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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Extra Episode 02: "Iwark the Bivouac"
While on the road to their next destination, our heroes come upon a fork in the road. Satoshi chooses the path that will lead them through a treacherous snow-covered mountain and Kasumi and Takeshi, despite their misgivings, agree to tag along anyway. Once on the mountain a fierce blizzard starts to come in. The weather doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon so Takeshi suggests they dig themselves a shelter to wait out the storm. They're about to get started when a strong gust of wind takes Pikachu and carries it away! Satoshi runs after his pokemon and eventually catches up to it but as soon as the two are reunited they find that they've been separated from the others! Remembering Takeshi's plan, Satoshi uses his Hitokage to help dig out a cave in the side of the mountain in which to weather out the storm. As the cold night drags on, Satoshi's pokemon decide to leave the comfort of their Monster Balls to gather around their Trainer and keep him warm. Morning comes and the storm has subsided so Satoshi sets out to find Kasumi and Takeshi. He quickly finds them and finds out that they spent a comfortable night soaking in hot springs while Satoshi was stuck shivering in the cold! Now that the trio's been reunited, our heroes hop onto a Nyarth balloon that had gotten away from the Rocket trio earlier and fly the rest of the way out of the snowy mountains.
A lot of people like the Kanto episodes because there's something about them that's different from the episodes set in other regions. Some of that has to do with storylines they had the balls to run back then but don't anymore and some of it has to do with the show's "let's just throw random stuff out there and see what sticks" mentality that's the complete opposite of the committee-run, paint-by-numbers product the show would become in later years. And then some of it has to do with how Kanto didn't mind taking peaceful detours like the one we see in this episode.
It's hard to imagine them making an episode like this today. There are no new pokemon debuts, no characters of the day, and nothing in the way of a story, really. It's just the main characters walking around in the snow for about 20 minutes or so. The episode comes across to me as a collection of skits that the writers knew weren't strong enough to carry an episode by themselves and so they threw them all together into this one episode, hoping they would somehow work together to make an entertaining half hour of television.
If you ask me if I like this episode, I'd have to respond with a very confident "I don't know." I like the setup. I like how different it feels from the rest of the series. And I really like seeing Musashi's effed up childhood and how different her view of her life is from everyone else's. But at the same time...nothing really happens. Scenes tend to drag on longer than they should and the individual moments never really seem to add up to anything at the end of the episode. And while it's nice that we have that touching scene in the cave where Satoshi's pokemon all come out to help warm him up I don't know if that's worth sitting through him risking his friends' lives by making them go through a mountain they very much do not want to go through in order to get there. I mean if there's a takeaway from this episode then it'd be that Satoshi loves his pokemon very much but also doesn't give a shit about his human friends.
On the other hand, I feel like the lack of any scene featuring Takeshi and Kasumi worrying about Satoshi and Pikachu after they get separated from the group is equally horrible, though I do wonder if that was done on purpose because of how terribly they were treated earlier in the episode. "Wow! A hot spring! Well, we really should be more worried about what's happening to our friend out there in this life threatening blizzard but eff him, it's his fault we're in this mess in the first place!"
One thing that strikes me about the Japanese version is how little music there is in this particular episode. Entire scenes will have absolutely no background music at all, leaving only the sounds of the wind blowing across the mountains to carry the scene. It shows just how isolated our heroes are from civilization and makes the whole thing seem that much more dire, y'know? The English dub does away with all this by Mickey Mousing the whole thing like they usually do and in the process absolutely kill part of what makes this episode so unique. But what else is new?
Side Note - Airing Out-of-Order
This is the last of the four "it was created as a regular episode but ended up airing as a bangaihen (番外編), or "special episode," instead" episodes.
As you've already read plenty of times before now, this episode, along with "Fierce Fighting! Pokemon Hinamatsuri", "It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather Around!," and "Rougela's Christmas" was aired later than originally intended due to the four-month hiatus the show went on because of the Pokemon Shock incident. This episode was supposed to air before the Eevee episode back in January 1998, which is why Satoshi's Hitokage is still a Hitokage, but it didn't actually end up airing until after Satoshi had already gotten his eighth badge.
The 4Kids dub puts "Snow Way Out" in between the same two episodes that Japan did, so the same confusion caused in Japan carries over to the rest of the world. This would have been a good chance to actually 1-Up something Japan did by placing both this episode and the Jynx one right before "Pikachu's Goodbye" but my guess is that 4Kids simply didn't have access to these two "special" episodes until after Season 2 had already started and therefore couldn't. Oh well.
Right before the title screen:
Misty: "Aah! I don't wanna go mountain climbing!"
Ash: "What's a little hill? C'mon, Pik."
There's no real dialogue change here; I just wanted to express how glad I am that "Pik" never caught on as a nickname for Pikachu in the English dub.
Climbing up the mountain:
Brock: "The compass went crazy. This mountain must have so much iron that it's throwing the needle off."
Misty: "If the compass doesn't work how are we gonna find our way?"
Brock: "Now don't panic. If the sun's up there about 3:00, according to my calculations, that means..."
