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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands

Japanese Episode 085

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 085:  "The Orange League! Natsukan Gym!"
American Episode 231:  "Fit To Be Tide"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Seadra (Japanese), Primeape (English)
Dr. Ookido's Pokémon Course:  Sawamular
Japanese Air Date:  February 25th, 1999
American Air Date:  February 5th, 2000
Important Characters:  Atsumi (Cissy), Senta (Senta)
Important Places:  Natsukan Island (Mikan Island)

Satoshi, Kasumi, and their new friend Kenji have made it to Natsukan Island, home of Satoshi’s first Orange League Pokémon Gym challenge. After a quick check-in with Dr. Ookido our heroes meet Atsumi, the western star of the Southern Cross and the Natsukan Gym Leader. Satoshi finds out that unlike in Kanto, you don’t earn badges in the Orange Islands by merely facing off in Pokémon battles; you have to defeat the Gym Leaders in a variety of athletic competitions! The first round, for example, challenges competitors to hit moving targets with their Pokémon’s Water Gun attacks. Atsumi's Seadra and Satoshi's Zenigame both manage to hit the same number of targets and so they decide to settle the round with a quick draw competition, but that too ends up in a draw. The second competition is a Surfing Showdown where the two Trainers have to ride on the back of their Pokémon in a one-on-one race. Atsumi's Kamex and Satoshi's Laplace begin, and for a while it seems as if the two Pokémon are fairly evenly matched. Things eventually take a turn, however, when Satoshi realizes his Laplace can use Ice Beam; he orders his Pokémon to freeze a path leading up to the shore, allowing them to slide the rest of the way to the finish line. Satoshi’s Pokémon crosses the finish line first, winning the match and earning its Trainer the Sakura Badge! Now with his first Orange League badge in hand, Satoshi leaves for his next adventure.

With the Orange Islands arc, the original Pocket Monsters TV series decided to forego the traditional Gym Battle formula for a proto Alola Region setup where competitors have to perform a variety of athletic tasks in order to earn their Gym Badges. Which is a fantastic idea! ...If this was the franchise's fourth or fifth year doing this kind of thing. But to see the series try to shake things up now, when the show's only been on the air a couple of years, feels a bit like them jumping the gun a bit.

Regardless of how premature the whole thing feels, the first of the Orange Islands gym challenges is the Natsukan Gym, and it's centered around two Pokémon techniques, "Water Gun" and "Surf." And, well, spoiler alert: they're both kind of bullshit.

The Water Gun Showdown has Trainers skeet shooting, provided of course you have a Pokémon who knows the move "Water Gun" with you at the time.. Oh what's that, you don't have one of the 57 Generation One Pokémon who can use the attack? Oh well! Like, what would Atsumi have done in that situation? Would she have turned Satoshi away? Would he have had to wander around the Natsukan Island coast until he could get himself a Pokémon who knew the attack? And then train it until its accuracy was at a level where it could compete against a Gym Leader?

Speaking of accuracy, the fact that Zenigame was able to hit every single one of its targets perfectly, on the first try, just rubs me the wrong way. We've never seen the Water-Type doing any sort of target practice before and yet all of a sudden it's an expert marksman? What?

The "Surf Showdown" is also bullshit for many of the same reasons. A Pokémon Surf race is a neat idea and all, but again, what if Satoshi didn't have his Laplace? Or any of the other 43 Generation One Pokémon who can learn Surf. I guess he could have awkwardly clung onto his Zenigame the way he did in the first movie, but would that have actually worked out for him in the end?

I'm looking through lists of all the Pokémon Satoshi's ever owned, from the original series all the way up to Sun & Moon, and you know what? His Laplace is literally the only Pokémon he ever owned during those 20+ years who can use the move Surf. Of the Pokémon he's gotten up until this episode, the only ones who could potentially learn Surf, according to the Generation One video games, are Zenigame (who's too small to ride), Pikachu (ditto), Kingler (who'd be awkward to ride), and Kentauros (also awkward).

Kasumi also mentions off-hand that she wished she could have challenged the gym but even the Kanto Region's Water-Type Gym Leader would have had a time of it since the only one of her Pokémon big enough for her to ride atop of (Starmie) is currently up north with her sisters.

