Despite it being the final badge of the region and the big Rocket-Dan battle? The real answer is that they wanted to hurry up and introduce Mewtwo in the TV series before the movie came out and this would have been the best time to do it. But even if it had aired when it was supposed to (more on that later) there still would have been plenty of time to get everything done.
Cramming everything that this episode tries to do into a single episode definitely has its drawbacks. The first half is Shigeru vs. Sakaki but nothing really gets to happen with that because we keep cutting to this lame "Togepi gets separated from the group" subplot. And then the second half is the Rocket trio getting the gym and Satoshi's battle against them. If I was in charge I'd have axed one of the crappier filler episodes from earlier in the saga and then made this Gym Battle last two episodes; one for the Shigeru vs. Sakaki portion and the second for the Satoshi vs. the Rocket trio part. I think the final gym battle of the region deserves at least that much, don't you?
This episode is also a little bit more slapstick-y than most. The facepalm-worthy "I'm all fired up!" gag, Kojirou getting hit on the butt, that whole sequence with Musashi crossing the bridge only to have it vanish from underneath her, etc. The whole episode has this weird Looney Tunes vibe to it. I mean I get that they were probably trying to lighten the overall mood of the episode given how dark the Sakaki vs. Shigeru stuff was (well, for this series, anyway) but I think they may have overdone it a bit.
It probably sounds like I hate the episode. And on principle, I guess I do. But then when I actually sit down and watch the thing I forget about everything I just complained about and just enjoy the episode for what it is. I forget about the rushed pacing and the bad story structure and about how it could be so much better because, at the end of the day, it manages to be an entertaining way to spend 22 minutes. I think the issue I have is that the stuff that does work does so really well and it makes me want to see more. The battle between Shigeru and Sakaki - two men with massive egos - was honestly one of the most interesting battles up to this point in the series and I would have loved to have seen it get more screentime. The idea of the Rocket trio getting to be the Gym Leaders is a fun one and I wish we had gotten to see them in that role for more than the five minutes or whatever it is that we ended up getting instead. Even the Togepi-gets-separated-from-the-group thing ends up being alright because it leads to that great scene of the Rocket trio presenting the little egg pokemon to their boss. The episode has a lot of problems but it manages to trick us into forgetting all of them due to how well the individual moments in this episode work.
I also kind of really love this:
TOP SECRET MEWTWO PROJECT!! (hangs a picture of Mewtwo up in his office anyway)
Whenever someone brings up the dub of this episode I have to let out a heavy sigh because the "one year" rewrite that this episode is so well known for keeps coming up over and over. Luckily it seems to be one of those rewrites that people know is a rewrite but that's only after years and years and years of us fans of the Japanese version going around, message board post by message board post, setting the record straight. In a perfect world 4Kids would have just done their jobs and translated the dialogue as-is but unfortunately we live in one where the English dub has its own canon separate from the Japanese version.
Onidrill, Nidoking, and Kingler keep their Japanese voices.
Side Note - Airing Out-Of-Order
Anyone who's spent any amount of time on this site knows that the Pokemon Shock incident that put the show on a four-month hiatus at the beginning of 1998 wreaked absolute havoc on the schedule for the following year. This episode is yet another victim of careful planning being all for nothing.
If you use the TV schedules we had at the time the Porygon episode aired and go from there, you get a pretty good idea of what the rest of 1998 would have looked like. According to my calculations, "Tokiwa Gym! The Final Badge!" was originally going to air on June 16th, 1998. "Rival Showdown! The Orchid Laboratory," the other episode to feature Mewtwo, would have aired June 30th, 1998. In other words, both of these episodes featuring Mewtwo would have aired before the movie Mewtwo Strikes Back hit theaters on July 18th, 1998.
It would have been perfect. Give viewers a taste of Mewtwo - who they'd already be familiar with thanks to the movie trailers that would have been out by then - and get them excited for the movie's July 18th release.
Unfortunately, that isn't what ended up happening. Everything got pushed back four months because of the aforementioned Pokemon Shock scandal and so this episode, which was probably going to premiere in June, didn't end up airing until after the movie that it was supposed to serve as a tie-in to had finished up its theatrical run.
