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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
079: "The Sekiei Stadium! Satoshi
After learning that they have to face each other in their fifth match at the Sekiei Pokemon League, Satoshi and Hiroshi vow to give the battle everything they've got. Later, with mere hours to go before the start of the match, Satoshi and Pikachu are lured away from their cottage and eventually kidnapped by the Rocket trio. Satoshi manages to escape but the trio keeps trying to steal Pikachu over and over again. After a long day of battling and running, Satoshi and Pikachu make it to the Sekiei Stadium. The first match is between Satoshi's Zenigame and Hiroshi's Butterfree. Zenigame manages to put up a good fight but is declared unable to battle after it's put to sleep by Butterfree's Sleep Powder. Satoshi's Pikachu is able to jump in and earn its Trainer his first victory with a Thunderbolt attack but is so wiped out from its earlier battles with the Rocket trio that it succumbs to a Hitokage's Tackle attack in the second battle. Satoshi decides that it's all or nothing as he chooses Lizardon as his third and final pokemon. Hiroshi's Fire-Type is no match for Satoshi's so its Trainer recalls Hitokage and chooses Pikachu as his last pokemon. Suddenly, Satoshi's Lizardon loses all interest in battling! Since Lizardon refuses to battle any further the referee decides to call the match in Hiroshi's favor. A visibly upset Satoshi congratulates Hiroshi as he realizes that his time at the Sekiei Pokemon League has officially come to an end.
I want to start this comparison off by saying that I'm super glad Satoshi lost. He was a beginning Trainer with, and let's be honest here, a shit pokemon team and he neither displayed the natural talent nor the willingness to put in the work necessary to take him all the way to the top. Placing in the Top 16 out of 256 Trainers is quite respectable and is actually the perfect place for him to end his first Pokemon League.
But good God did the TV series drop the ball when it came to the execution. The most obvious place to start is how the Sekiei Pokemon League apparently has all these insane rules that I guess were meant to always be in place but were never so much as whispered about in any way whatsoever before the start of this episode. Did you know that getting put to sleep by an opponent's attack is apparently grounds for losing a battle? Which means that you could theoretically just sweep the whole League with a Purin, Pukurin, or any other pokemon who happens to know a sleep-inducing move! It also seems like you're not allowed to switch out pokemon in this League because as soon as Hiroshi recalled his Hitokage the scoreboard showed that he only had one pokemon left. So I guess if Satoshi had been able to successfully recall his Kingler in his first round then he wouldn't have been able to use it again for the rest of the match? Oh and also if your pokemon isn't incapacitated in any way whatsoever but just doesn't feel like battling then that's also enough to make you lose the battle.
The super forced drama caused by Satoshi almost being late to his match really doesn't help things either. The shots of everyone staring at a clock; the rival asking for the referee to hold on just a little longer, I know he's going to be here he made a promise and everything; the constant cutaways to various characters worrying about our hero being disqualified; the hero coming thiiiiis close to losing by forfeit as he makes a dramatic entrance onto the battlefield...the whole thing is just one worn out shonen anime trope after another. I also don't really buy Pikachu being so worn out from its battles with the Rocket trio that it can be knocked out by a single Tackle attack because we don't really see it do much other than fire off a few electric attacks here and there. We've certainly seen it do more in the past without acting so exhausted.
A lot of people love to point for the finger at the Rocket trio for "eating up so much screen time" and for somehow being the main reason Satoshi lost the Sekiei Pokemon League but I'm going to have to go ahead and call shenanigans on that. It's not the Rocket trio's fault that the writer of this episode is so bad at pokemon battles that he puts off starting Satoshi's final match until the last possible minute. The Rocket trio didn't disqualify Satoshi's pokemon for falling asleep, and they weren't the ones who made Satoshi make the bonehead move of choosing Lizardon as his third pokemon. I know I'm super biased when it comes to the Rocket trio but I honestly don't understand why they always have to be the scapegoat for literally every single bad decisions the writers in this show make. Does anyone really think that Hideki Sonoda would have been able to come up with an engaging, satisfying conclusion to Satoshi's run in the Pokemon League if the Rocket trio had sat this one out?
So was there anything good about this episode? The Rocket-Dan's Hiroshi puppet was kind of hilarious, I guess, and I enjoyed watching Kasumi getting ready to beat the shit out of Hiroshi. Other than that...um...*shrugs*
When Pokémon was brought to the U.S. I know that the powers that be were probably worried that American children wouldn't respond well to it. Serial animated shows weren't really much of a thing back in the late 1990s, with most networks even going so far as to ask showrunners to limit the number of two parters per season, and the idea of having your protagonist not win the best of everything at the end of the series was just unheard of. And yet, Pokémon did all of that. While there are many, many other factors that contributed to Pokémon becoming the worldwide phenomenon that it became I think the fact that the series was doing things that no other kids' show was doing at the time definitely played a role.
Ash throws a pity party for himself:
Ash: "Why's my next match have to be against Ritchie? Everything happens to me~"
Awww boo-hoo. Wittle Ashy's all depwessed now.
Satoshi isn't nearly as whiny here; instead he says "So my next match is against Hiroshi, huh? This isn't going to be easy" (今度の対戦相手はヒロシか？何かやりにくいな).
Later, Brock (and then Professor Oak again at the end of the episode) refers to Fire-Types as "Flame"-Types. "Flame" is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Japanese hono'o (炎) so I think this probably was just a case of 4Kids not properly checking whatever documents they have that tell them how to translate the show's ridiculous number of proper nouns.
