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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | April Fools Archive

Afro Satoshi-tachi

April 1st.  April Fools.  Poisson d'avil.  No matter how you say it, the first day of April is a day in which many websites will pull some sort of prank on its unsuspecting visitors.  This website is no exception.  Since 2002, I usually try to do something weird or funky to celebrate this day, and below is a sort of archive of all the pranks I've pulled over the years.  

2012:  Dogasu's Backpack, 1997 style
Sometimes, an event just happens to fall on April 1st, making it too perfect a gag to pass up.  In 2006, for example, the first episode to feature Jynx in nearly half a decade premiered on Kids' WB!.  I couldn't not do a prank involving the episode's controversial character, so I did a fake comparison that suggested that the character had been edited out by the wizards over at 4Kids' digital paint studio.  This year, a similar event just happened to fall on April 1st: the Pocket Monsters TV series turned fifteen years old.

That's right; on April 1st, 1997, the first episode of Pocket Monsters, "Pokemon I Choose You!" premiered on TV-Tokyo.  I already missed the show's 10th anniversary and have no idea if this site will still be around for its 20th (who knows what I'll be doing in 20 years?), so I thought now's the time to do the "rewind the site to the early days" gag.

Dogasu's Backpack, 1997

The premise was simple; pretend like I was in the year 1997 and act like my website is dedicated to this brand new franchise that hadn't even left Japan yet.  Basically, how would I cover the start of the Pocket Monsters TV series if my website existed back then?  What existed back then for me to do news posts on?  There are a few things in there that kind of ruin the illusion, like the links to sites like YouTube and Twitter.  And as ugly as my site is, I still think my Dogasu's Backpack 1997 layout was better than anything anyone was doing back then.  But for the most part, I think I did a fairly convincing job.

I'm sure some of you know that I moved to Tokyo in March of last year.  My relocation was one of the reasons I wasn't able to do an April Fool's prank in 2011 (the whole earthquake / tsunami / nuclear thing was the other), but now that I'm here, I'm able to take advantage of resources I didn't have access to back in my other city.  For example, I now live fairly close to Akihabara, the geek district whose Mandarake store sells old issues of CoroCoro Comics.  Like, 1996 / 1997 old.  Being able to take them home and scan them really helped give the gag site that little something that any other site doing the same gag wouldn't have.

Happily, I was able to find a few things that I don't think anybody in the English speaking fandom had ever known before.  Pre-release episode titles, for one.  Apparently, either CoroCoro was constantly being fed the wrong information back then or they just made shit up.  Or maybe the episode titles were all changed at the last minute back in those days?  *shrugs*  I picked up the November 1997 issue of CoroCoro Comics and found that the episode titles listed there were still all wrong, so I'm wondering how long it took for the magazine to become a reliable source.  I'm also fascinated by all the Pocket Monsters 2 pre-release stuff (Summer 1997 release date?  Denryuu is the evolved form of Raichu?  LOL) and how the magazine claimed that the animated series was going to have all this CG animation.  Learning that Matsumoto Rika's favorite pokemon (at least at the time) is Rokon was also pretty fascinating.

There are a few other minor things I hope you guys picked up on as well.  One, the fact that I spelled "pokemon" with a c.  It's hard to remember this now, but for the year and a half / two years before the franchise left Japan, everything that spelled the word out in our alphabet used the "pockemon" romanization.  The "pokemon" (and later, "Pokémon") spelling didn't come about until after the franchise had made its way to the English speaking world.  I also hope you guys enjoyed the aforementioned pre-release episode titles and the interesting tidbit I found about Anakubo Kousaku's Pocket Monsters manga.  I'll try to grab one of the issues where that series is known as "The Mysterious Pokemon Pippi" one of these days and post a scan of the title page or something.

I wish I could have completed the List of Techniques page and done the List of Items and Pocket Monsters Special page, but overall I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out. 

The feedback I got from this was great and makes me think that you guys had as much fun looking through this as I had researching / compiling everything.

2010:  Numemon's Backpack
This was one of those things that had been bubbling in the back of my brain for a while now.

Digimon is one of those series that everyone associates with Pokémon because they ignorantly believe that the former is a cheap imitation of the latter.  Of course, those of us who have actually watched both shows know that the similarities the two series have can be counted on one hand, but that apparently doesn't matter.  The two series have "-mon" in the title and they both feature evolution, so, y'know, OMG R1P0FF!!!!1!1!1!