Ash and Misty: "What? What does it mean?"
Brock: "We're lost."
The English version is actually a lot more specific than the Japanese version. Originally Takeshi says that there's something in the mountain that's affecting its magnetic field but doesn't mention iron specifically. Later, he talks about the generic "position of the sun" instead of identifying it as being right at 3:00.
Next, Team Rocket! A lot of what they have to say is rewritten in this episode:
Musashi: "Don't tell me that you've never eaten a snow-gasbord?"
James: "What is a..."
Jessie: "Snow-gasbord. One of the few cherished memories of my otherwise wretched childhood."
What the dub calls a "snow-gasbord" is just "I got to eat a lot" (gochisou ga taberareru) in Japanese. Jessie's side comment about "...my otherwise wretched childhood" isn't in the original either.
I want to talk about Musashi's mother.
As we all know, Musashi's mother is Miyamoto, the Rocket-Dan agent who went out to South America to track down Mew in the Japan-only radio drama The Birth of Mewtwo. She hears reports of Mew showing up in the mountains in the area and, desperate to get the pokemon and use it to help her make enough money to give her daughter a good life, decides to stay up there until she finds it. Long story short, she eventually ends up dying in an avalanche without ever finding the elusive pokemon. You can read more about Miyamoto's depressing life story here.
Now, onto this episode. Based on the fact that "Iwark the Bivouac" would have aired on TV-Tokyo on January 6th, 1998 (if it weren't for the aforementioned Pokemon Shock incident) we know it was written before The Birth of Mewtwo was even a twinkle in Takeshi Shudo's eye. Miyamoto, as a concept, simply wouldn't have existed at the time. So when it came to write this episode, Shouji Yonemura probably thought hey, why not put Musashi's mother into a flashback scene? and just kind of threw her in there without really thinking too much about it.
Now it's important to note that at no point in any of the dialogue in the Japanese version of this episode does Musashi refer to this woman as "mommy." But the closed captions do refer to this woman as Musashi no haha (ムサシの母) or "Musashi's mother," on two separate occasions. So even though nobody actually says it out loud the intention seems to be that this woman whose face we never see is meant to be Musashi's mother.
But this doesn't really make sense. In The Birth of Mewtwo there's a line toward the end of the first episode where Miyamoto mentions the stress of being able to afford to send her daughter to preschool and nursery school, meaning Musashi would have been around two or three years old at the time. But in this episode, where Musashi is probably closer to four or five, the "mother" here has a noticeably older sounding voice than what Yumi Touma gave in The Birth of Mewtwo. And there's just no way the bubbly, energetic Miyamoto we see in the radio drama turned into the old woman we see in "Iwark the Bivouac" in the space of only two or three years.
So basically, in the Japanese version, a weird oversight caused two very different woman to be identified as "Musashi's mother" in the course of the series.
The English dub, on the other hand, has Jessie flat-out refer to this woman as her "mommy" in the dialogue on several occasions even though this information was only available from the closed captions in the original. Did the scripts 4Kids get include these close captioning descriptions, I wonder? Or did they just make an assumption, like they usually do, and through a happy accident happen to get lucky this one time? Either way, Miyamoto was never brought over to the U.S. (though podcasts exist now so TPCI absolutely could if they wanted to...) and calling this woman "mommy" doesn't really contradict anything that comes before or after so sure, why not let this woman be Jessie's mother?
Food edits!? In my Pokémon!?
Jessie: "Snow! Snow! I love it so! Yay! Ha ha ha!"
Mom: "Jessie? Snow-gasbord's ready."
Jessie: "Oh boy!"
Mom: "Here, darling. I made all your favorite dishes."
Mom: "Here's a snow loaf with snow sauce, a sampler of sushi snow rolls, Ida-snow potatoes with snow sour cream, and for dessert, a bowl of your favorite, snow pudding. Happy snow-gasbord!"
Jessie: "This is the best snow-gasbord any Mommy ever made!"
So (deep breath)...rice balls made from wrapping seaweed around snow ("snow loaf with snow sauce"), norimaki made with snow instead of white rice ("a sampler of sushi snow rolls"), snow sushi without any toppings on it ("Ida-snow potatoes," a take on Idaho potatoes), and plain shaved ice without any syrup on it ("snow pudding").
But wait, there's more!
Yeah, kind of different, isn't it? I like the idea that Musashi thinks that what she was fed as a child is what actual sushi is and am sad to see the dub not attempt to bring that aspect of the character over. The dub makes Jessie aware of how poor she was growing up ("We had to make do") while Musashi seems to be more or less oblivious to this fact.
After the Rocket trio's balloon floats away:
Megumi Hayashibara's shouyuuuuuuuu~!! ("SOY SAUUUUUUCE~~~!!!!!") is the real star here, but I'd also like to say that I feel like the Japanese version flows a lot better than the English one does. The 4Kids dialogue doesn't mention soy sauce until Jessie randomly strikes that power up pose and by that point it just seems like a random non-sequitor than the end result of a normal human conversation.
