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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands
081: "Masara Town! A New Journey"
Our heroes have returned to Masara Town where a party is being held to celebrate Satoshi placing in the Top 16 of the Pokemon League. The Rocket-Dan crashes the party and attempts to kidnap Pikachu but are soon sent blasting off by Satoshi's Lizardon. The battle is not without its casualties, however, as Satoshi's Pigeon is injured by Arbok's Poison Sting attack. As the pokemon is being treated at Dr. Orchid's laboratory the young Trainers are asked to run an errand for the professor; take the "GS Ball," a mysterious gold and silver colored Monster Ball, to his colleague Dr. Uchikido over in the Orange Islands. Our heroes agree and before long say their goodbyes to Masara Town. On the way through a nearby forest our heroes are attacked by an Onidrill and its flock of Onisuzume. They quickly learn that there's a territorial dispute between this Onisuzume flock and a group of Poppo in the area and so Satoshi, not wanting to turn his back on pokemon in need, has his Pigeon lead the Poppo to safety. A battle breaks out some time later in which his Pidgeon evolves into Pidgeot and so Satoshi uses his pokemon's power boost to drive the rival flock away. Later, Satoshi decides that the Poppo will still need his Pigeot around if the Onisuzume ever come back and so he parts ways with his Flying-Type friend. As Pigeot flies away Satoshi turns his attention toward the Orange Islands and the mysterious GS Ball.
This episode is basically three underwritten stories crammed into a single episode. Let's have a post-League wrap-up, followed by the absolute bare minimum amount of screentime necessary to get Satoshi on to the next region, and then hey, let's also get rid of Satoshi's bird pokemon because we still have like half the episode to go. Any one of these plots could have easily been an entire episode all by itself but I guess they wanted to hurry up and get things moving? Despite the fact that the only reason the Orange Islands arc even exists in the first place is to stall for time until the release of Gold & Silver?
Story One, the party episode, is a nice, laid-back breather that gives everyone's pokemon a chance to come out and have a good time. And also, awwwww, everyone came out to celebrate Satoshi doing a mediocre job in the Pokemon League! The animation, provided by Masaaki Iwane, is great throughout the episode, but some of my favorite drawings of his are used during this party. I mean, who doesn't love this face?
The one thing I wish the party had done was show us the other two Trainers who left Masara Town the same day he did just so we could get some closure on that part of the story. Wouldn't it have been a great way to come full circle if we had been given the chance to see the Trainers who picked Fushigidane and Hitokage as their starters?
Story Two, the "let's get everyone to the Orange Islands / Archipelago, is the weakest of the three as it is literally the least they can do to hurry up and get Satoshi the fuck out of the Kanto Region. There's no explanation of what the hell these Orange Islands even are, or who this Dr. Uchikido is, or how she even came across the GS Ball in the first place. Shigeru is handwaved away from the arc by being on "another journey" but we never get to find out what this "other journey" actually was.
Story Three, in which our heroes appear to be walking through a forest to get to a chain of islands (the fact that they're actually just walking to a nearby airport isn't made immediately clear) and get caught up in a territorial spat between a bunch of birds, is alright, I guess? I really loved the fact that they brought back the Onisuzume from the first episode because I don't think any of us ever expected to see that brought up again the first time we watched these episodes. Seeing Satoshi riding his Pigeot through the air during the final battle was a fantastic sight but apparently it was too fantastic because the show made him get rid of it almost immediately after.
The script in the English version is actually fairly alright-ish except for that line at the end of the episode. Also Professor Ivy is apparently gender fluid, maybe?
Onidrill and Pigeot keep their Japanese voices.
Ash addresses the crowd:
Ash: "I'm very happy to be back home. And to everybody who supported me throughout the Pokémon League, I just want to say thank you very much."
Originally Satoshi just thanks everyone for throwing such a big party for him. His thank yous from the Japanese version are, instead, given to the grown-ups:
Professor Oak: "And thanks to Ash for representing us so well."
Delia: "And we all owe Professor Oak a big thank you for hosting us here today. Now, let's start the party."