But there's more to this episode than just the Gym Match. This episode allows us to see the Rocket trio's Koiking submarine for the first time, so that's kind of neat, right? Less neat, however, are the scenes of Kenji sketching and generally fawning over the Gym Leader in what is obviously an attempt to make Satoshi's new friend Takeshi 2.0. The Orange Islands arc thankfully doesn't have too many of these "Kenji is getting his perv on" moments but the few times it does stand out like a sore thumb.

When it comes to the English dub, I suppose we can add "4Kids didn't realize that Naminori is just the Japanese name for the attack known as Surf" to the list of things the company apparently didn't know about the video games. Which is kind of weird, right? I mean, I imagine a show of this size probably had some kind of massive series bible, a style guide or something that's like "Here are the 50 gajillion proper nouns that'll pop up in the episodes' Japanese scripts, and here's what they should be swapped out for in English." And, to be perfectly fair, the 4Kids dub did tend to get more video game facts right than it got wrong. Yet they still messed something up as basic as Naminori = Surf...? The whole thing's kind of bizarre to me.

Seadra gets to keep its Japanese voice, which is actually kind of surprising since all it does it say "doo-doo" over and over.

Dialogue Edit
The first line of the episode!

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ナレーション  「ボンタン島で知り合ったポケモンウォッチャーのケンジと共にオレンジ諸島の旅を続けるサトシたちである」
Narrator:  "Satoshi and his friends are continuing their journey through the Orange Islands together with a Pokémon Watcher they met on Bontan Island named Kenji."
Narrator:  "Today our heroes are on a new adventure -- exploring the Orange Islands as Ash sets out to quality for the Orange League."

The opening narration in the English dub is a lot more generic, huh?

Lapras is having fun:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
カスミ 「ラプラスったら楽しそう!」
Kasumi:  "Seems like Laplace is having fun!"
Misty:  "Ha ha. I think Lapras is having fun!"
ケンジ 「あぁ。こいつ、人を乗せて泳ぐのをよっぽど好きなんだよな
Kenji:  "Yeah. This Laplace seems like it really likes swimming around with people riding on its back."
Tracey:  "Yeah. And even with all of us riding Lapras has really good speed!"

In the Japanese version we're assured that Satoshi's Laplace actually
enjoys being a living, breathing water taxi for this group of children while the English version has Tracey comment on the Pokémon's swimming prowess instead.

Side Note
I've got to spend a moment to talk about the setting of this episode; Natsukan Island in Japanese, and Mikan Island in English. Both names are Japanese words that refer to a citrus fruit -- natsukan (ナツカン) comes from natsumikan, a yellowish-orange citrus fruit, while mikan (みかん) is a type of tangerine -- and so the name change here is basically substituting one Japanese word for another. Y'know, "localization."

Despite this completely pointless name change, 4Kids leaves in the Japanese name (well, NATUKAN GYM) as-is in literally every single shot it appears in originally. In fact, there's not a drop of digital paint this entire episode!

It's also worth noting that everyone in the dub absolutely butchers the pronunciation of the Japanese word they changed the Gym's name to; it should be mee-kahn but everyone's going around pronouncing it mike-in instead. The mispronunciation is consistent throughout the episode, though, so they at least have that going for them!

Dialogue Edit
The Rocket trio talks about their futures:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ムサシ 「しかたないでしょう?ボスの飛行船をボロボロにしちゃって、またまた 給料カットなったのよ。」
Musashi:  "And what do you want me to do about it? We trashed the boss' airship and got yet another pay cut."
Jessie:  "Well, we just lost the boss' blimp and if we don't come up with some rare Pokémon fast he's going to kick us off Team Rocket for good!"
ムサシ 「このままじゃクビよ!クビ!」
Musashi:  "If we keep on like this we're going to be fired! For good this time!"
James:  "That's ridiculous! The boss can't just discard me like an old shoe."
コジロウ 「それ、やばいっすよ!」
Kojirou:  "That'd be terrible!"

So close, yet so far; Musashi mentioning that the three of them got a pay cut because of their failures with the whole airship incident is removed from the dub. Normally I'd just chalk something like this up to the need for the dub to the match mouth flaps in the animation but half this dialogue takes place during an exterior shot of the submarine so that couldn't have been the reason.

Team Rocket's submarine sinks:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ムサシ 「このままじゃ潜水艦じゃなくて沈没艦 になっちゃうわよ!
Musashi:  "If this keeps up we'll go from being in a submarine to being in a submerged-marine!"
Jessie:  "I don't want to be buried at sea!"