Next, the episode's title comes into play:
The term "bivouac" is used to describe a type of makeshift shelter used when climbing mountains or scouting. The Japanese way of writing it out is bibaaku (ビバーク), which, as you may have already noticed, bears a striking resemblance to the pokemon name Iwaaku (イワーク). Bibaaku, Iwaaku...I think you can see where the play on words is here.
"Onix," on the other hand, doesn't sound a thing like "bivouac" so 4Kids decided to just say screw it and made up their own dialogue.
There's also the part up there in the Japanese version about "If you wander around out here you risk your life" which is something the dub very purposefully sidesteps around.
Pokemon Dare Da?
The pokemon used during the eyecatch is changed because, hey, Season Two!!
This is really the only episode where it makes sense to use Pigeon as the eyecatch pokemon so let's use Muk instead.
Paint Edit / Cut - 23 seconds altogether / Dialogue Edit
So. I guess someone at 4Kids or Kids' WB! or whoever was worried about kids playing with matches, since this is the 1950s and that's totally a thing that kids still do all these decades later, and so this scene with the Rocket trio in the igloo got heavily edited.
First up, Nyarth's lit match gets changed to a candle.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
Next, Musashi puts down her sushi rolls and starts to launch into this sushi seller bit. The dub has her say "Dinner time! Mom's secret recipe snow rolls" and then cuts the following sixteen second sequence because it features Nyarth lighting up matches in the background. Seriously. He strikes a match, it goes out, and so he strikes another one. THANK GOD 4KIDS IS KEEPING THE CHILDREN AWAY FROM THIS FILTH.
It also just happens that this sixteen second scene has Musashi doing this whole schtick where she's acting like a worker at a sushi restaurant. 4Kids got rid of horrible matches and avoided having to figure out some "clever" way to localize the dialogue, all with one cut! Two birds, one stone!
The English version comes back with the shot of James saying "I'm just not in the mood for frozen food." Originally Kojirou says "Even if you had soy sauce I'd still say no thank you" (しょうゆがあっても遠慮するけど).
Next, Nyarth looks down at the three matches he just went through (or, if you're watching the dub, the three burnt matches that just randomly appeared out of nowhere) and distributes them to each of his teammates:
The following shot of Nyarth shows him saying iku nya ("Let's do this") and then striking a match up in front of his face. In the Japanese version Nyarth's mouth only moves two times. In the English dub, 4Kids loops the animation of Nyarth talking so that his mouth moves six times instead of just two ("I'll try anything to warm up") so they can cut the shot of him lighting a match without affecting the episode's runtime. Altogether, three seconds are trimmed from this shot and then three seconds are added back in.
The footage of the dream sequence is the same but the dialogue's different.
As you can see, the Japanese Rocket trio kind of piggybacks off each other, each member trying to outdo the person before them. The English version has them speaking independently, and also Meowth brings up clam chowder for some reason.
By the way, the table Musashi's sitting in front of during her fantasy is most likely a kotatsu, the same type of table heating thing that was shown in the previous episode.
The first four seconds of the very next shot has Musashi holding a lit match, so it had to go. The dub comes back in as soon as the smoke from Musashi's match clears away.
The rest of the footage in this episode is left alone. Altogether there are 23 seconds of footage cut, a paint edit, a shot where the footage of Nyarth talking is looped, and several rewrites, all because the censors have this silly problem with matches.
Oh, and just to close out the scene:
Jessie: "Wake up or you'll freeze!"
Originally Musashi tells them that if they fall asleep they'll die.
Right after all of Ash's Pokémon come out of their PokéBalls to warm up their Trainer:
Ash: "You win. Guess we'll all be cold together. That's right. We'll be cold all together."
The original Japanese line is "You idiots...don't you know you'll catch a cold? But y'know...I really am warm now" (バカだなぁ、風邪ひいても知らないぞ？でも．．．すっごくあったかいや).
(By the way, the redone voice acting in the Best Wishes! version of this scene...ugh. I love Rika Matsumoto and all but her delivery of the "You idiots...don't you know you'll catch a cold?" line was soooooo much better in the original episode).
Ash is reunited with his friends:
Satoshi shows concern for his friends after being stuck out in a blizzard all night! Ash...not as much.
Team Rocket finds a hot spring:
Team Rocket: "Team Rocket is warming up again~!"
Originally the Rocket trio says their ii kanji catchphrase here. Which leads us to:
Jessie: "It's too hot to stay in."
James: "But it's too cold to get out."
Meowth: "I'm gonna wind up with hot feet and a head cold."
Team Rocket: "We're all washed up~!"
The "We're all washed up~!" was originally ya na kanji and serves as a contrast to the ii kanji from earlier. You don't really get that sense from the dub because it uses two completely unrelated phrases instead.
The Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Lecture from the previous episode, a music video for the ending theme to Mewtwo Strikes Back, Kaze to Issho ni, is recycled for this episode too.
Next week we'll get to go back to watching Dr. Orchid being attacked by random pokemon he brings into his lab! Can't wait!
This page was last updated on September 16th, 2017
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