In the Japanese version Dr. Orchid says that the time for stuffy speeches is over while Hanako says they should get the party started because everyone there must be hungry.
Speaking of hungry...
Ash: "Excuse me."
Team Rocket: "Yes young man?"
Ash: "I'd like three super-size orders of everything you got, please."
Team Rocket: "Yes sir!"
Originally Satoshi asks for three orders of yakisoba and three orders of takoyaki.
Team Rocket sabotage the food:
Jessie: "Our Team Rocket pepper-upper outta fire this up."
James: "And just wait till they get a taste of my molten-lava mustard."
Meowth: "And a little super-strength wasabi sauce will make their mouths go ballistic."
Amazingly all three of these are the same in the Japanese version! 4Kids even allowed a Japanese word to escape Meowh's lips! The only thing I'll say about the Japanese version is that each member of the Rocket trio uses the word geki-kara (激辛), or "super spicy," to describe their sauces while each member of the English Rocket trio uses a completely different set of adjectives.
When the Rocket-Dan is throwing bombs on the party we can hear the residents of Masara Town scream as they're running around. These screams are muted in the dub.
After a group of Spearow attack Jessie in the tree:
Jessie: "You're giving me a migraine."
Originally she complains that the bird pokemon are ruining her hair.
Back at Oak's lab:
Professor Oak: "I'd like you to go and visit my friend Professor Ivy and bring back the mysterious Poké Ball that he recently acquired so that I can study it."
Misty: "Can't you just have her transport it to you, professor?"
In the space of one sentence Professor Ivy goes from being a man to a woman! That's pretty progressive for a kids' show in the late 1990s!
I think it should be obvious that this same mistake doesn't occur in the Japanese version.
Ash's mom waves goodbye to her kid:
Delia: "Be careful!"
Ash: "We will!"
Delia: "And don't forget to change your you-know-what everyday, honey!"
Haha, it's funny because Ash's mom has an unhealthy obsession with the state of her son's underwear!
Originally Satoshi's mom says to make sure to send souvenirs to them by express mail before he returns home.
Our heroes make their way through a nearby forest.
Ash: "Hey...it sure is quiet in this forest, isn't it?"
Misty: "It sure is."
Brock: "Maybe even a little too quiet."
In the Japanese version Takeshi's line is that "The bugs and birds aren't chirping either" (虫や鳥の声がしない), which is him basically admitting, even this late in the game, that real world animals still exist in this universe.
Ash and Team Rocket are stuck in a tree:
Not a huge change or anything - Nyarth is addressing Satoshi while Meowth is addressing his teammates, Satoshi's final line is completely different, etc. - but it still feels different enough to warrant a mention.
Ash's Pidgeotto evolves:
Pokédex: "Pidgeot, the bird Pokémon. The evolved form of Pidgeotto. It can fly at twice the speed of sound at an altitude of nearly one mile."
Originally the Pokemon Bestiary says that Pigeot can fly at an altitude of 1,100 meters (0.68 miles) at a speed of Mach 2. So same information, only expressed in the metric system instead of the imperial system.
Finally, a scene I get messages about fairly regularly:
The nuance in the first line here is just different enough to change the meaning. Ash asks Pidgeot to stay in the forest "for a while" while Satoshi doesn't give any sort of timeframe.
And then there's the last line. No, ladies and gentlemen, Satoshi doesn't actually promise to come back for his Pigeot in the Japanese version, that whole thing is just another in a long line of annoying 4Kids rewrites. But unfortunately the English dub is so ingrained in people's consciousness at this point in the show's history that I feel like we'll have to be explaining this 20 years from now.
It's a particularly baffling rewrite since 4Kids should have known by this point that whenever Ash says goodbye to a Pokémon that that's pretty much it. We never saw Butterfree again, we never saw Haunter again, and we never saw Primeape again; so why would they try to make it seem like Pidgeot's going to be any different? Especially since 4Kids would have absolutely known how the Orange Islands arc ends since they were still a good year behind the Japanese version at this point. It doesn't make any sense.
Unfortunately, "it doesn't make any sense" is something I'll be saying a lot about the way 4Kids handles the Orange Island arc.
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