Ash's friends give him some advice:
One of the (many) differences between Ash and Satoshi is that Ash will outright say "I'm the best! I'm just as good as he is! I'm going to win!" while Satoshi isn't quite as bold.
Nurse Joy gives unsolicited advice to her patients' Trainer:
Nurse Joy: "I think you're very lucky to be battling a friend."
Nurse Joy: "Even if you don't win the match yourself, you can still be happy because your friend won. That makes it nice."
Originally Joy reasons that a battle where both Trainers do their best is a great way for the two of them to show the other what they've got (真剣勝負をすることで、お互いを認め合えるんだもの。うらやましいは).
Later, Ritchie calls Ash on the phone. Misty answers the phone with "Good morning" but Kasumi answers with the much more generic "Hello?" (もしもし).
Later, during the phone call:
Jessie (as Ritchie): "You're that stuck-up little big-mouth Misty, aren't ya? Listen lame-o, I didn't call to talk to you! Just get Ash and get lost!"
In a line that seems to be pretty well known among fans in Japan, Musashi refers to Kasumi as a namaiki ranbou onna (生意気乱暴女), or that "snot-nosed violent girl." I think the reason it's so popular is because it's actually a hilariously on-point description considering how Kasumi storms up to Hiroshi in the second half of the episode and threaten to beat the shit out of him.
Ash leaves to go meet "Ritchie":
Brock: "Just don't be late for your match."
Ash: "I might be late for a lot of things, Brock, but I'm never late for a meal or a Pokémon match."
Originally Satoshi says that the fifth round is taking place in Sekiei Stadium, the main stadium, and so there's no way he'll be late for that (次の５回戦はメインスタジアムでバトルなんだ。遅刻はしないよ).
Later, Team Rocket chases Ash on their bicycles. The dub makes up this thing about Ash having to choose between handing Pikachu over to Team Rocket and being late for his match this dilemma doesn't exist in the Japanese version in any way whatsoever. Instead, the Rocket trio tell Satoshi that they'll never stop chasing him.
Ash steals Team Rocket's bike:
Jessie: "You can't steal our bicycle!"
James: "Yeah! We're the thieves around here!"
Ash: "I'm not stealing, I'm just borrowing!"
In the Japanese version Satoshi tells the Rocket trio "I'll make sure to give it back someday!" (後でちゃんと返すよ！) which is almost exactly the same thing he told Kasumi when he stole her bike back in the very first episode (いつか返す！). I guess 4Kids didn't get the reference?
Goodbye Léon, hello Aerodactyl.
I don't think an Aerodactyl will appear again until the fifth movie so the decision to use it as the eyecatch Pokémon is just random.
Ash is late to his match:
Delia: "Professor, why isn't Ash here yet? Do you think he's gotten into some kind of trouble?"
Professor Oak: "Probably. But that boy has a way of getting himself right back out of it."
Hanako actually scolds Satoshi here, asking why her son's always being late for important things (まったくあの子ったら、いつも大事なときに遅刻するんだから) in what seems to be another shout-out to Episode 001. Dr. Orchid replies that maybe Satoshi showing up late is some kind of strategy to irritate his opponent (わざと遅れて、相手を焦らし作戦かもしれませんな).
Ash flies in to the stadium:
Announcer: "Ash Ketchum has just made the most dramatic last-minute entrance in Pokémon League history and this crowd's going absolutely wild."
The Japanese announcer doesn't proclaim Satoshi's entrance as the "most dramatic...in Pokemon League history." He simply says it was a dramatic entrance (空から派手に登場したサトシ選手に、会場は大声援。いきなりヒートアップしました！).
Ritchie calls his final Pokémon:
Ritchie: "Maybe it's risky...but it may be my only chance to win."
Well, yeah, Ritchie, you do only have one Pokémon left. Of course Sparky is your only chance to win.
Originally Hiroshi states that he won't give up until the very end (負けるもんか？最後まで諦めないぞ).
Misty and Brock react to Ash's loss:
If I had to guess I'd say 4Kids changed this exchange because they found Takeshi's idea that "boys don't cry" to be a little too outdated for their tastes.
Finally, Ash's mom and her boy toy chime in:
Professor Oak: "Ash should be very proud of himself."
Delia: "I know he's disappointed but I couldn't be prouder if he'd won."
Hanako doesn't say she's proud of her son in the Japanese version; instead she states that Satoshi still has a ways to go on his path to becoming a Pokemon Master (ポケモンマスターになれには、まだまだでしょうけどね).
This week's "Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course" segment is him talking about the most elusive creature of all, "Battles in the Pokemon League.".
And here are the clips they decided to use:
This show constantly acts like bringing pokemon of the same Type as the field you'll be battling is somehow the obvious move but wouldn't that actually the opposite? "Oh, we're battling in the Grass Field so I guess my opponent is going to be bringing a bunch of Grass-Types!" is probably the worst logic you can have when approaching a League battle and yet characters in this show do that all. the. time. Isn't picking your pokemon to coincide with the Type of your battle field like the most transparent thing you could possibly do? And wouldn't it be smarter to not act like a Gym Leader and actually have pokemon of varying Types instead? It's similar to how the show talks about pokemon of the same Type battling each other is going to make for a "good match" when in reality seeing Fire vs. Fire, for example, is extremely boring.
Dr. Orchid also implies that Trainers apparently have some limitations as to what pokemon they can choose in the first four rounds? Even though we can see, based on the Sekiei Pokemon League matches we're allowed to see, that no such limit seems to actually exist? What is this "Trainers are mostly free to pick whatever types the like" nonsense?
Ugh I hate this episode so much you guys.
This page was last updated on December 29th 2017
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