Japanese Episode
077






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 077
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 077:  "The Grass Field! An Unexpectedly Powerful Enemy!"
American Episode 223:  "The Fourth Round Rumble"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Spear (Japanese), Bellsprout (English)
Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course:  Pokemon League Special
Japanese Air Date:  January 1st, 1999
American Air Date:  November 13th, 1999
Important Characters:  Yoshiki (Melissa), Kaoruko (Jeanette Fisher)
Important Places:  Jouchan Town (Crimson City)

In one of the fourth round matches of the Sekiei Pokemon League, Satoshi's rival Shigeru loses to a Trainer named Yoshiki and is therefore knocked out of the competition! Satoshi doesn't have much time to get over his shock, however, as his own fourth match against a kimono-clad girl named Kaoruko is about to begin. The first battle is between Satoshi's Fushigidane and Kaoruko's Spear. Satoshi's pokemon is able to win the first battle fairly easily by using a combination of Leech Seed and Tackle to take down its opponent and so Satoshi decides to stick with it for the second battle. Kaoruko, meanwhile, chooses Strike for the second battle. Her Bug-Type pokemon's ability to confuse its opponent with Double Team causes headaches for Satoshi early on in the battle but his Fushigidane is eventually able to see through its after-images and brings Strike down with a series of Vine Whip attacks. Kaoruko's third and final pokemon is...a Madatsubomi!? Satoshi and his friends shrug off Kaoruko's choice but are shocked when her pokemon proves to be unexpectedly more powerful than anyone had thought. Madatsubomi easily takes down Satoshi's Fushigidane and Pikachu, leaving the young Trainer to have to close the battle with his Betobeton. The choice ends up being a smart one as his Betobeton is able to effortlessly absorb all of Madatsubomi's attacks before it smothers its opponent with its massive body. Madatsubomi is knocked out, earning Satoshi his fourth victory in the Sekiei Pokemon League! To be continued!


Thoughts
Freaking finally. After weeks of terrible battle after terrible battle, the Sekiei Pokemon League finally presents us with an episode that feels like an honest-to-goodness modern day Pokemon League episode. There's no wandering around a village for half an episode trying to find a Pokemon Center, no starting a match midway through, none of that; just pure, wall to wall battles. Just as it should be.

One part I really like about the episode - and the series in general, really - is how it's not afraid to feature battle tactics that you just can't replicate in the games if it'll make for an entertaining episode. Fushigidane's Leech Seed wrapping around Spear like a lasso, pinning its wings down and preventing it from being able to stay airborne? Sure! Madatsubomi using its roots to act as an earth to absorb Pikachu's electric attacks? I can buy that! Betobeton using its blob-like body to effectively smother its opponent? I don't see why not! Now it might be tempting to see what I wrote about Satoshi's battle against Kohmu, which also did things "outside the box," and call me out for being a hypocrite. How can I complain about one episode completely ignoring game mechanics but then praise another one for not sticking to the rules established in Pocket Monsters Red & Green? I think the answer should be fairly obvious. While Kohmu's Seadra being shot into the air after running into a bunch of bubbles and Kaoruko's Madatsubomi having its Razor Leaf absorbed by Betobeton are both things you can't do in the Game Boy games, the latter actually makes sense. And when I'm watching a TV show that's way more important than its fidelity to its 8-bit predecessors.

I think what also helps is that this episode was written by Yukiyoshi Ohashi, someone who is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers in this series. I mean, just look at his resume so far:

"The Water Flowers of Hanada City"
"The Fushigidane of the Hidden Village"
"The Battle of the St. Anne!"
"Bye Bye Butterfree"
"Sleeper and Pokemon Regression!?"
"The Sekichiku Ninja Showdown!"
"The Stormy Cycling Road"
"Wake Up, Kabigon!"
"Sing! Purin!"
"It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather Around!"
"The Daycare's Secret!"
"Hanada Gym! The Underwater Battle!"
"When Yadon Becomes Yadoran"
"Garagara's Bone Club"

Mr. Ohashi has written some of the series' best episodes and I would say "
The Grass Field! An Unexpectedly Powerful Enemy!" is right up there with them.

The only real negative aspect of this particular episode I can think of is how the Grass Field is just kind of meh. The Water, Rock, and Ice Fields all had unique environmental hazards (a swimming pool, rock structures breaking up the field, an ice rink) but then we get to the Grass Field and it's just...literally a field with grass on it. And that's it! I think the battle could have been a lot more exciting if there had been trees or vines or bushes or something to make it not look like your standard regulation soccer field but I guess the writer was so busy thinking up interesting battles that he kind of forgot to make this themed battlefield stand out.

