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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Sun & Moon
SM 064: "Satoshi and Nagetsukesaru! A
Touchdown of Friendship!!"
A group of territorial Nagetsukesaru known as the Red Buns have come to Melemele Island to claim it as their own! They challenge the Melemele Greens, the group of Nagetsukesaru who have a claim on the area, to an American football-type battle using a coconut to determine who will be the leader of the island’s Teamwork Pokemon. Satoshi happens to be in the vicinity when this dispute takes place. The Red Buns end up easily overpowering their opponents and even sends the Melemele Green’s leader to the Pokemon Center. Once everyone’s finished licking their wounds Satoshi and the primate pokemon return to their lair and find that the Red Buns are treating all the others like their servants. Satoshi decides that it’s time for the Melemele Greens to take a stand and so he dresses up as a Nagetsukesaru and helps lead the others toward challenging the Red Buns’ leader to a rematch. The rival team accepts and before long the Fighting-Type pokemon all gather on a beach for another football-type game。The match seems to be a repeat of the last one, with the Red Buns greatly overpowering their opponents in the first half, but Satoshi’s determination to never give up lights a fire within the Melemele Greens that allows them to turn things around in their favor. Melemele’s group of Nagetsukesaru all band together and defeat the intruders and reclaim control of the island. But wait…somehow Satoshi has earned himself a position as the leader of the Melemele Greens!?
The Nagetsukesaru episode is about a bunch of monkeys who settle territorial disputes by playing a game of American football. Um…sure, alright, this series has definitely had more insane episode plots in the past. But while we tend to think that “Kanto-style insanity” equals “tons of fun” this episode is anything but.
I’ll be frank; “Satoshi and Nagetsukesaru! A Touchdown of Friendship!” is one snoozefest of an episode. It is seriously a chore to sit through you guys. Aside from the confusing and boring football games they make us sit through the episode also doesn’t do a great job of making the stakes of these little scuffles seem big enough. So this Red Buns group takes over and that’s bad because…reasons? Like, there are these scenes that show some of the green monkeys fanning that one red boss monkey and some of the are also offering it fruit but honestly none of that seems all that bad to me.
I think this episode would have really benefited from the Rocket-Dan being around and that’s not just because of my obvious bias toward this show’s best characters. I’m saying this because Nyarth could have helped explain the rules of the game to the other humans in the show; because Musashi and Kojirou could have dressed up like monkeys (or, at the very least, laugh at Satoshi and is ridiculous get-up); because we could have seen Kiteruguma dressed up in full-on football gear, kiiiiiiiii-ing as it bum rushes the trio. Because they would have made this boring-ass episode bearable.
There are some good things to say about the episode, though; there’s some great animation on display, and Moani’s refusal to recognize that her little Nyabby-chan’s evolved into a Nyaheat is kind of adorable. And I also liked the bit where Satoshi’s classmates ask Kaki if he’s ever heard of the Red Buns since they’re both from Akala Island. But for the most part the only interesting thing about this episode is the unfortunate coloring choices in its second half.
Speaking of which…
About the English Dub
So when the preview for this episode came out in Japan on February 22nd, during the previous week's episode, I saw Satoshi, with his little brown face paint there, and audibly groaned. Like, oh no, what are you guys doing here? Are you trying to get this episode banned?
So for those of you who haven't realized it yet, an episode of a children's cartoon where a white girl paints a Japanese kid's face brown in order to help it dress up like a monkey is super problematic. It looks like Satoshi's in blackface for pretty much the entire second half of the episode and even though he actually isn't and he's just dressed up like a pokemon it's all innocent and bla bla bla it still very much looks like blackface. You would think that after Rougela and Aloe that Japan would be more careful but since blackface itself is still alive and well on Japanese TV (as recently as New Year's Eve 2018!) shit like this is bound to keep popping up.
But it's not really all that bad, right? Couldn't Disney XD just air the episode as-is and not have any problems whatsoever? Eh...maybe? People seem to be split on this, with most of the comments I've seen online being like "well, it's not Jynx level but it's still kind of borderline." But if you're Disney XD then why even take the chance the first place? What do you get out of it? After all, you only just canceled one of your top rated shows because its star compared a black person to an ape; having two monkey-related race incidents in the space of less than three months is just stupid.
Editing the episode would also be possible (and probably not all that hard, considering all you'd probably have to do is just recolor a handful of scenes) but I don't think TPCI could even if they wanted to. My understanding of the English dub is that the whole thing is run by a skeleton crew and that their art team, in particular, only really deals with things like logo creation and typing out end credits and the like. Things like the XY&Z crucification edits or the Sun & Moon text removals are all done by OLM, and I think the most complex edit TPCI's ever done is change a sign in that one episode of Diamond & Pearl. An edit like this, where you'd have to redraw things that are actually moving around all over the place, is well outside TPCI's wheelhouse.
I know there are completionists out there who want to see everything dubbed into English. And it sucks to feel left out. But I think it's also important to understand that companies like TPCI and Disney aren't in the business of pissing people off. And in the case of this episode, the fallout of airing a blackface-y episode would be far, far greater than a bunch of Internet Pokémon fans being upset for a little while. It's better to be safe than sorry.
This page was last updated on August 7th, 2018
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