Musashi's line is a play on words with sensuikan (潜水艦), "submarine," and chinbotsu-kan (沈没
艦), a made-up word where she takes the word for "sunken ship," chinbotsusen (沈没船), and swaps out the final -sen with the suffix -kan (艦), used for naval vessels like submarines and other ships.

The chinbotsu-kan joke is reused in the second half of the episode when the Rocket trio's sub starts to sink due to the seaweed getting stuck in its propellors. In that case, the dub has Jessie say "Let's all just push as hard as we can!" in its place.

Ash calls Professor Oak

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
サトシ 「オーキド博士!ナツカン島に着いたよ!
Satoshi:  "Dr. Ookido! We've reached Natsukan Island!"
Ash:  "Hi Professor Oak! Just wanted to call and say hello!"

This is super nitpicky but Ash doesn't bother to tell the professor where in the world he is right now the way his Japanese counterpart does.

Later in the conversation, Tracey reveals that 4Kids gave him the surname "Sketchit," making his full name "Tracey Sketchit." If this isn't the most obvious name pun in the entire series then it's gotta be at least Top Five, right? Like the overwhelming majority of the characters in this show, Kenji does not have a family name revealed in the Japanese version.

Ash asks about the Gym Leader:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
サトシ 「ケンジ、このナツカン島のジムリーダーってどんなやつなんだ?」
Satoshi:  "Hey Kenji, what kind of person is the Natsukan Island Gym Leader?"
Ash:  "Tracey, I hate to change the subject, but what's the Mikan Gym Leader like?"
ケンジ 「オレンジリーグ・サザンクロスの西の星って呼ばれてるんだ」
Kenji:  "The Gym Leader here's called the western star of the Orange League's Southern Cross."
Tracey:  "They say the Mikan Gym Leader's one of the toughest Trainers in the Orange Crew."
サトシ 「オレンジリーグ・サザンクロスの西の星?どんなトレーナーなんだろ う?腕が鳴るぜ!」
Satoshi: "'The western star of the Orange League's Southern Cross?' I wonder what kind of Trainer that'll be? I can't wait to test my skill!"
Ash:  "A match with one of the toughest in the Orange Crew! Now I can hardly wait! Let's get goin'!"

So here's the first instance of this episode removing any and all references to the "Southern Cross" from the original version!

Ash and Senta continue to fight:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
センタ 「そんなじゃオレンジリーグでは通用しないぜ。特にこのナツカンジム じゃな。」
Senta:  "That doesn't mean squat in the Orange League. Especially here at the Natsukan Gym."
Senta:  "If that was the best you can do, you might as well go home! The Orange League's a whole lot tougher."
サトシ 「じゃ、お前がジムリーダーなのか?」
Satoshi:  "So, you're the Gym Leader then?"
Ash:  "You come inside and watch how tough I am!"
センタ 「ジムに行きたいなら俺と勝負だ!」
Senta:  "If you want to go to the Gym then you're gonna have to battle me."
Senta:  "If you wanna get in, you have to battle me."

As you can see, Satoshi assumes this little boy's the Gym Leader in the original while Ash does not.

Side Note
Hey, quick question: what is this little boy's name?


In the Japanese version we know it's Senta (センタ) because his big sister refers to him by name about half a dozen times throughout the course of this episode. It's all "Don't worry Senta" this, and "Senta, get ready" that. But the English dub, for some reason, just outright avoids giving him a name altogether. Every time his big sister addresses him in the original script the English dub rewrites all her dialogue to have her avoid saying his name, over and over and over. As a result, Ash and his friends never find out what this little boy is called.

Isn't that weird? Why 4Kids didn't bother to give Senta a dubbed name?

Dialogue Edit
Ash meets the real Gym Leader:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「その挑戦、サザンクロス西の星・ナツカンジムのアツミが受けて立つ わ。」
Atsumi:  "Then I, the western star of the Southern Cross and the Natsukan Gym Leader, Atsumi, will accept your challenge!"
Cissy:  "Well, my name is Cissy. I'm the Mikan Gym Leader, and I accept your challenge."
サトシ 「サザンクロス西の星?」
Satoshi:  "The western star of the Southern Cross?"
Ash:  "I was expecting a guy Trainer."
カスミ 「この人がジムリーダー…」
Kasumi:  "That person's a Gym Leader, huh..."
Misty:  "I guess she beat all the guys."