Anyway, the idea of turning my site into a Digimon version of itself - just like I had done with Bleach and Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger before - was something that I had been planning for a while.  And, well, I figured it would be a great "prank" (if one can even call it that) for my site's tenth anniversary.  So, Numemon's Backpack was born.

Numemon's Backpack

I actually didn't know that much about Digimon until about two or three weeks ago.  I had seen a few random dubbed episodes on Fox Kids back in the day and had rented Digimon World for a weekend, but that was really it.  So basically, for the past few weeks, I went into exam cram mode.  I watched a bunch of raw Digimon Adventure episodes, picked up the CD Dramas (I was able to find a three-pack of the three CD Dramas, used, for less than $10 at a local shop), and signed up over at With the Will to get a sense of what the fandom's like.  I worked on updating the site a little bit at a time in order to prevent myself from getting burnt out on it (also, because I had other stuff going on) and was pretty much able to do everything the way I had wanted to.

The only thing I really wish I could have done, other than the DVD Guide and the Voice Actor page, was a podcast episode.  The podcast - which would have been called "Unchi Nageru" - would have me talking with a veteran Digimon fan or two to discuss why so many people are convinced that Digimon is a knock-off of Pokémon.  I might still do that someday (or, you know, a second podcast episode period), but at the time, I wasn't able to arrange everything in time for the April 1st deadline.

Random things I hope you all noticed:  a)  I chose Numemon because of its similarities to Dogas, such as being known as a "dirty" creature and because of how it's not generally people's first choice in the games, b) the fact that all the dates in the front page had a "04" and a "01" in them somewhere (fourth month, first day), and c) I actually translated all the episode titles myself. 

A lot of you guys really seemed to like it, which made me smile.  A fair number of you even said that you wish it wasn't just an April Fool's thing and that I would continue updating it even after the first.  I certainly appreciate that and even share that sentiment in a lot of ways but, as is the case with the other "___ Backpack" sites I make for this holiday, I simply don't have the time.

This little notice on my site's Bulbapedia page also deserves a mention:

No longer a Pokemon fansite

I LOL'ed.

2009:  Dora Buugaranan's Belly

I remember coming home from school one day, opening up the issue of Fox Kids Magazine that had just come in the mail and reading the comic inside that took screenshots from "Day of the Dumpster" (the first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and added word balloons to them to make a comic.  And, like every other kid in middle school at the time, I would watch the show and absolutely love it.  Yes, even back then I thought the show was cheesy, but it still managed to entertain me. 

I wouldn't call myself a huge fan - I never bought the toys or the VHS tapes or any of the games - but I would sit down and watch it if I wasn' t doing anything else.  I didn't watch every episode and bowed out fairly early into the series (I think I stopped watching right around the time Kimberly got replaced - and no, that wasn't the reason I stopped), but I still have nostalgic memories of it.

Fast forward to December 2008.  During that time, I managed to track down the original Japanese show, Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger.  And suddenly, my love for the series was reinvigorated.  I loved how this "new-to-me" show didn't have as much of that 90s cheese oozing off of it as Power Rangers did, didn't have Bulk and Skull, and, through it all, managed to have a coherent plot that flowed from episode to episode.  I saw the first nine episodes fansubbed and then a few other episodes raw and have loved everything I've seen.

With my fandom of the franchise being reinvigorated again, I decided to incorporate that into my next April Fool's Prank:  Dora Buugaranan's Belly.

Dora Buugaranan's Belly was a site set up exactly like Dogasu's Backpack, but instead of being a Pocket Monsters fansite, it was a Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger site.  Kind of like my "Mod Soul" Kon's Backpack thing back in 2005.  I worked on it, off and on, for about a week or so (taking a break during the weekend) and actually managed to do almost everything I had wanted to do.  I still wish I had been able to make updates to the Movies, CD Guide, and Video Games section, I'm still happy with what I did manage to accomplish.

About the "this week" image...I agree that it's kind of tacky to have a Shikenger thing up on a site dedicated to a series that's over 15 years old, but I was kind of forced to since *that* series is still going on in Japan and Zyurangers is not.

And in case any of you were wondering...I chose Dora Buugaranan (the frog monster "Terror Toad" in "Power Punks") because he's a character who's just as obscure and unloved as Dogas from Pocket Monsters is.  Plus, I really love the Japanese version of that episode because Dan and Mei get to do all these parodies of mafia movies / Japanese yakuza flicks.  I mean, they even gun down a bunch of gangsters with machine guns!  Can't get much more badass than that.

I actually had enough fun working on the site that I wouldn't have any problem doing it as a long-term thing.  But the fact that I have trouble updating one Backpack-type site as it is kind of makes that impossible.  Maybe I'll do it when I get better time management skills or something.

