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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands
085: "The Orange
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.
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
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
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
The "Surf Showdown" is
also bullshit for many of the same reasons. A Pokémon Surf race
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
I'm looking through lists
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
during those 20+ years who can use the move Surf. Of the Pokémon
gotten up until this
episode, the only ones who could potentially
learn Surf, according to the Generation One video games, are Zenigame
to ride), Pikachu (ditto), Kingler (who'd be awkward to ride), and
Kentauros (also awkward).
Kasumi also mentions
she wished she could have challenged the gym but even the Kanto
Gym Leader would have had a time of it since
the only one of her Pokémon big enough for her to ride atop of
is currently up north with her sisters.
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.
The first line of the episode!
The opening narration in the English dub is a lot more generic, huh?
Lapras is having fun:
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.
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!
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:
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
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:
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:
As you can see, Satoshi assumes this little boy's the Gym Leader in the original while Ash does not.
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?
Ash meets the real Gym Leader:
Ash Ketchum, the kid
already fought three girl Gym Leaders by this point -- one of whom is
standing just a
few inches over to his right, by the way -- is surprised that a girl could be a Gym Leader. OK,
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
I'm not sure why Ash is being cocky here...?
James explains all the
trouble he went through to get there:
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:
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:
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.
This page was last updated on January 28th, 2021
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