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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 073
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 073:  "Garagara's Bone Club"
American Episode 219:  "Bad to the Bone"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Garagara (Japanese), Moltres (English)
Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course:  Kabigon
Japanese Air Date:  December 3rd, 1998
American Air Date:  October 16th, 1999
Important Characters:  Saizou (Otoshi)
Important Places:  Sekiei Plateau (Indigo Plateau)

There's only one week to go before the Pokemon League starts! Satoshi and his friends pack up their belongings, say goodbye to Satoshi's mom, and set off toward the Sekiei Plateau. Along the way they meet a young Trainer named Saizou and his Garagara. Saizou tricks Satoshi into betting all his Gym Badges on the outcome of a pokemon battle between the two of them but luckily for our hero his Pikachu is able to defeat Saizou's Garagara without any problem. After the match, Saizou reveals that he was only after Satoshi's badges because his own badges were stolen from him by the Rocket trio! Meanwhile, Musashi sneaks off with the badges they had stolen from Saizou, leaving Kojirou and Nyarth to answer to Satoshi when he finally catches up to them. As our heroes search through the Rocket duo's belongings, Saizou's Garagara reveals how upset it is that it's stuck with a Trainer who could lose all the Gym Badges it worked so hard to earn for him! Before long our heroes catch up to Musashi and begin the struggle to win back Saizou's badges. Garagara sees how hard Saizou is battling to retrieve the badges and decides to rejoin its Trainer right in the nick of time to help him send the Rocket trio blasting off. After reclaiming the stolen badges, Saizou and Satoshi part ways. Later, our heroes arrive at the Sekiei Plateau. But are Satoshi and Pikachu really ready for the Pokemon League!? To be continued!

This could just be me but I've always felt like the second half of the Kanto saga doesn't get nearly as much love as the first. Sure, everyone loves "Nyarth's ABCs" but other than that I feel like when fans talk about how great Kanto is they tend to overlook the last 20 episodes or so and focus mostly on the early stuff. Some of that I completely understand as there are some real classics in the beginning and also because episodes like "The Kusaihana of the Botanical Garden" and "Collision! The Giant Ancient Pokemon" are less than good in comparison. But then we get to an episode like this one, "Garagara's Bone Club," and you know what? Maybe we should pay attention to the latter half a little more.

The main story of this installment is about a young man named Saizou getting his badges stolen from him right before he's about to enter the Pokemon League. And as plots that will get recycled over the years go this is one of the better ones. What would you do if all these Gym Badges you worked so hard to earn got stolen from you at the last minute like that? Now the Rocket trio's motivation for stealing the badges in the first place I don't really buy considering the only time they've even hinted at wanting to compete in the Pokemon League was during the examination episode but I guess the whole "we're too lazy to do anything other than take the easy way out" storyline is very much in-character for them so I guess I can overlook it.

Now that the show has decided to wrap up its first training arc it's also decided that it's time to take a look back at everything Satoshi's done to make it to this point. I always love episodes with these long series-spanning flashbacks in them because they invite viewers to reflect on everything that's happened since the journey started and also give the storyline this nice sense of closure that it wouldn't have otherwise. And that mini flashback we got of the Rocket-Dan's costumes? Perfection. These callbacks really make it seem like the show's ramping up toward some kind of big finale and while we of course know that said finale never comes it's interesting to think back to a time when episodes like this had the power to make us think otherwise.

The only things I really don't like about "Garagara's Bone Club" is that time filler subplot about Garagara suddenly not liking its Trainer as well as the fact that we watch Saizou work so hard to get into the Pokemon League but then never see him again. Would it have killed the animators to have included him in a crowd scene at the end of the next episode? Or on a scoreboard in some throwaway scene? I like this episode and all but never seeing Saizou ever again feels like such a wasted opportunity.