2008:  -No Update-
I was a lazy slacker and didn't do one this year.

Also, I had to fly to America to attend a wedding at around this time.

But if I had done an update, I would have faked a news story stating that a group of fans in Japan had created a Gyakuten Saiban ("Phoenix Wright") game with Pocket Monsters characters.  Y'know, like a fan game thing.  I had it all figured out, too - Kojirou would be Phoenix, Miyamoto would be Mia, Musashi (and Nyasu) would be Maya, Kosaburou would be Edgeworth, and Sakaki would be the judge.  But, unfortunately, that never came to pass.

2007:  OreNoSpace
I'll admit...social network sites like Facebook and MySpace are my guilty pleasures.  I'm a member of about four of these sites, and I visit two of them on a daily basis.  I don't know why I get sucked into those things so much, but when you find yourself slipping words like "Top 8" and "Facebook photo" into your daily life, you know you have a problem.

The 2007 prank was replacing the main page with "Satoshi's MySpace."  I had the idea some months ago, but, like every other April Fool's update, I waited until the last minute for some uknown reason.  I had initially planned to do all eight characters you see on the Top 8 and then some, but I was actually only able to finish three pages; Satoshi, Takeshi, and Harley.  Harley's was definitely the easiest because all I had to do was swipe content from some of my real-life gay friends' MySpace pages, but Takeshi's wasn't that difficult either.

If I had finished them, Musashi would have had one of those obnoxious pages with half a million images and songs competing with each other for your attention, Kojirou would have had one of those "I'm gay but I'm subtle about it" pages, and Hikari would have had the girliest page you've ever seen in your life.  Unfortunately, none of that came to pass.

It's also unfortunate that VG Cats beat me to the punch.  *shakes first in the air*

I didn't get that much feedback about the prank, but then again, I wasn't able to post it until the middle of the day due to the hangover I had that morning, so I can't be upset about that.  It was fun, and hopefully I'll be a lot more prepared for next year's prank.

2006:  "Mean with Envy" Fake Comparison
I had a ton of ideas for this year's joke due in part to the huge amount of stuff going on in 2006.  With the next entries in the main RPG series right around the corner and a probable new anime series to go along with it, the possibilities for a good prank were endless.  How could I possibly choose one thing to do a prank with?

Then, at the end of March, Kids' WB!'s schedule for the month of April came out, and the once skipped episode "Mean with Envy" was slated to air on April Fools Day.  When I found this out, I immediately knew what I'd do: a fake comparison for "Mean with Envy."

Now the dubbed version of the episode had already aired in the UK and Canada and had been available on the Internet for quite a while.  In fact, I had even done a legit comparison between the Japanese version and the version that aired in the UK some months before.  So the premise behind this new comparison was that Kids' WB! forced 4Kids to edit Jynx out of the episode due to the controversy it's caused in the past. 
The idea was that Jynx's replacement would be a Kids' WB!-only edit, similar to Ash's badge case in the early AG episodes or Harley's skull and crossbones becoming a frowny face. 

So by faking screenshots of new paint edits and reworking some dialogue, I "reported" on how 4Kids used a number of editing tricks to remove Jynx from the episode.

The first thing I had to do was decide what pokemon Jynx would be replaced with.  Jynx is kind of a special case because it has a set of moves that no other pokemon really has, so I had to settle with a pokemon who had a similar moveset.  Of course, I immediately thought of all the ice-types out there.  I also couldn't use any footage from before the show went to digital animation (anything before "Here's Lookin' At You, Elekid!") because the quality of the animation would clash too much.  So that left out pokemon like Piloswine, who hasn't apppeared since Johto.  After thinking about it for a while, I ultimately decided to use Glalie.  It was an ice-type and also had the advantage of appearing in more than just one random filler episode, giving me plenty of images to work with.  The pokemon also floats, making it easier to just plop it into a scene without worrying about it being too high up or too low to the ground.  I mean, the image of Erika hugging Jynx wouldn't have worked with most other pokemon because they would be either too short or too tall for the shot to be feasible.

Next, I went through every episode that featured Glalie, from "Rhapsody in Drew" to "The Right Place and the Right Mime," and took screenshots of every shot the character appeared in.  I think I ended up with about 60+ images which included shots from every conceivable angle.  After that, I went through and started Photoshopping Jynx out of the pictures and putting Glalie in its place.  I had to use every editing trick in the book - copy/paste, the clone brush, mirror images, resizing, adjusting the sharpness, etc. - to get an image that looked somewhat believable.