Ash Ketchum, the kid who's already fought three girl Gym Leaders by this point -- one of whom is currently standing just a few inches over to his right, by the way -- is surprised that a girl could be a Gym Leader. OK, sure.

Everyone moves into the Mike'n Gym:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「さあ、いつでも勝負してあげるはよ、ボーヤ」
Atsumi:  "So, I'll battle you anytime, kid."
Cissy:  "Well since you're such a little squirt let's use Water Pokémon."
サトシ 「ボ…ボーヤだと!?」
Satoshi:  "Who are you callin' "kid"!?"
Ash:  "Who are you callin' squirt?"
カスミ 「ぷっ!」
Kasumi:  (giggles)
Misty:  (giggles)
ピカチュウ 「ピカ」
Pikachu:  "Pika"
Pikachu:  "Pika"
サトシ 「ン…」
Satoshi:  "Uhh..."
Ash:  "Uhh..."
センタ 「さ!勝負だ勝負だ!」
Senta:  "Alright! It's a battle! Let's go!"
Senta:  "Squirt! Squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt!"
アツミ 「あんたはあたしの戦いを見て勉強するの」
Atsumi:  "And you can just go over there and watch."
Cissy:  "And you'd better be quiet 'cause you're an even littler squirt."

4Kids reeeeeeeeally wanted to break out that "squirt" pun, huh?

Anyway, there's nothing in the Japanese version that implies that the Water Gun challenge is being done because of Satoshi's age.

Cissy lays out the gym challenge:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「勝負は2つのわざで決めましょう」
Atsumi:  "We'll decide the match with two techniques."
Cissy:  "We'll decide the match with two challenges."

One word makes all the difference! In the original, Atsumi tells her challenger that the gym match will be decided with two waza (わざ), which is the word used in the video games to refer to the attacks Pokémon are able to use in battle. We eventually find out that the two techniques the Gym Leader's referring to here are, of course, "Water Gun" and "Surf."

The English dub changes waza it to "challenges," which probably seems harmless enough at first glance but is actually kind of significant when you think about it.

Cissy sizes up her competition:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「ゼニガメとはかわいいポケモン出してきたわね。でも、手加減はしない わよ。行けシードラ!」
Atsumi:  "The Zenigame you've chosen is a cute Pokémon, isn't it? But don't think I'm going to go easy on it. Go, Seadra!"
Cissy:  "I have to admit that looks like a very good Squirtle you've got. I just hope it's a good loser. Water Gun, now!"

Do you think 4Kids changed this line because they thought an adult woman referring to a little turtle as "cute" could be seen as being sexist?

Squirtle fires off its first Water Gun attacks:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
カスミ 「あ~ゼニガメもやる!」
Kasumi:  "Wow, Zenigame's pretty good as well!"
Misty:  "Whoa! Squirtle's just as good!"
ピカチュウ 「ピカピカ」
Pikachu:  "Pika Pika!"
Pikachu:  "Pika Pika!"
ケンジ 「進化しなくてもわざのレベルは上がるということか?なるほど!」
Kenji:  "So you don't have to evolve in order to raise the level of your attacks? How interesting!"
Tracey:  "Maybe if my sketches are good enough I can send them to Professor Oak and he can review 'em!"

What a random thing to bring up, Tracey Sketchit. Is this 4Kids' trying to make up for the rewrite in the previous episode by having him randomly mention his goal here instead?

Psyduck plays around:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
カスミ 「だから勝手に遊んでるじゃないの!もういいわ。だったらあんたもゼニ ガメを応援しなさい」
Kasumi:  "I told you to stop playing around! Oh, whatever!. If you're gonna stay out then you need to cheer on Zenigame."
Misty:  "Psyduck, that GS Ball isn't a toy! Now get back in your Poké Ball before I start bouncing you around!"
コダック 「うわ」
Koduck:  "Uwa"
Psyduck:  "Psy!"

Haha, it's funny because Misty is going to grab her cute little duck and violently hurl it against a wall!

Let's introduce Challenge #2:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
センタ 「ね…姉ちゃん…」
Senta:  "B...Big sister..."
Senta:  "Now what do we do?"
アツミ 「心配いらないよ、センタ。次のなみのり対決で絶対に決めてやるから」
Atsumi:  "Don't worry about it, Senta. We'll decide the match in a Surf Showdown."
Cissy:  "Don't you worry, little brother. The way to break the tie is with a Pokémon Wave Ride!"
サトシ  「なみのり対決?」
Satoshi:  "Surf Showdown?"
Ash:  "Pokémon Wave Ride?"