Shudou Takeshi, the man responsible for writing the screenplay for the first movie, stated in his blog that the cold opening to the theatrical version of Mewtwo Strikes Back - the part where it wakes up, destroys the lab, works for Sakaki, and then goes off on its own - didn't actually exist before the Pokemon Shock incident. Here's what he wrote:
This is all really interesting to me. Can you think about how different the movie would have played out without that opening? No "Who am I?" monologue, no lab explosion, no Sakaki and Mewtwo montage, none of that. Mewtwo's first scene in the movie would have been when it orders Joi to send an invitation out to Satoshi to come to New Island. You know the scene later in the movie where Mewtwo comes down from the sky and reveals itself as the Pokemon Trainer who called them there to New Island? And do you remember the long pan shot, the majestic music that plays in the background?
That would have been the first time audiences got a good look at Mewtwo. Not any of the dozens of full body shots we end up getting in the cold opening; this shot right here would have been the first time any of us would have seen or heard Mewtwo.
It kind of makes you want to go back and rewatch the movie only this time skipping everything before the title screen, doesn't it?
And if you think about it, this movie also spoils the fact that Shigeru faces off against Sakaki in the TV series and that he has a Windie, things Japanese audiences wouldn't have known about because "Tokiwa Gym! The Final Badge" wouldn't air for another few months.
Fortunately for fans of the English dub, "The Battle of the Badge" actually did debut before Pokémon The First Movie's November 12th release and so none of this applies to them.
There are no cuts or digital paint edits in this episode but that's OK because the script is complete garbage and that more than makes up for that.
Right at the very beginning of the episode we get one of the biggest lies the 4Kids dub has ever told us:
Ash: "I can't believe it's been a whole year since we were here."
One of the annoying things about the English dub of this series is how it has its own canon that's separate from the Japanese version. There are a lot of things that apply only to the dub and so whenever someone says something about Brock's mom being dead or Meowth's first word being the word "Rocket" then we fans of the Japanese version have to sigh and be like "yeah, OK, but in the Japanese version dot dot dot." Please believe me when I say that it's as annoying for us to say as it is for you to have to hear it.
This is another one of those type of lines. In the Japanese version, all Satoshi says is "Tokiwa City? Wow, it's been a while..." (トキワシティか。久しぶりだな). It's an extremely simple and straightforward line to translate and so of course 4Kids decided to just throw it away and make up their own bullcrap instead. The English dub of this episode did air a little bit over a year since the first Viridian City episode aired but that shouldn't be a factor here; 4Kids' job is to translate the script, not change random lines just because they can.
After Pikachu tries to set Ash on fire:
Brock: "A boy and his Pokémon...that's so beautiful."
Originally Takeshi is happy to see a friendship between "two guys" (いいな、男の友情ってのは). It's yet another hint at Pikachu's gender (the first being his use of boku in "Island of the Giant Pokemon!?") that doesn't make its way over to the English dub.
Gary arrives on the scene:
Gary: "I thought you finally gave up catching and training Pokémon. I figured you went back to Pallet but no~, here you are, still at it."
Ash: "I'll show you!"
Originally Shigeru passively aggressively praises Satoshi for making it as far as he has without giving up and running back to Masara Town, even going so far as to say "I commend you." Gary? Not so much.
Misty points out that Gary's always been a few steps ahead of Ash, prompting him to pout:
Ash: "Maybe I'm not the greatest Trainer yet, but I care about my Pokémon just as much as anybody does. Maybe more."
Here, Satoshi states that even though he may have been the fourth one to leave home - a reference to both the first episode and "Full of Digda!" - he's still doing the best he can.
After Togepi gets kidnapped:
Misty: "Why did you do that to my Togepi!?"
Ash: "Misty, it was an egg-cident."
Ash: "Get it? Egg?"
Misty: "LET'S GO!"
There's an tricky pun here in the Japanese version. Originally Satoshi says Gomen, Kasumi de...iya, hazumi de (ごめん、カスミで...いや、はずみで) which I'm going to choose to translate as "Sorry, I was Kasumi...I mean, caught off guard." The joke here is that Satoshi mixes up hasumi de (which usually means "spur of the moment" or "on impulse") with the name of his friend Kasumi. Kasumi responds by calling him an idiot.
Jessie: "I don't see those twerps anywhere James, do you?"
James: "No, and I haven't spotted Pikachu either, Jessie."
Meowth: "Hey, I bet the Boss would love a spotted Pikachu."