The English dub changes Japanese names to more Western-sounding names all the time and while I personally don't like the practice I at least kind of (begrudgingly) understand it. The video games Westernize the names and so the TV series should probably follow suit, right? But then we get to this episode, where a Japanese name "Saizou" is changed to a different, but also still very Japanese, name "Otoshi," and I just honestly don't even fucking know anymore. Like, what's the point? Why is this a thing that happened? Who thought of this, and why? I just...I don't...AAAAAAaAaAAHHhhHhhhhh

Dodo keeps its Japanese voice.

Dialogue Edit
Ash and his friends visit Oak's place:

Ash:  "Professor Oak, please tell me, what should I do?"
Misty:  "Why don't you quit now and save yourself some embarrassment?"
Ash:  "I'm asking Professor Oak."

Kasumi's teasing is a little less mean-spirited than Misty's, which is usually the opposite of how these things go. In the original she tells the professor that Satoshi hasn't progressed during his training at all (何の成果も上がってないでしょ), prompting Satoshi to say that he has gotten (a little) better (ちょっとは腕上げてるよ).

Professor Oak responds:

Professor Oak:  "It's too late for "pointers," young man! If you're not ready for the Pokémon League now you should quit and go home!"
Ash:  "Wah!"
Pikachu:  "Pika!"
Professor Oak:  "But if you want to compete, I suggest you leave right now."

In the Nihongo-ban Dr. Orchid tells Satoshi that the Pokemon League will be starting next week (ポケモンリーグ開幕は来週じゃぞ!) and that his rival Shigeru's already set off for the Sekiei Plateau (シゲルなんぞはとっくに旅立っていたぞ). As usual I have no idea why the dub changed any of that.

Side Note
OK, I'm just going to say it; the voice 4Kids gave to Otoshi is problematic AF.


I mean first of all it's obviously a clumsy attempt at a Japanese accent but it's so, so far off the mark that it sounds more like a racist caricature than anything else.
Not quite Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's level of terrible but it's still a performance that makes you wonder how Kids' WB! didn't force 4Kids to pull a Seiryuu from Tenchi Muyo and make them redub the character.

And then sometimes Otoshi talks with... these... awkward... pauses... between... each... word, and then other times he sounds like Ren from Ren & Stimpy. And sometimes it sounds kind of French? It's basically a complete fail all around.

In the Japanese version, meanwhile, Saizou sprinkles some archaic language like sessha (拙者), or "I," and dezogaru (でござる), or "to be," but otherwise he has a perfectly normal voice.

Dialogue Edit
Ash rejects Otoshi's challenge:

Ash:  "Come on, guys, we've gotta go."
Otoshi:  "If that is your attitude you need not hurry to the Pokémon League."
Ash:  "Uh, what did you say?"

Originally Saizou goads Satoshi by asking him if he's running away from his challenge (拙者との勝負逃げるでござるか?).

Otoshi continues:

Otoshi:  "If you are so afraid of losing to me in a private match then what chance do you have of winning in a Pokémon League match? Lose your badges now, or lose them later."

The dub implies that Trainers who lose at the Pokémon League will have to hand over their badges before being unceremoniously ejected from the stadium even though, as we'll see later, that's obviously not the case.

In the Japanese version Saizou tells Satoshi that if he's not able to defeat someone like him now and gets all his badges taken away then it'd be the same as if he went to the Pokemon League and lost in his first match later (ここでバッジを取られるのとリーグに参加して1回戦で負けるのとしょせん同じこと). The end result - him wasting his time - will be the same.

After defeating Otoshi:

Ash:  "Haha, looks like I win the badges!"
Otoshi:  "I can't believe it. You defeated Marowak, my strongest Pokémon."

I'm not sure why Ash suddenly wants Otoshi's badges here; in the original Satoshi just tells Saizou that he wins (へヘッオレの勝ちだぜ).

Saizou then goes on to say that since Satoshi beat his strongest pokemon then it's no use for them to continue their battle (拙者のポケモンの中でいちばん強いガラガラが負けたとあっては勝負ありだ). This explains how Satoshi "wins" even though his Fushigidane got knocked out earlier, something the dub just kind of glosses over.