And here it is, the Naminori / Surf snafu. "Wave Ride" isn't a bad translation of naminori (なみのり), per se, but in the context of this episode the word's very obviously meant to refer to the Pokémon move "Surf" (なみの り). 4Kids consistently replaces "Surf" with "Wave Ride" throughout the entire second half of the episode, making it seem like the Gym Leader's second challenge is this brand new, unique competition when it's really just supposed to be as simple as "use Surf to swim fast."

The Japanese version gets an extra Seadra "doo doo" cry that the English version doesn't:


A Primeape appears in the very next episode so 4Kids' choice at least isn't as random as it was last time!

Dialogue Edit
Cissy and Ash discuss the second round:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「もちろん速い方が…」
Atsumi:  "Of course the one who gets back first..."
Cissy:  "Whoever gets back first wins."
サトシ 「…勝ちって訳だな」
Satoshi:  "...Will be the winner, huh?"
Ash:  "This'll be easy!"

I'm not sure why Ash is being cocky here...?

James explains all the trouble he went through to get there:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
コジロウ 「…」
Kojirou:  (no dialogue)
James:  "I was able to free the sub, and then it just floated away!
コジロウ 「僕は死ぬような思いで海藻を取ったのに海の底に置いて行かれたなん だよ!
Kojirou:  "I thought I was gonna die before I could take the seaweed off and yet they just left me behind!"
James:  "I started swimming as fast as I could, not knowing whether I'd make it to the surface in time...or not!
コジロウ 「見捨てられることはどんなに悲しるか」
Kojirou:  "How sad is it to be abandoned like that?"
James:  "It was like some awful made-for-TV movie! (whimpers)"

What's this? Screenplay writer Yukiyoshi Ohashi writing Musashi and Nyarth as being heartless jerks? Quelle surprise! Anyway, the 4Kids dub's rewrite softens Musashi's and Nyarth's cold-hearted actions here.

Ash almost falls off Lapras:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ケンジ 「危なっかしいな」
Kenji:  "That seems really dangerous, huh?" Tracey:  "This looks dangerous, Ash."
カスミ 「サトシ、大丈夫?」
Kasumi:  "Satoshi! Are you OK?"
Misty:  "Maybe you should forget it!"
サトシ 「大丈夫、大丈夫!任せとけ!」
Satoshi:  "Don't worry, don't worry! I'll be just fine!" Ash:  "Don't worry, don't worry! I'll be just fine!"
アツミ 「まぁ、精々落ちないように気を付けてね」 Atsumi:  "Well, at the very least just be careful not to fall off, OK?" Cissy:  "Are you sure you don't wanna quit before you get beaten?"
サトシ 「は!ぶっちぎりで勝ってやるぜ!」 Satoshi:  "Ha! I'll win with time to spare!" Ash:  "Ha! I'm a winner, not a quitter!"

I'm not sure why everyone in the dub is telling Ash to give up in the dub? Seems kind of like a jerk thing to do if you ask me.

Ash gets his badge:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
アツミ 「これが私に勝った証。ナツカンジムのサクラバッジよ。」
Atsumi:  "And here's the symbol of your victory against me. It's the Natsukan Gym Sakura Badge."
Cissy:  "This is the Coral-Eye Badge of the Mikan Gym, proof that you've won your match."
サトシ 「これは…桜貝!?」
Satoshi:  "This is...a tellins?"
Ash:  "Hmm...it looks like...a shell!"
アツミ 「そう。オレンジリーグのジムバッジは貝殻なの。」
Atsumi:  "That's right. The Orange League Gym Badges are all shells."
Cissy:  "Yes, all of the badges from the Orange League gyms are shells."

So the badge that Satoshi gets in this episode is the Sakura Badge (サクラバッジ), which is named after the shell it's designed after, the sakuragai (桜貝). I can't say with any authority whether or not sakuragai is a word your average ten-year-old Japanese boy would be familiar with but Japanese kids' books do tend to feature various sea creatures (Japan is an island nation, after all) so I wouldn't be surprised.

The English translation "tellins," on the other hand, is definitely not something your average American kid would have ever heard before in their life and so 4Kids decided to rework the conversation to avoid even bringing it up.

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This page was last updated on January 28th, 2021




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