Pokemon Sunday
Episode 280

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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | TV Specials

Pokemon Sunday Episode 280
Episode Stats:

Pokemon Sunday Episode 280:  "Pokemon Ranger and the Tracks of Light" (Part One)"
Pokemon.com Special Episode:  "Pokémon Ranger Guardian Signs" (first half)

Japanese Air Date:  February 28th, 2010
American Air Date:  November 10th, 2010
Important Characters:  Natsuya (Ben), Pokemon Nappers (Pokémon Pinchers), Red Eye (Red Eyes), Shinbara-Kyouju (Professor Hastings)
Important Places:  Oblivia Region (Oblivia Region), Dorop Island (Dolce Island), Ranger Union (Ranger Union)

Above the skies of the Oblivia region, a pair of Pokemon Nappers are chasing after a Latios.  Suddenly, a young boy riding on a Mukuhawk appears!  After learning that the mysterious boy knows who they are, the Nappers shoot at him with energy cannons mounted on their flying machines.  Soon after, the female grunt notices his red goggles and yellow scarf and identifies him as a Pokemon Ranger!  The young Ranger, named Natsuya, had received orders from the Ranger Union to go to the region in order to stop the Pokemon Nappers.  The Pokemon Nappers, he learned, are an evil team who capture pokemon and control them for their own nefarious purposes.  After using a device known as a Capture Styler to capture a wild Mukuhawk, Natsuya took off toward the Oblivia Region.  Eventually, Natsuya's interference enables Latios to escape, so the Nappers decide to ignore him and chase after the pokemon.  Natsuya begins to follow them until an energy blast hits him from above.  The attack knocks him off his Mukuhawk and throws him into the sea below!  The Pokemon Nappers members look up and discover that their leader, Red Eye, was the one who got rid of the Pokemon Ranger for them.  Below, Natsuya washes up on Dorop Island.  After waking up, he spots a Pichu with a ukulele!  The pokemon attacks him, so Natsuya decides to use his Capture Styler to calm it down.  Will he be able to capture Pichu and resume chasing after the Pokemon Nappers?  To be continued!

I love the idea of making specials for these side games.  I wish there were more Mysterious Dungeon specials, and I wish there were more stand-alone Pokemon Ranger specials.  As much as I enjoyed the Riolu two-parter in the middle of Diamond & Pearl, you have to admit that that episode was more about Pokemon Hunter J than it was about people who shoot Beyblades at pokemon.  The Pokemon Rangers don't get nearly the amount of screentime they deserve.

So I got up on the Sunday morning this premiered on TV-Tokyo to watch an animated special of a game I was eagerly anticipating.  I hated getting up for Pokemon Sunday and I feel like my mind is dying whenever I watched the live action segments, but I put up with it to see this special.  So imagine my disappointment when, after sitting through the entire hour, I only got a four minute special. 

I don't really understand why they only gave us two four minute shorts.  Did they just not have a budget to do any more than that?  Were they afraid of giving away too much of the game's plot even though they didn't even cover the Ranger Signs, one of the major draws (no pun intended) of the sequel?  Are the antics of "Shoko-tan" that much more important to Japanese elementary school children?

I don't know the answers; all I know is that it is what it is.  I guess I should be thankful - eight minutes is better than nothing, after all - but I'm still hungry for more. 

Since each "episode" is only about four minutes long, there isn't that much I can comment on.  This half tries to cram so many game events into its four minute runtime that it has no room for any of the characters to showcase anything resembling a personality.  Natsuya, in particular, could not be any more uninteresting if he tried.  I do like how we get to see some game-only characters like Red Eye and Shinbara-Kyouju, though.  I particularly enjoyed the latter because, quite frankly, he's a character I feel like should have made his debut long ago.  Seeing the Ranger Union in animated form was also a nice treat.

When this special was originally aired on Pokemon Sunday, the show was being cropped to 4:3 for analog TVs, so this animated special got cropped as well.  The online stream that would go up after this episode aired, as well as the rental-only DVD available at Tsutaya, present the show in its proper 16:9 aspect ratio.

Much to my surprise, a dubbed version showed up on Pokemon.com about a month after the game was released.  The two shorts were edited together to make one longer short, so the ending of this short and the recap in the next short got cut.  The script is pretty faithful and all the Japanese music is kept intact, so there really isn't much to complain about.  I'm beyond tired of hearing Lisa Ortiz so damn much, but she plays such a minor character in this thing that it's easy to overlook.

The Ukulele Pichu keeps its Japanese voice.

Paint Edit
Throughout the special, subtitles pop up to describe the various locations and items being thrown at us during this special's extremely short runtime.  The dub accurately translates these subtitles.

First up, "Skies above the Oblivia Region."


Click on each image for a larger version.

Side Note
The narrator of this special in the dub is the Rodger Parsons, the same guy who narrates the regular TV series and the movies and everything else for this franchise.  In the Japanese version of the special, however, Masutani Yasunori provides the narration instead of the show's regular narrator, Unshou Ishizuka.  I guess they really wanted to set this special apart from the main TV series, or something, so they hired a new narrator?  *shrugs*

Paint Edit
More captions get translated into English.

The Ranger Union.


Dorop Island.  The name of this island in the English version of the game is Dolce Island, but this special misspells it as "Dolche Island" for some reason.


Also, sorry about the image quality of the Japanese screenshot.  The rental DVD I used for this looks like crap whenever there's a pan shot like that.

Next up is the Capture Styler.  Notice how the background is a little off, too?


Click on each image for a larger version.

Cut - 10 seconds
The last ten seconds of the special, which consist of a pan-up shot of Dorop Island and a "To Be Continued" screen, are removed from the dub.  During this scene, the narrator questions whether or not Natsuya will be able to successfully capture the Ukulele Pichu and tells us that the story is only just beginning.

Since the dub combines the two specials into one, this cliffhanger inviting viewers to tune in the following week to see what happens got cut.

Pokemon Ranger Guardian Signs Continues...

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Pokemon Sunday Episode 281




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