Meowth's line can be read one of two ways. One, he's taking what James said about "spotted Pikachu" and decides to make a lame joke with it, a joke that will coincidentally go with the Pokémon that's about to arrive on the scene. Or two, Meowth sees Togepi, a Pokémon with spots on it, through his binoculars and decides to make a comment about it.
In the Japanese version Nyasu simply states that if they don't find Pikachu then they run the risk of being fired from the Rocket-Dan.
After Togepi falls on James' butt:
James: "What did you do that for, Meowth?"
Meowth: "Heh? I don't know what you're talking about."
James: "Meowth, I demand to know why you just kicked me."
Meowth: "Don't flatter yourself. I wouldn't waste my time kickin' you!"
Kojirou: "You kicked me in the butt just now!" Nyasu: "I'm not interested in your butt or anything like that nya~!"
I like the Japanese version better.
Up until this point in the series, the 4Kids dub had always added a voice filter to Giovanni whenever he spoke. As of this episode, however, 4Kids decides to do away with it and just let Ted Lewis' voice come through as-is. I think it's pretty clear why they did this.
The Japanese version, on the other hand, never altered Sakaki's voice. Suzuoki Hirotaka's voice was never put through any filter; it was just used as-is.
Giovanni: "I am the Viridian Gym Leader. Who are you?"
Gary: "I'm Gary Oak, the best Pokémon Trainer in Pallet."
Originally, Sakaki gives his name to Shigeru, something Giovanni neglects to do here. Which normally wouldn't be a big deal except that this is the part in the series where Giovanni finally comes out of the shadows and so it's actually kind of important. I mean why do subtle things like no longer modify Ted Lewis' voice but then refuse to actually have the character identify himself by name when the time comes?
The English dub won't get around to actually saying Giovanni's name out loud until Mewtwo Strikes Back in a line that is ironically not in the Japanese version.
Also, I think this is the second or third time Gary's referred to Pallet Town as simply "Pallet" in this episode and it sounds kind of weird to me. I know they're probably omitting the word "Town" because of mouth flap considerations but I think it kind of makes Gary sound more like a tool than he usually does. But maybe that's the whole point?
After the first match:
Gary: "Looks like your Kingler'll do in a pinch, but it's not strong enough to tackle my Arcanine. [kisses PokéBall] Arcanine, I choose you!"
That "pinch" pun isn't in the Japanese version. Also, Shigeru refers to his Windie as "my honey" (ぼくのハニー), telling us that Windie is one of his favorites and is also maybe a girl. Dub fans don't get any of that.
Gary's about to defeat Giovanni's Kingler:
Gary's Cheerleaders: "Gary, Gary, he's the best! He's the one who'll beat the rest!"
Gary: "That's true. And I don't wanna disappoint you. Sometimes I wonder why I was cursed with this talent. Well, time to wrap this one up. Arcanine! Fire Blast attack!"
Here, Shigeru thanks his "beautiful girlfriends" (美しいガールフレンドたち) and then says that he can't keep them waiting any longer and so he should get around to finishing the battle now.
After Mewtwo's reveal:
Giovanni: "Now, as I was saying, my friend, I'd like to test out this Pokémon of mine in battle. And go ahead, use more than one Pokémon if you're afraid to lose."
Gary: "I'm not afraid of anything!"
Giovanni: "Well, let's get started."
Sakaki doesn't really goad Shigeru on as much as Giovanni does to Gary. Instead, he tells him that play time is over and invites Shigeru to bring out all his pokemon at once.
Jessie, James, and Meowth present Togepi to the Boss:
Giovanni: "What...exactly does this Pokémon do?"
Jessie: "Um...uh...what does this thing do?"
James: "Uh, well..."
Meowth: "Good question."
Jessie: "Well, it would certainly make a handsome paperweight."
In la versione japonaise Musashi starts to tell Sakaki that Togepi has this really powerful technique that can make people feel good but is cut off by Sakaki's yelling before she gets a chance to finish.
Giovanni's not happy:
Giovanni: "You fools! You search for months and bring me this thing? You're total incompetents"
Sakaki wonders what they've been doing all this time; he doesn't say anything about the Rocket trio "searching for months."
I'm not sure why 4Kids seems to be so hung up on assigning specific time frames to everything. What good does it do, really?
The phone rings:
Giovanni: "What is it? What!? When!? [hangs up the phone] There's been an accident I have to go I'm leaving the three of you in charge of the gym."