Otoshi reveals that he's actually the victim here:

Misty:  "You mean, you didn't have any badges to start with?"
Otoshi:  "Well, you see..."
Ash:  "You acted like you had badges when you never did. But your little scheme to get my badges backfired, didn't it?"

Satoshi's line is totally different; in the original he's amazed that Saizou would have the gall to be on the way to the Pokemon League even though he knows he doesn't have any badges (そりゃちょっとずうずうしんじゃないの?バッジ持ってなくてポケモンリーグに出場しようなんて).

Meanwhile, Jessie dreams about entering the Pok
émon League:

Jessie:  "No more sharing the stage with those silly, sniveling, simpering stooges. From now on, I'll be a solo superstar!"

In the Japanese version Musashi doesn't insult her teammates; she instead says that she can't wait to participate in the festival that is the Pokemon League (なんといってもポケモンリーグはお祭り!) and that she'll surprise everyone by coming out of nowhere. She then proclaims that she's on her way to becoming a star (あたしはスターへの階段をかけ上がっていくのよ).

We're back to using the eyecatch as a makeshift Next Episode Preview:


I guess poor Marowak doesn't get a Who's That Pokémon? during the region in which it debuted in, huh?

Paint Edit / Dialogue Edit
When the Rocket-Dan are forced to show our heroes what they're carrying around, Kojirou's Pokemon Trading Card Game cards get changed to glamor shots:


Accordingly, the dialogue gets changed:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Takeshi:  "And over here we've got a memo pad, a ball-point pen, sunglasses with one half broken...and Pokemon cards?!"
Brock:  "Well, I see binoculars, a notepad, some make-up, broken sunglasses, and...photos of yourself?"
Kojirou:  "Y'see, I'm using those to study pokemon..."
James:  "Uh, well you see I like to look at myself in my spare time.

The edit continues in the next shot:

Japanese English

As do the rewrites:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Satoshi:  "There are also some milk bottle lids, beer bottlecaps, the pull rings from canned juice..."
Ash:  "A bunch of bottlecaps, some POGs, some tabs from soda cans...?"

OK, first thing's first: POGs!! You guys, POGs!!!!!! I think this is probably the most 90s reference the English dub has ever made and that's including that time 4Kids had Ash bring up the Macarena. I wonder how many kids today would even get that reference today?

(Also, apparently there were Pokémon POGs back in the day? Did anyone have some?)

Next, I want to talk about the card to screenshot from "Make Room for Gloom" edit in depth for a minute. There's the usual Japanese writing cover up going on here, yes, but there's something else behind the edit; leaving the TCG card as-is would have actually been against the law. In 1974 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a series of policies called the Children’s Television Report and Policy Statement and one of things this did was restrict something called "host selling." Host selling is, according to the FCC, "the use of program characters or show hosts to sell products in commercials during or adjacent to the shows in which the character or host appears." In other words, you can't have a character in a children's show (James) showing off real life Pokémon merchandise (a Dark Primeape card from the Team Rocket expansion of the Pokémon Trading Card Game) during an episode of Pokémon. If you do then, in the eyes of the FCC, your show becomes what's known as a "full length commercial."

About 20 years later the Children's Television Act of 1990 came along and limited the amount of advertising allowed during children's TV
to 12 minutes per hour for weekdays and 10.5 minutes per hour for weekends, and any TV station that goes over this allotted time face huge, huge fees. The Children's Television Act of 1990, combined with Children's Television Report and Policy Statement of 1974, provided a lethal one-two punch to TV networks. Any show featuring what the FCC considers "host selling" is automatically counted as a 30 minute full length commercial, which then puts the TV network over their 12 minute advertising limit, which then makes them susceptible to steep fines. And the FCC's definition of "host selling" can be ridiculous; In 2010 a WB station in Ohio was fined $45,000 for airing a commercial for the Nintendo e-Reader featuring the letters MON for one whole second during an airing of Pokémon back in 2002.