Of course, being the dummy that I am, I didn't start on this project until Friday night.  As a result, I didn't have time to edit EVERY picture, nor did I have time to fix a number of problems I knew would give the joke away.  I wish I could have taken the time to slightly crop each image, adjust the contrast/sharpness, and add a Kids' WB! logo in the new shots, but the necessity to be elsewhere that Saturday afternoon prevented me from getting this done.  C'est la vie.

This shot of Glalie was taken from a scene in AG 129 (left) and inserted into AG 116 (right)

For the record, the image I'm most proud of is the Pokédex image, and the one I like the least is the one with Erika hugging Glalie.  That particular image has a number of issues, including an overabundance of fence posts and a funky looking right horn that bugs the crap out of me even today.

When I posted the new comparison, I immediately got flooded with a bunch of responses, more than I had ever received before.  Most people saw through the gag and congratulated me, giving me such kind comments as "you could make an excellent 4Kids editor!" and "that was the best April Fool's Day joke ever!"  I started to feel kind of bad because the review threads for the episode on Serebii.net and Bulbagarden kind of transformed into these "Let's give Dogasu a big head!" threads, but on the other hand it was nice to read so many positive comments after all the work I put into it.  Other fans were a bit slow to catch on, launching into angry rants about how horrible 4Kids is and how horrible Carole Weatherford is. 

I also had a number of people suggest that there are actually two versions of the episode available.  Their theory was that my local Kids' WB! must have aired a different version from the one they saw, because their version still had Jynx in it.  Theories about how smaller, more conservative markets were given a newly-edited version of the episode began to pop up, and I got a few e-mails from people determined to figure out which markets were airing this new version.

I remember that as I was editing the images, I kept thinking, "What if 4Kids actually does this and all this time I'm spending editing these images is for nothing?"  The idea that the company would actually do something like this made the prank work that much better, but it also speaks worlds about the kind of companies that control the franchise in the U.S.

2005:  "Mod Soul" Kon's Backpack
This is the most elaborate prank yet.

The whole idea of "Mod Soul" Kon's Backpack was born while I was studying abroad in Japan.  I was bummed out at the fact that I wasn't able to do a prank for 2004, so I figured that I had to do a really big one the following year to make up for it.  I felt that reporting a fake news story would be too little (unless I pulled a Daizenshuu EX and backed it up with images and video), and I wasn't about to do anything as lame as create a new pokemon.  I had already done the "some ten year old must have hacked my website" update in 2002, and I wasn't about to pull that again.  Coming to a brick wall, I went to other websites who archived this sort of thing and looked at what they had done in the past.

In the end, I decided to replace my website with another; I would turn "Dogasu's Backpack" from a fansite about Pocket Monsters into a fansite for some other anime.  But what anime would I use?  I decided that I wanted something that was still airing on Japanese TV, so that I could emulate the style of the original site, with the Episode List and preview image in the upper left-hand corner and all.  I also didn't want it to be a huge series, because making a website based on a huge series would be way too time-consuming.

Well, my answer came in October, when I caught my first glimpse of the Bleach anime.  I had read the first two graphic novels that had been released in English at that point, so when I started watching the series I already had a general idea of what the show was about.  As soon as I finished the first episode, I knew that I had found my anime.  I watched the TV series every week on Japanese TV, bought the one CD that was out at the time, and stocked up on all the manga that was printed at that time.  I was properly equipped when it was time for me to return to the United States, so as soon as I got back on American soil, I started to get to work.

Mod Soul Kon's Backpack After creating the layout back in early January or so, I kind of got lazy and just let the project sit there for a while.  I didn't mean to just leave it sitting there for so long, but it seemed that every time I got in the mood to work on it, I had some school assignment or something preventing me from getting it done.  I had typed up the lyrics to be used in the Lyrics Archive toward the end of January, but pretty much every other section was created during the week leading up to April Fool's Day.  I created the new e-mail address and AIM screen name and added those into the layout on Monday, worked on the Lyrics section and Episode Comparisons section on Tuesday, did Video Game stuff on Wednesday, and more or less did everything else on Thursday.  My eyes hurt like hell from staring at the computer screen so long when it was time to upload the site on Thursday night / Friday morning, but I think it was worth it.

Despite the stress I was under to finish the project by the approaching deadline, I had a lot of fun.  I was amused at what I found out during my search for the seiyuu section (Sasuke and Uryuu are played by the same person!?), and my work on the page for the PSP game made me want the system even more than I do now.  And then there's the Anime-Manga Comparisons, which actually didn't take as long as my Pocket Monsters comparisons do.  They were fun to work on, and I wish I had had the time to get more finished.

