February 2016






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Dogasu's Backpack | Old Updates Archive | February 2016

Celebrating Twenty Years of Pocket Monsters - Day Two
February 29th, 2016

Dogasu @ 07:18 JST -- Today I continue what I started Saturday by posting information from the May 1996 issue of CoroCoro Comics! for the site's newest Feature "Pocket Monsters in 1996." This month the big news is the official reveal of the mythical 151st pokemon Mew! Up until this point the existence of Mew had merely been the stuff of playground legends but this issue is, I believe, the first time Mew's existence was ever actually officially confirmed.

CoroCoro May 1996

You can read this historic announcement (and more!) in my coverage of this vintage issue of CoroCoro Comics.

Later today I'll be sharing with you the July 1996 issue (I wasn't able to track down the June issue, unfortunately) of CoroCoro Comics in which the franchise's merchandising really begins to take off!

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Celebrating Twenty Years of Pocket Monsters
February 27th, 2016

Dogasu @ 23:33 JST -- My Pocket Monsters origin story: My introduction to the franchise came at the end of 1997. The Pokemon Shock incident had just occurred and my local newspaper printed the article the Associated Press wrote about it on its front page the following day. Now at the time I was at that awkward phase I think a lot of us go through where I wanted to watch anything and everything that came from Japan and so when a Japanese cartoon was featured right there on the front page of a newspaper...well how could I not read about it?

Some time later Viz's monthly Animerica magazine printed an editorial by some Japanese animator or producer or somebody in the business talking about the incident. I still hadn't played the video games or seen a second of the animated series at this point (Japanese imports were infinitely more difficult to obtain in the late 90s) but I knew it was something I was going to want to check out eventually.

A few months later I received that Pokemon VHS in the mail that subscribers of Nintendo Power magazine got. Y'know, that 90s-tastic one with Ash's science teacher and aunt and all that. By the time the show made its way to American TV on September 1998 I had a general sense that the franchise
existed and new that the main characters were named Satoshi and Pikachu but didn't know anything beyond what that VHS had told me.

I was hooked on the TV show from day one. I got Pokémon Red later that month and played the ever-living hell out of that too. Some time later I finally managed to get my hand on the Japanese version of the TV show and then in January 2000 I started a little website called Dogasu's Backpack. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I was thinking about a way to celebrate this milestone in a way that no other site can and decided that the best, most Dogasu's Backpack way of celebrating is to show what Japanese magazines were saying about the franchise at the time. Today I present the newest feature to the site, Pocket Monsters in 1996.

Pokemon in 1996

I was able to track down six issues of CoroCoro Comics from 1996 so starting today I'm going to start presenting them to you, one issue per day, to show you what the hype train was like in the only country that's actually had the franchise for 20 years now. Longtime visitors of the site will remember I did the same thing as an April Fool's prank a few years ago; it was pretty well-received then so I thought hey, why not do it again? I think these are great time capsules that show just how quickly the franchise grew.

In non-CoroCoro Comics news, I've also translated the review of Pocket Monsters Red & Green that the video game magazine Famitsu did back in 1996. I wasn't able to get a copy of the magazine myself in time for the anniversary so I'm having to make do with the image I've seen floating around on social media lately instead.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about the May 1996 issue of CoroCoro which features the magazine's first appearance of the mythical pokemon Mew and instructions on how to get one for yourself. Pretty exciting stuff!

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Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna
February 24th, 2016

Dogasu @ 23:22 JST -- The title for this year's movie has been (officially) revealed as Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna (ボルケニオンと機巧のマギアナ)!


A lot of people online seem to have trouble translating the 機巧 part of the movie's title and so I thought I'd add my two cents. 機巧 is a rarely-used word that's usually only ever pronounced as kikou . It's made up of the Chinese characters 機, which means "machine" or "contraption," and 巧, which means "skilled" or "ingenuity." Google Translate produces this as "exquisite contrivance" which is, well, nonsense. The actual meaning is closer to "ingenious" or "trick."

What kind of complicates things is how the word in this title isn't actually pronounced kikou. We know this because the letters karakuri (からくり) appear over the word to tell us that, actually, it's pronounced karakuri.
In essence, the word is spelled one way but pronounced another. Karakuri, as a word, means "puppet" or "trick" and is usually written in either hiragana or katakana. It's also appeared in this franchise before as the Trick House (カラクリ屋敷) in Houen.

So what's a word that conveys the meaning of the kanji - "machine" and "ingenuity" - but also takes into account the "trick" meaning added by the pronunciation? I decided to go with "tricky." A "machine" can be said to be a combination of contraptions and tricks and both "ingenuity and skill" are required to get over something tricky - a tricky math problem, a tricky video game puzzle, etc. As for karakuri? Well, a karakuri yashiki is a house filled with trick doors and trick walls and all sorts of things meant to trick you. In my opinion, at least, "tricky" captures the spirit of the Japanese title the most.

So anyway, there's now a new plot synopsis that I've translated as well as information on the new pokemon Magearna that's been added to the Pokemon Page.

Conspicuously missing from the movie's official website is information on any Pikachu short. Is it possible we're just not getting one this year at all? The other movies that didn't get Pikachu shorts attached to them (Deoxys through  Keldeo) still had Pikachu posters released anyway so the simple fact that a poster exists for this year's film doesn't necessarily mean we're getting one.

Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai
Giratina and the Sky Bouquet, Shami
Arcues - To the Conquering of Time and Space
The Master of Illusions Zorroark

Finally, I've added information about the manga adaptation that's starting in next month's issue of CoroCoro Comics!

Manga Adaptation

The manga adaptation is being done by Kawamoto Kemon, a manga artist who's been working since the 80s on a wide variety of series for a wide variety of audiences. A page count for the first chapter isn't listed though in the past these first chapters tend to be about 80 pages or so. The first chapter will be printed in the April issue of CoroCoro Comics, on sale March 15th, 2016.

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My site's now old enough to get a driver's license
February 14th, 2016

Dogasu @ 22:42 JST -- Well it took me a good half a month but I've finally written up my look back at the previous year for the site's anniversary!

Satoshi vs. Alan

Every year I end these essays with my predictions for the following year and of course this time is no different. With 2016 being the franchise's 20th anniversary I wanted to make sure I covered as much as I could so it'll be more interesting when I take a look back at them at the end of the year to see how I did. I don't think any of my predictions are too bold or out there but who knows!

So what do you think of Dogasu's Backpack's sixteenth year? And what do you think of my predictions for next year? Let me know in the usual places!

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Reminder about the first three movies
February 9th, 2016

Dogasu @ 21:00 JST -- My predictions for 2016 are coming...at some point? but in the meantime I would like to take Viz's re-release of the first three movies to remind you that this site, right here, has detailed essays depicting all the changes made between the Japanese original and the English dub of said films.

Mewtwo Strikes Back
The Power of One
Spell of the Unown
"Mewtwo Strikes Back"
"The Power of One"
"Spell of the Unown"

It'd be super nice if fans in the U.S. had a cheap, legal way to view the uncut originals (like, y'know, pretty much every other Japanese cartoon in existence) but until that day comes these essays will help let fill you in on what you're missing.

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  Dogasu's Backpack is a fan-created website  Pocket Monsters (Pokémon) is © 1995-2016 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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