This is an important milestone for the English dub as this is the last time 4Kids will get to use digital paint to remove Japanese text from the show until the Whirl Island arc starts up three years from now. Like, this is it! The Japanese animators, in what I assume is an effort to make things easier for the company localizing its show, refrain from using their native language on-screen from this point onward. No signs, no billboards, no notes, nothing
Can you even imagine if this same thing happening in the U.S.? Like, if Fox went up to The Simpsons creators and told them, with a straight face, that they are no longer allowed to have English text on-screen anymore because some of the show's foreign localizers complained about the extra work? And yet! In Pocket Monsters' case the show has, with very few exceptions here and there, kept Japanese writing off the show from 1999 up until about 2016 or so. I cannot overemphasize how fucking insane that is.

Kaoruko's Spear keeps its Japanese voice.

Side Note
So, first thing's first: 4Kids changed Shigeru's opponent from a man to a woman!

Originally the Trainer's name was Yoshiki, a name typically used for men in Japan, and he was voiced by Shinichirou
Miki. But for some reason the dub changed him into "Melissa" and got Tara Jayne to do the voice. And we're not talking Tara Jayne's Ritchie voice here; she pretty much uses her Johto Gym Leader Jasmine voice for Melissa here.

Yoshiki
Yoshiki

There's only two shots of Yoshiki in the entire episode; did 4Kids look at them and mistakenly think that Gary's opponent was meant to be a girl? Did they not have a copy of the Japanese audio to hear what is very obviously a man speaking? Or did 4Kids make this change on purpose to help break up the sausage fest that is the Indigo Pokémon League? Who knows!

Dialogue Edit
Ash approaches Gary after his loss:

Gary:  "That Trainer was lucky that I got distracted by all the girls cheering for me."
Girls:  (crying)
Gary:  "They're disappointed but you'll get over it, won't you girls?"

Shigeru doesn't throw his girlfriends under the bus the way Gary does. Instead, he tells Satoshi that it seems like the Goddess of Fortune just wasn't smiling at him this time (まあ今回は、勝利の女神が微笑まなかっただけさ) before turning to the girls and saying "Your tears for me are the only award I need" (僕の勲章は君達の涙さ).

After Gary leaves:

Ash:  "Can you believe Gary got knocked out? I thought he'd make it through at least four rounds."
Pikachu:  "Pika."
Ash:  "I don't know, Pikachu. Do you think we should quit while we're ahead?"
Pikachu:  "Pika~chu!"

Satoshi is unsure of himself but he isn't thinking about dropping out altogether; he simply asks Pikachu if it thinks they can actually win (勝てるかな、オレ).

Paint Edit
The "Pockemon" sign on the upper left of the screen here gets altered. The Nyarth dolls at the bottom are removed as well.


Japanese
English

Oddly enough the Pippi doll on the very left is left intact, as is the Japanese text buromaido (ブロマイド), or "bromides," and mihon (見本), or "samples" on the binder. Huh!

The same edit occurs again a few shots later:

Japanese English

Click on each image to see a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
After Jeanette calls out Beedrill:

Misty:  "She doesn't look so tough, does she?"
Brock:  "You never know."

Originally Kasumi simply states that this match is going to be between Fushigidane and Spear (フシギダネ対スピアー). She doesn't decide that Kaoruko's not a threat based on her pokemon choice.

During the second match, Jeanette orders her Scyther to use Quick Attack. In the original the command is for it to use Speed Star (スピードスター), or "Swift."

Eyecatch
This week's eyecatch?

Japanese English

4Kids changing the eyecatch Pokémon is never going to be not dumb but at least this time the alternate they choose makes sense.

Dialogue Edit
After Bulbasaur's victory against Scyther:

Brock:  "Ash figured out that Scyther's Double Team attack left it twice as weak on defense."
Misty:  "And he did it on his own."

Nope! Originally Takeshi says that it seems like Kaoruko's Strike was trained to have a high attack power at the expense of its defense (おぉ相手は攻撃で不能わりに、防御力が低かったな). The Double Team attack has nothing to do with its low defense.

Later, the Rocket trio attempt to suck up the other Trainers' pokemon using a vacuum machine they call Suikomu-kun (吸い込むくん), or "Lil' Vacuum." In the dub this same machine is referred to as a "PokéVac."

Also Officer Jenny refers to her Growlithe as an Arcanine ("Arcanine! Flamethrower!") by mistake a few moments later. 4Kids also gives the Pokémon Arcanine's voice, also by mistake. Whoops!

Paint Edit
The food stall the Rocket trio crashes into gets its banners wiped clean.

Japanese
English

The banner on the left says obento (お弁当), or "boxed lunch," while the banner on the right says juusu (ジュース), or "juice."

Anyway, this is it! The next time we see Japanese writing in this show (outside of episode title screens and credits, of course)  is in the background of "Pallet Party Panic" but for some reason 4Kids leaves that intact. And then after? I'm pretty sure the next time we see Japanese writing on-screen is on the map screens at the beginning of each episode of the Whirl Island arc.

Dialogue Edit
Right after the above Paint Edit:

Jessie:  "Hot dogs, I got red-hot hot dogs. Get 'em while they're red hot."
James:  "I got ice cream. Get it while it's cold."

The concessions they're selling in the original are juice, hot dogs, boxed lunches (Musashi) and hot coffee (Kojirou).