Another example of these FCC restrictionsat work, one that I'm sure most of you are probably familiar with, is how all the cards in the TV broadcast dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! dub ended up having to be completely redrawn.

Japanese TV doesn't have any of these restrictions and so 4Kids will have to continue erasing products innocuously placed in the show by its Japanese animators for the rest of its run on Kids' WB!  These types of edits no longer occur these days since Pokémon is on cable TV now but for the next seven seasons or so we'll see this type of edit pop up again and again.

Dialogue Edit
Marowak wants to leave Otoshi:

Meowth:  "Skullboy says it was willing to put up with all the hard training...and tough battles...'cause it was dreamin' of getting into the Pokémon League competition."

Originally Garagara lists out the specific activities they did together (which we'll actually see again later in the episode):  sitting under a waterfall and jumping through rings of fire (”滝に打たれたり燃えさかる炎の輪の中をくぐってきたり苦労したんだニャ). The dub is way less specific.

Music Edit
So let's talk about the little Arabian-esque ditty that plays when Musashi's in her fortune teller costume was kept for the dub.


In the Japanese version it plays during the establishing shot of Musashi in her costume but that's it. In every other scene she's in there isn't any music in the background.

In the dub, however, 4Kids took this piece of music from the Japanese version and actually extended it so that it continues playing during all the scenes of her talking to her potential mark. The parts they add sound slightly different from the music in the Japanese version but it's close enough that I doubt most people would notice.

I'm a purist through and through, of course, but I do kind of think what 4Kids did here was pretty cool.

Dialogue Edit
After the Team Rocket motto:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Musashi:  "I couldn't help myself! My body just stole those badges by itself!"
Jessie:  "I was so close to stealing all of that kid's badges but you had to come and ruin everything!"
Nyarth:  "Hmmph! No matter where you go or how much time has passed you'll always be in the Rocket-Dan nya."
Meowth:  "Well, you can steal from some kid but not from us."
Kojirou:  "And you can't just go sneaking off without us!"
James:  "You have disgraced the disgraceful Team Rocket!"
Musashi:  "I guess there's no escaping my fate, is there?"
Jessie:  "My moment in the spotlight is over."
Nyarth:  "If you want more badges then come with us so we can all look for an easy mark together nya."
Meowth:  "We can steal more badges and be rottener as a team than we can as individuals."
Musashi:  "Alright, sure. Let's go then."
Jessie:  "All right...as long as I'm the rottenest."

Musashi's lines get all the rewrites this time, for some reason.

Otoshi battles Team Rocket:

Jessie:  "Go Arbok! Beat those birdbrains!"
Otoshi:  "Doduo, what's happening? Oh no! It's confused, and the two heads are fighting each other!"

Saizou doesn't say anything about being confused, something that's an actual status condition from the games; instead he just says that they're fighting each other (いかん!2つの頭がケンかし始めた).

As Team Rocket's blasting off:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Musashi:  "Wah~ But I wanted to enter the Pokemon League!"
Jessie:  "My chance at stardom was stolen from me!"
Kojirou:  "Are you still going on about that!?"
James:  "Please don't mention stealing."
Nyarth:  "Get serious about doing bad things nya!"
Meowth:  "I shoulda grabbed a banana for the trip."

The dub's really pushing the "Jessie wants to be a star" aspect while the Japanese version makes a bigger deal out of her (completely random) desire to enter the Pokemon League.


Narrator:  "Tomorrow, Ash will have to prove himself a winner in competition. But today, he proved himself a winner at life."

The narrator in the Japanese version doesn't contradict the events of the following episode and indicate that the Pokemon League will start "tomorrow." Instead he simply states that it's coming up "soon" (いよいよポケモンリーグの戦いの火ぶたが切って落とされる).

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