There was no "accident" in the Japanese version; Sakaki says "it can't be!", hangs up the phone, and then leaves the Rocket trio in charge of the gym.
This episode marks the very first time that music from any of the theatrical movies is ever used in the TV series. In this episode, Track 3 from the movie's soundtrack, "Powerful Mewtwo" (強者ミュウツー), plays while the plugs in Mewtwo's armor are being pulled out. It's a really cool and creepy piece and is yet another great way the TV series connects with the movie.
The English dub replaces this music, though, so so much for that!
The search for Togepi continues:
Misty: "Listen, you, if anything happens to Togepi I'll never forgive you."
Brock: "Misty, that won't help Togepi."
Misty: "Well it makes me feel better."
Takeshi tries to keep the peace but is only greeted with a harsh "Takeshi, just shut up" for his efforts. Poor guy.
Ash runs into the gym and finds his rival on the floor:
Gary: "It's here."
Ash: "What happened? What's here?"
Gary: "A Pokémon that we've never seen...did this. There's something different about this one. This Pokémon's not just powerful...it's evil."
Ash: "Evil? There can't be an evil Pokémon."
I don't think it will surprise you to learn that this whole "evil" subplot, a plot that's dropped as quickly as it's brought up, is not in the Japanese version at all. Instead, Shigeru tells Satoshi that this unknown pokemon has incredible strength and that none of his pokemon could do a thing against it. Satoshi repeats the "couldn't do a thing against it?" back at his rival.
Or maybe 4Kids is trying to establish Mewtwo as evil early on since their version of the character actually is evil, what with his desire to take over the world and also create a storm that will kill everyone and all that? It's just too bad that this contradicts a 4Kids line from earlier in the previous season:
The Rocket trio arrive on the scene:
Jessie: "To protect the world from devastation."
James: "To unite all peoples within our nation."
Jessie: "To denounce the evils of truth and love."
James: "To extend our reach to the stars above."
Ash: "It's them!"
Satoshi says "Musashi!" and Takeshi says "Kojirou!" instead.
Our heroes find out that the Viridian Gym is controlled by Team Rocket:
Misty: "You mean this gym is controlled by Team Rocket?"
Brock: "Why would they want a gym?"
Jessie: "Oh, you little dweebs couldn't understand the complex plans of an organization like Team Rocket."
Ash: "Yeah? Try us."
James: "They're for us to know and for you to find out. What are they?"
Jessie: "Huh? Those plans are classified information."
Meowth: "She don't know 'em either."
Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu have no idea either, but the way they express this is a little different. When Satoshi asks what the Rocket-Dan's big plans are, Kojirou responds with a modified version of their motto: "When you ask us what those big plans are...what are they again?" Musashi tries to cover for him by saying that in any case, their plans are huge.
Same basic idea, but slightly different execution.
I would just like to say that I am slightly surprised that 4Kids didn't bother to repaint the green Trainer's Box blue to match how the games released in the U.S. were Red and Blue, not Red and Green like they were in Japan.
I guess they thought no one would notice?
So there's this long period during the battle between Musashi and Satoshi in which there's no background music playing whatsoever. From the time Musashi throws her first Monster Ball until Satoshi receives his first Trainer Box shock (so about 38 seconds), all we hear are the voice actors and the sound effects. It's kind of a cool way to make this part of the battle stand out.
The dub, of course, has their background music droning on in the background constantly, making this battle seem like every other fight in the series.
Right before calling out Pidgeotto:
Ash: "I won't give up. I've come too far to quit now. I trust my Pokémon. We can do it!"
Gary: "Maybe...he can."
Gary's sudden confidence in Ash seems a bit abrupt, doesn't it? "Give up!" "No, I believe in my Pokémon!" "OK, don't give up then."
Originally Shigeru merely says Satoshi's name.
Right after Giovanni's Pokémon run away:
Jessie: "Follow...the leader."
Yeah, I don't fucking know either.
Originally Musashi just makes some onomatopoeia noises of her swaying back and forth.
Finally, Gary praises Ash:
Gary: "Huh. I hate to admit it, but that kid's a pretty good Trainer. But still...nobody's ever gonna be able to beat the Pokémon that I saw."
Shigeru originally says that Satoshi, who was the fourth one to leave Masara Town, really gave it his all. The "fourth one to leave Masara Town" part isn't there at all.
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