Who will the girl in the kimono with the most white girl name ever send out last?

Misty:  "Come on Ash, just beat this Pokémon and you win the match. Jeanette'll save her strongest for last, but whatever it is, you can beat her."

Kasumi doesn't talk directly to Satoshi and instead wonders what kind of pokemon Kaoruko will call out (最後ってことは、一番強いってことでしょう?) before listing Saidon and Nidoqueen as pokemon she can imagine her having (そうなると、サイドンかしら?ニドクイーンかもしれないは!).

The Bulbasaur vs. Bellsprout battle begins:

Ash:  "This is gonna be the shortest match in Pokémon League history!"

Originally Satoshi apologizes to Kaoruko for the flashy defeat he's about to give her (悪いけど派手に倒せてもらおうぜ).

Ash calls out his Muk:

Misty:  "Huh, I don't know what surprises me more. The fact that he's using Muk or the fact that he thought ahead."
Professor Oak:  "Yes, I underestimated him myself."

Kasumi is a little harsher, saying that he thought Satoshi was just an idiot (right in front of his mom, no less!) before commending him on actually having a strategy (そうだったんだ。サトシはお馬鹿さんだと思ってただけど、なかなかの作戦家じゃないの). Dr. Orchid then steps in and says that Satoshi can do well when he tries (あいつはやるときにはやるんじゃよ).

Bellsprout loses:

Jeanette:  "I'm very proud of the way you battled, Bellsprout. Let's go home."

Originally Kaoruko tells her Madatsubomi that it can enjoy a nice shower (さあ、帰ってシャワーを浴びましょうね、マダツボミ), implying that she wants to help it get clean after it was just smothered by a huge mass of toxic sludge.

The Rocket trio wraps up shop:
 

Japanese Version
English Dub
Nyarth:  "You idiots! The three of us are in an evil secret society Nya!"
Meowth:  "Hah! The next thing you know you two'll wanna open a fast food joint!"
Musashi:  "Ah, that's right...we haven't recited our motto today."
Jessie:  "Gasp! That's not a bad idea. We can call it Jessie's."
Kojirou:  "In that case..."
James:  "James."
Musashi:  "If we're asked about this or that"
Jessie:  "Want a burger and fries without trouble?"
Kojirou:  "It's up to the world whether or not we answer"
James:  "If you're really hungry, make it double."
Musashi:  "To prevent the world from being destroyed"
Jessie:  "To protect the world from hunger and thirst."
Kojirou:  "To protect the peace of the world"
James:  "Our food isn't bad, at least not the worst."
Musashi:  "And would you like..."
Jessie:  "The Team Rocket restaurant, blast in for a bite."
Musashi and Kojirou:  "Some love and truth?"
Jessie and James:  "We stay open all day, we stay open all night."

The Japanese version more or less leaves the motto unchanged while the English dub decides to get a little more creative.

The narrator takes us out:

Narrator:  "Now his dreams are burning as brightly as the flame atop Indigo Stadium. But, does Ash have what it takes to be a Pokémon Master? Find out as the competition continues."

The Japanese narrator tells us that from the fifth round onwards the battles will be moving to the Sekiei Stadium, the main battlefield of the Pokemon League (いよいよ次から戦いの場は、メイン会場・セキエイスタジアムに移る。そこではいかなる回戦相手が待ち受けているのか).

Side Note
This week's "Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course" segment talks about the way the venue where the Sekiei Pokemon League is taking place.


Dr. Orchid:  "This time we'll be going over the inside of the venue. No matter how you look at it the inside of the site is huge. But of course that's because this is a town been built for competitors and spectators alike to spend several days. There are restaurants and various other facilities set up throughout the town in addition to, of course, multiple Pokemon Centers. But what if you realize that "What!? I don't have it with me?" when you're thinking about which pokemon you want to use for your upcoming match? Not to worry! There are also Monster Ball transfer machines set up in the Pokemon Centers for you to use! And since this is a regional tournament, Joy-san and Junsar-san have been sent in from all over. With this, do you have a general idea what the inside of the venue is like?"

And here are the clips they decided to use:













The last screenshot there is from this episode's Pokemon Senryuu (ポケモン川柳), a haiku-like poem that Dr. Orchid recites at the end of each of these things. I'm only bringing it up now because the senryuu used for this episode is insane:

I want to see
Junsar's and Joy's
Children

みてみたい
ジュンサージョーイの
こどもたち

*shudders*

I think what they're going for here is Dr. Orchid marveling at the fact that all the Junsar and Joy looking alike and therefore wanting to see if even their children have the same face as well but it instead just comes off as creepy and weird and pervy. 4Kids most likely cuts these segments from the English dub because 1) they want to promote their own music library with the "Pikachu's Jukebox" AMVs, 2) they don't want to bother with all the Japanese text on-screen, and 3) they don't want the headache of trying to translate a Japanese poem in every episode if they don't have to, but in this case I'm also willing to bet that 4) they don't want to creep audiences the fuck out.

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