That would have to be my major regret here--the time issue.  Since I just let the project sit there for the better part of three months, I didn't leave myself enough time to finish everything like I had wanted to.  When you click on the site, you'll notice that the Links page isn't really different at all from the one I have here.  Also, I didn't have time to do a single Character Bio, which is a shame considering that I could have just copied them straight from the graphic novels.  I had also planned to do more anime-manga comparisons, but as you can see, I was only able to get two of them completed.  There are other sections that had a few glitches here and there, and I wish I had been able to fix those before uploading the site.  Despite my regrets, though, I had a ton of fun working on this project.

Of course, half the fun of doing these April Fools updates is the reaction I receive from them.  Here is just a sample of the various e-mails I got:

  • Haha! April Fools, Dogasu. Now if only you put this much effort into a real update. ^^; Hehe, just kidding.
Heh, you got me there.  I had a real blast making a Bleach website, though, and I may have put more work into it than anything else that I've done lately because it was so different from what I normally do.  But don't worry, I'll try to work on my own website more in the future.
  • Dogasu, please tell me the "Soul Mod" Kon's Backpack thing is a joke!
Yeah, it was a joke.  I think most people assumed that the fake site was tomfoolery on my part, but I think there were also those who thought that I had given up on Pocket Monsters to focus on Bleach.

However, out of all the responses I got, this one was my favorite:
  • Erm...why is everything about Bleach on your website now? o.o; I'm kinda looking for Pokemon, not laundry detergent...


2004:  -No Update-
I was in Japan during the greater part of 2004, so I was out of the country when April 1st rolled around.  It's probably for this reason that I went a bit over-the-top with my April Fool's gag for the following year.

2003:  The wrong link trick
In April 2003, my April Fool's prank was simple--I merely replaced the main page to the site, saying that I had to move my site because of server issues, and offered a link to my site's new web address.  However, the new address didn't lead to my website; instead, it led to a weird flash site I randomly found one day.  I'll let you click on it yourself to see where it takes you.

2002:  The Pokemon is stupid page!!!!!
This one was fun.  Back in 2002, a lot of the initial boom that the franchise had created had subsided, but there were still a few websites here and there that featured bad grammar, terrible HTML skills (not that I have any room to talk), poorly-photoshopped images, and an overall lack of quality.  Of these, the most unintentionally humorous ones had to be the anti-Pokemon websites, in which a thirteen year old with 20 minutes to spare would whip up a site talking about how "dumb" and "gay" Pokemon was.  

The Pokemon is stupid page!!! So my April Fool's prank for 2002 was basically an homage to these pointless wastes of bandwidth.  I replaced my main page with a page filled with intentional grammatical and spelling errors, as well as a few poorly-made images.  It was actually a challenge to forget everything my English teachers had taught me over the years, and I must have edited that page 20 times to get the "ignorant wanker" vibe that these other sites deliver.  Hopefully, I succeeded.

My website had already been around for two Aprils before this without a prank like this, so when I threw this at website visitors in my site's third April, a lot of them weren't expecting it.  Here are some of the responses I got:

  • Ahh!  Emergency!  Some scumbag hacked both your envy site and the geocities mirror some time last night!
I got several e-mails like this.  A lot of people just assumed that my site was hacked, and a lot of people showed concern that there was foul play about.  
  • shut the hell up.
Wow, somebody didn't get the joke.  I'm still amused, though, that someone would think that the fake site reflected what I felt about both Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z.
  • It's really unfair that sombody would do that to your site.  I'm a webmaster of my own pokemon site as well, and i would be insulted if somebody did that to my page.  I don't mind people who hate pokemon, i accept it that they exist, but when i do argue against them i certainly do it in a more rational manner, and i do it though my OWN site and not hack into somebody elses.  Judging by the rants he made, this person obviously has little brainpower, and even more diminished vocabulary and far too much free time.  It insults me that someone of such a low IQ shoult try to tell me what shows i should and should not watch.
This was actually part of a larger e-mail.  I think it's funny that the author started bashing "someone of such a low IQ" without knowing that that someone was me!  It certainly made me smile.




  Dogasu's Backpack is a fan-created website  Pocket Monsters (Pokémon) is © 1995-2012 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK, Inc. / Pokémon USA / 4Kids Entertainment Inc.  No infringement of copyrights is meant by the creation of the web site.

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